Mention Bordeaux to most people, and the first image that they’ll most likely conjure up is a glass of wine. The Romans planted the first vineyards in the region a little over 2000 years ago, and Bordeaux’s various chateaux now produce somewhere in the region of 700-800 million bottles of the stuff each year, so it’s a reputation well deserved. Some of the most famous names in wine are connected with the region. One way or another, if you’re visiting during the tournament you’re unlikely to go far without experiencing a good drop of the red or white stuff along the way.
Built on the banks of the Garonne, Bordeaux is one of France’s largest cities by area, and is a cosmopolitan setting very much on the upswing. A lot of regeneration work has gone into the city, not least in the city’s brand new stadium, but particularly by the riverside Quais area, which alongside the stunning architecture in the historic centre (it’s home to more listed buildings than any other city in France outside Paris) provides a great mix of the old and the new.
The city is a political heavyweight, too, with former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Alain Juppé leading the city from the mayor’s office. A big student town, there’s a lively nightlife scene, a distinct international flavour to proceedings, and plenty going on.
**Department **- Gironde
Population - 240,000
Average June temperature - 19.3 C
All fixtures local time (BST +1 hour).
**Group Stages **
Saturday 11 June, 18.00: Wales v Slovakia – Group B
Tuesday 14 June, 18.00: Austria v Hungary – Group F
Saturday 18 June, 15.00: Belgium v Republic of Ireland – Group E
Tuesday 21 June, 21.00: Croatia v Spain – Group D
Saturday 2 July, 21.00: Winner Match 5 v Winner Match 7
Bordeaux’s main airport, Mérignac, is located around 12km to the west of the city.
It serves mostly connections to charter tourism destinations in Europe, but there are around 20 flights a day to Paris (both Charles de Gaulle and Orly) as well as flights to UK and Ireland destinations with the following airlines
Aer Lingus - Dublin
British Airways - London Gatwick
Easyjet - London Gatwick, London Luton (and seasonal to Belfast International, Bristol, Glasgow International and Liverpool)
Flybe - Seasonal to Birmingham and Southampton
Ryanair - Edinburgh and London Stansted (and seasonal to Cork)
Getting to the city from the airport is pretty straightforward - an express shuttle bus (Jet Bus) leaves every 45 minutes from Terminal B costing €7.20 (€6 for under 26s and over 60s) and runs direct to the tourist office at Place de Quinconces (site of the fanzone) and Place Gambetta in the city centre, and to the Barrière Judaïque bus and coach station to the west of the city. The first departure is at 8am and services run until 11pm.
The bus runs the same route in return, from Gare Saint Jean. The first departures to the airport are at 6am on weekdays, and 7am on weekends. The last outward journey leaves at 9pm. The journey takes around 30 minutes.
A taxi to/from the airport to the city centre will set you back somewhere in the region of €50.
Local public transport is another option - the Number 1 bus route runs from outside arrivals and costs just €1.50 to get to the city. Be warned, though, that it’s a local bus route and can get busy with commuters and local residents. It’s not equipped for large amounts of luggage, and it is a less direct route than the airport shuttle.
Another option is to travel as far as Lycée Merignac (around 15 minutes) where the route intersects with the local tramline.
Tickets are valid for an hour from time of purchase, so you can change here with the same ticket and travel onwards to the city. They can be bought from the machine using credit/debit cards, or from the driver onboard.
Gare Saint Jean is located at the south-east edge of town, a couple of kilometres (around a 10 minute tram ride) from the historic centre. Around 25 trains a day leave for Paris, with a journey time of around 3 hours, as well as other TGV connections to Toulouse, Marseille and Montpellier (4 to 5 hours).
There are also Intercité services to Toulouse, Montpellier, Marseille and Nice which don’t require reservations, as well as destinations like Limoges, Nantes and La Rochelle. The station is also served by the TER (Transport Express Régionale) trains to destinations like Angouleme, Perigeux, Pau and the Atlantic coast.
The station is on Tramline C, which will take you to the city centre for €1.50. Please note that the machines don’t accept notes, so you will need some loose change (or a French bank card) to continue your journey.