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Insider Guide Bordeaux, City of Wine


Hotel Le Saint James

With its bijou vineyard, panoramic city views, striking architect-designed spaces, and modern art exhibits, this village hotel captures the flavour of both classic and contemporary Bordeaux.

Found a few kilometres outside the city, in charming Bouliac, this welcoming and unpretentious 4-star property undeniably celebrates good food & wine. As well as indulging in the gourmet Michelin-star restaurant, you can also brush up on your kitchen skills at their in-house cooking school; and fine-tune your palate with a wine tasting with the Le Saint James’ award-wining Sommelier, Richard Bernard.

Try the hotel’s very own ‘Vin de Jardin’ Bordeaux wine, from the hotel’s mini-vineyard that produces just 500 bottles a year; enjoy the regularly changing art exhibits that adorn the public spaces; or kick back on the pool terrace.

Although part of the elegant Relais & Chateaux network of hotels, at the Le Saint James ones feels at ease thanks to the friendly team. Good choice for a short break, as the transfer to the airport is less than half an hour, avoiding city centre traffic.


Mama Shelter

With eccentric Philippe Starck design, and always a lively restaurant bar, Mama Shelter brings a very particular brand of magic to their hotels. Bordeaux is no exception, where a former gas utility tower has been converted into one of the chain’s trendy, budget hotels. Fun option for a night out too – enjoying drinks on the roof terrace.




La Vie en Rose

Café bistro, well-known amongst the locals for offering one of the best Sunday Brunch in Bordeaux. Find this ‘Salon de Thé’ in the ‘Place du Marché’ in the trendy Chartrons district.

Search @lavieenrosebordeaux on Facebook


Le Saint James

For some exquisite Aquitaine flavours, then visit Chef Nicolas Magie’s restaurant at Le Saint James. Even before you savour a mouthful you will be wowed by the Jean Nouvel architect-designed dining room – a understated modern space, surrounded by gardens and the vineyard, where they even turn off the lights at one point in the evening so you can relish the sparkling lights of that city view.

This is the second restaurant where Magie has achieved Michelin star recognition; and where the unique and rich terroir of France’s south west are his inspiration.

Richard Bernard, the hotel’s helpful sommelier (and restaurant manager) has curated the restaurant’s wine list, featuring over 2,000 different wines.


Le Quatrième Mur

In the city centre, in the splendid ‘Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux’ national opera building, this upscale brasserie, by Chef Philippe Etchebest, is a great spot for a leisurely lunch.


Café de l’Espérance

Capturing the romance of a classic French eatery with wooden chairs and tables, tiled floor and menus on blackboards, this relaxed restaurant is well known for its generous buffet starters and deserts. Found in the village of Bouliac, run by the Relais & Chateaux Le Saint James Hotel.




Antique Fair & Flea Market

Pickup a lasting memento of your trip at Bordeaux’s Antique Fair, running now until 4 December, 2016; and then again 28 April to 8 May 2017.


La Cité du Vin

As one of the world’s great wine cities, it was about time Bordeaux had its own temple to it greatest export. Opened this summer, this remarkable structure is said to resemble the swirling movement of wine being poured into a glass. This compelling, interactive museum for the digital age will immerse you, metaphorically speaking, into the world of wine. Foodies should head to the 7th floor, to ‘Le 7’ restaurant which promises ‘seventh heaven’ for diners.


Marché des Quais Sunday Market

One of the city’s most vibrant quarters is home to one of its best markets; found at the Quai des Chartrons, on the River Garonne. Tuck into tasty local treats here too, like oysters from the Bay of Arcachon.


CAPC – Contemporary Art Museum

Staying in Chartrons, the former hub of the wine industry, this gallery, like so many of the new venues in this part of the city is found in one of Bordeaux’s characterful old warehouses.


Vivres de l’Art – artists workshop

Just a few minutes north of Chartrons is this art gallery, exhibition and performance space that truly embodies modern Bordeaux.


Ecole du Vin – School of Wine

Prestigious wine academy – check for details of courses and tastings.


Côté Cours Cooking School

The cooking school at Le Saint James is not only for serious cooks – courses for kids, families and novices too. Make it part of your holiday.

Wine Tasting – Max Bordeaux

If you don’t have time for a wine trail, then experience some of the region’s finest wines by the glass at the Tasting Workshops held at this Wine Gallery and Cellar in the city centre.



City Tour

The local city tourism office can arrange private tours of the city tailored to your interests. Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy the city’s extraordinarily well preserved 18th century architectural heritage.




Independent retailers

Bordeaux is great for lovers of small, unique shops. The elegant streets at the heart of the chic area of the ‘Golden Triangle’ and those around the Quartier des Grands Hommes are home to some of the city’s best retailers; expect to find wonderful cheese stores; beautiful bakeries; indie chocolate makers; and luxury brands.

Also, the small street of Rue Bouffard is the place to find art galleries, fashion and more, all presented with French Savoir-faire and style.

Search @ruebouffard on Facebook



As one of Europe’s great trading ports, it’s not all about wine and cheese – chocolate is big in the city too. Try La Maison Darricau & Cadiot-Badie for some seductive treats.




Fly me to the Moon:

Bordeaux is easier than ever to get too. 2017 sees the Ligne à Grande Vitesse (LGV) train network link the city to Paris in about 2 hours. The Port of the Moon is now a popular cruise stop too, and

airlines such as Vueling are provide air-bridges from other European cities. I flew with Vueling from Málaga through Barcelona.

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Andrew ForbesTravel and Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor and Content Writer Web: Twitter: @andrewaforbes Instagram: @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »