GR Bordeaux Metropole – Floirac, Bouliac & Cenon

posted in: Mini Adventures | 0

Wednesday 4 May 2022

I was in Bordeaux for a hens weekend, and decided to stay on longer. I invited some friends from Paris to join me, and I had an evening and a day to myself before they arrived, so decided to go hiking. It was also the perfect opportunity to join the 2022 Public Transport Challenge – I don’t have a car in Europe so am doing most of my activities via public transport where possible anyway. Europe makes this remarkably easy!

I chose to hike a section of the GR Bordeaux Metropole (français), starting in Floirac, then hiking to Bouliac, back through Floirac (via a slightly different route) and then finishing in Cenon.

Map of Bordeaux and the area to the east, with an overlay on the map showing the GR Bordeaux Metropole
The section of the GR Bordeaux Metropole I hiked, east of the river – from Floirac to Bouliac, back through Floirac to north of Cenon.

I downloaded the GR Bordeaux Metropole route (from the above website) and saved to, then took bus number 16 from Place de la République (Google Maps) to Mairie de Floirac (Google Maps) and the Parc du Castel. My hike to Bouliac and back to Floirac included 3 separate loops, so I only had to retrace my steps for two small sections.

White wisteria, blue sky and a park bench in the sun
Parc du Castel
an old castle, hidden a little in the shade, with blue sky
Le Castel

It was well worth a slight detour to Le Château du Grand Dragon, ruins of an 1800s château that’s now being reclaimed by nature.

Blue sky and an abandoned building with nature reclaiming it. A tree is growing out of the roof.
Chateau du Grand Dragon
Blue sky and an abandoned building with a lot of nature reclaiming it.
Building near Chateau du Grand Dragon – also being reclaimed by nature

I enjoyed lunch (a baguette I bought earlier) at l’Église Saint-Siméon in Bouliac.

A church steeple with a flowerbed in the foreground and blue sky in the background.
l’Église Saint-Siméon

The trail, loosely signposted, meanders through picturesque villages and forest and parks. It’s a mix of concrete, asphalt, dirt, fine gravel, and very occasionally some mud. Mostly I didn’t encounter many other people, but those I did gave a friendly bonjour.

On my return route I stopped again in Floirac to fill up water in Parc du Castel, and bought fruit at a local shop, then continued on towards Cenon.

I finished my hike at Buttinière (Google Map) in Cenon, where I caught tram A back to the city, and got off at Palais de Justice. This was a total of 20km, to my surprise!

Practical info

  • You can buy bus/tram tickets at any tram stop (but not bus stops). None of my cards worked at the machines, and I also attempted purchasing via the Witick app, but my cards didn’t work there either. So I resorted to old school cash in the ticket machine.
  • I highly recommend downloading the route for this trail beforehand – I was definitely not able to rely on signposting alone, though it was always reassuring when I spotted it. The trail goes through lots of small towns so is easy to lose.