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Madrid or Bordeaux for 3 days

My husband and I plan (Covid permitting) to spend 2-3 weeks in the Dordogne in spring 2022. We can either fly into Paris (we will be departing from Paris anyway so will spend some time in Paris then) or Madrid. We can then fly from either city to Bordeaux, where we would pick up a rental car. Having never been to Madrid I was thinking of spending a few days there before flying to Bordeaux. Alternatively, we could fly into to Paris and, without leaving CDG, catch a flight using flying blue points to Bordeaux and spend a few days there. Depending on how prevalent Covid is next spring in France we could also just pick up a rental car at CDG and drive to the Dordogne. Any thoughts, recommendations about the above? Any other cities sound good for arrival from SFO with a connection to Bordeaux? Don't really want to fly into London as the taxes/surcharges are prohibitive flying BA. Any particular recommendations for Madrid? Or Bordeaux?

Posted by
7687 posts

If you’ve never been to Madrid and can get a flight from there to Bordeaux, you should go there.

As for flying into Paris and connecting to Bordeaux, watch that carefully as flights that short are being eliminated in favor of trains. We connected to Bordeaux from the US via Amsterdam. Finally, it’s a long, fairly uninteresting drive from Paris. I’d rent a car in Bordeaux.

Posted by
4765 posts

Depending on your arrival time at CDG and your tolerance for taxis and trains, you could get a TGV from Gare Montparnasse to Bordeaux. There are several daily trains, taking about 2.5 hours. I didn't find any trains direct from CDG to Bordeaux. I wouldn't recommend driving after an overnight flight, especially all the way to Bordeaux. Either train or flying would be much easier.

But if you're interested in Madrid and have some available days, then by all means go there and fly on to Bordeaux. The "Explore Europe" section of this website can help you plan for Madrid.

Posted by
431 posts

Thanks Bets and Dick. Madrid does sound pretty interesting. I believe Iberia flies MAD-BOD. I think it takes under 2 hours. We once took a train from Paris to Limoges as the scenery was not supposed to be very interesting up to that point, then drove from Limoges to Sarlat which was a pretty nice drive. I think I recently read that one could get a train from CDG to Bordeaux rather than having to get into Paris to Montparnasse. Not sure if this is possible. We had a trip planned for fall 2020, arriving CDG in the evening and flying out the next morning to Bordeaux. I was thinking that maybe spending less time rather than more on public transportation might be a good idea (Covid). But yes, it certainly is a long drive. And I would like to see Madrid. I will certainly check out the "explore Europe" section regarding Madrid. I sure hope the reopening of France goes well. I miss it so very very much.

Posted by
1187 posts

Hi Kay, Iberia Airlines (IB) located in Madrid is ESs flagship carrier that means they won't be as strict with luggage allowance as low budget carriers. IB has a non-stop flight as low as $48 from Madrid to Bordeaux.
There are no direct trains from CDG to Bordeaux. I would go to Madrid and enjoy the museums and take a day trip to Toledo. You can take a direct 45-minute train and when you get there hop on a bus to Plaza Zocodover, it's cool.

Posted by
2261 posts

We had a trip planned for fall 2020, arriving CDG in the evening and
flying out the next morning to Bordeaux.

If that is still the plan, I'd suggest the early morning TGV direct to Bordeaux instead.

And I would like to see Madrid. I will certainly check out the
"explore Europe" section regarding Madrid.

It sounds very much like you want to see Madrid, so in that case I think the answer is simple, fly to Madrid and spend some time there. But if you have the time my suggestion is to not hurry from Madrid to Bordeaux, but spend a night or two somewhere in between, e.g. San Sebastian/Donostia or Bilbao that are worth a stop if you are in the area.

There are no direct trains from CDG to Bordeaux.

There are, it takes around 3:50 from Charles de Gaulle to Bordeaux. They are not that frequent though, so you might need to change.

Posted by
982 posts

Can't address Bordeaux but Madrid is definitely worth visiting. Great museums, ambiance and fun. If you go make sure and take in a Flamenco performance.

Posted by
431 posts

Thanks everyone.
I will try to book fully refundable tickets to Madrid and, if I have enough miles also book other fully refundable tickets to Paris. Just in case the Covid numbers look okay in France but not so much in Madrid. Who knows? Way back in fall 2020 we had a flight booked from CDG to BOD on Air France. Our flying blue points are set to expire if we don't book something by the end of this year. And yes, I did hear a while back that France had or was intending to ban flights within France if the destination could be reached by train in up to 2.5 hours. Last time I checked, AF was still offering this route. Just in case we need to drive from CDG to, say, Sarlat, we would plan on stopping to sleep along the way. Any ideas about a town or specific lodging (maybe a chambre d'hote) which could make a good stopover?

Posted by
431 posts

Oh yes, flamenco! We were fortunate enough to stumble upon a spectacular performance were in Barcelona. We will certainly look for flamenco in Madrid!

Posted by
1187 posts

If you drive from CDG to Sarlat, you pass through Orleans and Limoges.