The Bordeaux River Shuttle

Don't miss a ride on the river shuttle during your stay in Bordeaux! It's a great - and very cheap - way to enjoy beautiful views of the Place de la Bourse, Quinconces, the Chartrons district and the Cité du Vin. Using the river shuttle service is easy, we tell you how below. You'll also learn a few key facts about the river - did you know it's the fourth longest in France, for example? Can you remember its name? Yes, you got it! The River Garonne, of course!


Where to BOARD

Let's start with some practical information. The river shuttle operates with two catamarans which transit back and forth between five stops: La Cité du Vin, Les Hangars, Quinconces, Stalingrad and Lormont Bas, further north. Here's a map of the stops we're talking about:

map river shuttle
Map of Bordeaux River Shuttle Stops

"Les Hangars" is the closest stop to our Bordeaux apartment. You'll find it at Hangar 15, right opposite the Boardriders store.

Tip: click on the image to download the hand River Shuttle Information Leaflet, with map and timetables.

You can combine the river shuttle with all sorts of walks. Board at Les Hangars, for example, and get off at Stalingrad. You can then walk back via the Pont de Pierre. Or via the Parc aux Angéliques and the Pont Chaban-Delmas.

You can also do it the other way: walk to Stalingrad via the Pont de Pierre, then ride the river shuttle back to the Cité du Vin. Just opposite, you can stop for refreshments at Les Halles de Bacalan before walking back to the apartment.

How to buy tickets

Remember, any tickets you buy for the tram are valid on the river shuttle service too. For more information about buying tram tickets, see my post on Getting Around In Bordeaux. To validate your ticket, use the "pinger" shown at right.

Hold your ticket flat against the bull's eye. If you're using the Witick app on your telephone, do the same with your telephone. Tickets are valid for one hour from validation and you can get on and off and change from tram to boat, or vice versa, as many times as you wish within the hour. You must revalidate every time you change.

If you don't have some form of tram ticket, you can buy your ticket on board from one of the crew members. Individual tickets cost €2.

About the RIVer Garonne

Bordeaux river shuttle at Stalingrad
Bordeaux River Shuttle at Stalingrad

At 575 km, the Garonne is the fourth longest river in France and the most important river in southwestern France. It rises in the Spanish Pyrenees and flows into the Atlantic via Toulouse and Bordeaux. It joins the River Dordogne 25 km north of Bordeaux to form the vast Gironde Estuary. The area between the river Dordogne in the north and the river Garonne in the south is called "L'Entre-Deux-Mers" (in English: between two tides). It is an important wine-growing region knonwn for its excellent dry white wines.

Benefits for the wine industry

The Gironde Estuary and the rivers Garonne and Dordogne play an important role in the local winegrowing industry. The estuary runs deep into the Bordeaux region, and has a moderating influence on the climate. The two rivers and their tributaries supply the vineyards with water. The left banks of the Garonne and the estuary are composed of river stones, gravel and sand carried down from the Pyrenees by the Garonne river. The resultant soil is highly permeable and retains heat well. The soil on the right bank of the Dordogne is made up of clay, limestone, sand and gravel, providing a well-drained environment for the vineyards.