Bordeaux: the glorious city of wine
With its historic aura, astonishing architecture, rich cuisine and unique museums, Bordeaux is a place you’ll find yourself infatuated with from the moment you lay eyes on it.
Even though Bordeaux has certainly built its worldwide reputation on its viticulture, this French city offers countless other ways to keep you fascinated apart from its wineries and châteaux.
#1 Clink glasses at a wine museum
Bordeaux has more than 20 differently-themed museums, ready to satisfy every museum enthusiast’s curiosity.
For all of you, avid oenophiles, there’s a very special place that you need to visit when in Bordeaux.
France’s premier wine museum is a total must for wine lovers from all over the world. Offering you the chronicles of wine making processes and methods throughout the centuries, La Cité du Vin with its 3000 m² invites you to immerse yourself in a creative, dreamlike, multisensory experience as well as in some wine tasting, just before the end of your visit, on the highest floor along with a spectacular view over Bordeaux. Santé!
#2 Get Enlightened at Les Bassins des Lumières
Want to combine art and history with innovation? Done.
Les Bassins des Lumières (Ponds of Light) is the world’s largest digital art museum. Located in the Bordeaux Submarine Base which was built as a U-boat base during WWII, the site has been reborn after its restoration (floors, tanks, foundations, electricity, soundproofing, etc.). Its 4 basins cover a surface area of 13,000 m2 which are 12 m high, 110 m long, and 22 m wide.
The art center now presents monumental, immersive, digital exhibitions dedicated to great artists in the history of classic and contemporary art. Images are projected onto the expansive, concrete surfaces and deep-water basins of the space allowing you to feel like you’re in the paintings. Don’t miss it.
#3 Go on a shopping spree
Rue Saint-Catherine is the longest pedestrianized shopping street in Europe; 1,2 km in length. It runs from the Place de la Comédie all the way to the Thermier Column on Place de la Victorie. It’s been a pedestrian-only street since 1984, so, if you want to dedicate part of your 24-hour stopover in Bordeaux to a mammoth shopping trip, Rue Saint-Catherine is the place to be.
Address: 33000 Bordeaux, France
#4 Embrace your bohemian side at Darwin
You’ll find Darwin, a unique project created to revitalize the former Niel Military Barracks, on Bordeaux’s right bank. More than 100 companies of the city share this space along with one common target: reducing their environmental footprint.
Darwin is totally worth your time since you can discover practically everything there. Organic grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, an urban garden, skate and bike parks, ping pong or foosball areas, a lot of graffiti and murals created by urban street artists, and so much more.
#5 Le Vaisseau Spatial: simply out of this world
Le Vaisseau Spatial or The Spaceship is a sculpture by the British artist Suzanne Treister and is part of the city’s public art. The humongous spaceship (17 m in diameter) sits in the Bassin à Flot district and represents the transformation of the past into the future, according to the artist herself.
This piece of art is an utterly futuristic addition to Bordeaux’s skyline and it will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the setting of Nolan’s Interstellar.
Address: Bacalan, 33300, Bordeaux, France
#6 Photograph the impressive Esplanade des Quinconces
Bordeaux is a city of massive, open public spaces, with the Esplanade des Quinconces being at the very top of the list.
Check out the famous Monument aux Girondins made of bronze fountains, rampaging bronze horses at the base and a column with a statue of liberty breaking its chains right at the top.
Address: 33000 Bordeaux, France
#7 Spend time at the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
During your one day in Bordeaux, make sure to stop by the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux — it’s beautiful, historic and free.
Erected in 1775, this gatehouse, a true architectural masterpiece, was created with 2 clocks and a bell tower replacing another building damaged by fire in the 18th century. A sign nearby has the inscription that “the bell was the bearer of all good and bad tidings to the people of Bordeaux”.
Address: Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux, France
#8 Catch your reflection at Le Miroir d’Eau
The Place de la Bourse is one of Bordeaux’s most popular landmarks. You can find it right next to the Garonne River and within the part of the city which is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Apart from some classical 18th century architecture, the Place de la Bourse also offers you the chance to see the Fountain of Three Graces and the world’s biggest reflecting pool with a water surface of 3,450 m2: Le Miroir d’Eau.
It’s definitely one of the coolest places in Bordeaux.
Address: Pl. de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France
#9 Have a picnic in Jardin Public
Bordeaux’s Jardin Public is the ideal place for a (romantic, family, or solo) picnic, a simple stroll or a peaceful reading session under its large old trees.
Located on the Place Champs de Mars and created in 1746, it’s an outstanding green space with an arboretum, a library and the Museum of Natural History. Jardin Public offers you many different things, including a botanical garden, the Guignol Guérin puppet show, a restaurant and even a carousel.
Address: Cr de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux, France
#10 Unlock the Canelés secret
Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, Bordelaise cuisine is so sophisticated that you simply have to try it, once you’re there.
Taste the Canelés: small pastries baked with vanilla, rum and caramelized sugar; the perfect sweet delicacy to accompany your tea, coffee or champagne.
This cute dessert has a long history, too. It dates back to anywhere between the 15th and 18th centuries and, according to historians, its origins were found in various convents in the winemaking regions of Bordeaux.
Want to know something interesting? Well, in 1985, a group of 88 pastry chefs decided to protect the canelé standard, made it property of Bordeaux and even took an oath to use a secret recipe which is literally kept… in a vault.