Bordeaux is wine and nothing but the best of it. The largest wine region in France, Bordeaux has vineyards that produce the best wines in the world. But besides wine, there is something about the sunny region with its lush greenery that charms travellers to no end. So much so that a visit here might want you to skip Paris even if you love wine and nature. Hold on, Bordeaux also has its share of palaces and shopping. Sounds intriguing? Here is our handpicked list of 8 best things to do in Bordeaux you shouldn’t miss out on your trip.
For planning? You have us.
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1. Catch the magnificent Place de la Bourse
The Place de la Bourse is something of an icon in Bordeaux. This classical structure dates back to the 18th century and is one of the most visited attractions in town. If there is one place that you would have already planned on visiting while in Bordeaux, it would definitely be this. Facing the Garonne river, this elegant palace is the place for history lovers or just the casual visitor looking for a peaceful evening and brilliant photographs.
The water mirror at the Place de la Bourse is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the world’s largest reflecting pools. Take a walk across the shallow pool, indulge in skateboarding & roller boarding, engage in people watching, and try capturing the pure opulence of the site.
The best time to visit Place de la Bourse is in the evening.
Address: Quai du Maréchal Lyautey, 33000 Bordeaux, France
2. Know everything about wine at Cité du Vin
There are temples for God and there is Cité du Vin for wine. Designed like a swirl of wine in the glass, the extraordinary exterior of the Cité du Vin museum is a reflection of the wonderful experience on offer on the inside. Overloaded with information, a tour of Cité du Vin will take you through civilizations of wine culture.
Book a tour of the museum which comes with wine tasting, access to an interactive tool with 8 language support, and unparalleled view of Bordeaux from Belvedere. The museum also has a restaurant and is a popular venue for exhibitions, events, and workshops. And make sure, you get enough of wine bottles before you leave.
Address: 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France
3. Shop till you drop at Rue Sainte-Catherine
Stretching over a kilometre, the pedestrian street of Rue Sainte-Catherine is the main shopping street in Bordeaux. Also, the longest pedestrian street in Europe, Rue Sainte-Catherine is a delight for shoppers. From clothing and jewellery, books and art, furniture to second-hand goods – this street has it all. Just remember to take along your wallet.
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Want to save huge on shopping? Then, try visiting the street during clearance sale which takes place twice a year – in February and July. Put on your walking shoes, shop till you drop, and dine by one of the many restaurants in the street before heading home. Shopping sure does work up your appetite!
Address: Bordeaux, France
4. Enjoy a live opera performance at Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
With its ornate and impressive facade of 12 Corinthian columns, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture. Initially, conceived as a temple of arts and light, the theatre is now one of the oldest opera houses in place. Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is not just magnificent on the outside, the interiors of the theatre painted with original colours of blue and gold look simply exuberant.
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While the theatre normally hosts opera and ballet performances, you can always take a guided tour of the place. But, it is recommended that you catch a live show inside the premises to get the full experience of the acoustics and the lighting. When you are visiting, make sure you carry a bottle of water along, there is really a long queue for the drinks.
Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux, France
5. Go on a Bordovino wine tour
When you are in Bordeaux, you have to go wine tasting and the best place to do that is at Bordovino. Specializing in guided tours, Bordovino Wine tours offer one of the best wine tasting experiences in your life. Wine tasting here comes with some perks, namely cheese, chocolate and bread.
Discover the historical centre town of Bordeaux by riding on a bicycle along the quay. Get to know more about wine after a 2-hour expert wine tasting class. After a day well spent in Bordovino, your wine vocabulary is bound to improve multifold. So hi there, wine connoisseur.
Address: 3 Rue d’Enghien, 33000 Bordeaux, France
6. Get your hands on fresh produce at Marché des Capucins
Also referred to as the ‘belly of Bordeaux’, Marché des Capucins is the largest market in Bordeaux and has been around for ages. Packed with stalls that sell meat, fish, cheese, fruits, vegetables, pasta, and flowers, the market is buzzing at all times. Here’s a tip for photographers – go on to the top floor of the market and
Take a visit to Marché des Capucins on a Saturday morning, down some oysters, drink white wine, stroll the market & have a look at all the fresh produce in place and sit down for lunch with the locals for an authentic French experience.
Address: Place des Capucins, 33800 Bordeaux, France
7. Break for a picnic at Jardin Public de Bordeaux
A great way to spend the mornings in Bordeaux is by wandering across the lovely garden of Jardin Public de Bordeaux. Styled in a romantic fashion with a pond, winding alleys, and lawns, the garden is so tranquil that you will find your heart immediately at ease. Come Spring or Autumn, you will find the garden filled with colours of all kind. Makes for a great spot to photograph.
In addition, Jardin Public de Bordeaux also has a national museum, a playground, historic carousel, and a puppet theatre. Pack a picnic, play some ball with your kids, breath in some fresh air, feed the ducks, and just relax in the garden.
Address: Jardin Public, Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux, France
8. Soak in the wonderful views from Bordeaux Cathedral
Dedicated to Saint Andrew, Bordeaux Cathedral or the Cathedral of Saint Andrew of Bordeaux as it is referred to is a Roman Catholic church which dates back its origins to 1096. Beautiful both inside out with stained glass, lovely architecture, and interesting exhibits, Bordeaux Cathedral is a very good place to spend time at. The cathedral carries a unique style with a Gothic Belfry standing alone free from the central building.
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But the main attraction of the cathedral is its large organ which will be played during special occasions. The experience is just phenomenal. When you are done admiring the wonderful monument, climb the stairs of the bell tower for some breathtaking views of the city. The cathedral gets a total change over during christmas and it looks absolutely amazing!
Address: Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France