Where to stay in Bordeaux for first time: 6 Best districts & Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Bordeaux as a first-time visitor can be overwhelming. That’s why, in today’s article, I will help you to find the safe places to stay in Bordeaux for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Bordeaux for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Bordeaux and recommend some of the best hotels for various budgets.

Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in the southwestern part of France. It is a popular tourist destination that is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and world-renowned wine. 

The city boasts beautiful 18th-century architecture, and the historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux’s main square, is a prime example of the city’s architectural splendor.

Bordeaux offers a diverse culinary scene, with numerous traditional French bistros and innovative restaurants, featuring regional specialties such as duck, lamb, and of course, an abundance of exceptional wine.

Bordeaux is well-connected with an extensive public transportation system, including buses and trams. It also has a major train station, Gare Saint-Jean, connecting it to other cities in France and beyond.

Is Bordeaux safe to visit?

Yes, Bordeaux is generally a safe city to visit, even for solo travelers. But as with any travel destination, it’s recommended to take common-sense precautions. 

You should be aware of your surroundings, safeguard your belongings to avoid pickpocketing, especially in touristy/ crowded areas, and avoid walking alone in poorly lit areas at night.

Where to stay in Bordeaux for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Bordeaux for first-timers and tourists are Downtown Bordeaux, Chartrons, Saint-Michel, Gare St Jean, Bordeaux-Lac, and Bastide. These areas provide a variety of accommodations for all budgets and needs.

Downtown Bordeaux, which includes Saint Pierre and Saint Paul districts, is the most popular area in Bordeaux for first-time visitors. It is the heart of the city filled with shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions such as Place de la Bourse and the famous water mirror, Le Miroir d’eau.

Chartron, located just north of downtown, is a trendy and picturesque neighborhood known for its antique shops, art galleries, and riverside charm. It’s a great area for those who enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, local vibe, easy access to the old town and the famous Wine museum.

Saint-Michel and Gare St Jean are convenient locations if you want to stay close to the train station and easy access to the downtown by tram. The area around the train station is generally safe to stay, but as in any main station, just take extra alert and avoid walking alone at night.

If you travel with a car or are looking for budget-friendly accommodations, you can find some good value accommodations in Bastide (many offer free parking). This area is located on the right bank of the Garonne River, opposite the city center, offering more local atmosphere. 

During my trip to Bordeaux, I stayed in the historic center area at the InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel. It was a perfect place to explore the city, close to everything, including major attractions, restaurants, and shops. My room was very well appointed and clean. Breakfast was lovely with many varieties of hot and cold dishes.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Bordeaux for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Bordeaux first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Bordeaux first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Bordeaux, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Bordeaux have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

6 Safe areas to stay in Bordeaux for first-timers and tourists:

1. Downtown Bordeaux

Downtown Bordeaux, without a doubt, is the best area for first-timers to book their accommodations. This area is the historic heart of the city and encompasses the districts of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul.

Downtown is centrally located, making it easy to explore the city’s main attractions on foot. You’ll find iconic landmarks like the Place de la Bourse, Place des Quinconces, Opera House, Bordeaux Cathedral, and the Grosse Cloche within walking distance.

History buffs can explore numerous museums such as the Musée d’Aquitaine and the CAPC Contemporary Art Museum, to learn the region’s history and contemporary art scene.

The area boasts a variety of shops, from high-end boutiques to local markets. The pedestrianized shopping street, Rue Sainte-Catherine, is one of the longest shopping streets in Europe and a great place to indulge in retail therapy.

Downtown Bordeaux is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars offering a diverse range of traditional French dishes or international dishes. The area also has a vibrant nightlife scene.

The central location provides easy access to public transportation hubs, including tram lines and bus stations, making it convenient to explore other parts of the city and its surroundings.

You can wander through the narrow streets and squares to admire the city’s well-preserved architecture. Taking a stroll along the riverfront promenade or taking a boat cruise along Garonne allows you to enjoy beautiful views of the cityscape.

Best places to stay in Downtown Bordeaux for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Le Boutique Hotel & Spa, great 5-star 18th-century town house, centrally located in a quiet area, in the heart of Bordeaux’s historic center, easy distance from popular points of interest including Place Gambetta and Quai Louis XVIII. It has an outdoor swimming pool, discounted public parking nearby, excellent breakfast, and paid airport shuttle services.

Mid-range ($$): Best Western Premier HBEO Bordeaux Centre, 4-star hotel conveniently located in the Golden Triangle of Bordeaux, close to everything, Easy access to public transportation, restaurants, and historical sites. Short walk from Garonne River, Grand Theatre, and Saint-Andre Cathedral. It has a 24-hour front desk, family rooms, and a fitness center.

Budget ($): Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre, popular 3-star hotel in central Bordeaux, close to the lively Saint-Pierre district, short walk to many restaurants and boutiques. Also close to Place des Quinconces  and Grand Théâtre tram station for services to Gare Saint-Jean Train Station. Great base for car-free travelers. The rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable.


2. Chartrons/ Bassins à Flot

Chartrons is a great area for travelers who enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, and easy access to the old town by tram. This is a trendy neighborhood north of Downtown and is known for its antique shops, art galleries, and La Cité du Vin wine museum.

You can take a leisurely stroll along Quai des Chartrons, the quays along the Garonne River to enjoy the riverside ambiance, take in views of the water, and relax in one of the riverside cafes.

This area is home to the lovely Place du Marché des Chartrons. It hosts a weekly market on Sundays, where you can find fresh produce, local products, and various artisanal items. 

Historically, Chartrons was the district where wine merchants conducted their business, and remnants of this history are visible in the architecture and ambiance of the area. You can find wine bars, cellars, and shops where you can sample and purchase some of the finest local wines.

Best places to stay in Bordeaux in Chartrons for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Seeko’o Hotel Bordeaux, 4-star stylish hotel on Quai De Bacalan, on the banks of the Garonne River. Convenient place for the Cité du Vin and riverfront restaurants/cafes. Also easy access to Quai des Marques shopping area and Jacques Chaban Delmas Bridge. Tram nearby to get into the center of the city.

Budget ($): Residhome Bordeaux, 3-star hotel, located in the Bassins a Flot district, very close to Chartrons, the River, La Cité du Vin wine museum, and Chaban Delmas Bridge. It has reasonable paid private parking, 24-hour front desk, and family rooms. Easy access to tram/ bus stops that go straight to the city center, 6 stops away.

Mid-range ($$): Radisson Blu Hotel Bordeaux, 4-star hotel, located close to La Cite du Vin Wine Museum, offering spacious rooms, comfy beds, and modern facilities. You can find a local market with restaurants nearby.  It is a bit far out of the main town, but only 10 mins walk to a tram stop to get downtown, which is a 15 mins ride away.


3. Saint-Michel

Saint-Michel is an interesting and diverse neighborhood, located between the main train station and old town. This area is known for its vibrant atmosphere and is home to the famous Basilica of Saint-Michel.

Basilica of Saint-Michel is a Gothic church known for its impressive architecture and offers panoramic views of the city from its tower. You can climb to the top of La Flèche Saint-Michel to enjoy views of Bordeaux and the Garonne River.

The square in front of the Basilica, Place Saint-Michel, is a central gathering point. It hosts events, markets, and is surrounded by cafes and shops. The area has a lively atmosphere, especially during weekends.

Saint-Michel is home to the Marché des Capucins, one of the city’s most famous markets. This lively market is a food lover’s paradise, with stalls offering fresh produce, seafood, cheese, and a variety of local delicacies. It’s a great place to experience the local culinary scene.

This area is home to Parc des Sports Saint-Michel, offering a green space for relaxation and outdoor activities. It’s a great spot for a leisurely walk or a picnic.

Best places to stay in Bordeaux in Saint-Michel for first-timers:

Budget ($): Staycity Aparthotels Bordeaux City Centre, popular accommodation conveniently located in the central area, close to the Great Bell Bordeaux, Saint-Michel Basilica and Museum of Aquitaine. It is in a quiet street, only a few hundred meters from the hustle and bustle, restaurants and bars. Rooms all come with air conditioning and a fully equipped kitchenette.

Mid-range ($$): LOLA Boutique Hôtel – Bordeaux Centre, great 4-star hotel located within walking distance from numerous attractions including Stone Bridge, Place de la Bourse,  Saint Michel Basilica and Museum of Aquitaine. Easy access to the tram for access to the main train station, lots of restaurants and bars in nearby Saint Michelle district.

Budget ($): B&B Bordeaux Saint Michel, 3-star good value for money accommodation, easy access to tram bus to get to the old town and the train station. 45 mins away from the airport by bus. The suites have a fully equipped kitchen.  


4. Saint Jean Station District

The Saint-Jean Station district is a bustling transportation hub and a gateway to Bordeaux for many visitors arriving by train. This area is home to the Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station, and a major railway station, connecting Bordeaux to various cities in France and beyond. 

Best places to stay in Bordeaux in Gare St Jean:

Mid-range ($$): Novotel Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint Jean, 4-star hotel, convenient base for train, right on the Tauzia tram stop (C and D lines) and 5 mins walk from Gare St Jean train station. Easily get into the downtown area by public transportation. Rooms are clean with great heating and air conditioning. 

Budget ($$): Golden Tulip Bordeaux Euratlantique, great hotel located in the Saint Jean Station District district, good base for those traveling by train. 15 mins tram ride/ 30 mins walk to the city center. Breakfast is nice with a variety of food. You can ask for a quieter room, especially on the weekend .

Mid-range ($$): Hôtel Particulier – Bordeaux St Jean, good value for money adults-only accommodation located to the city’s main train station, Perfect for a short stay. It is walkable to the city center, but it can be hot to walk, you can take a tram which is only a 10 min ride away. There is secure parking nearby.


5. Bordeaux-Lac

Bordeaux-Lac is a great location for those who want to stay close to the Matmut Atlantique stadium, the Exhibition Center, and the serene Lake Bordeaux. This is a modern and dynamic district located north of Chartrons and the city center of Bordeaux. 

Vinexpo, one of the world’s leading wine and spirits trade shows, is often held at the Bordeaux Exhibition Center (Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux). If you’re attending this event or have an interest in the wine industry, Bordeaux-Lac can be a strategic location.

Best places to stay in Bordeaux-Lac for travelers:

Mid-range ($$): Pullman Bordeaux Lac, nice 4-star hotel located at the gates of Bordeaux’s vineyards and a 15 mins tram ride from the old town. Good base for attending a game at the nearby stadium. Easy access to Palais des Congrès Line C tram stop and Matmut Atlantique Stadium. 

Budget ($): Live Hotels Bordeaux Lac, 3-star hotel, located in a residential area, close to Matmut Atlantique Stadium and Le lac. There are plenty of trams and buses nearby, offering direct access to the downtown. 

Budget ($): Sure Hotel by Best Western Bordeaux Lac, 3-star hotel situated on the outskirts of Bordeaux, next to a lake, offering free private parking, which is a bonus for those who drive. Easy access to Bordeaux Casino,  Parc des Expositions, and the Parc des Expositions tram stop on line C.


6. Bastide

Bastide is located on the right bank of the Garonne River, opposite the city center. It is a charming and less touristy neighborhood that provides a more local experience and budget-friendly accommodations.

Some interesting points of interest in this area include Darwin Ecosystem cultural center, Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux, and Church of Sainte-Marie-de-la-Bastide.

Best places to stay in Bordeaux in Bastide for tourists:

Budget ($): Le Clos des Queyries, 3-star good value for money sustainable bed and breakfast close to  Chaban Delmas Bridge, offering free secure private parking, bicycle rental service, wonderful breakfast, and soundproofing rooms. Only a few minutes walk to a tram stop or a 30 minute walk into downtown.

Budget ($): Chambres à Bord’O, 3-star good value for money B&B located in Bastide, 2 mins walk to the Tram Line A Thiers-Benauge stop, taking you to the old town with Bordeaux City Hall and Cathedral in 10 minutes. And 15 mins walk from the Garonne River bank. 

Budget ($): Hôtel des Voyageurs Centre Bastide, 2-star hotel, situated next to Stalingrad Tram Station, 5 mins walk from the Stone Bridge. Close to STALINGRAD tram station, easily reachable from airport by airport tram line A. You can cross the bridge on foot or by tram to get to the old town.


In conclusion, Downtown, Chartrons, Saint-Michel, Gare St Jean, Bordeaux-Lac, and Bastide are the best places to stay in Bordeaux for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas to book accommodations, but it’s always essential to take standard precautions whenever you go.

You can continue reading other destinations in France in these articles:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Bordeaux. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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