So, you’re thinking about going to Bordeaux, France?
Well to give you an idea of French culture and what Bordeaux is like, I present to you my guide of Bordeaux, France. If you choose to fly into Bordeaux, you will most likely land in a British Airways jet from Gatwick or possibly Heathrow. Getting to central Bordeaux, I recommend getting a taxi or taking the Airport Taxi (10 – 15 euros) to the center of Bordeaux. From there you will be close to several nice hotels, restaurants, and for you ladies with money, expensive shops. You will also find a lot of wine shops in Bordeaux as it still is the wine capital of the world. Head to the Tourism Office, where they do speak English, Spanish, German, and Italian, but sorry, no one speaks Hick there. Sign up for wine tours there and specials on trips.
While I was there in Bordeaux, I studied at a great school (BLS) and I lived with a wonderful host family so if you’re looking at learning the language and learning it in the best ways possible, then I strongly recommend that you go with this option. Word of the wise as I have found out. Don’t take American Express! Take Visa. AE charges a higher rate in France. For example, you spend 10 euros at a coffee shop for a sandwich and coffee, AE will take 15 euros off your card. Visa won’t take away anything extra from your account.
Bordeaux is easy enough to get around on foot but for some long trips in town, taxi or bus will be easier. Sometimes the tram can also be a good option. It is fast and speedy except when the workers are striking. From Bordeaux, you can see much of southern France on the cheap. Watch for deals online for the national rail service. Show your american student ID or International Student ID (very handy for discounts) when making travel arrangements to save a few euros here and there.
Cognac is a 3 hour train ride and well worth the trip. Bit of warning, the cognac houses are a bit on the expensive side.
Wine tours are cheap and plenty around Bordeaux. But if you’re coming from the states, remember, you are limited to two bottles of wine duty free unless you want to pay high import taxes. This is because the French government and US Customs limit what you can bring back.
I will be continually updating this space as the days go on.