Mon Bordeaux

In a place so famous for its wine, we learn from resident Helen Lantsbury about where to pick up some fine vintages, the region’s fabulous food, and everything else that Bordeaux has to offer. Join her to explore beaches, museums and the little bistros that draw her down to the quays.


Bordeaux local –
Helen Lantsbury

I’ve been in Bordeaux for almost 20 years now and my husband Pierre, who runs La Fromagerie de Pierre, grew up in the area. I swapped a career as an anthropologist at Oxford for teaching English to, among others, Bordeaux Magistracy and AGJA.  The food here is wonderful, especially the fruit and vegetables. People eat seasonally, really appreciate good quality food, and support their local markets and independent food retailers. Bordeaux is a beautiful city too, easy to get around, big enough to be interesting and well set up for getting out to the countryside and coast.  


  • Picnic in the Jardin Public in the centre of Bordeaux, on the quays, or on the other side of the Garonne in the Bastide neighbourhood, where there is a large park area near the river. Walk around the old streets of Bordeaux and discover its history or see a film at Utopia 
  • Buy cheese at La Fromagerie de Pierre in cours Portal in Les Chartrons! He has another shop in Libourne which is also a deli (épicerie fine) selling charcuterie and other delicious products, perfect for your picnics 
  • Spend the evening on the beach at Le Porge or Cap Ferret (popular, but rightly so). Or take a walk in the woods at Blasimon, which is about a one-hour drive west of Bordeaux. 


  • The Musée d’Aquitaine is very good, CAPC (modern art museum) has some good exhibitions, and Cap Sciences on the quay is always interesting, with hands-on activities and workshops for children too 
  • La Cité du Vin is very famous but good too; wine making and tasting is very clearly explained for those who don’t have much knowledge about it 
  • Saint Emilion of course! Take a tour under the ancient church, l’Eglise Monolithe de Saint-Emilion.


  • The bakery in Cours de la Martinique in Les Chartrons is the best in Bordeaux. It has an amazing choice of breads, pastries and cakes, and they also do breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice 
  • Le Carré and Le Carreau are both good for a mid-priced lunch or dinner, as is Au Bistrot in the Saint Michel neighbourhood. Au Bonheur du Palais is a wonderful, but expensive Chinese restaurant Amicis, is very good and excellent value for money. But the best restaurant in Bordeaux is Italian! It’s called TentaziOni, in rue Pallais du Gallien. The lunch menu is more affordable, the choice of wines is extraordinary, but the place is quite small so book in advance 
  • Away from the city, Café Cuisine in Branne is simple and delicious. There are also lots of good places in Saint Emilion and we love Le Cabestan at Saint Jean de Blaignac a nice guinguette (open air, summer only restaurant).

Featured places to stay in Bordeaux

Getting around

There are lots of bike shops to rent a bike and in town you can use the Le Vélo hourly bike rentals from spots all over the city once you have a TBM (Transports Bordeaux Metropole) card, which needs to be activated at the station. Buses and trams are good and frequent. You can buy single tickets or multi-journey tickets (which are rechargeable) from the machines at each tram stop or at the office at Place des Quinconces 


Getting there

By train:

Eurostar to Paris Gare du Nord, then Metro line 4 (towards Mairie de Montrouge) to Paris Montparnasse for the train to Bordeaux, which takes around 2.5 hours. 

By ferry:

There are 30 Dover to Calais sailings a day and the crossing is 1hr 40. If on foot, take intercite trains to Paris and continue as above. If you’re driving, it’s about 8 hours south, so get ready to put some stops in.  

By plane:

All major UK airports have direct flights to Bordeaux Merignac, but if you have the time, take the greener route! 

Helen’s top tip! 

Say bonjour when you meet somebody or walk into a shop, hotel, museum etc. It’s important! Also, don’t be offended if staff in supermarkets ask to check empty bags. It isn’t common in the UK, it is here. 

With Bordeaux resident Helen’s tips and a few recommendations from our owners and our team to guide us, we’ve put together a five day itinerary for a trip to the heart of wine country.

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