Its name is rich with overtones of fine wine, gourmet food and high culture – and Bordeaux more than lives up to the hype. With a UNESCO-listed core and the chateaux-dotted wine lands of the Gironde region wrapped around the city, a holiday to Bordeaux from Glasgow Airport is all about indulging in life’s finer things.
Wining and dining
Few cities can hold a candle to Bordeaux in the gourmet stakes. Start your gastronomic journey of discovery at Marché des Capucins (Place des Capucins), where stalls selling succulent local produce mingle with wine sellers and fresh seafood stands. Admire the ornate neoclassical architecture that gives the city centre its dramatic character before wandering across to the École du Vin (3 cours du 30 Juillet) for an introduction to the area’s wine scene. Ready for dinner? With seven Michelin-starred restaurants within the Bordeaux city boundary and plenty more dotted throughout the surrounding countryside, you certainly won’t lack for choice.
On your bike
The best way to explore the vineyards of Bordeaux and the Gironde is to cycle. Grab a bike from a rental shop such as 02Cycles (7 bis avenue Charles du Gaulle) and join one of the many wine routes that run through the famed Médoc, Graves and Saint Émilion regions. If you’re keen to get off the beaten tourist track, the stunningly scenic Sauternes region is a sleepy grape-growing backwater dotted with ancient chateaux, where delicious wine is on sale at jaw-droppingly low prices.
Coasts and caves
It’s easy to overindulge in Bordeaux, but a day trip out to the nearby Atlantic coast will cure most drink-induced ills. Scramble up the Dune du Pyla to experience the airy ocean views from atop Europe’s highest sand dune, or grab a surf board and head for the 200km of powdery sand that stretches south from the Gironde estuary. If the weather isn’t playing ball, the famous UNESCO-listed Cave of Lascaux near Montignac makes for an equally refreshing day trip.