Bordeaux Campervan Rental Deals
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If you're planning a campervan tour of France or Europe, chance are the you'll be including the wonderful city of Bordeaux in your itinerary. Whether you're starting or ending your motorhome travels in Bordeaux, or just passing through, you'll find plenty of useful information here about Bordeaux for campervan travellers. Enjoy!
Bordeaux is one place you won’t want to miss
Over the years, Bordeaux has become a city that contrasts the new with the old, but it still remains epically elegant. It’s one of the most desirable cities to visit in France, where you will eat well and drink better, mingling with locals who may often be aloof but are always unique.
A city steeped in arts and fine cuisine, it’s also one of extremes, with wealthy chateau owners and laidback hipsters all living in harmony. Situated as it is at the intersection of great wine and the good life, you may want to linger beyond your scheduled departure date.
Bordeaux has recently undergone a renaissance of sorts with conservation and renovation projects that seek to preserve the city’s rich history. There’s no shortage of fascinating museums, avant-garde galleries or fashionable boutiques.
You’ll also find Michelin-rated restaurants along with tiny bistros (where there may only be a few tables but where you’ll get great food at low prices).
Start wandering the city in the Triangle-d'Or, where you’ll be taken back in time by the all-enveloping 18th-century splendour. History lovers won’t want to miss the medieval St. Pierre district and may want to schedule a guided walking tour.
Ready to learn more about Bordeaux? Head to the Musée d'Aquitaine for an in-depth education on the city’s heritage. Round out your visit with a visit to a vineyard (or two) — there are ample tour operators that can get you there, with meals and other treats all part of the package.
It’s better to get to know this city and its splendour at your own pace. And experiencing Bordeaux by campervan means you’re not limited to appreciating the city itself; you can also easily travel further afield as you seek out the region’s natural beauty.
You won’t be fighting tourists for limited hotel rooms during peak seasons when accommodation prices are at their highest. Instead, you’ll mix with neighbours at campervan sites, foregoing the rushed schedule of the multi-city tour group.
How far are campervan depots from Bordeaux airport?
The major rental companies are very close — only a few kilometres away — from the Bordeaux airport. However, if you do have luggage you will want to book a taxi so have a few Euros ready to pay and tip the driver. You only need to allow about 10-15 minutes to get to the rental depot by taxi and once there you can be on the road quickly.
When are the best times to visit Bordeaux?
You can experience four seasons in Bordeaux — sometimes on the same day, as the weather can change quickly from rain to sun, and from light breezes to heavy winds. Be sure to wear layers for your days in the city away from your campervan.
With that said, the city is not one with seasonal attractions so there is really no bad time to plan your trip to Bordeaux. Autumn is when wine grapes are harvested and a fascinating time to see the region, although April to October is generally considered the best time to visit.
Over three million people visit the city each year; most of them in summer when prices rise and city streets become crowded. While winters (December-February) are wet, they’re also mild and still a good time to visit. It’s humid all year, however, so don’t expect great hair days.
Dec - Feb: Low 3°C, High 11°C
Mar - May: Low 5°C, High 23°C
Jun - Aug: Low 13°C, High 26°C
Sep - Nov: Low 6°C, High 25°C
Places to Visit in and around Bordeaux
If you’ve been holding out and waiting to splurge on fashionable finds, then Bordeaux may be the place to cut loose and let your credit cards work their magic. Rue Saint-Catherine is a foot-friendly pedestrian area that is brimming with stylish retailers. The Chatrons district is where you will find chic boutiques and antiques. Bordeaux also has a few local independent designers producing clothes that you will not find anywhere else. Yes, their pieces have a price tag to match but the quality and design is totally top-notch.
Never Stop Your Wining
Bordeaux is world-famous for its vineyards and world-class wines. You simply must partake (even if you are not a connoisseur). Mid-July, when flowers are in bloom, is a perfect time to visit the picturesque vineyards.
Vineyard tastings are often one-on-one and require a prearranged booking. Your visit will probably include a tour of the vineyards, cellars, barrel rooms, vat rooms and more and will take upwards of 90 minutes to two hours. If you don’t want to deal with the logistics, there are wine tour operators that can show you around, with meals and more included.
Bordeaux’s Best Museums
Art and culture is a cornerstone of Bordeaux and you will want to make sure you have time to wander the city’s many galleries and museums. The Musée d’Aquitaine has a stunning columned entrance, and its collections are housed in cool marbled rooms. Visit and you will truly get excited about Bordeaux’s history, from ancient through to modern times.
Imports and exports have long been a key component of Bordeaux’s economy and the Musée Nationale des Douanes will give you a unique insight into how the city’s trade evolved over time.
A Complete Playground for Foodies
Bordeaux has too many world-renowned chefs for you not to indulge in at least one pricey meal. And of course you will need to dress well for the occasion.
With a little research, you’ll find the perfect restaurant. Don’t be alarmed though if you are on a budget — many bistros and cafés offer cheap and delicious menus that will still give you an authentic taste of the region.
Not to be overlooked are the outdoor markets and food specialty shops that offer divine goods you won’t find in supermarkets.
Outdoor restaurants are not just for eating, of course — they’re also the perfect place to people-watch. Only at the height of the tourist season will you be encouraged to leave rather than linger at your table.
Bordeaux is a very walkable city. Make sure you spend at least a couple of afternoons wandering the streets, taking in the stunning architecture and mixing with locals. You’ll find plenty of places to stop for a bite or a drink and recharge before heading on to explore more of this seductive city.
7 Tips for Visitors to Bordeaux
- The French take their vacations seriously and some restaurants close in the summer. If there is a must-eat place you want to be sure to get to, then call ahead to see if they will accept reservations for the time of your visit.
- You will find the same thing with some vineyards; owners shutter their doors at certain times of the year in order to go on holiday. If there’s a vineyard you must visit for a tasting, phone ahead to make sure they will be open.
- Smoking is generally not permitted even in outdoor spaces and rulings are strictly enforced, so ask permission before you light up.
- The Passport Gourmand offers discounts to those who plan to eat their way around the city and is a good investment for foodies.
- Beware of pickpockets and keep valuables accounted for at all times. Stay away from the Place de la Victoire after dark.
- Using buses and trying to drive on roads during peak travel times will only get you very frustrated so plan your day accordingly.
- French law requires that you always have personal ID about your person, so keep your passport on you at all times.
MAJOR EVENTS IN BORDEAUX
- Les 2 Rives Carnival 2017 – Early May
- Bordeaux Rock Festival – Late January
- Bordeaux River Festival – Late May – early June
- Darwin Climax Festival – September
- FAB Bordeaux Metropolis International Arts Festival – late October
- Bordeaux So Good Food and Wine Festival – November
- Bordeaux Wine Festival – June
What are the best ways to get around Bordeaux?
Take our word for it — if you want to avoid hours of frustration and regret, don’t drive into the city with your campervan. There are better ways to enjoy yourself than driving in circles looking for a car park.
Bordeaux is a very walkable and bike-friendly city. Public transport won’t disappoint either.
Three efficient tramway lines are available (A, B, and C), and tickets cost 1.50€ (for unlimited journeys within one hour of validation). Ticketing machines do not accept notes so you will need a French Carte Bancaire or coins to secure your fare.
Buses are a great way to get around and can get you almost anywhere in the city. A new tramway serves the town, crossing the Garonne via the Pont de Pierre. There is an electric bus that services the pedestrian only areas — just wave to the driver and they’ll stop for you to board. How cool is that?
Where Can You Camp in Bordeaux?
In addition to being illegal, trying to camp in Bordeaux (even on the down-low) is a really bad idea. The city streets are just not accommodating to large vehicles and parking is expensive. Also locals, tired of tourists, are quick to report a rogue campervan flouting the rules. You are much better off picking a spot at any of the many campervan sites around the city. They have awesome amenities and will welcome you with open arms.
Here are a few of our recommended campervan parks near Bordeaux:
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