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Visit Bordeaux | 10 Best Things to do in Bordeaux

Here are the best places to visit in Bordeaux for 2 to 3 days or during a long weekend. Also, discover the TOP places to visit in the city and around Bordeaux, the best areas to stay in, and the best things to eat! Let’s go!

  1. Places to visit in Bordeaux ?
  2. Itinerary for a walking tour in Bordeaux (with a map) ?
  3. Unusual things to do in Bordeaux ?
  4. What to eat in Bordeaux ?
  5. Best areas to stay in Bordeaux ?
  6. Bordeaux City Pass ?
  7. Gorgeous places to visit around Bordeaux ?
things to do in bordeaux france

1. TOP places to visit in Bordeaux in 2 or 3 days

Walking in the historic center is the best way to visit Bordeaux. Moreover, it is designed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Below you will find the map of our walking itinerary to visit Bordeaux on foot.

There are several interesting historical buildings to see:

  • Opera / Grand Theater
  • Place de la Bourse, with its famous water mirror
  • Porte Cailhau
  • Big Bell
  • Tour Pey-Berland (next to the cathedral)

The Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror. On the quays, the water mirror is a thin layer of water on which the buildings opposite are reflected. It is stunning and ideal for taking pictures. For us, the best time is just after the sun has set, during the blue hour. The twilight associated with the lighting is breathtaking.

La Cité du Vin is a cultural center about wine. It’s like an interactive museum. The building is beautiful and original.

The Bassins de Lumières. The Germans built here a submarine base for some of their submarines during the 2nd World War. A place steeped in history! A part has been converted into a digital art center to host exhibitions: the Bassins de Lumières. Concretely, artworks are projected on the walls and can be accompanied by sounds. The whole space is covered with projections, not just a “painting” like a museum.

How much time do you need? 2 or 3 days are enough to visit Bordeaux quietly. If you stay longer, you can also visit places around Bordeaux (see the end of this blog post).

2. Itinerary for a walking tour in Bordeaux

Here is our map for walking in Bordeaux + other unusual places to visit.

  • Grand Theater
  • Place de la Bourse / The water mirror
  • Porte Cailhau
  • Big Bell
  • Utopia
  • Pay-Berland Tower / The Cathedral
  • Porte Dijeaux
  • The White Dunes
  • Gallien Palace
  • The Chartron District
  • Darwin space
  • St. Michael’s Basilica
Walking tour bordeaux map

3. What to do in Bordeaux? Unusual things to do!

The Chartron district. It is a small boho district after the Place des Quinconces (from the city center). There are many charming little cafés with homemade pastries. It is not necessarily the first place to visit in Bordeaux, but it has charm. You can walk there from the city center; it’s close. Place du marché Chartron

The Gallien Palace. These are ruins of a 3rd-century Roman amphitheater. Bordeaux has been a relatively important city for more than 1700 years. Humans have lived here for 1700 years. Otherwise, there is not much to do around. If you don’t like Roman ruins, don’t bother going. 126 Dr. Albert Barraud Street

Utopia. It is a cinema housed in an old church: curious and interesting. Since Utopia is located in the historic city center of Bordeaux, it is easy to walk past and visit it. 5 Place Camille Jullian

Darwin space. These industrial buildings have been abandoned and rehabilitated by associations that revive the place with a different ideology. There is an organic café, spaces for GreenTech startups, a skate park, and events very often and always original. It’s a bit like Ground Zero / Grand Train in Paris (but all year round), vaguely like the banks of the Spree in Berlin, for example. We love this kind of place, so we highly recommend it. On the other hand, Espace Darwin is quite far from the city center of Bordeaux: it is located on the right bank. Take a taxi or an electric scooter. 87 Quay of Queyries

Rooftops. There are 3 interesting places to see Bordeaux from above. The first is the Mama Shelter rooftop which is also a great place to stay in Bordeaux. The 2nd is the spa on the roof of the Hotel Intercontinental Bordeaux, just opposite the Opera. Finally, a belvedere is at the top of the Cité du Vin.

cite du vin
Cité du Vin

4. What to eat in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux is known for wine. OK, but that’s not all!

CanelĂ©. It is the Bordeaux cake par excellence. A canelĂ© is soft with a crispy crust. We don’t need to recommend a place as they are everywhere, in every bakery. A chain called “La Toque CuivrĂ©e” sells many of them.

White dune. Technically, it is a specialty of a Cap-Ferret baker, but he also has a bakery in Bordeaux. It is a like a chouquette (small choux pastry) filled with whipped cream. It’s a delight! I always take a box to eat with the family, and everyone loves it. If you want to visit Bordeaux in 2 or 3 days, We recommend going there the first day so you can return the next day. Dunes Blanches Chez Pascal, 7 rue de la Vieille Tour

Oysters. Arcachon Bay is quite close to Bordeaux, and you will find many oyster sellers. Many locals eat oysters on Saturday or Sunday morning, with a glass of white wine, at the Capucins market. You will not be alone at all! Capucins market, Place des Capucins.

restaurant bordeaux

5. Best areas in Bordeaux

In the heart of Bordeaux. The historic center is the most interesting for accommodation in Bordeaux, but also the most expensive. If you take an Airbnb, the buildings in the city center are old and often poorly insulated: if you overlook a busy street at night, you will be easily woken up. However, there are also good hotels to stay at in downtown Bordeaux. For example, the Mama Shelter is very stylish.

For a family trip. The Chartrons district is an excellent area to stay in when visiting Bordeaux. Here you will find apartments for rent rather than hotels. It is convenient when traveling with family or friends. For example, this apartment is for 6 people.

Hotel with Spa in Bordeaux. The InterContinental Bordeaux hotel, just opposite the Bordeaux theater, is ideal for visiting Bordeaux as a couple. The spa is located on the hotel’s roof, on the 5th floor, and gives a beautiful view of Bordeaux. It is one of the best places to stay in Bordeaux as a couple!

Avoid choosing accommodation on the left bank to stay in Bordeaux during your first stay because you will then be isolated from the rest of the city.

6. The City Pass to visit Bordeaux

The Bordeaux City Pass allows you to save money if you plan to visit a lot. You can take the city pass for 1, 2, or 3 days. The City Pass can quickly become interesting if you plan to visit the Cité du Vin. The City Pass also includes public transport in Bordeaux.

If you only have 2 or 3 days to visit Bordeaux, it can be a race to make it profitable, but on the other hand, it is more straightforward and practical, especially for unlimited transport.

The Bordeaux City Pass can be purchased directly online.

7. What to visit around Bordeaux?

If you have more than 2 days to visit Bordeaux, you can take the opportunity to visit one of these 3 places around Bordeaux: Cap-Ferret, Saint-Emilion, or Arcachon.

Cap Ferret. It is a small land separating Arcachon Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s an oversized cul-de-sac, so it’s very secluded. And as it is isolated, it is quiet and trendy. Rentals and restaurants are expensive here. There are gigantic sandy beaches, but they can sometimes be very windy. You can also find old German bunkers gradually sinking into the ground. Find out more in our blog post about visiting Cap-Ferret and the blog post on the TOP 15 must-sees in Arcachon Bay.

Saint Emilion. One of the most famous Bordeaux wine appellations to visit around. It is above all a charming and very touristy village. It is especially for wine lovers since you can combine it with a visit to a winery. There are guided tours that include 3 estates and the village of Saint-Emilion.

Arcachon. It is on the other side of Cap-Ferret. But as you have to go around the whole bay, it takes 1h30 to reach the 2. There are many oyster farmers and fishermen, and the big Dune du Pila is next to it (see our advice for visiting the Dune du Pila). There are all-inclusive guided tours from Bordeaux that include oysters and a glass of white wine (see prices here).

We wish you a great time when you visit Bordeaux and around in 2 or 3 days during a weekend with family, friends, or as a couple. Bordeaux is a charming city, delightful to discover!

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Louis and Emilie

We once heard visitors in Paris saying that the French are not the most welcoming people. It made us sad. That's why we started this blog! So you can get the best information for your travel to France! Of course, we love Paris. We have lived in multiple areas, from Canal St Martin to right next to the Eiffel Tower. We also explore regions of France whenever we can. Our favorites for a weekend away from Paris are Etretat and Mont Saint Michel. The beautiful French Riviera is a marvelous place to explore for a week.

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