A Local’s Guide to the Top Things to Do in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is located in the south of France, surrounded by vineyards and countryside. It’s just two hours from Paris and one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Europe.   

Bordeaux is known for some of the world’s best wines. The city is full of history and culture. There’s no shortage of restaurants, bars and cafes for taking breaks between attractions.   

We’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in Bordeaux according to our local experts.  

Top Things to Do in Bordeaux

To find the very best places to visit, check out our list of the top attractions and things to do in Bordeaux below 👇 

#1 Explore La Cité Du Vin

The Cité du Vin is an absolute must-see for all wine lovers. It was built in 2016 and is easy to find with its curved aluminum-glass exterior-the only one like it in the city.   

This one-of-a-kind ultra-modern cultural center will teach you about the history and techniques of winemaking and the various vineyards and processes all over the world through various exhibitions and interactive installations. At the end of your tour, you’ll get to sample some wines on the top floor while enjoying a panoramic view of Bordeaux. 

La Cité Du Vin

#2 Take a Vineyard Tour 

If you go to La Cité du Vin, you can pick up lots of information on actual vineyards to visit. Because Bordeaux is Europe’s wine capital, the choices can be overwhelming, so be sure to take some helpful tips from the museum’s experts.   

A wine tasting tour should be at the top of your list of things to do in Bordeaux. The most popular spots for tours are around Saint-Émilion, The Médoc, Canon Fronsac, Sauternes and Graves. Be amazed by the cold stone cellars and vat rooms and learn how wine is made and stored while tasting some of the most delicious Bordeaux wines.  

Vineyard Tour Bordeaux

#3 Look for the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux

The Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux (the Big Bell of Bordeaux) is one of the oldest belfries in France, dating all the way back to the 15th century. The belfries were built as an extension to the Église Saint-Éloi, and the bell was added in 1775, weighing approximately seven tons.

The neighborhood is full of charming cafés and boutiques and is a popular spot among locals. The bell tower is one of the most iconic symbols of Bordeaux and very easy to spot. There are two separate clocks to admire, so be sure to check out all sides.

#4 Marvel at the Porte Cailhau   

The Porte Cailhau is a former gate to the city of Bordeaux and was built in the 15th century for King Charles VIII. Today, it’s one of the most iconic monuments in the city. The magnificent Porte Cailhau looks like it was taken straight out of a fairytale and should be on your list if you’re traveling with fairy tale lovers, both young and old. From here, you’ll have a lovely view of the oldest bridge in Bordeaux, the Pont de Pierre.   

If you’re visiting in the summer, we recommend stopping for lunch in one of the many unique outdoor cafés in this neighborhood’s beautiful square. 

Porte Cailhau Marseille

#5 Visit the Bordeaux Cathedral   

Another place you should definitely visit during your adventure in Bordeaux is the Cathedral Saint-Andre. It was built in the 11th century and has played an important role in the history of France, as it was the place where Eleanor of Aquitaine and the future King Louis VII were married in 1137.  

Marvel at the medieval gothic architecture and history which dates back centuries. The Cathedral is located on Place Pey Berland, and hosts a number off choirs, organ festivals and classical music concerts for everyone to enjoy.   

Bordeaux Cathedral Marseille

#6 Catch a show at The Grand Theatre de Bordeaux 

Bordeaux has many impressive buildings, but The Grand Theatre of Bordeaux will leave you speechless. This gorgeous 18th-century building is right on the Place de la Comédie and is considered an architectural masterpiece as well as one of the most remarkable concert halls in the world.

If you have time, you should absolutely catch a concert or the national ballet. You can also take a tour of the building. Tours run every Wednesday and Saturday, except during the summer. If you don’t have a lot of time, you should still stop by and admire its extravagant decor. 

Grand Theatre de Bordeaux - Top Things to Do in Bordeaux

#7 Picnic in the Jardin Public 

If you’re looking for a place to take a break from the bustling city, stop by the Jardin Public, the biggest park in the heart of Bordeaux. The Jardin Public was originally designed in the French style and was re-designed in the English style more than a hundred years later. The park was formerly located on the edge of the city but is now right in the center of Bordeaux.   

This is the perfect spot to have a picnic, read a book or just enjoy the summer sun. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love the park! It features a puppet theater, a playground and a carousel for kids. And if you’re traveling with dogs, there’s even a fenced-in area where your furry friend can run free all day long!   

Jardin Public

#8 Visit one of the city’s museums   

If it’s rainy or cold during your stay in Bordeaux, use this time to visit one of the city’s museums. The Musée des Beaux-Arts is a must-see for all art lovers.  

This museum features the largest art gallery in France, apart from Paris. The Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux has a unique collection of furniture, ceramics and other stunning pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries.   

If you’re into the history and archaeology of Bordeaux, drop by the Musée d’Aquitaine. It’s the biggest museum of its kind in France.  

If you like exploring museums, there are plenty of opportunities to do so in Bordeaux. 

#9 Be amazed by the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas   

Bordeaux is full of remarkable sights. If you’re walking down the river, you’ll stumble upon the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, a vertical-lift bridge. However, this isn’t just any bridge. It’s 600 meters long and 77 meters high and is therefore the largest vertical-lift bridge in Europe.

The bridge lifts out of the water to let ships pass through, making for an extraordinary sight. If you visit after dark, you’re sure to be captivated by its light display with four columns reaching into the sky. Nearby, you’ll find lots of charming restaurants, small boutiques and a great science museum for children.   

Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas

#10 Shop all day on Rue Saint Catherine  

If you’re visiting Bordeaux on a shopping trip, the Rue Sainte-Catherine should be one of your first stops. Rue Sainte-Catherine is the longest pedestrian street in France and the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. The street has been pedestrian-only since 1984, so you won’t have to worry while shopping with children or dogs.   

In February and July, the streets buzz from the temporary stalls that are set up. After you’ve finished your shopping-marathon, you can rest up in one of the lovely little cafés and watch the other shoppers hustle by.   

Top Things to Do in Bordeaux

Where to stay in Bordeaux?  

MEININGER Hotel Bordeaux Gare Saint-Jean is located in Bordeaux St Jean, an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s the perfect home base from which to discover the city. Our hotel in Bordeaux city center is just 600m from the main train station. 

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MEININGER Hotel Bordeaux Gare Saint-Jean is located in Bordeaux St Jean, an up-and-coming neighborhood, and it's a perfect base to discover the city.

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