How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Bordeaux Airport is located on the outskirts of Bordeaux, west of the city center. It is only a short distance to the center of Bordeaux (7.5 miles), but because you will drive through a large part of the city, it takes about 25 minutes to get there. If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options, such as bus, shuttle, taxi and car rental to reach your final destination.

Public transport - Bus (Bordeaux) is a great option if you don`t want to spend too much money. Bus line 1+ service to TBC Bordeaux runs between the airport (Merignac Aéroport) and the main railway station (Gare Saint-Jean). The first bus departs from the airport at 4:45 am and the last one at 12:40 am (1:20 am on Fri, Sat and Sun). During the day, bus line 1+ leaves every 10 minutes to and from the airport. On Saturdays the bus departs every 15 minutes and on Sundays every 20 minutes. The total travel time is about 55 minutes in normal traffic. A bus ticket costs about €1.50 and can be purchased at the ticket machine or from the bus driver, a single ticket is valid for 60 minutes with transfers to other bus lines included. A one day ticket may be more convenient to buy which costs about €4.50 (unlimited access for the day).

The Navette Aéroport is an Airport Shuttle Bus that operates every day from the airport to the train station (Gare de Bordeaux St. Jean). The shuttle is the fastest, but considerably more expensive (about €8.00). The travel time is only 30 minutes instead of 55 minutes with the bus line 1+. Note: The schedules change depending on the season, in the high season buses usually operate until 11:00 pm.

The train is not directly connected with Bordeaux Airport, but St. Jean train station can be easily reached either by shuttle bus or by a local bus within about 30 minutes depending on traffic.

Taxis are available at the Bordeaux Airport, taxi ranks can be found outside the arrivals hall or make an advance booking with one of the taxi companies. If you do not reserve a taxi ahead of time, be prepared to wait if you are visiting in the summer months. The average cost of a taxi ride to Bordeaux is about €35. Traveling by airport taxi has the advantage that it is very comfortable and fast, you do not have to pay parking fees and there is no burden of carrying heavy luggage.

Car rentals are available from any of the 10 companies which offer their services at the airport. All the car rentals are located at the A-B Hall connecting wing.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

The main train station (Gare Saint Jean) is located about 2.5 miles from the center of town. Buses, trams and taxis leave from in front of the station. Take Tram C to get to downtown if you are going to the more northern part, or a bus if you are going to the area around Place de la Victoire.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

You can book taxis in advance with one of the many taxi companies that service the area. Keep in mind that most of the city center is car-free, so taxis are only practical for longer distances. You must hail a taxi from a taxi stand, which can be found at Place Gambetta, the Grand Theatre, the Hotel de Ville, and the Place de la Victoire.

Is Bordeaux a walking city?

Bordeaux is quite a big city; however, most of the interesting attractions are in the town center and you should be able to visit most of these sites on foot. It is not recommended that visitors drive as it is always a hassle to park (and car parks are expensive), and there are often traffic jams in the narrow, old streets of the city.

How do I get around Bordeaux using public transportation?

Electric Bus and Tramway - Three efficient tramway lines are available (A, B, and C) that crisscross the city and make it easy to get around, tickets cost about €1.50 and covers unlimited journeys within one hour of validation. The tram runs daily from 5:00 am to 1:00 am. Tickets are good on the tram, the city bus and the ferry that crosses the river. Don`t forget to validate your ticket once on board.

The electric bus, called la navette du center-ville, is the only public transportation on pedestrian roads. There are no bus stops for this one: to board an electric bus, wave your hand to the driver - the driver will stop the bus and let you on. When you want to go out, just tell the driver.

The bus network is organized around a few main places, where it is possible to take buses to almost every destination in the city:

Gare Saint-Jean (railway station, bus lines going to town center, university, and north of town, TBC agency), Place de la Victoire (bus lines going to town center, to the railway station, to the University, north and south-west of town), Place Gambetta (bus lines going to la Victoire, the railway station, west, north-west, north of town, TBC agency), and Quinconces (TBC agency).

Single fare tickets (about €1.50) can be purchased from the driver on the bus, although you shouldn`t expect to receive change. You can also buy packages of 5/10 tickets for about €5.90/€11.30 or a daily/weekly pass for about €4.30/€11.30 from TBC Agencies (French: Espace TBC) at Gare Saint-Jean, Gambetta and Quinconces. All trips are good for one hour of unlimited transfers - you must validate your ticket each time you change buses/trams. You can also purchase these tickets from the automated machines at the tramway stops, all machines will accept coins and some of them will accept chip debit/credit cards.

Note: Avoid the buses during peak hours (8-10 am, 4-7 pm) as the town center is usually totally jammed (and cars often block bus tracks), and buses are over crowded.

By ferry - Le Bus du Fleuve, as it is called, links the western and eastern parts of the city by a small cruise on the river. It is managed by the CGFTE, and you can therefore ride the ferry using a standard bus ticket. The bus goes from the Southern part of Quai Richelieu to the Place Aristide Briand, very close to the Aquitaine Bridge.

I will have a car in Bordeaux, where can I park?

Getting around Bordeaux is easy. Trains, buses and taxis are plentiful. You don`t need to rent a car if you`re staying in the heart of the city. It`s also easy to walk here as the city streets are charming and well-kept. Parking is hard to find in many places and expensive.

The historic center of Bordeaux is a pedestrian zone where driving is not permitted. Paid parking applies to the rest of the center and the adjacent area on Monday-Saturday from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm. Maximum parking time is 2 hours per spot. Parking rates are about €2.50/hr in the city center.

Limited street parking applies in the city center. Cheap parking is offered on the outskirts of the city in several Park and Ride locations.

Parking on Sundays and Public Holidays is free of charge. Please be aware that traffic in the city center of Bordeaux is forbidden on the first Sunday of every month from 10:00 am -7:00 pm in the summer and from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm in the winter.

Free and limited parking (90 min) is set to the parking lot of the shopping center Mériadeck, 10 Rue Père Dieuzaide - Bordeaux, Aquitaine 33000. Parking is always free on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Paid and limited on-street parking applies in the center and unlimited parking in the car parks. Parking rates in the public car parks are about €2.00/hour.

Carparks in Bordeaux:
P1 - Mériadeck - Rue Claude Bonnier - 33000 Bordeaux
P2 - Des Grands Hommes - Pl. des Gr. Hommes - 33000 Bordeaux
P3 - Front du Médoc - Rue Robert Lateulade - 33000 Bordeaux
P4 - VINCI Camille Jullian - Place Camille Jullian - 33000 Bordeaux
P5 - Tourny - Allée de Tourny - 33000 Bordeaux
P6 - Bourse / Jean Jaurès - 2, Place de la Bourse 33000 Bordeaux
P7 - Saint Christoly - Place Pey Berland - 33000 Bordeaux
P8 - 8 mai 1945 - Rue Jean Fleuret - 33000 Bordeaux
P9 - Gambetta - Rue Edmond Michelet - 33000 Bordeaux
P10 - Republique - Place de la République - 33000 Bordeaux

How do I get around by bike?

Bordeaux is very flat and has lots of bike lanes so it is very easy to get around the city by bicycle. The city has a city-wide bike sharing program called VCUB, it is a cheap and easy way to see the city although the requirement to put down about a €200 deposit before taking a bike (which might cause problems if you do not have a bank/credit card that works well with the system). A daily (24 hours) or weekly subscription is about €1.50 (daily) or €5 (weekly).

Is Bordeaux a dangerous city? Are there areas I should stay away from?

Bordeaux is not a city with a high crime rate. If you respect some simple rules, you shouldn't have any problems. Beware of pickpockets, mostly on crowded buses and on the pedestrian streets. Do not leave any luggage out of view as it might disappear. If you`re taking the bus with a backpack, it`s better putting it between your feet than keeping it on your back.

Do not go to clubs or bars alone at night. If you are meeting with friends, meet outside the bar/club. It`s easier to get inside when you`re a pack. As another general rule, do not accept drinks offered by people you don`t know, as some people may drug you and abuse you afterward. There were several cases reported in Bordeaux. Take drinks directly at the bar or from the waiter.

It is recommended to not walk alone at night or to go to the area around the Gare Saint Jean train station and Place des Victoires, which can get a little seedy at night.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency used in Bordeaux is the euro (€), US dollars are not accepted. You can get euros in different banks opened from Monday to Saturday and automatic cash points opened 24 hours a day. There are plenty of banks in the historic center, including several ATMs on the cours de l`Intendance.

We recommend that you exchange a small amount of cash prior to your trip, enough for a cab ride or basic spending on arrival. It is also useful to remind your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling to make sure your cards will work while in France. We recommend you record all your credit card numbers, as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost.

Under the euro system, there are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. Notes are the same for all countries. There are eight coins: 1 and 2 euros, plus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.

Bordeaux, like elsewhere in France, adds a service charge on the bill. If you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly leave a few extra euros on the table. But this additional tip is neither expected nor necessary.

For more information about tipping visit:Tipping in France

What is the weather like? When is the best time to go?

The average Bordeaux temperature throughout the year is 53F degrees. Rainfall in Bordeaux is pretty constant through the year, averaging around 2.3 inches a month, 25 inches yearly.

Fall is the best time to go to Bordeaux, with warm days and cool nights, plus there are wine harvest events to attend. Summer heat dissipates quickly in September and October, although rainfall increases somewhat. Summer weather in Bordeaux can be hot and muggy with average highs reaching into the upper 80`s F. May and June can be very pleasant times to visit Bordeaux and the surrounding wine region. Wild flowers will be out, and the vines will begin to bud.

I don`t speak French. Will many people speak English?

French is the official language spoken in Bordeaux. As a hugely popular international tourist destination, you may well find that in many restaurants, bars and hotels English is spoken.

However, if you decide to do some traveling into the surrounding, more rural areas, or happen upon a restaurant off the beaten track then it`s a good idea to brush up on your French! We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is the food like in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux is known for its fine-tasting wines as it is home to some of the finest vineyards and wineries in the world, but wine isn`t the only pride of Bordeaux. When you visit this wonderful city you`ll find Bordelaise cuisine to be rich and sophisticated, holding its own identity within France, just as fine-tasting as its wines.

Bordeaux being bounded by the Atlantic Ocean coastline, fish and shellfish is plentiful. However, Bordeaux is is most famous for its meat dishes. One of the most sought-after dish is `entrecote bordelaise`, a world renown dish of rib steak cooked in a rich gravy made from Bordeaux wine, butter, shallots, herbs and bone marrow. This is certainly a superb match to a hearty Bordeaux red wine.

The region has an abundant supply of shell fish such as mussels, oysters, crabs, shrimps, cockles, clams, whelks, scallops and a lot more. Following are some of the must-try cuisines in Bordeaux:

Asperges mauves du Blayais - Asparagus from Blaye region
Escargots à la Caudéranaise - Snails are popular and are often served in a casserole with wine, shallot and country ham
Huîtres du Bassin d`Arcachon - Oysters served with white wines
Le grenier médocain - Specific Médoc charcuterie based pork belly, garlic, and spices, which is eaten cold
Plateau de fruits de mer - a plate of mixed cold shellfish or seafood
La lamproie - lamprey prepared with a sauce of red wine
Boeuf Bazadais - beef raised near Bazas
Agneau de lait de Pauillac - meat from lambs raised on the salt marshes round Pauillac, and often served with truffles
Le salmis de palombe - The pigeon stew
Les cèpes de Bordeaux - Mushrooms from Bordeaux cooked with olive oil, shallot, parsley and garlic
Cannelés - a caramelized brioche-style pastries
Noisettines du Medoc - roasted hazelnuts rolled in sugar

Regional Specialties include:

Foie Gras - is a food product made of the liver of a duck or goose.
Confit de canard - Duck confit is a French dish made with the leg of the duck. The confit is prepared using a centuries-old process of preservation that consists of salt curing a piece of meat and then poaching it in its own fat.
Eclade - (Mussels cooked on the beach) Bordeaux` special beach barbecue of mussels cooked on the beach. Cooked by placing mussels on a water-soaked board and heaped with pine needles or hay then set on fire. When the fire is doused tasty hot mussels are ready for eating.

What is the nightlife like in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux nightlife has developed a variety of liveliness and funky sophistication. There are three key zones. Place du Parlement, the tiny streets here are filled with nightspots and tapas bars, particularly as you approach place St-Pierre and place Camille-Jullian. Place Gambetta and place de la Victoire is packed with students. And night owls in the city tend to gravitate toward quaie du Paludate, where restaurants, bars and discos stay open until the wee hours of the morning.

More recently, the old, abandoned Wet Docks (Bassins-à-Flots) to the north of the center have also been occupied by folk offering most kinds of entertainment you might need through till dawn.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Triangle-d`Or (Golden Triangle) bordered by the Cours de l`Intendance, Allées de Tourny and Cours Clemenceau. Here you`ll find the luxury brand names, classy clothing and designer shops. That said, the rather swish iron-and-glass Grands Hommes shopping arcade in the middle is an outpost of more reasonable pricing. It also has a daily fruit and vegetable market.

For more affordable shops with a little bit of everything, stroll down Rue Ste Cathérine, which claims to be the longest street in France, it`s pedestrianized, a quarter of a mile long street of shops. Another good budget option is the pleasant riverside outlet shops at the Hangars (also known as the Quai des Marques, quai des Chartrons. If you`re looking for antiques or artsy items head for the Chartrons district and the Rue Notre Dame, which is where the anchor Village Notre Dame is located, an indoor antique market with dozens of stands.

Marché des Quais (Quai des Chartrons) is a lovely Sunday morning stroll up to this little producers` market on the riverfront. Bordelais customers usually reward themselves with oysters and white wine consumed on the spot.

Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is currently 20% in France for standard goods. A reduced rate of 10% applies to restaurants, transport, and certain medical drugs. And a 5.5% tax applies to food, water and non-alcoholic beverages, books, some entertainment events and some domestic personal services. If you are not an EU resident, you may be able to reclaim VAT if you jump through enough hoops.

What is the layout of the city?

Bordeaux lays almost entirely on the western banks of the Garonne River, though there is a small neighborhood on the eastern bank, which can be accessed by the Pont de Pierre or the ferry. The historic center is rather compact and clusters near the river.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

Emergency dial 112

Groupe Hospitalier Pellegrin, Place Ameìlie Raba-Leìon, (; Tel. 05-56-79-56-79).