One of France’s most culturally charming cities, Bordeaux has seen a surge in stylish places to stay over the last couple of years, many accommodating the elegant 18th-century dwellings dressed with honey-hued limestone façades that lend themselves so effortlessly to quirky and charismatic boutique abodes. It isn’t however all that easy to find chic accommodation under 150 euros a night in the city centre, but here is a selection:
A charming little find with five guest rooms set in a classic 18th-century Bordelais building, fully renovated to reap the rewards of all those fabulous bourgeois frills – lofty ceilings, large casement windows, grand fireplaces, parquet flooring. The property is secreted away down a side street in the Quartier Saint-Michel, part of the city’s historic centre. But not just any old side street, only the Rue Porte de la Monnaie, Bordeaux’s renowned gastronomic rue, known locally as La Rue Gourmande for its famous La Tupina restaurant. La Tupina has a mighty reputation for serving up traditional fare typical of south west France and is very much a go-to eatery in the city for its long-established excellence and quality local food. Maison Fredon is owned by the La Tupina team, and as well as their renowned restaurant and chic little chambre d’hôte, they also run four further dining experiences and an Épicerie Fine in the street, hence La Rue Gourmande. Unsurprisingly then, it’s where Rick Stein wined, dined and lodged when in Bordeaux for his BBC show Long Weekends.
* room rates 90-250 euros (including breakfast)
La Rue Gourmande © http://www.latupina.com/en/maison-d-hotes-fredon-bordeaux/
In the very heart of the city, a hop and a skip from the Hôtel de Ville, this perfectly packaged chambre d’hôte is home to three guest rooms and two suites. It occupies a beautiful limestone building typical of Bordeaux and tastefully blends the traditional interior traits with both modern and antique pieces to create an eclectic feel. The rooms are all named after wine chateaux in the region and fuse vibrantly coloured fabrics with the antique furniture, customary parquet flooring and open fireplaces to add a smidge of flavour to the 18th-century surroundings. The property also has its own wine cellar.
* room rates from 110 euros (including breakfast)
Au Coeur de Bordeaux © http://www.hotels.com
In the fashionable Chartrons district of the city, the former wine merchants’ quartier of fine 18th-century townhouses, recently revamped and now fit to bursting with brocantes (antique shops), vintage boutiques, cosy cafés and bistrots, and an all-out boho charm, you’ll find this alluring little environmentally-friendly B&B. It’s tucked away in a tiny street touching on the Rue Notre Dame, the neighbourhood’s animated main artery, between the riverside esplanade and the Chartrons Place du Marché, in a grand golden-era residence with an accent on going green. The restoration work has focused on making the premises entirely eco-friendly, using solar panels, water-saving devices, and building materials of cork, hemp, sheepswool, etc. so much so that the property has a European Ecolabel Award for energy efficiency. The five guest rooms each favour a rustic charm without compromising on comfort, and the handsome house interior is furnished in the typically French façon.
* room rates from 120 euros (including breakfast) (a cheaper attic room is available for less and is ideal for families)
Bordeaux triumphs in elegant 18th-century buildings, I think we’ve established that. But if it’s something more offbeat you’re after, this innovative hotel chain opened its doors a few years back in an ugly, modern edifice in the city centre that was once home to Gaz de France, France’s national gas company. Though don’t be put off by the bland exterior, for the inside is anything but. Quirky and contemporary, as is Mama Shelter’s signature style, the hotel has an inviting open-plan interior mixing a moody vibe with a sexy, spirited design – a Philippe Starck concept with trendy touches like colourful kids’ rubber rings circling above the bar counter. There are 97 modish rooms ranging from small to XL, all rather gratifyingly affordable given the central location. And the tour de force for this hip hangout has to be the rooftop terrace, a fun and fashionable restaurant and bar area with fine-looking views over Bordeaux.
* room rates 79-129 euros (small, medium, large and XL rooms available; breakfast is extra)
L: XL room R: restaurant © http://www.mamashelter.com/en/bordeaux/
L’Hotel Particulier itself, located on the grand Rue Vital Carles, literally an arm’s length from the St André Cathedral, is a wonderful place to stay but a little more exacting on the wallet than the courtyard studio apartments the property also provides. Although not as plush as the hotel guest rooms, with their original French features and period pieces, the more modern apartments offer reasonable rates in an unrivalled location and at a particularly eye-catching property. This classic Bordeaux townhouse has a delightful inner courtyard around which the apartments cluster, the perfect setting for an apéritif, particularly as there is also a wine shop on the premises, as well as an 18th-century underground wine cellar. Guests are tendered a little wine tasting too. Can’t be bad!
* standard studio apartments from 110 euros; superior apartments from 140 euros (family apartments also available)
L: superior studio R: entrance to L’Hotel Particulier © http://www.myboutiquehotel.com
Located in a lovely residential neighbourhood, yet a very short walk from the historic centre, L’Arène looks out over the remains of Bordeaux’s Roman amphitheatre, Le Palais Gallien. It’s also alongside the Jardin Public, an attractive city park that’s much loved with the locals. Although accommodated in a renovated, 200-year-old residence, the five guest rooms have a contemporary design using bold colours to contrast old and new. The interior communal area and courtyard are comfortable and inviting. The quiet setting, informal ambience and immediacy to the centre make this an ideal base for those after serenity in the city.
* from 125 euros per night for 2 nights or 105 euros for a small room (breakfast not included)