What to do in bordeaux

Discover What to Do in Bordeaux – Ultimate Travel Guide

Bordeaux, France offers a wealth of attractions and activities for travelers seeking a memorable experience. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a lover of history and architecture, or a foodie looking to indulge in local cuisine, Bordeaux has something for everyone.

What to do in Bordeaux

Key Takeaways:

  • Bordeaux is known for its world-renowned vineyards and wine production.
  • The city is rich in historic sites, including Bordeaux Cathedral and Porte Cailhau.
  • There are numerous cultural attractions in Bordeaux, such as Musee des Beaux-Arts and Cite du Vin.
  • Bordeaux is a culinary delight, with a diverse range of local cuisine to indulge in.
  • The city also offers a vibrant shopping scene, with the famous Rue Sainte-Catherine.
  • Day trips from Bordeaux to nearby destinations like Arcachon and Saint-Emilion are popular.
  • There are various accommodation options available in Bordeaux to suit every traveler’s needs.
  • Getting to Bordeaux is easy with transportation options including the Bordeaux airport and train.
  • Visitors should consider essential tips for a successful trip to Bordeaux, including the best time to visit and packing list.
  • Bordeaux is a magical city with a diverse range of attractions and experiences to discover.

Wine, wine and more wine!

Embark on a memorable Bordeaux wine tour and discover the rich history and production behind the region’s finest wines.

When it comes to wine, Bordeaux is a name that needs no introduction. With its exceptional vineyards and centuries-old winemaking tradition, the region is a dream come true for wine enthusiasts. A Bordeaux wine tour is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of wine and explore everything the region has to offer.

During a Bordeaux wine tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the most prestigious chateaux and vineyards in the area. From tasting sessions led by knowledgeable experts to guided tours of the winemaking facilities, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the wine production process and the unique characteristics of Bordeaux wines.

One of the best places to start your wine tour is the Maison du Vin in Bordeaux. Here, you can sample a wide variety of Bordeaux wines and even pair them with delicious local cheeses. The Maison du Vin is open from 2 PM to 11 PM, so it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy some wine after a day of exploring.

If you have more time on hand, consider booking a full-day Bordeaux wine tour that takes you to multiple chateaux and vineyards. The official Tourism Center in Bordeaux is a great resource for finding the perfect tour for your interests and preferences. They can also provide you with a vineyards map, so you can plan your own self-guided tour if you prefer.

A Taste of Bordeaux’s Wine Regions

The Bordeaux wine region is divided into several appellations, each with its own unique terroir and grape varieties. Two of the most famous wine regions in Bordeaux are Medoc and Saint-Émilion.

Medoc is known for its prestigious chateaux and world-class red wines. It’s worth taking a private tour or joining a guided tour to fully appreciate the beauty of this region and sample some of its finest wines.

If you prefer a more picturesque setting, a visit to Saint-Émilion is a must. This charming medieval town is surrounded by vineyards and boasts some of the most scenic chateaux in Bordeaux. Take a wine tasting tour to discover the rich history and exquisite wines of Saint-Émilion.

Whether you choose to explore Medoc, Saint-Émilion, or both, you’re in for an unforgettable wine experience. Don’t forget to bring back a bottle or two of your favorite Bordeaux wines to enjoy at home!

Region Notable Chateaux
Medoc Chateau Margaux, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild
Saint-Émilion Chateau Angelus, Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc

“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” – Ernest Hemingway

Top Tips for a Bordeaux Wine Tour:

  • Book your wine tour in advance to secure your spot.
  • Bring a notebook to jot down your tasting notes and impressions.
  • Take the time to learn about the different grape varieties and terroir in Bordeaux.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and engage with the winemakers and experts.
  • Take the opportunity to purchase some bottles of Bordeaux wine to enjoy at home.

Explore Historic Sites in Bordeaux

Immerse yourself in the history and beauty of Bordeaux by exploring its stunning architectural gems, such as the Bordeaux Cathedral and the majestic Porte Cailhau. These historic sites offer a glimpse into the city’s rich heritage and are must-visit attractions for any visitor.

Bordeaux Cathedral

The Bordeaux Cathedral, officially known as the Primatial Cathedral of St Andrew of Bordeaux, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Dating back to the 11th century, this cathedral is a symbol of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Step inside to admire its intricate stained glass windows and majestic vaulted ceilings.

“The Bordeaux Cathedral is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture and a must-visit for history and architecture enthusiasts.” – Bordeaux Tourism

Porte Cailhau

Another iconic landmark in Bordeaux is the Porte Cailhau. Built in the 15th century, this grand archway served as one of the main gates to the city. Its castle-like appearance and ornate details make it a sight to behold. Climb to the top for panoramic views of Bordeaux and the Garonne River.

Both the Bordeaux Cathedral and Porte Cailhau are located in the historic center of the city, allowing visitors to explore these sites on foot. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Bordeaux and discover the city’s fascinating history.

Other Historic Sites

In addition to the Bordeaux Cathedral and Porte Cailhau, there are many other historic sites to explore in the city. Visit the Grosse Cloche, a medieval bell tower that once served as a gateway to the city. Admire the grandeur of the Place de la Bourse, a square surrounded by beautiful 18th-century buildings.

For art enthusiasts, the Musée des Beaux-Arts is a must-visit. Housed in a former palace, this museum boasts an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Delve into Bordeaux’s vibrant cultural scene by visiting the Musee des Beaux-Arts and experiencing the interactive exhibits at the Cite du Vin.

Bordeaux is not only known for its wine and beautiful architecture, but it also boasts a vibrant cultural scene. Visitors can explore various museums and cultural attractions, immersing themselves in the art and history of the city.

Musee des Beaux-Arts: One of the must-visit cultural attractions in Bordeaux is the Musee des Beaux-Arts, also known as the Museum of Fine Arts. Located in the heart of the city, this museum houses an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

From Renaissance masterpieces to contemporary works, art enthusiasts will find plenty to admire here. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, showcasing different themes and artists throughout the year. Admission to the museum is typically free for those under 26 years old, and there is a small fee for adults.

Cite du Vin: For wine lovers and those interested in the rich history of Bordeaux’s wine industry, a visit to the Cite du Vin is a must. This unique museum offers an interactive and immersive experience, allowing visitors to learn about the culture, history, and production of wine.

Through multimedia displays, sensory experiences, and tasting sessions, visitors can deepen their understanding of wine and its significance in Bordeaux. The museum also boasts a panoramic wine bar, where visitors can enjoy a glass of wine while admiring the stunning views of the city and the Garonne River. Tickets to the Cite du Vin can be purchased online or at the museum.

Whether you choose to explore the impressive art collection at the Musee des Beaux-Arts or indulge in the wine-focused experience at the Cite du Vin, you’ll undoubtedly gain a deeper appreciation for Bordeaux’s cultural heritage. These attractions offer a captivating glimpse into the art, history, and wine that make Bordeaux such a unique and vibrant city.

“Bordeaux’s cultural scene offers something for everyone, from art aficionados to wine enthusiasts. The Musee des Beaux-Arts and Cite du Vin are not to be missed when visiting the city. Explore the rich history and artistic beauty that Bordeaux has to offer.”

Indulge in Bordeaux’s Culinary Delights

Treat your taste buds to the flavors of Bordeaux by indulging in its local cuisine. From savory dishes to delectable pastries, the city offers a gastronomic experience like no other.

One popular dish to try is Canard à l’Orange, which features tender roasted duck cooked in a tangy orange sauce. The combination of flavors is simply mouthwatering. Another must-try is the Entrecôte à la Bordelaise, a juicy steak topped with a rich red wine and shallot sauce. This dish showcases the region’s love for bold flavors.

For the adventurous foodie, the local specialty Lamproie à la Bordelaise is worth a taste. This traditional dish features lamprey eel cooked in a wine and blood sauce. It may not be for everyone, but it is a unique culinary experience that encapsulates the rich history and gastronomy of Bordeaux.

“Bordeaux is a city that knows how to delight the palate. With its incredible variety of local dishes and pastries, you’ll never run out of delicious options to try.” – Local Food Enthusiast

When it comes to pastries, Bordeaux offers an array of irresistible options. The Canelé is a local favorite, with its caramelized crust and soft custard center. These sweet treats are perfect for a midday snack or after-dinner indulgence. Macarons are also a beloved delicacy in Bordeaux. These colorful almond meringue cookies come in various flavors, such as raspberry, pistachio, or chocolate. And of course, you can’t visit Bordeaux without trying a classic Pain au Chocolat. These buttery croissants filled with rich chocolate are a delicious way to start your day.

Experience the Local Food Scene

Bordeaux is home to numerous restaurants, bistros, and cafes that showcase the best of local cuisine. Head to the bustling Rue Sainte-Catherine, the longest pedestrian shopping street in the world, to discover an array of dining options. From charming cafes serving traditional dishes to Michelin-starred restaurants pushing culinary boundaries, there is something for every palate and budget in Bordeaux.

Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of Bordeaux wine, as the city is renowned for its vineyards and winemaking traditions. Whether you prefer a bold red or a crisp white, there is a wine to suit every taste.

As a food lover, exploring the culinary delights of Bordeaux is an absolute must. Immerse yourself in the local flavors, savor each bite, and discover why this city is a paradise for food enthusiasts.

Experience the thrill of shopping in Bordeaux

Experience the thrill of shopping in Bordeaux as you stroll down the famed Rue Sainte-Catherine, home to a myriad of shops and boutiques offering everything from fashion to artisanal goods.

This bustling shopping street stretches over 1.2 kilometers, making it the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion labels, quirky boutiques, or local artisanal products, Rue Sainte-Catherine has it all.

Boutiques for Fashion Lovers

If you’re a fashion lover, you’ll find a wide selection of trendy boutiques on Rue Sainte-Catherine. From well-known international brands to local designers, there’s something to suit every style and budget. Explore stores like Zara, H&M, and Mango for affordable fashion, or head to upscale boutiques like Galeries Lafayette for luxury brands.

Artisanal and Local Goods

Bordeaux is known for its local artisans and craftsmen, and Rue Sainte-Catherine is the perfect place to discover their creations. Explore shops selling unique handmade jewelry, accessories, and home decor items. Don’t miss a visit to La Grande Poste, a historic building that has been transformed into a multi-purpose space housing artisanal boutiques and a cozy café.

Experience the thrill of shopping in Bordeaux as you stroll down the famed Rue Sainte-Catherine, home to a myriad of shops and boutiques offering everything from fashion to artisanal goods.

Markets and Food Stalls

Aside from the traditional shops, Rue Sainte-Catherine is also home to several markets and food stalls. On certain days, you can find local farmers selling fresh produce, flowers, and regional specialties. Indulge in some delicious French pastries, cheeses, and charcuterie as you explore the vibrant market atmosphere.

Shopping Centers and Department Stores

In addition to the independent boutiques, Rue Sainte-Catherine is also home to shopping centers and department stores. Les Grands Hommes, located near Place des Grands Hommes, is a luxury shopping center that houses high-end fashion brands and upscale department stores. Galerie Bordelaise, another shopping center, offers a mix of well-known brands and local shops.

Restaurants and Cafés

After a long day of shopping, take a break and refuel at one of the many restaurants or cafés along Rue Sainte-Catherine. From cozy bistros serving traditional French cuisine to trendy cafes offering international flavors, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling shopping street.

Venture beyond Bordeaux

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Arcachon and the charming medieval town of Saint-Emilion on unforgettable day trips from the city.

While Bordeaux itself offers a wealth of attractions and experiences, its surrounding areas are equally enchanting. Take a break from the city and embark on day trips to Arcachon and Saint-Emilion to discover the diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the region.


Arcachon is a picturesque coastal town located on the Atlantic coast of France, just a short drive from Bordeaux. Known for its stunning beaches and the impressive Dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe, Arcachon offers a perfect escape from the city.

Start your day trip by exploring the vibrant town center, where you can wander through the bustling market, sample fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants, or simply relax on the beautiful sandy beaches. For those seeking adventure, climb the iconic Dune du Pilat and enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding pine forests.

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby Île aux Oiseaux, a small island known for its diverse bird population. Take a boat tour and observe the graceful flamingos and other avian species in their natural habitat.

Arcachon is also famous for its delicious oysters, so be sure to indulge in a seafood feast at one of the local oyster farms or restaurants. Pair your meal with a glass of white wine from the nearby Bordeaux wine region for a true gastronomic delight.


Located just a short drive east of Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion is a charming medieval town that is renowned for its historic vineyards and world-class wines. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a unique blend of history, culture, and gastronomy.

Explore the narrow cobblestone streets lined with ancient buildings and discover the fascinating history of Saint-Emilion. Visit the famous Monolithic Church, a stunning underground church carved out of the limestone rock, and take a guided tour to learn about the town’s rich heritage.

Of course, no visit to Saint-Emilion would be complete without sampling its exquisite wines. Embark on a wine tasting tour and visit some of the prestigious chateaux that produce the region’s renowned red wines. Learn about the winemaking process, stroll through the vineyards, and savor the flavors of the local varietals.

After a day of exploration, indulge in a leisurely lunch at one of Saint-Emilion’s charming restaurants, where you can savor traditional French cuisine paired with a glass of the region’s finest wine.

Whether you choose to visit the coastal paradise of Arcachon or immerse yourself in the medieval charm of Saint-Emilion, these day trips from Bordeaux will leave you with unforgettable memories of the region’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and culinary delights.

Arcachon Saint-Emilion
Coastal town with stunning sandy beaches Charming medieval town with narrow cobblestone streets
Home to the iconic Dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe Famous for its historic vineyards and world-class wines
Opportunity to observe diverse bird species on Île aux Oiseaux UNESCO World Heritage Site with a fascinating history
Delicious seafood and oyster farms Exquisite wine tasting tours and prestigious chateaux

Explore the diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the Bordeaux region on unforgettable day trips to Arcachon and Saint-Emilion.

Plan your visit to Bordeaux today and experience the beauty, history, and gastronomy of this enchanting region.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux

Find your ideal home away from home in Bordeaux with a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses, located in the city’s most desirable neighborhoods.

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Bordeaux, you’ll find a variety of options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious hotel, a boutique guesthouse, or a budget-friendly hostel, Bordeaux has something for everyone.

Luxury Hotels

If you’re looking for an upscale and indulgent stay, Bordeaux boasts several luxury hotels that offer world-class amenities and impeccable service. Some of the top luxury hotels in Bordeaux include:

  • Hotel Burdigala Bordeaux: Located in the heart of the city, this five-star hotel offers elegant rooms, a gourmet restaurant, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views.
  • InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel: Housed in a beautiful 18th-century building, this five-star hotel features opulent rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and a luxurious spa.
  • Les Sources de Caudalie: Situated in the vineyards just outside of Bordeaux, this luxury hotel offers a serene and idyllic setting, world-class dining, and a spa with vinotherapy treatments.

Boutique Hotels

If you prefer a more intimate and personalized experience, Bordeaux is home to several boutique hotels that capture the charm and character of the city. Some popular choices include:

  • Hotel de Tourny: Located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion, this boutique hotel features stylish rooms and a charming courtyard garden.
  • Hôtel La Maison Bord’eaux: Situated in a renovated townhouse, this boutique hotel offers unique and stylish rooms, a cozy lounge area, and a delightful courtyard.
  • Yndo Hotel: This boutique hotel combines contemporary design with historic elements, offering luxurious accommodations and a tranquil courtyard garden.

Budget-Friendly Options

If you’re traveling on a budget, Bordeaux has plenty of affordable accommodation options to choose from. Hostels and guesthouses provide comfortable and budget-friendly stays, allowing you to explore the city without breaking the bank. Some budget-friendly options include:

  • Adagio Access Bordeaux Rodesse: This budget-friendly aparthotel offers self-catering accommodations with kitchenettes, perfect for those looking for flexibility and value.
  • Hotel La Porte Dijeaux: Located in the city center, this budget hotel offers simple and clean rooms at affordable prices.
  • St. James Backpackers Hostel: Ideal for solo travelers or those on a tight budget, this hostel provides dormitory-style accommodations and a friendly atmosphere.

With so many accommodation options to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect place to stay during your visit to Bordeaux. Whether you’re seeking luxury, charm, or affordability, Bordeaux has it all.

Planning Your Trip to Bordeaux

Planning your trip to Bordeaux is made easy with convenient transportation options, including flights to Bordeaux-Merignac Airport and high-speed train connections from major cities in France. Whether you prefer to fly or take the train, getting to Bordeaux is a breeze.

Flights to Bordeaux-Merignac Airport

Bordeaux-Merignac Airport is the main international airport serving Bordeaux and is located just 12 kilometers west of the city center. It offers a wide range of domestic and international flights, making it easy to access Bordeaux from anywhere in the world.

Several major airlines operate flights to Bordeaux-Merignac Airport, including Air France, British Airways, Ryanair, and easyJet. From the airport, you can easily reach the city center by taxi, public transportation, or rental car.

High-Speed Train Connections

If you prefer to travel by train, Bordeaux is well-connected to major cities in France, including Paris, Lyon, and Marseille, via the high-speed TGV trains. The journey from Paris to Bordeaux takes approximately two hours, making it a convenient option for those already in France.

Bordeaux’s main train station, Gare de Bordeaux-Saint-Jean, is located in the city center and offers easy access to other parts of the city. From the train station, you can take a taxi, tram, or bus to your final destination.

Getting Around Bordeaux

Once you’ve arrived in Bordeaux, getting around the city is easy thanks to its efficient public transportation system. The city has an extensive network of trams and buses, making it convenient to explore all of Bordeaux’s attractions.

Alternatively, you can also rent a bike and cycle around the city. Bordeaux is known for being a bike-friendly city, with dedicated bike lanes and plenty of bike rental stations available.

Essential Tips for Visiting Bordeaux

Before you embark on your trip to Bordeaux, here are some essential tips to make your visit even more enjoyable:

  • Check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Bordeaux has a mild climate, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared for any changes in weather.
  • Make sure to try the local cuisine and indulge in some of Bordeaux’s famous dishes, such as canelés and duck confit.
  • Take advantage of the Bordeaux City Pass, which offers discounts on attractions and public transportation.
  • Be respectful of the local culture and customs, and make an effort to learn a few basic French phrases.
  • Don’t forget to sample some of Bordeaux’s world-renowned wines. Take a wine tour or visit a local wine bar to experience the best of Bordeaux’s wine culture.

With convenient transportation options, a variety of accommodation choices, and plenty of things to see and do, Bordeaux is the perfect destination for your next trip. Start planning your adventure today and discover the magic of Bordeaux.

Best Time to Visit Bordeaux

Bordeaux enjoys a mild climate throughout the year, making it a great destination to visit at any time. However, the best time to visit Bordeaux is during the spring (April to June) or fall (September to November) seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are smaller. These seasons offer comfortable temperatures for exploring the city and enjoying outdoor activities.

Packing List for Bordeaux

When packing for Bordeaux, it’s important to consider the weather and the activities you plan to do. Here are some essentials to include in your packing list:

  • Comfortable walking shoes for exploring the city’s charming streets and attractions
  • Lightweight clothing for the warm summers and layering options for cooler evenings
  • A raincoat or umbrella, as Bordeaux can experience occasional showers
  • Sunscreen, prescription sunglasses from GlassesUSA, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun
  • A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during your sightseeing adventures
  • A power adapter, if needed, to charge your electronics

Bordeaux Travel Tips

Here are some insider tips to enhance your visit to Bordeaux:

  • Consider purchasing a Bordeaux City Pass, which provides access to many of the city’s attractions and includes public transportation
  • Try to learn a few basic French phrases, as it will enhance your interactions with locals and show cultural respect
  • Take advantage of the city’s bike-sharing program, V³, to explore Bordeaux on two wheels and enjoy the extensive bike paths
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to try the local specialties, such as canelé pastries and Bordeaux wines
  • Plan your day trips in advance to make the most of your time in Bordeaux. Popular day trip destinations include Arcachon and Saint-Emilion.

“Bordeaux is a city that combines rich history, stunning architecture, and world-class wine. With careful planning and these essential tips, your visit to Bordeaux is sure to be a memorable experience.” – Travel writer

Discover the Magic of Bordeaux for Yourself!


Exploring the historic sites of Bordeaux is like stepping back in time. From the awe-inspiring Bordeaux Cathedral to the grandeur of Porte Cailhau, these architectural gems are a testament to the city’s rich heritage. Take the time to immerse yourself in the history and beauty of Bordeaux and discover the stories that these sites have to tell.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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