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Things to do in Bordeaux

Things to do in  Bordeaux

Welcome to Bordeaux

Bordeaux attracts travelers with its culture, scenery, and wine. The sheer number of wineries and varietals can be overwhelming, so an organized wine-tasting tour to the “chateaux” of Saint-Émilion, Médoc, or Graves ensures visitors get to taste the best wines without having to worry about picking and choosing. In addition to the world-class wine, Bordeaux is renowned for its historic buildings and squares, from Bordeaux Cathedral to Place des Quinconces and Place de la Comédie.

Top 15 attractions in Bordeaux

La Cité du Vin

Bordeaux has long been one of the world’s top wine destinations but when Cité du Vin opened in 2016, it finally got a museum to match its reputation. Housed in a modernist building that resembles a wine decanter, the center comprises exhibition spaces, cultural events, a wine bar, a cinema space, and more.More

Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale St. André)

Built in the 13th century, the Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale St. André is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its role in the religious and cultural development of Bordeaux. Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII here. Her wealth benefited both the city and the cathedral, which was subsequently enlarged and lavishly decorated.More

Place de la Bourse (Place Royale)

Home to Bordeaux’s former stock exchange and a world-famous water feature, Bordeaux’s Place de la Bourse combines ancient and modern influences to create a welcoming public square.More

Porte Cailhau

Built in 1495, this dramatic Gothic Revival 35-meters tall city gate was built to commemorate King Charles VIII's victory at Fornovo in Italy during the Italian War of 1494. At the time, it was the main entry point to Bordeaux from the port. It faces Place du Palais and features several ornamental sculptures and towers, something that is very typical of architecture built under the reign of Charles VIII; indeed, the monarch wanted this gate to showcase his power and affluence. The gate, which was once part of the Bordeaux city wall, was later on used as a defensive tower (the multitude of portcullis, murder holes, and machicolation features are there to prove this), and as a salt scale and storehouse.Nowadays, it houses an informative exhibition dedicated to the tools and materials with which the tower was built as well as the urban development of Bordeaux. There is a wonderful view of the old town center, the Garonne River, and the Pont de Pierre Bridge from the top floor.More

Grosse Cloche

One of the oldest belfries in France—and among Bordeaux’s most recognizable landmarks—the Grosse Cloche (the Big Bell) is a veritable symbol of the city. Dating back to the 13th century and located right in the city center, the belfry used to serve as a defensive gate and prison; what’s left of the old ramparts and dungeons can be visited on select dates throughout the year.More


One of the most esteemed appellations of the Bordeaux region’s Right Bank, Pomerol is known for its red wines, which are made primarily with Merlot. Located between the city of Libourne and the celebrated Saint-Émilion, Pomerol is home to upwards of 140 wineries, including the world-renowned Château Pétrus.More

Grand Theatre

OverviewBuilt in the 18th century, Bordeaux’s Grand Theatre is a well-known symbol of French culture. The ornate neoclassical building is used for theatrical and operatic performances and has also served as the location of the French parliament during times of war.More

Pont de Pierre

Connecting the left and right bank of the city since 1819, Pont de Pierre was the first bridge to cross the mighty Garonne River. Its construction was challenging as the river’s current is extremely strong, and it took more than 4,000 workers to construct. Pont de Pierre was the only bridge to connect the two banks for nearly 150 years.More

Girondins Monument (Monument aux Girondins)

Located in the very center of Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux, the Girondins Monument (Monument aux Girondins was elevated in the late 1800s to commemorate the Girondists, a republican political faction that was one of the first group to openly denounce Louis XVI’s reign and the monarchy in general.More

Pyla Dune (Dune du Pilat)

Standing more than 360 feet (110 meters) above sea level in Bordeaux, France, Pyla Dune (Dune du Pilat) is the tallest sand dune in Europe. In the summer months, a staircase is constructed to allow visitors to climb the dune—an activity that draws over one million visitors every year.More

Basilica of St. Michael (Basilique St. Michel)

The intricate facade of the Basilica of St. Michael (Basilique St. Michel) in central Bordeaux is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. It took more than 200 years to build, from the end of the 14th century to the end of the 16th century. The freestanding belfry, with its ornate decorations, also draws many visitors.More

Palais Gallien

The Palais Gallien is a Roman amphitheater that dates back almost 2,000 years. It’s one of the few remaining remnants of Roman life in Bordeaux.More

Quinconces Square (Place des Quinconces)

Stretching more than 12 hectares (30 acres) along the banks of the Garonne River, Quinconces Square (Place des Quinconces) is Bordeaux’s largest square. Comprising a vast esplanade flanked by tree-lined walkways and fronted by the grand Monument to the Girondins, it’s among the most important sites of the city’s UNESCO-listed historic center.More

Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum (Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux)

Bordeaux’s world-famous wines take the spotlight at the Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum, where tours of the 18th-century vaulted cellars lead through the history of France’s largest winemaking region. Along with seeing permanent exhibitions related to Bordeaux’s wine production, visitors can also take part in wine-tasting workshops.More

Museum of Aquitaine (Musée d'Aquitaine)

The Museum of Aquitaine reveals the history of Bordeaux and its surroundings. With artifacts dating from prehistoric times to the present day, it offers an in-depth look at life in this part of Southwest France.More

Trip ideas

Médoc Wine Tasting from Bordeaux

Médoc Wine Tasting from Bordeaux

Arcachon Oyster Tastings in Bordeaux

Arcachon Oyster Tastings in Bordeaux

Top activities in Bordeaux

St-Emilion & Médoc Combine Day Tour including Wine Tastings and Lunch
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Full-Day tour to Saint-Emilion and Medoc, from Bordeaux
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Bordeaux Private Full Day Wine Tour

Bordeaux Private Full Day Wine Tour

per group
Médoc Region Half-Day Wine Tour with Winery Visit & Tastings from Bordeaux
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Saint Emilion Wine Tour Half Day
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All about Bordeaux

When to visit

Summer in Bordeaux kicks off with the biennial Wine Festival in June, one of France’s flagship wine events. Summer festival season provides plenty to fill up your calendar, especially if you’re a foodie or music lover, but the city—and the surrounding wineries—get especially busy in July and August. To dodge the heat and crowds, fall is the ideal compromise; plus fall is also harvest time at Bordeaux’s vineyards and wine chateaux.

Getting around

Bordeaux’s broad quays and spacious plazas are a delight to walk or cycle, and most of the city’s central sights are easily reached on foot. If you get tired, hop on the tram—the four lines connect to just about everywhere in the city, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. Driving in Bordeaux is best avoided wherever possible, but if you must drive, be sure to comply with the city’s strict pollution policies and display a Crit’Air sticker.

Traveler tips

On the right bank of the Garonne, Darwin is one of Bordeaux’s coolest urban hubs. Step inside the former military barracks, and you’ll find a skate park, coworking space, street art displays, artisan workshops, and restaurants. Come for brunch at an eco café, pick up some hand-crafted souvenirs, and then continue to the quayside park for a riverside stroll.

People Also Ask

What is Bordeaux best known for?

Bordeaux is the wine capital of France, famous for its St-Emilion, Medoc, and Graves wine appellations, and its Grand Cru wine châteaux. The riverside city is also a cultural hub, packed with museums and attractions, and is the largest urban UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 350 listed monuments.

Why is Bordeaux wine so good?

Bordeaux’s famous ‘terroir’—the result of its fertile soils, changeable climate, and cool Atlantic breezes—and rich winemaking history combine to produce some of the world’s most acclaimed wines. Bordeaux is also known for its wide variety of grapes, blended together to produce full-bodied red and sweet white wines.

Is Bordeaux worth visiting?

Yes. Whether you’re a wine lover, history buff, or foodie, Bordeaux is one of France’s most dynamic cultural hubs with a vibrant nightlife to boot. Visitors come to enjoy wine tasting at the world-famous vineyards, admire the UNESCO-listed architecture, and browse the many markets, shops, and museums.

Is Bordeaux a walkable city?

Yes, Bordeaux’s compact center makes it easy to explore on foot. Start your walking tour at Place des Quinonces, stroll down the quay to Place de la Bourse, then loop around to see the Place de Palais and St Andres Cathedral before heading back up to the Golden Triangle.

How many days do you need in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux’s most popular attractions can be enjoyed on a day tour, but a weekend or 3-day trip is recommended. This will give you time for a visit to the medieval town of St Emilion, a wine tasting tour of the surrounding vineyards, and a chance to experience Bordeaux’s legendary nightlife.

What is there to do in Bordeaux at night?

Bordeaux is renowned for having some of the best nightlife in France, and it’s as dynamic and diverse as the city itself. The central Saint-Pierre district is brimming with wine, beer, and cocktail bars, plus some popular LGBTQ bars, while the nightclubs along the quay open their doors at midnight.


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