Arriving — Bordeaux–Mérignac airport (www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr; tel. 05-56-34-50-50 for flight information) is 15km (9.25 miles) west of the city in Mérignac, and is one of easyJet’s French hubs, increasing the number of flights to here from around Europe. The tramway line A runs between the airport and downtown and departs every 10 minutes (trip time: 35 min.). A single ticket costs 1.70€. A shuttle bus (30’Direct) runs from the airport to the train station every 30 min. (trip time: 55 min.). The one-way trip is 8€ adults, 7€ for passengers 25 and under, free for children under 5. A taxi (tel. 05-56-96-00-34) from the airport to the train station costs about 45€.
Some 15 to 30 high-speed TGV trains arrive from Paris each day; the trip takes 2 hr., 5 min. with the new high-speed link and a one-way fare is 45€, although cheaper fares exist if you are booking in advance. Other rail connections include Toulouse, Avignon, Biarritz, and destinations in Spain. For train information, visit sncf-connect.com
While Bordeaux is easy to reach by car (about a 6-hr. drive on the A10 autoroute from Paris; 2 hr. via the A62 from Toulouse; 15 min. on the A63 from the Spanish border), you won’t use it much once you get here as most of the historic center is closed to motorized traffic.
Visitor Information — The Office de Tourisme is at 12 cours du 30-Juillet (www.bordeaux-tourisme.com; tel. 05-56-00-66-00).
City Layout — Bordeaux lies almost entirely on the western bank of the Garonne River, though the small up-and-coming neighborhood La Bastide is on the eastern bank, which can be accessed by the Pont de Pierre or the ferry. The historic center is rather compact and clusters near the river. Most hotels offer city maps to guests; you can also pick up a map at the tourist office.
On Foot — With a good pair of comfortable shoes, you should be able to visit most sites on foot. If you want to explore more far-flung neighborhoods, or are just plain tired, you can easily get around town on the sleek tram system.
By Public Transportation — The tram (streetcar) makes it a snap to get around the city. Three lines (A, B, and C) crisscross the town, while line D goes northwest from downtown to the suburb of Cantinolle. The tram runs daily from 5am to 1am. Tickets are good on the tram, the city bus, and the ferry that crosses the river, and cost 1.80€, transfers included during a 1-hr. period. You can get a 2-ticket card for 3.20€, a 10-ticket card for 14.50€, as well as 1-day pass for 5€ and a 7-day pass for 14.20€. You can buy tickets from the driver, at the tram stops or at the Transport Bordeaux Métropole (TBM) outlets at place Quinconces, Gare St. Jean or place Gambetta, online at infotbm.com or via the TBM app. Don’t forget to validate your ticket once you are on board; failure to do so can result in a fine. For information, maps, and a phone app, visit infotbc.com or call tel. 05-57-57-88-88.
Bicycles for hire by the hour or day are available for pick up from 179 stations around the city (infotbm.com/en/v3).
By Taxi — As mentioned above, parts of the city center are car-free, so taxis are only practical for longer distances. You must hail a taxi from a taxi stand, which can be found at the place Gambetta, the Grand Théâtre, the Hôtel de Ville, and the place de la Victoire. Or call Taxi-Tele at tel. 05-56-96-00-34. Uber is also an option and, since traditional taxis are relatively expensive, can save a lot of money.
ATMs/Banks — The historic center has plenty of banks, including several ATMs on the cours de l’Intendance.
Doctors & Hospitals — Groupe Hospitalier Pellegrin, pl. Amélie Raba-Léon (www.chu-bordeaux.fr; tel. 05-56-79-56-79).
Embassies & Consulates — American Presence Post, 89 quai des Chartrons (https://fr.usembassy.gov/embassy-consulates/bordeaux; tel. 01-43-12-48-65); British Consulate Bordeaux, 353 bd. du President Wilson (www.gov.uk; tel. 05-57-22-21-10).
Mail & Postage — La Poste, 6 pl. Saint-Projet (tel. 36-31).
Pharmacies — Pharmacie des Grands Hommes, 1 pl. des Grands Hommes (tel. 05-56-15-61-12). Pharmacy open 24/7: Pharmacie des Capucins, 30 pl. des Capucins (tel. 05-56-91-62-66).
Safety — The area around the Gare Saint Jean train station and place des Victoires can get a little seedy at night.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.