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Things to do in Bordeaux

Things to do in  Bordeaux

Welcome to Bordeaux

Bordeaux attracts travelers with its culture, scenery, and wine. The sheer number of wineries and varietals can be overwhelming, so an organized wine-tasting tour to the “chateaux” of Saint-Émilion, Médoc, or Graves ensures visitors get to taste the best wines without having to worry about picking and choosing. In addition to the world-class wine, Bordeaux is renowned for its historic buildings and squares, from Bordeaux Cathedral to Place des Quinconces and Place de la Comédie.

Top 10 attractions in Bordeaux

#1
La Cité du Vin

La Cité du Vin

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Bordeaux has long been one of the world’s top wine destinations but when Cité du Vin opened in 2016, it finally got a museum to match its reputation. Housed in a modernist building that resembles a wine decanter, the center comprises exhibition spaces, cultural events, a wine bar, a cinema space, and more.More
#2
Place de la Bourse (Place Royale)

Place de la Bourse (Place Royale)

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Home to Bordeaux’s former stock exchange and a world-famous water feature, Bordeaux’s Place de la Bourse combines ancient and modern influences to create a welcoming public square.More
#3
Porte Cailhau

Porte Cailhau

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Built in 1495, this dramatic Gothic Revival 35-meters tall city gate was built to commemorate King Charles VIII's victory at Fornovo in Italy during the Italian War of 1494. At the time, it was the main entry point to Bordeaux from the port. It faces Place du Palais and features several ornamental sculptures and towers, something that is very typical of architecture built under the reign of Charles VIII; indeed, the monarch wanted this gate to showcase his power and affluence. The gate, which was once part of the Bordeaux city wall, was later on used as a defensive tower (the multitude of portcullis, murder holes, and machicolation features are there to prove this), and as a salt scale and storehouse.Nowadays, it houses an informative exhibition dedicated to the tools and materials with which the tower was built as well as the urban development of Bordeaux. There is a wonderful view of the old town center, the Garonne River, and the Pont de Pierre Bridge from the top floor.More
#4
Pont de Pierre

Pont de Pierre

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Connecting the left and right bank of the city since 1819, Pont de Pierre was the first bridge to cross the mighty Garonne River. Its construction was challenging as the river’s current is extremely strong, and it took more than 4,000 workers to construct. Pont de Pierre was the only bridge to connect the two banks for nearly 150 years.More
#5
Grand Theatre

Grand Theatre

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OverviewBuilt in the 18th century, Bordeaux’s Grand Theatre is a well-known symbol of French culture. The ornate neoclassical building is used for theatrical and operatic performances and has also served as the location of the French parliament during times of war.More
#6
Quinconces Square (Place des Quinconces)

Quinconces Square (Place des Quinconces)

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Stretching more than 12 hectares (30 acres) along the banks of the Garonne River, Quinconces Square (Place des Quinconces) is Bordeaux’s largest square. Comprising a vast esplanade flanked by tree-lined walkways and fronted by the grand Monument to the Girondins, it’s among the most important sites of the city’s UNESCO-listed historic center.More
#7
Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale St. André)

Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale St. André)

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Built in the 13th century, the Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale St. André is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its role in the religious and cultural development of Bordeaux. Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII here. Her wealth benefited both the city and the cathedral, which was subsequently enlarged and lavishly decorated.More
#8
Pyla Dune (Dune du Pilat)

Pyla Dune (Dune du Pilat)

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Standing more than 360 feet (110 meters) above sea level in Bordeaux, France, Pyla Dune (Dune du Pilat) is the tallest sand dune in Europe. In the summer months, a staircase is constructed to allow visitors to climb the dune—an activity that draws over one million visitors every year.More
#9
Port of the Moon (Port de la Lune)

Port of the Moon (Port de la Lune)

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Bordeaux’s original port is known as the Port of the Moon because it sat on a semi-circular part of the Garonne River. Historically the left bank of the port has been the center of commerce and culture and though it saw some decline after the invention of the automobile, today it’s a fun, trendy place to soak in local culture.More
#10
Grosse Cloche

Grosse Cloche

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One of Bordeaux’s most popular attractions is, predictably, also one of the most historically significant: Grosse Cloche. So much so, in fact, that the edifice is heavily featured in the city’s coat of arms. What once was the old Town Hall’s belfry dates back to the medieval times and was built as part of the city’s thick fortifications. It actually consists of two 40-meter-high towers connected by a central structure toward the top, which contains the famous bell and features an 18th-century solar dial. The tower is often referred to as the “golden lion,” a clear reference to the weather vane atop the central dome that represents the English Kingdom back when the Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Henry II of England. Grosse Cloche–literally, the big bell, as it weighs well over 16,500 pounds (7,500 kilos)–was up until quite recently used by city magistrates to announce the start of harvest season, or alternatively, to warn residents of a fire. Rumor has it that locals were so attached to the bell that the king threatened to take it away when a resident misbehaved!Nowadays, the bell only rings only six times a year, for national holidays and military celebrations.More

Trip ideas

Médoc Wine Tasting from Bordeaux

Médoc Wine Tasting from Bordeaux

How to Spend 2 Days in Bordeaux

How to Spend 2 Days in Bordeaux

Arcachon Oyster Tastings in Bordeaux

Arcachon Oyster Tastings in Bordeaux

Top activities in Bordeaux

Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing Tour & Wine Tastings from Bordeaux
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Medoc or St-Emilion Small-Group Wine Tasting and Chateaux Tour from Bordeaux
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Medoc Region Wine Day Trip with Vineyard Visits & Tastings from Bordeaux
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Médoc Region Half-Day Wine Tour with Winery Visit & Tastings from Bordeaux
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Bordeaux Garonne River Lunch Cruise
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A Half-Day in Margaux

A Half-Day in Margaux

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Recent reviews from experiences in Bordeaux

star-5
Efficient, enjoyable, and educational tour of Bordeaux wineries
Shigeki_M, Jun 2022
Medoc or St-Emilion Small-Group Wine Tasting and Chateaux Tour from Bordeaux
This was a great way to see 2 chateaus and learn about wines in the Bordeaux region.
star-5
Unique experience
Sarah_H, May 2022
Dune du Pilat and Oysters Tasting in only 1 hour away from Bordeaux ! What else?
An incredible and unique experience to see the Dune du Pilat and eat fresh oysters at a local village.
star-5
Interesting and Informative
David_B, Apr 2022
Prestige Commented Cruise with Glass of Wine and Canelé in Bordeaux
We had both French and English speakers on the tour, and she did a great job keeping both groups involved and informed.
star-4
Worthwhile
Ciara_H, Apr 2022
Medoc or St-Emilion Small-Group Wine Tasting and Chateaux Tour from Bordeaux
Lovely way to see the Bordeaux country side.
star-5
Fun fun fun
Sonia_P, Mar 2022
Bordeaux Segway Tour
Our guide was really informative and luckily for us he spoke English.
star-5
Alaïs is an excellent guide
Alexander_I, May 2022
Private tour in the Sauternes wine region - discover Bordeaux sweet Crus Classés
Alaïs was punctual and very communicative before the trip, and organised two excellent wineries to visit.
star-5
Highlight of our 10 day vacation!
Jeanette_Z, May 2022
Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing Tour & Wine Tastings from Bordeaux
Thank you Kareem, and hope to see you again!
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An overview of Bordeaux
Diane_S, Apr 2022
Bordeaux City Sights Walking Tour
The tour was to be in English, but actually alternated between English and French for a mixed group.
star-5
Had a fantastic time on...
Ahad_J, Oct 2021
Saint Emilion Half-Day Trip with Wine Tasting & Winery Visit from Bordeaux
The tour guide was very kind and gave a lot of suggestions for things to do around Bordeaux.
star-5
Great way to see the city! Highly recommended!
Alex_M, Sep 2021
Bordeaux Essentials Sightseeing Bike Tour with a Local Guide
Fantastic way to see Bordeaux.
star-5
This one is a must book!
Samantha_P, Sep 2021
Bordeaux Vineyard Small Group Full Day Experience with Picnic Lunch
We had time to visit Saint Emilion as well and had such a wonderful day.
star-5
Fantastic tour!!
Kemarie_M, Sep 2021
Prestige Commented Cruise with Glass of Wine and Canelé in Bordeaux
Fantastic host, very accommodating and was helpful to offer languages in both French/English.
star-5
Great morning in Bordeaux
Todd_B, Jul 2021
Bordeaux Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
She showed us all the important sites I’d the city and also got to see how the locals live!!
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Walking Tour of Bordeaux
Paul_W, Jul 2021
Bordeaux Like a Local: Customized Private Tour
Provided insight on additional activities.
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Segway was a cinch
Lynn_P, Jul 2021
2-Hour Bordeaux Segway Tour
Bordeaux is the perfect city to see by segway.
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Great experience
Valeriya_B, Aug 2020
Bordeaux City - Private Guided Walking Tour with Local Sophia
We went on a 3 hour walk with Phia and really enjoyed it - from trying delicious local pastries to learning about what life in Bordeaux is like, along with a bit of history and recommendations for places to visit.
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Beautiful Bordeaux
Dick_B, Jul 2020
Bordeaux tourist excursion by bike "Burdigala over time"
He speaks English quitte well and we recommand him without hesitation.
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Great Experience!
Cheryl_C, Feb 2020
Discover Bordeaux vineyard : special wine tasting with two cellar men brothers
They are very patient and speak great English for those of us who haven’t mastered French yet.
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Wine tasting in February
edelcallaghan5, Feb 2020
Bordeaux Vineyards Wine Tasting Half-Day Trip
A lovely day out - got to see a lot of the Bordeaux region, Glass on wine and onion soup in St Emilion village
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Wine and trade museum
Filippo_g, Dec 2019
Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum Admission Ticket with Wine Tasting
I recommend to visit this museum.
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All about Bordeaux

Time Zone
CEST (UTC +1)

People Also Ask

What is Bordeaux best known for?

Bordeaux is the wine capital of France, famous for its St-Emilion, Medoc, and Graves wine appellations, and its Grand Cru wine châteaux. The riverside city is also a cultural hub, packed with museums and attractions, and is the largest urban UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 350 listed monuments.

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Why is Bordeaux wine so good?

Bordeaux’s famous ‘terroir’—the result of its fertile soils, changeable climate, and cool Atlantic breezes—and rich winemaking history combine to produce some of the world’s most acclaimed wines. Bordeaux is also known for its wide variety of grapes, blended together to produce full-bodied red and sweet white wines.

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Is Bordeaux worth visiting?

Yes. Whether you’re a wine lover, history buff, or foodie, Bordeaux is one of France’s most dynamic cultural hubs with a vibrant nightlife to boot. Visitors come to enjoy wine tasting at the world-famous vineyards, admire the UNESCO-listed architecture, and browse the many markets, shops, and museums.

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Is Bordeaux a walkable city?

Yes, Bordeaux’s compact center makes it easy to explore on foot. Start your walking tour at Place des Quinonces, stroll down the quay to Place de la Bourse, then loop around to see the Place de Palais and St Andres Cathedral before heading back up to the Golden Triangle.

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How many days do you need in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux’s most popular attractions can be enjoyed on a day tour, but a weekend or 3-day trip is recommended. This will give you time for a visit to the medieval town of St Emilion, a wine tasting tour of the surrounding vineyards, and a chance to experience Bordeaux’s legendary nightlife.

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What is there to do in Bordeaux at night?

Bordeaux is renowned for having some of the best nightlife in France, and it’s as dynamic and diverse as the city itself. The central Saint-Pierre district is brimming with wine, beer, and cocktail bars, plus some popular LGBTQ bars, while the nightclubs along the quay open their doors at midnight.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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