14 Hours in Bordeaux

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14 Hours in Bordeaux


There are few signs in Bordeaux that would lead you to believe that you are in sacred wine territory. There are the typical number of wine shops and wine bars visible to the visitor of an average French city. Arriving from Paris on the train, I only passed a few vineyards that I could see from my window. The wine industry takes place all around the city.


Bordeaux is still a city of trade like it’s been for hundreds of years. Thomas Jefferson visited Bordeaux back in the late 18th century to order crates of wine. Today, on the river I saw pieces of a jet’s fuselage, probably going upstream to the Airbus plant in Toulouse.


It’s also a city of tolerance. You won’t be harassed about your political beliefs, religion, or sexual orientation. The city’s cultural, artistic, and music scenes are very vibrant as well. The university community is over 60,000.


I like Bordeaux because of its atmosphere. It’s got a fantastic old city where many of the buildings date from the 18th century. The architectural style is so solid that any film taking place in that time period is filmed here. Bordeaux is on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an “outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century.

bordeaux france


I like how the bars of Bordeaux spill into the side streets and the restaurants fill the plazas. You could say it’s like a typical European city, but Bordeaux is lacking great numbers of tourists. In Paris I hear so much English on the streets. In Bordeaux it’s rare.


Bordeaux has the longest pedestrian street in Europe and a cathedral with bell tower which I climbed when I visited back in 2008 to visit my brother. His company is based here and his business trip to the city is the reason which brought me here both times.


The first time I hitched-hiked up from the Basque country and this time around I was able to zip down from Paris on the TGV. I only spent about 14 hours this time; just enough to get a good walk around the city, take some photos, and go out to dinner with my brother. In the morning, I was off to Paris on one of the first trains out.

bridge bordeaux


cathedral bordeaux

bordeaux france at night

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. Michael B. says:

    Bonjour Brother! So glad you were able to come to Bordeaux with me for the second time! I concur, the city is marvelous! I am glad you are my brother! You are always showing me the world; it was a pleasure to have you as my guest! See you soon. Safe travels.

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