A weekend in Bordeaux! What on Earth can be better, considering there are so many things to do in Bordeaux, France?
After living for a while in Paris, I got very eager to discover some other big cities in France! Bordeaux was always one of the first cities on my France bucket list, so I decided to spend an entire weekend in this magical, relaxing place!
While I had 3 days in Bordeaux, you could only stay for 2 nights if you are in a rush to discover some other cities in France, or 4 if you prefer a slow type of travel.
If you want to create an itinerary with all the places I am recommending in this article, here is a useful Bordeaux tourist map that you can use:
There is no specific touristic season for this city, as the number of tourists is pretty stable throughout the year. Only in December the tourist flow is a bit lighter, as I have heard, but don’t worry – you will always have what to do in Bordeaux!
So what attracts the mass of tourists here all year round? Do you think it’s the good weather? Do you know anything about Bordeaux?
It’s all about wine, admit it! Well, that’s what I knew before I visited it too, so no shame in saying it out loud. Bordeaux is most famous for its wine, and for good reason!
What To See And What To Do In Bordeaux, France – The Ultimate Guide
Let me tell you that there are plenty of other things to see and do in Bordeaux. Still, I’ll start with…
1. Take an unforgettable Bordeaux wine tour
Where can you drink some good wine in Bordeaux? Everywhere, of course!
There are tons of wine bars in Bordeaux and, honestly, going on a tasting tour is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux! And I’d like to suggest Maison du Vin as the place where you can find one of the best wine tours in Bordeaux. The prices are ranging between 2 and 8€ for a glass of wine. The cheese plates are quite generous and I suggest you combine them with a few glasses of Bordeaux wine, as they will for sure enrich your tasting experience.
It was really hard to find the working hours on the internet, so I will tell you – they work from 2 PM to 11 PM.
If you have more time on hand, you can book one of the Bordeaux wine tours of wineries here. There are tons of options with prices ranging from 38 and 200€. The best place to find the best tour for yourself is the official Tourism Center which is just across from Maison du Vin bar. Even if you want to take any other tour available, I recommend to at least stop by their office and take a vineyards map from there. This is one of the most organized tourism offices I have seen, so you will get a lot of precious information from them!
Here is my experience with the wine tour:
I took this tour because I only had half a day left but I really wanted to do some wine tasting in Bordeaux, but I definitely recommend going for something longer if you have more time.
We managed to visit 2 chateaux (I won’t name them here, as there are so many chateaux around Bordeaux, the wineries in the tour vary from week to week). We were shown and explained a lot about the wine production in the area, and, of course, tasted some excellent wine! Everyone involved in the Bordeaux tourism speaks good English, but you have to be ready for some strong French accent. I guess that just adds up to the atmosphere.
Below you can find the map of the Bordeaux wine region. I recommend checking out Medoc and Saint-Émilion, they both are considered to have some of the best wineries in France (and Medoc is my personal favorite!).
If you want to go for a Medoc private tour, one of the best wine tours I can recommend is this full-day tour. In case you want to visit the Medoc area at your own pace, you can take this Cabriolet Tour with wine tastings instead.
If you want to choose St. Emilion instead, this wine tasting tour will take you to some breathtaking chateaux!
In case you only have time to visit 1 region, I would recommend going to Saint-Émilion. You will see more or less the same in terms of wine production, but so much more in terms of sceneries!
Even though the city is best known for its delicious wine, there are countless things to see in Bordeaux! To get a great feeling of the city I suggest you hop on a bike and go through its many pedestrian streets. All the sights are really not far from each other if you bike. Otherwise, there are bike paths mostly everywhere where they are needed.
Bordeaux is a very special city which any history lover would appreciate, so while you’re biking through Quais de Bordeaux, a splendid place near Garonne’s waterfront and indulging in some local culinary specialties (more about this below) you should continue your journey by bike through these places too:
2. Admire the Water Mirror in Place de la Bourse (Miroir d’Eau)
This one of the top Bordeaux tourist attractions and a perfect spot to relax after a day of exploring the beautiful streets of the city! La Place de la Bourse is famous for its Water Mirror, so it is definitely worth to spend a couple of hours there. The Water Mirror (Miroir d’eau) is actually the largest reflecting pool in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s only 2 cm deep and it creates a mesmerizing mirroring effect that reflects Place de la Bourse and all the other beautiful buildings around! Needless to say, this is truly one of the top 10 things to do in Bordeaux!
The water is programmed to have 3 sequences – fog, mirror, and pool, so if you would like to spend at least 20 minutes there you can see it shifting from a mesmerizing mirror to a misty fog and so on!
3. Take a walk in Jardin Publique de Bordeaux
If you’re looking what to see in Bordeaux on a relaxing evening, this is the place to be! This beautiful park dates from 1746 when it was created in order to offer the rich people of Bordeaux a nice place where they could relax. This English-style park is wonderful even today and I recommend you go there go gaze at the historic statues, bridges, and fountains. This is a sophisticated place where you can enjoy a picnic, a good book or the wine you have with you and get a glimpse of the 18th Century Bordeaux. And, why not, this could also be the perfect answer in case you are wondering what to do in Bordeaux with children!
4. Relax in Place de la Victoire (Victory Square)
Place de la Victoire is another pretty square in Bordeaux that’s worth adding to your list of must-see attractions. It’s true that it’s a rather busy place, full of bars, restaurants and pretty cafes, so I suggest you go there to relax while sipping some wine, but also to admire the gorgeous architecture. In the middle of the square you will see a piece of public art made by the Czech sculptor Ivan Theimer. This is a marble column and it was installed in 2005 in order to celebrate the famous Bordeaux viticulture. There are also plenty of parties, concerts, and events organized there, so you will be greeted with good music and good people!
5. Visit Musée d’Aquitaine
If you’re only going to see one museum in Bordeaux, then Musée d’Aquitaine is the one you should pick!
It features historical collections from all around the Aquitaine region, so go there for some great Bordeaux history facts and information about some traditions dating back to prehistory. You will also find there some collections from far-away lands, since the age of great discoveries. If you’re a history lover, then this is the place to be while in Bordeaux!
NOTE: The museum is closed on Monday, so see how you can schedule it to suit your itinerary! You wouldn’t want to miss it, as this is one of the most famous museums in Bordeaux, France!
Price: 5€ full rate, 3€ reduced rate (for students, groups of at least 10 people etc). Access to the museum is free for all visitors on the first Sunday of each month (except July and August). Check the updated prices here.
6. Immerse yourself in some wine history at La Cité du Vin
You can enjoy the wine and wineries in Bordeaux, but your tour won’t be complete without going to La Cité du Vin!
This is a super-modern, futuristic cultural center that will teach you everything about wine production all around the world. If you’re a wine aficionado, this will be one of the best Bordeaux tourist attractions for you. You can easily spend an entire day there, soaking up information and listening to the comprehensive audio guide. At the end of the tour, you can go up to the 55-meter tower and enjoy a glass of wine in their amazing bar.
Price: 20€ for the skip-the-line ticket and wine tasting.
7, Go shopping on Rue Saint-Catherine
If you’re a shopping lover, Rue Saint-Catherine in Bordeaux is the place to be!
Rue St-Catherine is actually the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe, as it’s 1.2 kilometers long! This famous street is always full with people wandering through its dozens of cafes and many shops and even if you’re not planning to buy anything, it’s still one of the top places to visit in Bordeaux. In case you’re on a shopping spree, I’m pretty sure you will find countless of brands here in more than 250 stores or you can at least relax while sipping on a coffee or a glass of wine and admire the tourists!
8. Have a taste of French history at Esplanade des Quinconces
How does a 12-hectare open public space where all important events and concerts take place sound to you?
This is a very popular and nice place where you can come for leisure, but also to have a taste of history, especially regarding the French Revolution. This is actually the largest public square in France where you can see the Monument aux Girondins (Girondist Monument) – a historical column dating from 1902 and one of the landmarks of this city. It is 54 meters high and you can find the beautiful Fontaine des Girondins (Girondist Fountain) with majestic bronze horses at its base. The entire monument was built in order to celebrate the influence that the Gironde political group has had in the French Revolution.
You can go to Esplanade des Quinconces for a nice walk and take pictures!
9. Tour Pey-Berland
Complete your Bordeaux experience by going up the monument and enjoying the panoramic view of the city! Even though it’s lovely to look at it from down below, you will get to see a whole new world when you’re up there. Even though you’ll have to climb the 229 stairs, the view is definitely worth it! Going up the monument is also on my list of romantic things to do in Bordeaux, so I suggest you to not miss the view!
Price: 6€ per adult. You can check the prices and the schedule here to see if the monument is open on your chosen date.
10. Indulge in some local cuisine
If you’re a foodie who enjoys trying traditional food, you will be happy to know that Bordeaux has some delicious foods that you can pair with a delicious glass of local wine! Some unmissable Bordeaux culinary specialties are: French steak with Bordelaise sauce (made with red wine, of course!) and canelés (tiny pastries with rum and vanilla).
So, if you are searching for some good places to eat in Bordeaux, I have a couple of suggestions: after visiting La Cite du Vin you can have lunch at Le 7 Restaurant! Other than food, you will be able to enjoy a stunning view over the entire city and the port!
Marché des Capucins, also known as „the belly of Bordeaux” is one of the best places to visit in Bordeaux for an unforgettable culinary experience as well! There, you will find endless food options that you can try – from cheese, seafood, canelés to fruits, veggies. Plus, it is also the perfect spot to buy some edible gifts and souvenirs that you can bring back home with you!
Some other suggestions to keep in mind
- Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux – I recommend you go to one of the representations of Bordeaux National Opera if you can. This way you’ll get to see this beautiful building on the inside too and enjoy some good classical music!
- Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas – the tallest vertical lift bridge in Europe and one of Bordeaux’s most recent landmarks. The best time to admire it is at night when beautiful lights can be seen all over its columns.
Bordeaux City Pass
Most of the Bordeaux attractions that I mentioned above are free to enter if you have the Bordeaux Metropole City Pass. You have three options that you can choose from: for 24, 48 or 72 hours and, besides free access to plenty of monuments and cultural attractions, you will get unlimited access to Bordeaux’s public transportation system for your selected period of time (tramway, bus and river shuttle).
You will also get discounts for some selected Bordeaux wine tasting tours, lunch or dinner cruises. The 3-days pass will offer you a free guided tour in underground Saint-Emilion and more! Once you have your Bordeaux city pass, you can book your tours at Bordeaux Tourist Office. You can check all the details and discounts for city pass Bordeaux here.
Price: 29€ for 24 hours, 39€ for 48 hours and 46€ for 72 hours.
Day Trips From Bordeaux
In case you have more time to spend in the area and you wish to see more than just the famous wine chateaux and attractions, I have two Bordeaux day trips to recommend:
Arcachon & Pyla Dune Tour
If you’re passionate about nature and biodiversity, then a day trip to Arcachon might be the highlight of your trip!
As I said, there are many beautiful cities and things to do near Bordeaux. Arcachon is a famous swimming destination located 55 kilometers away from Bordeaux town. It is basically a beautiful bay surrounded by sand dunes and the Landes Forest. One of its most famous sand dunes is Pilat (Pyla) Dune which offers a great view over the entire natural reserve and you can observe how the enormous sand dunes have moved in time and how they are swallowing up the Lande Pine Forest.
You will be able to admire Arguin Bank, which was a lagoon long time ago that is now used for oyster farming.
With this day tour, you will get to visit the area and the sand dunes, you will see the 19th-century houses, admire the panoramic view from Pilat Dune and get to taste some delicious seafood and Arguin Banc oysters (a local delicacy).
Basque Country Tour
Are you searching for some unforgettable, unique things to do in France during your vacation? This is your perfect answer!
Basque Country is an autonomous community situated in northern Spain, between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, 4 hours away from Bordeaux. On this day trip you will get on the route from Bordeaux to Basque Country and you will stop along the way to see some beautiful, authentic 15th century farms, the foothills of the Pyrenees, the famous Grottes de Sare (Sare Caves) – prehistoric salt caves dating from 2 million years ago, Mendiguren Citadel and more! You will also go to Biarritz market where you will get to see a lot of Basque specialties (spices, ham, Basque-style cake), all of them local-made in Basque Country!
Where To Stay In Bordeaux
Bordeaux does not have a lack of accommodation and there is something for everyone. The choice is yours! However, since Bordeaux is pretty big, I suggest being in walking distance of the old center.
I was fortunate to be invited to stay in an elegant hotel called Yndo, a unique establishment that perfectly combined elegance and coziness under its roof and one of the best hotels in Bordeaux!
Yndo is located in a building from the beginning of the 19th century that looks like a castle. The decorations and even the paintings were done by the owner, a charming lady called Agnes, with much passion and attention to every little detail!
My room was called the Crazy room. 🙂 Decorated in truly French chic manner, it had everything you would ever want – from iPad to Hermes and Bvlgari toiletries.
I absolutely loved the huge bathtub right in the room, the beautiful glass roof (the perks of having the top floor) and the automatic curtains that you can close if it is too sunny, or open to enjoy the sky!
Oh, how much I enjoyed those custom-made breakfasts on the sunny terrace! They could basically cook anything you want, you name it! Really, name it, as the staff speaks perfect English. Everything home-made fresh from Bretagne right to your table!
In short, Yndo hotel is a great choice for both business and leisure or a special occasion. It combines top-notch service of a prestigious establishment with the friendliness and care of a family ran business!
Other Accommodation Options To Stay In Bordeaux, France
Depending on your budget, I am recommending some great hotels and apartments in Bordeaux that have great facilities and fabulous reviews!
Luxury (150€ and up): Yndo hotel – this is the wonderful hotel where I have stayed. You can see the photos and my detailed review above. I totally recommend it as it is close to all Bordeaux sightseeing you might have on your bucket list! Le Clos d’Emile – an exceptional hotel that gets sold out really fast and one of the best places to stay in Bordeaux if you want to be spoiled! I recommend staying here for the impeccable decorations and the friendly staff which is always attentive to the guests!
Middle-priced (from 80 to 150€): Golden Tulip Bordeaux Euratlantique is a gorgeous 4-star hotel with accessible prices! Some of its facilities include free Wi-Fi, 24-hour front desk and a great city view from the rooms! If you are looking for an apartment instead, Les appartements de la Victoire is a great option – spacious, clean and nicely decorated!
Budget (up to 80€): Honestly, it is not that easy to find a good budget accommodation in Bordeaux. Still, I have managed to find two great options for you that you can book for less than 80€! B&B Hôtel Bordeaux Centre Gare Saint-Jean is a clean and cozy hotel with air-conditioned rooms and private bathrooms! Campanile Bordeaux Centre – Gare Saint-Jean is another great place that offers a good value for money, free Wi-Fi and a very convenient location close to the train station!
How To Get To Bordeaux From Paris
Now that I convinced you that there are so many Bordeaux activities that you can experience during your stay, let’s see which is the best way to arrive in the city of wine! So, if you are wondering how to get from Paris to Bordeaux, it is easy-peasy – by train! If you plan well enough in advance, the ticket price will be quite cheap. For example, I got my train tickets from Paris to Bordeaux 40€ roundtrip from SNCF – the official railway website. Alternatively, if you are not a good planner or you just decided to go to Bordeaux as a last-minute idea, I always recommend BlaBlaCar. Even if you decide today that you want to go tomorrow, the price for the rideshare from Paris to Bordeaux (600km) will cost you 30€ one-way. Isn’t it just fantastic? One day I will write a whole article about it. Let’s just say, if it weren’t for BlaBlaCar, I would have visited fewer French cities than I did.
What should be in your packing list for Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a sunny destination, here’s what I think you should not miss fom your backpack while visiting this city:
Before I Let You Wander
So, is Bordeaux worth a visit? I would say yes! Bikes riding through the city, wine glasses of deep red colors, great architecture in the old town, wonderful vineyards all around the city, that wonderful mirror fountain and all the music and the happy people. That was Bordeaux for me, and I wish for you to go there as soon as you can and experience this amazing city in your own Bordeaux adventure.
I hope you enjoyed my Bordeaux travel guide! In this article, I have discussed the top 10 things to do in Bordeaux (other than the world-famous and totally worth it wine tours), how to get to Bordeaux from Paris, some great accommodation options and I even recommended some day tours from the city that you might want to check out.
If you have further questions about visiting Bordeaux or if you discover something amazing to do in Bordeaux, do let me know in a comment below!
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