WHEN TO GO
Bordeaux is a year-round destination: Temperatures top out at about 80 degrees in summer and drop to the low 30s in winter. You don't necessarily go for the sun, so treat yourself to a late-winter vacation (at off-season prices) and hole up with a bottle of red wine in one of the city's fine restaurants. Winter and spring are the wettest times of year, but less touristy than summer. Keep in mind that many wineries close in October for the harvest.
HOW TO GET THERE
Bordeaux airport is ten kilometers (about six miles) from the city center (40 Cidex; 33-5-56-34-50-00; www.bordeaux.aeroport.fr). Depending on traffic, it's a 30-minute drive to the heart of Bordeaux. Taxi fares from the airport are usually around $26. There are also airport shuttle buses that run from the airport to the city center (Place de la Comédie) and the SNCF Saint-Jean train station every 45 minutes for about $9 per trip.
The Eurostar connects major cities throughout France, including hourly trips between Paris and Bordeaux at fares ranging from about $100 for second class to about $131 for first class; travel time is approximately three hours (Bordeaux Saint-Jean; Rue Charles Domercq; 33-8-92-35-35-39; www.sncf.fr). The Bordeaux tramway runs from the Saint-Jean station in Bordeaux to the city center ($1.70). A taxi to town will run you anywhere from $9 to $13. The public city buses and tramway also connect the station to the city (33-5-57-57-88-88; www.infotbc.com).
Because Bordeaux is compact and largely pedestrianized, its gracious stone houses and welcoming squares are easy to explore on foot. Other options are the public trams and buses.
12 Cours du XXX Juillet
Tel: 33 5 56 00 66 00
The main tourist office offers more than just city maps. It also runs half-day guided tours of vineyards in the area. The website of the local mayor's office is useful too, but it's only in French (www.bordeaux.fr). There is also a regional tourist office, Comité Regional du Tourisme (23 Parvis des Chartrons; 33-5-56-01-70-00; www.tourisme-aquitaine.fr). For more information on the local vin, visit the website of the Bordeaux Wine Council (www.vins-bordeaux.fr).