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Access recently visited Le St James, Bordeaux, enjoying its equally scenic outdoor and indoor event spaces. The local area’s outdoor events scene – and the wine – wasn’t too shabby, either.

Hotel and events space in one

The Relais & Châteaux Le St James, Bouliac (scroll the gallery at top of page) is a quirky departure from its tranquil, traditional surroundings. Its stone gardens, through which you enter the property, feature unnerving statues of stick thin octogenarians. Its interior décor, meanwhile, is home to tastefully garish cartoons and – in one guest room – a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The bulk of the hotel’s 15 rooms and three suites overlook its outdoor spaces, which feature backdrops including a small vineyard producing red Merlot, and a courtyard boasting a striking black-lined swimming pool. Indoor spaces can be utilised too, and include a 55-seat Michelin-starred restaurant (chef Nicolas Magie) and various event and meeting spaces including a cookery school for groups.

Key festivals

Of course, checking out the local outdoor events scene mixes business and pleasure for the event production crowd. The 10-day Bordeaux River Festival (from 22 May) is a must-see. The event is built around one of the world’s most glamorous yacht races: the Solitaire du Figaro Eric Bompard Cachemire.


The free festival features two days of artistic events celebrating all genres of music, including salsa, rock, hip-hop lessons, jazz, pop, as well as street performances by professional dancers and theatre actors. A swimming race from one side of the river to the other is also a highlight.

In a different vein, The Reggae Sun Ska has become one of the biggest reggae festivals in France and Europe. Reggae Sun Ska showcases reggae in all its forms from roots to ska, dancehall, new roots and dub. Its 18th edition will take place on The Campus of Pessac-Talence-Gradignan.


Outstanding venues

The Auditorium of Bordeaux is a key venue for events, popular with classical music fans, with 1,400 seats available. However, of all the public buildings of Bordeaux, the Grand Theatre is undoubtedly the most appreciated. It stands on the site of the former Trusteeship Pillars temple which jalonnait the ancient Gallo-Roman forum.