Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Following the closure of all public places “non-essential” to public life including restaurants, cafes, cinemas and discos which took effect at midnight on March 14th, president Emmanuel Macron put the country into almost total lockdown on from March 17th until May 11th and then extended until July 24th. Rules forbid people from leaving home unless strictly necessary, banned them from meeting others, and required people to keep a distance of one metre from others when shopping, getting medical help, or at work not done from home.
100,000 police were deployed to enforce the lockdown, with checkpoints across the country, and fines of up to 135 euros for those not observing the restrictions. Entry into the E.U. Schengen zone had been banned. Anybody entering France has to remain confined for two weeks.
A May 11th gradual lifting of some lockdown measures includes the re-opening of many shops and the return of remote-working staff to their offices. Borders are set to reopen with Switzerland and Germany from June 15th. Masks are mandatory on public transport. Restaurants and bars may begin to reopen on June 2nd. There are reduced cross-Channel ferry service, and Eurostar has limited Paris and London service. Some flights are operating. Until at least July a coronavirus health certificate will be required and other restrictions imposed on entry.
Most people know this city because it lends its name to one of the most famous types of wines, but Bordeaux also happens to be one of France’s most vibrant cities. It’s filled with museums, theaters, and grand churches that are a reminder that this has long been the center of great wealth.
That’s not to diminish the importance of wine to the local economy. Among your first stops as you head out into wine country should be the Maisons du Vin. You’ll learn a lot about the local cash crop and names like Margaux, Lafite, and Mouton-Rothchild. There are six guided routes around the various local wine districts.
The gay scene in Bordeaux comes alive at night, with many gay and gay-friendly bars and clubs downtown. Lesbian and Gay Pride Bordeaux takes place each June, and Cinémarges, the LGBT film festival, has screenings throughout the year.
Aéroport de Bordeaux-Mérignac, about 7 miles from the center of the city, has mostly domestic flights. From Terminal Hall B, at the arrivals level, the Bordeaux Airport Navette Shuttle operates a direct connection every 30 minutes (in normal traffic conditions) between Bordeaux Airport and the central Bordeaux Train Station - a trip of 30 minutes - every day, year-round, for 8€. For bus connections to the TBC tram network, special transport services, and taxi information, see access & transport at the airport website.
This is a major train hub, so you can catch a train to Bordeaux from almost anywhere in France. See SNCF for national and international train services.
Bordeaux has a modern and extensive public transportation system, the TBC, with buses, trams, downtown free electric buses and a water shuttle. Regional rail service links Bordeaux with Archachon, the Medoc and other nearby areas. See the TER-Aquitaine website for details. If you want to explore wine country, you’ll need a car.
Currency and Money
France is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. There are plenty of ATMs in the downtown area.
Media & Resources
Guide gay de Bordeaux has listings for hotels, bars, saunas, restaurants, beaches and other LGBT and general places of interest around town.
Gay Voyageur Bordeaux is another online news and listings resource in French and English, but not as well updated. See Gay Viking and WAG Mag for LGBTQ guides to cities and towns up and down the Atlantic coast, Western France and beyond.
Wake Up, the LGBTQ student group at the University of Bordeaux/ Pessac, sponsors film screenings, speakers, social events and activist workshops.
Têtu is the national gay magazine, packed with interesting features and profiles. It’s also one of the slickest gay magazines ever produced.
For gay and gay-friendly businesses, with map locations and web links, see our gay Bordeaux listings pages.
Acanthe Hotel (12-14, rue Saint-Remi; 33 5 5681-6658), 20 central rooms/baths, low-moderate prices, TV/WiFi, phone.
Best Western Bordeaux Bayonne Etche-Ona Hotel (4 rue Martignac; 33 5 5648-0088), 61 ensuite rooms/suites, gourmand buffet breakfast, WiFi.
Hôtel de France (7 rue Franklin; 33 5 5648-2411), bright 1-3 person rooms, panoramic views, satellite TV, WiFi, breakfast, near deluxe shops, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and museums.
Hotel de la Presse (8 rue Porte Dijeaux; 33 5 5648-5388), 27 modern, moderate-price rooms, satellite TV, WiFi, breakfast.
Hôtel de Normandie (7 cours du 30 Juillet; 33 5 5652-1680), standard and luxury ensuite rooms by place des Quinconcess, terraces, balconies, breakfast.
Hôtel de Seze (23, allées de Tourny; 33 5 5614-1616), 55 rooms/suites, restaurant, bar/lounge, spa hammam/sauna, Jacuzzi, massage, golf, buffet breakfast; Le Comptoir de Seze Restaurant dining, Sunday brunch.
Hotel La Porte Dijeaux (4 rue Bouffard; 33 5 5681-8501), 27 ensuite rooms, moderate prices, TV, WiFi, in-room breakfast, restaurant and theater reservations.
Hotel Majestic (2 rue de Condé; 33 5 5652-6044), 47 unique décor rooms near Grand Théâtre, TV, WiFi, buffet breakfast, guest laundry.
La Maison Bord'eaux (113, rue Docteur Albert Barraud; 33 5 5644-0045), central boutique hotel, 6 rooms, bath or shower, wine bar, breakfast buffet.
L'Hôtel Particulier (44 rue Vital Carles; 33 5 5788-2880), 19th-century townhouse rooms near Opera House, studio apartments, tea room, buffet breakfast.
Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre (27, rue du Parlement Sainte Catherine; 33 5 5681-9512), 82 spacious, bright, ensuite rooms, satellite TV, WiFi.
Une Chambre en Ville (35 rue Bouffard; 33 5 5681-3453), downtown B&B rooms/suites/baths, TV, phone, internet.
La Sauvageonne B&B (2 Les Mauvillains, Saint-Palais/Gironde; 33-5-5732-9215), 18th century building north of Bordeaux, 4 holiday suites, 2 self-catering cottages, and main manor on 8 acres of woodlands and vineyards of Côte de Blaye; flower gardens, large swimming pool,sauna and Jacuzzi.
Buster (34 rue de Cursol), nightly men's leather/fetish bar, code, jock/naked/fist events, Mr Leather Aquitaine contest, DJs, Bear Sundays. Former Code Bar.
Coco Loko (3 rue Dufour Dubergier), 6pm-2am gay/mixed bar/pub, games, theme nights
La Comtesse (25 rue du Parlement Saint-Pierre), wine and cocktails bar, Mohito speciality, terrace..
L'Autre Petit Bois (12 place du Parlement), wine bar, teahouse, cafe/bar; special events.
Le LS Café (297 boulevard Albert 1er, Bègles), Wednesday-Saturday cozy women's bar, karaoke, Latin nights, tapas, terrace.
Life (7 rue du Parlement Saint-Pierre), cocktail bar, cafe, and terrace; burgers, pizza, full meals, deserts, wines.
Marikita Bar (14 quai Richelieu), exotic, futuristic sounds and lights music bar, electro-house, tapas, cocktails, covered terrace.
Le Trou Duck (33 rue des Pilliers de Tutelle), glam/chic/trash dance club, shows, theme parties, open daily 2pm - 2am.
Ultra Klubs (22 place André Meunier), Thursday-Saturday mixed gay-friendly dance club, drag shows, smoking area.
CLOSED: Azuli Bar (55 cours d'Alsace-Lorraine); Bateau Ivre (1 rue Fénelon); La Dame de Shanghai (1 quai Armand Lalande); KitchBar (16, cours de l'Argonne); L'Ours Marin (2 rue des Boucheries); Stéréo Klubs (15 rue de Candale); Le Trou Duck (33 rue Piliers de Tutelle).
Saunas & Sex Clubs
Sauna Hugo (9 rue de l'Observance) - CLOSED - gay men's sauna, hammam, sex club, massages, porn videos, bar, smoking room; Total Blackout parties, foam parties and After's afterhours dance events from 1am to noon.
Sauna St Jean (7 Rue de Tauzia), men's sauna/steam, private cabins; blackout, underwear, naked, foam and bears events.
Sauna Thiers (329 avenue Thiers), men's saunas, Jacuzzi, pool, cabins, maze, dark room, g-holes, massages, bar; youths-for-free and naked nights.
Traxx (38 bis Rue Arnaud Miqueu), men's sex club, cabins, rooms, sling, prison, dark room, cruise maze, glory holes, porn videos, sex shop, internet access.
Beija Flor (13 rue Villedieu), food, rythmes and ambiance of Brazil, dinner show dancers.
Café Maritime (1 quai Armand Lalande), dockside French restaurant/ brasserie, lunch and dinner, wine and cocktails.
I.Boat (quai Armand Lallande, Wet Dock 1), dockside boat Tuesday-Saturday lunch and dinner, tapas; live music concerts, nightclub.
Le Chien de Pavlov (45-47 rue de la Devise), rustic stonework, oak tables, bistro bugers to full meal entreées/ plats; wines, brunch.
Food & the Game (17 rue Elie Gintrac), daily menu on the slate from fresh, seasonal foods, veggie options; games to play.
Le Gabriel (10 place de la Bourse), Michelin star gourmet restaurant, bistro bar.
Le Mushroom Café (5 rue George Bonnac), gay-friendly mixed bar/cafe, good and inexpensive beers on tap.
Le Plana Café (22 place de la Victoire), grande terrasse traditional brasserie, 8am-2am daily, 12€ lunchtime plat du jour.
Le Café De La Poste (5 place St Projet), bar/brasserie, restaurant pizza, pâtes, salads, sandwiches.
L'Oiseau Cabosse (30 rue Sainte-Colombe), cozy cafe/pizzeria, soups, coffee/tea/chocolate, deserts.
Makila Kafé (hangar, 17 quai de Bacalan), riverside cafe/bar, open daily, meats/fish, omelets, salads, deserts.
Restaurant du Loup (66 rue du Loup), classic foie gras specialties, prix fixe lunch/dinner menus.
For Brits who had their marmalade or Marmite confiscated from carry-on luggage when flying in, there are cafes, pubs and shops pour les envies anglais, with all the English stuff in the Dordogne town of Eymet just east of Bordeaux. The British population here, now at about 15%, is growing with the impending threat of Brexit.