Bordeaux is an unmissable city you have to visit at least once in your life. The Bordeaux region is known all over the world for its vineyards and its great vintage. But there’s a lot more than that when visiting Bordeaux! It offers beautiful landscapes and plenty of cool activities! What to do in Bordeaux? Follow the guide!
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Description of Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a charming French city and even though it’s one of the largest cities in France, it’s actually not that big. Therefore you can easily get around by foot there. I was told Bordeaux was very bourgeois but I didn’t think so. I mostly noticed the numerous restaurants, the architecture, the green spaces and the lively atmosphere even late in the evening! Moreover, Bordeaux has a rich cultural heritage! Let’s see what are the Bordeaux tourist attractions!
Places to visit in Bordeaux
Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror
It’s the most photographed place of Bordeaux, and you’ll get why when seeing it! The square is surrounded by the Palais de la Bourse and the Hotel des Douanes. Since 2006, there’s also a water mirror. A trickle of water on the ground reflecting the square and the sky. From time to time, there are water jets from the ground. In the summer little ones go crazy for the water! Anyway, it’s not easy to explain, you really have to get there to understand. But it’s an unmissable in Bordeaux!
La cité du vin
Opened in 2016, the cité du vin is the pride of the city of Bordeaux! It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions of Bordeaux! This ultra-modern building is actually a museum teaching you about the great history of wine.
An unmissable if you’re a wine lover, the permanent exhibition giving a lot of information. At the end of the visit, you can taste a wine of your choosing from the top of the building, with a nice view of the city. To avoid the long wait at the entrance, click here to get a skip-the-line ticket.
The Bordeaux cathedral and the Pey-Berland tower
The Bordeaux cathedral is the most important religious edifice of Bordeaux. Admire the medieval gothic architecture of this cathedral built in the 11th century! And take some time to see its beautiful stained-glass windows and its wonderful organs. The cathedral’s bell tower is the Pey-Berland tower, dating back to the 15th century. It was built because the original one was too unstable. You can get to the top if you don’t mind climbing 225 steps. You’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Bordeaux.
La grosse cloche
La grosse cloche (the big bell) is in the heart of the city of Bordeaux. It’s a symbol of the city, it’s also one of the oldest belfries of France. In this area you can also see the imposing porte Cailhau (Cailhau door) dating back to the 15th century! It was a defensive door and at the same time a triumphal arch.
It’s impossible to miss it! It’s 1200 meters (3937ft.) long, meaning it’s the longest shopping street in Europe! It’s a pedestrianized street separating the city in two parts. It connects place de la Victoire and place de la Comédie. People go there to go on a shopping spree, window shopping, have a drink at a terrace or eat at the restaurant. You can also just roam around.
It’s a bit hard to define but let’s just say Darwin is an alternative district, eco-friendly and boho. It’s located on a former military barracks. You’ll find there the largest organic restaurant of France (le Magasin Général), a grocery, a bicycle repair shop, a skatepark, bars and a coworking space. Street art is also all over the place! Hipsters love this area! You have to see it!
Place des Quinconces
Place des Quinconces is very famous! It stretches over 12 hectares, and it’s known as the largest square of Europe! Surrounded by trees, place des Quinconces is delimited by two large columns on the east and the monument aux Girondins on the west. Take some time to admire its impressive fountain.
Basilica of St. Michael
The basilica of St. Michael is the second largest Catholic church of Bordeaux. This Gothic church dates back to the 14th century and the area where it’s located was named after the church. Like the Bordeaux cathedral, its bell tower is separated from the basilica. It’s 114 meters (374ft.) high, the third highest in France. You can also get on top.
Discover the surroundings of Bordeaux
If you have some time, you can leave Bordeaux and go on day trips. For instance, you can go to Arcachon which is easily reachable by train. In Archacon you’ll be able to walk along the beach and savor oysters. This is also where you’ll see the dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune of Europe! It’s 107 meters (351ft.) high!
You can also go on a trip to Saint Emilion. Wine lovers have to go there! The village is charming, but people head there for a wine tasting! Click here to enjoy a wine tasting experience in Saint Emilion.
Activities in Bordeaux
Here are more things to do in Bordeaux:
- Click here to go on a guided walking tour.
- Click here to enjoy a guided bike-ride in Bordeaux.
- Click here to go on a river Garonne cruise with a glass of wine.
- Click here to go on a Medoc wine tour.
- Click here to go on a cheese and wine tasting.
- Click here to go on a mystery walking tour (in French).
- Click here to go on a Margaux tour.
- Click here to go on a Bordeaux walking tour at night.
There are many other things to do in Bordeaux. I’m thinking about the musée d’Aquitaine that you have to see. And I can’t forget the local gastronomy. Here are some dishes you have to try: oysters of Arcachon, caviar from Aquitaine, rib steak from Bordeaux, gratton de Lormont, lamprey from Bordeaux and of course the canelés (a famous pastry). Head to La Toque Cuivrée to buy some!
I really enjoyed visiting Bordeaux! As you can see there are many things to do there! Moreover it’s one of the most beautiful cities in France! I was pleasantly surprised, and I definitely recommend spending a few days there if you have the opportunity!
How to get to Bordeaux
It will depend where you arrive from. Unless you’re in the area, it’s better to get there by plane, train or bus. Click here to check the bus ticket prices.
The Bordeaux Metropole City Pass
I strongly suggest getting this pass! It will allow you to enjoy dozens of tourist attractions in the city. Entrance fees are included in the pass! Plus you have unlimited access to public transportation! Click here to buy one!
How to get around in Bordeaux
You don’t need a car to get around in Bordeaux. Public transportation serves the whole city. Another good reason to get the Bordeaux Metropole City Pass. But you can easily visit the city center by food.
Best time to visit Bordeaux
You can visit Bordeaux more or less all year round. Winters are mild and summers are hot. It’s rarely snowing in Bordeaux, and it’s a sunny city most of the time during the year.
Where to stay in Bordeaux
If you’re visiting Bordeaux with a tight budget, the Meininger Hotel Bordeaux will satisfy you. Clean, welcoming staff and well-located. Click here to check the reviews, photos and availability. To stay in a mid-range hotel, la Halte Montaigne is made for you. Well-decorated rooms, comfortable, friendly owner, etc. Click here to check the reviews, photos and availability.
If you prefer luxury hotels, the Palais Gallien is ideal! Well-located, spacious rooms, excellent staff, etc. Click here to check the reviews, photos and availability. Otherwise click here to check what are the hotels available in Bordeaux.
Bordeaux travel tips
- Traveling soon? My travel resources page can help you out! This list of travel accessories can also be useful!
- Never ever travel without travel insurance! It will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. Click here to get one. Here’s why get travel insurance.
- Want a tailor-made trip to Bordeaux? Get a free quote here!
- Always use a VPN when traveling! I use ExpressVPN and I love it! Here’s why use a VPN when traveling.