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Considering taking a Paris to Bordeaux day trip when you’re in France? We’re sharing all you need to know, including how to get there by train, what to do, and where to eat.
As the desire to visit Bordeaux for its famous wine region and historical charm grows, it’s becoming a popular day trip from France’s capital. With the train only taking 2-2.5 hours each way, a day trip is definitely doable.
While Paris boasts romantic charm, museums galore, and endless activities, Bordeaux allows you to escape the hustle and bustle, delving deep into French culture.
We spent two weeks in Bordeaux during the fall harvest and were surprised by how young and vibrant the city is. With plenty of hip store and incredible restaurants, not to mention charming wine bars, you’re sure to have a wonderful day here.
In just one day, you can discover stunning vineyards, enjoy delicious cuisine, and explore the picture-perfect old town. With so much to see and do in the city, planning your day-long getaway to Bordeaux can be an overwhelming challenge.
While it’s impossible to see it all, this guide shares a complete itinerary to help you make the most of your day trip to Bordeaux from Paris.
Know before you go: Paris to Bordeaux day trip
Before you travel from Paris to Bordeaux, there are a few things to consider to help make your day trip as seamless as possible.
You’ll spend a lot of your day on a train
The high-speed trains between both destinations take 2-2.5 hours each way. On a Paris to Bordeaux day trip, this means you’ll spend around 4-5 hours on public transport at a minimum. Even longer if you’re staying far away from Montparnasse train station in Paris.
To keep yourself entertained during your long train journeys, make sure you come prepared. While traveling by train in Europe often boasts scenic views, you’ll want something to keep you busy.
Books, mini-games, and even your phone (for Netflix marathons) can make your journey go faster. Snacks and water are also a must!
Travel to Bordeaux early
To make the most out of your day in Bordeaux, you should consider taking an early morning high-speed train. This allows you to maximize your time in the city and see as much as possible in a short space of time.
There are plenty of trains to Bordeaux from Paris that leave early in the morning allowing you to arrive around 9am. Try to get one of these trains to provide you with the most time on your day trip.
Consider booking a tour of the Bordeaux vineyards
Visiting the vineyards and going wine tasting is one of the top things to do in Bordeaux, but it can be a little tricky if you’re short on time. Booking a half-day tour gives you a chance to see other sights as well as experience this unique activity. That way, you get a reel feel for the city and what it has to offer.
By booking a tour, you’ll take the stress and hassle out of your day with everything planned for you. All you need to do is turn up at the pickup point and you’re good to go!
Don’t cram everything into one day
While it can be tempting to cram in as much as possible, rushing around means you won’t truly experience each attraction. Prioritize what you want to see instead of running from place to place.
Is Bordeaux worth a day trip from Paris?
Absolutely, spending a day in Bordeaux is well worth doing if you’re short on time. In a day, you can explore the main highlights in Bordeaux and get a taste of what the city has to offer.
Not in a rush? Then consider staying for a minimum of two nights. A longer trip to the bustling city of Bordeaux means you can discover more attractions, sample more local foods, and gain a stronger understanding of this popular French favorite.
How to get from Paris to Bordeaux by train
The best way to get to Bordeaux from Paris is by high-speed train. In fact, it’s the most convenient and budget-friendly way to travel between both cities.
Tickets can be bought in advance online via the SNCF website, or at the train station.
We highly recommend purchasing your train tickets to Bordeaux in advance, especially if you are traveling during peak season. Try to buy them at least 3-weeks before your travel date to get the best prices, as they go up the closer you get to your departure date.
When traveling from Paris to Bordeaux by train, you’ll want to arrive at Paris Montparnasse train station a little early. For long-distance trains, we always try to arrive at least 30 minutes beforehand.
How long is the train journey from Paris to Bordeaux
The high-speed train from Paris to Bordeaux takes around 2-2.5 hours depending on the train.
In no time at all, you’ll be sipping on glorious wine, trying the local delicacies, and people-watching in serene gardens.
How to get from the Bordeaux Train Station to the City Center
Getting from Gare Saint-Jean to Bordeaux city centre is super easy with the most convenient options being by tram or by foot.
Taking the Bordeaux Tram
Firstly, Bordeaux has a highly efficient tram system. From the train station, jump on the tram to your destination in the center of Bordeaux. We recommend using Google Maps to find the best trams and routes for your day trip.
You can purchase your tram tickets at the ticket machine outside of the stop. A single-ride costs €1.70.
Walking to the center
The walk from the train station to the city center takes around 40-minutes, so we recommend taking the tram due to limited time.
What to do on a day trip from Paris to Bordeaux
Below, we are sharing two itineraries that you can choose from for your day trip to Bordeaux from Paris. The first itinerary is for those looking to spend a full-day in Bordeaux visiting the city’s main highlights with time for a wine tasting.
The second itinerary includes wine tour options for those looking to spend a day in the Bordeaux vineyards wine tasting and visiting different chateaux.
Itinerary #1: Spend the day in the city
Start the day at the Grosse Cloche
The best way to start your Paris to Bordeaux day trip is to head straight to the Grosse Cloche. This impressive historical monument stands tall above the city and showcases the city’s rich heritage.
Dating all the way back to as early as the 13th century, it’s one of the top Bordeaux highlights that needs to be on your itinerary.
The structure is not only a symbol of Bordeaux’s medieval past but also a stunning example of Gothic architecture, featuring intricate carvings and a majestic clock face.
Our favorite way to admire Grosse Cloche is to grab a hot drink from Books & Coffee. With unobstructed views of this incredible structure, it’s the perfect spot to get your coffee fix.
Visit the Porte Cailhou Gate
Less than 10 minutes away on foot, Porte Cailhou is your next stop in Bordeaux. Offering a glimpse into the city’s rich past, this unique structure was built in the 15th century.
For just €5, you can climb to the top of the gate and admire beautiful views of the city below. Inside, you’ll also find an intriguing exhibition that showcases the story behind this architectural beauty and how it was constructed.
Check out the Place de la Bourse
Just up the road, Place de la Bourse is one of the city’s main squares making it a must-see during your day trip to Bordeaux. Located in the heart of the city, the square is known for its beautiful buildings. More notably the Palais Rohan which reminds me a lot of the Louvre in Paris.
This spot is also known for the Mirror of Water; a stunning water feature that reflects the grand architecture to create a magical effect, especially at night. If you’re on the hunt for fab photo opportunities, I highly recommend visiting this place both during the day and as night falls.
This impressive square is the perfect spot for leisurely strolls, photography, and taking in the city’s rich cultural heritage. If you do one thing in Bordeaux, make it this!
Place des Quinconces
After a glass of wine or two, head straight to Place des Quinconces to admire one of the prettiest squares in all of Europe. Not only is it one of the most imposing squares in the continent, but it’s bursting with history, charm, and photo opportunities.
This extensive open space offers a hidden oasis in the middle of the city. The grand square is filled with majestic statues, fountains, and historical monuments, making it a hub of cultural activities in the bustling city of Bordeaux.
Visit the Jardin Public
Fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle? Then continue on to Jardin Public, a beautiful public park that’s open daily until 7 p.m. If you’re visiting Bordeaux on a budget, this is one of the best free things to do in the city.
During the summer, the flowers are gorgeous and in bloom. It’s a wonderful spot to take a break from all of the walking and enjoy a bit of nature for a moment.
Wander through the streets of the old town
Europe is known for picture-perfect old towns and Bordeaux is no different. During your Paris to Bordeaux day trip, make sure you save some time to take a leisurely wander around this part of the city.
As you take each step, you’ll be treated to stunning architecture, unique charm, and French allure that draws in travelers from across the globe. With its narrow winding streets, centuries-old buildings, and photo spots around each corner, it’s the best place to experience the atmospheric vibes of Bordeaux.
The Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux, France, stands as a prime example of Gothic architecture, with its detailed facade and intricate stained glass windows.
This historical monument, dating back to the 11th century, has been a vital religious and cultural center in the city. It famously hosted the wedding of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1137, an event of great historical significance.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral is a must visit during your Paris to Bordeaux day trip.
There is a €2 fee to visit the cathedral, which can be purchased upon entry. It is open Wednesday to Saturday from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.
Climb Pey Berland Tower
After a visit to the cathedral, make your way to the Pey Berland Tower.
This unique 12th-century tower used to be one of the tallest structures in Bordeaux. However, part of the building was destroyed by a storm in 1617. Despite that, it’s still one of the best places to go if you’re looking for panoramic views of Bordeaux.
For €6, you can climb the 229 steps to the top where you’ll be greeted with the most spectacular views of the entire city.
Make sure to purchase your tickets and reserve your time slot in advance on the official website.
Pey Berland Tower Opening Hours
- June to September everyday from 10:00am to 6:00pm
- October to May everyday from 10:00am to 12:30pm | 2:00pm to 5:30pm
Grab some lunch at a French restaurant
After a busy morning, it’s time to reward yourself with some delicious French food. Here are a few spots that we recommend trying for lunch:
- La Table Dereulle – This family-owned restaurant focuses their entire menu around cheese. They own a cheese shop down the street, so they take inspiration from that and create the most savory and delightful dishes. This is our top choice for lunch if you are in this area.
- L’Entrecôte – A French institution, this restaurant focuses mainly on two things: steak and fries. Worth a visit if you’re looking to try this classic French dish that is served with a flavorful sauce.
- Chez Dupont – A classic French restaurant serving typical dishes from the region.
- Le Loup – A lovely restaurant serving regional French dishes at an affordable price.
Make sure to call ahead and reserve in advance. Some restaurants may offer reservations online as well.
Taste some of the city’s delicious foods
We hope you still have room for more food because you have to try these Bordeaux sweet treats! You can’t leave the city without trying:
● Canelé from La Toque Cuivrée: There is always room for dessert and if you try just one in Bordeaux, opt for Canelé! This well-loved French pastry was born in Bordeaux and is a small, caramelized cake with a tender custard-like interior and a dark, caramelized crust. You can find them throughout the city, but the best ones are from La Toque Cuivrée.
● Cream puffs from Dunes Blanche’s Chez Pascal: Can you squeeze in one more dessert? Then head to Dunes Blanche’s Chez Pascal for some cream puffs. We know what you’re probably thinking – cream puff? That sounds boring. Well, these are the best cream puffs we’ve ever tasted. Try one of their classic flavors and one of their specialty flavors. Trust us, it won’t dissapoint.
Wine Tasting in the City
If you’ve decided against a wine-tasting tour or don’t have enough time in Bordeaux, there is no need to miss out! With several options when it comes to wine tasting in the city, you can sample some of the best wines in between visiting main attractions.
● Taste some wine at the Bar a Vin: Known as the best wine bar in the whole region, you simply must try a glass of wine or two at Bar a Vin!
● Rent a bike and ride to the Cité du Vin: This intriguing wine museum not only showcases tons of information about the local wine, but it also offers wine tastings everyday. This is without a doubt the next best thing if you have no time to do a dedicated wine tour. Make sure to sign up for a tasting in advance!
Shop along Rue Saint-Catherine
End your Bordeaux day trip with a spot of shopping along Rue Saint-Catherine. As one of the longest shopping streets in all of Europe, it’s the best place to go for a spot of retail therapy.
You’ll find a variety of products for sale including interior treasures, boutique clothing, and vintage gems.
Itinerary #2: Go on a Bordeaux wine tour in the countryside
If you are heading to Bordeaux solely for wine tasting, you’re in for a treat! This captivating experience allows you to admire blissful countryside views as you sip on delicious wines.
Renowned for its centuries-old traditions and prestigious wine estates, this iconic region in southwestern France has a lot to offer!
Consider booking one of the following Bordeaux wine tours:
If you’re looking for a charming wine-tasting tour at some of the region’s top vineyards, this full-day adventure to Saint Emilion and Medoc is well worth checking out!
Upon departing from central Bordeaux, you’ll make your way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saint Emilion where you’ll visit historical attractions.
Next up, you’ll stop by a Château to sample local Bordeaux wine as you discover more about this unique French region before stopping for a tasty picnic lunch in Margaux.
Once your hunger is satisfied, you’ll head straight to Château Margaux for a quick photo stop before continuing on your journey.
Your last stop takes you to one of the top wineries in the area where you’ll enjoy more delicious wine and hear all about the craft of winemaking.
Fancy checking out Bordeaux and doing a wine tour as well? Then a half-day wine tasting tour is a great way to do both. While your visit will be a little rushed, you’ll get a real feel for the local area. If you’re short on time, this is the best way to decide whether or not you’ll come back in the future.
This particular tour starts in Bordeaux city center, picking you up from 12 Cr du 30 Juillet. You can opt for either a morning or afternoon tour, the choice is yours!
As you hit the road, you’ll head straight to Saint Emilion; a picture-perfect historical town in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region. Starting your day at a Château, you’ll receive a guided tour of the winery before sampling the local produce.
With some free time afterward, you have the chance to discover the town’s charming cobblestone streets and the Monolithic Church before heading back to Bordeaux.
How to get around Bordeaux
During your day trip from Paris to Bordeaux, there are a few options for getting around Bordeaux.
- Walking – Bordeaux is fairly small and is very walkable, especially in the city center. In fact, many of the city’s attractions are easily reachable on foot.
- Tram – The tram system in Bordeaux can get you pretty much anywhere in the city. You can purchase a day pass at one of the ticket machines if you plan to take it a bunch; otherwise a single-ride costs €1.70.
- Bikes – There are plenty of self-service bikes around Bordeaux that you can rent. These are called V3 bikes. We recommend renting one if you want to visit the Cité du Vin, as it’s a lovely ride along the riverbank.
Is one day enough in Bordeaux?
With one day in Bordeaux, you’ll be able to see the city’s main highlights, eat a delicious local lunch, and have time for either a wine tour or a tasting in the city.
While we think Bordeaux deserves a minimum of three days, you’ll be able to get a taste of what the city has to offer on this day trip from Paris.
Tips for your day trip from Paris to Bordeaux
Plan ahead and book things in advance: Before heading off on your Bordeaux day trip, consider booking train tickets, restaurants, wine tours, and any activities that we specifically listed to reserve in advance. That way, you can rest easy knowing that the important things are covered!
Wear comfortable shoes: With a lot of walking ahead of you, wearing comfortable shoes is a must. Nobody wants sore feet or blisters slowing them down when time is limited in a new and exciting destination!
Arrive early in the morning: As we mentioned before, try to arrive in Bordeaux by 9:00am, so you can make the most out of your day trip. While it does mean an early start in Paris, it will be worth it, so you don’t feel as rushed throughout the day.
FAQs: Paris to Bordeaux day trip
What is special in Bordeaux?
There are a number of things that Bordeaux is famous for, but two that stand out most; wine and food.
Located in the southwest of France, the city is known for its fine wines. Wine lovers can’t resist visiting the local vineyards. After all, what better way to delve deep into local culture than to sample what’s on offer?
Next up, we’ve got delicious food! Local dishes such as Aquitaine caviar, Arcachon Bay oysters, and Bordeaux steak are a must-try while in the city.
If you’d prefer something sweet, you can’t leave without trying canelé; a tasty treat made with vanilla, rum, custard, and a rich caramelized finish.
Is Bordeaux a mini Paris?
Paris and Bordeaux have some definite similarities in terms of architecture and vibe, but the latter is a lot less crowded and more chilled out than the French capital.
Despite their similarities, Bordeaux has its own unique charm meaning it’s well worth visiting both on a trip to France!
More information for your trip to Bordeaux
- Planning to explore more of the Aquitaine region? One of the best day trips from Bordeaux is to visit the Dune du Pilat – Europe’s largest sand dune.