Visit Bordeaux city and its region
© Le Clos d’Any.com
Well-known for its wine and vineyards, Bordeaux is a city with a rich historical and architectural heritage, and with a lively nightlife. Its city center has been inscribed on the UNESCO World heritage List in 2007. Whether with family or friends, during winter (December, January…) or summer (July, august…), there are several ways to visit Bordeaux and the villages around. In one day explore its many pedestrian streets and historical city center. Over several days, take the time to visit Bordeaux, its region and especially its various wineries (family owned wineries or grands crus classés in St Emilion, Pessac Léognan, Margaux, …)
Discover here the top things to do and places to visit (including its vineyards), in this France’s sixth largest city also called the “ World Wine Capital”.
Saint Pierre District
First of all, go for a walk in the center of Bordeaux and discover here the must-sees of the city. Start with the Saint Pierre district and go to Place de la Bourse to see its famous water mirror, a 2cm’s deep reflecting pool which can rise up to 2 meters and will allow you to admire the reflect of Place de la Bourse and all the other beautiful buildings surrounding. You can go there during the day or at night to take pictures of this most well-known square of the city.
The ” Water Mirror ” © Pixopolitan
In Saint Pierre district you can also see the Porte Cailhau which was a part of the city walls in the 14th century. This monument replaced the original gate at the end of the 15th century. Its small turrets open on the Garonne river and on the oldest bridge of Bordeaux: Le Pont de Pierre. These buildings are also worth seeing at night, including the bridge whose lights are reflected on the Garonne river.
Porte Cailhau © Bordeaux Tourist Office
Then, go for a walk in the old pedestrian streets of the neighbourhood and go up the Saint James’ street to admire the big bell, the last vestige of the city ramparts. If this door that served as a prison in the Middle Ages has lost its defensive vocation, the Big Bell continues to ring for special occasions. Another street to see in this neighbourhood, the impasse Rue Neuve, where you can see the oldest house in Bordeaux, a hotel dating back to the 14th century.
The big bell © Bordeaux Tourist Office
Saint Michel district
View of St. Michael’s Basilica from Peter’s Bridge
The Pey-Berland district
The Pey-Berland district is located in the west part of Saint Pierre district. You can discover some of the world heritage monuments of Unesco, starting with the famous St. Andrew’s Cathedral. One of the distinctive characteristics of this cathedral is that its bell tower, the Pey-Berland tower, is isolated from the rest of the cathedral. Built one thousand years ago and rebuilt several times throughout centuries, Pey-Berland constitutes a very interesting architectural monument to visit.
Climb up the 229 steps of Pey-Berland tower to get to the top. A worth-it effort that will lead you to an amazing sight view with an oversee towards Bordeaux and its historical monuments.
The Saint André cathedral and the Pey-Berland tower © Bordeaux Tourist Office
Golden Triangle, Quinconces and Public Garden
The golden triangle district gathers several chic boutiques and some must-sees Bordeaux monuments such as the Grand Théâtre. With one of the most beautiful theatres of the world, this 18th century building is worth the visit. If you have the opportunity to see an opera during your stay in Bordeaux, go and enjoy the paintings and the acoustic. For those who don’t have the time to see an opera, know that guided visits are organized under reservation.
Le Grand Théâtre © Monuments de Bordeaux.com
Close to Le Grand Théâtre you will find the Esplanade des Quinconces, the biggest square of Europe (it measures 12 hectares, the equivalent of 10 football fields!). Here you can see a famous historical monument: Le Monument aux Girondins (The Girondist Monument), built in order to celebrate the influence of the Girondist during the French Revolution. Throughout the year, the place regularly hosts fairs, sportive and artistic events.
The Girondist Monument, Quinconces square © Monuments de Bordeaux.com
Public Garden © Wikipedia
Chartrons and Bacalan district
Chartrons and Bacalan district are located at the north of Bordeaux. The Chartrons is a peaceful and chic place, with shops, galleries, antique shops and trendy restaurants. This former merchant’s district is very dynamic. You will find here La Cité du Vin and one of the most interesting museums of the city.
For art lovers or for the curious, the CAPC modern art museum, is a rewarding step. Located close to the public garden, this museum is established in a former warehouse of colonial commodities. A large permanent exhibition of 1300 works reveals the new practices of contemporary art. The architecture of this steeped in history place, sublimates the works on display.
CAPC Modern Art Museum © Anthony Rojo
After this artistic moment, walk along the Garonne river to reach La Cité du Vin. Inaugurated in June 2016, it is a must see if you want to discover the wine industry, universe around which Bordeaux city has developed. The building has a very original and futuristic architecture. La Cité du Vin has permanent and temporary exhibitions. You will travel through time and space to discover the wine and its history.
La Cité du Vin Bordeaux © Bordeaux Tourist Office
The Bordeaux vineyards
Bordeaux city is indivisible from its vineyards. Some of the world’s most expensive wines are produced here. The vineyards are commonly called “chateaux” and you will find different types of structures: small family-owned wineries to classified grand cru.
Map of Bordeaux vineyards
Château Olivier, Pessac Léognan
For those who stay in Bordeaux without any means of transport, you can easily reach the Pessac Léognan vineyard in the Graves region. Some areas are directly accessible by tram.
Château Mauvinon, Saint Emilion
For heritage lovers, the village of Saint Emilion, a UNESCO world heritage site, is a beautiful combination of architectural beauty and viticultural wealth.
Château Angludet, Margaux – Médoc
The Médoc is located between the Gironde and the Atlantic coast, not far from the famous seaside resorts (Lacanau, Hourtin, Soulac sur Mer …). You can visit classified grands crus on various appellations (Haut Médoc, Margaux, Saint Estèphe, Listrac Médoc …).
Château Langoiran, Entre deux Mers
White wine lovers can discover wines of a very good value for money in the Entre Deux Mers, a vineyard located between the Dordogne and Gironde.
Château Rabaud Promis, Sauternes
For the greediest, the Sauternes appellation is located in South of Bordeaux, about 40 minutes by car. Here you will discover the manufacturing secrets of their sweet white wines, that can easily be paired with some cheeses (Roquefort for example) or foie gras.
We wish you all a good discovery of Bordeaux and its region!