Bordeaux is one of those cities that’s incredible for a city break and a longer little jaunt into the countryside and vineyards that surround this region of France. Straight after our visit to the gorgeous spots in the Dordogne, I knew I had to get myself over to Bordeaux and that’s something we did recently, with our road trip around the area – with a hefty little stop off in Bordeaux itself. There are so many things to do in Bordeaux that you’ll actually be spoilt for choice… it’s the kinda city that can be as relaxing, buzzing or vibrant as you want.
Anyway, before I ramble on, I wanted to share some of the top spots and things to do in Bordeaux when you visit. It really is a stunning city that I’m almost certain you’ll love.
Take a look at some of the best things to do in Bordeaux. 🇫🇷
1.) See the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux
Possibly one of the very oldest belfries in the region, the Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux is one of the many things to see in Bordeaux – and it’s totally free and easy to spot too!
Beautiful erected in 1775, this gatehouse was crafted with two clocks and a bell tower; which replaced a previous building that was damaged by fire long ago in the 18th-century. A nearby plaque has the inscription that ‘the bell was the bearer of all good and bad tidings to the people of Bordeaux.’
Oh, and don’t forget to check out both sides of the tower as there are two different clocks to admire.
2.) See Miroir d’Eau
The Water Mirror is smack-bang next to the Place de la Bourse and it’s known for having the world’s largest reflecting pool. Now, this might sound strange, but it’s totally cool and one of the easiest things to see in Bordeaux. You can’t miss it.
It gives a great perspective on seeing the city and, honestly, it’s one of my favourite spots for a picture. You’ll love it here.
If you need to warm your cockles, head over to 3Montbazon who have some of the best brews in the city. Their coffee is incredible.
3.) Take a day trip to Saint-Émilion
If you’re spending more than a few days in Bordeaux, take the opportunity to pop in the car (or join a tour) and get yourself over to the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint-Émilion.
This small village is totally picturesque and it’s a great place to learn more about the regions award-winning and world-renowned wines (that you’ll get to try).
After wandering through the historic cobbled streets, take a tour of the Monolithic Church which still stands to this day. It was so incredible to see in person. Also, if you’re looking for a local vineyard, pop over to Chateau La Dominique where they’ll go through and let you taste some of the yummiest wines of the region.
4.) Explore Cité du Vin
Look, there’s no getting around it, Bordeaux is filled with everything wine related… and rightly so! It’s delicious. One of the newer (and possibly the most iconic buildings) is the Cité du Vin – which stands proudly on the water’s edge.
Inside you’ll find some exhibitions to learn more about wines from Bordeaux and even grab a tipple too. One thing I love most about Cité du Vin is that they regularly run workshops on things like; the wines of authors, the wines of musicians and tasting experiences that are great if you’re not leaving the city to visit a vineyard.
5.) Ramble through Jardin Public
Yup, every city has a park but what makes the Jardin Public so special is its size and what’s inside. Not only is the perfect little spot to stroll around the city’s green spaces, it actually holds an arboretum, library and the Museum of Natural History to explore too. You can easily spend a day just wandering around all these spots.
Located on the Place Champs de Mars, it’s one of the best things to do in Bordeaux on a lovely (and hot) summers day.
6.) Explore Marche des Quais
This quayside market is a great way to spend your time shopping for local produce on a Sunday morning. There is a large selection of stalls selling fresh bread, vegetables and other local produce. We even ended up with some shellfish that were prepared right in front of us!
The market closes around 1 pm, by that time most stalls have sold the majority of the items they brought to sell. So, this means that the earlier you arrive – the more choice you’ll have. It’s one of the best things to do in Bordeaux on a Sunday (after having a tipple of local wine, of course).
7.) Gorge at Le 7 Restaurant
After exploring some of the things to do in Bordeaux, you’ll undoubtedly work up a hefty appetite (well, I do at least) – so this suggestion is all about food! Based within the iconic Wine City building, Le 7 Restaurant is one amazing spot to visit for some of the tastiest food, all whilst overlooking the incredible views of the port of the Moon and the rest of the city.
Just make sure you book your table in advance, it gets quite busy here and you won’t want to miss it.
8.) Stay in a castle
There are lots of stunning places to stay in Bordeaux, with the Hotel des Quinconces being a stunning spot to rest your head. Alternatively, if you’re wanting a slightly different experience, book somewhere out of the city and escape to the country at Chateau Belles Vignes.
We had the most amazing stay here and it’s such a gorgeous spot to experience. I know you’ll love it too.
9.) Enjoy Musee de Vin et Negoce
Musee de Vin et Negoce is Bordeaux’s Wine and Trade Museum (to give it a not so suave English translation) that’s perched in the area of Chartrons. As a city, Bordeaux has a deep and ingrained history of wine trade and everything wine related. What makes this spot so special is that it’s located in the cellars of King Louis XV’s official wine merchant. How cool is that?
Nestled on Rue Borie, it’s a great little spot to stop off for a little tour a wine tasting.
10.) Explore Parc Bordelaise
After lunch, take some time to see some of the other things to see and do in Bordeaux and it’s green spaces, of course. This 19th-century park began life as a public promenade, that’s now covered with a whopping 3,000 trees. It’s a gorgeous place that you’ll spot many locals (and visitors) strolling through on the weekend.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the traditional Guignol puppet shows that take place here on most weekends and holidays.
11.) Cathedrale Saint-Andre
Cathedrale Saint-Andre is one of the Bordeaux’s most famous cathedrals that’s perched on Place Pey Berland. It’s one of the most amazing things to see and do in Bordeaux, not just because of its sheer scale, but also it’s magnificent architecture and heritage that dates back centuries.
Built way back in the 11th century, the long history of the cathedral includes the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Louis VII (which you’ll find out more about on your visit).
If you time your visit right you may be lucky enough to nab a free concert of an organ recital or the symphony orchestra playing. Fingers crossed!
12.) Place de la Bourse
One a heavily guarded place with high fencing (before the French Revolution), the Place de la Bourse is now much more open and part of the city of Bordeaux and one stunning place to see when you’re in the city.
Like the Water Mirror, it’s really easy to see and you’ll no doubt come across this many times during your ramble across the city. It really is picture-perfect and one of the best things to do in Bordeaux.
After a long day wandering the city, pop over to Le Pressoir D’Argent – who have some of the tastiest food in Bordeaux.