Three days apiece were enough to convince both Liz and Nicky that Bordeaux is the perfect citybreak destination.
Bordeaux with fresh eyes
LIZ: For a Francophile like me, just being in France again felt good, and the city of Bordeaux was impressive! It's changed a lot since I last visited – it's been smartened up; modern trams run the streets, all that impressive architecture has been scrubbed up, the waterfront has been opened up. The shopping looks great too (can't vouch for that as I was on a work trip after all!) and the restaurants... so many places to eat!
Bordeaux has been smartened up, the buildings scrubbed and the waterfront opened up.
NICKY: The town of Bordeaux in December is a delight – if you've never been there, it's well worth a visit. The classically beautiful, unmistakably French architecture is meticulously maintained and festive Christmas lights and a Christmas market add a magical feel. We had hoped to find a bit of time to visit the Cité du Vin, Bordeaux's recently opened and very impressive-looking wine museum, but the itinerary ran away with us. Still, an excuse, if I should need one, to visit again.
The impressive exterior of Cité du Vin wine museum
Sculpture in Place de la Comédie
Bordeaux Foodie Tips
LIZ: Tim introduced me to his favourite place in town for a simple, French breakfast to set him up for a hard day's tasting – Le Café Napoléon 3. Authentic charm, great coffee and croissants.
Where does a wine buyer breakfast?
Truffle mashed potato & slow-cooked bird
NICKY: A write-up of a trip to Bordeaux would not be complete without a mention of food! This particular region of France is known for its truffles (amongst other culinary treats) and we were given a few opportunities to sample the delights they have to offer, none more delicious than a lunch with the Courselle family at Château Thieuley, where we were treated to truffle mashed potato as an accompaniment for our meal. Look out for truffle dishes on Bordeaux restaurant menus!
If you fancy having a go at making truffled mash, we published a similar recipe from one of our Croatian suppliers a couple of years ago.
Bordeaux travel basics
Flights: Direct to Bordeaux airport from several UK locations including Gatwick, Luton, Bristol, Birmingham and Glasgow.
Rail: Six hours from London via Paris.
When to visit: all year round – but note that it's harvest time in autumn so many wine estates might not be able to accommodate visitors at these times.
Wine tours and visits: There are plenty of tour packages available, but our Bordeaux Vineyard Visits guide (PDF) gives a list of handy contact details for some of our producers as well as extra advice on where to stay and some added pieces of tourism/wine tours advice.
For more information, see the Vins de Bordeaux Wine Tourism page.