24 Hours in Bordeaux

After 24 hours, 2 delayed flights, 8 hours on standby, 2 lost suitcases, 6 coffees, 4 glasses of wine, and 1 martini I made it to Bordeaux!

For the next two glorious weeks, I’ll be delivering vinous love notes and inspiration from this side of the Atlantic avec ma mère. First, as the winner of a sweepstakes from the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB), we’ll dive into all things wine in a city that’s been drinking consistently for 26 centuries. Then, it’s on to Paris for a week of…well a week of more wine and a boatload of croissants.


Though my first 24 hours on this side of the pond were clouded by jet lag, I can happily say the city of Bordeaux offers veritable dreams for eaters, drinkers, and shoppers alike.Voilà the city discoveries from the first 24 hours of exploration.1. You definitely don’t need a car.The Bordeaux city center is situated around a central axis where Roman roads originally intersected several centuries pre-Jesus, and the surrounding areas still have to be explored on foot.  Tiny, cobblestoneallées are dotted with boutiques hawking everything from 1st growth wines to “I <3 Money” piggy banks with smiley faces, and there’s no shortage of cafés, public squares, and (obviously) wine bars for solid people watching.


  1. You don’t need a pool either.


As we discovered, temperatures can easily top 80 degrees here in September, but Bordeaux has a plan! Along the historic Garonne riverfront the city has installed a gigantic reflecting pool–officially the “Water Mirror”– a fountain which alternately fills with ankle-deep water and sprays cooling mist. Passerby, puppies, and tourists alike splashed through.


  1. Nothing to read? No Problem.


Enter Bordeaux’s lending library boxes! Situated in parks and plazas across the city, you have yourvin and a magazine too.


  1. Bring a dictionary to dinner.


Gésier” means gizzard. Despite gracing menus frequently, it’s not popular and doesn’t taste great on salad.  We learned this the hard way, and consider ourselves French speakers. Be Warned.


5. Public Toilettes abound.


Through the Jet lag, gizzard salad, and language barriers, it’s nice to know there’s a clean toilet seat advertised in a universal symbol in nearly every area of this place. Drink as much amazing wine and espresso as your heart desires and then wander blindly without worry. (Insert sigh of relief here.)

Up next: Mouton and Me–an inside look at one of Bordeaux’s most famous and exclusive châteaux.


  • September 7, 2013
  • 0