Bordeaux is, unsurprisingly, best-known for its wine-related activities. The capital city of the New-Aquitaine region is world-famous for its vineyards and top-notch wine labels, but that’s not all the area has to offer. Located on the banks of the Garonne River since 300 BC, it’s almost an understatement to say that Bordeaux has a long history.

    From the Saint-Andrew Cathedral of Bordeaux to the Museum of Aquitaine, and from the popular Quays Market to the Parc de Majolan, Bordeaux is a very pleasant city to visit – a place that has evolved over time without forgetting its rich past.

    What are the best things to do in Bordeaux?


    Place de la Bourse

    Pay a visit to an iconic sight of Bordeaux

    • History
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Place de la Bourse is a historic place for Bordeaux, located in the Saint-Pierre district, right in the centre of the city. Built during the 18th century, it marked the end of the medieval period for Bordeaux by expanding the city beyond the old walls. Part of the historical district of Bordeaux, the Place de la Bourse was upgraded in 2006 with the addition of le Miroir d’Eau – the water mirror. The reflection of the historical buildings in the water is definitely worth a photo or two, especially at night. Have a drink on the terrace of Le Gabriel, a gastro restaurant located right on the square, behind the Fountain of the 3 Graces.

    Location: In the centre of Bordeaux, on the bank of the Garonne River


    The Wine City

    Learn about Bordeaux Wines and join a wine-tasting tour

    Excellent wines are produced all around France, but Bordeaux is considered the wine capital of the country. Going to Bordeaux is like a journey into the rich world of wine. Head to La Cité du Vin – The Wine City – on the Quai du Bacalan. You’ll learn everything about the Bordeaux châteaux and wine labels here. You’ll also be able to book wine-tasting tours at some of the most famous châteaux in the region, like Saint-Émilion, Saint-Julien, Margaux, and Médoc, just to name a few.

    Location: Quai du Bataclan, 3 km north from the city centre on the bank of the Garonne River

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)5 56 16 20 20


    Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

    A splendid building dedicated to performing arts

    • History
    • Nightlife
    • Photo

    The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is at the same time an impressive mid-18th-century neo-classical building and a lively venue that host operas, dance and music performances. Located on the Place de la Comédie, its façade features 12 columns on which stand 9 muses and 3 goddess statues, making the edifice like an antique Temple of the arts. Even if you don’t want to see a show, you should join a guided tour to visit the theatre. The backstage areas and the sumptuous interior décor and ornaments are worth an hour of your time.

    Location: Place de la Comédie in the centre of Bordeaux, 400 metres from the Garonne River

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday from 12 pm to 6.30 pm, closed on Mondays

    Phone: +33 (0)5 56 00 85 95


    Parc de Majolan

    Take a stroll in a beautiful baroque park

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Located in Blanquefort, an hour’s drive northeast from Bordeaux city centre, the Parc de Majolan offers a serene and unique place for a stroll in a beautiful natural environment. Designed at the end of the 19th century, the park features a 4-hectare lake, artificial caves, and fountains and geysers designed in a baroque style. This family-friendly park features a large kids’ playground and animals such as swans, peacocks and coypus freely roam the place. You can lunch at La Maison des Jardiniers, a cool restaurant located at the entrance of the park, or bring a picnic and find a place to lunch on the lawn.

    Location: In Blanquefort, 50 km northeast from Bordeaux city centre

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 8.30 pm


    Quay Market

    Do not miss this riverside fresh market held on Sundays

    The Marché des Quais is the perfect place to discover and sample fresh and cooked products from the region of Bordeaux. Held every Sunday on the Quai des Chartrons, just north of the city centre, you’ll find an assortment of delicacies that include oysters, crepes, cheeses, wines, and delicatessen that you can eat on the spot, along with a lot more. It’s an affordable version of a 5-star hotel brunch, which you can enjoy on the bank of the Garonne River.

    Location: Quai des Chartrons, 1,5 km north of the Place de la Bourse in the centre of Bordeaux

    Open: Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm


    Bordeaux cathedral

    Travel back to time at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew of Bordeaux

    • History
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Originally built in Roman style in the early-11th century, Bordeaux Cathedral went through the tumultuous history of France, and was almost entirely rebuilt in Gothic style during the 14th century. Declared a National Monument of France, it’s home to an impressive art collection dating from between the 14th and 17th centuries, that includes statues, paintings and religious artefacts and ornaments. Being right in the centre of Bordeaux, you’ll find a good choice of cool bars and restaurants nearby. Guided tours are available.

    Location: Place Pey Berland, opposite the City Hall in the centre of Bordeaux

    Open: Wednesday and Saturday from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +33 (0)5 56 52 68 10


    Port of the Moon

    Take a refreshing riverside walk in a World Heritage Site

    • Couples
    • History
    • Budget
    • Photo

    Port de la Lune – Port of the Moon – is the nickname given to the crescent-shaped Port of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Stretching from the Quai de Bacalan to the Quai de Paludate in the centre of the city, the Port of the Moon incorporates the Place de la Bourse and the Quays Market. Lined with quaint boutiques, chic bars and restaurants, it’s a very pleasant and classy area to wander around. That’s to its historical beauty, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

    Location: In the centre of the city, on the bank of the Garonne River between Quai de Bacalan and Quai de Paludate


    Rue Sainte-Catherine

    Go window-shopping on one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe

    Rue Sainte-Catherine is the most famous shopping street in the centre of Bordeaux. Stretching for over 1 km from the Place de la Comédie to the Place de la Victoire, it’s considered one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe. Here, you’ll find an astonishing choice of boutiques, stores, and shopping malls selling almost anything. Bars and restaurants interspersed between the shops offer opportunities to take a break as well as providing excellent people-watching spots.

    Location: In the centre of the city, between Place de la Comédie and Place de la Victoire


    photo by Marc Ryckaert (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Museum of Aquitaine

    Explore one of the largest French history museums

    • History

    The Museum of Aquitaine shows you the history of Bordeaux and of its region from the Stone Age to the 19th century through a good variety of exhibits. Controversially, the displays include reflections on French colonialism and the relation between Bordeaux and the slave trade. From splendid model ships to Montaigne’s Tomb, the museum is home to rare artefacts and objects as well as a reconstruction of an early 20th-century grocer's shop. It’s a nice place to visit upon arrival in Bordeaux, to get into the mood of the region.

    Location: Cours Pasteur in the centre of Bordeaux

    Open: Tuesday - Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm, closed on Mondays

    Phone: +33 (0)5 56 01 51 00


    photo by Lysiane Gauthier (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Saint-Pierre district

    Hop from restaurants to bars in Bordeaux Old Town

    • Nightlife

    Adjacent to the Place de la Bourse, Saint-Pierre District is as lively by night as it is by day. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and bars to make your evening. Among the recommendable venues in this area, you should definitely have a glass of wine at Le Bar à Vin on Cours du 30 Juillet. If you fancy an evening in a warm and festive South American ambience, head to Calle Ocho, Café Cubano on Rue Piliers de Tutelle. Last but not least, go to The Houses of Parliament on Rue Parlement Sainte-Catherine to enjoy a genuine English pub atmosphere.

    Location: Right behind Place de la Bourse in the city centre


    photo by BRENAC (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Taste Canelés and other regional specialities

    Must-try food in Bordeaux

    From the oysters grown in the nearby Arcachon Bay to the foie gras produced just south of the city, Bordeaux is a real gourmet destination, not only famous for its wines. For instance, you can’t leave Bordeaux without sampling the canelés. These small custard cakes have a thick caramelised crust and are flavoured with rum and vanilla. They’re a real speciality of the city. They can be found in almost any bakery in Bordeaux, as well as at markets such as the popular Quays Market.

    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveller

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