FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Bordeaux

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Bordeaux each year. The main ones are listed below.

January 1 : New Year's Day (national holiday)

May 1 : Labour Day (national holiday)

On the first of May, it is customary to offer a sprig of lily-of-the-valley to close friends, family members or neighbours. On this day, anyone in France can sell lily-of-the valley sprigs on the street without needing a licence, provided the flowers have been picked wild or homegrown. Unsurprisingly, sellers can be found on almost every corner!

June 21 : Fête de la Musique (celebrated nationwide)

Also celebrated internationally as World Music Day, for this festival many free concerts featuring all types of music are held in the streets and at various venues across Bordeaux.

Late June : Bordeaux Fête le Vin (local event)

Held in even-numbered years, this festival brings together 80 designations of origin from the region in a series of pavilions stretching for over a mile along the banks of the Garonne in central Bordeaux, allowing visitors to meet winemakers and wine merchants, taste and learn about wines, also enjoying a programme of concerts, sound and light shows and fireworks in the evenings, among other events.

June 1–September 30 : Scènes d'Été (local event along the Gironde estuary)

With performances ranging from music and dance to theatre and street arts, plus lectures, films and readings, this programme of more than 500 events (more than half of which are free), jointly organized by over 200 of the region's towns and cities, is a highlight of the long summer season in and around Bordeaux, perfect for outings with family members or friends.

July 14 : Bastille Day (national holiday)

This holiday celebrates both the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, the key event marking the beginning of the French Revolution, which would culminate in the collapse of the absolute monarchy, and the end of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the aristocracy. In Bordeaux, this anniversary is commemorated each year with a fireworks display and dance parties open to everyone at various venues throughout the city.

August 15 : Assumption Day (national holiday)

Third weekend in September : European Heritage Days (celebrated nationwide)

The aim of the European Heritage Days is to open up numerous sites and monuments, many of which are normally closed to the public. Each year, many places of cultural interest in Bordeaux take part in this event: public and private buildings, monuments, sites of historic interest, museums, etc.

Late September–early October : Tous au Restaurant (celebrated nationwide)

This event aims to bring more people into fine restaurants throughout France by offering discounted meals. Several restaurants in Bordeaux are among those participating. Not to be missed!

December 25 : Christmas (national holiday)

CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Bordeaux

Because the Bordeaux region is situated on the Atlantic coast, the city and its surrounding area have a maritime climate, with mild winters and very warm summers. Temperatures can often exceed 35°C (95°C) in the summer months. It rains fairly frequently throughout the year, with thunderstorms in the summer. Nevertheless, the city is still quite sunny, with more than 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, making Bordeaux a top tourist destination.

Month Min. Average Temperature Max. Average Temperature Average Rains Best Time to Travel
January 3/37 10/50 87/3.4 Not the best period to go
February 3/37 12/54 71/2.8 Not the best period to go
March 5/41 15/59 65/2.6 Not the best period to go
April 7/45 17/63 78/3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
May 11/52 21/70 80/3.1 Good period to go Good period to go
June 14/57 25/77 62/2.4 Good period to go Good period to go
July 16/61 27/81 50/2.0 Good period to go Good period to go
August 16/61 27/81 56/2.2 Good period to go Good period to go
September 13/55 24/75 84/3.3 Good period to go Good period to go
October 10/50 20/68 93/3.7 Good period to go Good period to go
November 6/43 14/57 110/4.3 Not the best period to go
December 4/39 11/52 106/4.2 Not the best period to go

Bordeaux Mérignac Airport

Bordeaux Mérignac Airport is located in the town of Mérignac, about 10 kilometres (6 miles) west of Bordeaux.

  • A single terminal for all flights
  • Three arrival/departure halls : A, B and Billi (the low-cost terminal, short for Bordeaux Illico, “Bordeaux straight away”)

Getting from the airport to Bordeaux and back
  • By car
    • Accessible via exit 11b of the Bordeaux ring road.
    • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport, on Level 0 in the connecting wing between halls A and B.
  • By shuttle bus
    • A shuttle bus service connects the airport to Bordeaux's Saint-Jean train station in 30 minutes and operates 7 days a week. Buses leave every hour on the hour from the airport (outside hall B, exit 11) for the train station between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Buses leave every hour on the hour from the train station (Parvis Charles Domercq) for the airport between 6 a.m. (7 a.m. on weekends) and 9 p.m. A one-way ticket costs EUR 7.20 and a round-trip ticket is available for EUR 12.30.
  • By bus (Liane 1+)
    • This bus line offers a direct link between Saint-Jean train station and the airport via central Bordeaux and central Mérignac, for EUR 1.50 per person each way.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available just outside the airport. The fare to Bordeaux is about EUR 40.
  • Services : shops, bars and restaurants, valet parking, free Internet access (Wi-Fi), etc.
  • Téléphone : +33 (0)5 56 34 50 50
  • Website : http://www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr

GETTING AROUND Bordeaux

As is the case for most large French cities, public transport is the best way to get around, although using a bicycle is perhaps the most enjoyable!

By bus and tram

Bordeaux's bus and tram network is unique in France:

  • Eight municipalities served
  • Three tram lines along major thoroughfares
  • 80 bus lines throughout the city and its suburbs (operating from 5 a.m. to midnight or 1 a.m. with 3,000 bus stops)
  • Mobibus, a service for mobility-impaired passengers
  • Four BatCub ferry stations along the Garonne
  • EUR 1.50 for a ticket card with a single trip and EUR 12.40 for a ticket card offering 10 trips (each trip covers a travel time of up to 60 minutes on any of Bordeaux's buses, trams or BatCub ferries)

City Pass

In partnership with Bordeaux's tourist office, the public transport authority offers this pass, which combines unlimited access for one person to all mass transit options in the city, with free admission to more than 20 museums over the period covered by the pass.

  • 25 € (1 day)
  • 30 € (2 days)
  • 35 € (3 days)

By bicycle

Bordeaux is an excellent city to explore by bicycle. Many bike parking stations are available. More than 1,700 bikes provided by the VCub bike-sharing network are distributed across 167 stations in Bordeaux. Monthly or annual subscribers can use the network's bikes for free for 20 consecutive hours!

  • EUR 1.50 for 24 hours
  • EUR 7.00 for 7 days
  • EUR 10.00 for 1 month

By car

Rental cars are a good option if you wish to leave the city to explore the region's vineyards.

Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Bordeaux, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

Bordeaux Tourism & Conventions

Offers practical information (sightseeing, tours, heritage sites and cultural institutions, nights out on the town, etc.), maps and brochures on the city of Bordeaux and its surrounding area.

  • Website: http://fr.bordeaux-tourisme.com
  • Central Bordeaux tourist office:
    12 cours du XXX juillet 33080 Bordeaux Cedex
    +33 (0)5 56 00 66 00
  • Saint-Jean train station tourist office:
    Parvis Louis Armand rue Charles Domercq 33800 Bordeaux
    +33 (0)5 56 91 64 70
  • Bordeaux Mérignac airport tourist office:
    Aéroport de Bordeaux 33700 Mérignac
    +33 (0)5 56 34 58 07
  • Bordeaux World Heritage Site tourist office:
    2-8 place de la Bourse 33000 Bordeaux
    +33 (0)5 56 48 04 24

Currency and Exchange Rates

$1 = €0.94

€1 = $1.06

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

Medical information

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to France.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Food safety

There are no specific food safety risks. French government authorities promote good hygiene practices and put in place strengthened control procedures for sites especially frequented by tourists during the summer months.

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Bordeaux.

Administrative formalities

As a general rule, a visa is required to enter France. Foreign nationals in the two categories listed below are not required to carry a visa for stays of 90 days or less:

  • Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or the Swiss Confederation
  • Citizens or nationals of the following countries: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Holy See (Vatican City), Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

For stays of more than 90 days, a long-stay visa is required.

Travellers from all other countries must be in possession of a visa, regardless of the length of their stay. Visa applications must be submitted to the nearest French Embassy or French Consulate in the country of permanent residence well in advance of departure.

For further information, visit the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/getting-a-visa/

Essential phrases

Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon: Bonjour

Good evening: Bonsoir

Good-bye: Au revoir

Yes: Oui

No: Non

No, thank you: Non, merci

Thank you very much: Merci beaucoup

I don't understand: Je ne comprends pas

Could you repeat that: Pouvez-vous répéter ?

Please: S'il vous plaît

What time is it: Quelle heure est-il ?

Excuse me: Excusez-moi

Airport: Aéroport

Train station: Gare

Taxi: Taxi

Hotel: Hôtel

Hospital: Hôpital

Bank: Banque

Telephone: Téléphone

I'm (…): Je suis (…)

I'm looking for (…): Je recherche (…)

How much is (…): Quel est le prix de (…) ?

Do you have (…): Avez-vous (…) ?

Good to know

00 33
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Bordeaux)
6 : 00
of time difference with
New York
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

BANKS

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
220 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
In Bordeaux like elsewhere in France, a service charge is always included in the bill. If you are particularly pleased with the service, you may certainly leave a few extra euros on the table. But this additional tip is neither expected nor necessary.