It’s challenging to choose between two captivating destinations, especially when it comes to France’s breathtaking cities. So, if you find yourself torn between the historic charm of Bordeaux and the glitz of Cannes, you’re not alone. In this blog post, we’ll explore the unique characteristics of both cities, comparing their attractions, food scenes, and overall vibes to help you decide which city best suits your travel preferences. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive into the alluring world of Bordeaux and Cannes!
A small city in southwestern France, Bordeaux is world-renowned for its wine, cuisine and architecture. If you mention Bordeaux to anyone, the first thing they think about is wine. But, there’s more to the city than just wine. It’s a beautiful city that is compact and walkable. We highly recommend visiting. It almost feels like a miniature Paris.
Located on the world-famous Côte d’Azur, Cannes is known for its yearly film festival. But there’s so much more to this city than just the red carpet. Beautiful beaches, luxury shopping and delicious food all await. If you like the finer things in life, Cannes is the place for you.
Pro’s and Con’s of Bordeaux and Cannes
- World-class wine culture.
- Rich history and stunning architecture.
- Vibrant arts scene and diverse culinary experiences.
- More budget-friendly options compared to Cannes.
- Access to nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Saint-Émilion and the Cité du Vin museum.
- Proximity to the picturesque Dordogne region and the Bay of Arcachon, known for its oyster farming.
- More laid-back atmosphere.
- Well-connected public transportation system for easy exploration.
- Less beach-oriented and might have cooler weather compared to Cannes.
- Fewer entertainment options.
- Not as well-known for nightlife or high-end shopping.
- Some attractions may require more travel time due to the city’s larger size.
- Glamorous beachside atmosphere.
- Luxurious shopping.
- Prestigious film festival.
- Sunny weather and scenic coastal views.
- Beautiful sandy beaches and watersports opportunities.
- Proximity to other French Riviera destinations, such as Nice, Monaco, and Saint-Tropez, for day trips.
- Vibrant nightlife and entertainment options, including casinos and yacht clubs.
- Excellent destination for celebrity-spotting and people-watching.
- Higher prices, especially during peak season or events.
- More focused on glitz and glamour, which might not appeal to everyone.
- Smaller historic and cultural offering compared to Bordeaux.
- More focused on luxury tourism, which might limit the range of affordable options.
- The city can become overcrowded during peak seasons or events, such as the Cannes Film Festival.
How long to stay in Bordeaux
Bordeaux isn’t a big city, but there’s plenty to do. You could get around most of the city in a day if you wanted but you’d miss all the best bits. Bordeaux is a city best enjoyed at a slow pace. Wandering around whilst stopping off at cafes and tourist attractions.
There are plenty of galleries, museums and shops to fill your time. Plus if you’re into your wine, there are all the local vineyards that you can visit. There are also some pretty local towns to visit like Saint-Émilion and Arcachon. We’d recommend staying at least two days in Bordeaux, three days would be better though. We could easily spend a few weeks here, although we’d probably be fat alcoholics by the end of it.
How long to stay in Cannes
Cannes isn’t a big city, so you could comfortably see most of the main attractions in two to three days. But, there are plenty of tourist hot spots nearby like Saint-Tropez and Nice to visit if you want a longer break. You could even do a road along the French Riviera!
How much is food and drink in Bordeaux?
The cost of food and drink in Bordeaux can vary depending on the establishment and the location. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Bordeaux:
Beer: A beer in a typical bar or restaurant in Bordeaux will likely cost between €5 and €7.
Glass of wine: As Bordeaux is a wine region, wine is readily available and is often a better value than beer or cocktails. A glass of wine in a typical bar or restaurant can range from €3 to €10, depending on the quality and rarity of the wine.
Coffee: A cup of coffee in a typical café in Bordeaux will likely cost between €1.50 and €3.
Meal at a midrange restaurant: A meal at a midrange restaurant in Bordeaux will likely cost between €15 and €30 per person, depending on the restaurant and the menu.
How much is food and drink in Cannes?
Cannes is known for its high-end dining options, but there are also plenty of more affordable options available. Here are some estimated average prices for food and drink in Cannes:
Beer: A beer in a typical bar or restaurant in Cannes will likely cost between €6 and €8.
Glass of wine: A glass of wine in a typical bar or restaurant can range from €5 to €12, depending on the quality.
Coffee: A cup of coffee in a typical café in Cannes will likely cost between €2 and €4.
Meal at a midrange restaurant: A meal at a midrange restaurant in Cannes will likely cost between €25 and €50 per person, depending on the restaurant and the menu.
How much is it to stay in Bordeaux?
It’s worth noting that prices may be higher in touristy areas.
Luxury hotel: A room in a luxury hotel in Bordeaux can cost anywhere from €200 to €500 per night, or even higher for the most exclusive properties.
Midrange hotel: A room in a midrange hotel in Bordeaux will likely cost between €80 and €150 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
Budget hotel: A room in a budget hotel in Bordeaux will likely cost between €40 and €70 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the hotel.
Hostel: A bed in a hostel in Bordeaux will likely cost between €20 and €40 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
How much is it to stay in Cannes?
The cost of accommodation in Cannes can vary greatly depending on the time of year and location. Here are some estimated average prices for accommodation in Cannes:
Luxury hotel: A room in a luxury hotel in Cannes can cost anywhere from €300 to €1000 per night, or even higher for the most exclusive properties.
Midrange hotel: A room in a midrange hotel in Cannes will likely cost between €100 and €300 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
Budget hotel: A room in a budget hotel in Cannes will likely cost between €60 and €100 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the hotel.
Hostel: A bed in a hostel in Cannes will likely cost between €20 and €40 per night, depending on the location and the amenities.
When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?
Bordeaux has got it all: mild weather, world-class wines, and plenty of festivals and events. Here’s what you need to know:
Weather: The weather in Bordeaux is usually pleasant, with mild temperatures year-round. Summers can get a bit sticky, but winters are mild and rainy. For the best weather, plan your visit during the shoulder season of April to June or September to October.
Wine season: Wine lovers, won’t want to miss the grape harvest season from September to October. The perfect time to indulge in wine tasting and vineyard tours and sample some of the best wines in the world.
Festivals: Bordeaux loves a good party, and there are plenty of festivals and events to keep you entertained. Don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Festival in June or the Fête le Vin in June, both of which celebrate the region’s rich wine-making culture.
Crowds: The summer months of July and August are peak tourist season in Bordeaux, which means the crowds can be pretty intense. If you prefer a more relaxed visit, consider travelling during the off-season when the crowds have thinned out.
When is the best time to visit Cannes?
Cannes is great to visit all year round. But it gets extremely busy during summer and the Cannes Film Festival. Here are a few things to consider before booking:
Weather: Cannes has a beautiful Mediterranean climate. So mild winters and hot summers, you’ll rarely see freezing temperatures here, even in winter. It can get very hot in summer, so don’t forget your sun cream!
Festivals: Cannes is world famous for its film festival. But there, are other festivals like the Cannes Dance Festival held in December and the Cannes Yachting Festival in September.
Crowds: The summer months of July and August are peak tourist season in Cannes, which means the city can be very busy if you prefer a more relaxed visit, consider travelling during the off-season when the crowds have thinned out.
Average Monthly Temperatures
The average monthly temperatures for Bordeaux are:
The average monthly temperatures for Cannes are:
Getting around Bordeaux:
The city’s public transportation system consists of trams, buses, and a bike-sharing service. The trams are well-connected and cover most of the city’s major attractions. The tickets allow you to use any form of public transport for a certain period of time, (usually an hour). So if you needed to get one bus and a tram to get somewhere you’d only need one ticket if the journey was less than an hour.
Bike sharing is a good option for people that want to be a bit more active. Bordeaux has a lot of small windy streets so we spent most of the time walking, which I feel is the best way to see a city. Taxis and Ubers are readily available but you might struggle to get one right in the heart of the old town where a lot of it is pedestrianised.
Getting around Cannes:
Cannes is a small city, that’s very easy to walk around. There are regular buses that are cheap and easy to use. But, on a nice day why wouldn’t you walk?
There are plenty of bike hires available if you want to cover a bit more ground.
Top things to do in Bordeaux
Visit the Place de la Bourse: This square is an absolute must-see, with stunning architecture and a beautiful reflecting pool called the Water Mirror. Don’t forget your camera!
Explore the historic Saint-Pierre district: This area is so charming, with cobblestone streets, cute cafes, and lots of history. Take a stroll around and enjoy the vibes.
Go wine tasting in the nearby vineyards of Saint-Émilion: If you’re a wine lover, this is the place to be! Saint-Émilion has some of the best vineyards and wineries around, and the views are pretty stunning too.
Visit the Musée d’Aquitaine: Learn more about the region’s history and culture at this museum, which has everything from prehistoric artefacts to contemporary art.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Jardin Public: This park is seriously beautiful, with a lake, a rose garden, and tons of trees and flowers. It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax.
Take a river cruise on the Garonne River: You’ll see all sorts of amazing architecture and landmarks, and the views are seriously good.
Visit the Basilique Saint-Michel: This church is up on a hill, so the views are even better! Take some snaps, enjoy the scenery and soak up the atmosphere.
Enjoy some of Bordeaux’s local cuisine: Bordeaux has got some seriously tasty food, including sweet pastries called canelés and a delicious steak dish called entrecôte bordelaise.
Go to one of Bordeaux’s many festivals and events: This city loves to party, so there’s always something going on. Don’t miss the Bordeaux Wine Festival in June or the Fête le Vin in June.
Take a day trip to the nearby town of Arcachon: This seaside town is seriously gorgeous, with sand dunes and beaches that will take your breath away. It’s an easy train ride from Bordeaux, so don’t miss out!
Top things to do in Cannes
La Croisette: Take a stroll along the famous promenade, La Croisette. This palm-lined boulevard runs parallel to the sea and is home to designer boutiques, upscale hotels, and glamorous restaurants. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a spot of people-watching.
Le Suquet: Visit Cannes’ charming Old Town. There are plenty of narrow streets to wander through, colourful houses to look at and cute little squares to sit in. Make sure to visit the beautiful Notre-Dame-de-l’Espérance church, too.
Palais des Festivals et des Congrès: This convention centre is where the world-famous film festival is held! Go and take a picture on the red carpet, or you could even go and see a show.
Îles de Lérins: Go on a boat trip to Îles de Lérins, these four islands are just off the coast of Cannes. Only two are inhabited, one is home to an 11th-century monastery and the other is home to a 14th-century castle. The islands are seriously beautiful, make sure they go on your must-see list!
Rue d’Antibes: If you’re fancying a bit of retail therapy head to Rue d’Antibes, one of the main shopping streets in Cannes. You’ll find plenty of boutique shops and high-end fashion stores here.
Musée de la Castre: Sitting at the top of a hill in Le Suquet, this medieval castle is home to a museum featuring a variety of art and artefacts. The views over Cannes and Îles de Lérins is incredible. Even if you’re not into art, just go for the view!
Le Marché Forville: This daily marketing has amazing fresh produce on offer, cheeses, meats, vegetables and anything else you can think of. If you’re into cooking or food you have to go! It’s perfect for finding ingredients for a picnic or just grazing.
Villa Rothschild: Built in 1881 for Baroness Betty Rothschild, this beautiful mansion is definitely worth visiting. The manicured gardens are great for relaxing in, it’s location also offers amazing views of the city and the sea.
Plage du Midi: This beach is a short walk away from the city centre. It’s a bit quieter than Croisette Beach located in the centre. Great for a relaxing afternoon sunbathing or swimming in the sea.
Iron Mask and Fort Royal Museum: Located on Ile Sainte Marguerite, part of the Îles de Lérins. This fort contains the prison cell of the legendary man in the Iron Mask. The museum isn’t big but it’s got some great views and it’s nice to wander around the island.
How to spend three days in Bordeaux
To begin your day, head to the Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror reflecting pool. Take some time to check out the beautiful architecture and take some pictures. If you want a really special experience, try and get up early to visit during the sunrise. It’s so worth it! After that, visit the Musée d’Aquitaine to explore the history and culture of the region. The museum has a fascinating collection of artefacts and exhibits. End your day with a dinner in the Saint-Pierre district, it’s probably the prettiest area in Bordeaux. There are plenty of good restaurants to choose from, make sure you sit outside if the weather is good too!
Spend your morning taking a day trip to the nearby town of Saint-Émilion, famous for its vineyards and wine. It’s only 35 minutes by train. Go for a wine tasting in one of the local vineyards then get a lovely French lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, return to Bordeaux and take a river cruise on the Garonne River. There’s something about river cruises that we love, the water is so relaxing and it’s a good way to see a city from a different perspective. For dinner visit Les Halles Bacalan, a market hall full of food vendors and bars. There’s so much food to try and wines to drink! After dinner, take a walk along the Quai des Chartrons to enjoy the views of the river and the city lights.
Start your day with a visit to the Jardin Public, one of the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux. It’s a great place to relax and people-watch. In the afternoon, head to the Basilique Saint-Michel to enjoy the stunning views of the city. There are loads of cool shops close by if you fancy looking around too. Finally, attend one of Bordeaux’s many festivals and events in the evening, such as the Bordeaux Wine Festival or Fête le Vin. If none of them is on, why not visit Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux? This museum takes you through the history of winemaking in the region and even has wine-tasting sessions! It’s well worth a visit.
How to spend three days in Cannes
Morning: Begin the day with nice coffee and some pastries from a local bakery, then head to Plage du Midi beach. Soak up a bit of sun and relax on the sand. Maybe go for a quick dip to wake yourself up!
Afternoon: Treat yourself to a bit of retail therapy on Rue d’Antibes. This street is full of chic boutiques and high-end shops, perfect for shopaholics! After you’ve worked up an appetite head to Le Suquet, Cannes’ charming old town. Grab a traditional French lunch at a cosy bistro, and don’t forget to try some local specialities like a Nicoise Salad with a nice glass of rose.
Evening: Head to Quai Saint-Pierre to see the huge yachts and watch the sun go down. There are plenty of restaurants offering beautifully fresh seafood dishes. Have a few drinks and head back to the hotel.
Morning: Get the ferry to Île Sainte-Marguerite and discover the island’s hidden gems. Have a wander around the Iron Mask and Fort Royal Museum and see the cell where the island’s most famous prisoner was imprisoned. There are plenty of lush forests to explore, maybe take a picnic and have an alfresco lunch whilst looking out over Cannes and the Côte d’Azur.
Afternoon: Get a boat over to Abbaye de Lérins. An ancient monastery on Île Saint-Honorat, the second largest of the Lérins Islands. The island is still inhabited and managed by the monks that live at the monastery!
Evening: Make your way back to the mainland and visit the Musée de la Castre. A medieval castle sat on a hill overlooking the Riviera. There are plenty of exhibits to look at, the views are incredible too.
Morning: Spend the morning wandering around Le Marché Forville. This bustling market offers amazing local produce like cheeses, meats and pretty much anything else you can think of! Grab some street food for lunch or buy some local produce for a picnic.
Afternoon: See how the other half used to live at The Villa Rothschild, a stunning 18th-century mansion. This impressive villa is surrounded by well-kept gardens. Not to be confused with Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Nice.
Evening: Head over to Palais des Festivals et des Congrès to get some photos on the red carpet. You could do a tour or catch a show if there’s one on. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting at the same time as the film festival you might even catch a glimpse of some world-famous actors and celebrities.
Food and drink: 9
Culture and history: 9
Total score: 61
Food and drink: 9
Culture and history: 6
Total score: 62