Bordeaux is a beautiful city in Southwestern France. Located on the River Garonne, Bordeaux is a vibrant port city with an illustrious history and incredible food and wine. The city boasts Neoclassical architecture dotted by Gothic churches and medieval-old gates. With old, narrow, charming streets and lovely squares filled with bars and restaurants, you will experience in Bordeaux the solemnity of the past with a zing of modernity.
While we recommend visiting Bordeaux in two or more days, a day trip to Bordeaux from Paris is still feasible, specifically thanks to the high-speed train connections (TGV trains).
Below we will explain how to plan your day trip from Paris to Bordeaux by train and how to get the most out of your 1 day in Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Click here for the list of best day trips from Paris
How to Get from Paris to Bordeaux by Train
If you want to travel from Paris to Bordeaux by train for the day, consider leaving Paris with one of the first trains and catching one of the last ones for the journey back. The first Paris to Bordeaux TGV departs from Paris at 5:50 am, and the last leaves Bordeaux at 8:50 pm. Be mindful that the train tickets from Paris to Bordeaux sell out very fast, so booking your train tickets to Bordeaux online well in advance is key.
TIP: If this is your first time traveling in France by train, check out this quick guide to train travel in France.
To get from Paris to Bordeaux by train, you can opt for the InOui train or the Ouigo train, both high-speed trains (TGV). The main difference between the two SNCF services is the price, as Ouigo is a low-cost brand.
The non-stop regular TGV Paris to Bordeaux train (InOui TGV trains) departs from Paris Montparnasse train station (level 2) and arrive at Bordeaux – Saint-Jean train station. This Paris to Bordeaux train offers 22 daily routes, and the average journey duration is two hours and 15 minutes.
The TGV train Paris to Bordeaux with Ouigo trains departs from four different stations across Paris: Marne La Vallée train station, Paris Roissy CDG Airport station, Massy TGV station, and Paris Montparnasse station. The arrival train station is Bordeaux – Saint-Jean. The Ouigo trains operate only five rides per day and take between two and four hours to arrive in Bordeaux, depending on the departure station and possible intermediate stops. The ticket price includes a small suitcase or backpack, and anything else (more luggage, internet, and sometimes a simple plug for your devices) needs to be paid in addition to the ticket price – Click here to buy your TGV Paris to Bordeaux
Things to Do in Bordeaux in One Day
So you arrived at Bordeaux, now what? Here are some cool things that you can see or do in Bordeaux in one day:
1. Marché des Capucins (if early arrival)
If you arrive at Bordeaux on one of the first trains, getting a second coffee and eating something will be much needed. The best spot to do it is the Marché des Capucins (Place des Capucins, Monday closed), a fantastic market near the train station. Venture inside to discover a bit of southwest France’s rich gastronomic culture.
This market is also great for getting a glimpse of local life as you will find many locals doing their daily shopping for fruits and veggies here.
2. Take a Guided Tour (Walking Tour or Bike Tour)
A fantastic way to get to know Bordeaux in one day is by taking a guided tour. This 2-hour walking tour will lead you around Bordeaux to discover its UNESCO heritage-listed monuments and stunning architecture and learn about the city’s history and great Enlightenment philosophers.
The tour starts at 10.30 am in front of Tourism Office 12 Cours Juillet 30, so it’s a perfect choice for a day trip Paris to Bordeaux.
A guided bike tour is a good alternative, as it allows you to see more of Bordeaux in one day. Exploring Bordeaux by bike is super easy, as the city is totally flat and there are many bike lanes. This guided bike tour of Bordeaux takes 2.5 hours and starts at 9.45 am, leaving you the rest of the day in Bordeaux to explore other parts of the city on your own.
3. OR Get lost in the Old Town
If you don’t fancy a guided tour, you can just stroll around the city’s charming streets. Bordeaux’s Old Town is full of wonders, and there are some sights that you really shouldn’t miss.
Must-sees are Place des Quinconces and Place de la Comédie. The first is France’s largest square, while Place de la Comédie hosts two stunning neoclassical buildings, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux and the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux.
Also, don’t skip Porte Cailhau, one of Bordeaux’s rarest medieval monuments.
4. Visit Cathedral Saint-André (and admire the Bell Tower)
Bordeaux’s Gothic Cathedral, the Cathedral Saint-André, is beautiful and historically important. This church is where young Eleanor of Aquitaine married the future King of France, Louis VII, in 1137. The entire building is listed as a French national monument and is free to enter.
The Cathedral Saint-André is wonderful inside, thanks to its rich decor. It also features a separate Bell Tower (Tour Pey Berland) in a Gothic flamboyant style. From the top of the Tower, you can admire breathtaking city views.
5. Have Lunch in One of the Lively Squares of Bordeaux
Bordeaux has plenty of lively squares with restaurants for uniquely French lunch. Choosing a square for your lunch break depends on where you are in the city, but we recommend three squares.
Place de Saint-Pierre, overlooked by St. Pierre Church, features beautiful old architecture housing local restaurants.
Place Camille Jullian is very popular among locals and tourists and boasts elegant restaurants with large terraces for a perfect sunny-day lunch.
Place du Palais is hidden in the shadow of the Porte Cailhau. Small but with a distinct charm, this square offers a couple of eateries where you can savor French cuisine.
6. Take a Stroll along the Garonne River Bank
An unmissable activity of your one day in Bordeaux is strolling along the Garonne River bank. Whether on foot or by bike, nothing is more relaxing than exploring the city’s riverside.
While along the river back, make sure to stop by the extremely scenic Place de la Bourse, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage for its incredible architecture and history. Right across the square is the peculiar Miroir d’Eau, a huge pool that creates a spectacular mirror effect, and that is the most-photographed site in Bordeaux.
7. Aperitif in one of Bordeaux Wine Bars
The apéro (French aperitif) is a French tradition you can’t miss! It is the moment right before dinner when friends gather and have drinks while eating appetizers.
There is no better place to do an aperitif than in a wine bar in Bordeaux. The city is known worldwide for its wine production, so make sure to stop by one of the city’s wine bars (or one of the squares mentioned above) to sip on glasses of Bordeaux wine while trying plates of regional cheese and charcuterie (named “planches”).
Or why not a Lillet? One of the most famous French drinks, Lillet was born in Bordeaux, and you will find it everywhere in the city.
What a fantastic way to end your day trip to Bordeaux from Paris!