Known the world over for its eponymous wine, Bordeaux is the charming French town sitting prettily on the Garonne River. Located in the heart of French wine-producing region, this beautiful city with a UNESCO listed old town & honey-colored buildings is brimming with gothic architecture, fine restaurants & cafes as well as interesting museums. Other than paying the ritualistic visit to wonderful wineries around the city, there are so many interesting things to do in Bordeaux.
We’ve compiled a list of experiences that you mustn’t miss out in this mesmerising city, including unusual things to do in Bordeaux.
10 Best Things To Do In Bordeaux: The French City With Many Aces Up Its Sleeve
From exotic wines to tasteful food and sightseeing, see all the best things to do in Bordeaux to make your cute little French vacation even more perfect.
1. Explore the heady world of wines at this extraordinary museum: Cite du Vin
Even before you enter this fascinating museum, you will be awestruck by its impressive glass building that beautifully replicates the swirl of wine when poured in a glass. A worthy entrant to the list of things to do in Bordeaux city, this interactive museum is a wonderful journey through the history & culture of wine making. After an engaging tour with amazing digital displays, the trip ends perfectly with wine tasting from across the world on the top floor that also offers panoramic views of the city.
Timings: 10AM-7PM, all days of the week. Timings vary slightly after 31st March.
Entry fee: A skip-the-line entrance ticket along with digital guide and wine tasting starts from INR 1650/person
2. Admire the Place de la Bourse and its stunning Miror d’Eau
This gorgeous square on the banks of Garonne and bordering the old town is a fine representation of the 18th century French architectural style reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles. The splendid Place de la Bourse is made more stunning by the world’s largest water mirror right in front. One of the best free things to do in Bordeaux is to gaze at the beautiful reflections on this natural mirror or take your shoes off and walk around on the cool water from the small fountain jets. The fog-like vapour released every half an hour or so adds to the magical effect.
3. Hang out at the splendid Quais de Bordeaux and Jardin Public
One of the most relaxing things to do in Bordeaux you is to hang out at the beautifully landscaped public parks and quays and soak in the sights of the beautiful city. The lovely promenade on the left bank of Garonne lined with benches, flower beds and lawns is one of the prettiest waterfronts in Europe. Another perfect public space for escaping the hustle-bustle of the city is the beautiful park, Jardin Public. With a large lake, an arboretum, a natural history museum, a cafe and a puppet theatre, the lovely park offers something for everyone.
Jardin Public Timings: 7AM-8PM
4. Take a romantic journey down in the wine capital of the world
A trip to Bordeaux wouldn’t be complete unless you embark on a wine adventure through the world-famous vineyards and wineries around the city. One of the most romantic things to do in Bordeaux is to sip sparkling wine in the beautiful chateaux grounds with your loved one. Another unique concept is the Wine Cab which takes you around on a wine tour, each cab complete with its tasting bar and knowledgeable drivers who ensure you try out the best wines at each chateaux.
Wine tour cost: Half-day tours from Euro 60/person
5. Gawk at the amazing street art at Darwin Ecosysteme
One the right bank of Garonne is this unusual space with eye-catching street art, organic stores and much more. It’s heartening to witness the transformation of old navy barracks into a vibrant space pulsating with activity, aptly christened Darwin ecosysteme. In addition to murals and graffiti on the walls, Darwin also has France’s largest organic restaurant, an urban park and an organic brewery. When looking out for things to do in Bordeaux with family, Darwin is a great choice as it also has skate and bike parks for kids as well as play tents and lots of open space.
6. Visit this gorgeous gothic cathedral in the heart of the city
The most beautiful religious site in the city, the Bordeaux Cathedral (also called Saint-Andre Cathedral) is a French-Gothic architectural marvel with its intricate stone work, two bell-towers and stunning interiors. The magnificent stained glass windows, skyward reaching vault of the nave, striking altar and gigantic organ make it stunningly beautiful. Spending time marvelling at this gorgeous building and stealing some tranquil moments here is a wonderful experience.. The climb up the 229 steps of the bell tower is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux, with rewarding views of the city.
7. Step into the middle ages at Porte Cailhau
Built to commemorate the victory of King Charles VIII in the Battle of Fornovo, this striking victory arch was once the main entrance to the city and served as a defence gate. The castle-like facade & the unique architecture that blends medieval and renaissance style makes for great photo opportunities too. For a small fee you can climb to the top for some sweeping views of the old town and the river. The fairy-tale castle towers look magical when lit up at night.
Timings: 10AM-1PM, 2PM-6PM, all days of the week
Entry fee: Euro 5/adult (free for children below 12 years). Free entry with Bordeaux City Pass and also on first Sunday of all months (except July and August)
8. Shopaholics rejoice at Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street
Running through the old town of Bordeaux is the 1.2 Km long Rue Sainte-Catherine, Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street lined with glittering shops, restaurants and cafes. The huge selection of stores with great offers as well as the buzz and vibes of the city make this an interesting experience. Opening up to the magnificent Grand Theatre on one end, the street also has some wonderful patisseries for a quick yummy bite and coffee. You can also explore the huge shopping arcade, Galerie Bordelaise, which has an entrance from the street.
9. Witness a spectacular performance at Grand Theatre de Bordeaux
This architectural gem stands tall as a magnificent example of18th century neo-classical architectural. Opulent, grand and just as beautiful from the inside as it is from the outside, a visit to the Grande Theatre is one of the top things to do in Bordeaux. You can take a guided tour to admire its breathtaking architecture and learn about its fascinating history, or witness a mesmerising French ballet or theatre performance. Watching its beautifully lit-up columned portico with the 12 statues must surely feature on your things to do in Bordeaux at night list.
Timings: 12PM-6:30PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
Ticket price: Guided tour at Euro 6/person. Performance tickets start from Euro 10/person for some ballets.
10. Stroll along France’s biggest square and admire the Monument aux Girondins
Place des Quinconces, one of Europe’s biggest city squares & a fantastic place to stroll around, is also the venue for many open air concerts and festivals in the heart of the city. Built as a defence against rebellion, the square is now well-known for the famous Monument aux Girondins. The gorgeous fountain with life-like sculptures is a fitting tribute to honour the Girondin revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror. The towering column & the rampaging horses amidst the fountain are a sight to behold. A sunset shot at this beautiful site is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Bordeaux.
There are so many more things to do in Bordeaux, including sampling its delicious gastronomic offerings like fresh oysters, beef specialities and delicious canele (rum and vanilla infused cakes). Include them in your holiday to France and make your trip even more perfect.