Bordeaux is our all time favourite French city we have discovered. There’s just something about it that made me (and my husband) fall in love with it. So today I thought I’d share with you our list of 30 things to do in Bordeaux, France to see why we love this city so much.
In the past, many of you really enjoyed reading two of my posts that recap the whole year worth of traveling:
And in both these posts I mentioned we have visited Bordeaux, France, and we loved it because of the architecture and limestone buildings and for its wine, but never really got the chance to write in detail why we love Bordeaux so much.
Previously, this year, we went again to Bordeaux, but this time to explore more of the Bordeaux region. But we still caught a glimpse of the city and it reminded me I had a crush on it and that I should tell you why in a blog post.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post, and anything mentioned here represents solely my opinion of the place or service recommended. All the photos are mine, as well as the other images designed for Pinterest.
The ultimate guide of 30 things to do in Bordeaux, France
1. Say no to the hassle and save money
But before we begin, let’s start with one of the most useful information for visiting Bordeaux. There’s a City Pass for Bordeaux that you can buy for 24h, 48h or 72h. This pass offers you free entry almost everywhere, discounts for the cruises and wine tours, free access on bus and tram, and so on.
Please check if the City Pass of Bordeaux is useful to you and if it’s profitable to you.
2. Stay connected in Bordeaux
As a blogger/influencer, one of the best things to do in Bordeaux is to get access to the internet.
For all the bloggers and connected people out there who want to visit Bordeaux and share their experience in real-time or be connected, you can rent a pocket WIFI hotspot for 4€/day with your City Pass.
More information on the City Pass website.
3. Let’s begin our visit
Now, let’s check the huge visit I propose to you for discovering Bordeaux. Check below the map of attractions to see in two days time. And if you can stay in Bordeaux longer than this – which I definitely recommend you to do – than you can insert some visits to the museum, a wine tour and a day trip.
Explore the rivers of Garonne
This area is where people of Bordeaux hang out. Here are some of the interesting things to do in Bordeaux on Garonne River.
4. Bike your way around Bordeaux
First things first, you should rent a bike in order to explore Bordeaux. The bike lanes are on point, and the city is very bike-friendly.
And especially the bike path on Garonne river is a bliss. You have the view, the river, the space, everything you need for a perfect bike ride.
- Random fact: Did you know that the name Bordeaux sounds and has almost the same form as bord d’eaux which in French means river bank. But probably the name comes from the Celts, way before B.C. when the area was called Bourde or Bourdigala.
5. Come see the Place de la Bourse
And since you’re here, come to see the Bourse Square, an iconic place to be in Bordeaux, France.
- Another random fact: Previously, this Square was called Place Royale, or Royal Square.
6. Reflect yourself into the Miroir d’Eau
But to really understand how grandiose Bourse Square is, just cross the street towards the Garonne river and see it from the Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror). Seeing this place is one of the highlights of things to do in Bordeaux.
- Random fact: The Water Mirror is sometimes not running its water fountains, maybe only in winter time (?). I don’t know. But I hope you get to see the beautiful reflections of Miroir d’Eau.
7. Take a break on Garonne River
And since you’re already here, take a break on the Garonne River, next to all the youngsters and not only that gather here. Why not have your lunch break here as a picnic?
- Random useful fact: If it’s Sunday, then you can buy your picnic at Marché des quais (Market of the river bank).
8. Walk the Pont de Pierre
Pont de Pierre (Stone Bridge) is the most iconic bridge of Bordeaux, the first bridge built in Bordeaux. The tramway passes through here in both ways.
- Random fact: This year, the city of Bordeaux is conducting an experiment on the quality of the air by closing the traffic on the bridge, making it pedestrian and tramway only.
Check-in at all the gates in the old Bordeaux
Before entering the old town of Bordeaux, I propose you to discover the gates of old Bordeaux, France. You can visit for free Cailhau Gate and the Big Bell Gate if you bought the City Pass.
9. Check-in at Porte de Bourgogne
The Porte of Bourgogne is right next to the Pont de Pierre. Starting from here, bike or walk your way towards the old town.
- Random fact: Classed as a national monument, the Gate of Bourgogne resembles an Arc de Triomphe and it’s through here people could enter the city when coming from the south.
10. Have lunch with a view on Porte de Cailhau
THIS is my favourite place to be in Bordeaux! I totally had a girl crush on this view and on the Porte de Cailhau. I took pictures of it, I sketched it, I enjoyed a lunch with a view of it, I re-watch my photos of the Cailhau Gate and still can’t get enough.
- Random fact: Through the gate one could access Ombrière Palace, which was the residence of the Guyenne ducs. Today this palace no longer exists.
11. Walk through the city’s gate of the Big Bell (La Grosse Cloche)
My other favourite gate of the city of Bordeaux is the Big Bell Gate. As you can tell from the both pictures, they are pretty similar.
- The fact is they have lasted through history and they are both listed as national monuments.
12. Visit the first gate of the city, Porte Dijeaux
You will reach this gate after visiting the Pay-Berland Square, which I propose right below.
- Random fact: The Dijeaux Gate is actually a roman gate.
Discover Pey-Berland Square
13. Get inside Cathedral Saint-André de Bordeaux
One of the things to do in Bordeaux is to visit the iconic Cathedral Saint-André de Bordeaux, located on Pey-Berland Square.
- Random fact: As main cathedral of an important city near the shore, the Cathedral of Bordeaux is part of the UNESCO pilgrimage path of Saint Jacques de Compostelle.
14. Climb the Pey Berland Tower
And since you’re here, for 6€ you can climb the Pey-Berland Tower. This is one of the highest points in the city center of Bordeaux, France and offers a beautiful panoramic view.
- Random fact: Unsurprisingly, Pey-Berland Tower is also listed as UNESCO heritage monument.
- Pro tip: the access is free for City Pass holders.
15. Get inside the Palais Rohan
The Rohan Palace is where the city hall and the Fine Arts Museum are. It’s an impressive building waiting for you to discover it.
Go around the Grand Theater area
I know I propose here a bike-friendly visit of Bordeaux, France, but all these attractions can be seen also by foot or using public transportation. From Dijeaux Gate, you can easily reach the Grand Theater of Bordeaux, France.
16. Visit the majestic Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
If you’re by foot and decide to take the public transportation, worry not, there’s a tramway that stops right in front of the Grand Theater.
The interesting fact about this tramway line is that it passes through this pedestrian square in front of the theater and there’s not separation whatsoever for the tram rails.
- Random fact about the theater: One of the 12 statues on top of the Grand Theater of Bordeaux is a traveler. She has a compass at hand, the Globe at her feet and a crown of stars. Can you find her?
17. Admire the Monument of Girondins
From Grand Theater, continue your journey to the Monument of Girondins.
The monument is an 54 meters tall column surrounded by impressive sculptures of horses and mythical characters. On top of the columns, the bronze statue of the Liberty breaking her chains dominate the Quinconces Square.
18. Walk around the Quinconces Square
The large square in front of Monument of Girondins is the perfect place to take a break. The green area covered with trees hosts a flea market once in a while.
- Random fact: The Quinconces Square was built on the surface where once stood the Trumpet Castle.
Try some wine in Cité du Vin
Now, enough with playing, let pass to the fun stuff. Let’s head to the Cité du Vin for one of the best things to do in Bordeaux: wine tasting!
And the best thing is that the access is free for City Pas holders.
19. Taste some wine at Cité du Vin
Enter into the spaceship like boutique of wines and play the game of finding your own country or a bottle older than yourself. You can spice your game with finding an affordable bottle of wine.
20. Explore the Museum of Wine and Trade
Actually we didn’t get to visit the museum because we took waay too long on the Library and Reading open space.
Walk the longest pedestrian street in Europe
From the Grand Theater, take the Saint-Catherine Street towards Liberation Square.
21. Do your shopping on Rue Sainte-Catherine
Walk on the longest European pedestrian street and admire the inside of boutiques laid one next to the other.
Probably one of the best things to do in Bordeaux is being on Saint-Catherine street in the morning, before 10 am in weekends. Otherwise, check my picture below.
22. Go to the Place de la Victoire (Victory Square)
Ok, so if your reached this Victory Square, you will see yet another gate of the city: Gate of Aquitaine. If you continue down this path, you get to the largest market of Bordeaux.
23. Do your groceries at Marché des Capucins
Opened everyday except for Mondays, this is the biggest market place of Bordeaux. Come here in the morning and buy fresh food and anything you want.
24. Visit the Church of Holy Cross
From Marché des Capucins continue to Church of Holy Cross an interesting asymmetrical church that has its name from its shape of a Latin cross.
25. Go to the most haunted place of Bordeaux
From here continue on a parallel street with the river that brings you Basilica of St. Michael. Here you can find the another tower called The Spire of Saint Michel, of 114 meters high.
This is one of the most haunted places, and people of Bordeaux still remember it. At the entrance of the crypt mummies were displayed like guardians.
- Pro tip: The access to the tower is free for City Pass holders.
Make a visit at the museum
We talked about the Wine and Trade Museum at the Cité du Vin. Let us discover two other museums of great importance to Bordeaux’ culture.
Visiting museums in Bordeaux is free for many categories of visitors, as well as for the City Pass holders.
26. Admire the artworks at the Fine Arts Museum of Bordeaux, France
If you’re more into arts, then Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux should be one of your priority things to do in Bordeaux. But know that for visiting the museum, there are two collections (permanent collection and a temporary exhibition) and two different buildings to see them. Each one of them has its own access fee.
- Pro tip: There are gratuities for students, City Pass holders and other categories, so make sure you check on the website of the museum all the details.
27. Discover the history of the Bordeaux region at Museum of Aquitaine
At Museum of Aquitaine you will find expositions on archaeological objects and historical documents that will present the history of Bordeaux and Bordeaux region.
For a fee of 5€ you get access to the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
- Pro tip: Access is free in the first Sunday of each month except for July and August. Check on the website of the museum all other cases when the entry is free.
Or if you prefer, hang out in the parks of Bordeaux
Probably one of my favourite things to do in Bordeaux is to chill in the park in a hot day of visit. Often we plan for picnics in the parks and it’s so refreshing, no stress, no money wasting.
28. Have a rest in the Public Garden
A fresh oasis in the city of Bordeaux is the Public Garden. This park is not just a park. Here you can find the Natural History Museum, a Library, areas for the children, a marionette theater, and so on.
29. Discover the biodiversity of Bordeaux in Botanical Garden
On the other side of Garonne river you can access the Botanical Garden and discover the biodiversity protected in this park. The entry to the Botanical Garden is free for everyone, but the access to some of the greenhouses costs 4€.
Bonus: Day trip to Saint Emilion
In order to explore Bordeaux region, I propose you a day trip to Saint Emilion. You should definitely visit this place if you have an extra day in the region of Bordeaux.
30. Day trip to Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion is definitely one of the prettiest villages around Bordeaux. Discovering the wine caves of Saint Emilion is one of the things to do in Bordeaux region.
- Pro tip: For roughly 5€, a train will bring you to Saint Emilion in half an hour.