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If any of your friends or family members live in France or just miss traveling here, a French Christmas gift will surely warm their hearts. In this article, I gathered a few fun ideas for Christmas gifts you can purchase online that any Francophile would love to get. As I live in Bordeaux, many of my ideas are related to the SW of France, but not only. I also included books and food-related items that I personally really like. If you live in Bordeaux, I added to the list a few Bordeaux experiences that could replace physical Christmas gifts. Before we start, don’t forget to check out my Christmas markets in Bordeaux article! Now let’s get festive and dive into my list of French Christmas gift ideas. 

Books – the perfect French Christmas gift

The most beautiful villages in France

This is probably my favorite gift to give to people who live here or are planning to travel to France. Les Plus Beaux Villages de France is a label given to beautiful rural villages in France with a rich cultural heritage. I’ve been using this book since my first year living here and it led me to discover the most magical places in France. If you’re looking for a traveling book or just a reference book to some of the most beautiful places in France, this is the book for you. 

French cookbooks for foodies 

People who love to cook would be happy to get a French recipes book to add to their home library, especially those who don’t live here and can’t get good French food very easily. There are many books about French cuisine, some contain only recipes and others also include personal stories of the authors or anecdotes about French food, the latter are my favorites. Here are a few of my recommendations for cooking books as a French Christmas gift.  

As I live in the Southwest of France, I love recommending books about this region and in the food section, there are two really good options.

French Country Cooking

French Country Cooking is written by chef Mimi Thorisson who is a famous food blogger living in the Medoc wine region. Her beautiful book includes 100 recipes, photos, and many stories inspired by her family life in the county side of Bordeaux. 

The Bordeaux Kitchen: An Immersion into French Food and Wine

The other one is a very detailed book about the Southwest of France cuisine called The Bordeaux Kitchen which is written by Tania Teschke, a writer and photographer who lives in Bordeaux.

If you enjoyed traveling here, you’ll love this book as it focuses on local recipes that are hard to find in other regions of France

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

One of the most popular French cuisine books in English is written by Julia Child, an American writer, and a TV personality, who lived in France for many years and has introduced Americans to the secrets of French cuisine with her popular book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you’re not into cooking I really recommend reading her other bestseller about her life in France, called My life in France.

Creative French Christmas gifts

From time to time I see amazing maps of France that show different wine and food regions as well as the main monuments to discover in the country. When I see one I really like I always think that it can be a beautiful gift for someone who loves France. Here are a few creative and beautiful maps I found that you can purchase online.

A map of all the places you shouldn’t miss when traveling in France.

A funky gastronomic map of France – get famiar with the speciality of every region

A puzzle map of France – so you can play and decorate your house

Wine and food-related French Christmas gifts 

A Limited Edition Case of Bordeaux Wine for Christmas

If you want to surprise someone who really loves wine, I have an amazing gift idea for you – a limited Edition of Bordeaux wines selected by a Bordeaux wine expert, Nicolle Croft! The Case includes six bottles of red wine from both the right and left banks of Bordeaux made by passionate small independent producers in Bordeaux (2 bottles of each from 3 different producers). Nicolle is a wine tour guide who works a lot with small producers in the region so the idea behind this set was to cut the middlemen and introduce you to excellent Bordeaux wines directly from the producers to your door. The case comes with full tasting notes and advice on how to prepare the wine, along with links to tasting videos for each wine so that you can taste along with Nicolle in your own home. Also included in the pack is Nicolle Croft’s new book ‘Bordeaux Sip by Sip’ with tips, anecdotes, and advice on how to find the best value in this amazing wine region, something I recommended people to read when traveling to Bordeaux. The price of the Christmas Bordeaux Wine Case is 145€ (plus a delivery fee for shipments outside of France)

I have been collaborating with Nicolle quite a lot in the last few years and I can promise you from personal experience that this will be an amazing gift to your loved ones or even something for yourself to enjoy the festive season. You can see more details about the wine included in the pack in Nicolle’s blog post and feel free to contact her directly by email ([email protected]) and say you came through Lost in Bordeaux. 

Cognac cocktail set 

We can’t talk about SW products without talking about Cognac! Apart from being a popular liqueur, the Cognac region is also a popular destination for those traveling to the region. If you’re planning to travel here soon, you can book a visit to one of Cognac’s famous distilleries like Hennessy, Remi Martin, and Meukow.

However, if you’re looking for a gift for someone who likes Cognac you can be creative and buy a Cognac cocktail set. Camus is one of the big Cognac houses that sell a set like that online – here’s a link to their cocktail set. 

Cheese Board – wine bar style

There’s almost nothing travelers to France love more than French cheese. A very cool gift for someone who misses France can be a beautiful cheese board to help them recreate the vibe of a French wine bar. Here’s one I particularly liked. 

French box – a French gift for foodies

This one is for my American readers! If you really miss French food, this is an amazing gift to yourself, while you prepare for your next trip to France. There are a few companies that send beautiful food boxes from different countries in the world, however, this one is specialized in France. Bon appetite box has several options with different food snack combinations and this time of the year they even have a special Christmas box, with French sweet specialties. Currently, they deliver only in the US. Check out their site here.

A fun experience for those visiting the region  

If you’re in Bordeaux, you don’t have to buy a product, instead, you can think of a fun local activity your loved one can experience in Bordeaux.

Buy opera tickets 

The Grand Theatre of Bordeaux is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city and seeing a ballet or an opera show inside is an amazing experience. Most spectacles at the Opera house are fully booked well in advance, so surprising a person who lives here with tickets to the Grand Theatre will surely bring a smile to their face. Go to the site of the Grand Theatre and purchase the tickets directly there.

Make your own wine experience

Château Pape Clement offers a fun workshop, called Be a Winemaker, where you get to make your own wine, create your own label, and take home a unique bottle. This could be an amazing Christmas gift – you can book it here.

Spa in the vineyardes 

There are quite a few Spas in Bordeaux city itself, among them you can find the intercontinental hotel in the center of Bordeaux or the Spa in Hotel de Sèze. However, you can turn it into a very special Christmas gift by booking a Spa in a Château. One of the best experiences in our region is the Sources-Caudalie Spa which is located amidst the Grand Cru vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte. See all the info here.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it gave you plenty of ideas for French gift ideas for your friends and family. If you want to see more experiences in Bordeaux, don’t forget to follow my Instagram.

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. I always recommend only things and experiences I love and believe in!

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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December in Bordeaux is usually all about Christmas but after thorough research, I was able to find a variety of other interesting events taking place especially in the first part of December, among them different wine tasting events, kids theatre, and cinema festivals. I regularly update the info about the markets in the region in my Christmas markets in Bordeaux article as well as my newsletter to which you can subscribe here. I also recently published a list of French Christmas gift ideas, where many of the gifts are related to this beautiful region so I really recommend you check this one out. 

If it’s your first time in Bordeaux I recommend reading my article about the best things to do in Bordeaux and about the best districts in Bordeaux in case you’re still looking for accommodation. If you need day trips ideas, check my article about day trips from Bordeaux

Now let’s start with my list of things to do in Bordeaux in December 2021.

Celebrate Christmas 

The Christmas season in Bordeaux has plenty of great markets to attend and buy presents! The official Marché de Noël de Bordeaux with all the traditional stands and a lot of vin chaud (hot wine) will take place at Allees de Tourny from November 26 to December 26. If you want to discover other markets taking place in Bordeaux and other parts of Gironde, take a look at my Christmas markets in Bordeaux article.

French Christmas gift ideas

Open Doors in the Chateaux of Pessac-Léognan

The Pessac-Léognan appellation is hosting its annual open doors weekend on December 4-5. 34 wineries will take part in the event with wine tastings, tours, gourmet food, and activities for kids. Some of the participating chateaux are Château Brown, Château Pape Clément, and Château Haut-Lagrange, for the full list of Chateaux and more info about the open doors weekend click here. If you’re also in the mood for a little day trip you can spend a nice half-day in Pessac – check out my article about it

Chateau pape Clement Pessac
Chateau pape Clement
When: December 4- 5 / Where: Pessac Leognan region (Check out the link above for the full list of chateaux)
 

International Animated Films Festival

Les Nuits Magiques is an annual international festival of animated movies taking place at  “Le Festival” cinema in Begles on December 1-12. This is the 30th edition of the festival, which over the years gained a reputation in the animation and special effects world. Check out the full program here and all other details you might need here.

When: December 1-12 Where: 151 Boulevard ALBERT 1er, 33130 Bègles

Marché des Créateurs Recycleurs

Recyclerie Atelier D’éco Solidaire is hosting recycling artists and creators market on December 4-5.  At the market, you will find plenty of interesting stands of accessories, pictures, toys for kids, furniture, and more, all made from reused objects and materials. The program also includes workshops for kids and adults. For more info click here

When: December 4-5 / Where: 7 rue de la Motte-Picquet, 33300 Bordeaux

Bassin Geek Festival

The annual Bassin Geek Festival will take place this year at the Parc des Expositions de La Teste De Buch on December 4-5. The program includes all the things the geek community loves:  comics, mangas, web culture, video games, parallel worlds, creative industries and more. Check out the full program and all the details here.

When: December 4- 5 / Where: 940 Avenue de l’Europe. 33260 La Teste-de-Buch

Search for beautiful antiques at the Brocante 

The big brocante of Bordeaux is hosted twice a year at place des Quinconces with 200 antique dealers, horticulturists, restaurants, and craftsmen. It’s the biggest brocante event in the area and the selection is huge, from vintage home decor to paintings, antique furniture, garden accessories and more. The brocante is taking place until December 5. For more info and the list of exhibitors click here.

Brocnte in Bordeaux
When: Until December 5 /Where: Place des Quinconces

Taste the best French wines

In December you also have a chance to taste some of the best French wines in one place at an event called “Bordeaux Tasting”. During two days (December 11-12) tens of wine houses from Bordeaux and other regions in France will be there to present their best wines. The tasting will take place at different sites around Place de la Bourse. For more details click here and here

When: December 11-12 / Where: Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux

Soirées du cinéma Russe de Bordeaux

The Russian cinema festival will be taking place on December 9-14 in different cultural venues in Bordeaux. The program includes movie screenings, debates, and meetings with cinema professionals. See more info here

When: December 9-14 / Where: Bordeaux

Sur la Route des Vins du Jurançon

How about discovering another wine region in the Southwest of France. If you don’t mind driving, the Jurançon wine appellation, which is located close to the city of Pau is hosting its annual open doors weekend on December 12. See all the details here

When: December 12 / Where: Route de Lacommande, 64360 Monein, France

Festival « Sur Un Petit Nuage » de Pessac

The city of Pessac invites you to a fantastic kids’ festival with plenty of live shows. The festival Sur un Petit Nuage will take place on December 12-21 in different locations in Pessac. You can see the full program here.

When: December 12-21 / Where: different places in Pessac

A traditional marionette theater

Guignol Guérin is the oldest family-run marionette theater in France. Their traditional winter spectacle takes place in Théâtre l’Inox between December 18 and January 2. For more details click here.

When: December 18 to January 2/ Where: 13 Rue Fernand Philippart, 33000 Bordeaux

Talence Celebrates Christmas 

The Christmas market of Talence will take place on December 17-24 at Place Alcalá de Henares, see the details here. The events will start with a beautiful light show that will take place on the nights of December 17-19 at Parc Peixotto, see the details here.

When: December 17-24/ Where: center of Talence

Truffles markets in Dordogne

December is the start of the winter truffles season with many truffles markets in the region taking place between December and February. The Dordogne is known as the capital of truffles of the Southwest of France and starting mid-December it hosts several truffles markets in its different villages. You can see the full list of truffles markets taking place from December to the end of January here.

Marché de Noël à Sarlat 

If you’re in the mood to travel a bit, why not go to one of the most impressive Christmas markets in the South of France, the Sarlat Christmas market. Sarlat is a magical place that is worth a visit any time of the year, but this market makes it even more worthwhile. The village includes 70 chalets selling local products, clothes, decorations, hot wine, and more. For more info click here.

When: December 8-31 / Where: Place de la Grande Rigaudie , 24200 Sarlat-la-canéda

Escape the rain

If it’s cold and raining and you’re not in the mood for an event you can always choose one of the cool places on my list of things to do when it’s raining in Bordeaux and things to do with kids when it’s raining

Rainy day in Bordeaux

Exhibitions not to miss in Bordeaux

If you want to discover the main museums of Bordeaux, check out my article about the best art, history, and wine museums of Bordeaux. Otherwise here are three exhibitions you can go see this month. 

Le Monde Merveilleux des Couleurs

A new beautiful exhibition will be presented at Parc Bordelais from November 12 to January 2nd. More than 500 colorful metallic sculptures illuminated by LED bulbs will wait for you at the park every evening from 18:00 to 22:00. For more details click here

Monet, Renoir… Chagall, Voyages en Méditerranée

Visiting the Les Bassins de Lumières is an amazing cultural experience that should not be missed when in Bordeaux. The exhibition that is currently running there is called Monet, Renoir… Chagall, Voyages en Méditerranée. You can get a bit of an impression of how it looks inside in my video. It’s your last chance to see this exhibition as it will end on January 2nd. You must book your tickets in advance. 

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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While Bordeaux is not a winter city, in December it gets very festive and beautiful! Usually from the end of November, the streets are being decorated with Christmas lights, and stores all over the city adorn their vitrines with little Pères Noels (the French Santa) and little snowflakes. Like many other French cities, Bordeaux has a big Christmas market but also a few smaller, fun markets around the metropole. In this article, I gathered all the best Christmas markets in Bordeaux in 2021, some are in Bordeaux itself and some in other towns in Gironde. Due to Covid concerns, some towns have not confirmed their dates yet, so I will probably update this article during the next month, don’t forget to come back to it from time to time. Also if you need information about other markets in the SW of France, join my Facebook group Travel in the Southwest of France.

If you still haven’t done your Christmas gifts shopping, check out my French Christmas gift ideas article, where you can find plenty of products and experiences that anyone who loves France will enjoy!

If it’s your first visit to Bordeaux don’t forget to check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. To help you choose a hotel I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux.

Marché de Noël de Bordeaux 

The traditional Christmas market of Bordeaux will take place between November 26 and December 26. This is one of the biggest Christmas markets in the region with 150 pavilions selling all the traditional Christmas merchandise such as clothes, decorations, jewelry, toys, and local products. Even if you don’t intend to buy any gifts at the market you can still enjoy the Christmas spirit with some hot wine and roasted chestnuts.  For more info click here.

When: November 26 – December 26 / Where: Allées de Tourny, 33000 Bordeaux
French Christmas gift ideas

Xmas Market – Darwin

This market is gradually gaining status as one of the main Christmas markets in Bordeaux. Like Darwin itself,  the Xmas market is an alternative event with craftsmen and regional creators. The market will include stands of clothes, jewelry, accessories, art objects, books, sports accessories, and organic products. The market will take place on December 10-12, for more info click here.

Bordeaux Darwin CHRISTMAS MARKET
When: December 10-12 / Where: 87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

Marché de Noël in Saint-Émilion

The traditional Christmas market in Saint Emilion will take place on December 4-5. You will find tens of exhibitors at the main locations of the historic center: the square of the monolithic church, the old market hall, and the cloister of the collegiate church. For more details click here.

When: December 4-5 / Where: Saint Emilion – center

Marché de Noël de Libourne

Libourne will host a Christmas market between November 28 and December 26 at Place Decazes. Apart from a traditional market with local craftsmen and food stands, the city will offer plenty of entertainment for kids. See more details here.  

When: November 28 – December 26 / Where: Place Decazes, 33500 Libourne

Marché de Noël in Bazas

Bazas will host its traditional Christmas market at the main square on December 12. Besides the traditional Christmas stands, the market will have activities for kids, concerts by local bands and Santa Clauss of course :). For more info click here

When: December 12 / Where: Place de la Cathédrale, 33430 Bazas

Arcachon fête Noël

The city of Arcachon invites you to its traditional Christmas celebration with beautiful decorations and activities for kids. The event will take place from December 12 to January 3 on place des Marquises. For more details click here

When: December 12 – January 3 / Where: place des Marquises, Arcachon

Château de La Ligne

The beautiful Château de La Ligne in the Entre Deux Mers region will host its first Christmas market this year, with a variety of stands of local producers and craftsmen. The market will take place on December 4-5, can see more info here.

When: December 4-5/ Where: 30 Rte de l’Entre Deux Mers, 33360 Lignan-de-Bordeaux

La Boca Market

The Boca Market in Bordeaux is organizing its own big Christmas market this year! Apart from the stands, there will be Santa, music, and other Christmas surprises. The market will take place on December 17-19, see more details here.

When: December 17-18 / Where: Euratlantique, Quai de Paludate, 33800 Bordeaux

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas market list!

Throughout the month I’ll give plenty of updates about Christmas-related events in and around Bordeaux in my newsletter so be sure to subscribe here.

Also, if it’s your first time in the region, know that many wineries are open during December as well, so it’s worth contacting them and scheduling a meeting. If you’re planning to go to Saint Emilion here are my recommendations for wineries to visit there. If you’re more into Medoc wine, in this article you’ll find plenty of wineries to visit in the Medoc wine region. If you rather stay in Bordeaux city, Chateau Pape Clement is a great winery to visit by public transport from the city center – book a visit here.

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

There are plenty of great articles you can find about the main attractions in Bordeaux as well as its most important monuments. However, I feel they don’t reveal all the treasures and hidden gems this city has to offer. You need to fully experience Bordeaux in order to understand why people love it so much. In this article, I summarized my 50 best things to do in Bordeaux. My list includes everything from food, chic cafés, shopping, fun neighborhoods, music venues, art, day trips, and more. Hope you’ll enjoy it! If you enjoyed the list please share it!

If you still haven’t booked a hotel in Bordeaux check out my article about the best districts in Bordeaux and my article about the best hotels in Bordeaux for every budget.

Before we start, if you have only one day in Bordeaux, check out my article about what to do and see on a one-day trip – read it here. Also, check out my Travel in the Southwest of France group on Facebook for many more tips. Now let’s start! 

Best things to do in Bordeaux and its surroundings 

Admire the stunning gates of Bordeaux

Before becoming a modern 18th-century city with spacious squares and boulevards, Bordeaux was once a little town surrounded by walls and impressive entrance gates.  Today, five of the gates are still standing, marking the old borders of Bordeaux: the Grosse Cloche and le Porte Cailhau in the city canter, Porte de Bourgogne facing the river, Porte d’Aquitaine on Place de la Victiore, and Porte Dijeaux at the western part of the historic center. The first two on this list are the only two original gates from the 15th century from when Bordeaux was still a fortress and they are real architectural masterpieces. 

Grosse Cloche - Bordeaux
Grosse Cloche
Porte d’Aquitaine on Place de la Victiore
Porte d’Aquitaine

The Famous Water Mirror

The Miroir d’Eau is a huge water mirror located on the left bank of the Garonne river,  just in front of the iconic Place de la Bourse. Le Miroir d’Eau is the most popular monument in Bordeaux attracting many families with kids to splash their feet on hot summer days. It is also one of the best places to take your Instagram photos 🙂 

For more activities for kids check out my article about 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux

French Christmas gift ideas

Taste Canelé 

Canelé is the most famous Bordeaux pastry so tasting one is a must when in Bordeaux.  Like many other things in this region, the story of Canelé is related to the wine world. Legend has it that the first canelés were made by nuns at the Couvert de L’Annociade de Bordeaux at the end of the 17th century. It made out of flour and egg yolks that were given to nuns by winemakers who used egg whites to purify the wine. Today the little brown striated pastry can be found in many sizes all over the city. My all-time favorite canelé is la Toque Cuivrée and you can see their small boutiques spread all over the city center. See all their shops here

Read about all the other sweet specialties of Bordeaux in my article about specialty pastries and chocolate in Bordeaux.

Stop for a coffee

Bordeaux is a surprising city when it comes to good coffee places. While France doesn’t have a strong reputation in making good coffee, Bordeaux prides itself on its coffee scene, with cute little coffee places popping up in every corner. The list is quite long but here are some of my favorites: Kuro, Sip, l’Alchimiste, and Piha in the city center and Café Eriu and Café Gusco within a few minutes walk of the center. Read more about some of the best coffee places in Bordeaux here

Check out my video about Café Eriu

Bike along the Garonne river

Bordeaux is a very flat and bike-friendly city. There are many interesting cycling trails you can do around Bordeaux metropole, however, the most recommended one in the city center is the bridge to bridge trail. The circuit goes from Pont Pierre (the central bridge of Bordeaux) to the new Pont Chaban Delmas, on both sides of the Garonne river.  Besides the very pleasant ride on the riverfront, you get to see some of the most beautiful and fun places in Bordeaux such as the stunning 18th-century buildings along the riverfront, the Cité du Vin, Darwin, and more. You can read all about it in my article about the bridge to bridge trail

Go to the Capucins Market 

In my opinion, Capucins is one of the best markets in France, here I said it! 🙂 If you love food or at least want to discover a bit of the rich gastronomic culture of the southwest of France, there’s no better place than the Capucins market. This is the biggest daily market in Bordeaux and has everything from stands of fruits and vegetables, sweets, spices, and a bunch of lively cafés and restaurants. I have a whole article about the best places to eat at the Capucins market, so be sure to read it before going. 

capucins market in Bordeaux

Don’t miss the little stall with a local pasty called le Puit d’amour, you’ll thank me later. 

Drink at the Bacalan market

From a traditional market to the newer chic market of Bordeaux -Marché de Bacalan This impressive hangar is located in the Bacalan district just in front of the famous Cité du Vin and hosts more than 20 different artisans and merchants that were chosen for the quality of their products. Many locals flock to the market on weekends for drinks and tapas and the great vibes. I wrote a whole article about the Bacalan district as it’s one of my favorite places in Bordeaux – check it out here

See the best exhibitions at the Base Sous-Marine

La Base Sous-Marine is one of the most unique art venues in Bordeaux. Built by the Germans during the Second World War, this old submarine base has been converted into a space dedicated to contemporary arts, which allows you to enjoy the space itself no less than the art presented there. Currently, the place is called le Bassin des Lumières hosting a mesmerizing exhibition of Monet, Renoir, Chagall and others called “Voyages en Méditerranée”.

Bassin des Lumières - bassins a flot in Bordeaux
Monet, Renoir, Chagall and others called “Voyages en Méditerranée”

Important information: tickets must be bought in advance (here’s the link) and masks are obligatory. 

Cité du Vin – the world’s biggest wine museum

This impressive piece of modern architecture is a unique cultural center, all dedicated to the discovery of wine. Through its interactive exhibition, it offers a journey to both French and global wine history. You will learn about winemaking, see movies and interviews with wine producers and then smell and taste wine.

Read about what to expect when visiting the museum in my article about my visit to the Cité du Vin. You can avoid the lines at the entrance by booking the tickets online – book here

Visit Bordeaux’s real wine museum

I know I just talked about the big wine museum in Bordeaux but that’s not Bordeaux’s real wine museum, it’s rather a world wine museum. Musée du Vin et du Négoce is the actual Bordeaux wine museum and the best place to help you discover how the Bordeaux wine area has developed over the years. It’s situated in what used to be a typical house of a négociant (wine trader) in the 18th century in the Chartrons district. It’s not as modern and interactive as the Cité du Vin but if you want to learn about the history of the Bordeaux wine region this is the place to go. It ends with a very nice wine tasting session where you get plenty of explanations about the different wine appellations in Bordeaux. 

Discover other museums in Bordeaux in my article about the best museums to visit in Bordeaux.

See a concert at the Opera of Bordeaux 

Arguably the most beautiful building in Bordeaux, le Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is a cultural landmark you should not miss when visiting the city. The historic monument, built in 1780, is home to the National Opera and ballet of Bordeaux and its program often includes some of the best ensembles from all over the globe. The demand for tickets is usually very high so book your tickets in advance. Even if you don’t have the time to see a concert I recommend taking a tour of the opera as the interior design is spectacular. Check out all the details here.  

Opera house of Bordeaux
Opera house of Bordeaux

Classic music concert at the auditorium

Getting tickets to the opera at the Grand Théâtre requires buying tickets well in advice, going to a classical music concert, on the other hand, is much easier. The Auditorium of the Opera National of Bordeaux is one of the largest music venues in Bordeaux hosting several classical music concerts every week. See the program here.

Go to the CIBC for Bordeaux wine tasting

If you really want to understand the variety of Bordeaux wines you should start tasting it and there’s no better place for that than le Bar à Vin. This classic wine bar, located in the 18th-century residence of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Wine Council). The best thing about this place is that they let you taste half glasses so you can discover many fantastic local wines at very low prices. For other great options for wine tasting read my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux

Wine shop in Bordeaux
Wine shop in Triangle d’Or – by lost in Bordeaux
Bar à Vin in Bordeaux
Bar à Vin

L’intendant – the wine library of Bordeaux

L’intendant is the most beautiful and rich wine store in Bordeaux and it’s no wonder that it’s referred to as the library of Bordeaux’s wines. It holds a collection of more than 15,000 bottles all stacked on its walls, following a 12 meters high spiral staircase.  Established almost 30 years ago, the store has become one of the go-to places to shop for the famous wines of the region. 

Explore the Saint Michel neighborhood

Saint Michel is one of the most cosmopolitan and lively neighborhoods in Bordeaux. Although It’s not part of the traditional sightseeing tours of Bordeaux, I really recommend spending a few hours in this cool district. The neighborhood is home to some of the best markets of Bordeaux, numerous places where you can browse for vintage clothes and furniture, and an endless list of lively restaurants and cafes. 

Read about all the things you can do there in my Saint Michel guide

Sunday flea and Antique Market

Every Sunday morning more than 80 dealers gather at the square in front of the Basilica of Saint Michel for the Brocante du Dimanche. This is the weekly flea market of Bordeaux where you can find real bargains and purchase everything from toys for kids to antique frames and electronic devices.

Discover Bordeaux’s amazing street art

Like many other cities, Bordeaux has the street art fever, with plenty of stunning wall paintings decorating its streets. Darwin is one of the places that have the largest concentration of street art by local artists in Bordeaux. Other spots in the city include the Bassin a Flot district, rue Bouffard, Quai des platitudes, the Mur in Chartrons, rue Bergeret, and more. In the city center, you can follow the huge animals by the local artist A-mo pained on walls and shatters of many shops (don’t miss the huge gorilla and the fox) – I won’t give you the specific locations, I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun to find them by yourself. 

Street art in Bordeaux -Amo
Street art in Bordeaux -Amo
Street art Bordeaux - Selor
Bordeaux street art – Selor

L’entrepôt Saint Germain – the best vintage shop

L’entrepôt Saint Germain is a huge hangar with plenty of vintage furniture, beautiful house decor, antiques, and many creepy, funny, and probably unnecessary items. It’s designed like a little street with different boutiques and cafés (not real ones, unfortunately) where the items are perfectly placed. The place is open daily and is located a few minutes’ walk from the train station of Bordeaux on 96 Rue Amédée Saint-Germain.

L'entrepôt Saint Germain in Bordeaux
L’entrepôt Saint Germain

Time for chocolate!

There are quite a few amazing chocolate shops in the center of Bordeaux. Some are owned by young talented chocolatiers (chocolate makers) and others are established places dating centuries back. Here are just a few of the best chocolate shops in the center of Bordeaux: David Capi (my personal favorite); Cadiot Badie, the oldest chocolate store in Bordeaux; Hasnaa, the rising star of the Bordeaux chocolate world and Saunion, founded in 1893 and considered one of Bordeaux’s classics.

Do a picnic in Jardin public

Jardin Public is the largest park in the center of Bordeaux with more than 300 trees and vast green planes – a perfect place for a picnic. Besides being visually stunning, it has a large pond (with ducks and geese!), great facilities for kids, and even a nice coffee place.
If you want to know more about parks and gardens in Bordeaux check out my article on places for picnics in Bordeaux.

Freep’show – a funky vintage shop

If you like second-hand shops you’re definitely going to love Freep’show, a little hipster store with its impressive selection of plaid shirts, short jeans, and colorful dresses. Once you take your eyes off the big Slash mannequin in the entrance, you can spot plenty of second-hand items from the 80s and 90s that will make you instantly nostalgic. Add to that the vinyl records decor, uplifting music, and stylish employees dancing to its beats and you get one of the best vintage stores in town. You can read my full article about the best second-hand shops in Bordeaux here

second hand shops in Bordeaux

Have a delicious meal 

In recent years Bordeaux is gaining popularity as a gastronomic city and even holds the record for the number of restaurants per person in France. So trying at least one restaurant in Bordeaux is a must! There are a lot of excellent restaurants in the city center and choosing one won’t be easy, but let me suggest just a few. Here’s a list of a few restaurants I like in the city: l’Atelier des Faures, Au Bistro near the market, Le bouchon bordelais, Le M, Mets Mots, Le Chien de Pavlov , La Belle Saison and the list goes on and on. 

Discover one of the most charming streets in Bordeaux

Rue Notre Dame in the Chartrons district is a posh street with plenty of coffee places, trendy boutiques, antique shops, and more. You can spend several hours admiring the beautiful architecture, shopping, and trying great pastries. It’s one of the most beautiful streets in Bordeaux with a lot of tiny balconies decorated with planters full of colorful flowers. The perfect street for Instagram addicts 🙂

See what’s not to miss on rue Notre Dame in my article about the Chartrons district

rue notre dame Bordeaux
rue notre dame
Au Pétrin Moissagais - oldest boulangerie in Bordeaux
Au Pétrin Moissagais in Chartrons

Discover the oldest boulangerie in Bordeaux

Au Pétrin Moissagais on 72 Cours de la Martinique is the oldest bakery in Bordeaux, established in 1765. Serge, the baker and owner, is very proud of his Gascognian traditions and still makes the original Gascognian white bread in the 18th-century oven. And yes, it’s the same oven since the opening of the boulangerie (bakery), some 24 years before the French revolution!  The bakery has a completely different look and feel compared to a standard French bakery, it really feels like you’ve gone back in time to the 18th century. 

Eat oysters at the Sunday Market

Every Sunday morning dozens of food stalls with the best oysters of the region, fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, fish, wine, and plenty of food trucks are installed on the Quai des Chartrons. For many visitors, the main attraction is the few stalls with oysters which cost around 6 euros per plate and come with a glass of white wine. It kind of embodies the good life atmosphere in this region 🙂. 

See a concert on the Iboat

The Iboat is a big three-level ferry anchored to one of the docks of Bassins a flot, the port of Bordeaux. Since its opening in 2011, this funky concert venue has been promoting emerging artists, especially in the electronic music scene. Over the years it has become a multidisciplinary place with a concert hall and a club hosting more than 250 events a year, a terrace hosting Dj sets and happy hours. During summer you could also enjoy the outdoor area on the deck, with an exceptional view of the basin. Take a look at the program of events.

Read about other outdoor places in my article about the best summer  bars in Bordeaux

Buy cheese 

There are a few cute cheese shops in Bordeaux where you can find all the famous French cheese. However, this can be a great opportunity to try out regional cheese from the southwest of France. When going to the shop ask about Ossau- Iraty from the Basque country, the goat cheese Rocamadour or the excellent Tomme de Bazas. My two favorite cheese shops in the city center are: Fromagerie Beillevaire (8 bis Rue Michel Montaigne) and Fromagerie Deruelle (66 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges).

Check out other food-related shops and streets in my article about the best foodie streets in Bordeaux

Mi cielo pastry shop in Bordeaux
Mi cielo pastry shop
cheese shop in Bordeaux
cheese in a form of canele

Try the best patisseries

Can you really visit a French city without tasting at least one pastry? There are several amazing patisseries in the center of Bordeaux. Here are a few that I particularly love: David Capy next to Marché des Grands Hommes, Pâtisserie Valantin in the Nansouty district, Pâtisserie S. with a special French-Japanese vibe, and Mi-Cielo with a sweet creative collection.

Don’t miss the main Cathedral of Bordeaux 

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux is a Roman Catholic church and the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Located on the main square of Pey Berland, the cathedral is one of the most impressive monuments of Bordeaux and is labeled as a national monument of France. In the evening the Cathedral often hosts concerts of classical music, choirs, and an organ festival during the summer. You can check out more info about the concerts here

Shopping of course!

Bordeaux is not Paris when it comes to shopping but it has quite a lot to offer to shopping lovers 🙂 All the main clothing retail stores are located on the main shopping street, rue Sainte Catherine. For the more fancy shops head to the Triangle d’Or district and you’ll find all you need around le Marché des Grands Hommes. However, if you’re interested in small independent boutiques here are a few recommended ones in the center of Bordeaux: Jane de Boy, Blue Madone, Boutique addict, and several other boutiques on rue Saint James and rue Notre dame. 

A day trip to Saint Emilion 

Saint Emilion has long gained a reputation as one of the greatest wine regions in the world. It’s no wonder it attracts more than a million tourists every year. For many decades this picturesque town has been an economic and religious center attracting royals, winegrowers and pilgrims. Every square in the small village center is packed with history and some incredible architecture. Thousands of hectares of vines surround the medieval village making the landscape an unforgettable scenery. Read about all the things to do there in my article about Saint Emilion. Also, check out my list of recommended wine chateaux to visit

You can get there by train but I recommend renting a car for a better experience – click here for car rentals.

what to do in Saint emilion

See a movie in Utopia

Utopia is an independent cinema theater installed in an ancient church, l’église du Vieux Bordeaux. It’s the cheapest cinema in Bordeaux and the one with the most diverse program, from little independent productions to big-budget movies and old classical ones. Utopia has also a big terrace café which is particularly fun on sunny days. See the program here

Do a cocktails night 

The Bordelais might love their wine but they sure do appreciate a good cocktail, and the number of great cocktail bars is a testament to that. Here are some of my favorite chic cocktail bars in the center of Bordeaux: Mama shelter (cocktails with an amazing view of Bordeaux), Madame pang, la Comtesse, Simone, and the Night Beach (the pricey rooftop bar of the Grand Hotel).

Mama shelter bordeaux
Mama Shelter

Take a boat ride on the Garonne 

Bordeaux is situated on the Garonne river and seeing it from the water is a fun experience. There are several companies that offer boat tours on the Garonne, but you can actually sail on the Garonne for at least a few minutes for the price of a tram ticket. As part of its public transport system, the city of Bordeaux provides a ferry (navette fluviale), that has five stops: Stalingrad, Quinconces, Les Hangars, La Cité du Vin, and Lormont (take a look at the ferry time table here). You don’t have to do the whole line, you can use it to just cross the river to the other side.

Darwin

Darwin is probably one of the most surprising places in Bordeaux. An old military base turned into an urban space with a workspace/incubator for startups, a skate park for all ages, a restaurant, and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. Also, Darwin is an extraordinary place for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented artists on every one of its buildings. They host many cool events so don’t be surprised if suddenly you see an artisan market or a collection of old cars on display.

Darwin in Bordeaux
Darwin

See a concert at La Guinguette chez Alriq – the best tavern in town

The Guinguette chez Alriq is a big tavern located on the right banks of the Garonne at the Bastide neighborhood (right in front of Darwin), hosting plenty of open-air concerts every summer. The performing bands and artists are coming from all over the world and create a laid-back party atmosphere. There’s usually a small price to pay for the concerts taking place on Wed-Sat and on Sundays the entry is free. You can see their program here. The place is very popular so expect to see a line at the entrance. 

Read about other outdoor places in my article about the best summer  bars in Bordeaux

See a beautiful view from Parc de L’ermitage

The Parc of Lormont, or by its official name: Parc de l’Ermitage Sainte-Catherine, is a beautiful hilly park located on the east bank of the Garonne river. If you climb on the upper side of the park you can enjoy a stunning view of the Aquitaine bridge covering the Garonne river. However, If you’re coming with strollers or generally with little kids, beware that it’s not a very easy climb to the top of the park. In that case, I would advise you to spend your time near the lake at the bottom of the park and then re-enter the park again through Haut Lormont (the higher part of Lormont) to visit the hilly part.  

Go to the beach

You don’t need to go far to enjoy the beach in Bordeaux, we actually have a great lake beach which you can reach in 15 minutes by tram from the city center. Bordeaux Lac has a sandy clean beach and a lot of shade from the nearby trees for those who don’t really like the sun. The beach is open to the public daily from June 1st to August 31 and starting July 1st it offers water and beach activities such as sailing, kayaking, mini-golf, and more. Check out the list of daily activities here.

begles plage

Discover other beaches in my article about the best beaches near Bordeaux

Palais Galien

Strolling the city center you’ve probably noticed a lot of impressive monuments dating back to the 13th,14th, and 15th centuries such as the Grosse Cloche or the Saint Michel Basilica. But Bordeaux’s oldest monument is actually located outside of the old city walls. Palais Galien is the ruins of a Gallo Roman amphitheater dating back to the second century when Bordeaux was called Burdigala. The site is located a few minutes’ walk from Jardin public and you can see all of it from the street. There are guided tours to Palais Galien during the summer season. You can book them by calling +33 5 56 00 66 00.

Palais Galien
Palais Galien

Buy French alcohol 

If you want to discover what other spirits France has to offer besides wine, you must go to Émile et Marguerite. This cute little shop on 13 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre has a huge collection of French alcohol, from Cognac, Armagnac, local gin, craft beer, and many more. They are super nice and offer tastings to those interested to discover more about local liqueurs.  

Visit the Natural history museum 

After years of renovations, the natural history museum of Bordeaux has opened its doors on March 2019. Created in 1971, the museum has one of the biggest collections in France hosting more than a million specimens. Besides the new design and incredible collection, one of the new features in the renovated museum is the “Early Years Museum” for kids under 6 years old. The museum regularly hosts great temporary exhibitions which are usually very kids friendly. The entrance is free every first Sunday of the month. 

Natural history museum in Bordeaux

For more great museums in Bordeaux check out my Bordeaux museums article

Visit wineries by tram 

The Bordeaux wine region has thousands of wine châteaux spread all over the Gironde department. Luckily there are several great wineries within Bordeaux metropole you can visit by tram or by bus, here are some of the recommended ones:
Château Pape Clément in PessacTake line B to Pessac Centre and then continue 20 minutes by foot or take a direct bus from Place Tourny in Bordeaux (line 4). You can book the tour online – just click here.
Château Haut brion in Pessac
You can reach it by bus line 4 from Place Tourny in Bordeaux.
For more info click here.
Château du Taillan in Le Taillan-Médoc
You can reach it by bus line 5N from Place Tourny in Bordeaux.
For more info click here.

Chateau pape Clement Pessac
Chateau pape Clement

For more instructions on how to get there and other day trip ideas check out my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux by train

Librairie Mollat – one of the oldest book stores in France

Librairie Mollat, a Bordelais establishment since 1896 is the first independent book store in France and is one of the most iconic shops in Bordeaux. It is situated on rue Porte-Dijeaux where the latest house of Montesquieu was once located. 

Visit one of the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux – Parc Majolan

Parc Majolan in Blanquefort is a great example of beautiful landscape design. Following the paths in the park feels like walking through a forest but then you suddenly discover the ruins of an old gate, beautiful flowers, and finally a stunning lake. The best part of the park is the artificial caves created in the 19th century. This park is so rich that it will take you hours to explore it all! 

Parc Majolan
Parc Majolan

Discover other amazing parks in Bordeaux in my article about the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux.

Climb the Dune du Pilat for a magnificent view

The gigantic sand dune is one of the wonders of the area, with its 60 million metric cubes of sand it’s quite astonishing the first time you see it. Dune du Pilat is Europe’s tallest sand dune, rising to an impressive 110 m high while also being 500 meters wide and 2.7 km long so you’ll have plenty of room to wander. You can climb the dune by stairs that are installed from the end of May to early November. If you come during the low season or just feel energetic, you can just climb straight up the sandy slopes. Once you reach the top, a stunning panoramic view will be revealed with the Cap Ferret peninsula on one side, a huge pine forest on the other, and the magnificent Banc d’Arguin nature reserve just in front. 

For more things to do close by read my guide about Arcachon city

Discover the oyster farming villages of Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret is a peninsula on the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon and has been traditionally known as a summer getaway for the French upper class. Although it’s been recently gaining popularity among tourists visiting the south of France, it has yet to lose its relaxing beach village atmosphere. The peninsula is known for its many oyster farming ports that are located in small charming villages such as L’herbe and Le Canon. You can rent a car and go on a full relaxing day in this little paradise. Eat oysters directly from the farmers, go on a walk along the bay beaches, take a bike and discover the pine forest, and go surf on the beaches of the Atlantic coast. Read about many other places to visit on Arcachon bay in my article about a day trip to Bassin d’Arcachon

Arcachon bay - a day trip from Bordeaux

A day trip to Pessac 

To discover all the treasures of Bordeaux you need to go out of Bordeaux center. Some of the most interesting things in the metropole can be found in Pessac, one of Bordeaux’s biggest suburbs. You can take a bike (or use the tram) and go on a full day of history, nature, wine, and street art in this beautiful historic town. I wrote an extensive guide on all you can see there, read all about it here.

Visit the chateau of Montesquieu

There are several historic castles in Gironde but there is one I particularly love and it’s located only 25 km south of Bordeaux. Château de la Brède was built in a Gothic style during the 13th to 16th centuries and is today surrounded by water-filled moats and an English garden. The Château is famous for being the place of birth of Montesquieu, the great French political philosopher. The interiors of the castle are only accessible through guided tours which take you through the main room, the guest room, and his beautiful library where he wrote many of his works. See more details here

Château de la Brede
Château de la Brede

See contemporary art in a beautiful building 

CAPC is the contemporary art museum of Bordeaux located in the chic Chartrons district. The museum is housed in an impressive former warehouse from the 19th century where commodities, traded down the river, used to be stored. In 1984 the city decided to transform this unique space into a museum of contemporary art, an idea that was very innovative at the time. In the permanent collection, there are almost 300 works of art and it regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that are dedicated to the history of art. I’ll admit that I’m not always a fan of their exhibitions, having said that, I think the place in itself is very impressive and worth a visit. 

Taste the delicious dunes blanches

Last yummy thing before I finish my list!  While most outsiders think of the canelé as our regional pastry, there’s another modern contestant that has become very popular amongst locals. The delicious dunes blanches were created in 2008 by the pastry chef Pascal Lucas in his patisserie in Cap Ferret. The little choux pastry filled with whipped cream became an immediate success with several dedicated shops opening up in Arcachon, Bordeaux,  and Paris. In the center of Bordeaux, you can find them at 7 Rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 Bordeaux

dunes blanches
Dunes Blanches

Where to stay in Bordeaux 

Before we end I want to help out those who are looking for accommodation in Bordeaux! If you’re looking for a hotel, I have an article with recommendations about the best hotels in Bordeaux for different budgets.  If you’re looking for an Airbnb or just want to understand where you should stay in Bordeaux, you should definitely read my Bordeaux districts guide

Need more ideas for things to do in and around Bordeaux? you should definitely join my newsletter where I share a lot of info about the area – sign up here.

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to a weekend Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

Liked the article? Want to read it again when you’re in Bordeaux? Save it on your Pinterest board?

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

La Rochelle, a vibrant port city on the Atlantic coast, has an amazing culinary scene with many seafood restaurants in its old port as well as great classic ones in the old city. In fact, there are so many great restaurants and cool bars in La Rochelle that it was hard to do anything but eat and drink during my last visit there. In this list, I chose some of my favorite restaurants and bars in La Rochelle that are quite affordable for most people. If you are looking for something fancy, try the 3-star Michelin Restaurant Christopher Coutanceau, which I haven’t tried yet but which many people have recommended to me.
Let’s go and discover the best places to eat and drink in La Rochelle on your next trip there!

I will soon publish my article about the best things to do in La Rochelle, meanwhile, you can join my travel in the southwest of France Facebook group where you can find plenty of tips about La Rochelle and its surroundings.

Where to eat the best seafood in La Rochelle?

La Gerbe de Blé – for market lovers 

La Gerbe de Blé

If you follow my blog you know that I love market restaurants and that’s why La Gerbe de Ble was one of my favorite places to eat in La Rochelle. The main market of La Rochelle is an absolute must when visiting the city and its seafood section was one of the highlights of my visit. The restaurant gives you the option to buy seafood at the market stalls and eat it at the restaurant, you just have to pay for bread and wine 🙂 This is one of the best ways to enjoy the market!

Address: Marché Central, Rue Thiers, 17000 La Rochelle

Le Panier de Crabe – A proper seafood restaurant in La Rochelle 

Le Panier de Crabe - where to eat seafood in La Rochelle

If you want a proper seafood restaurant with big trays full of crabs, oysters, huge shrimps, and many other creatures from the bottom of the ocean this is the place for you. Le Panier de Crabe in the historic center of La Rochelle is one of the most popular restaurants among locals, especially in the summer so be sure to book in advance (phone for reservations 09 53 56 59 97). 

Address: 9 Rue de la Fourche, 17000 La Rochelle

Le P’tit Bleu – a fun place at the port of La Rochelle

Le P’tit Bleu - a fun place to eat at the port of La Rochelle

Le P’tit Bleu was one of my favorite seafood restaurants in La Rochelle because it has a food truck vibe (which I love) but in a boat. The blue boat is located on one of the docks of the old port of la Rochelle, close to la Tour de la Chaine with its tables spread on the quai next to the docking boats. The place has a delicious seafood menu where you can find amazing oysters, sardines, and mussels besides other delicacies.

Address: Cours des Dames, 17000 La Rochelle

Le Comptoir Saoufé – oysters in the evening 

If you’re looking for a place for an apero with a plate of oysters this is your place in La Rochelle. Le Comptoir Saoufé, located on one of the narrow streets in the hyper center of La Rochelle, has a small menu of seafood and tapas and is a perfect place for a night out or a pre-dinner apero. 

Address: 12 Rue du Port, 17000 La Rochelle

Other places to eat in La Rochelle

Chez Albert – light lunch or a coffee break

Chez Albert is a very chic cafe in the market neighborhood with plenty of comfy and inviting sofas to sip your coffee on. If you need a light lunch munching a salad/quiche or a coffee break this is definitely the place. Their coffee is great and they have a wonderful menu for a more healthy lunch.

Address: 3 Rue Gargoulleau, 17000 La Rochelle

Cafe de la Paix – The beautiful one 

Cafe de la Paix - La Rochelle

The classic Cafe de la Paix was created in 1793 under the name Cafe Militaire and changed to its current name in 1990. The beautiful cafe with its art deco design is classified as a historic monument in France and is worth a visit even just for a drink. 

Address: 54 Rue Chaudrier, 17000 La Rochelle

Prao Restaurant

Prao Restaurant - La Rochelle

Heading now to the chic Saint Nicolas district, to the very cool Prao restaurant. Prau is focused on very fresh cuisine and local producers and has a very fun and young design to complement the menu. It is also an art place with exhibitions changing every month. 

Address: 10 Rue Saint-Nicolas, 17000 La Rochelle

Bars not to miss in La Rochelle

La Guignette

La Guignette - bar in La Rochelle

La Guignette, located in the Saint Nicola districts is a real La Rochelle institution. Every evening, groups of friends of all ages gather around barrel tables to drink the specialty of the place, the red drink called La Guignette Rouge. It is a locals’ favorite so be sure to be early to find a table. 

Address: 8 Rue Saint-Nicolas, 17000 La Rochelle

Terrasse de la Chaîne

Terrasse de la Chaîne - La Rochelle

This cute bar, owned by the Prao group of restaurants is one of the best locations for a drink with a view. The bar is located in one of the famous La Rochelle towers, Tour de la Chaine, and its terrasse view covers both the ocean and the port of La Rochelle.  

Address: Tour de la Chaîne, 17000 La Rochelle

If you’re traveling in the Charente check out some of my other articles about the region:
Top 10 things to do in Cognac
Aubeterre sur Dronne – the most beautiful village in Charente
Best 50 things to do in Bordeaux

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You may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

The purple Périgord (Périgord Pourpre in French) is located in the southwest part of the Dordogne region, with Bergerac as its capital. The region draws its name from its famous vineyards, being the second-largest wine region in Nouvelle Aquitaine after Bordeaux. And while the most visited part of Dordogne is actually the Black Périgord, this beautiful region should not be overlooked. It is a land full of rich gastronomic traditions, old medieval villages, rivers, and impressive castles. Discovering little charming villages, getting lost in the narrow paved streets, and tasting local specialties at the weekly market is my favorite part about traveling in France and this part of Dordogne has plenty of that to offer. In this article, I gathered the most charming beautiful villages in Purple Périgord in Dordogne as well as some tips on what to see there. For my Bordeaux readers, most of the places mentioned in this list are located within less than two hours’ drive from Bordeaux so remember this list next time you’re in search of a fun day trip (you can also pin it – look on the pin at the bottom of the article).

If you are looking for more places to discover in the Southwest of France, join us at the Travel in the Southwest of France Facebook group

Here are some other day trip ideas from Bordeaux you might want to read about:

Eymet – a lively bastide town 

Eymet is a typical bastide town founded in the 13th century by Alphonse de Poitiers, Comte de Toulouse. Bastide towns, recognized by their arched central squares were created from the 12th to the 14th century in the southwest of France by both the French and English kings. These were new towns (or “villes neuves” in French) built to encourage settlements of empty areas. There are many of them in the old Gascony region with most being small sleepy towns. Eymet, however, is a rather lively little town with plenty of restaurants and a small cultural scene. This cute village is located about 25 km from Bergerac and 100 km from Bordeaux making it a fun day trip from Bordeaux as well. 

Eymet in Dordogne

You can read more about all you can see, eat and visit in and around Eymet in my article about my day trip to Eymet.

Issigeac – known for its market

Visiting a good market is a must when visiting this part of France and Issigeac is famous exactly for that. Every Sunday the charming village hosts one of Dordogne’s best markets, with tens of stalls carrying the best products this region has to offer spread over the town’s narrow alleyways. The village itself is a beautiful circular town that was able to preserve many of its historic 13th-18th century buildings and is thus worth a few hours trip even if you’re visiting it on a non-market day. If you do visit on Sundays be sure to get there before 11:00 as the center gets pretty busy with local flocking to the market. There are quite a few cute coffee places in the city center, for those of you who need a break in the middle of your shopping. Issigeac is located about 20 minutes’ drive from Bergerac.

Issigeac - one of the best markets in Dordogne
Sunday market in Issigeac

Monpazier – one of the most beautiful villages of France

Monpazier is one of the most impressive bastide towns in the southwest of France, labeled as one of France’s most beautiful villages. The town is considered a bastide model town as it stayed untouched since its creation in 1284. Today you can spot a few cafés, restaurants, and boutiques blending perfectly under the arches of the main square of Monpazier. A nice weekly market takes place at the main square every Thursday, a tradition they keep for the last 700 years. 

The Bastideum museum on the main square will help you discover the history of Monpazier, describing its special architecture, important events in its past as well as how life used to look there during the middle ages. Monpazier is located on the east side of Perigord Pourpre and can be combined with visits to either Bergerac or Sarlat. 

Limeuil – one of the most beautiful views

I dare to say that Limeuil is the most beautiful village in the region of purple Périgord, or at least the one with the most beautiful views. Like Monpazier, it was also named one of the most beautiful villages in France, so I guess I’m not the only one to think that way. Limeuil is a medieval town, built at the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers and used to be an important port town. You can spend a full day here, exploring the stone houses on the small side streets rising from the banks of the river to the top of the hill.

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Limeuil is its beautiful panoramic garden (Jardins Panoramiques de Limeuil). Apart from the impressive landscapes of the garden, you’ll also get to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of both the Dordogne and Vézère Rivers. 

If you’re up to something more active you can go kayaking on one of the rivers.  Aquafun Canoes Dordogne, which is located on the port of Limeuil is one of the companies offering kayaking and canyoning in this region (see other kayaking options in my article about kayaking in Dordogne). If you find yourself going to Limeuil on a hot day, you can cross the Dordogne river to the other side and enjoy the nice little beach called Plage de Limeuil.

beautiful village in purple perigord, dordogne

Limeuil is situated on the border between the purple and black Perigord regions (Perigord Pourpre and Perigord noir) and so can be easily visited from anywhere in Dordogne. 

Lalinde – a magical spot on the river

Another beautiful village on the Dordogne river that’s worth a visit is Lalinde. Located about 30 minutes’ drive from Bergerac this picturesque town was actually the first English ruled bastide town in the region. The best day to visit Lalinde is on Thursdays when its famous market takes place (active since the 13th century!). Lalinde is also a great starting point for a hike or a biking trip along the river. 

Beaumont de Périgord – the center of Purple Périgord 

Beaumont de Périgord (which is now officially a part of  Beaumontois-en-Périgord) is a cute little village located in the heart of the Purple Périgord region. It’s a rather typical village for this area, with a central arched square and several streets adorned with pretty houses. Its most noticeable monument is the medieval fortified church, Église Saint-Laurent-et-Saint-Front. It’s a bit less lively than some of the other villages but still a very nice stop if it’s on your way. In the summer it hosts a great night market with live music every Monday. 

There are of course many more cute and picturesque villages in this part of Dordogne so this list is most definitely not exclusive. However, the few on this list are more preserved and lively than other villages in Périgord Pourpre and thus make for a great day trip. My biggest tip here would be to not skip tourist offices in this region, they usually have a map with all the most interesting monuments and buildings to see in the town. That will add some interest and depth to your visit which is important in a rich history region like the southwest of France.  

You can get quite a lot of information about tours and activities in these towns on the website of Bergerac tourism

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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Arcachon is one of the most popular destinations in France. Beautiful beaches, cute villages, amazing oysters, and the proximity to Bordeaux make it the perfect place for a summer vacation. While there are many good hotels in Arcachon, many people prefer to go to camping sites which offer plenty of activities, especially for kids. Here are some of the best camping sites in Arcachon (in Cap Ferret and next to Dune du Pilat), recommended by me and my avid traveler friends in my Travel in the Southwest of France group. Before going there be sure to read my articles about What to do and eat in Arcachon and the best places to visit in Arcachon and Cap Ferret.

Camping sites in Cap Ferret

Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret

This is one of the nicest campsites around Arcachon Bay, located in the northern part of the Cap Ferret peninsula, close to the port towns of Ares and Andernos les Bains. Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret is very family-friendly, with a big playground and a bike rental service, which is the perfect way to discover some of the beaches in Cap Ferret. This is a great camping site for people looking for a quiet holiday close to the beach. If you’re looking for more entertainment, go on to the other options on this list. 
Book your stay here

Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret - camping site in Cap Ferret
Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret, Credit: Booking.com

Where: 101 Avenue du Médoc, 33950 Lège-Cap-Ferret

Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers – Maeva

If you want to have the full Cap Ferret experience this is the place for you. The Les Viviers camping site is located at the heart of the Cap Ferret peninsula, next to the le Four village, surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches of Arcachon Bay. The Camping has a private beach and offers a lot of different sports activities and a huge outdoor pool. It’s located just next to the cycling path of Cap Ferret which allows you to get to the ocean beach in 15 minutes. 
Book your stay here

Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers- Camping in Cap Ferret
Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers, Credit: Booking.com


Where: 1 carrière, Avenue Léon Lesca, 33950 Lège-Cap-Ferret

Camping le Truc Vert

This camping is located just a few steps from one of the best ocean beaches in Cap Ferret, le Truc Vert. It’s set up in the midst of a beautiful pine forest, which makes it one of the most idyllic locations on our list. Camping le Truc Vert offers many amenities like restaurants, shops, a play area for kids, different events and more. This is a perfect place for campers but offers no mobile houses like some other camping sites on this list so you need to bring your own camper van or tent.
Book your stay here.

Where: Route du Truc-Vert – 33950 Lège-Cap-Ferret Ocean

Best Camping sites near la Dune du Pilat (the Dune of Pilat)

Camping Panorama du Pyla

One of the most popular groups of camping sites in France, the Yelloh campsites, has a great site just at the foot of the Dune du Pilat. Camping Panorama runs a kids club during the summer for kids over 5yo. They offer plenty of services such as bike rentals and a restaurant with a beautiful view of the beach. 

Book your stay here.
Where: Route de Biscarrosse, 33115 La Teste-de-Buch

Camping La Forêt (Camping La Forêt du Pilat Tohapi)

Another fun place right at the base of Dune du Pyla is Camping La Forêt. The campsite has several types of accommodations such as air-conditioned cabins, mobile homes, parking for camping cars, and more. They offer plenty of entertainment options such as free activities for kids over 4 years old and disco nights and concerts for adults. 

Book your night here
Where: Route d’Arcachon À Biscarrosse, 33115 La Teste-de-Buch

Pyla Camping

Another good option just next to the famous dune is Pyla Camping which offers several accommodation options: mobile homes, furnished lodge tents or pitches for camper vans, caravans, and tents. Pyla Camping is one of the best places in terms of entertainment with activities such as sports tournaments, mountain biking, horse riding, and karaoke nights. The facilities are not as good as some of the other campings on this list, but the prices are very affordable and it’s generally a fun experience. If you bring your own tent the price is less than 20 euros a night.
Book your night here.

Pyla Camping - Camping in Arcachon
Pyla Camping, Credit: booking.com


Where: Route de Biscarosse, 33115 Pyla-Sur-Mer


If you’re looking for other options such as an hotel or a bed and breakfast here are a few recommended places: Hotel Domaine du Ferret Balnéo & Spa in Cap Ferret, La Maison du Bassin in Cap Ferret, Hotel Le B d’Arcachon in Arcachon city, and the fancy La Co(o)rniche hotel next to the Dune du Pilat.

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

Armagnac, like its more famous sister Cognac, is also produced in the southwest of France. However, most people are not aware that this region, located less than two hours’ drive from Bordeaux, is one of the gems of the region, priding itself with charming medieval villages ancient chateaux, and family-owned distilleries. this beautiful region. Bas Armagnac (the lower Armagnac) is located in the heart of the Landes department, about 120 km to the southwest from Bordeaux, which makes it a perfect day trip. In this article, you will discover the best things to do in the Bas Armagnac area in the Landes department. I’ll take you to the most beautiful villages in Armagnac, help you find distilleries to visit, and suggest the perfect day trip to the Landes. Let’s start!

Armagnac is actually produced in three different departments in the southwest of France:  Les Landes, Gers, and Lot et Garonne, representing a large part of the old Gascony. The whole 15,000 hectares region is divided into three producing districts: Bas-Armagnac, Armagnac-Ténarèze, and Haut-Armagnac, each with their appellations and methods of production. I’m not going to dwell on the details of how Armagnac is made as I’m not an expert, that is something you will learn by visiting one of the distilleries I write about in this article. What I will talk about is how to have an amazing day visiting Armagnac. For the sake of this article, I focused only on the Bas Armagnac district which is the closest one to Bordeaux (or Bayonne for those coming from the Basque country). Armagnac-Ténarèze and Haut-Armagnac are equally beautiful and interesting to visit for those who have more time. 

If you need more information about traveling in these regions or any other part of the southwest join my group “Travel in the southwest of France” on Facebook. You can find plenty of other ideas for day trips from Bordeaux in my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux.

Visit the beautiful villages of Landes d’Armagnac

La Bastide d’Armagnac

La Bastide d’Armagnac is a classic bastide town with a central arched square (Place Royal) that was built at the end of the 13th century by the Count of Armagnac, Bernard VI. This is one of the more lively villages in this part of the Landes department. In the main square, you’ll find several restaurants and coffee places as well as an Armagnac shop so if you don’t have time to visit a distillery, this is a good place for tastings. The main square is surrounded by many narrow streets with old wooden houses, most of which are the original houses, adding to the authenticity of the village. 

a day trip in La Bastide d'Armagnac
La Bastide d’Armagnac by Lost in Bordeaux

Apart from the beautiful center, there are a few things to do around La Bastide d’Armagnac. When visiting there don’t miss the Chapel Notre-Dame de Cyclistes, a cute little church located in a very serene setting and dedicated to cyclists. Also just next to the village you can find the Ecomusee de l’Armagnac. The museum is dedicated to the history of Armagnac making and will help you discover all the techniques, tools, and different crafts that went into making this lucrative spirit over the centuries. It’s also a fun place to visit with kids as you can take them for a walk in the beautiful park on the domain. 

 Chapel Notre-Dame de Cyclistes

Saint Justin

Less than five km from La Bastide d’Armagnac you’ll find another beautiful village called Saint Justin. Here the central square is quite simple and doesn’t give away the charm of this little town, but a short stroll will make you fall in love with Saint Justin. My favorite part is the string of beautiful houses covered with flowers peacefully overlooking the little river that crosses the town. The calming sound of the stream can bring you into a very deep level of tranquility, which is something all of us badly need right now 🙂 

If at this point you’re starting to be hungry, Saint Justin is a great place to stop for lunch or dinner. Along the main street, Allée Gaston Phoebus, you’ll find several good restaurants. One that I particularly liked was Le Cadet de Gascogne.

Mauvezin d’Armagnac

Mauvezin d’Armagnac is a small village located just next to La Bastide d’Armagnac. It’s very small without any specific monuments but there are a few beautiful old houses with wooden fronts in the center and it’s worth a short stop on the way. 

Roquefort

Another beautiful town in Lower Armagnac is Roquefort, not to be confused with the famous blue cheese that is produced in Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in Aveyron (I’m sure plenty of visitors pass by wondering where all the Roquefort producers are hiding). This little town is somewhat overlooked but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re traveling to the Bas Armagnac region. Roquefort, founded in the 10th century, is a fortified town situated on the road to Vézelay (one of the roads to Camino de Santiago). There are a few points of interest I recommend seeing when visiting the town, among them the beautiful Eglise Saint Marie, the bridges, and the 1949 art deco building, the foyer municipal. The best day to visit Roquefort is Saturday when the weekly market takes place on Avenue des Arenes. 

Eglise-Saint-Marie-Roquefort
Eglise Saint Marie in Roquefort

Visiting distilleries in Armagnac

If you made it all the way to the Bas-Armagnac region I would highly recommend visiting at least one Armagnac distillery. Unlike Cognac, here in Bas – Armagnac most of the distilleries are still owned by small families which are usually eager to host and talk about their Armagnac. It’s always inspiring to meet people who are so devoted to the complicated process of producing Armagnac and the visits are usually quite enriching.

I should warn you that visiting an Armagnac Chateau is a bit more complicated than visiting wineries around Bordeaux, which are more tourism-oriented. Here they don’t have a lot of visits and so they don’t have people to welcome visitors. This means that you usually need to call them in advance and ask for a private visit, especially if you are visiting outside the touristic season. Having said that, many of them will gladly welcome you to their distilleries so don’t hesitate to call. Here are two places I recommend visiting (there are many more of course).

Chateau de Lacquy 

The beautiful Chateau de Lacquy is the oldest Armagnac house in the Bas-Armagnac region. The Chateau is owned by the de Boisséson family that has been producing Armagnac since acquiring the property in 1711.  We were welcomed by the owner, Gilles de Boisséson, who gave us a very interesting and extensive tour of the vineyards and the cellars and served us so many glasses straight from the barrels that my husband finished the tour quite “pompette” as they say in French. On our private tour, Gilles shared a few fascinating family stories with us, including the part his grandmother took in the French resistance during WW2. You can contact them through their site to book a tour. The owner speaks English which makes communication very easy. 

Chateau de Lacquy  in Bas Armagnac
Chateau de Lacquy

Chateau de Ravignan

Chateau de Ravignan is a family property, built in the 17th century in the Louis XIII style and is labeled a historic monument. The Ravignan family has been occupying the place and producing Armagnac there since 1732. Apart from tasting Armagnac and visiting the cellars, you can also take a guided tour in the impressive chateau and discover the history of the family through their art, furniture, and decorations. The chateau is surrounded by beautiful French gardens that can be visited separately from the chateau. 

Chateau de Ravignan in Armagnac
Chateau de Ravignan

This chateau is open daily in the summer so you don’t need to call ahead if you want to visit the chateau itself. However, if you want to do some tastings it’s better to contact them in advance. All the details are here

Taste Floc de Gascogne

Before I end my article about a day trip to Armagnac I want to talk about another spirit you should taste there. While Armagnac is quite a familiar name among spirit lovers, Floc de Gascogne is a much more local drink that’s popular mostly in the Southwest of France. Floc de Gascogne is a regional aperitif, a vin de liqueur fortified with Armagnac which is mostly consumed in the old Gascony region where Armagnac is produced. Many of the Armagnac houses produce Floc de Gascogne as well so if Armagnac is a bit too strong for you, try this drink. I’m sure you’ll love it! 

La Fete de la Distillation 

In case you missed the summer season, you can visit the region in November during Fete de la Distillation. The Fete de la Distillation takes place every November when the new Armagnac is being born after the harvest season. This year (2020) Chateau de Ravignan will celebrate la Fete de la Distillation on November 21-22, see all the details here.  For more details about these events in other domains please contact the tourist office of Bas Armagnac directly through their site

The Bas Armagnac (lower Armagnac) is best visited during summer as it’s not very lively outside of the tourist season and many places tend to be closed. However, some of the villages are still nice to visit on Saturdays and most chateaux will welcome you if you call them a bit in advance. 

Hope you enjoyed this article and marked Armagnac in your to-go list. When you go there, don’t forget to tag me in your posts and stories on Facebook (@Lostinbordeaux) and Instagram (@Lost_in_Bordeaux). 

If you’re looking for more ideas for day trips in the Bordeaux region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Did you know that the smallest village in France is located in Gironde, the department of Bordeaux?  Castermoron d’Albret is a tiny village of only 3.5 hectares, located in the Entre Deux Mers wine region, about an hour drive from Bordeaux. Entre Deux Mers is sometimes called the Tuscany of France due to its scenic landscape of hills and vineyards. In this article, I am going to tell you why you should really consider visiting it on your trip to the Bordeaux region!  At the end of the article, you can find other recommendations of villages worth visiting on the way. 

Being the smallest village in France is a nice title but is it really worth an hour’s drive? In the case of Castelmoron d’Albret, the answer is definitely yes! The medieval town is brimming with charm and beauty with old houses covered with eclectic pots filled with colorful flowers. No house is the same here, every window, shutter, and door have its particularity and will make you stop and admire the beauty. There are almost no signs of modern life here, no cars, no sidewalks, just flowers, and pure charm. It looks so authentic that it feels like it got stuck in time. Mind you, it didn’t go unnoticed by French moviemakers who shot several period movies here. 

the smallest village in France - castelmoron d'Albret

There are only about 50 people living here and even with some tourists wandering around, the village feels calm and peaceful, you can barely hear any noise here. I believe that my kids are the loudest thing this village has ever known 🙂 

What to see in Catelmoron d’Albret?

There aren’t any important monuments you should see here and that’s kind of the beauty of it. Take your time to stroll the captivating streets of the village, smell the flowers, admire the stone houses, pass through the narrow corridors between the four streets of the village. Despite its tiny size we somehow managed to spend three hours there. I have to mention though, that we travel with kids who stop to pick up every stone and leaf so for most people, it would probably be a nice tour of about a 1.5h. The village is situated on a hill, so don’t miss the beautiful view from the little green square located next to the Halles. Another spot not to miss is the old lavoirs (wash house) located on the footsteps of the village. You will see it on the left when you enter the village from the main street, the Grande rue. In this map you can see all the places worths paying attention to.

the smallest village in France - castelmoron d'Albret

The are only three businesses in this village. The most interesting is the pottery workshop of Cécile and Christophe, which is both a shop and a workshop where they host groups. They also have a little tea garden just next to the workshop.

There’s also Serge the silversmith with his big workshop that specializes in fixing agricultural equipment. And finally, you can also visit the Bar- Brocant of Pierre located at the entrance to the village. 

If you love hiking there are two great hiking trails you can do from the village. One is a short 5km trail called Boucle locale du moulin and a longer one Boucle locale de l’etang which is 10km long. You can see signs in the villages leading in the direction of the trails. Or use the instructions on the official site of the village (in French) – find them here. 

When to visit Catelmoron d’Albret? 

The best time to visit this and other villages in the region is spring! All the flowers are blossoming with roses climbing all over the medieval houses. Just that will make you fall in love with the Southwest of France!  

roses in castelmoron d'albret

However, in Castelmoron d’Albret, Christmas is also a special time and if you’re in the region try to plan a trip here. Every Christmas, the couple from the pottery shop are installing one of the most impressive Crèche de Noël (nativity scene) in the church of the village and most windows on the main street are decorated with little characters from the creche. It creates an amazing atmosphere that gives this village even more charm.

What else to do around Castelmoron d’Albret?

Castelmoron d’Albret is a perfect half a day trip but if you made the effort to get here from Bordeaux you may want to visit one of the other villages, towns or sites in the region. There’s a lot to visit in this part of the Southwest of France, Here are some suggestions:

  1. Sauveterre-de-Guyenne –  just seven minutes’ drive from Castelmoron d’Albret and you’ll arrive to one of the most important towns in Entre Deux Mers. The town was founded in the 13th century and is one of the many bastide towns located in this region of France. You’ll see its impressive entrance gate from the road, it’s hard to miss. 
  2. La Réole –  a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne river located about 14 km from Castelmoron d’Albret and about 50 km from Bordeaux. It’s one of the most impressive towns in the South of Gironde and has a great market every Saturday. For more beautiful villages in the region check out my article about the most beautiful villages in Gironde.
  3. Duras – you can also continue a bit further to Duras, a town located in the Lot et Garonne department, about 17 km away from Castelmoron d’Albret. The most important monument in Duras is Chateau de Duras, a very impressive castle with a magnificent view of the Dropt valley.  
  4. Sauve Majeurs – if you’re looking to stop somewhere closer to Bordeaux, this is the place to go. The Abbaye de la Sauve Majeure built in the 11th and 12th centuries is located just midway between Bordeaux and Castelmoron d’Albret. The ruin of the ancient abbey is a historic site that appears on the UNESCO list of protected heritage sites.  It was an important religious site until the Hundred Years’ War and was destroyed during the French revolution. Next to it, you can find the Maison du Vin of Entre Deux Mers which can help you with information about different wineries in the region.  
Sauve-Majeure
Abbaye Sauve-Majeure

If you liked this article, you should also check out my other related posts about day trips around Bordeaux:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
The most beautiful villages in Gironde
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

For those of you who haven’t signed up for my email list yet, you should definitely check it out this week as the weekend program is superb, so hurry up and sign up here!

Here are more photos from the beautiful Castelmoron d’Albret

In the last year, with Covid restrictions, we started doing much more hiking than before, which I’m very happy with. However my kids are still small, so a not very well-planned trip usually turns into a whining journey and ends with me and my husband carrying them half the way. That is why in the last few months I did a lot of research to find kids-friendly walking paths in Gironde. In this article, I chose the hiking trails I enjoyed most when traveling with my kids. Most of them had also longer trails which you can enjoy with older kids that can walk longer distances. 

I have to warn you though that some parts of most of the trails are not very stroller friendly so if you are hiking with babies I strongly recommend bringing a carrier with you. In any case, for stroller-friendly hiking I recommend going to the parks of Bordeaux, you can discover the best ones in my article about the most beautiful parks of Bordeaux
Also, check out my article about the best hiking trails around Bordeaux for additional locations in our beautiful region.

If you’re interested in more ideas for things to do with kids in the region I invite you to follow me on Facebook/Instagram. Now let’s start! let’s dive into family-friendly hiking trails around Bordeaux!

Family-friendly hiking in Bordeaux Metropole

The city center itself is very friendly for kids but here I’m mostly going to talk about trails in nature so I didn’t include it.

Ecosite du Bourgailh in Pessac

family-friendly-hiking-in-Gironde

One of the most pleasant and kids friendly hiking trails in Bordeaux is located in Pessac. The Ecosite of Bourgailh is not just a park, it’s a universe of plants put together in a great landscape design. The area of the Foret du Bourgailh includes a 2.6 km walking trail, the largest tropical greenhouse in the region, sports facilities, a skate park, an amphitheater, a zoo, and a really fun wooden animal theme playground.

Parc Floral 

Parc Floral, located in the north part of Bordeaux is part of the Réserve écologique des Barails, a beautiful natural reserve spreading over 156 hectares. The reserve consists of different parts each with its own characteristic: the forest, the park, the meadows, the wetlands, and the ecological corridors. All of them are great for hiking but the one that kids love the most is Parc Floral.

The park starts with beautiful flowers and continues to the surprising twin cities gardens with sculptures and structures donated by some of Bordeaux’s twin cities like Ashdod (in Israel), Fukuoka (Japan), and Casablanca (Morocco). Kids usually use the twin gardens as a playground, climbing and running around the different statues. The most magical part of Parc Floral is the Torrent de Montagne, a mountain river with stones from the Pyrénées.

Parc floral in Bordeaux - one of the most kids friendly hiking trails in Bordeaux

Parc Floral is located in the Bordeaux Lac neighborhood and to get there straight without passing the forest first you will need to enter through entree roseraie (next to the Golf de Bordeaux Lac). Before heading there check out the information about the different entrances and parking spots on the official site of Bordeaux.

Hiking with kids in Arcachon 

Arcachon is heaven when it comes to hiking with kids. Everything is flat, the landscape changes a lot depending on the timing of your arrival and it has a rich flora and fauna to explore during your trip. There’s also always the option of going to the beach at the end to motivate kids to finish the trail. Here are some of the best family-friendly hiking trails in Arcachon.

The Domain of Certes-Graveyron

If you want to explore the nature of Bassin d’Arcachon at its best, Domain of Certes Graveyron in Audenge is the place to go. Located at the very heart of the Arcachon Bay, this natural reserve of 530 hectares is an amazing place for hiking with kids no matter what age they are. There are several trails you can take to discover the salt meadows and the migrating birds passing through Arcachon. The most kids-friendly one is Boucle de Graveyron, a 5.5 km circular hiking trail that goes through some of the animal farms in the region, the cute port of Audenge, the Audenge beach, and the blue colored salt marshes.

Domain of Certes Graveyron in Audenge, Arcachon

What I especially love about the Domaine de Certes is that it looks different every time you visit it. Due to its location at the heart of the Bay, the reserve completely changes its looks depending on the tide hours during the day of your visit so every visit there feels like you’re exploring a new location.
The reserve is free and can be visited whenever you want. Bicycles are not allowed on the walking paths of Domain de Certes et Graveyron. There are maps and good trail markings on site.

Réserve Naturelle Nationale des Prés Salés d’Arès

La Réserve des prés salés d’Arès is a huge natural reserve that offers several short and long hiking trails. The hiking starts at the port of Arès which is a nice place to stop for a plate of oysters before you hit the road 🙂 The most family-friendly trail is the 4.5km Boucle d’Arès, a path that goes along the salt meadows and then continues in a beautiful forest. The one downside is that this path ends on a road so you have to walk a bit along passing cars. However as the road is in the village itself, the few cars passing there are driving quite slow so it doesn’t really ruin the experience.

Hiking with kids in Ares, Arcachon

Les Prés Salés Ouest 

Prés Salés Ouest is another beautiful natural reserve, located on the other side of the Bassin d’Arcachon in La Teste de Buch. I love recommending this one to parents with small kids as it’s one of the only stroller-friendly hiking paths in the region. You can start the 2.2km trail from the port of Teste de Buch or from the Avenue du Général Leclerc (you will see a big parking from the road).

Prés Salés Ouest - a beautiful hiking trail in Arcachon

We started hiking when the tide was still quite low and finished it when it started to rise, the change in the landscape was spectacular. If you want to make it even more fun, stop at the port for some fresh oysters. The entrance is free and open for cycling as well.

Hiking with kids in other parts of Gironde 

Réserve Naturelle des Dunes et Marais D’Hourtin

Let’s now move to the Medoc region which offers a lot of great hiking trails. Hourtin is the biggest lake in Gironde surrounded by beautiful beaches and a lot of natural spaces. The Réserve Naturelle des Dunes et Marais D’hourtin is located at the northern point of the lake. It offers several trails which are all quite easy to do with kids, with the shortest one being the green path (Le Sentier de la Lobelie), a 2 km path along the lake. If it’s hot enough, finish your day at the beach nearby!  To start the hiking trail park your car at the Piqueyrot beach.

The trails of the Réserve Naturelle des Dunes et Marais D’hourtin

You can see more details about all the trails in that reserve here

Lac Bleu and Lac Vert

I love hiking around lakes! I think that water in combination with the greenery around it gives it a very meditational vibe 🙂 Luckily there are a few beautiful lakes in Gironde where you can have a lovely walk and admire the colors of the water. The first one is Lac Vert (the green lake) in Canejan and the second one is Lac Bleu (the blue lake) in Leognan, both located about 15/20 minutes’ drive from Bordeaux. Their names derive from the color of the water and they are both stunning. They are both great to visit with kids, although the green one is easier to do with strollers.  If you have a dog, they would love Lac Blue!

Lac Vert near Bordeaux

Forêt de Migelane

Forêt de Migelane is a 280 hectares forest situated on parts of the Saucats, Martillac, and la Brède towns in Southern Gironde. The calm forest has several hiking trails to offer, from the most kids-friendly one we have la Petite Boucle circular (1.4 km), La Petite Boucle circular trail to la Balade Forestière (2.7 km), la Balade Géologique (5.2 km) and la Grande Balade (6.5 km). See more info here.

If you’re looking for more ideas for day trips in the Bordeaux region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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