As we were planning our trip to France, we knew we wanted to visit Paris, then Nice, and end our journey in Bordeaux. We also knew we wanted to take the train from Paris to Nice (read post on “How to Get from Paris to nice via Train” here), but we were debating how we should get from Nice to Bordeaux. Should we drive, fly, or take the train? If we drove, we could see the countryside and stop in a few cute towns along the way. If we flew, we could get there much faster, but couldn’t see the countryside or visit any other towns. If we took the train, we could see the countryside, but couldn’t make any stops. We settled on driving from Nice to Bordeaux in one day and stopped at a few towns along the way, but we would not recommend this option for anyone else as several things came up that were not expected.
DRIVING FROM NICE TO BORDEAUX
We packed our bags in Nice, picked up our rental car in the morning, and headed west — Bordeaux, here we come! We had a wonderful time in Nice, but wine country was calling our name. Feel free to read our first experience at the Sauternais Chateaus here, ““5 Souternais Chateaus, 3 Failures, 2 Tastings, and 1 New Love . Driving from Nice to Bordeaux was scheduled to take approximately 8 hours. Cost was projected to be $92 (sweet deal through hotwire.com) for our 5 day car rental (we also drove from Bordeaux to Paris) + gas. But to our surprise, by the time we walked out of the rental office, Our car rental costed us about 2 times as much as we were expecting and maybe more. Anticipated, ~$250 vs actual, ~$500. Four (4) things were the root cause of the added expenses.
1) LOCAL TAXES AND FEES
Hertz added an additional ~$100 to our final bill for local taxes and fees even though when I purchased my rental car through Hotwire.com it specifically said “Local Taxes Included”. The attendant fully understood my issue with this, but couldn’t do anything about it (accept upgrade us…for a small additional cost). She said this was a common theme from US travelers who booked their rental car through 3rd party sites. I would double check (by calling) that no additional fees will be added to your bill if you decide to rent a car.
2) TOLLS, Tolls, and more TOLLS!!!
Little did we know, the drive from Nice to Bordeaux included a hefty amount of tolls. The 8 hour drive cost us about $70 in tolls.
Almost everywhere you want to park in Bordeaux there is going to be a fee. We were there several nights, and had to pay ~$16 for overnight parking.
4) UNMARKED SPEED CAMERAS
While this hasn’t been confirmed yet, we saw two suspicious flashes while driving on the highway. We googled to see if France has speed cameras, and yes, yes they do. We were driving with the flow of traffic in both instances. If we get the tickets in the mail, I’ll post them below!
TRAINING FROM NICE TO BORDEAUX
Using RAILEUROPE, the train from Nice to Bordeaux takes approximately ~10 hours and cost around $100 per person (depending on class). While we didn’t use this option from Nice to Bordeaux, we used RAILEUROPE from Paris to Nice. We wrote an in-depth article, “How to Get from Paris to Nice via Train”, which may address some of your train questions.
FLYING FROM NICE TO BORDEAUX
Flying is by far the fastest way to get from Nice to Bordeaux with direct flights only taking 1 hour and 20 min. Even with adding in additional time to get to/from airports, this will be the fastest option. Since we did not go with this option, we cannot give details on which flight search engine or airline to use, I would start with easyjet,farecompare, and TripAdvisor.