Things to do in Bordeaux – the ultimate guide

Place de la bourse Bordeaux

A weekend in Bordeaux! What on Earth can be better?

After living for a while in Paris, I got hungry to discover other big cities in France and, Bordeaux was always one of the first in the list.

While I had 3 days in the city, you could stay for 2 if you are in a rush to see more of France, or 4 if you prefer a slow type of travel.

Let me tell you a little bit about the top things to do in the city of wine:

What to see and do in Bordeaux, France – the ultimate guide

When to visit Bordeaux

There is no touristic season in Bordeaux, the number of tourists is pretty stable throughout the year. Only December is lighter with tourists as I have heard.

So what attracts the mass of tourists there around the year? 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!

Before I get to amazingly descriptive details about the wine experience, let me tell you, there are plenty of other things to see and do in Bordeaux. Still, I’ll start with…

Where to drink wine in Bordeaux?

maison du Vin Bordeaux

Everywhere, duh!

There are tons of wine bars in Bordeaux. And I’d like to suggest Maison du Vin. The prices are ranging between 2 and 8 euros 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 their working hours on the internet, so I will tell you – they work from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

If you have more time, you can book a tour for wineries around the city. There are tons of them with prices between 38 and 200 euros. The best place to find the best tour for yourself is the official tourism center which is just across from the Maison du Vin bar. Even if you want to use any other tour, I recommend just to stop by their office and take a vineyards map from there. This is one of the most organized tourism offices I have seen, you will get a lot of info from them.

Jardin Pablique bike Bordeaux France

A little story how I saved 2 euros by being a travel blogger

It is not a secret that as a travel blogger, I get invited to some nice hotels from time to time (but my opinion is always honest and I disclaim it in the post), but sometimes funny situations like this happen:

I really wanted to book a wine tour and I was ok paying a full price, no problem. I went downstairs to the front desk of my hotel (more about Yndo hotel below) to book the tour over the phone. The nice receptionist suggested she asks for discount for me, as I am a travel blogger. I am usually super shy to ask questions like this (and I never really do ask that), but she insisted ‘’Why not? You are going to write about them in any way, right?’’, so I agreed.

Wine cellars vineyard chateux bordeaux

The response was positive, they would give me a discount. I was supposed to go to a specific lady and tell her that we spoke over the phone and she will put me on the tour. I was very excited and happy – it is so easy, why didn’t I do it before?

I arrived to the tourism office very happy, introduced myself, the lady said that they will put me on a nice tour with a discounted price, I will have to pay only 36 euros. The price was fine in anyway, we were about to proceed, but then I decided to double check which is exactly the tour I was going to take (for the blog, you know). She pointed it out in the book, the full price was 38 euro.

Seriously? For all my work which I was offering them, they were about to give me a 2 euro discount!? How generous!

I asked the woman to double check if they can give me you know… a better deal!? She said she has to make a call. And after 10 (very humiliating) minutes of waiting, she came back to me and said that is the best they can do.

When I was booking the tour from my hotel, I was ready to pay the full price for that exact tour, and I didn’t really feel like being rude and slaming the door etc. I just took that tour with my travel blogger’s discount and tried to enjoy it despite the unpleasant experience.

Chateau saint Emilion region

And, while I do recommend checking out the tours organized by Tourism Office, that was just a strange incident, I still don’t understand what they were trying to say by it.

Anyway, let me describe the actual wine tour, I have to work for the huge discount now, right? 🙂

The wine tour 

wine tasting tour Bordeaux

I took this tour because I only had half a day left, but I definitely recommend going for something longer if you have more time.

We managed to visit 2 chateaux (I don’t name mine, 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 wine! Everyone in tourism speaks good English, but you have to be ready for some strong French accent. I guess that just adds up to the atmosphere.

Here is the map of the Bordeaux wine region, I recommend checking out Medoc and Saint Emilion, they both are considered to have some of the best wineries in France (Medoc is my personal favorite!).

If you want to go for a Medoc private tour, some of the best wine tour I can recommend is this full-day tour.

If you choose St. Emilion this wine tasting tour will take you to some breathtaking chateaux!

Map Bordeaux region

In case you have a time to visit only 1 region, I would say go to Saint Emilion. You will see more or less the same in terms of the wine production, but much more in terms of sceneries.

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 Yndoa unique establishment that perfectly combined elegance and coziness under its roof.

Yndo is located in a building from the beginning of the 19th century that look like a castle. The decorations and even the painting were done by the owner, a charming lady called Agnes, with much passion and attention to every little detail!

My rooms was called a Crazy room. 🙂  Decorated in truly French chic manner, it had everything you would ever wanted – from iPad to Hermes and Bvlgari toiletries.

I absolutely loved the huge bath tab right in the room, 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!

Yndo hotel Bordeaux

fun things to do in Bordeaux

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!

Hotel Yndo Bordeaux 5 etoiles

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!

Check rates/ Book your stay with YNDO hotel here!

hotel Bordeaux France2Other accommodation options to stay in Bordeaux, France:

Depending on your budget, I have some alternative great hotels and apartments for rent in Bordeaux to recommend to you:

Luxury stayYndo hotel – the wonderful hotel where I have stayed, please see the photos& description above; Le Clos d’Emile – an exceptional hotel that gets sold out really fast probably for its love to decor and attention to guests;

Great value/money hotelsLa Maison Des Vignes – if you hurry up, you can get their King’s suit for less than US$100, which is just fantastic!; Chambres à Bord’O – located in the city center, this places is a mix of contemporary and classic decor, your breakfast will be served in a beautiful courtyard;

Budget stay: Honestly, it is not that easy to find a budget accommodation in Bordeaux. There are a couple of places that are less than US$50 per night and have good reviews. Let me know if you find something cheaper/better in the comments!

Premiere Classe Bordeaux Nord – Lac  – this affordable accommodation is located near Gare Saint-Jean as well, free Wi-Fi access, private bathroom, air conditioning and satellite TV is included in the price of the room.

Other must-see attractions 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 sighs are really not far from each other if you bike. Otherwise there are bike paths mostly everywhere where they are needed.

Things to actually visit in Bordeaux when you are not drinking wine, although the two actions are not mutually exclusive:

  1. Place de la Bourse (Miroir d’Eau) – Personally I loved this place. I thought it is just a fountain but they made a great attraction which looks absolutely stunning!
    Miroir de l eau Bordeaux bike2
  2. Jardin Publique de Bordeaux – A lovely garden and a good place to drink the wine you have with you!
  3. Place de la Victorie (Victory Square) – is one of the busiest area with bars, restaurants, cafes, a chic tramway, and beautiful architecture. There’s always a crowd in the Victory square, and events, parties and concerts are often organized there.Place de la victorie Bordeaux
  4. Musée d’Aquitaine – It’s the museum to see in Bordeaux. It features historical collections from within the region (all the way since prehistory) but also from far away lands since the age of great discoveries. It’s closed on Mondays, so see how you schedule it !
  5. Tour Pey-Berlandthe monument is the best spot to see the panoramic view of the city. It’s also lovely to look at from down below!Tour Pey-Berland

How to get to Bordeaux from Paris

Easy- peasy – by train! If you plan well enough in advance, it will be quite cheap (I got my ticket for 40 euros round trip from SNCF the official railway site). Alternatively, if you are not a good planner (like me) and prefer to go last minute, 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 euros one way.

Isn’t it just fantastic? One day I will write a whole article about it. Let’s just say, if not for BlaBlaCar, I would visit way less French cities than I did.

Fete de la musique in Bordeaux

Fete de la Musique Bordeaux2Ok, fete de la musique happens in most cities of France. It’s a weekend of celebration of music and sun. And sun? Yes! Since it happens around the summer solstice, the weather is brilliant and the days are the longest in the year. And there’s the music. So much music! Some time ago, one of the mayors of Paris launched this initiative, to have a weekend when loud music is allowed to be played for the whole weekend everywhere in the city.

As good things are contagious, the fete de la musique spread throughout the cities of France. Last year I saw it in Paris and it was brilliant: bands were playing outside almost all the bars, terraces or restaurants. There were concerts all over the cities, some organized, some more or less spontaneous. Thousands of artists were on the streets performing. DJs were mixing at every corner and sometimes, people would just play loud music from their balcony.

Fete de la musique Bordeaux France

This year I went to Bordeaux exactly that weekend, and I really enjoyed the party here too. There were quite a number of marching bands around the city. On every street there was a contest between at least two bands, or DJs to get the attention of the crowd. There were kids playing, old people playing, teenagers, students, moms and dads. There were instruments everywhere. Most of the party happens in the old center area but there are venues in all neighborhoods as well.

You can either stay and hear a whole concert or move along after a couple of songs to check out other bands, hanging out over a glass of wine while enjoying the music. Either way, each musician gets a lot of attention from the ever-changing crowd public and that is really encouraging for them. Who knows, maybe I saw some next rock stars within the local bands.

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 wonder

Bikes through the city, wine glasses of deep red colors, the great architecture in the old town, the vineyards around the city, that wonderful mirror fountain and all the music and happy people. That was Bordeaux for me, and I wish you go there as soon as you can and add experiences to this list while you make your own adventure. However if you discover something amazing, do let me know in a comment below!

A bientôt!

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By | 2018-01-11T18:12:39+00:00 September 3rd, 2015|Bordeaux, Europe, France, Popular|12 Comments

About the Author:

Yulia is originally Russian but truly is a world citizen in heart. She was traveling around the world for over 4 years now. Her blog is created with the purpose to inspire people to travel more and to share her advice of how to travel "smart".


  1. Natalie 14.04.2016 at 18:42 - Reply

    This is the first time I have read you blog and will be the last. It may surprise you to know that people actually run businesses to make money not support freeloaders. I commend this tour company for not allowing itself to be extorted by people like you. I’m sure it would have got a glowing review had you received a significant discount. I also review hotels, restaurants and tours my reviews are unbiased as I pay full price and the service does not even know I have been.

    • Yulia 22.05.2016 at 12:39 - Reply

      hi Natalie and thanks for the comment!
      Many people do not understand that running a blog takes a lot of work (in fact, much more than a regular 9 to 5 job).
      I take my time to describe my travels for my readers, and I do it in an honest way, so that people do not repeat the mistakes that I have probably made.
      It is a business for me as well.
      While you of course do not have to read this blog, I am always honest with my readers disclosing if I was invited to a hotel, while many other blogs don’t bother to do so.
      You are free to decide which blog you are going to trust more.
      And now excuse me, I have to go run my business 😉

    • Ron 13.07.2017 at 15:59 - Reply

      Hi Natalie,

      This blog is totally refreshing and honest, but your comment is in real poor taste and reeks of racism. I’m free to make assumptions, the way you did with calling the author and the likes as freeloaders, probably because a Julia might have sounded less of a freeloader to you than a Yulia. I think the reader who value the honesty of this author are better off not having people like you drop by with your negativity and entitlement and dropping 2 pennyworth entitled yet pretty useless reviews. And by the way, I’m from a different part of the world from the West or whichever piece of geography in the world map you inhabit, and yes, I am writing in English and am a bit of a freeloader myself, as is a large portion of the world, because we do spend a lot of money and contribute to tourism revenues and can potentially bring in new tourists as well (Oh you hate them don’t you).

      @Yulia, for people who really value good returns on a budget, your blog is totally amazing and may I add very well written, rich in its simplicity, brevity and humor. Keep writing and don’t be for a second be let down by the likes of Natalie. Perhaps a Natalia might enjoy your blog more.


  2. Oscar EoFrance 29.06.2016 at 12:15 - Reply

    Hi Yulia,
    It is a very nice article. For those who have more time, I also suggest to take a local train to the village of Saint Emilion. Trains departs every hours and the travel time is 40min. The ticket is 9€. You are then literally surrounded by vines and the village is absolutely charming.

  3. cristen woodring 23.08.2016 at 11:40 - Reply

    Hey ! I loved the post, merci beaucoup!

  4. Jerli Dawn 06.02.2017 at 02:31 - Reply

    Hey, I’m going to bordeaux soon for valentine’s and reading this post is just what i needed! Can you suggest any nice restaurants that yo went to?

    • Yulia 08.02.2017 at 07:26 - Reply

      Hey Jeril!
      I was there during the Fete de la musique festival, the city was absolutely crazy with all kinds of food in special outside temporary food courts, thats is where I ate.
      Cant recommend any restaurant sorry. The Maison du Vin was amazing though, I recommend checking it out for a snack and wine tasting!
      have a great St Valentine’s! 🙂

  5. Val 24.03.2018 at 06:17 - Reply

    Hi! How is the shopping in Bordeaux?

    • Yulia 24.03.2018 at 15:16 - Reply

      Not sure what shopping exactly, but it is a big city and it has pretty much everything you might want to buy

    • Ira 04.04.2018 at 22:42 - Reply

      Hi Val
      I moved to Bordeaux from Paris several months ago. This city is developing in a very cool direction but I would say that the shopping scene is still not at its best. Like Yulia is saying it’s a big city so of course you have all the big chains (mango, zara, h&m etc.). Most of them are located on rue saint Catherine (the main commercial street) and in big shopping malls in the outskirts of the city. However, I feel that there are not so many boutiques in the center of the city (maybe as I am comparing it to Paris). You have very fancy boutiques close to the opera and then some chic boutiques not far from Saint Pierre. So it’s not much but I do feel that there are more and more of them and that in a year or two there will be a great shopping scene in Bordeaux.

  6. Val 24.03.2018 at 16:03 - Reply

    Thanks Yulia!

  7. Tanvi 10.04.2018 at 11:12 - Reply

    I am confused between Bordeaux and Normandy. Any suggestions?

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