Bordeaux or Cannes – Which City Will You Visit?

Bordeaux or Cannes

Bordeaux or Cannes – Which city should you visit?

When it comes to the quintessential French experience, two cities often pop up in conversations: Bordeaux, the world-renowned wine region, and Cannes, famous for its glamorous film festival. Now, I know what you’re thinking – how can one possibly choose between these two extraordinary destinations?

In this post, I’ll dive deep into the heart of each city, comparing its unique charms, offerings, and quirks. By the end, my aim is to give you a clearer picture of what you can expect from Bordeaux and Cannes, helping you decide which city aligns best with your travel aspirations. Whether you’re a wine aficionado, a film buff, or just an avid traveller eager to explore new vistas, this comparison guide is for you.

Stay tuned, and let’s explore these two remarkable French cities together.


Now, if you’re a wine lover, you’re probably already grinning because Bordeaux is like the holy grail of vineyards. Nestled in the southwest of France, this city is famed for producing some of the world’s finest wines. But it’s not just about the wine here.

Bordeaux is a city that wears its history proudly. It’s got grand squares lined with elegant 18th-century buildings, bustling street markets, and stunning gardens. Stroll along the Garonne River at sunset and you’ll quickly understand why it’s often referred to as ‘Little Paris’. And foodies, don’t feel left out because Bordeaux’s culinary scene is every bit as enticing as its wines!


Known worldwide for its famous film festival, Cannes truly is a star of the Côte d’Azur. Here, you can wander along La Croisette, a boulevard lined with palm trees and luxury boutiques, with the sparkling Mediterranean Sea as your backdrop.

The Old Town, known as Le Suquet, offers a change of pace with its winding streets and panoramic views of the city and sea. But Cannes isn’t just about the glitz and glamour. It’s also a city with beautiful sandy beaches, splendid villas, and a rich history. Whether you’re looking for luxury, culture, or simply a place to relax in the sun, Cannes has got everything.

While we’re comparing Bordeaux and Cannes in this post, we’ve also looked at how Bordeaux stacks up against other cities like Nice and Marseille. We’ve linked to those articles below if you want to take a look!

Bordeaux or Nice

Bordeaux or Marseille

Pros and Cons of Bordeaux and Cannes

Bordeaux Pros:

  • Wine Culture: Renowned globally for its wine, Bordeaux is a paradise for wine lovers with its many world-class vineyards offering tours and tastings.
  • UNESCO Heritage: The city’s historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting historical monuments and architectural gems.
  • Vibrant Food Scene: With its abundance of markets, bakeries, and restaurants, Bordeaux presents the best of regional cuisine.
  • Scenic Riverfront: The city’s beautiful Garonne riverfront is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride.

Bordeaux Cons:

  • Higher Cost: The cost of living and visiting Bordeaux can be higher than in other French cities, particularly during the peak tourist season.
  • Crowded: Particularly during the summer and the wine harvest season, Bordeaux can become quite crowded.

Cannes Pros:

  • Beaches and Sun: Famous for its sun-soaked beaches along the French Riviera, Cannes provides luxurious seaside relaxation.
  • Glamour and Film Festival: Known for its glamour, particularly during the annual Cannes Film Festival, the city attracts celebrities and cinema lovers worldwide.
  • Shopping: The city offers high-end shopping experiences, especially around the famous La Croisette Boulevard.
  • Proximity to other Riviera towns: Cannes serves as a great base for exploring other glamorous towns on the French Riviera, such as Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez.

Cannes Cons:

  • Pricey: Cannes can be quite expensive, especially during the peak season and the Cannes Film Festival.
  • Less Historical and Cultural Offerings: Compared to Bordeaux, Cannes is not as rich in historical sites and cultural experiences.
  • Overcrowded during events: The city can become incredibly crowded during high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival.

Which City Has Better Food? Bordeaux or Cannes?

Food forms an integral part of any travel experience. Both Bordeaux and Cannes present a wide range of amazing foods that will get anyone’s mouth-watering. Let’s have a look at the food scene in both cities.

Bordeaux, renowned globally as the wine capital, is also a food lover’s paradise where cuisine and wine live in perfect harmony. The city’s food scene is an ode to its regional ingredients and French culinary traditions. You can indulge in an array of seafood delicacies fresh from the nearby Atlantic coast, particularly oysters, which are a regional speciality.

The city’s hallmark dish, “Entrecôte à la Bordelaise” – a rib steak cooked in a rich gravy made from Bordeaux wine, bone marrow, shallots, and butter, is a must-try for any food lover. And let’s not forget about the famous canelés – small, caramelised pastries filled with soft custard, a Bordeaux speciality that cannot be missed!

Cannes, nestled along the glittering French Riviera, promises a gastronomic journey that is as glamorous as its locale. The food scene here beautifully mirrors the Mediterranean’s freshness and the region’s opulence. Seafood and fish, fresh from the morning catch, feature prominently in the local cuisine.

The classic “Bouillabaisse”, a traditional Provençal fish stew, is a highlight in many of the city’s waterfront restaurants. Cannes is also known for its take on the Niçoise salad, using fresh, local produce. Not to mention, the city’s patisseries and chocolate shops, which are absolutely decadent.

In conclusion, the ‘best’ food can be highly subjective and largely depends on individual preferences. If you’re fond of wine-infused dishes and have a penchant for seafood, Bordeaux’s culinary offerings might be more appealing to you. However, if you enjoy fresh Mediterranean flavours and love seafood with a hint of glamour, Cannes might just be your foodie paradise.

Which City is Better For Couples? Bordeaux or Cannes?

Bordeaux is a historic city known for its stunning architecture and famous vineyards. Here, you can take a relaxing walk by the Garonne River, visit some world-class wineries, or enjoy a nice dinner in one of the city’s many restaurants. The city’s rich history and wine culture give it a unique charm that many couples appreciate.

On the other hand, Cannes offers a bit of glitz and glamour with its famous film festival and beautiful beaches. If you and your partner enjoy a lively atmosphere, fancy restaurants, and spending time by the sea, Cannes could be the perfect destination for you.

In the end, the best city for you and your partner will depend on what kind of experiences you’re looking for. Bordeaux is perfect for couples looking for a laid-back and cultured getaway, while Cannes is great for those wanting a bit more excitement and luxury.

Which City is Better For Families? Bordeaux or Cannes?

When it comes to planning a family trip, the priorities shift a bit. Both Bordeaux and Cannes have a lot to offer, but let’s break down the specifics.

Bordeaux is a city that truly offers something for everyone, making it a fantastic option for families. With its world-class museums, expansive public gardens, and engaging river cruises, there’s no shortage of family-friendly activities.

Children can learn about science in a fun way at the Cap Sciences, explore the interactive displays at the Bordeaux Natural History Museum, or enjoy a picnic and outdoor games in the beautiful Public Garden. Plus, the city’s food scene offers plenty of options for even the pickiest eaters.

If your family loves the beach, Cannes is the obvious choice. With its sandy beaches and calm, clear waters, the city is a paradise for families who love to swim, build sandcastles, or simply enjoy the sun.

But Cannes offers more than just its beaches. You can take your children to the Museum of the Sea on Saint Marguerite Island, visit the fascinating La Malmaison Art Center, or take a fun ride on the tourist train around the city. Plus, the city’s open-air markets provide a vibrant sensory experience for all ages.

So, would your family prefer the diverse cultural attractions of Bordeaux or the sunny, beach-centric allure of Cannes?

Which City is Better For Partying? Bordeaux or Cannes?

The French know how to party, and both Bordeaux and Cannes offer unique nightlife experiences. But depending on your preferences, you may find one city more appealing than the other.

Bordeaux’s nightlife scene offers a healthy mix of sophistication and laid-back vibes. The city is filled with stylish wine bars where you can sample the region’s famous vintages. For those seeking a more energetic atmosphere, Bordeaux has a good number of clubs and live music venues.

The riverfront Quai de Paludate comes alive at night, buzzing with locals and tourists enjoying the eclectic mix of bars and clubs. Additionally, Bordeaux’s student population adds to the city’s vibrant nightlife, particularly in areas like the Saint Pierre district.

Cannes, as expected, offers a more upscale nightlife experience. The city is renowned for its glamorous parties, particularly during the Cannes Film Festival. The city’s high-end clubs and bars attract a jet-set crowd and are known for their beach parties and live DJ sets.

The nightlife in Cannes is centred around the iconic La Croisette Boulevard, where you’ll find many of the city’s most glamorous venues. However, for a more relaxed evening, you could head to Le Suquet, the old town, which offers a variety of quaint bars and cafes.

So, which city’s nightlife scene speaks to you? The chic yet relaxed vibe of Bordeaux or the high-energy glamour of Cannes?

Which City is Safer? Bordeaux or Cannes?

Safety is always a priority when you’re travelling, and both Bordeaux and Cannes have solid reputations in this regard. Let’s examine the specifics.

Bordeaux generally enjoys a reputation as a safe city. Its crime rates are relatively low, especially violent crime. That being said, like any urban area, it has its share of petty crime such as pickpocketing and minor theft, particularly in more tourist-heavy areas.

As a rule of thumb, basic precautions like keeping an eye on your belongings, being aware of your surroundings, and avoiding poorly lit areas late at night can go a long way towards ensuring your safety.

Cannes, often frequented by the rich and famous, is also generally considered safe. The city has a strong police presence, particularly during high-profile events like the Cannes Film Festival.

However, similar to Bordeaux, petty thefts do occur, especially in crowded tourist spots or beaches. Also, be mindful of overly friendly strangers or street gamblers as they might be trying to distract you.

In conclusion, while both cities are relatively safe, it’s always important to exercise common sense and follow local guidelines to ensure your safety.

How long to stay in Bordeaux

Figuring out the ideal duration for your stay in Bordeaux can be tricky. As someone who’s been there, I can tell you that the city has enough to keep you occupied for days. However, the optimal length of your stay depends largely on what you want to do and see.

If you’re in Bordeaux primarily for the wine, you’ll want at least a few days. This will allow you to visit several châteaux, take part in wine tastings, and possibly engage in a wine-making workshop. Remember, the Bordeaux wine region is vast, and it’s worth taking the time to explore it thoroughly.

For those interested in the city’s rich history and culture, a two to three-day stay might be sufficient. This should give you enough time to visit major attractions like the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, the Musée d’Aquitaine, and the contemporary art installations at CAPC, not to mention leisurely strolls along the Garonne River and through the charming city streets.

However, if you’re like me and enjoy immersing yourself in the local culture, you might want to stay longer. A week in Bordeaux would give you ample time to visit the city’s attractions, dine in its best restaurants, explore the surrounding vineyards, and simply soak up the atmosphere.

How long to stay in Cannes

Determining how long to stay in Cannes depends on what you’re looking to get out of your visit. With its sunny beaches, luxurious lifestyle, and vibrant cultural scene, Cannes has something for everyone.

For those looking to enjoy the sun and sand, a weekend getaway might suffice. This gives you time to soak up the sun on Cannes’ beautiful beaches, take a leisure stroll along the glamorous La Croisette Boulevard, and perhaps enjoy a meal at a seaside restaurant.

However, if you’re interested in exploring Cannes’ cultural attractions, such as the Le Suquet old town, the Musée de la Castre, or the various art galleries around town, a stay of three to four days would be more suitable. This will allow you to experience these attractions without feeling rushed.

For a more relaxed pace and time to explore beyond Cannes itself, consider a stay of a week or longer. This would give you ample time to enjoy day trips to the nearby Lerins Islands or other charming towns along the French Riviera like Nice, Antibes, and Saint-Tropez.

Which City is More Budget Friendly? Bordeaux or Cannes?

When it comes to the question of budget, both cities have their own set of pros and cons. Ultimately, your budget may be determined more by your individual travel preferences and lifestyle than by the city itself.

Bordeaux: Generally, Bordeaux can be considered more budget-friendly than Cannes. The cost of accommodation, eating out, and entertainment tend to be more affordable. Its free and low-cost attractions, like the Miroir d’Eau and the city’s numerous parks, along with its pedestrian-friendly layout, make Bordeaux a hit with budget-conscious travellers.

Cannes: Cannes, with its reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, tends to be more expensive, particularly during events like the Cannes Film Festival. However, it’s still possible to visit Cannes on a budget. Public beaches offer a cost-free way to enjoy Cannes’ beautiful coastline, and many of the city’s iconic sites, such as La Croisette and the Le Suquet district, can be explored for free. Additionally, the city has a variety of accommodation and dining options catering to different budgets.

In conclusion, while Bordeaux might generally be kinder to your wallet, both cities offer a range of options to suit different budget levels. It’s always a good idea to plan and research in advance to make the most of your travel budget.

How much is food and drink in Bordeaux and Cannes?

Item Bordeaux (€) Cannes (€)
Beer €5-€7 €6-€8
Glass of wine €3-€10 €5-€12
Coffee €1.50-€3 €2-€4
Meal at a midrange restaurant €15-€30 €25-€50

How much is it to stay in Bordeaux or Cannes?

Type Bordeaux (€) Cannes (€)
Luxury Hotel €200-€500 (or higher) €300-€1000 (or higher)
Midrange Hotel €80-€150 €100-€300
Budget Hotel €40-€70 €60-€100
Hostel €20-€40 €20-€40

When is the best time to visit Bordeaux?

Choosing the perfect time to visit Bordeaux can be as important as deciding what to see and do. The city has a temperate oceanic climate, which means it can be visited at any time of the year, but some seasons offer unique experiences.

Spring (March to May) in Bordeaux is a beautiful time, with moderate temperatures and the vineyards coming alive with new growth. This is a great time to visit if you’re interested in wine, as many châteaux begin to offer tours and tastings for the new season.

Summers (June to August) in Bordeaux are warm and sunny, perfect for exploring the city’s historical sites or enjoying a cruise on the Garonne River. This is also the time for numerous festivals such as the Bordeaux Wine Festival and the River Festival, offering an extra layer of entertainment for visitors.

Autumn (September to November) is grape harvest time, a significant event in any wine region. This season allows visitors to experience the winemaking process firsthand. The weather during this period remains pleasant, and the changing colours of the vine leaves add an extra charm to the city’s surroundings.

Winter (December to February) in Bordeaux is relatively mild, with fewer tourists around. While not the peak season for outdoor activities, it’s the perfect time to explore the city’s museums, enjoy its culinary delights, and perhaps get a chance to attend the Bordeaux Christmas Market.

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.

When is the best time to visit Cannes?

Spring (March to May) is a fantastic time to visit Cannes, especially if you’re a film enthusiast. The Cannes Film Festival, held annually in May, turns the city into a global hotspot for film lovers. Be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices during this period, though. Weather-wise, the temperatures are generally pleasant, perfect for exploring the city and nearby attractions.

Summer (June to August) in Cannes is all about the beach. The weather is typically warm, with lots of sunshine – perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and other beach activities. Outdoor festivals and events are common during this season, adding to the city’s lively atmosphere.

Autumn (September to November) in Cannes offers a more serene experience. The summer crowds have dispersed, leaving the city quieter and more peaceful. This is an excellent time to enjoy the city’s cultural attractions, as well as the beautiful autumn scenery of the French Riviera.

Winter (December to February) is the low season in Cannes, with fewer tourists and lower prices. The weather is generally mild, and while it may not be beach weather, it’s still pleasant enough for strolls along La Croisette or visits to nearby towns.

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!

Average Monthly Temperatures

Month Bordeaux High / Low (°C) Bordeaux Rain Cannes High / Low (°C) Cannes Rain
January 10° / 3° 12 days 13° / 4° 6 days
February 12° / 3° 10 days 14° / 4° 5 days
March 15° / 5° 10 days 16° / 6° 5 days
April 17° / 7° 10 days 18° / 9° 6 days
May 21° / 11° 10 days 22° / 13° 5 days
June 24° / 14° 8 days 25° / 16° 3 days
July 27° / 15° 6 days 28° / 19° 1 day
August 27° / 15° 7 days 28° / 19° 2 days
September 24° / 13° 8 days 25° / 15° 4 days
October 19° / 10° 9 days 21° / 12° 6 days
November 14° / 6° 12 days 17° / 7° 7 days
December 11° / 3° 11 days 14° / 4° 5 days

Please note that the data includes the average high and low temperatures in Celsius (°C) and the number of rainfall days per month for Bordeaux and Cannes.

Getting around

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

  1. Place de la Bourse: One of the city’s most iconic sights, Place de la Bourse is a must-see. Be sure to check out the ‘Miroir d’Eau’, the world’s largest reflecting pool, located directly across from the square.
  2. La Cité du Vin: A modern museum dedicated to the world of wine, La Cité du Vin is a unique experience. Learn about the wine production process and enjoy tastings with an amazing view of the city.
  3. Saint-André Cathedral: This impressive Gothic cathedral offers a stunning view over Bordeaux from its bell tower, Tour Pey-Berland.
  4. Rue Sainte-Catherine: As one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, Rue Sainte-Catherine is perfect for shopping enthusiasts. It’s lined with a variety of shops and restaurants, offering a real taste of Bordeaux’s vibrant culture.
  5. Bordeaux Riverfront: Take a stroll along the picturesque Garonne River, which offers lovely views of Bordeaux’s historic facades. Consider a river cruise to truly appreciate the city’s beauty.

Top things to do in Cannes

  1. La Croisette Boulevard: Cannes’ most famous promenade offers stunning sea views, luxury shops, and first-class restaurants. It’s also home to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, where the Cannes Film Festival is held.
  2. Le Suquet (Old Town): A charming area with narrow winding streets, the Old Town offers a break from Cannes’ glitz. Don’t miss the spectacular views from the historic watchtower and church at the top.
  3. Lerins Islands: Just a short ferry ride from Cannes, these islands are perfect for a day trip. Visit the historic Fort Royal on Sainte-Marguerite Island and the Cistercian monastery on Saint-Honorat Island.
  4. Cannes’ Beaches: Cannes is famous for its beaches. Whether you choose a private beach with amenities or a public beach, it’s a must for any visit.
  5.  Marché Forville: For a local experience, visit this daily market where you’ll find a range of fresh produce, cheeses, and other regional delicacies.

How to spend three days in Bordeaux

Day 1: Discover the City Centre

Start your Bordeaux adventure in the city centre. Begin at the Place de la Bourse and marvel at its grandeur. Don’t forget to take a memorable picture at the Miroir d’Eau. Continue to Rue Sainte-Catherine for a spot of shopping and lunch. In the afternoon, explore the Gothic Saint-André Cathedral and climb the Tour Pey-Berland for panoramic city views. End your day with a delicious dinner at a restaurant in the historic Saint-Pierre district.

Day 2: Dive into Wine and Culture

Begin your second day at La Cité du Vin. Immerse yourself in the world of wine and enjoy a tasting with a view. After lunch, head to the Musée d’Aquitaine to learn about Bordeaux’s history from prehistoric times to the present. Spend the rest of the afternoon at the CAPC, Bordeaux’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Finish the day with a relaxing dinner at the Chartrons district, known for its wine trading history and trendy eateries.

Day 3: Explore the Outskirts

On your last day, consider exploring beyond the city. Take a half-day tour of the Saint-Émilion wine region, where you can visit vineyards, enjoy tastings, and discover the charming namesake village. Back in Bordeaux, spend the rest of your afternoon strolling along the Garonne River, or explore the Public Garden for a leisurely end to your trip.

How to spend three days in Cannes

Day 1: Explore the City and La Croisette

Start your Cannes journey by taking a leisurely stroll down La Croisette Boulevard. Visit the famous Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and walk in the footsteps of the movie stars. Spend the rest of your morning exploring the luxury shops and enjoying the sea views. After lunch, hit one of Cannes’ stunning beaches for some relaxation. Round off your day with a lovely dinner at one of the seafront restaurants.

Day 2: Discover the Old Town and Islands

Spend your second day exploring Le Suquet, the Old Town. Wander its quaint, winding streets, enjoy the local shops and cafes, and take in the stunning views from the top. After lunch, catch a ferry to the Lerins Islands. Explore the historic Fort Royal on Sainte-Marguerite Island and the Cistercian monastery on Saint-Honorat Island. Return to Cannes for dinner, perhaps choosing a restaurant in Le Suquet for its charming atmosphere.

Day 3: Enjoy the Local Culture and Scenery

On your final day, visit Marché Forville in the morning to explore the local produce and delicacies. Consider a picnic lunch with your market purchases at one of the local parks or beaches. In the afternoon, visit the Musée de la Castre for its collection of Mediterranean and Eastern artefacts, not to mention fantastic panoramic views from the tower. Conclude your visit to Cannes with a farewell dinner at a restaurant offering Provençal specialities.

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