From Paris to Bordeaux: 3 Best Ways to Get There
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The UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux ranks among the top cities in France. An astounding array of historical monuments and cultural attractions distinguish this elegant metropolis, and the Bordeaux region in Southwest France is considered one of the best places to visit in France.
The city of Bordeaux, along with its countryside of vine-covered rolling hills, definitely merits the journey from Paris. When deciding on the type of transportation to choose, it's best to consider your travel itinerary and budget. For instance, the train is the most efficient form of transportation, whereas the bus offers the advantage of lower-cost fares.
For those who would like to explore some tourist sights on the way to Bordeaux, it makes sense to drive. It's easy enough to rent a car in Paris, and driving makes getting there half the fun.
Read our guide to learn about the best ways to get from Paris to Bordeaux and choose the right form of transportation to suit your travel preferences.
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1. From Paris to Bordeaux by Train
Taking the train is the best option for most travelers, because the train offers the fastest and easiest way to get to Bordeaux. Tourists will appreciate the train, since it makes the journey less stressful (especially for those who don't feel up to driving in a foreign country).
France's SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français) train system operates a TGV (Train de Grande Vitesse) high-speed train from the Gare Montparnasse in central Paris to the Gare Saint Jean in Bordeaux. This direct route travels from Paris to Bordeaux in just two hours, although some routes include stops that make the trip take three hours.
Adding to the convenience, the TGV train arrives at a station (Gare Saint Jean) within walking distance of the historic center of the city, where most of Bordeaux's top tourist attractions (such as the Cathédrale Saint-André, the Grand-Théâtre, and the Place de la Bourse) are located. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic center of Bordeaux is prized for its elegant Neoclassical monuments built during the Age of Enlightenment.
2. From Paris to Bordeaux by Car
For those interested in exploring the French countryside along the way to Bordeaux, it's recommended to rent a car in Paris and enjoy the extended journey. The drive takes about six hours without any stops, but there are many worthwhile detours along the way, as well as famous sights found right along the route to Bordeaux.
The A10 highway (the route that leads from the outskirts of Paris to Bordeaux) traverses the picturesque Loire Valley, a protected landscape that conceals magnificent chateaux. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Loire Valley castles rank among the top tourist attractions in France.
Two of the most splendid castles, the graceful 16th-century Château de Chenonceau and the dreamy Italian Renaissance-style Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, are just slight detours from the A10 route to Bordeaux.
Other highlights of the Loire Valley along the A10 highway include Orléans, a town that Joan of Arc helped defend during the Siege of 1429 and where she prayed at the 13th-century cathedral; the historic town of Blois, home to the Château Royal de Blois; and bustling Tours, which is the largest city in the Loire Valley and has an excellent fine arts museum, as well as a lively outdoor café scene. The quaint village of Amboise is only a few kilometers' drive from the A10 highway.
There are so many amazing sights to see in the Loire Valley that many travelers will find it worthwhile to extend the visit with an overnight stay. For luxury accommodations and old-world charm, spend the night at the Château de Perreux near Amboise. This four-star boutique hotel offers sumptuous guest rooms in a historic château nestled in an expansive park.
Other hotel recommendations in the Loire Valley near the A10 route include the Château de Rochecotte, set in a wooded parkland about 20 kilometers from the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau; the Hôtel Fleur de Loire, an upscale boutique hotel, in the little village of Montlivault (11 kilometers from Blois), with a gastronomic restaurant, a fitness center, and Spa Sisley; and the four-star Mercure Blois Centre, located just a short walk from the historic center of Blois.
After driving past the Loire Valley, travelers have the option to stop at other tourist destinations in the Poitou-Charentes region. The atmospheric port town of La Rochelle appeals to travelers who are fascinated by seafaring history. The region's old capital city, Poitiers, impresses visitors with its historic monuments, especially its two exquisite Romanesque churches, including the UNESCO-listed Eglise Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand.
For those who want to explore off-the-beaten path, an interesting destination is the Marais Poitevin in the Poitou-Charentes region (about 100 kilometers southeast of Poitiers). The Parc Naturel Régional du Marais Poitevin provides an escape to an enchanting nature reserve filled with marshes, meadows, and meandering streams. The area's man-made canals and a leafy landscape have earned it the name "Venise Verte" ("Green Venice"), and visitors may take an old-fashioned boat ride through the waterways to soak up the romantic scenery.
Travelers will also be happy to have a car in the Bordeaux region. The countryside outside of Bordeaux is renowned for its idyllic vine-covered rolling hills, where centuries-old villages and châteaux await discovery. Not to be missed is the rural village of Saint-Émilion, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. From Paris to Bordeaux by Bus
The bus ride from Paris to Bordeaux takes seven hours, which is considerably longer than the TGV train ride that takes only two hours.
Saving money is the only reason travelers would choose the bus over the train. The bus ride is less expensive than the TGV train ride, sometimes the fare is half the price or even a quarter the price of the train fare.
FlixBus offers overnight bus routes that depart from the Bercy Seine station in Paris at 1:50am and arrive at the Saint-Jean station in Bordeaux at 8:50am. FlixBus also offers several bus routes daily, departing from Paris every few hours and arriving at Saint-Jean station or the Pessac station in Bordeaux.
The Saint-Jean bus station is in central Bordeaux, within walking distance of the city's UNESCO-listed historic center. The Pessac bus station is found within the historic center of Bordeaux.