What would Bordeaux be without its famous wines? Even the carousel at the airport or the taxi bay once out, will give you this inclination.
To discover this aspect of Bordeaux’s culture and history, book a wine tour. There are vineyards all around the city itself, be it on the right or left bank of the Garonne, the selection is huge. Tours of prestigious areas like Saint-Emilion are very much available, also a visit to the Cité du Vin – but don’t hesitate to try some bigger, less prestigious ones like Médoc. If a wine tour doesn’t seem appealing, there is also a wine range of wine bars: Bar à Vin or Le Verre ô Vin, to only name a few.
Click here to watch this post in a video and click here for the full vlog of my stay in France’s Bordeaux.
My Top Ten Must-Sees In Bordeaux
1. The Cité du Vin is a museum as well as a place of exhibitions, shows, movie projections and academic seminars on the theme of wine.
2. SAINT-EMILION WINE TOUR. Take a half day wine tour in the Saint Emilion vineyard. Usually in a recent, comfortable and air-conditioned Minivan) chauffeured by an English speaking, discreet and friendly driver.
3. Wine tasting Garonne River Cruise. The tours offered by the Bordeaux Tourist Office are both diverse and unusual. You would appreciate a wine tasting or discovering Bordeaux by night.
4. Jardin Public – or ‘public garden’ in English, is a 10-hectare-wide park in the center of Bordeaux. It was inspired by Versailles’s gardens, which give an idea of what a splendid place it is. It is the perfect setting for a picnic on a hot summer day thanks to a large lake in the middle, bringing some very welcome freshness. There’s many a remarkable element to attract visitors: an artificial waterfall, a natural history museum, and original iron railing important enough to have earned the monument historique label.
Bordeaux isn’t just about history and wine, it’s also a modern, vibrant city with exciting cultural offerings. This is exemplified by CAPC, Bordeaux’s contemporary art museum.
5. Place de la Bourse, on the edge of the Garonne river, is doubtlessly the most recognisable sight in Bordeaux. It is where you’ll find the ‘Miroir d’eau’, a large shallow pool of water in which children and adults alike dip their toes as they admire the reflection of the Palais de la Bourse, an exemplar of classical French architecture.
6. Cathédrale Saint-André – After Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux’s most iconic landmark is its medieval Roman Catholic cathedral, Saint-André. It was consecrated as early as 1096, but what we can see today is most from the 14th and 15th century, with only a wall in the nave remaining of the original building.
7. Rue Saint Catherine – Rue Saint-Catherine is Bordeaux’s main shopping street and allegedly Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping street, stretching on for 1.2 kilometres. Occasionally the entire street turns into an outdoors market for a few days, similar to the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam.
8. CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux – Bordeaux isn’t just about history and wine, it’s also a modern, vibrant city with exciting cultural offerings. This is exemplified by CAPC, Bordeaux’s contemporary art museum. There is a permanent collection, with 7 in situ works by artists like Keith Haring, Max Neuhaus and Niele Toroni, among others, but the focus is very much on the large and daring temporary exhibitions, often featuring artists who work in the Bordeaux area.
9. Go to the beach 🏖- Bordeaux might not be by the ocean, but it’s close enough for a day trip, and the best part is the choice. Arcachon and its four beaches and seven kilometers of fine sand are less than an hour away, and it’s also a great opportunity to see the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune. If Arcachon doesn’t catch your fancy, Lacanau-Océan, a great location for surfing, is a two hours’ coach journey away, departing from the central Victoire Square. If that seems too far away, there’s always the possibility of swimming at Bordeaux Lac, a lake accessible by tram.
10. The Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is a neo-classical building now home to the National Opera. Watching a show is the best way to discover this beautiful locale as well as enjoy a high-quality ballet, opera, or concert in a unique venue. There isn’t anything on in July and August, which means that summer visitors won’t be able to take this opportunity, but for anyone else it definitely shouldn’t be missed.