Bordeaux is famous for its vineyards and its top wine. When you’re in the city center, you’ll want to visit the Place de la Bourse and its reflecting pool along the Garonne River, as well as the Saint André Cathedral and shopping on Rue Sainte-Catherine. Your trip to Bordeaux won’t be complete without a day trip to a Bordeaux vineyard like one in the Saint-Émilion area. There are over 30 car rental locations in Bordeaux’s center and its airport. It shouldn’t be difficult to find an affordable or cheap car rental in Bordeaux either. Parking in the city is regulated by meters and is free on Sundays. There are car-free zones throughout Bordeaux so keep an eye out for any restrictions.
While visiting, is it worthwhile to rent a car while visiting Bordeaux?
Bordeaux is a walkable city and there are trams and other public transportation that can get you around as well. A car rental in Bordeaux is definitely necessary to explore the wine region, and while you’re downtown, you can leave it parked outside of the city center. Saint-Émilion is home to some of the best wine in the world and the town was also named a UNESCO heritage site. Saint-Émilion is less than an hour east if you have a car rental in Bordeaux. The amazing scenery of Île de Ré and La Rochelle are just a bit over two hours north of the city with your passenger van rental.
What different driving laws should I keep in mind while driving in Bordeaux?
Bordeaux has a great road infrastructure and is mostly well-maintained. In Bordeaux and the rest of France, they drive on the right-hand side of the street and they use kilometers per hour for speed limits. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers in your rental car in Bordeaux and children under the age of 10 must sit in the back seat. Like a lot of European cities, traffic circles are frequent, so remember to yield to the vehicles already circling. The blood-alcohol limit in France is very strict so we recommend you leave your Bordeaux car rental behind if you plan on having a drink. Look up the securité routière, Bordeaux’s department of motor vehicles, to make sure there aren't any traffic law updates.
Will I need a special driver’s license or permit to drive a rental car in Bordeaux if I’m visiting from another country?
You’ll have to be over a certain age, depending on the agency, to get a car rental in Bordeaux, as well as having a credit card and a valid driver’s license. You also have to have held your license for at least one or two years depending on the company. The type of vehicle may be limited to only compact or economy car rentals for young drivers. If you’re traveling to France from another country and your country's driver’s license is not in the Latin alphabet, the car rental agency will probably ask for an International Driver’s Permit along with your original driver’s document.