Published the 01/22/2020 in City Break
The question always pops up when visiting a new city for a weekend or longer stay, what neighbourhoods are worth visiting? What's the vibe like in the different parts of the city? In this article we give you a run-through of the most emblematic Bordeaux neighbourhoods. To guide you and lead you to the right part of Bordeaux for what you are looking for!
Even though there are more or less 12 distinct neighbourhoods in Bordeaux, we have chosen 4 that we think you should start with if you are relatively new to the city. These are Hotel de Ville/Quinconces, Capucins/St Michel/Victoire, La Bastide and the Chartrons. These four areas represent a great start to discovering Bordeaux if you are here for a Weekend or short week.
Ideal for: a weekend to discover Bordeaux, the business trip or couples. It is the perfect neighbourhood if you want to be in the centre of the action and prefer to do everything by walk (or tramway). Should rather be avoided if you travel by car! In this area you find the busiest shopping streets of Bordeaux like Rue Saint Catherine and Rue Porte Dijeaux. As well as the "golden triangle", where you find the more prestigious French luxury shopping brands and cute boutiques, look for the streets Cours de l'Intendance, Tourny and Les Grands Hommes. In the area of Saint-Pierre and the street Rue Saint-Rémi, you will find a lot to do as the night falls, with plenty of wine bars and restaurants that keep the doors open until late at night.
On the plus side: super central, walking distance to almost everything. Lively all year round and close to the riverside (Les Quais) and Place de la Bourse (main square). Numerous great hotels of highest standard, like Hotel de Sèze or Intercontinental Bordeaux (Discover our exceptional Bordeaux stays). Plenty of Airbnb apartments are also available in the Saint-Pierre area.
On the minus side: Prices rise quickly in high season when demand soars. And some parts of this area, notably Saint-Pierre, are not the quietest and are always busy with people.
Alternatives off the beaten track: the parts around Fondaudège, Saint-Seurin, is very close and remains an area that is very charming and relatively calm. More accessible also since the opening of tramway line D. We especially like the proximity to Jardin Public with its typical Bordeaux style architecture and the best guest houses in Bordeaux.
Design houses, art galleries, antique dealers, this is a neighbourhood that has developed a lot the past years. Today one of the most expensive and popular parts of the city, it is also a neighbourhood with a rich history and tight connections with the wine industry. Close to Cité du Vin (the wine museum) and the historic centre of Bordeaux, everything is accessible by foot.
Ideal for: a weekend, couples, people looking for secondhand shops and antiquities or just someone looking for a cool area to spend an afternoon. Very nice and peaceful for families. For people interested in wine and the history of wine in Bordeaux can find many places of interest here. Also perfect for a longer walk or run if you go down to the riverside.
On the plus side: one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bordeaux, with its secondhand shops and cafés with terraces for people-watching. On Rue Notre Dame you will find an excellent concentration of restaurants and cafés, with some really great bistros. Accessible by tramway and a lively area all year round. Every Sunday a market takes place at the riverside (Quais des Chartrons) which is definitely not to miss!
On the minus side: slightly pricier neighbourhood, can be harder to find cheap eats along Rue Notre Dame. Quite few options for accomodation in the area, best option would go for a guest house or renting a house or apartment.
Alternatives off the beaten track: Bacalan is a relatively new part of Bordeaux, freshly renovated and invigorated, just a bit further along the Garonne from the Chartrons, past Cité du Vin (the wine museum). Bacalan is a calm area to visit, easily accessible with the tramway line. Just look out for the ongoing construction as this area is popping up little by little.
The cosmopolitan part of Bordeaux, this area is ideal for those seeking a lively neighbourhood with plenty of cool bars and bistros. Here you will be immersed with locals and will find a break from the tourist crowds. The area is close to the river and connected by three of the tramway lines. Many different styles melt together here. Artists, bohemians and hipsters thrive here side by side. An area to discover for anyone visiting the city.
Ideal for: a weekend (close to the train station) or a longer stay. Optimal for foodies who search for interesting food experiences or food tours in a relaxed area with plenty of bars and restaurants that serve high quality food for honest prices. Quite few hotels in the area but a lot of offers on Airbnb. The proximity to the train station makes it ideal for a day trip into the vineyards (contact us for more information about this).
On the plus side: check out the market in Saint-Michel to discover all the local specialities. The squares Saint-michel, Fernand Lafargue and Place du Palais are excellent to take something to drink and are lively all year round. The area also hosts a ton of great vegan restaurants and bistros.
On the minus side: if you search for peace and quiet this is perhaps not the place for you.
Alternatives off the beaten track: The Bastide area (other side of the river)!
An area in the middle of an immense makeover. Every year you will find something new to discover here, but the neighbourhood is already well worth a visit. You could make the reference to Brooklyn in New York, but this is obviously not as large. It is around Darwin that you will find to heart of this area that has become a cool melting pot of urban culture and the home to many start-ups and digital nomads alike. The area still lacks accommodations so an Airbnb would be your best bet if you wish to stay here. Perfect for those who want to beat the tourist crowds and discover a part of Bordeaux that is growing at a high pace. On top of that you will have a view of Bordeaux and Place de la Bourse from here, as you are on the other side of the Garonne river.
Ideal for: a staycation in the summer, for families or between friends. For those who search for a hip place to stay in Bordeaux.
On the plus side: This is the hipster neighbourhood in Bordeaux, young and vibrant. Nice places to relax in the summer like the Palmer park or botanical gardens. Outside bars and eateries on the side of the river in the summer.
On the minus side: few hotels. tricky during off-season as this place could be less open during for example winter or rainy days of fall. Many outside bars and restaurants are closed during the winter months.
Alternatives off the beaten track: here you are already off the beaten track!
Now we have given you a few keys to finding the right neighbourhood in Bordeaux for you. Do not hesitate to contact us when you plan your stay or weekend. With our knowledge you will be sure to not miss any of the action in Bordeaux.
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