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.
So is Bordeaux expensive? Whether talking about Bordeaux wine itself or a trip 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 cheap wine tours on offer. 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, we if you make the right moves to your travel budget, you can stand to save over a thousand euro during a weekend trip to Bordeaux and the famed vineyards that surround.
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 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 that vintage Grand Cru wine bottle you’ve been drooling over.
Bordeaux Travel Budgets: Do This! Not That!
The table below shows how you can save nearly a thousand euro by being strategic with your trip planning during a three-night stay. None of these less expensive recommended options sacrifices 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 without emptying your wallet.
Note: prices reflect the cost for two people and are in the local currency, euro.
While €400 Euro may be a lot to spend on just a 3 night /4-day trip, 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 really want to experience what you came here for (the wine, amiright). So this sample Bordeaux budget of about €50 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.
While Bordeaux may not be entirely budget-friendly as a whole, there is some great value to be found here.
5 Best Things To Do in Bordeaux on a Budget
You don’t have to break the bank to experience the best of Bordeaux. The following 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.
Even half day-minibus tours from Bordeaux to two wineries can cost between €70-€99 per person. Meanwhile, full day tours can be as much as €160 and higher, per person. That’s about €320 for a couple for a day of touring Bordeaux’s vineyards – ouch!
Pass on all those pricey Bordeaux vineyard wine tasting tours. Because you can actually book a Medoc vineyard bus tour for only €45! During these Bordeaux wine tasting tours, a large coach carries up to 53 people to the area’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 €200+ 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 are only one of these inexpensive 5-hour bus tours each day. So be sure to book in advance in order to secure your spots.
The area and chateaus visited during the 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.
During summer 2020, Medoc trips are running every Thursdays and Saturday.
This inexpensive wine tasting vineyard tour is run directly 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 Viator 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 sell out in full, every day during the summer months.
And to reiterate, although this half-day bus vineyards tour can be booked for €45 every day of the week, only the Thursday 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 taking this vineyard tour on multiple days, since it is different every day. Below is the complete schedule for Summer 2020 of these economical Bordeaux vineyards tours:
- Sunday: Saint-Emilion
- Monday: Côtes Bourg & Blaye
- Tuesday: Bordeaux & Entre-deux-Mers
- Wednesday: Saint-Emilion
- Thursday: Medoc
- Friday: Graves & Sauternais
- Saturday: Medoc
Any of those daily vineyard wine tasting trips would be great, yet we stick with our recommendation with the famed Medoc vineyards on Thursday and Saturdays.
But don’t come on this wine tasting tour looking to drink copious amounts of wine by the glass. You’ll have ample tastings, which is excellent quality, but you won’t be drinking wine by the glasses.
Also, be aware that there is a bit of a drive outside of Bordeaux to reach the Medoc wine region. Expect about an hour drive each way. But the French countryside makes for a nice and scenic drive, while passing chateaus. 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 above €45 bus tour is sold out, you’d just like to go to Medoc on a day other than Thursday or Saturday, or prefer a smaller group – then consider this €86 minivan tour instead: Medoc Half-Day Wine Tour from Bordeaux.
It’ll cost €30 euros more per person, but you’ll have a much more intimate experience and it goes to Medoc every day of the week. Plus, check out the excellent customer reviews.
🚗 Alternatively – tour 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 really take some time out 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.)
Those visiting Bordeaux on a budget can pick up some complimentary literature and maps at the tourism office to create your own DIY walking tour of the city’s famed monuments and sites.
🚶 Inexpensive Walking Tour: To get a more formal background about the city, take this informative Bordeaux Walking Tour, which is only €12 per person. The tour departs each day at 10:00 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 €29 it’s yet another great 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!
Must-See Bordeaux Attractions on a Budget:
Whether on your own or as part of a tour, we would suggest planning to spend at least one full day exploring the historic city center of Bordeaux. Make sure you don’t miss some of Bordeaux’s most famous landmarks and monuments that are free or inexpensive:
Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror – This is one of Bordeaux’s signature sights and is something you likely won’t miss. Any tour of the city will most certainly include this as a stop or you can easily wander there on your own. Come back at night to see it lit up.
💲 Cost: It’s free to view.
Bordeaux Cathedral (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.
💲Cost: It’s free to go inside, but you should consider leaving a donation.
Pey-Berland Tower – Climb the 233 spiral stairs 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).
La Cite Du Vin – Bordeaux’s new 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: €20 admission. Note: Buy your ticket now thru GetYourGuide to skip the line! The cost is still the same; you’ll just be able to print out your ticket or show it on your mobile phone to skip the queue that everyone else will be waiting in, giving you more time to explore. Admission is included with Bordeaux City Pass for entries before Noon (see boxed text below).
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 famed “underground,”
- visiting a winery & cellar, and
- exploring the historic sites above ground in St Emilion’s centre, 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. To do so, you can check out our separate post with all the details on a DIY Day Trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. And for a total price of about €45 per person, this suggestion has a cost savings of €200 for two people when compared to pricey group tours that visit the same locations.
A DIY day trip to St Emilion 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 €45 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 €45 tour to St Emilion only goes there on Wednesdays (Mar 15 – Nov 15) and Sundays (year round). Important note: although this tour appears to be offered every day of the week, it actually only goes to St Emilion on those two days of the week.
Reserve this Sunday/Wednesday tour on Viator 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 €75.
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 (€240 menu per couple), don’t fret. There are still plenty of other reasonable options around town.
Cheap 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 Local Oysters at Chez Jean Mi at Marché des Capucins Market
Blend in with the local crowd and 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 treat. Who are we to argue with this French tradition?
An order of a half dozen raw oysters with fresh bread and a glass of wine runs €7. For comparison, we found other restaurants in Bordeaux listing a half dozen oysters for €10+ without any wine. So Chez Jean Mi definitely 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. 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 €21. This is an incredible value, considering the amount of seafood that is brought to the table.
And if that doesn’t fill you up, there are many more budget-friendly snacks and goodies to munch on throughout the entire Capucins Market. Explore and find an economical eatery that suits you. Or grab a refreshment to-go.
Moules Frites in Bordeaux
People often tout the mussels from Brussels are the best in Europe. While we found plenty to love about Belgium, we prefer the mussels in France (gasp!), particularly those in Bordeaux. Mussels are one of the few menu items that we found to be more affordable in France compared to Belgium, actually!
You can find what’s known as moules frites throughout many restaurants in Bordeaux. It is a giant pot of steamed mussles, accompanied with frites (chips/fries). This delicious and filling meal is actually one of the more economical dining options to be had in the city. Plus, Bordeaux’s status of a port town only adds to the likelihood of freshness when it comes to seafood like mussels.
There are several Bordeaux cafes and restaurants with moules frites on the menu for as little as €10. Some of these cafes will even include a glass of wine along with the moules frites! These meal deals are often advertised on the chalkboards outside of 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 upwards of €25 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 this meal deal 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 €10 and you can add a glass of wine for as little as €3.
Have Bordeaux’s Best Value Lunch at Le Cheverus Cafe
This busy café must have the best value set lunch menu in the city center. For just €14, you can treat yourself to a set menu of the day that includes a starter, main course, dessert, coffee, and even a glass of wine! During our visit, the main course was a delicious stewed beef. And if the main course option doesn’t appeal to you, there are other set menus available that range around €15-€25.
If going for this great value set lunch, just be sure to go there for an early, as the place gets packed later in the afternoon. They frequently run out of their daily special during those later hours. And be prepared to give your French a try, or put your translator to work, as there’s not much English writing or speaking going on at Le Cheverus. You’ll be rewarded with one of the best value meals in Bordeaux.
Enjoy Steak Frites on the Cheap
While steak is often an expensive meal around the world, in France steak frites (AKA steak & chips, or steak & fries) is actually a fairly reasonable meal option in Bordeaux. Similar to moules frites, as already mentioned, steak frites can be found at many bistros around Bordeaux for around €12-€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 €19 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 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-up typical 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 there are plenty of delicious creperies that have found their way down to Bordeaux. Crepes make for a great economical 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.
Eating in Bordeaux on a Shoestring
For those really on the cheap, try the following options for meals closer to €5 and less.
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 out on the croissants. A freshly-baked still-warm chocolate croissant is like biting into a bit of heaven, and even more heavenly is the price – about €1. But don’t just think of boulangeries for breakfast. They 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 a number of 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. And if that’s too much, there’s always the ubiquitous Turkish doner kebab shops for even less. But you’re in France, so we always encourage exploring the local cuisine instead.
Picnic on the Garonne: Another consideration is to head to the supermarket and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy while sitting on the Garonne River, as we saw many locals doing. 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 pretty 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 on a budget, most restaurants and cafes in Bordeaux tend to offer wines only by the bottle. And ordering wine by the bottle in Bordeaux can get very expensive.
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 real quick. Go as a couple, sip on three glasses of wine and next thing you know there’s a €50 check waiting to be paid. Yikes!
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.
There actually aren’t too many proper bars in Bordeaux. Much of the drinking instead occurs in restaurants or cafes. These restaurants throughout Bordeaux tend to offer wines by the bottle, not the glass. So go here for wine
tasting drinking instead:
Bar a Vin Ecole du Vin Bordeaux = €2 Glasses of Wine!
For those touring Bordeaux on budget, we strongly recommend a visit to the Bar a Vin Ecole du Vin Bordeaux.
This is where you’ll find glasses of Bordeaux wine starting at €2 a pop! It may possibly 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.
Bar a Vin Ecole du Vin Bordeaux is also known as Maison du Vin and 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.
Maison du Vin offers a few dozen wines by the glass each day with generous full-glass pours starting at a mere €2! Better bottles and vintages can also be found for steals in the €5-€10 per glass range. Those same glassed would likely set you back triple that amount elsewhere. Yet about half of their selections are priced below €5 per glass.
We stuck almost entirely to these more economical glasses and there wasn’t a selection we didn’t like. The wines are cheap in price, but not on taste and quality.
The servers 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 strongly 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 summer high season.
If you want to try a number of different wines while in Bordeaux, this place 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 it’s 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 €39, it’s a well-priced intro to Bordeaux’s wines and cheeses. Check availability.
Frog & Rosbif Bordeaux Happy Hour
If you follow our blog, then you know we have a love affair with craft beer. So when we discovered there was a brewpub in this wine-centric region, we just had to give Bordeaux’s Frog & Rosbit a try. The verdict: meh, the beer is okay (not great, not bad at all either). But it’s one of the few places in Bordeaux with a happy hour, which makes it a good bet if you want to enjoy a pint of decent beer at a decent price.
The brewpub is centrally located, has attentive service, and a great place to watch a game. During happy hour, which runs Monday-Friday from 5:30-8:00 pm and all day Tuesday, pint prices drop to €4.50. They have six different beers on tap, which are heavy on English styles. We tried all six and I’d recommend their stout, Dark De Triomphe, above the others. Yet if in the mood for something lighter, try their Belgian-style witbier, Froegaarden.
Where to Stay in Bordeaux on a Budget
Bordeaux is a very popular summer tourist destination, so booking as early as possible will yield much better room rates and a greater selection. Rooms tend to book up very quickly here!
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 it and you find availability, then it may be a nice and centrally located place to stay.
Yet our Bordeaux on a Budget recommendation is to stay near the train station. Here you have easy access to the city center via the inexpensive and futuristic-looking tram line and a convenient point to get in & out of the city (and to Saint Emilion). Accommodation near the train station tends to offer much better value than around the city center.
Hostels in Bordeaux France
If you are a solo traveler, one of Bordeaux’s two 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 few euros more.
Until recently, there was surprisingly only one hostel in Bordeaux. The Auberge Jeunese Bordeaux (Bordeaux Youth Hostel) is a bit more than a half kilometer walk from the train station and has beds in shared dorms starting at €24.50.
Hostel 20 is now a second hostel in Bordeaux, which enjoys a much better location in the city center, about a 10-15 minute walk north of where all Bordeaux’s main attractions and restaurants are. Shared dorms start at about €27 per night for a bed in this 18th-century building. Unlike Auberge Jeanese, you can book a bed at Hostel 20 online using Hostelworld.
Budget-Friendly Bordeaux Hotel Recommendations
Here are some budget-friendly hotel recommendations in Bordeaux that meet the following three criteria:
- Within a two-minute walk of the Bordeaux train station,
- Have a consistent record of good reviews, and
- Summer rates start at less than €75 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. Note: Each of these links will open in a separate window and conveniently take you to the associated hotelscombined.com page for the hotel. There, you can enter your dates and it will automatically search all the top booking websites (e.g., Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Agoda, etc.) to find out which site offers you the best price for your specific dates.
- Hotel du Faisan: fairly basic (no air-con) yet good-enough 2-star hotel with summer rates starting at €50
- Ibis Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint Jean: standard Ibis-brand hotel with summer rates starting at €60 – a fantastic value if you can find a room near that rate!
- Hotel California: A decent budget-friendly hotel with super friendly staff and summer rates starting at €55. (We’ve stayed here and found it to be good for the price.)
- Ibis Styles Bordeaux Gare Saint Jean: standard Ibis Styles hotel with summer rates starting at €60 including breakfast.
- Hotel Mercure Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint Jean: Probably the nicest hotel to make it on our budget-friendly list, this 4-star property has rooms with summer rates starting at €75, an absolute steal if you can score a rate that low.
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. Try using Hotelscombined.com (or use the widget below) to search all of the top booking websites for a budget-friendly room in Bordeaux.
Apartment Rentals and Boutique Hotels
Smaller hotels and B&Bs are also a great choice in Bordeaux and there are plenty of them if you book early enough. Apartment rentals are another fantastic option to consider in Bordeaux for budget-friendly accommodation. This is an exceptionally great option if traveling in August when many Bordeaux residents are vacationing elsewhere and hence will list their apartment as a short-term rental while they’re away. And what better way to live like a local!
Airbnb.com has a great selection of apartment rentals in some wonderful locations throughout the city. Most are really good value and you can find some great deals if there is a group of you to share the cost of an apartment with multiple bedrooms. If you’ve never tried Airbnb before, you can use our referral link to save up to $40 off your first booking.
More Bordeaux Budget 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 the 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. Many buses have spacious reclining seats and wifi. Ouibus tends to have some of the best fares to Bordeaux. For example, there are regularly €5 fares from Paris to Bordeaux. Try Eurolines and Flixbus too, 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, such as the train station, airport, and other locations spread across this broad city. Taxis or Ubers can fill in the gaps, but that gets expensive. Thankfully, there’s a well-connected, frequent, and easy-to-use tramway. Best of all, the Bordeaux tramway fare is only €1.50 for a one-hour pass. And 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 with 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 you can filter vineyards that offer tastings and tours in your language. 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) in order 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, 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 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.
Also, consider these other very economical tour ideas in Bordeaux:
🛥️ This one-hour Bordeaux river cruise is a bargain for €12.50.
🚢 Or for €28, this 1.5-hour evening aperitif cruise enjoys sunsets on the riverfront while wine tasting.
🚲 Active travelers on a budget should consider this 3-hour bike tour along the riverfront for only €25.
Have Fun 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 with the rest of us 😉 We’re always on the lookout for additional budget-friendly places to try out for whenever we visit Bordeaux again.
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Happy travels to Bordeaux!
Publishing note: This Bordeaux budget travel guide is continually updated in effort to reflect the latest info and pricing, last updated February 2020.