Publishing note: this article has been updated to reflect info and prices, current as of Jan 2024.
Bordeaux, France is an exciting European city to indulge in the region’s delicious namesake wine. Yet frugal travelers may be leery of the ability to experience Bordeaux on a budget.
Is Bordeaux expensive? Whether talking about Bordeaux wine itself or a visit to this fascinating city, yes Bordeaux certainly can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be!
After thorough firsthand research, we discovered that with some sensible spending and budget travel techniques, there is plenty of value to be found in Bordeaux, France. Wine tasting in Bordeaux is, in fact, possible on a budget. There are inexpensive wine tours and cheap wine tasting in Bordeaux that offer excellent value. Plus there’s a fantastic Bordeaux wine-tasting experience, where visitors pay only a few Euro per glass.
But even while employing budget-friendly travel strategies, Bordeaux is not a particularly cheap place to roam around. Still, if you make the right moves to your travel budget, you can stand to save over a thousand euros during a weekend trip to Bordeaux and the famed vineyards that surround you.
In addition to inexpensive wine tasting in Bordeaux, you’ll need to know where the cheap eats in Bordeaux are and where to stay on a budget. So this guide to Bordeaux on a Budget covers all of that.
Don’t let tight finances prevent you from taking a trip to this wonderful wine city. We’ll show how it’s possible to experience all the quintessential Bordeaux activities in this historic French town, while still having enough euros leftover to splurge on some vintage Grand Cru Bordeaux wine.
Bordeaux Travel Budgets: Do This! Not That!
The table below shows how you can save nearly a thousand euros by being strategic with your trip planning during a three-night stay. None of these less expensive recommendations sacrifice much quality compared to the more expensively priced alternative. This article provides all the details you’ll need to do “this” and not “that” to have a blast in Bordeaux on a budget.
Note: prices reflect the cost for two people. So it could be reasonable to enjoy a 3-night/4-day trip to Bordeaux for about €250, per person.
While €250 may still seem like a lot to spend, you must keep in mind that Bordeaux (and much of France) is simply a relatively expensive place to travel to. There’s no way to avoid dishing out the cash entirely if you want to experience what you came here for (ah, that delicious wine!).
So this sample Bordeaux budget that can be done for about €65 per person, per day is filled with nice meals, plentiful drinks, and even a few tours. You can use that amount as a good spending budget for a long weekend visit to Bordeaux. There is some great value to be found throughout Bordeaux!
5 Best Things to Do in Bordeaux on a Budget
Here are our top five recommendations for things to do in Bordeaux on a budget.
1) Take a Medoc Vineyard Wine Tasting Tour: the Inexpensive Way
Visitors absolutely must go on a vineyard wine-tasting trip while visiting Bordeaux. But doing so often involves a very expensive day tour from Bordeaux.
Half-day tours from Bordeaux to two wineries usually start around €99+ per person. Meanwhile, full-day tours are typically €150-€200 and higher. That would cost about €400 for a couple for a day of touring Bordeaux’s vineyards – ouch!
Instead of these pricey Bordeaux vineyard wine-tasting tours, know that you can book a Medoc vineyard bus tour from Bordeaux for only €53! The tour takes about five hours visiting vineyards in the surrounding French countryside and we thought it was a fantastic tour! It visits two very notable wineries and even a chateau winery, depending on the schedule for the day you go.
This €53 Bordeaux wine-tasting tour is carried out on a big coach that rolls through Bordeaux’s vineyards. So do understand that it’s a less intimate experience than riding in a small private van. But in our opinion, the savings of €300+ per couple is absolutely worth it!
The bus itself is nice and very comfortable. And it’s the least expensive vineyard tour in Bordeaux. But there is only one of these inexpensive Bordeaux bus winery tours each day, and it does tend to get booked full during the busy summer months. So be sure to book in advance to secure your spots.
The area and chateaus visited during this Bordeaux vineyard tour vary each day. So be sure to reserve your preferred day of the week according to whichever surrounding Bordeaux wine region you’re most interested in going to. Among the most famed regions is Medoc, which is what we opted for during our visit.
In 2024, this economical Medoc wine tour departs Bordeaux every Tuesday and Saturday.
This inexpensive wine-tasting vineyard tour is run by the Bordeaux Tourist Office, which is where the tour departs from every day at 1:30 pm. You can book this Bordeaux Vineyards bus tour on GetYourGuide and advanced bookings are strongly recommended during the summer high season months. Being that this is the most economical vineyard tour available from Bordeaux, it does tend to sell out each day during the summer months.
To reiterate, although this half-day bus vineyards tour can be booked for €53 every day of the week, only the Tuesday and Saturday tours will take you to Medoc chateaus. Tours on the other days of the week can be very worthwhile too, and you may even want to consider booking this vineyard tour on multiple days since the tour’s itinerary changes each day. Below is the complete schedule for Summer 2024 of these economical Bordeaux vineyards tours:
- Sunday: Saint-Emilion
- Monday: Saint-Emilion
- Tuesday: Medoc
- Wednesday: Graves & Sauternes
- Thursday: Entre deux Mers
- Friday: Bourg & Blaye
- Saturday: Medoc
Any of those daily Bordeaux-area wine-tasting tours would be great, yet we stick with our recommendation with the famed Medoc vineyards on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Be aware these wine estates are a bit of a drive outside of Bordeaux to reach. For the Medoc tour, expect about an hour’s drive each way. But the French countryside makes for a nice and scenic drive while passing vineyards and wine estates. Yet it’s the Medoc chateaus themselves that are a true highlight of the half-day wine tour, making it worth the trip alone, in our opinion.
The exact wineries visited on the aforementioned wine tour change and rotate. Yet our Medoc vineyard tour included Chateau D’Arsac as one of the stops. The artist installations throughout Chateau D’Arsac were just awesome and we’d argue it’s among the best wineries to visit around Bordeaux. Just take a look, below, at what we stumbled upon in their cellar – so cool!
Again, be sure to reserve in advance. Check availability on your travel dates for Bordeaux Vineyards Half-day Trip.
🚐 Alternatively – Take a Small Group Medoc Tour
If you want to visit the famed Medoc vineyards and the €53 bus tour is sold out, or if you’d like to go to Medoc on a day other than Tuesday or Saturday, or prefer a smaller group – then consider this reasonably priced (€95) minivan tour that runs every day: Medoc Half-Day Wine Tour from Bordeaux.
It’ll cost €42 more per person, but the more intimate experience and the daily schedule may be worth paying for. Plus, check out the excellent customer reviews.
🚗 Alternatively – Tour Bordeaux Wineries on Your Own:
If you have your own car and a designated driver, then touring Bordeaux’s vineyards on your own can be a budget-friendly way to go. But you can’t just show up to these estates. Visitors are often required to have advanced reservations. We recommend using the website Rue des Vignerons to easily book wine tasting and wine tours in many chateaus around Bordeaux. Search all the Bourdeaux wineries now.
2) Explore the Historic City Center of Bordeaux
The UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux is known for its architectural ensemble, created in the Age of Enlightenment. While you may have been attracted to Bordeaux for its wine, you should take some time to explore this fascinating and beautiful city. Visitors will find loads of historic landmarks and local culture by simply roaming around Bordeaux’s historic city center.
(You can read more about Bordeaux’s Unesco status, its criteria, and universal value.)
Free Bordeaux Attractions You Must See:
Plan to spend at least one full day exploring the historic city center of Bordeaux. There are plenty of places to spend money for those who want to. Yet many of Bordeaux’s most notable attractions are free!
Make sure you don’t miss some of Bordeaux’s most famous and free sights to visit:
Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror – This 18th-century square is one of Bordeaux’s signature sights. Once there, you cannot miss the famous Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror), which is the largest reflecting pool in the world and Bordeaux’s most photographed sights. It’s particularly magical at sunset and is lit up at night, so come back to see it in the evening.
💲 Cost: The plaza and reflecting pool are free to view.
Cathédrale Saint-André (AKA Bordeaux Cathedral or St Andrew Cathedral) – The French National Monument constructed mainly in the 14th-15th century is a grand church and still acts as the seat of the Archbishop today. Step into its hallowed halls and marvel at its stunning Gothic architecture.
💲Cost: It’s free to go inside, but you should consider leaving a donation.
- Pey-Berland Tower – Climb the 233 spiral stairs of the Cathedral’s bell tower to get a birds-eye view of Bordeaux. With all those steps, be sure to do this before you begin drinking wine.
💲Cost: €6 admission. Included with Bordeaux City Pass (see boxed text below).
- Pey-Berland Tower – Climb the 233 spiral stairs of the Cathedral’s bell tower to get a birds-eye view of Bordeaux. With all those steps, be sure to do this before you begin drinking wine.
- Jardin Public: Bordeaux is home to an array of beautiful parks and green spaces. The Jardin Public is a tranquil, landscaped park perfect for picnics, strolling the gardens, or just taking a relaxing break. This public garden is also a great free thing to do in Bordeaux with kids, with a free playground. Yet for a small fee, consider the carousel, boat ride, or the afternoon Guignol Guérin puppet show.
💲Cost: Free. Consider buying a to-go lunch to picnic or budget a few euros for the aforementioned activities.
- Garonne River: Stroll Bordeaux’s riverfront along Quai de la Douane and Quai Louis XVIII, offering unparalleled views of the Garonne River. It’s also a great spot to view the Pont de Pierre bridge, particularly at dusk when it’s beautifully lit. These riverbanks form a beautiful crescent for a leisurely stroll or bike ride.
💲 Cost: Free to stroll.
Inexpensive Bordeaux Attractions You Worth Your Euro
- La Cite Du Vin – Bordeaux’s wine museum is full of technology-enabled exhibits to give you a flashy education about the history of wine. You can easily spend a few hours here and your admission also includes a glass of Bordeaux wine to sip while enjoying panoramic views of Bordeaux at the 8th-floor wine bar.
💲Cost: €22 admission. Buy your ticket now through GetYourGuide to skip the line! The cost is the same; you’ll just be able to print out your ticket or show it on your mobile phone to skip the queue downstairs that everyone else will be waiting in. Admission is included with a Bordeaux City Pass for entries before Noon (see boxed text below).
- Bassins des Lumières: The largest digital art center in the world is found right here in Bordeaux. Housed in a former German submarine base, the immersive experience presents digital exhibitions devoted to major artists. It’s a new attraction (opened in 2020) that is proving to be a major hit.
💲 Cost: €15 admission. Skip the line and buy your ticket in advance.
Admission is included with the Bordeaux City Pass.
- Musée d’Aquitaine: This history museum provides a thorough background to the city of Bordeaux and the entire Aquitaine region of France to which Bordeaux firmly belongs. The well-done exhibits delve from prehistoric times to the modern day, with many fascinating artifacts on display to help tell the region’s story.
💲 Cost: €8 admission
Admission is included with the Bordeaux City Pass.
Consider a Tour to Visit Bordeaux’s Attractions
Those visiting Bordeaux on a budget can easily find their way by walking, as Bordeaux’s free sights are located within close proximity to one another. Use your phone to guide you or pick up complimentary literature and maps at the Bordeaux Tourism Office.
Alternatively, consider an inexpensive walking or cycling tour to get a much deeper and more meaningful understanding of the city of Bordeaux. This can be a great idea to do on the first day of any Bordeaux itinerary to help get your bearings with the city.
🚶 Inexpensive Walking Tour: To get a more formal background about the city, take this informative Bordeaux Walking Tour, which is only €13.50 per person. The tour departs each day at 10:30 am and lasts about two hours.
🚲 Budget-friendly Cycling Tour: Or for a little more speed and fun, you can take to two wheels to cover more ground. This highly rated 3-hour bike tour of Bordeaux is a fantastic introduction to the city’s architectural treasures. And at a mere €30 it’s yet another fantastic budget-friendly option for touring the city. There are morning (9:30 am) and afternoon (2:30 pm) cycling tours available. Check availability.
In addition to sightseeing around Bordeaux during the day, also consider wandering around Bordeaux’s historic center after the sun goes down. Not only is it nice and cool, but many of the monuments and historic buildings are lit up in the evenings!
3) Take a Day Trip to Saint Emilion
The medieval village of St Emilion is another must-do location that lies just outside of Bordeaux. It’s a perfect full-day trip from Bordeaux and only takes about a half-hour to get there by rail. When arriving to St Emilion, visitors will gaze upon the stunning compact town towering up from a sea of vineyards.
The main highlights of this awesome village are:
- touring the historic St Emilion “underground,”
- visiting a St Emilion winery & cellar, and
- exploring the historic sites above ground in St Emilion’s center, where quaint shops and cafes dot the narrow streets alongside magnificent churches and towers.
To save travel funds, you don’t necessarily need to book a tour to visit this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s possible to have a similar experience taking an independent day trip to Saint Emilion on your own.
There are regular trains from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion, priced at €10 each way. After a short walk from the St Emilion station into town, you can visit a winery (€5-€15), take a tour of the underground (€15), taste some wine (free), tour the monuments (free), and enjoy a nice lunch (prices vary).
To do all of this, you can find all the details in our separate post: DIY Day Trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion by Train. For a total price of about €50 per person, this suggestion has a cost savings of €300 for two people when compared to pricey group tours that visit the same locations.
A day trip from Bordeaux to St Emilion by train is a great idea for those who are comfortable with independent travel. Yet we’d be remiss to mention one other affordable option to get there.
🚌 There is a €53 coach tour that goes from Bordeaux to St Emilion, which includes a stop at one winery with tastings and also a tour of the St Emilion underground. Advance bookings are highly recommended during the summer months.
However, know that this €53 tour to St Emilion only goes there on Sundays and Mondays. This is the same tour we mentioned that goes to Medoc on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Book it for a Sunday or Monday and it’s a completely different itinerary that will take you to enjoy St Emilion.
Reserve this Sunday/Monday tour here: Bordeaux Vineyards Wine Half-Day Trip to St Emilion
🚐 Alternatively, if you prefer to take a small-group tour from Bordeaux to St Emilion on other days of the week, then consider the following St Emilion tour It departs from Bordeaux every day and is reasonably priced at €98.
Check availability & recent reviews: St Emilion Half-Day Trip from Bordeaux.
However you get to St Emilion, just be sure not to miss this lovely village and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is just a stone’s throw from Bordeaux.
4) Eat Your Way Across Bordeaux on the Cheap
In France, eating is a thing to do. And if you can’t afford a table at Michelin-starred Le Gabriel (€300 menu per couple), don’t fret. There are still plenty of other reasonable options around town.
Cheap Local Eats in Bordeaux, France
When in such a culinary capital, it can be worthwhile to spend a bit more to try the excellent local cuisine that Bordeaux has to offer. While there are much more economical options (kebabs, fast food, etc) to really eat on the cheap in Bordeaux, we instead suggest the following quality-to-price (value) recommendations, unique to Bordeaux.
Try Bordeaux’s Canelés for a Cheap Local Treat
Canelés are a famous pastry from Bordeaux, characterized by a dark, caramelized exterior, with a soft, custardy interior. They have a distinctive cylindrical shape with a fluted top and are traditionally flavored with vanilla and rum.
For anyone exploring Bordeaux on a budget, you’ll be happy to know that canelés are typically priced less than a euro! Find canelés at bakeries throughout Bordeaux. For example, you can enjoy large canelés at La Toque Cuivrée for a mere €0.70.
Eat Local Oysters at Chez Jean Mi at Marché des Capucins Market
Near Bordeaux, Arcachon Bay is known for its oysters. So fresh supplies of oysters regularly flow into Bordeaux.
To try these local oysters, head down to the market known locally as Marché des Capucins. Wade past the produce and seafood vendors and you’ll find a few casual eateries serving up fresh seafood directly from the nearby Atlantic Coast. One that stood out to us during a morning visit was Chez Jean Mi eatery.
It was at Chez Jean Mi where everyone seemed to be slurping raw oysters and sipping on white wine as a mid-morning snack. Who are we to argue with this French tradition?
As of 2024, a half dozen raw oysters with fresh bread and a glass of wine are €9.50. For comparison, other restaurants in Bordeaux list a half dozen oysters for €15+ without any wine. So Chez Jean Mi holds fantastic value.
The oysters are fresh and tasty. They carry a heavy brine flavor, which the accompanying lemon cuts through nicely. It all pairs excellently with the generous white wine pours that start at €2. You should also consider ordering the “assortment of fruits of the sea.” It’s meant for two people, which is an artfully crafted tower of crabs, shellfish, mollusks, and other oceanic indulgences for €30, meant for 2 people to share. This is an incredible value, considering the amount of seafood that is brought to the table.
If that doesn’t fill you up, there are many more budget-friendly snacks and goodies to munch on throughout the entire Capucins Market. For example, La Maison du Pata Negra offers a taste of neighboring Spain, in the variety of inexpensive tapas. Explore and find an economical eatery that suits you.
Moules Frites in Bordeaux
Given Bordeaux’s proximately and access to the Atlantic coast, seafood is plentiful and often inexpensive in Bordeaux in comparison to elsewhere in France. Mussels in Bordeaux are certainly no exception and is a great budget-friendly meal to indulge in while visiting.
You can find what’s known as moules frites throughout many restaurants in Bordeaux. It is a giant pot of steamed mussels, accompanied by frites (chips/fries). This delicious and filling meal is one of the more economical dining options to be had in the city. Plus, Bordeaux’s status as a port town only adds to the likelihood of freshness when it comes to mussels.
There are several Bordeaux cafes and restaurants with moules frites on the menu for just above €10. Some of these cafes will even include a complimentary glass of wine with the moules frites! These meal deals are often advertised on the chalkboards outside restaurants, so keep your eyes out. Even if you can’t read French, the phrase “Moules Frites“ should be easily decipherable.
Be forewarned that in Bordeaux you may be prompted with a choice of “moules marinières” or “moules à la crème.” The moules marinières is a white wine sauce, while the moules à la crème come in a richer, buttery & creamy white wine sauce.
While many midrange set menus in the city run well upwards of €30 without wine, Moules Frites can be a true bargain since they can regularly be found for less than half that. In doing so, an uncharacteristically gut-busting pot of mussels will likely be delivered to your table. It may even be enough to share between two people. If ordering your own moules frites, ensure that you’re hungry.
Look for moules frites at the eateries near the train station and even in the more touristic areas in the heart of town (although perhaps €1-€2 more in the centre). For a delicious pot of mussels with fries, try Bistro Poulette, where a big order of moules frites will set you back €11.90 and you can add a glass of wine for as little as €3.
Look for Prix Fixe Weekday Lunches throughout Bordeaux
Another great strategy to indulge in local food around Bordeaux with exceptional value is to look for restaurants offering prix fixe menus. These set menus can sometimes be limited to weekday lunches, depending on the establishment. It’s not unusual to find 3-course meals for €15 or so, which can include a drink.
If you see menus in Bordeaux with fixed-priced offerings such as “entrée + plat + dessert,” these can offer great value. Although it may be a bit of a gamble, depending on what the choices are that day. Yet we’ve always been happy with the local fare at Bordeaux restaurants offering these meal deals.
Le Cheverus was a longstanding Bordeaux restaurant perhaps most notable for its hearty lunch meals at a low price. It’s recently reopened (2023) as Bistrot Cheverus, so stop by and see if this tradition has continued in its renewed incarnation.
Enjoy Steak Frites on the Cheap
While steak is often an expensive meal around the world, steak frites (AKA steak & chips, or steak & fries) is actually a fairly reasonable meal option in Bordeaux. Similar to moules frites, steak frites can be found at many bistros around Bordeaux for around €15. Again, check chalkboards for the best deals.
Or spend just a bit more and try what has become a Bordeaux institution for this classic and economical French meal: Le Entrecote. The original location is in the city of Toulouse, but the restaurant’s popularity has led them to open a few additional locations, including here in Bordeaux.
The €21 price includes a 170-gram sirloin served in their signature sauce, alongside a mound of their famous frites, and even a salad with walnuts. This price already includes service, so no surprise addition to the bill or tip is necessary. Glasses of wine start at a modest €4. And what better to accompany a good steak, than a nice glass of Bordeaux wine?
💡 Tip: If coming for dinner, arrive early. This popular restaurant in Bordeaux is known to have a queue. A line typically has already formed by diners waiting to get in when it opens at 7:00 pm.
Crepes – A Great Cheap Eat in Bordeaux
This classic French staple may have originated in the Brittany region, but plenty of delicious creperies have found their way down to Bordeaux. Crepes make for a great economical snack or meal in Bordeaux and can be surprisingly filling. Crepe prices in Bordeaux’s historic center tend to range from about €8 for a simple ham & cheese crepe to about €14 or so for crepes with high-quality fillings.
If wanting to fulfill a crepe craving while roaming around central Bordeaux, try the widely popular Nom d’Une Crepe.
Eating in Bordeaux on a Shoestring
For those really on the cheap, try the following options for meals closer to €5.
Boulangeries: That is the French word for “bakeries.” And boulangeries can be absolute bargain meals in Bordeaux. Come in the mornings for some fantastic pastries. Of course, don’t miss the croissants or pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant), about €1. These bakeries also tend to make excellent sandwiches on fresh-baked French baguettes, a fantastic lunch option on a budget in Bordeaux. If looking for a boulangerie in Bordeaux’s historic centre, we can recommend: La Boulangerie or Le Boulanger de l’Hôtel de Ville.
Rue Ste Catherine: You can find several quick-serve restaurants and cafes with decent French lunch meals of salads and sandwiches in the €5+ range on Rue Ste Catherine. These are great for a quick mid-day bite. If that’s too much, there’s always the ubiquitous Turkish doner kebab shops for even less. But you’re in France, so we encourage exploring the local cuisine instead. Try La Mie Câline for filling baguette sandwiches, such as their ham and emmental sandwich for €4.20.
Picnic on the Garonne or Jardin Public: Another consideration is to head to the supermarket and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while sitting on the Garonne River or the Public Garden, as many locals do. The Monoprix supermarket in town, located here, has a great selection of all sorts of delicious French staples and even some pre-made items like sandwiches and salads, all at good prices.
5) Drink Wine in Bordeaux
Ok, so you’ve visited some of the Bordeaux wineries, had your wine tastings, and now it’s time to drink more of the varieties you’ve enjoyed. Unfortunately for those visiting Bordeaux on a budget, most restaurants and cafes in Bordeaux tend to offer wines only by the bottle. This can get very expensive, particularly for those who want to try different wines.
Even if you do find a cafe with wines by the glass, you’re often looking at about €8+ per glass for anything decent. That’ll add up really quickly. Go as a couple, sip on three glasses of wine and next thing you know there’s a €50 check waiting to be paid.
Instead, we highly recommend a place where wine by the glass starts at only €2. Yes, €2!
That’s essentially four glasses of wine for the price of one! We’re not just talking about wine tastings. These €2 glasses are full pours. View our “Where to drink” recommendations in the subsequent section to see where you can relish in these amazingly affordable €2 glasses of Bordeaux’s finest!
Where to Drink in Bordeaux on a Budget
In addition to the aforementioned cheap wine-tasting tours to Medoc and Saint Emilion, you may want to sip on some vin right within Bordeaux itself.
For the best value wine in Bordeaux, try Le Bar à Vin.
Go to Le Bar à Vin Bordeaux for Excellent €2 Glasses of Wine!
For those touring Bordeaux on a budget, we strongly recommend a visit to Le Bar à Vin Bordeaux.
This wine bar is where you’ll find glasses of Bordeaux wine starting at €2! Yes, in 2024 you can go into this well-decorated wine bar and order a delicious full glass of wine for a mere €2.
It may be the best value for wine in all of France. The steep discount is thanks in part to the Bordeaux Wine Council, whose mission is to promote the wine producers of the region.
Le Bar à Vin, part of Maison du Vin, is easy to find as it’s located directly across the street from the tourism office in the city center. Here’s the location on Google Maps.
Le Bar à Vin offers a few dozen wines by the glass each day with generous pours, most of which are around €3. There are more than 20 wines available by the glass priced at €5 and under, although a few pricier wines are also available.
But understand these budget-friendly glasses of wine are cheap in price, not in taste and quality. These are some great Bordeaux wines to indulge in.
The servers at Le Bar à Vin are properly trained sommeliers. They are friendly, unpretentious, and quick with helpful recommendations even for the uninitiated and novice wine drinkers.
This wine bar also has a few different reasonably-priced cheese boards to compliment all those glasses of wine you may consume while here. We can personally recommend the Gruyere cheese plate, but you probably can’t go wrong with any of them.
💡Tip: Arrive early. It does tend to fill up to capacity in the late afternoon and evening during the summer high season.
If you want to try several different wines while in Bordeaux, Le Bar à Vin is a “must-do!” You could really spend a good few hours here determining what you like and don’t like. And with the money you save, you’ll now be able to consider spending on a few bottles of your favorites to bring back home with you.
🍷 Formal cheese & wine tasting in Bordeaux on a budget:
The aforementioned Bar a Vin Ecole is the best bet for inexpensive wine drinking in Bordeaux. However, it can often prove problematic to get a seat during busier times. And guests won’t gain the in-depth knowledge that comes with a proper tasting course. This 1.5-hour wine & cheese tasting can be a convenient and budget-friendly way to ensure a positive wine-tasting experience while in Bordeaux.
It samples 9 AOC French cheeses accompanied by 3 Bordeaux wines. At €44, it’s a well-priced intro to Bordeaux’s wines and cheeses. Check availability.
Use Happy Hours in Bordeaux to Drink for Cheap
Drink prices in Bordeaux are expensive, particularly in the city centre. Expect to pay €10-€15 for cocktails and €8 or so for a decent beer in the city centre. Instead, use happy hours in Bordeaux to drink for less!
Bordeaux isn’t particularly known for its happy hours, this city does indeed have happy hours for those who know where to look! Just understand that although Bordeaux is a wine-centric city, happy hours here are more geared to the beer and cocktail crowd.
So those who want to drink in Bordeaux on a budget can use these happy hours to enjoy beer and cocktails at more reasonable prices. Here are a few Bordeaux happy hour suggestions you can use:
Le Vie Modern is a solid choice for happy hour in Bordeaux’s city center that gives fun old-school vibes with its jukebox and piano. This Bordeaux happy hour runs Tues-Sat from 6:00-9:00 pm, which includes €4 pints of beer & cider, €7 select cocktails (e.g., piña coladas, cosmos), and €15 bottles of wine.
La Grange is a rock bar that has very reasonable €6 cocktails anytime. Yet come rock out during happy hour, 6:00-10:00 pm, for €4 cocktails!
Vintage Bar is a rum bar and pub centrally located in Bordeaux. Their happy hour runs from 4:00-8:00 pm and includes discounted pints of draft beer (€6) in addition to a few select rum cocktails, like cuba libres and ti’ punch. Also try their nearby sister establishment Vintage Cafe, which also boasts a happy hour along with views of the Garonne River.
Rockwood is another good happy hour spot in Bordeaux for beer drinkers, with a cozy bar on the inside and a sunny terrace on the outside. Their happy hour runs 4:00-7:00 pm (except Sundays) which saves €1.50 off each pint. Sample happy hour prices include €5 for their house lager, €6.50 for Vedett IPA, and €7.00 for stronger Belgium beers like Delerium or La Chouffe.
Les Berthom is yet another Bordeaux happy hour that’s good for beer drinkers. You’ll save about €2.40 on each of their draft pints during happy hour, which drops most of their beers to about €5.00 or per pint, although you can get happy hour pints of their pilsner for €4.20. Les Berthom happy hour runs Sun-Thursday, 5:00-8:00 pm.
The Bordeaux’s Frog & Rosbif is a brewpub that’s centrally located, has attentive service, and is a great place to watch a game. During happy hour, which runs Monday-Friday from 5:00-8:00 pm, pint prices (normally €7.50) drop to €5.00. Happy hour pitchers become €19. Their €10+ cocktails are each discounted by €2.50 during happy hour.
Where to Stay in Bordeaux on a Budget
A hotel in the city center is a good choice to stay in for obvious reasons. But it’s also a popular choice and prices will reflect that. If you have the budget for a city center hotel and you find availability, then go for it!
Yet you’ll find much more budget-friendly accommodation prices in Bordeaux outside the city center. Our Bordeaux on a Budget recommendation is to stay near the train station (Gare Saint Jean). Here you have easy access to the city center via the inexpensive tram line and a convenient point to get in & out of the city (and to Saint Emilion).
Booking tip: Bordeaux is a very popular summer tourist destination, so booking as early as possible will yield much better room rates and a better selection. Rooms tend to book up very quickly here!
Hostels in Bordeaux France
If you are a solo traveler, one of Bordeaux’s hostels may be your best bet. But if you are traveling as a couple, you can likely find other budget-friendly accommodation in Bordeaux for around the same price point (for two people), or perhaps only a few euros more.
Central Hostel is our top recommendation. It lives up to its name, centrally located in the heart of Bordeaux. It’s considered to be a premium youth hostel, boasting luxury mattresses, and individual blinds in its dorms. We love it not only for its location but also its rooftop terrace and social atmosphere, with daily activities. At €44 for a bed, it’s priced a bit higher than other hostels in Bordeaux. But the amenities and high reviews can help vouch that it’s worth it. Read recent reviews and check availability.
Hostel 20 is another solid choice for a good location in the city center, about a 10-15 minute walk north of where all of Bordeaux’s main attractions and restaurants are. Shared dorms start at about €34 per night for a bed in this 18th-century building. Book a bed at Hostel 20 on Hostelworld.
The Auberge Jeunese Bordeaux (Bordeaux Youth Hostel) is likely the cheapest hostel in Bordeaux. Located a bit more than a half-kilometer walk from the train station, beds in their shared dorms starting at €24.50. To make a pre-reservation, fill out their form and wait to hear back.
Budget-Friendly Bordeaux Hotel Recommendations
Here are some budget-friendly hotel recommendations in Bordeaux that meet the following three criteria:
- Within a short minute walk of the Bordeaux train station,
- Have a consistent record of good reviews, and
- Summer rates start at less than €80 per night.
Don’t expect the Ritz luxury with any of these recommendations. But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly private room to stay in Bordeaux with convenient access to the train station & tram line, these are a few suggestions that will suffice.
- MEININGER Hotel Bordeaux Gare Saint-Jean: Our top recommendation to stay in Bordeaux on a budget. This clean, modern, well-designed hotel has everything a budget traveler may need and more. We love that it has a fun on-site bar and even a communal kitchen to make meals in. It’s about a 10-minute walk to the train station and tram stop. Often with summer rates below €70/night, don’t hesitate to stay here. Check recent reviews and availability.
- Ibis Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint Jean: This is a standard Ibis-brand hotel with summer rates starting at €66. It’s among the closest hotels to the train station and tram stop, and also one of the best values in Bordeaux if you can find a room near that rate!
- Hotel Life Bordeaux Gare – BG: Rooms here are a bit on the small side. But what the rooms lack in size, it makes up for on a convenient location to the train station, friendly staff, lounge area, and good value prices! Expect to find rooms with summer rates under €80/night. Check availability.
If you’ve clicked on the links and found that each of these hotels is already booked up for your dates or that the rates far exceed what we have listed, then you may want to broaden your search. Hotels book up very quickly in Bordeaux over the summer, so it is important to reserve a room as soon as possible.
More Bordeaux Budget Travel Tips:
📅 Travel during Bordeaux’s off-season. Summer is a great time to visit Bordeaux, given the pleasant weather. But consider a visit from September to April to take advantage of significantly lower hotel rates and avoid the crowds.
🚆 Book your train ticket in advance. Like airfare, train tickets around Europe tend to rise closer to the departure date. Reserving your train ticket to Bordeaux at least a few weeks in advance will save a lot. For example, the train from Paris to Bordeaux cost well over €100 if booked the day before. But you can get that same ticket for less than €50 if booked several weeks in advance.
🚌 Consider a bus to Bordeaux instead. Buses in France tend to be a very comfortable and more economical alternative to train travel in France. Try Flixbus and BlaBlaBus (Ouibus), which both also call on Bordeaux with attractive rates.
🚝 Use the Bordeaux tramway to save on taxis & Ubers. The historic center of Bordeaux is easily walkable and pedestrian-friendly. But some locations are a bit too far for walking. Taxis or Ubers can fill in the gaps, but that gets expensive. Instead, there’s a well-connected, frequent, and easy-to-use tramway. The Bordeaux tramway fare is only €1.70 for a one-hour pass or €5 for an all-day pass. Alternatively, all tramway rides are included for those who opt for the Bordeaux CityPass.
🚗 Self-drive to Bordeaux vineyards. If you have a car, don’t hesitate to form your own wine route. It will be much cheaper than a wine tour. But you can’t just show up to these estates. Visitors are often required to have advanced reservations. We recommend using the website Rue des Vignerons to easily book wine tasting and wine tours in many chateaux around Bordeaux. It has instant confirmation, user reviews, prices, and ability to filter vineyards that offer tours in English. Try Château Haut Lagrange in Pessac Leognan, Château Clarisse in Saint Emilion, Château d’Arsac in Medoc, Château des Annereaux in Pomerol. But there are so many more. Or search all the Bourdeaux wineries.
🤝 Make a local friend. Before your trip to Bordeaux, consider reaching out to the Bordeaux Greeters. This organization of volunteers shows visitors around Bordeaux free of charge. It’s best to give them plenty of advance notice (perhaps months) to get matched up with someone. Send an email to [email protected] to organize. Be sure to let them know a little bit about yourself, your hobbies, and if you have any specific interests while in Bordeaux. They’ll use this information in order to find a greeter that best matches your interests.
🚶Or hire an inexpensive private guide. If you weren’t able to get paired up with a Bordeaux greeter, and are still looking to have a personal tour around town, then consider booking this: private customized walking tour of Bordeaux. It starts at only €30 and can be a great introduction to Bordeaux.
Have Fun on a Budget in Bordeaux, France! 🇫🇷
We hope you found this travel guide to Bordeaux on a Budget helpful, you have a great visit, and drink lots of wine! If this blog post did help, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. Or if you have your own Bordeaux budget travel tips, please do share them with the rest of us 😉 We’re always on the lookout for additional budget-friendly places to try out whenever we visit Bordeaux again.
Happy travels to Bordeaux, France!