Are you planning a trip around Bordeaux, but you wonder what the best things to do in Bordeaux are? You aren’t alone. Especially if you’ve never been to France before (or even if you have), planning a trip itinerary to somewhere as beautiful as the Bordeaux region of France can feel daunting.
How long you should stay there? Is the city of Bordeaux family-friendly? Is the area worth visiting even if you’re not a wine enthusiast? How can I make the most of my time in Bordeaux, France?
To make things easier for you, we have listed a top 10 of the best things to do – including sights to see, wineries in Bordeaux France, and more – for you to make the most of your time in Bordeaux. Whether you are planning a stay in this region of France for a couple of weeks just want to spend a few days, you will not miss important spots if you follow Winalist’s guide!
Things to do in Bordeaux, France city-center
The city of Bordeaux is one of France’s large cities. The entire region of Bordeaux is one of France’s most highly-acclaimed wine regions. Fortunately, it is very accessible by plane, train and car (only 2 hours away from Paris, by direct high-speed train trips).
If you settle in Bordeaux’s city-center for a couple of days and want to know what are the best places in Bordeaux you should visit, here is our selection of best spots in Bordeaux and things to do in the center.
1. Visit historical sites in Bordeaux city-center
Walking around Bordeaux is always enjoyable. While strolling along beautiful streets like Rue Note Dame in the district of Chartrons where you’ll find Cafés, French Boutiques and antique shops, here are three spots you should absolutely visit in Bordeaux city-center, no matter your time limit:
- Cathédrale Saint André de Bordeaux: classified as a Historic Monument and one of the best things to do in Bordeaux, France, this impressive and massive monument is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll find it in the Pay-Berlad district.
- Saint-Pierre district: this is the oldest district of Bordeaux, and you will see one of Bordeaux’s gates, the Grosse Cloche Gate.
- Water Mirror of Bordeaux at Place de la Bourse.
2. Try Bordeaux wine bars and fancy cocktail joints
If you wonder what to do in Bordeaux city center after doing some sight seeing during the day, it’s time to have a break like a true Bordeaux citizen: go to a wine bar or visit one of the many famed wineries in Bordeaux, France, for an apéro bordelais! Here are Winalist’s top 3 of best wines bars in Bordeaux:
1. Les Tonneaux des Chartrons: known for its French wines and its delicious craft beers. And the best part is that it’s all organic. They offer you plates of charcuterie, cheese, oysters and pâtés, and once again, everything will be organic. David, the manager, will be able to advise you on his best wines, and the ones most to your tastes. And if you like music, this place will be your new HQ, the wine bar also hosts concerts in its vintage lounge.
2. Les Trois Pinardiers: if you want to travel with wine, this is the spot for you! You will find a list of a hundred wines, from Chile, Lebanon or even Spain or Bulgaria.
3. Les Clés du Vin: this is more than a wine bar: introductory or advanced tasting courses, gourmet wine and cheese pairing workshops and B-Winemaker workshops to learn how to create your own wine – this us what Les Clés du Vin is about!
If you feel more like having a cocktail overweening the sunset, here is where you should be:
- For a great view on Bordeaux: Mama shelter
- Chic rooftop ambiance: Night Beach
Bordeaux things to do nearby
3. Boat ride on the Garonne
Bordeaux is blessed with a beautiful river called the Garonne River. Therefore, it offers a calm and soothing atmosphere, as well as fun water activities we all crave for during the summer!
You will have no trouble finding agencies that rent boats or offer any kind of water activities to do with friends or family. You can also consider sailing on the Garonne to go from on point of Bordeaux to the other! Ferries sail on the Garonne from Stalingrad district to Lormont, for the same price of a tram-ticket.
4. Dune of Pilat – a unique climb
If you have rented a car to travel around Bordeaux, a highlight of you trip will be the hike of Dune du Pilat. Located 65 km (about 40 miles) outside of Bordeaux, near the city of Arcachon, you’ll discover a 100 meters tall sand dune – something very peculiar in the region. At the top, expect a breathtaking view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, forests, and of course, the city of Bordeaux.
5. Relax at Bordeaux’s Beaches
The world red wine capital city is not just a large town to visit, and things to do in Bordeaux are not only city-related. It’s also a place where you can relax thanks to beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, or the Bordeaux Lac! Only 15 minutes away from the city-center, you can already take a break from the city ambiance and start your laid-back day under the sun. The Bordeaux Lac and its beach are open to public from June 1st to August 31.
Bordeaux cultural spots: Museums, Monuments and Street Art
6. Museums & Monuments in Bordeaux to visit
Bordeaux is home to several famous museums that attract tourists from all over the world. Here are those you should consider visiting if you like museums:
- Natural History Museum: it hosts millions of animal specimens. Thanks to the “Early Years Museum” section for kids under 6, this is a perfect spot in Bordeaux for families with young children
- Palais Galien: located a little remotely from the center of Bordeaux, this is the oldest monument of the city. It’s a Gallo Roman amphitheater that dates back to year 200 A.D.
- Cité du Vin de Bordeaux: most incredible Museum you will ever come across, this is an absolute must if you are a wine-enthusiast. One of Bordeaux’s main attraction site, you can book visits to the Cité du Vin de Bordeaux on Winalist.
7. Explore Bordeaux Street Art
The capital of red wine has what we call the “street art fever”. While strolling along streets you will come across massive art peaces from famous artists. If you are particularly fund of street art, you should go to:
- Bassin a Flot
- Quai des platitudes
- Mur in Chartron
8. Take a break at beautiful parks in Bordeaux
Like all large cities, we need a break in a nice park, where tree and beautiful flower bushes are so invigorating. Bordeaux ticks that box too! Here some of the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux you will find along your trip.
- Parc Majolan: this unique nature-area of Bordeaux will immerse you in a beautiful forest right away – embellished with a lake and ruins. Plan an couple of hours if you want to explore this one-of-a-kind huge park!
- Parc de l’Ermitage Sainte-Catherine: expect a little climbing to enjoy views on the Garonne from the upper side of the park! It’s also family-friendly thanks to its nice lake, at the bottom of the park.
- Jardin Public: right in the center of the city, it’s the largest of Bordeaux parks and one of the best places in Bordeaux.
9. Foodies’ spots: taste traditional Bordeaux food
Traditional Bordeaux food should definitely be on your checklist! Even if Bordeaux wines are world well-know wines, Bordeaux food specialties are not less worthy of fame.
Bordeaux restaurants for French cheese lovers
Food & wine pairing is very common in Bordeaux, and you must know that Bordeaux wines are also very often paired with cheese. To the delights of locals and tourists, many cheese shops makes this step easy! You can find excellent Basque cheese in the city center, at Fromagerie Beillevaire, or Fromagerie Deruelle.
Bordeaux food spots for the sweet tooth
- Cannelés: most famous Bordeaux pastries, French people absolutely adore them. Tasting one of these eggy delicacy is an absolute must during your stay in Bordeaux!
- Dunes Blanches: next to famous Cannelés, these are not very ell-known, but less exceptional. The creation of French chef Pascal Lucas, they are a kind of fluffy choux filled with whipped cream. Find them in Bordeaux at 7 Rue de la Vieille Tour.
- French patisseries you don’t want to miss: David Capy, Pâtisserie Valanting, Pâtisserie S., Mi-Cielo.
Sunday market in Bordeaux
The perfect address for foodies, the Sunday Market of Bordeaux is where you’ll want to be if you’re staying in Bordeaux for the weekend and want delicious local cuisine. Located on the Quai des Chartrons, tens of trucks proudly present local and fresh fruits & vegetables, cheese, fish, meet and even wine. If you like oysters, you’ll be served!
10. Visit wineries on the Médoc Wine Route
Of course, you must have anticipated that one of the main things to do in Bordeaux is to visit Bordeaux wineries and discover secrets of prestigious Bordeaux Wine Châteaux and appellations. There are several ways to make the most of your stay while visiting Bordeaux wineries:
- Drive on the Médoc Wine Route and visit wineries on your way
- Visit villages to quaint places like Saint-Emilion
- Visit Bordeaux Wine Chateaux
In any case, once in the area, don’t hesitate to use Winalist’s interactive map to find wineries next to where you are, and book unforgettable wine experiences in Bordeaux!
FAQ & Useful resources
Things to do near Bordeaux
– Dune du Pilat,
– Beaches on the Atlantic Ocean,
– Visit Basque villages in the surroundings,
– Bike on the trails of the Médoc Wine Route,
– Explore Medieval villages like Saint-Emilion.
Best restaurants in Bordeaux
Bordeaux’s gastronomy is being more and more well-rated. The city offers an extensive choice of restaurants, bars, bistros, fancy cafés and boulangeries. Here is a selection of a couple nice restaurants in Bordeaux:
– L’Atélier des Faures
– Au Bistro
– Le Bouchon bordelais
– Le M
– Mets Mots
– Le Chien de Pavlov
– La Belle Saison