We always visit Bordeaux during our summer holiday in Montalivet-les-Bains and it quickly became one of our favorite cities in France. Bordeaux is famous for its wine, but luckily, as non-wine drinkers, the city has more to offer besides wine. Bordeaux is a beautiful city with many stunning 18th century buildings. There are lots of monuments to admire, 362 to be precise, and it’s really worth wandering around the historical city center. In this blog post, we’re sharing all the things to do in Bordeaux!
Sightseeing in Bordeaux
Admiring the beautiful old buildings is one of our favorite things to do. Our favorite sightseeing spot is Miroir d’Eau (or Mirror of Water in English) which is a large surface covered by a layer of water creating a beautiful reflection of Place de la Bourse. Every 15 minutes, the irrigation system sprays water and creates fog. It’s a beautiful sight. In summer, you’ll see many kids running around the water surface to cool off. Miroir d’Eau is an absolute must-see in Bordeaux!
Porte Cailhau is another one of our favorites. The gate built in 1494 used to be part of the city’s walls. You can also climb the tower of Porte Cailhau. We haven’t done this ourselves, but would love to do so on our next trip to Bordeaux
Pont de Pierre
Pont de Pierre (or Stone Bridge in English) is a bridge designed under the reign of Napoléon I. Fun fact: the bridge has 17 arches, which is the exact same number of letters in the name Napoléon Bonaparte. If you’re walking along the Garonne river bank (which you really should do), you can’t miss this bridge.
The Chartrons District is a lovely neighborhood in Bordeaux with lots of cute boutiques, antique shops and typical French bakeries. It’s a lovely place to walk around and take it all in.
In the center of the district you’ll find the Église Saint-Louis-des-Chartrons (the Saint-Louis Church of the Chartrons). It’s a lovely church and it’s also possible to take a look inside. We didn’t do that and couldn’t find any information on opening times online, so we’d advice to just take a look and see whether the church is open or not. It’s worth checking out just the outside nevertheless.
Best photo spots in Bordeaux
All the historical buildings make for good backgrounds on photos. You’ll stumble upon many beautiful photo spots while wandering around the city.
Shopping in Bordeaux
Rue Sainte-Catherine is the main shopping street in Bordeaux. It’s one of the longest shopping streets in Europe and the longest pedestrian street in France. The best shops along Rue Saint-Catherine are located between the Grand Theatre and Cours d’Alsace-et-Lorainne. Promenade Sainte-Catherine is a quite recently renovated shopping center and is really worth going to. Our favorite street style shops are in this promenade like JD and Citadium. The shopping center in Bordeaux isn’t too big and that’s probably the reason why we always enjoy shopping in Bordeaux.
General opening hours of the stores:
Cité du Vin
Bordeaux is famous for its wine, that’s why there is an entire museum dedicated to wines in Bordeaux. The permanent exhibition at Cité du Vin (the City of Wine) takes you on a journey around the world of wine and culture while tasting wine. Besides the permanent wine tour exhibitions, there are more exhibitions featuring different kinds of art works. As we don’t really like wine, we never felt the need to visit Cité du Vin, but if you do love wine it looks like it’s a must-visit in Bordeaux.
Ticket price: €20 (including tasting of one glass of wine)
Check this website for opening hours and tickets.
Where to eat in Bordeaux
Place Saint Pierre
Place Saint Pierre is one of the liveliest squares in Bordeaux. There’s often entertainment in the form of street performers. All of the restaurants have outside seating areas where you can enjoy a nice meal and watch the performances. We had dinner at Saveur Latine once, a Mexican restaurant which we can absolutely recommend. During dinner time, the restaurants are packed so you might have to wait a bit.
Another restaurant we can recommend is Aphrodite. It’s a Greek restaurant located on the other side of the Église Saint-Pierre (the huge church in front of the square) and their food is delicious. They have a lovely outdoor seating area right next to the church which is perfect in summer.
How to get to Bordeaux
The international airport of Bordeaux is connected to many different European cities, which makes Bordeaux a perfect city trip if you’re in Europe. From the airport of Bordeaux it takes half an hour to reach the city center by car or 50 minutes by bus.
Bordeaux is well-connected to many French cities. There’s a high speed connection between Paris and Bordeaux which takes only 2 hours! Even though Bordeaux is on the other side of the country, it’s possible to visit Bordeaux on a day trip from Paris. Other cities with good railway connections to Bordeaux are, among others, Toulouse, Biarritz, Nantes and Arcachon.
If you’re staying not too far away from Bordeaux, you can also consider visiting the city by car. We always visit Bordeaux while we’re on summer holiday at the Atlantic Coast and drive almost 2 hours south east to Bordeaux.
Parking in Bordeaux
As always in cities, parking is a problem and expensive. We always park the car at Parc Relais Galin, which is a park-and-ride. Before leaving the parking place, get a park-and-ride ticket at the ticket machine which allows you to travel with the tram. The tram station is right in front of the parking space and trams to the city center are leaving every few minutes. Stamp the tram ticket in the tram and you’re ready to go. We always hop off at Sainte-Catherine, but you can hop off the tram everywhere you like. You can use the same ticket to go back. The park-and-ride ticket only costs a few euros for two people and this way you can save a lot of money on parking costs.
Have you ever been to Bordeaux or are we inspiring you to visit? Let us know in the comments below!
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