This city is almost synonymous with wine that one is often surprised that there’s more to see and do here than acres of vineyards and sampling its famous product.
From a massive wine museum to a medieval gate, a lively square to food tours at the local market, even a distillery — here’s a list of what awaits you and the best things to do in Bordeaux, France.
Things you'll find in this article
- 10 Best Things To Do in Bordeaux
- 1. La Cité du Vin
- 2. Place des Quinconces
- 3. Wine tasting in the Chateau in the City
- 4. The Crypts at Saint-Seurin
- 5. Eat your way through Marché des Capucins
- 6. Tour Bordeaux’s only whiskey distillery
- 7. Bordeaux during the Middle Ages at Port Cailhau
- 8. Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
- 9. Jardin Publique de Bordeaux
- 10. Day Trip to Saint-Émilion
10 Best Things To Do in Bordeaux
1. La Cité du Vin
A definite must both for wine enthusiasts or those who simply want to know this city more, La Cité du Vin is one of those Bordeaux attractions that’s not to be missed. An interactive wine museum that’s considered the best in France, a tour caters to all the senses.
It ends with a wine tasting treat on the top floor which alt offers stunning views over the city. The museum has displays and exhibits about the world’s best wine regions, the process of making wine, techniques used over the centuries, and more.
If you’re staying longer in Bordeaux, be sure to check the schedule at La Cité du Vin as they often hold temporary exhibitions, movie and wine nights, and wine classes.
From April 4, 2020, to August 30, 2020
Every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
From August 31, 2020, to January 3, 2021
Monday to Friday except for holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Weekends, public holidays and school holidays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Exceptional closing on December 25, 2020.
Phone: +33 (0)5 56 16 20 20
Address: 134-150 quai de Bacalan 1, esplanade de Pontac 33300 Bordeaux France
2. Place des Quinconces
Known as France’s longest city square and also the largest in all of Europe, Place des Quinconces is one of those places to visit in Bordeaux if you want to soak up some local vibe and a bit of history.
The square originally had a defense system in it, which now has the prominent Monument aux Girondins. It depicts four scenes that honor victims of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.
A picturesque area situated by the River Garonne, Place des Quinconces is among the most photographed places in Bordeaux city center with its lush trees, fountains, and monument. Located in the heart of the city, it’s also known as one of the best places to watch the sunset.
Address: 33000 BORDEAUX Bordeaux Grands Hommes – Quinconces
3. Wine tasting in the Chateau in the City
If you’re pressed for time and want to visit a wine estate in Bordeaux that won’t require hours of traveling to the countryside, there’s a wonderful surprise right within Bordeaux city limits.
Only 30 minutes by tram from the city center, a visit to the Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux. This place started as part of the 1855 classified Château Haut-Brion. It is known for its eye-catching architecture, as well as the pretty gardens done by the same designer who did Jardin Public.
If you’re here for the wine, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion won’t disappoint as it’s got a selection of the finest wines. Be sure to visit as a visit to the winery is a quintessential Bordeaux activity.
For wine tasting tour
Group tasting tour:
Price: 20 € TTC / pers.
Private tasting tour:
Price: 30 € TTC / pers.
An exceptional tasting tour of three Carmes vintages:
Price: € 100 incl. Tax / pers.
For wine tasting tour:
For group tasting tour
Duration: approximately 1 hour
Period: Monday to Saturday, departure at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (by appointment)
Private tasting tour
Duration: about 1 hour 30 minutes
Period: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Exceptional tasting tour of three Carmes vintages:
Constraint: from 6 and up to 10 pers.
Period: Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Phone: +33 (0)5 56 93 23 40/ 07 77 38 10 64
Address: 20 rue des Carmes – 33000 Bordeaux
4. The Crypts at Saint-Seurin
Originally founded during the 6th century, the Saint-Seurin Basilica we see today was from an 11th-century reconstruction.
The church went through more changes until the 18th century, and it’s also part of the monuments in the Saint James de Compostela Way declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place features a Gothic entrance, several chapels within its premises, and a pipe organ from the 18th century.
There’s also a crypt that was accidentally discovered during excavations that date back to the 4th century. Be sure to check out the crypts of the Saint-Seurin Basilica, as it’s among the best places to see in Bordeaux.
Here, you’ll find the Merovingian marble sarcophagi. It’s a fascinating look at the early Christians in France, a significant part of its long history.
Saint-Seurin Basilica Mass Hours
Tuesday to Friday – 7:00 p.m
Sunday- 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 7 p.m .
Address: Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Phone: 05 56 48 22 08
5. Eat your way through Marché des Capucins
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Always a great way to experience any town or city’s local life and culture is through its food. In Bordeaux it is a must to try its sumptuous dishes and interesting delicacies and the best way to do that is through its largest market the Marché des Capucins.
Take in the delicious aroma of fresh herbs, sample some local cheeses, or eat lots of oysters, and custard-y canelés. Get your basket ready and feel like a true Bordelaise as you lose yourself among the stalls and the lively atmosphere.
This place is known as the ‘belly of Bordeaux’ and for good reason. The variety of food sold is outstanding and this is also where Bordeaux renowned chefs buy their ingredients so you’re assured of access to the best this city has to offer when it comes to gastronomical delights.
Traders and market gardeners
Tuesday to Thursday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday- Sunday: 5:30 a.m.-2.30 p.m
Address: Capuchin Market – Place des Capucins – 33800 Bordeaux
6. Tour Bordeaux’s only whiskey distillery
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A whiskey in a city known for its wine? Not quite a unique concept in Bordeaux, which is no stranger to distilling Armagnac, Cognac, and Lillet. The Moon Harbour Distillery, however, is the first and only whiskey distillery in Bordeaux.
This is also the first to ever produce a whiskey that’s aged and distilled in the region. Situated close to the La Cité du Vin, it is one of the best attractions in Bordeaux and a must-visit.
Go on a tour and check out the unique way their whiskey is distilled — in barrels housed in a former WWII U- boat bunker.
Like most distillery tours, you are treated to a sampling of some of their fine blends. Be sure to include Moon Harbour in your Bordeaux itinerary for a taste of something different.
Tuesday to Saturday – 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM / 2:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Phone: +33 5 56 29 86 60
Address: 492, boulevard Alfred Daney 33 300 BORDEAUX – FRANCE
7. Bordeaux during the Middle Ages at Port Cailhau
Porte Cailhau glimpse into another local history, as it was built from between 1493 to 1496 as a sort of Arc de Triomphe in honor of King Charles after the Battle of Fournoue. Facing the river, this iconic gate is one of the best places to see in Bordeaux.
Known for its elegance and defensive features, the gate also serves as a small museum that has displays that depict the history of Bordeaux through the ages: from the medieval era to the 18th century, when there were significant changes in the city’s architecture due to the Renaissance.
Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM / 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
5 € | 3,50 € reduced
Free for children under 12
Phone: +33 5 56 00 66 00
Address: Place du Palais, 33000 Bordeaux, France
8. Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux is considered as among the oldest belfries in the region, and also one of the many things to see in Bordeaux.
Constructed in 1775, this gatehouse features two clocks on opposite sides and a bell tower. When you visit, be sure to check out the sides with the clocks and especially the bell.
Grosse Cloche literally translates to “Big Bell and this one ring 6 times a year to honor occasions such as Bastille Day, Victory in Europe Day, Remembrance Day as well as the first Sunday of each month.
Monday to Sunday – 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
From March 7, 2020- May 30, 2020
From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday
Open every day
1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
From October 3, 2020- November 28, 2020
From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday
– from March to May and from October to November: visit by reservation every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (at 2 p.m., 2.45 p.m., 3.30 p.m., and 4.15 p.m.).
– from June to September: visit every day every 45 minutes from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. by a group of 5 people.
No group Visit.
5 € single price | Free with the Bordeaux Métropole City Pass.
Address: 1 rue Saint-James 33000 BORDEAUX
9. Jardin Publique de Bordeaux
The scenic Jardin Publique de Bordeaux dates back to 1746 and was originally intended as a place for rich people to relax. Styled like an English garden, this park features bridges, fountains historic statues, lots of flowers, and a lovely lake.
This elegant park is essentially a glimpse of Bordeaux during the 18th century and a great place to relax in between exploring the city. You can stroll or cycle around, have a picnic, read a book, or even watch the sunset here.
At sundown, the park looks magical with lights coming from the lovely townhouses close by as well as the small botanical garden, and a bar-restaurant called L’Orangerie.
With its pretty gardens and green spaces, a stroll along the Jardin Publique is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux in the evening or at any time of the day.
April 1 to May 31: 7 a.m.- 8 p.m.,
June 1 to August 31: 7 a.m-9 p.m.
September 1 to 30: 7 a.m- 8 p.m.
October 1 to 31: 7 a.m-7 p.m.
November 1 to February 14: 7 a.m-6 p.m.
February 15 to March 31: 7 a.m- 7 p.m.
Address: Cours de Verdun 33000 BORDEAUX
10. Day Trip to Saint-Émilion
Got more time in Bordeaux and want to explore nearby places? There’s a tiny picturesque village located nearby, and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too. Saint-Émilion is easily accessible by train from Bordeaux and the journey lasts for just 34 minutes.
This village may be small, but here is where you get to learn more about the award-winning and world-renowned wines produced in the region. You’ll get to try them here, too! Stroll along the cobblestone streets or visit the well preserved Monolithic Church.
Be sure to check out the local vineyard Chateau La Dominique where you can taste some of the region’s best wines.
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Hi, I’m Christine – a full-time traveler and career woman. Although I’m from the Philippines, my location independent career took me to over 40 countries for the past 8 years. I also lived in 3 continents – from the Caribbean, South East Asia to Africa. France remains special to me, however. From architecture, history, and arts – France is truly an amazing place.