Ideas for a long weekend in Bordeaux


My wife and I are going on a first visit to Bordeaux for a long weekend (four days) at the end of the month. We'll be staying in the centre of the city and are not bringing a car. I've loved the wines for years but never been, and would look to return more in the future by car and visit individual areas and chateaux.

I'd welcome any recommendations of things to do, see, drink and eat while we are they, in and out of the city. As it's a first visit I'd like to get a sense of the place and the vineyards, and to take advantage of being on foot and be able to enjoy some wines. While I'm keen to do a good amount of wine-related activity I'd also like to balance it with culture, walks and sights of interest. 'Thinking that a couple of full or half day organised tours or visits, starting from the centre of the city, to some of St. Emilion/Pomerol, the Medoc, or perhaps Fronsac or Pessac might be a good place to start, ideally that go to some good or interesting chateaux rather than the generic tours. Tastes are for red and dry white rather than sweet wines. Equally for places to visit or restaurants to eat (we tend to go for good and informal local places rather than Michelin/fine dining).

I'd appreciate your knowledge and experience so I can take a look and book ahead - thanks in advance!

Tours to the vineyards are also available from the tourist office. I went on one of these two years ago. IIRC we paid around 90 Euros and had a full day tour to the Medoc, with a knowledgeable tour guide. We visited Lynch-Moussas, de Camensac (with an excellent lunch) and Marquis de Terme. We felt it was good value and an excellent day out.

The city has several things worth seeing. The archaeological museum is superb.
You can visit some top chateau without leaving town. E.g Haut Brion, La Mission Haut Brion and Les Carmes Haut Brion. I’ve had the standard experience at Haut Brion. Apart from the film, it was good and included a tasting of the good stuff. Les Carmes would be a good contrast with their eggs an’ all.

Weekends, particularly in summer, are difficult times to visit wine estates, but you can get around this if you plan ahead.

The Maisons du Vin in Pauillac, Saint-Emilion, Sauternes, etc. will help you and they know which châteaux are open on Saturday and Sunday.

The Tourist Office has some very good coach tours of the wine country:
Escapade dans les vignes - Bordeaux Tourisme et Congrès

I have a few suggestions on my blog: Visiting Bordeaux | Bordeaux Wine Blog

I will be glad to answer any specific questions by e-mail.

All the best,
Alex R.
Thanks to all those who have replied so far.

Nayan, I will contact Hamish - thanks for that.
David, I didn't know that the Tourist Office ran those so thank you, will contact them now.
Fletcher, good point about those who are in the town, I will look at those and how best to get to them on public transport.
Alex, I really appreciate your comprehensive reply - I'll Iook at those and your site, and thanks for the offer to contact you directly.

A thumbs up for Hamish. He took us & my in-laws for a 2 days tour and we had a great time. My in-laws still speak of the Bordeaux trip fondly - though I will admit what normally triggers this topic is the HORROR of Billi Terminal, Bordeaux Airport. I think they still have nightmares of that experience. I am still of the opinion they made that low cost terminal so badly to encourage ppl to fly using more expensive airlines as the main terminal is quite nice (landside at least).