Paris may be the city of love, but Bordeaux has even more to offer for couples. Located in the south-west of France, Bordeaux is a world-class city break destination with a vinous twist. It’s got everything you could want in a romantic getaway, from historic architecture, gastronomy, bustling nightlife, art and culture. What’s more, its location at the heart of a world-famous wine region makes for a built-in wine adventure, and it’s only a short drive from numerous seaside havens.
What to do in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is the fine wine capital of the world, which makes it a must-visit for wine-loving couples. There is plenty more to the region than wine, but no vacation here is complete without at least tasting the local wines.
Truly, there’s a wine activity for everybody, whether that’s a casual glass and cheese board at a city wine bar, an immersive tour at La Cité de Vin, the world-famous wine theme park, or a journey into wine country. The city has plenty of reliable and reputable tour operators, and they can help you plan your forays into the countryside and visits to the region’s famous châteaux.
The greater Bordeaux region has more than 6,000 individual producers, so there’s sure to be a wine destination for you. Join a large group of like-minded wine lovers, or go with a personalized tour organized by one of the city’s luxury bespoke tour operators. You could even book the whole thing yourself, within reason!
The majestic castles dotted along the famous Médoc “Route des Châteaux” is a must-see for those interested in historical architecture. Some of the most impressive you’ll see are Château Palmer in Margaux, and the two grand estates marking the entrance to Pauillac at either side of the road, Château Pichon Longueville Baron and Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. This area is also home to four of the five famous “First Growths”, Châteaux Margaux, Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild.
South of the city is Pessac-Léognan; part suburb, part forest, and home to some of the world’s most esteemed wineries, including the legendary Château Haut-Brion. Rent a couple of bikes, and you can cycle out to this wonderful area in less than half an hour.
Across the river, Bordeaux’s right bank is home to fewer grand castles, and instead, the focus is on smaller properties, though there’s no shortage of eye-catching architecture or famous names here. Saint Emilion and Pomerol are the two top areas, though there is plenty more to be discovered besides. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, head to Sauternes, home of the world’s finest sweet wine, Château d’Yquem.
Whether you’re wine connoisseurs or teetotalers, you and your significant other will want to visit the medieval town of Saint Emilion. The rustic, winding streets are simply made for romantic and memorable strolls. Cobbled streets and beautiful limestone buildings. This is the quintessential small French town, and it happens to have numerous world-class restaurants and hotels too.
See the sea
Around an hour out of the city, you’ll find a number beautiful seaside and waterfront resorts, including Arcachon, Pyla and Cap Ferret. Life moves a little slower here, and many Bordelais retreat to their holiday homes here at weekends or during the summer. Expect pristine beaches, the freshest seafood and top-notch hotels and wine bars. Climb the Dune of Pyla – Europe’s largest dune – with your loved one and watch the sun set over the bay of Arcachon and a picnic dinner, or do the same from the comfort of the terrace at La Co(o)rniche, the region’s top hotel. Depending on the time of year, there is also great surfing and windsurfing to be had here.