Where to Stay in Bordeaux by Best Areas and Hotels
If you’re wondering where to stay in Bordeaux, or where is the best area to stay in Bordeaux, you’re in the right place. In this article, I will give an insight into the best places to stay in Bordeaux for first time visitors, couples, families, backpackers, all budget travelers; read on as I show you the best of Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is a city in the southwest of France. The namesake city of a region world famous for its high quality wines, Bordeaux offers a convenient slice of the best that France has to offer. From wine and food, to stunning historical architecture, Bordeaux has something to suit every taste.
Whether you are looking to experience France’s unique culture, or simply want to spend your vacation soaking in the sights and conveniences of a bustling modern city, this town has whatever you could want. There is sure to be an area of Bordeaux waiting to give you a trip to remember; I hope this article helps you find it.
Where to Stay in Bordeaux: Tips & Info
There is a lot to see and do in Bordeaux and with so many options, it may be difficult to choose where to focus your time. I’ve provided some brief tips for those who know what they are looking for but not so much where to find it.
Wine lovers will find wonderful wine bars throughout the city, but Bacalan is home to the mighty Cite du Vin museum, filled with exhibitions and tasting rooms. The museum also helps to organise tours to vineyards outside of the city, but if you would rather explore the surrounding farms and wineries by yourself, you should stay in Bordeaux Lac, on the northern edge of town.
If you are only staying for a short break, the Downtown area is packed full of things to see and do with minimal travel time between them. This is also where you should stay if you want to explore the historical sections of the city.
For a low-key neighborhood, close to the city centre but without the tourist crowds and prices, consider Nansouty and St Genes, in the southern end of town.
If you want to stay near to transport links, Bordeaux airport is in the suburb of Merignac, whilst Gare St Jean is home to the major Bordeaux St John train station.
Where to Stay in Bordeaux France – The 10 Best Areas to Stay in Bordeaux
With so much on offer, it wouldn’t be surprising if you are still struggling to decide where to stay. To help you along, I have highlighted and summarised ten key areas of Bordeaux that I think have the most distinct attributes. By breaking down what visitors may find most valuable in each area, I hope you will be able to find somewhere perfect for your trip.
Where to Stay in Bordeaux Map
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1. Downtown – Where to Stay in Bordeaux for Short Visit
Downtown Bordeaux is the bustling heart of the city. Packed with contemporary shops, Michelin starred restaurants, and trendy entertainment venues, Downtown is the perfect blend of historical city and modern metropolis. The district is home to the city’s Old Town, where you will find most of what remains of the old mediaeval architecture and grand buildings, such as the towering Bordeaux Cathedral.
Place de la Bourse is a beautiful 18th century palace, a resplendent example of the architecture of its period. It is now a major attraction for budding photographers, thanks to the mirror pool installation added to the grounds out front. When viewed from the right angle you can see the whole palace reflected in the water, creating a magical illusion.
The area along the riverside is lined with leafy urban parks leading to the Quinconces Square, one of the largest public squares in France, which regularly hosts fairs, markets, and seasonal events. For a particularly relaxed tour of the city, hop on one of the river cruises, which are available to board near the square. On sunny afternoons, a trip out on the water is both beautiful and refreshing.
If you want to escape the press of the tall buildings for a while, the Jardin Public is a network of beautifully landscaped gardens set around a large lake. In the west of the park is a pretty botanical garden, as well as the Bordeaux Science and Nature Museum, ideal for an educational afternoon.
Meanwhile young children can enjoy the shows performed at the puppet theatre in the east wing of the park.
Shortly southwest of the park are the remains of Palais Gallien, a 3rd century roman amphitheatre.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN DOWNTOWN IF:
- You want a convenient location close to major attractions
- You love old buildings and grand architecture
- You want to be able to comfortably explore the city by foot
- You are staying for a shorter visit
2. Capucins – Victoire, Where to Stay in Bordeaux for Nightlife
Capucins – Victoire is the neighborhood directly south of the Downtown area. Close to the river and the city centre but with someone lower rates for accommodation than Downtown, Capucins – Victoire is particularly popular with students and artists. They bring with them a thriving nightlife scene, featuring bars and clubs that keep the streets active until well into the early morning.
The area is well known as a hub of restaurants, serving a variety of cuisines, thanks to the thriving immigrant population. The foodie culture of the district is further present in the number of farmers markets and small independent butchers and bakeries, where you can pick up some local delicacies and ingredients.
Bordering the Old Town to the north, the area contains many older buildings and examples of the city’s historical architecture. At the border between Capucins – Victoire and the Downtown area stands the mighty Gate of Burgundy. The imposing stone arch was erected in the 1700s to mark the entrance to the city. Bordeaux has expanded well beyond the old city gates, but the arch remains as a popular tourist attraction.
Close to the river is the gothic Basilica of Saint Michel, a grand 15th century church and UNESCO World Heritage site. The church, with its towering spire and gorgeous architecture, is worthy of a visit just to appreciate its history and aesthetics, but on the weekends the grounds host a bustling market, full of antiques vendors and food stalls. It’s a wonderful spot to pick up some bargains and quirky souvenirs.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN CAPUCINS – VICTOIRE IF:
- You want an active nightlife scene
- You love historical buildings and beautiful architecture
- You want an area with an eclectic mix of restaurants
3. Chartrons – Best Area to Stay for Wine Lovers
Directly north of the Downtown area, Chartrons is one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Bordeaux. Full of trendy restaurants, contemporary shopping streets, and hip bars, the district is unerringly popular with the city’s younger crowd.
The Quai des Chartrons runs along the waterfront, lined with an eclectic variety of boutiques and restaurants. The Bordeaux Village Shopping Centre, right up against the riverbank, houses even more shops and cafes, with many offering terrace dining right by the water.
The riverside Colbert Skatepark draws skaters of all ages and abilities and is an entertaining spot to spend your lunch break watching them execute some impressive tricks.
If you get tired of shopping and eating, there are several museums and galleries in the area to keep you busy. The CAPC Contemporary Art Museum hosts a frequently changing array of exhibitions and performances.
Meanwhile the Cap Sciences museum hosts one major exhibition each year, giving visitors plenty of time to visit and benefit from the educational programmes on offer. If you are visiting with children, the Junior Workshops are aimed at encouraging kids aged between 8 and 14 to take an interest in STEM fields. For younger children, the Arthur Workshops teaches 6- to 11-year-olds the basics of cooking and food safety.
For those who have come to Bordeaux for the wine, the Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum is definitely worth stopping by. The museum displays exhibits documenting the history of wine production going back thousands of years. In addition to offering tastings and vineyard tours, the museum hosts a unique wine based escape room challenge which rewards victors with wine upon completion.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN CHARTRONS IF:
- You want to stay in one of the hippest neighborhoods in Bordeaux
- Shopping is an important part of your trip
- A wine based escape room sounds like great fun
4. La Bastide – Best Area for Amazinf Views of the Old town
La Bastide is a vast neighborhood on the east bank of the Garonne River. Whilst slightly removed from the city centre itself, the district is graced with particularly beautiful views of the Old Town and iconic structures across the water.
Once a busy warehouse district, La Bastide has since converted many of its buildings into chic entertainment venues. The region now draws crowds for its prominent arts culture, with film festivals and host of live music venues.
A central feature of the neighborhood is the Botanical Garden. Comprised of six sections and including a beautiful water garden housing aquatic plants, the gardens are a charming escape from the bustle of the city. The garden boasts a year-round calendar of events and exhibitions, aimed at educating visitors about the plants and natural science.
La Bastide has its own very distinct atmosphere whilst being just minutes away from Downtown Bordeaux, well connected to the rest of the city by a series of bridges. These bridges themselves are a great representation of the historical development of Bordeaux.
In the south is the beautiful lamp-lined, red-brick Pont de Pierre, commissioned by Napoleon and an elegant example of classic French design. Meanwhile, in the north, is the concrete and steel Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge, a mechanical marvel whose middle sections rise up its towering columns like an elevator, to allow ships to pass beneath.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN LA BASTIDE IF:
- You want some amazing views of the Old Town
- You want a vibrant, culturally rich neighborhood with an active social scene
- You want to visit the Botanical Gardens
5. Bacalan – Best Area to Stay in Bordeaux for Street Art Lovers
Bacalan is a district in the north of the city, a little way out of the city centre. Once an industrial district, the region has undergone extensive renovation and now its networks of warehouses have been transformed into a trendy neighborhood of chic restaurants, artsy boutiques, and popular music venues.
The area also developed a thriving art scene. The walls of many of the old warehouses are now canvases for local street artists, whilst out on the river a UFO sculpture hovers over the water. A German WWII bunker has been converted into a contemporary art gallery, La Base Sous Marine. If you enjoy music, the I.boat is a permanently moored ferry that has been converted into a concert venue promoting emerging artists.
Bassins de Lumières is one of the newer features of the area, but already it is a major draw for the area. The ground-breaking, digital art centre boasts multiple exhibition spaces entirely dedicated to the medium of light and projections. It’s an immersive experience that is definitely not to be missed if you have the opportunity to visit.
One of the shining stars of Bacalan, and a major attraction of the city, is the La Cite du Vin museum of wine. The building itself is a stunning example of postmodern architecture, a futuristic work of art set against the banks of the Garonne River.
Inside you will find exhibitions and interactive displays on all aspects of wine production and history. Most importantly, there are several tasting rooms, where you can sample and learn about a wide variety of wines, with demonstrations that play on all of your senses for an immersive experience.
If you are interested in exploring the vineyards and farmlands surrounding Bordeaux City, there is a service in the museum that helps connect you to local tours.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN BACALAN IF:
- You love street art
- You want to stay in a quirky, artsy suburb
- You want to visit the La Cite du Vin wine museum
6. Bordeaux Lac – Best Area to Stay to Visit Vineyards and Wineries
Bordeaux Lac is one of the northernmost suburbs of Bordeaux. A leafy, residential neighborhood, Bordeaux Lac is perfect for anyone looking for a quieter district outside of the city centre.
The area is named after the large lake that takes up a significant portion of its southern half. A public beach on the southern shore, with its sectioned off bathing area, it is a popular destination for locals to cool off during the summer.
On the northern shore of the lake is the Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux convention centre, which hosts a varied calendar of events and fairs throughout the year. There is a cluster of hotels nearby to accommodate visitors attending shows at the centre, with several overlooking the lake.
In the north of Bordeaux Lac is the nature reserve. Containing a mix of preserved wildland for protected plants and animals, as well as landscaped gardens and picnic areas, the reserve makes for a great day out for the whole family. The reserve also boasts a botanical garden, which hosts exhibits to educate visitors of all ages on ecology and the importance of preserving biodiversity.
In the west of the park is the Bordeaux National Forest, which is a beautiful place to take a walk around its winding lakes.
Being so close to the edge of the city and the surrounding farmland, Bordeaux Lac is the perfect place to stay if you are intending to visit and explore the nearby vineyards. Make sure to check availability before you head out, but most vineyards and wineries in the area offer tours and tastings to visitors.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN BORDEAUX LAC IF:
- You want to visit the vineyards and wineries in the region around Bordeaux City
- You would like to stay in a quieter suburb away from the city centre
- You want easy access to nature and scenic walking routes
- You are attending an event at the Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux convention centre.
7. Gare St Jean – Where to Stay in Bordeaux Near Train Stations
Gare St Jean is one of the edgier neighborhoods of Bordeaux. It has a reputation for having some shady corners, but recent investment in the area has seen Gare St Jean rising to become quite a trendy area. Popular with locals and tourists looking for a more rough around the edges nightlife scene, the area is on the up and well worth considering as a place to stay.
The influx of youth culture to the area has brought with it a burgeoning arts scene. The riverside La Meca arts and cultural centre is a hub of modern experimental exhibition art. With multiple stages, projection rooms, exhibition halls, and artist residencies, the centre aims to support and present local emerging artists.
The biggest feature of Gare St Jean is the major Bordeaux St Jean train station, the city’s main train terminal, which gave the region its name. Trains travel between St Jean and locations across France, making this an ideal place to stay for anyone heading in or out of the city by train, particularly if you are staying for a shorter visit, as less time will be spent travelling between the station and your hotel.
Being slightly removed from the city centre, and bordered by mostly residential and industrial neighborhoods, prices for accommodation in Gare St Jean are typically more affordable than the typically tourist centric districts in Downtown Bordeaux. If you are on a budget but don’t want to stay too far out from the centre of town, this may be a good location for you.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN GARE ST JEAN IF:
- You are travelling in or out of the city by train and wish to stay near the station
- You want to enjoy the city’s edgier nightlife scene
8. Nansouty and St Genes – Where to Stay in Bordeaux Close to City Center
Nansouty and St Genes are two adjacent neighborhoods, just south of the city centre. The neighborhoods themselves are largely unremarkable, primarily residential with little in the way of tourist attractions.
However, being so low key is actually part of the advantage to staying in these neighborhoods. They are conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Downtown and some of the major attractions of the city, but without the higher rates for accommodation found in the more tourist heavy districts.
All that said, they are not entirely without their own charm. The districts border pretty Capucins – Victoire and the classical architecture spills over into some of Nansouty and St Genes’ northern streets.
They are also less crowded, with few major roads and less rowdy nightlife. If getting a quiet night’s sleep is a concern for you when staying in a busy city, booking a hotel in Nansouty or St Genes will ease that particular worry.
The neighborhoods are well connected to the city’s tram lines, making it incredibly easy to access the rest of the city quickly and efficiently.
Directly to the east you have Gare St Jean, with its major train station, providing convenient transportation to other parts of France. Ideal if you are travelling through multiple cities on a tour.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN NANSOUTY AND ST GENES IF:
- You are on a budget but still want to stay close to the city centre
- You want a quieter neighborhood with few other tourists
- Staying close to the Bordeaux St Jean train station is convenient
9. Caudéran – Best Chic Area to Stay close to the City
Cauderan is a residential neighborhood directly to the west of Downtown Bordeaux. The neighborhood is not typically considered a hotspot for tourists, but it is known for being a charming, chic neighborhood, that has retained much of its traditional local town vibe.
If you are looking for a slice of day-to-day French community life, in the heart of busy Bordeaux, this may be the perfect spot for you. The region mostly consists of pretty houses, old shops, and lush parks.
Thanks to the lack of tourist hype for the area, crowds are few and prices for accommodation are low. This is in spite of the fact that the main hub of the city centre is just a few minutes away on the other side of the Boulevard du President Wilson road.
In the northeast of the district is the large Bordelais Park, popular with families, particularly those with young children. The park is set around a large lake and contains several play areas, a puppet theatre, and an animal park that is home to peacocks.
Closer to the border with Downtown Bordeaux, the administrative district boasts some of Bordeaux’s first skyscrapers. The juxtaposition of building styles between traditional domestic and modern business is a striking demonstration of Bordeaux’s growth and development as a city.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN CAUDERAN IF:
- You are looking for a chic but understated neighborhood close to the city centre
- You prefer a quiet district with a strong local vibe
- You are travelling with family or young children
10. Merignac – Best Area to Stay in Bordeaux Close to the Airport
Merignac is the largest suburb in the city of Bordeaux and home to the city’s closest airport. If you are looking to stay close to the airport, this quiet residential neighborhood is the perfect location.
Whilst the region may be further out from the busy city centre and the most famous tourist attractions, Merignac is not without sights of its own. The area is home to several castles, parks, and entertainment venues. In the south is Tour de Veyrines, once the gate to the castle’s dungeon, it is now all that remains of the mighty fort that once housed the ruling family of the area in mediaeval times.
The Old St Vincent Church in the centre of the district may not look all that impressive, especially compared to the grand gothic structures in the town centre. But, built in the 12th century, it is the oldest church in the entire city of Bordeaux. Having served a number of different functions and survived many fires, the church now acts as an arts centre, hosting exhibitions, workshops, and talks by renowned artists.
In the east of the neighborhood is the sprawling Parc de Bourran, once the private grounds of the Grand Chateaux of the same name. The Park consists of an expanse of manicured lawns and gardens, set around a large lake with an artificial waterfall, and houses species of rare, imported trees.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN MERIGNAC IF:
- You want to stay near the airport
- You prefer to stay in a quieter outer city suburb
- You would like to visit the oldest church in the city
Where To Stay In Bordeaux For Wine Tasting?
There are bars and wineries throughout Bordeaux, offering tastings of the local wines. Downtown in particular boasts a dense collection of wine bars, as well as companies offering guided tours and private tastings.
If you really want to get into the culture and production of wine, then stay in Bacalan, near the Cite du Vin. The stunning, purpose-built museum offers guided tours of their exhibitions, multiple tasting areas and unique multi-sensory experiences, as well as an information centre to help you plan a trip to the vineyards surrounding the city.
Meanwhile, staying in Bordeaux Lac, close to the southern edge of the city, provides quick and easy access to surrounding chateaus and vineyards. Most of these vineyards offer tours and on-site wineries for tastings.
Where To Stay In Bordeaux City Centre?
The city centre is where you will find most of the major attractions of Bordeaux. Popular with visitors, there are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation in the area.
L’Hôtel Particulier is a ‘fabulous’ guesthouse, set just 100 yards from the iconic Bordeaux Cathedral and a short walk from both the Museum of Aquitaine and the Grand Théâtre. The rooms are spacious and stylish, with some offering balconies overlooking the city.
La Loge du 12 offers ‘superb’ apartments in the centre of Downtown Bordeaux, right near to the river. Fully equipped with kitchen and laundry facilities, the apartments are perfect for anyone who wants to feel like they’re living like locals in the city centre.
How To Get Around Bordeaux
Bordeaux is very well connected by public transport, with bus and tram lines running throughout the city. Fares are very reasonable on a trip-by-trip basis but are even more affordable if you pick up a Bordeaux Découverte card, which can be used to pay for unlimited travel for multiple days.
If you stay in or near the city centre, you should be able to comfortably walk around most of the notable attractions. The city is also quite cyclist friendly, with plenty of places where you can rent a bike for your stay.
Best Things To Do And See In Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a historical town that has grown into a world famous hub of culture and cuisine. The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about visiting Bordeaux is, of course, wine.
La Cite du Vin is a museum dedicated entirely to the history, production, and appreciation of wine. They offer several tasting rooms, including some designed to provide a full multi-sensory experience. The museum also has a service that helps you to book tours and tastings at vineyards and wineries outside of the city, a convenient way to explore more of the Bordeaux wine region.
If you are interested in the history of the city itself, Downtown is particularly full of iconic sights and attractions. The Old Town, near the river, has buildings that date back to the city’s mediaeval founding. La Gross Cloche is an excellent example, dating back centuries to when it was used as the city’s main clock tower, it now sits, beautifully preserved, on an ordinary street. It should definitely be a stop on your walking tour.
If you are looking for somewhere to take amazing photographs, head to Place de la Bourse and the water mirror. Place de la Bourse is a gorgeous 18th century palace, well worth visiting by itself to appreciate the artistry and architecture. The ‘water mirror’ is a more recent addition; a broad, shallow pool of water, designed to reflect the buildings around, a stunning effect that has been drawing photographers, and more recently instagrammers, to the location since its installation.
If you are looking to take in some of the city’s wonderful performing arts scene, the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux should be on your itinerary. Built in the 1700s, the theatre is home to the Bordeaux National Opera, but also hosts performances of theatre, music, and ballet. It’s worth stopping by to appreciate the majestic building even if you don’t have time to take in a show.
Best Place To Eat Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a gastronomic wonderland, with bars and restaurants across the city offering menus designed to take advantage of the region’s reputation as a wine mecca.
Madame Pang is a Chinese restaurant in the Old Town, focusing on traditional Hong Kong cuisine. Their in-house sommelier hand selects the best wine pairings for each dish, to deliver a delicious, multicultural experience. On Sundays, the restaurant also welcomes musicians to perform live shows for an even more immersive atmosphere.
Inside the Cite du Vin wine museum you will find the Restaurant le 7, a stylish restaurant with panoramic views over the city. Recognised in the Michelin Guide, the restaurant boasts one of the most comprehensive wine lists in the city, perfect for pairing with their seasonal menus.
If you are visiting around the time of the Les Epicuriales food festival, you should absolutely head to the leafy Allées de Tourny. The festival draws Michelin recognised chefs and local restaurants to transform the square into the most refined al fresco food court you are likely to experience. Usually held in late spring or early summer, the festival lasts for several days, giving you plenty of time to try as much of the gourmet street food as possible.
Best Time To Visit Bordeaux
Whilst the peak season for tourists in Bordeaux is during the summer months of June to August, I would recommend late spring as being the optimal time of year to visit Bordeaux. Being in the south of France, the climate is reasonably warm from around late April, so you can comfortably enjoy wandering the vineyards and wineries.
Spring means avoiding most of the visitors who flock to the city during summer. Museums, attractions, and wineries will be less crowded. Prices for accommodation are also usually lower outside of peak season too.
It is worth noting that Bordeaux hosts a fair few festivals and public celebrations throughout the year. The ‘Bordeaux Fête le Fleuve’ river festival is particularly popular, whilst the ‘Les Epicuriales’ celebration of local cuisine is a hit with anyone who appreciates good food. Dates for the various festivals change from year to year so, if you are undecided on when to visit, it may be worth checking for festivals you would be interested in attending and planning your trip around them.
If you are looking to visit the vineyards you should avoid early autumn, as many farms do not accept visitors and tours during the busy harvest season.
When most people hear mention of Bordeaux, their minds immediately turn to the wines that are the area’s most famous export. But there is so much more to the city than just wine. Whatever you are looking for from your time in France, it is well worth checking to see if there is an area of Bordeaux that can provide it. It is highly likely that you can find your dream destination here.