Pauillac (tours to Bordeaux), France cruises

Nestled in the heart of French wine country, the charming small town of Pauillac is the perfect gateway to the region’s world-famous chateaus and the UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux.

  Pauillac port guide

Picturesque Paulliac sits amid the vineyards of the Bordeaux wine region in southwest France and is renowned for its scenic landscape, local cuisine, and (of course) it’s highly acclaimed wines.

Cruises to Pauillac present the perfect opportunity to sample regional specialties like Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild or even to immerse yourself into the wine-making process on a vineyard tour. If you’re not a wine lover, there’s still plenty to enjoy in this post-card perfect corner of the French countryside. You could visit the hilltop village of Saint-Émilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or take a tour to the historic city of Bordeaux, easily reachable from Pauillac by car, train, or bus.

In Pauillac itself, you can take a tranquil stroll along the harbor and sample fresh oysters and classic French fare from the town’s many quaint cafes. Be sure to try the region’s specially raised lamb on your visit and see for yourself why this local delicacy is held in high-esteem across France.

Top landmarks and sights in Pauillac

From UNESCO-listed historic treasures and verdant countryside to vineyards and chateaus producing some of the world’s most loved wines, Pauillac and Bordeaux make for a fascinating port of call on a Cunard cruise to France.

Château Lafite Rothschild

If fine wine and beautiful architecture happen to be two of your passions, a visit to Château Lafite Rothschild is a must. This prestigious wine estate is located just a short drive from Pauillac, and it produces one of the most prized Bordeaux wines.

The Château's cellars contain vintages dating back to the 1700s, and touring the historic winemaking facilities provides a fascinating look into traditional and modern Bordeaux wine production. Our helpful Cunard Shore Experience team can even help you find guided tours and tastings that let you sample different vintages of Château Lafite Rothschild straight from the source.

The Château itself is a beautiful piece of architecture, with origins in the 16th century. The elegant exterior and lavish interior spaces reflect the Rothschild family's acquired wealth and refined tastes. Exploring this iconic estate offers the perfect blend of wine, history, and classic French culture. It's an experience not to be missed for any wine lover visiting Pauillac and the Bordeaux region.

City of Bordeaux

For those looking to soak up culture and classic French architecture in equal measure there's no better place to find it than in the historic center of Bordeaux city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features buildings and monuments dating back to Roman times, and is only an hour’s drive from Pauillac.

Stroll along ancient streets lined with buildings constructed from blonde Aquitaine stone. Visit landmarks like the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, the renowned Grand Théâtre, and let yourself be transported back in time. Once you’ve worked up a thirst exploring the winding alleys, stop at a cafe or brasserie to watch the world go by with a glass of Bordeaux wine.

Whether you admire the architecture or indulge in the food and wine culture, Bordeaux's UNESCO-listed heart is a must-see for any visitor.

Things to do in Pauillac

Whether you’ve already indulged in tastings at the prestigious chateaus and vineyards near Pauillac, or you’re more interested in learning about the history of wine rather than tasting it, there’s no better place to continue your wine adventure than Cité du Vin.

Cité du Vin

This one-of-a-kind cultural center is dedicated to the history, culture, and production of wine from the Bordeaux region and is located under an hour from Pauillac. Interactive exhibits showcase winemaking methods, allow you to sample the aromas of different wines, and even simulate creating your own Bordeaux blend.

Other highlights include a guided boat ride through the history of wine, workshops on food pairings, and stunning panoramic views from the top floor. Even the building itself is spectacular, having been designed to evoke the swirl of wine in a glass. For any wine lover, the Cité du Vin is an unmissable attraction to fully immerse yourself in Bordeaux's famous wine heritage.

Eating and drinking in Pauillac

As part of the renowned Bordeaux wine region, the cuisine, and vineyards of Pauillac make it a fantastic destination for food and wine lovers. French cuisine, fresh regional ingredients, and excellent Bordeaux wines are all highlights of dining in Pauillac.

The town is surrounded by prestigious wine estates and many of the local restaurants source their wine lists directly from the nearby vineyards. This means that sampling fresh local produce paired with local Bordeaux wines is an essential part of visiting Pauillac for cuisine connoisseur and wine-lovers alike. Classic French dishes like confit de canard, coq au vin, and steak frites grace menus across Bordeaux, but the area is known for more than just wine. Regional delicacies not to be missed on your visit include oysters, foie gras, camembert and brie, and of course Pauillac lamb.

Shopping in Pauillac

With its prime location in wine country, shopping in Pauillac provides the opportunity to take a little piece of Bordeaux back with you. Whether you're looking for items to remember your cuisine and vineyard adventures or just want to experience the town's welcoming Gallic hospitality, Pauillac's shops make for a delightful diversion.

Many boutiques in Pauillac offer high-quality regional wines, gourmet food items, and wine-inspired gifts that make for ideal souvenirs. You can pick up a bottle of prestigious Bordeaux wine, artisanal cheeses, pâtés, and other regional delicacies to enjoy back home or as gifts for your loved ones.

Getting around: Pauillac transportation

With vineyards all around, Pauillac is the perfect starting point to explore the Bordeaux wine region. Pauillac itself is small French country town, and very walkable. The shops, restaurants, and attractions are located within a short stroll of the town center, and bikes can be rented to explore at your own pace. Taxis are available if needed, and you can typically find them waiting at the port when cruise ships arrive, rates are reasonable for transfers around town.

We recommend booking a Cunard Shore Experience to the nearby vineyards and chateaus of Bordeaux, which includes all travel to and from your ship. Regional buses and trains provide public transportation options to other towns and cities in the region if you want to explore further afield.

Pauillac port facilities

Pauillac is relatively small so be prepared for the charm of a quiet French village rather than extensive cruise terminal facilities. There are basic amenities including ATMs, souvenir shops, and a tourist information office.

Pauillac is a perfect gateway to the world-famous wine region of Bordeaux, as it’s less than 15 minutes by bus from the most prestigious wine estates and one hour from Bordeaux City Center.

Taxis and shuttle services are available for transfers to the nearby wine estates and chateaus, and we offer a variety of Cunard Shore Experiences to get help you get the most out of your visit to Bordeaux. 

Top tips for Pauillac


The Euro is the official currency of France. Many shops, restaurants, and attractions accept major credit cards, but it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases. There are ATMs available in Pauillac where you can withdraw Euros. For even more convenience, Euros can be purchased directly from the Purser’s Desk on board your Cunard Queen


In France, tipping is not expected but is appreciated for good service. At restaurants, a 5-10% tip is customary if you were satisfied. Rounding up the bill to the nearest Euro is also common. For taxis, tipping is not required but rounding up to the nearest Euro is appreciated.


Pauillac has a temperate oceanic climate. Summers are mild with temperatures in the mid 20°Cs. The weather is often sunny with occasional rain showers. Winters are chilly and wet with temperatures in the mid to high single digits. The rainiest months are October through January. Be prepared with layers and an umbrella or rain jacket if you’re visiting in autumn and winter. Spring and summer are ideal seasons to enjoy comfortable weather and sunshine in port.