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Visit Bordeaux - tourist guide to activities

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May 15, 2024

Bordeaux transcends the usual tourist imagination. This historic city, rich in culture and gastronomy, is constantly evolving while preserving its liveliness. Visiting Bordeaux means exploring a remarkable heritage recognized by UNESCO, but also immersing yourself in a dynamic and inventive atmosphere, conducive to exceptional experiences and leisure activities.

Bordeaux - stone bridge

Bordeaux – stone bridge

Whether you are passionate about art, history, a gourmet or a fan of slow-tourism, Bordeaux will satisfy your desire for discovery!

This tourist guide reveals a range of activities and must-dos in Bordeaux. It’s packed with practical recommendations, guided tour options, must-see points of interest, and tips to make the most of your visit. Let us guide you!

Discovery of Bordeaux’s heritage

Let’s explore Bordeaux, a city celebrated for its rich historical and cultural heritage, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover below some monuments and emblematic sites not to be missed.

La Cité du Vin: an immersion in the world of wine

La Cité du Vin stands out for its proposal of an immersive experience at the heart of wine, guiding visitors through time and space to explore this drink in all its facets. This building, remarkable for its innovative architecture, hosts an interactive permanent exhibition, enriched by temporary exhibitions, tasting sessions, screenings, conferences and various workshops.

Be sure to enjoy the panoramic view of Bordeaux from the Belvedere, where you will be offered a wine tasting. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.

The Miroir d’eau and the Place de la Bourse: architectural icons

The Miroir d’eau
, the largest installation of its kind in the world, has a surface area of 3,450 m2 and is located opposite the Place de la Bourse, an imposing eighteenth-century building.

Visit Bordeaux - the water mirror and the stock exchange

Visit Bordeaux – the water mirror and the stock exchange

This enchanting place offers a visual spectacle that fluctuates between shimmering reflections and evanescent mists, capturing the elegant facades of the square, famous for its beauty and testifying to the golden age of Bordeaux. In the heart of the square stands the Fountain of the Three Graces, the emblem of the city.

The Saint-André Cathedral and the Pey-Berland Tower

A spiritual emblem of Bordeaux, the Cathedral of Saint-André has been the scene of many notable historical events, including the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1137. This Gothic cathedral captivates with its majestic nave, colorful stained glass windows and finely carved portal. The Pey-Berland Tower, an independent bell tower, stands proudly next to it, offering after an ascent of 229 steps, a breathtaking view of the city and housing the statue of Notre-Dame d’Aquitaine.


The Grand Théâtre: a jewel of the eighteenth century

The Grand Theatre, a jewel of neo-classical architecture inaugurated in 1780, is praised as one of the most elegant theatres in the world. Its façade is crowned by 12 Corinthian columns supporting statues of the muses and goddesses. It is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux and the Ballet National, promising high-quality performances. The interior will captivate you with its grandiose staircase, artistically painted ceiling and Italian-style room.

Culinary and wine adventure

 If you are looking for authentic moments, whether it is a traditional market, an exceptional wine tasting or a regional speciality, Bordeaux will satisfy you. Visiting Bordeaux, known for its gourmet food, reveals a palette of incomparable flavours and local products. Discover our recommendations for a memorable gastronomic experience.

Local markets: Capucins and Chartrons

Exploring the markets is a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of fresh and seasonal products, and to share warm moments with the people of Bordeaux. The city is home to many markets, among which the Capucins market and the Chartrons market stand out. Nicknamed “the belly of Bordeaux”, the Capucins market is the oldest and largest, offering a range of products: charcuterie, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, fish, shellfish, not to mention spices and flowers.

Also enjoy a gourmet break on site by savouring oysters, tapas, pancakes, or cannelés. The Capucins market welcomes you from Tuesday to Sunday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. More recent and located along the banks of the Garonne, the Chartrons market offers high quality products, including international dishes such as sushi, spring rolls, samosas, or empanadas. You will also discover crafts, books, clothes and jewellery. The Chartrons market opens its doors on Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wine tasting in the Bordeaux vineyards

Bordeaux, the undisputed capital of wine, is home to more than 60 appellations and more than 7000 châteaux. It would be unthinkable to leave this city without having tasted its prestigious wines. For a total immersion, opt for an excursion to the vineyards, discovering landscapes, cellars, winemaking techniques and, of course, tasting wines. The offers of visits are varied and adapt to all budgets and preferences, offering an exploration of the different wine regions such as the Médoc, Saint-Émilion, or Sauternes, and a discovery of red, white, rosé or sweet wines according to your tastes.

For those who prefer to stay in the city, tasting workshops allow you to learn the secrets of Bordeaux wines, to learn to identify the aromas, the grape varieties, and the perfect pairings between food and wine. These workshops are available in key places in Bordeaux, such as the Cité du Vin or the Tourist Office.

Bordeaux specialities: canelés, bordeaux-style rib steak

Bordeaux is also famous for its emblematic culinary specialties such as cannelés, crispy and soft small cakes, flavored with vanilla and rum, reflections of the city’s history since the eighteenth century. You can taste these pastries at renowned artisans such as La Toque Cuivrée.

Entrecôte à la bordelaise, another jewel of local gastronomy, is a delight composed of a grilled beef steak, topped with a sauce rich in red wine, shallots, and marrow, often served with fries or sautéed potatoes, available in traditional establishments such as La Brasserie Bordelaise. As for the gratton de Lormont, a delicatessen speciality, it can be enjoyed cold or hot, as a testament to the richness of Bordeaux’s flavours, to be discovered in renowned butcher’s shops in the city.

Unique experiences and leisure activities

Visiting Bordeaux, with its endless charms for lovers of culture, nature and sport, offers a multitude of diverse experiences. Whether your interest is in art, river walks, interactive city walks or peaceful green spaces, Bordeaux will enchant you. Check out some exciting activities to do during your stay below.

The Pools of Lights: digital art in an underwater bunker

The state-of-the-art Bassins de Lumières is the world’s largest digital art center, established in a World War II German submarine base. This unique setting offers immersive exhibitions dedicated to iconic figures in art history and contemporary art, with projections on walls, floor, and waters, providing a stunning visual experience.

The Bassins de Lumières welcome visitors every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Walks on the Garonne: discover Bordeaux from the water

The relationship between Bordeaux and the Garonne, the source of its name and its wealth, is a must-see on a river trip. The cruises, offered by various companies from several pontoons, offer an exceptional panorama of the city and its quays, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Choose from a range of options including narrated cruises, wine tastings, explorations towards the estuary, or even lively evenings. A license-free boat rental is also possible for an adventure at your own pace.

Urban routes: on foot, by bike or by segway

Exploring Bordeaux, with its rich historic centre, monuments and green spaces, is ideal on foot, by bike or by segway thanks to the excellence of its pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Opt for a themed tour, or simply let your curiosity lead you.

Also take advantage of the GR® métropolitain, the first urban GR® in France, which connects the main parks and natural areas of the metropolis over 160 km. Maps, guides and transport hire are available in the centre of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux’s green spaces: Public Garden, Bordeaux Park

Bordeaux breathes through more than 150 parks and gardens scattered throughout the city. The Jardin Public, a true oasis in the heart of the city, and the Parc Bordelais, with its vast expanse of greenery, stand out for their beauty and varied facilities, offering places of relaxation for all.

The Public Garden, an oasis of tranquillity, offers lawns, ponds, flowers and majestic trees, as well as a natural history museum, a library and play areas for children. The Parc Bordelais, on the other hand, invites you to discover with its 28 hectares of nature, ideal for a relaxing getaway.


Bordeaux, an exceptional city, will charm you with its rich heritage, its delicious gastronomy, its prestigious wines and its many activities. No matter how long you visit, whether it’s for a short weekend or a long stay, visiting Bordeaux promises unforgettable moments.

Discover the jewels of Bordeaux, from the majestic Cité du Vin to the picturesque Miroir d’eau, the historic Saint-André Cathedral and the elegant Grand Théâtre. Let yourself be tempted by local flavours, such as the unmissable canelés, the authentic Bordeaux-style rib steak or the famous Lormont gratton. You can also immerse yourself in unique experiences, from the dazzling Bassins de Lumières to peaceful walks on the Garonne River, not to mention the exciting urban paths.

Don’t wait any longer and plan your adventure in Bordeaux now!

Of course, you can also visit the other tourist towns on the Atlantic coast:

  • Royan and its beautiful sandy beaches
  • La Rochelle and its famous towers that watch over the old port


Where to go for a walk in Bordeaux?

In Bordeaux, there are plenty of places to walk. Here are two must-sees:

– The seafront: perfect for a walk along the Garonne. Admire iconic landmarks such as the Place de la Bourse and its Miroir d’eau, the Port de la Lune, the Chaban-Delmas Bridge, and the Darwin Eco-District.

– The Bassins des Lumières: Located in a former submarine base, this digital art center offers breathtaking immersive exhibitions, showcasing famous works of art.

How to visit Bordeaux in one day?

To discover Bordeaux in one day, several options are available to you, adapted to all tastes: electric scooter ride, private guided tour, exploration by bike or walking tour. Opting for a walking tour allows you to walk through the historic center and admire its gems, such as the Place de la Bourse, the Cité du Vin, the Grand Théâtre, the Cathedral, and the Port de la Lune.

How to visit Bordeaux in 3 days?

If you have 3 days, here is a suggested itinerary:

– Day 1: Explore the historic center, its must-see monuments such as the Place de la Bourse, the Saint-André Cathedral and the Cailhau Gate. Don’t miss the water mirror.

– Day 2: Visit the Saint-Michel district, its museums, the big bell, the Saint-Michel basilica, and immerse yourself in the world of wine at the Cité du Vin.

– Day 3: Go on an excursion to Arcachon. Climb the Dune du Pilat, enjoy fresh oysters, and visit a wine castle.

How to visit Bordeaux in 2 days?

Here is a program for a 2-day visit:

– Day 1: Immerse yourself in the UNESCO-listed historic center. Admire the Place de la Bourse, the Grand Théâtre, the Saint-André Cathedral, and the Pey-Berland Tower. Discover the Cité du Vin and end the day with a panoramic view from its belvedere.

– Day 2: Explore the Chartrons district, visit the quayside market, and be captivated by the Bassins de Lumières. Admire the Big Bell and the Saint-Michel spire. End the day at the Mer Marine Museum, which celebrates Bordeaux’s maritime history.

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