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Beautiful Bordeaux

Posted 21 Jan 2022

Vineyards galore, splendid architecture and sleepy villages, all paired with incredibly gentle cycling, make Bordeaux the ideal region to tour by bike. Here's our pick of the best Bordeaux cycling routes and cuisine on our Softies tours.

Ask any French person and they'll confirm it: Bordeaux is known throughout France for its wonderful wine. When it comes to the smoothest, the fruitiest and the sweetest, this southern region has the cream of the crop.

It's not all about wine here though: the food is just as excellent. Whether you're tucking into a salty feast of fruits de mer (seafood) or the regional classic, entrecôte marchand de vin (fried steak with... you guessed it, wine), you'll be blown away by the gastronomic delights on offer.

Our Bordeaux cycling tours are a fantastic opportunity to take in the fresh smell of the lush vineyards and gaze over the sparkling ocean as you speed along the coast. There are some real gems waiting to be discovered. Here are just a few of them.

Here are our favourite things about a Softie's holiday in Bordeaux including some of the best Bordeaux cycling routes.

Bordeaux cycling routes

Bordeaux City

This port city is the true jewel in the crown of the region. The striking neoclassical architecture blends with the modern, and there's a vibrant atmosphere thanks to the student population and café culture.

A visit to the Flèche Saint-Michel is an absolute must. The 114-metre-high spire dates back to the 15th century, and until 1990 had a rather grisly collection of mummies on display. The bell tower offers a panoramic view of the city too.

While you're in town, don't miss the chance to sample the meaty delights on offer at the Bar du Boucher (literally the 'butcher's bar'). As well as serving dishes such as succulent steak and perfectly cooked duck, this restaurant features a cool stone interior complete with ceiling arches: the perfect setting for sampling the vast selection of wines on offer.

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Saint Macaire

This charming medieval city has a plentiful collection of interesting buildings and regional history. The Place du Mercadiou is probably the most famous attraction. Just having a wander through the sandy-hued ancient arches is a well-spent pastime in itself.

The 14th-century church of St Saviour and St Martin is especially impressive. The incredibly intricate murals hidden within tell the story of St John, as well as the Apocalypse.

As you might expect, the city has a generous share of Michelin-starred restaurants. Abricotier is a good choice if you're after some simple but delicious fare – ideal after a day in the saddle. There's also Claude Darroze, which has a 600-strong collection of Bordeaux wines to enjoy with your meal.

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Bordeaux is a classic wine region. The area still has a lot of evidence of historical grape-growing practices, from working vineyards used since Roman times to wine-presses-turned-hotels.

If you’re a red wine fan, you'll be pleased that over 90% of wines produced here are red varieties. You may already recognise one of our Bordeaux tour stops, Saint-Émilion, which is known for its wine and macarons. Whether you enjoy the drink or not, the vineyard landscape is delightful and wine cellars are fascinating and peaceful places to visit.

Our Bordeaux tour weaves in and out of vineyards and plum orchards, which will undoubtedly whet your appetite for learning exactly how grapes are turned to wine. You can’t visit Bordeaux without a guided visit of the vineyards. Why not take a cycle tour around the Saint-Emilion vines, complete with lunch in the grounds of its château? This tour will be extra convenient as you'll already have your bike to hand.

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Bordeaux cycling routes

Bordeaux Cycling Routes

Bordeaux cycling routes lead you through some stunning scenery. On our Bordeaux tour, you can visit Sainte-Croix-du-Mont. A vineyard set on a panoramic plateau with a base of fossilised oyster beds, this is the home of one of Bordeaux’s rare white wines. In the city too, there are around 200km of cycle paths. By bike you can cruise past the Grand Théâtre, the Pont de Pierre, the fairytale-esque Place du Palais and along the Cours du Chapeau Rouge to the bustling quays.

The Canal des Deux Mers is another famous cycling route. Tracing the Gironde estuary to Bordeaux, it links the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean sea. After Bordeaux, you can follow the Canal de Garonne until you reach the powder-pink buildings of Toulouse, eventually arriving at the coast at Sète.

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Bordeaux is one of our favourite cycling weekends in France.

The Cuisine

Of course, every region in France prides itself on its own enticing flavours. Steak and duck fat fries is a classic local dish to pair with the region’s rich red wines. The whites are usually drunk alongside seafood and local oysters, as well as seasonal asparagus. For dessert, choose from local delights like caramelised pastries and roasted hazelnuts rolled in sugar.

In the city you’ll find a host of alluring restaurants, like Belle Campagne in the up-and-coming Saint Pierre district, offering a seasonal local menu including meals with free-range, organic guinea hen. La Tupina, in the heart of the historical district, has a regularly changing menu, including foie gras terrine, confit goose wing and pastries filled with ice cream. Saint-Émilion is another culinary honeypot. It's known for its deserts, especially macarons, which you can enjoy after a dinner of confit duck or roasted salmon, at restaurants like Amélia Canta.

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Bordeaux cycling routes

The Sights

About half of Bordeaux city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll by the Grand Théâtre, the cathedral and the gorgeous Place de la Bourse to find out why. For modern architecture lovers, La Cité du Vin is worth a trip: it's a multimedia wine museum housed in an elegant glass tower, while the Musée des Beaux-Arts is the place to visit for a display of modern and classical artwork.

In the pretty town of Saint-Émilion, some of the main attractions include the Cordeliers cloister, which displays Romanesque and Gothic architecture and conceals a 17-metre-deep underground wine cave. From catacombs to a monolithic church, the subterranean world of Saint-Émilion is vast. However, if you prefer to stay above ground, find a vantage point to watch the sunset before you wander down into the cobbled streets.

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Place de la Bourse Bordeaux

To find out more about the best Bordeaux cycling routes, sights and more, call our cycling experts. Alternatively, view our Bordeaux cycling holidays here

View all our France cycling holidays

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