Can we have enough to do and see for 5 nights in Bordeaux in the fall (September)?
My husband and I recently spent one half day in Bordeaux. The most helpful information I found was in a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. Bordeaux has a vibrant city center with several sites, plenty of shopping and terrific restaurants. I'm sure you could keep busy for four days depending on your interests. Bordeaux is a short drive from St. Emilion and the vineyards. You can easily spend a day in the town of St. Emilion and the surrounding wineries. There are several car rental agencies on the 6th floor of the parking structure at the train station and in the nearby neighborhood.
I would like to add one more thing.
You might want to ask this question on the France forum to get a better response.
If you will have a car, look into driving down the Atlantic coast. You will be in French Basque territory after a bit. The Dune du Pilat is worth a stop (google it) as is Arcachon. Go further to St Jean de Luz and you will soon be at the Spanish border.
We just returned a couple of weeks ago from a tour in Brittany for 9 days. We tracked on an independent three days in Bordeaux. two of those days we used a wine guide to take us to visit chateaux and have wine tasting, one day on the Left Bank and one day around St. Emilion. We saw the major sights in Bordeaux on the third day. Frankly, I think you can see Bordeaux in a day if you do not travel out to the wineries. We thought the new wine museum in Bordeaux to be a waste of time and money as it was interactive and did not really constitute a museum. We were hoping for more info of the history of winemaking in Bordeaux area. Keep in mind that Bordeaux is a fairly large city with a fairly small city center where the sights are located. St. Emilion is very quaint and well worth perhaps a half days' visit. Lots of day tourists when we were there a couple of weeks ago. We found our very knowledgeable wine guide through Tours by Locals.
There was an interesting NYT article which you may be able to find, about Cape Ferret (NOT Cape Ferrat) which is on the Atlantic Coast just south of Bordeaux and the Dune du Pilat. Miles and miles of nearly deserted sandy beach.
We stayed a week in Bordeaux and booked several tours within the city and to the wine country via the Office of Tourism. There are interesting markets, regional museum, cathedral.