Where to Dine in Bordeaux

Bordeaux has some pretty fancy restaurants which flatter the wines from that area and offer everything from posh dining to hearty French traditional dishes – dishes like Pauillac lamb or local Bazas beef grilled over vine prunings. People in Bordeaux like good food, and they like it fresh, so keep an eye out for Arcachon Bay oysters, eels, sturgeon, caviar, and an assortment of other river treats.

Most restaurants are wonderful, but there’s a few that are well and above dining par. Here’s a few of our favorites:

Le Chapon Fin

le chapon fin

Established in the 19th-century Le Chapon Fin is one of the most highly attended and enjoyed restaurants in Bordeaux – it says a lot if visiting presidents dine here. The decor is extraordinary – but is no match for the food. Please your pallet with lightly-roasted John Dory with chilled lentil cake and truffle cream and served with bow-tied panache. Or how about some fresh seared cod in braised cherry blossom and endive tea – delicious!

Oiseau Bleu

 

Oiseau Bleu

There’s just something fantastic about this restaurant. Interestingly, it used to be a police station, but you’d never know it. The inside is warm and cozy, and there’s also seating on a terrace outside overlooking a lovely garden. The food here is simple, yet elegant, and always cooked with the freshest of produce. We recommend the Charolais tournedos with red wine and pear cream sauce.

Cafe Populaire

Café Populaire

You must visit this cafe any time you’re in Bordeaux. Not only does it have a hopping night life and always teeming with diners, but it offers some of the best regional staples you can get in Bordeaux. This restaurant is considered a Bordeaux staple – it’s definitely the city hot spot, and for good reason. Truly ‘the People’s Cafe”. After you finish your traditional Bordeaux meal, hit the floor for some dancing!

Bordeaux: Wine Country

Bordeaux 1

When many think of “Bordeaux” they think of wine, and rightly so as the city of Bordeaux, France is the world’s major wine industry capital and home to some of the finest wine.

Bordeaux goes by several nicknames: La Perle d’Aquitaine and La Belle Endormie (Sleeping Beauty). It is also the capital of the Aquitane region in France. The city has a long and colorful history, being originally established around 300 BC by a Celtic tribe – the Bituriges Vvisci – and named Burdigala. In 60 BC the town fell to Roman rule, with the Romans valuing its importance in the production of tin and lead. However, the city was under constant attack, with the Visigoths in 409 AD and Franks in 498, the troops of Abd er Rahman on 732, and the Battle of River Garonne. Events and wars like these lasted all the way through the 12th century, when Bordeaux regained importance by flourishing in the wine trade as the capitol of an independent state under the rule of Edward, the Black Prince. However, it was annexed by France into its territory in 1453, thus ending its wine trade with England. Not too long after, in 1462, Bordeaux obtained a parliament, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that it began regaining its wealth by being a center for the distribution of slaves, sugar, and wine to the West Indies. The 18th century was a golden age for Bordeaux. Many beautiful buildings were built during this period, and even Victor Hugo was so taken with the city he once said “takeVersailles, add Antwerp, and you have Bordeaux.” At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war, the French government even relocated from Paris to Bordeaux (one of three times this would happen).

Today the beautiful city has a population of 239,157 and is the 9th largest city in France. It’s filled with shops (one being the longest shopping street in Europe, the Rue Sainte-Catherine), 12 museums, contemporary architecture, historic and stunning buildings, astoundingly beautiful cathedrals, and acres and acres (287,000 to be exact) of vineyards.

Bordeaux 2

Expanding on the wine industry, for which Bordeaux is best known, there is an astonishing 10,000 wine-producing chateaus and 13,000 grape growers in this city. To top of those numbers, 960 million bottles of wine are produced annually, some of them being among the most expensive wines in the world. Both red and white wines are produced, with the red’s being made from a blend of grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and others, and the white’s made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle.

bordeaux 3

 

The monuments held in this city are also nothing to go unnoticed, with Bordeaux being second only to Paris in its historical monument count – 362. And, the historical buildings found here are very notable, such as the Grande Theatre, which is one of the largest neoclassical theaters in France and was built in the 18th century. You can also, among many other significant buildings, see the remains of the late 2nd century Roman ampitheatre – Palais Gallien.

Palais Gallien