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Ira Szmuk

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Temperate weather, ocean views, a city packed with culture, and gorgeous architecture are just a few of the attractions of Bordeaux. But once you’ve really tapped into Bordeaux wineries? You might never leave. 

With so many delicious wines to sample in the Bordeaux wine region, how should you choose? The answer to that question will depend on the kind of wine you like, how you want to feel drinking it and what should be the setting.

In this article, I’m about the introduce you to all the Bordeaux wine regions. You will learn about the grapes used in every region and what type of wine they produced. And finally, I’ll provide detailed information about how to visit wineries in the Bordeaux region.

For every region, I also added a few recommendations of wineries to visit.  So by the end of this article, you should have a rough idea of where to go while visiting the Bordeaux wine region.

Bordeaux wine region map
By Domenico-de-ga, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1599323

Bordeaux wine region- what you need to know

There are a stunning 7,000 wineries in Bordeaux and 57 appellations in the Bordeaux wine region. The appellations range from the world-famous Medoc appellation to the lesser-known but lovely Entre-Deux-Mers. Unbeknownst to many, the Bordeaux wine region produces delicious whites on top of its famous reds. Altogether, Bordeaux wineries produce 2.5 billion dollars worth of wine per year from 900 million bottles!

Over 86% of wines in the Bordeaux wine region are reds made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc grapes.

Wine harvest in Medoc - one of Bordeaux wine regions
Harvest in Medoc by Lost in Bordeaux

The Bordeaux wine region is arguably the most famous wine region on Earth. The unique nutrient-dense soil has filtered down over centuries from the Pyrenees mountains, through the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, into the ocean, forming the Bordeaux wine region.

You may also find that the people from this region of France are more down-to-Earth and welcoming than their Northern neighbors. This makes touring Bordeaux wineries a warm and pleasant experience.

For a closer look at the appellations, let’s pull out the Bordeaux wine map

South of the Gironde estuary, we have the Left Bank, which includes eight Medoc appellations (including Margaux, Haut-Médoc, Pauillac, etc.), Graves (including Pessac- Leognan), and Sauternes and Barsac.

To the north of the estuary is the Right Bank, which includes the Blaye, Côtes-de-Bourg, Fronsac, Pomerol, and Saint Émilion appellations. 

Finally, the Entre-Deux-Mers sub-region is between the two banks. That’s the biggest wine sub-region of Bordeaux and where most of the white wines are produced.

The amount of wineries here is overwhelming and it’s really to decide what region you should go to. 

However, here’s a tip from me! Check your visit falls on one of the portes ouvertes events in the region. These are open-door events organized by the different appellations where you have the opportunity to visit several wineries at once. The open-door events are free and open to all. Check out my article about the open days in the chateaux of Bordeaux, to see all the upcoming events.

Château Beauregard - Pomerol- portes ouvertes
Château Beauregard – Pomerol

The 5 Bordeaux wine sub-regions you need to know

Saint Emilion – the Most Famous Bordeaux Wine Region

Saint-Emilion is famous for the hillside architecture that makes it a UNESCO World Heritage site. But don’t let your eyes distract your taste buds. This region’s wines are made from deep Merlot and Cabernet Franc, making the wine soft, and tannin-light. It is home to around 800 wineries.

Saint-Emilion is a land, or terroir (break that out for your tour guide for brownie points), of contradictions. Its people and its wine are warm and approachable, but absolutely elite. The Saint Emilion appellation and its four satellite appellations ( Lussac-Saint-Émilion, Montagne-Saint-Émilion, Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion, and Saint-Georges-Saint-Émilion.) are home to generational wineries. Think old-school families that bought the land years ago and saw the value skyrocket since. But also think of centuries of passed-down knowledge.

The strict guidelines that Saint-Emilion wines must follow are even presided over by the Jurade – a group of people that “bear witness to the traditions of the past.”

Pomerol is another rich red found in the Saint Emilion region. It is fruity, dark, and very drinkable. 

Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion - Chateau de Pressac
Chateau Pressac in Saint Emilion – by Lost in Bordeaux

Consider visiting Chateau Pressac for beautiful views and rich family history, Chateau Bernateau for a family-run visit and open grounds, and Chateau Coutet for a 400-year-old winery and scenic view. More information on each can be found in my guide to the wineries of Saint Emilion here.

Before going be sure to check out my articles about Saint Emilion:

A detailed guide to Saint Emilion
How to get to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux
The best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
Where to stay in Saint Emilion

Medoc –  the most prestigious wine region

Instead of a heavy reliance on Merlot like Saint-Emilion, the 584 Medoc wineries grow a more diverse mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot grapes. The Medoc is located on the peninsula between the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. 

Over many years, the estuary carried mineral-rich water from the Pyrenees, through the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, to form the peninsula. As a result, the soil is resistant to moisture, and is ideal for slow-ripening grapes, resulting in some of the most expensive wines in the world. With good reason – they’re delicious.

Besides being prestigious, Medoc is a leader in innovation for winegrowers across the world. Medoc winemakers were the first to exclude rotten grapes from the vinification process and to age wine in oak barrels, for two of many examples.

Some of the comforting flavors of Medoc wines are red and blackberries, dark cherry, hints of vanilla, and roasted coffee with aging. A perfect wine to relax at home with once you leave the beautiful vineyards of the Medoc. You can imagine that you’re back to bright green vineyards overlooking the water as far as the eye can see!

Chateau loudenne on the Medoc wine route
The pink house – Château Loudenne by Lost in Bordeaux

Some suggestions of wineries to visit in the region are Chateau Loudenne (a chateau with a private port),  Château Beychevellel, or Château Lamothe Bergeron. You can find out about visiting these chateaux in my article on visiting the Medoc region.

The best way to explore the Medoc is to rent a car but you can also visit many chateaux in Medoc by public transport. Read my article to discover all the wineries reachable by train from Bordeaux.

Graves and Pessac Leognan – The Oldest Wine Region in Bordeaux

The most unique feature of this region is its pine forests. The trees protect the vines from the humidity and wind native to the Bordeaux wine region. It is the only region that makes a significant amount of both red and white wines. If you love the outdoors, this is the region for you, with the beautiful vineyards and pines all around.

The red wines created by Pessac’s 29 wineries have a breadth of flavor that is unique to the region: from smoky and cassis-filled wines to light, drinkable wines. The reds are made from Cabernet Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. The whites are made from Sauvignon Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle.

The dry white wines produced here are crisp and citrus, green apples, and honey. Just the smell transports me to one of the oyster shacks in the Bassin d’Arcachon. Bordelais people flock to these incredibly cheap and high-quality oyster providers every spring, summer, and fall (whenever they can) to gorge themselves on oysters, shrimp, and glasses of Pessac. If you’re interested in combining these two great pleasures of the region – its wine and oysters – see my article on the Bay of Arcachon.

Some winery suggestions in Pessac Leognan are:

Château Pape Clément in Pessac

Château Pape Clément is a Grand Cru Classé wine labeled under the Pessac Leognan appellation. The château offers daily visits in both French and English as well as winemaking workshops where you can assemble your own wine. 

You can book the tour online – just click here. It’s also one of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Bordeaux

Château Larrivet Haut Brion

A beautiful estate with stunning gardens and a very artistic Vat room. The winery is located around 20 minutes’ drive from Bordeaux. Book your visit here

Château Larrivet Haut Brion - Pessac Leognan with kids
Château Larrivet Haut Brion

The best way is to rent a car but you can also visit many chateaux in Pessac Leognan by public transport. Find more details in my article on car-free winery visiting.

Sauternes and Barsac -discover the white sweet wine of Bordeaux

To take a break from dry white wines and dive into sweet ones, Sauternes is your go-to. The subregion benefits from noble rot – the shrooms that form on the vines from the morning mist from the humidity of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. This gives the grapes a great variety of concentration, acidity, and complexity. The assemblages produced here include Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, and Muscadelle grapes.

As a fan of the occasional glass of sweet wine, I find the rich, amber color and the sweet flavors of peach and even “brioche” are the perfect end to a weekend spent among friends and family. A sweet – but not too sweet! – end to time spent enjoying myself before starting the working week.

Château d'Arche in Sauternes - wineries in Bordeaux
by Lost in Bordeaux

My favorite wineries in this region include Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey if you’re feeling fancy, Chateau d’Arche for 17th-century views, and Chateau Guiraud, which has made it into the big leagues: Grand Cru Classé. There are only 27 wineries in this region. You can find more details on these vineyards in my guide to Sauternes here.

How to Get There

You have to have a car to visit this region. Otherwise, take a train to Langon and a taxi from there.

Blaye and Bourg

This region is actually two regions, named – you guessed it – Blaye and Bourg. It produces dry white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon grapes and drinkable red wines from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The region contains another UNESCO world heritage site in Bordeaux – the Vauban Citadel. 

Both are two of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux

What is unique about the region is the ability to see it from the boat, on the river. It is a quieter experience than some of the other subregions and has its own wonders. These include white stone buildings, valleys of green vineyards, water views, and roman churches. Imagine yourself as the hero or heroine in a movie about “remote” romantic wine regions in France. 

Wineries to Visit in Blaye and Bourg

In Blaye, think of visiting the Chateau Monconseil Gazin. In Bourg, consider the Château le Clos de Notaire with its amazing view (see their website).

Château le Clos de Notaire - Bourg one of Bordeaux's wine regions
Château le Clos de Notaire – by Lost in Bordeaux

Entre Deux Mers – the white wine of Bordeaux

Entre-deux-Mers is located between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and is bordered by the estuary formed by the two rivers in the North. Its soil is made of gravel and limestone. It classically produces dry white wines that are wonderful for a lunch on the terrace. 

 However, in the 20th century, winery owners in the region saw the writing on the wall and many replaced their white grape plants with red. 

Only the white wines from the region can be labeled under the Entre deux Mers appellation. The red varieties produced in this region can only be called Bordeaux or Bordeaux Superior. Although wine experts claim that the wine in this region pales in comparison to that of the other wine regions, Bordeaux Superior is pretty good. It is soft, but not light, and makes me think of charcuterie boards shared with a loved one in a cramped Parisian apartment, vespa rides, and discovering France.

In the Entre Deux Mers region, you can also find excellent sweet wines like Sainte-Croix-du-Mont and Loupiac.

The view from the beautiful Chateau Malrome in Entre Deux Mers
The view from Chateau Mallrome in the Entre deux Mers region – by Lost in Bordeaux

Entre Deux Mers is home to Chateau Biac, home to the Asseily family. Youmna, the matriarch, is well-known for her mastery of wine and French food and for her amazing hospitality. A visit to Chateau Biac feels like a visit between friends. Youmna is a perfect example of the warmth of the vineyard owners in this region. 

Another great estate to visit is Chateau Lestrille, which produces red, white, and rose wines.

How to Visit Wineries in Bordeaux

There are many ways to visit wineries in the Bordeaux wine region. You can take a group tour, or a private guide, or do it on your own by train, car, or even biking. 

Let’s break down the options. 

Taking a tour guide in Bordeaux

Going on a group/ private tour will most probably leave you with better knowledge about the wines of Bordeaux. It also takes off the stress of organizing the visit and you can drink a lot of wine without worrying about driving back to Bordeaux. 

The downside of it is usually the price. Taking a guide can be pretty expensive. 

If you’re looking for a wine tour from Bordeaux, here are a few good options:

Saint-Émilion Food and Wine Tour – day trip to Saint Emilion that includes a visit to three different chateaux and a fun picnic. Book it here

Afternoon Wine Tasting in the Medoc RegionAn afternoon trip to Medoc that includes two types of chateaux, a Great Classified Growth estate, and a small. Book the tour here

An electric Bike wine tour – a fun bike tour that includes a visit to two chateaux, a picnic, and a stunning ride in the vineyards of Saint Emilion. Book here.

Wine tour in Saint Emilion
A tour in Saint Emilion – by Lost in Bordeaux

Wine touring by public transport

Most wineries are located in very rural parts of the region and require a car to get to. Having said that, you have a few great chateaux in Saint Emilion, Medoc, and Pessac Leognan you can visit by train or buy. 

Read my article about the best wineries in Bordeaux to visit by public transport

Visiting wineries by car

Now let’s talk about my favorite option which is discovering the wineries of Bordeaux on your own by car. I feel like driving along the vineyards is an important part of the experience, which also allows getting to more distant chateaux. 

Also if you have a car or rent one in advance, it can be a rather cheap experience, compared to an organized wine tour. If you’re looking to rent a car, here’s a website to help you choose the best deal in Bordeaux

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check up my ultimate guide to Bordeaux, which will get you familiar with all the “must” places to visit in Bordeaux. To help you to choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you choose your preferred location.

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

*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 🙂 

Toulouse is one of the most vibrant cities in France, and in recent years it has become a popular destination among many city lovers. If you’re enthusiastic about architecture, colorful markets, French food, and chic boutiques, a weekend in Toulouse is a must for you!

The “pink city” is the capital of the Occitanie region and the biggest city in the Southwest of France. It’s perfectly located between Mediterranean beaches, the magical villages of Dordogne, and the Pyrenees mountains. The direct two-hour-long train from Bordeaux also makes Toulouse a perfect destination for people visiting or living near the Atlantic coast.

Weekend in Toulouse
Place du Capitole – by Lost in Bordeaux

In this article, you’ll find a detailed guide to a weekend in Toulouse, which includes some of its “must-see” places and many hidden gems I particularly love in the city. I believe you need three days to properly discover Toulouse beyond its center and famous monuments (not including day trips around Toulouse). But as most people come here for a short weekend, I wrote this guide as a dense two days trip to Toulouse. Following this article will help you embrace the Toulousian atmosphere and enjoy every aspect of the city.

Toulouse tourism pass – should you buy it? 

Before we start, I want to address a question I’m frequently asked. Should you buy the city pass that includes free entrances to the museums and discounts to many other venues? The answer to that depends on how you usually tend to travel. If you mostly enjoy visiting markets, strolling the city, and going to restaurants, then you probably don’t need the pass. If, on the other hand, you see yourself visiting at least two museums and places like the Cité de l’Espace, purchasing the pass is probably worth it. 

With the Tourism pass, you get free entry to the natural museum, the contemporary art museum, the science museum, and more. I talk about many of these in this article so you can see if any of them can interest you. 

It also gives you a considerable discount on space and aviation museums. And more importantly, you can use public transport for free to get to all these places. The price of the pass is 18€/28€/35€ for 24/48/72 hours respectively. You can see the list of all the discounts you can benefit from here. If you want to purchase the city pass – click here.

A short introduction to Toulouse 

Toulouse owes its nickname the Pink city (La Ville Rose) to its unique architecture; buildings made of light red terracotta bricks. Historically known as Tolosa, the town was established by the Roman empire around the 2nd century BC. 

In the 12th century, Toulouse was governed by a body of consuls called the Caputouls, created by the notables of the city. The most famous square, Place du Capitole, is named after their parliament building, the Capitole. 

The production and trade of pastels (woad), greatly contributed to the wealth the city enjoyed during the 14th to the 16th centuries. The stores in the city center dedicated to the blue flower are a pleasant testament to that past.

Beautiful architecture in Toulouse

Today, Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, home to almost half a million people and almost 1.5 million in the metropole area. The city is known for its huge aerospace industry and is home to one of the oldest and best universities in France. These two factors, among others, make Toulouse a very attractive city for many French and foreigners alike. 

So now that you know a few details about Toulouse, let’s start discovering the beautiful pink city.

How to spend a weekend in Toulouse – day one

Toulouse is considered a big city by French standards, but its center is actually rather small. That means that you can cover most of its beautiful squares and monuments in one day. We have a bit of a walk to do today, but let’s start with some food first!

Visit Toulouse’s best market – Marché Victor Hugo 

Anytime I travel to a new city in France, I start my day with the main market. In many cases, the market is the beating heart of the city; the gastronomic epicenter where you can discover all the local specialties and where local chefs come to get inspiration and ingredients for their daily menu. That’s exactly the case in Toulouse.

Marché Victor Hugo is the biggest and most important market in Toulouse. Here you can find everything from cheese to charcuterie, bread, seafood, poultry, and more. It’s the best place to try some local tapas and delicacies that Toulouse is famous for, like the Saucisse de Toulouse and the Pavé Toulousain cheese.

Marche Victor Hugo in Toulouse
Marche Victor Hugo – Lost in Bordeaux

The ground floor of the market is always bustling with people doing their weekly shopping, while the second floor is where the restaurants are. On weekends, this floor, and especially the terrace is packed with families coming for lunch. Make sure to be there early to book a table if you want a chance to dine in one of the restaurants. One of the places I really enjoyed was Au Bon Graillou, where I ate amazing mussels and several local dishes.

Restaurant-Marche-victor-Hugo Toulouse
Au Bon Graillou – Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

One of the best ways to enjoy the market is by taking a food tour. The best one in English is offered by Jessica from Taste in Toulouse. Jessica organizes small group tours where you get to discover and taste some of the specialties of Toulouse and hear the stories behind them. The tour is very popular, so be sure to book in advance. Here’s a link to book her tour.

If you’re a foodie, this place is an absolute must! 

If, however, local gastronomy is not an important item on your list, you can skip the market or just come there for lunch. The market is located within a few minutes’ walk from Place du Capitole, the next item on my weekend list.

Practical info: The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 7:00 to 13:30. Where: Pl. Victor Hugo, 31000 Toulouse

Place du Capitole 

The Capitole building, one of Toulouse’s symbols, is home to the Townhall of Toulouse and the Capitole Theater. 

The spectacular building was originally a row of smaller administrative buildings, purchased by the consuls of Toulouse (the Capitouls) in the 12th century. Its now famous facade was designed in the 18th century by the French painter and architect Guillaume Cammas. The idea was to hide the varied houses built in different time periods with one unified facade. 

The square was built only a decade later in the 19th century and was named Place du Capitole as a reference to the Capitouls that used to govern the city. The eight columns in the center of the building represent the eight counselors in charge since the 15th century. It’s widely considered one of the most beautiful squares in France!

As the main square of Toulouse, Place du Capitole frequently hosts interesting events like wine salons, gardening fairs, and the city’s main Christmas market. You can also find plenty of coffee places for a quick coffee break with a nice view. Most of them are a bit overly touristy in my personal taste, so I wouldn’t necessarily eat there.

Place du Capitole in Toulouse - weekend in Toulouse
PLace du Capitole- by Lost in Bordeaux

Take some time to discover Place du Capitole with its many architectural elements. Don’t miss the beautiful ceiling paintings of the Galerue des Arcades, commissioned in 1997 by the Maire of Toulouse who wanted to modernize the square. 

The renowned painter Raymond Moretti was called for the job, creating 29 paintings dedicated to Toulouse’s rich history. The crusades, the space industry, and famous people born in Toulouse are only some of the elements to which the artist paid homage in his work.

Galerue des Arcades in Toulouse
Galerue des Arcades – by Lost in Bordeaux

The ceremonial chambers and their murals

If you were impressed by the architecture of the Capitole building, wait till you see it from the inside. A wide staircase will lead you to the Salle des Illustres, a beautiful room representing the Toulouse school of art of the 19th century. Henri Martin, Jean-Paul Laurens, and Paul Gervais are only a few of the famous painters that have contributed to the works of art you’ll find there.  Floor-to-ceiling murals, sculptures, and paintings come perfectly together to manifest the greatness of Toulouse.

Salle des Illustres in- Capitole - Toulouse
Salle des Illustres – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s probably the best art museum in town! The Capitole is open for visits every day (unless they’re hosting a ceremony) – you can see their opening hours here. Entry is free.

Stroll the streets of Old Toulouse 

It’s time to discover some of Toulouse’s most magical streets.

the most beautiful streets of Toulouse
The center of Toulouse – by lost in Bordeaux

The Capitole de Toulouse is the historic part of Toulouse, and where most of its important monuments are located. The area abounds with charming streets and beautiful houses, restaurants, bookstores, and more.  Take time to discover the Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture and the livelihood of this endearing district. You don’t really need to follow any route here, just get lost in the red/pink streets and let the city charm you. 

Having said that, if you’re short on time, these are the streets you shouldn’t miss in the center of Toulouse: Place Saint George is probably my favorite square in Toulouse for an afternoon drink. On most days of the week, but especially on weekends, it’s brimming with locals gathering for a drink, brunch, or dinner. The square is surrounded by a few beautiful streets with designer shops, notably rue de la pomme and rue des arts. A few other charming streets are Rue Peyrolières, rue Saint Rome and the streets leading to Place de la Bourse.

Place Saint Georges in Toulouse - best things to do in Toulouse
Place Saint Georges – by Lost in Bordeaux

The main shopping street, Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, will astonish you with its Haussmann architecture. This street is home to a few beautiful buildings, such as Musée des Augustins and Grand hôtel Tivollier (number 14). If you’re really interested in architecture, don’t hesitate to go through the list of the most interesting buildings on that street.

Discover Toulouse’s Hotel Particuliers and their courtyards 

Its favorable position as an important trade city has greatly contributed to the wealth influx Toulouse has enjoyed for several centuries. From the end of the 15th to the mid-16th century, an impressive number of splendid city mansions (Hôtels Particuliers) were built by the wealthy merchants and nobility of the city. Many of these also possess extraordinary courtyards that are considered part of Toulouse’s rich architectural heritage. While most of these mansions are private, some of them became public property and you can visit the building or the courtyard. 

The most beautiful of them all is located next to Pont Neuf in the city center. Hôtel d’Assézat, a property of the rich wine merchant, Pierre D’Assezat, was built in the 16th century by the famous architect Nicolas Bachelier.

Hotel dAssezat - a beautiful city mansion in Toulouse
Hotel-d’Assezat – by Lost in Bordeaux

The hotel is a noticeable example of Renaissance palaces that were common in Southern France at the time. Its facade beautifully combines Toulouse’s typical red bricks with stone decoration inspired by Italian Classism. It was entirely restored in the 80s, making it one of the most preserved Renaissance mansions in France. Today it houses the Bemberg Foundation. The entry is free and you can visit it daily without reservation. See the opening hours here

*note – the museum is closed for renovation until spring 2023. 

The address is: Place d’Assezat, 31000 Toulouse

Try one of the best pastry shops in Toulouse

You’ve been walking quite a lot by now, so how about taking a little break to enjoy French pastry? 

There’s no shortage of amazing patisseries in Toulouse, especially when it comes to cakes. Nevertheless, as many of you have only 2-3 days to enjoy the city, I want to recommend a few I really enjoyed. 

One of my favorite ones is Perlette, a cute romantic patisserie with a small selection of cakes and French traditional desserts. You can stop here for coffee on their terrace or in the secret room (let’s see if you can find it 🙂 ). Their Salon de The is open daily from 9:30 to 19:30. 

Perlette’s Address is  2 Pl. de la Bourse, 31000 Toulouse.

Perlette - a cute romantic pastry shop in Toulouse
Perlette pâtisserie and coffee shop in Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

Au Poussin Bleu – a local patissier and chocolatier that has two shops in the center of Toulouse. Everything looks delicious but imperfect, which is unusual for a French patisserie. However, when you taste it you understand that it’s one of the best dessert shops in Toulouse. Don’t miss their amazing macarons. 

Maison Pillon – a local institution where you can find a huge variety of creamy desserts and chocolates. They have two shops, one just next to the Victor Hugo market and a prettier one located at 2 rue Ozenne.

Maison Pillon in Toulouse
Maison Pillon in Toulosue – by Lost in Bordeaux

Stroll along the waterfront

Now let’s discover one of the most popular places in Toulouse: the banks of the Garonne river. The riverfront in the center of Toulouse offers a pleasant promenade with the most stunning view of the two main bridges and the western side of the river. 

Pont Neuf in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

Start your walk on Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Toulouse, and turn right on Quai de la Daurade. You can continue walking on the Quai until you reach the second Bridge Pont Saint Pierre or take right on the La Daurade promenade, leading you to the upper part of the riverfront. That is the best spot to enjoy the view of the dome of la Chapelle Saint Joseph de La Grave, one of the most famous pictures of Toulouse.

On sunny days, the locals of Toulouse take their picnics and drinks to the riverfront and the stairs of Place Saint Pierre. The Toulousians sure know how to appreciate the assets of their beloved city.

the stairs of Place Saint Pierre - riverfront in Toulouse
the stairs of Place Saint Pierre – by Lost in Bordeaux

Have a drink at Place Saint Pierre

Place Saint Pierre and Place de La Daurade are the favorite spots of many students and Toulouse’s youngsters. In this area, you’ll find a variety of pubs and tapas bars, which will usually be packed on weekends. If you love watching games, Chez Tonton is your place. 

Another cool place is Pêcheurs de Sable, a guinguette on Place de la Daurade. This outdoor bar is open the whole year and is a perfect spot for sunny days. 

Address: It’s located in the Basilique Notre Dame la Daurade on Quai de la Daurade.

Tip – if you have more time

I would also recommend spending some time on the other side of the river in the Saint Cyprian neighborhood. There are a number of interesting places to discover there, however, if you’re time-limited, then there’s one place I want to recommend.

Les Abattoirs – contemporary art museum

Les Abattoirs, as its name suggests, was previously a slaughterhouse. Today, it houses FRAC, the contemporary art museum of Toulouse. Throughout the year, the museum hosts great temporary exhibitions of renowned French and international artists.

Les Abattoirs - the contemporary art museum of Toulouse
Les Abattoirs in Toulouse – Lost in Bordeaux

The last time I was there, I saw an impressive exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the most famous French sculptures of the 20th century. Having said that, art is in the eye of the beholder, especially when it comes to contemporary art. So I highly recommend going to the website of the museum before your visit there to get all the info about the current exhibitions. 

The ticket price for an exhibition at the Abattoirs is usually 10€ but is free if you have the City Pass. Click here to purchase the pass if you’re planning to go to a few museums in Toulouse. 

That’s also a fun place to go to if you’re traveling with kids. The museum itself has a little corner for kids where they can draw and play. However, the best part is the carousel, located just outside the gates of the museum. Le Beau Manège allows kids to enter the fantasy world of Jules Verne and ride imaginary creatures like the Steam Rhinoceros and the Giant Ant.

* If you’re traveling with kids don’t miss my article about the best things to do in Toulouse with kids.

Le Beau Manège - fun with kids in Toulouse
Le Beau Manège – by Lost in Bordeaux

Visit Couvent des Jacobins

Back to the center: We’re now heading to one of the prominent monuments of Toulouse. Le Couvent des Jacobins is a Dominican monastery of the Order of Preachers that was built in the 13th century. 

The Dominicans played an important role in creating the first university of Toulouse and were considered great educators. The church was heavily damaged during the French revolution and was entirely renovated years later. 

The exterior of the Jacobins looks a bit austere and doesn’t reveal the beauty you’ll find inside. The remarkable building with its high columns and colorful stained glass windows will leave you in awe. Its most famous feature is the stone “palm trees” on the ceiling. It is a French Gothic masterpiece that should not be missed.

Couvent des Jacobins in Toulouse
Couvent des Jacobins – by Lost in Bordeaux

The visit to the church itself is free. However, I highly recommend visiting the cloister as well, the ticket to which is free with the city pass

You can see the ticket prices and the opening hours here. During the summer the le Couvent des Jacobins hosts many fun events like music festivals, night visits, outdoor cafes, treasure hunts, and more. See their program here. The place is closed on Mondays.

Basilique Saint Sernin 

I’ll be honest here, visiting places of worship is not a “must” on my list, unless it has an interesting architectural value to it. So if that’s not something you are interested in, feel free to skip this item.

However, if you want to visit one of Toulouse’s most beautiful churches, Basilique Saint Sernin is the place.

Its construction started during the 11th century to replace an old church that became too small to welcome the pilgrims passing through Toulouse. The exterior of the basilica combines white stone with the famous red brick of Toulouse. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, Saint Sernin is the biggest Romanesque basilica in Europe.

Eat Cassoulet

It’s dinner time and the best opportunity for you to try one of the most typical dishes of Toulouse! 

The Cassoulet is a slow-cooked stew, most frequently made with duck and pork sausages. Originating in a neighboring town of Castelnaudary, the Cassoulet enjoys great popularity in Toulouse. If you’re interested in local cuisine, tasting Cassoulet is an absolute must.

Amazing Cassoulet in Toulouse
Cassoulet – by Lost in Bordeaux

Cassoulet is served in many restaurants in Toulouse. Here are a few recommended places to eat it:

I really enjoyed the Au Gascon, a simple restaurant where you’ll see many locals having family dinners. Their menu includes many specialties of the cuisine of Gascony (once a province of SW France), many of which contain internal parts of duck and/or pork. It’s not to everyone’s taste, so read the menu carefully. Nevertheless, their Cassoulet is amazing and it’s a safe bet. 

If you prefer your dinner in a fancier setting, go to Le Bibent, on Place du Capitole. It’s one of the prettiest restaurants in Toulouse with a great menu of local dishes. It is a bit pricey because you have to pay for its prime location 🙂 

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow for the more hipster Toulouse!

Day two – the hidden gems of Toulouse 

Your first day in Toulouse was mostly dedicated to its most important squares and monuments. The second day, however, is going to be very different. Today, you’re about to discover the more hipster, artistic and chic Toulouse. I’m going to walk you through a few of the local’s favorite spots in Toulouse that are often overlooked by tourists. Let’s discover the hidden gems of Toulouse.

Run/ walk/ bike along Canal de Brienne

Ok, so this first suggestion is not for everyone. However, if you feel heavy after yesterday’s Cassoulet, you might want to continue reading. I have a perfect spot for those of you looking for a morning run/walk! Canal de Brienne is a scenic and peaceful canal, located just a few minutes’ walk from the city center. In the morning hours, you’ll see many locals running and walking their dogs along the canal.

Canal de Brienne in Toulouse
Canal de Brienne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Sip amazing coffee

I’m a coffee addict! You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to discover that there’s a booming coffee scene in Toulouse. It’s not common to see so many quality coffee places with proper coffee machines and real baristas in a French city. And many of them have a really cute and cozy design, which makes the whole experience even better.

La Belle Brune - coffee shop in Toulouse
La Belle Brune – by Lost in Bordeaux

Here are some of my favorite coffee shops in Toulouse: La Belle Brune, Canopée Coffee House, Allegory Coffee Bar, and Café Papiche.

Marché de Saint Aubin

Marché de Saint Aubin takes place every Sunday around Eglise Saint Aubin, which is about a ten-minute walk from the city center. It’s a huge market with all the best local specialties this region has to offer. Apart from food, the market also has a great variety of craftsmen, florists, and antique sellers. Many musicians and music bands come to play here every Sunday, which makes the market even more festive and fun.

Marche Saint Aubin in Toulouse
Marche Saint Aubin – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Aubin is where many Toulousians meet their friends for a Sunday brunch after they finish their shopping. There are many restaurants in the area but you can also buy ready-to-eat dishes from many stalls in the market. Around lunchtime, the market gets very busy and the lines to buy food get long so be sure to come early (before 11 am).

If you’re lucky enough to be in Toulouse on Sunday, I highly recommend going to this market, even if you already visited another market in the city.

Discover the Carmes neighborhood – the hipster part of Toulouse 

This is my favorite part of Toulouse! 

The Carmes neighborhood is located in the Southern part of the center of Toulouse. It is bounded by rue Metz from the north, Allee Jules Guesde from the south, Alles Francois Verdier from the east, and the Garonne river from the west.

Les Carmes district in Toulouse
Les Carmes district – by Lost in Bordeaux

This is a very hip young neighborhood with an incredible amount of bars, coffee shops, boutiques, and galleries. Plenty of tiny squares are spread all over the Carmes district with at least one or two restaurants on them. The neighborhood is characterized by many narrow beautiful streets with colorful houses. 

There are two parts to the Carmes district, both abundant with beautiful streets you should visit. Now let me list my favorite streets in the neighborhood. Mark them on your maps.

The west part of the neighborhood is where most of the great restaurants are located. Don’t miss Place de Carmes, the Carmes market, and the many coffee shops on the square. 

Stop by Eglise de la Dalbade, a little church with a ceramic tympanum above the main door. The beautiful painting of Coronation of the Virgin by Fra Angelico was made by Gaston Virebent in 1878. Then you can have a beer in one of the many bars of the lively Place de la Trinité.

Here are a few charming streets to stroll on in this part of town: rue des Paradoux, Rue Joutx Aigues, rue des Polinaires, Rue de la Dalbade, and rue Pharaon.

The east side of Carmes is actually called the Saint Etienne neighborhood. It’s home to the Saint Etienne Cathedral, which was built between the 13th the 17th centuries. It’s composed of two different parts, which make its architecture quite unique and complex. 

Saint Ettiene Cathedral in Toulouse
Saint Ettiene Cathedral – by Lost in Bordeaux

In this part of the neighborhood, you will find a lot of art galleries and home design shops. It’s also the more luxurious part of the Carmes, with fancy fashion boutiques like Louis Vuitton. Here are some of the streets you shouldn’t miss here: Rue Ozenne, Place Mage, rue Croix Baragnon and rue Perchepinte.

Visit the beautiful gardens of Toulouse 

One of the most popular parks in Toulouse is Jardin des Plantes, which is located just in the southeast part of the Carmes neighborhood. The park has a pond with ducks, a playground, and many cute spots for a break. If you’re planning to start your day at the market, buy some local delicacies and stop here for a picnic. You’ll see many locals doing that on a sunny weekend. 

Jardin des Plantes  park in Toulosue
Jardin des Plantes – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can also enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine at the terrace cafe of the Museum of Toulouse. It’s one of the biggest natural history museums in France with more than 2 million items in its collection. If you’re traveling with kids, this is one of the most kid-friendly places in Toulouse. Entry to the museum is free with the city pass and on the first Sunday of the month. 

The museum is located at 35 All. Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse.

Shop for French Antiques 

La Brocante des Allées is the main antique market of Toulouse that takes place every first weekend of the month (Friday to Sunday), on allées François-Verdier, in the south of Les Carmes neighborhood. The brocante hosts more than 90 vendors, selling everything from art to fancy dishes and furniture. See more details here.

La Halle de la Machine – a special kind of theater

If you still have some time left, I want you to discover one of the most special places in Toulouse.

La Halle de la machine belongs to a theater group called la Compagnie La Machine which incorporates machines in its shows. The machines, built by the members of the group, are usually quite funny and ridiculous which makes the visit very interesting. The place itself is the storage of the company, where they keep all the machines that aren’t currently used in shows around the world. At the first glance, the whole place looks overwhelming, full of what seems like useless machinery. That’s why you must follow one of the guides, hear the stories behind the machines, and see how they operate.  

The most surprising part of the visit is actually happening outside the hangar. That’s where you will discover the Minotaure, an animal measuring 14 meters high, created especially for a show in Toulouse. This humongous machine is operated by the staff and takes the visitors on its back for a ride.

La Halle is one of the best attractions in Toulouse when traveling with kids.

La Halle de la Machine in Toulouse
La Halle de la Machine – by Lost in Bordeaux

Some practical information

La Halle de la Machine is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday and closed in January. See the schedule here.

You can pay for a visit and the ride separately if you’re not interested in both activities. Like in many other activities on this list, here too you can enjoy a discount with the city pass. If you don’t use the city pass here’s a link to purchase the tickets (for the exhibition only).

Note – La Halle de la machine is located outside the city center but is reachable by public transport (you can use public transport for free with the city pass).

Visit la Cité de l’Espace

You might be wondering why I put one of the most famous attractions in Toulouse at the end of the list. That’s because, in my opinion, if you have only two days in Toulouse, you shouldn’t necessarily go there. You should go there only if: 1) You’re a space geek, 2) You have kids who like space stuff 3) You have more than 2 days 4) It’s raining outside. Otherwise, I think that there are better things to do in such an amazing city like Toulouse. 

Having said that, if you decide to go to the space museum anyway, I want to give you a bit of info about what to expect there. 

La Cite de l’Espace opened its doors in 1997 and has attracted millions of visitors ever since. It has a variety of different exhibitions focusing on the International space station, the solar system, weather predictions, and more. Most of the museum is very interactive which makes it very popular with kids of all ages.

La Cite de l’Espace in Toulouse
La Cite de l’Espace – by Lost in Bordeaux

Apart from the main building, there are a few interesting exhibitions and demonstrations in the outdoor area of the museum. One of these is the Russian MIR space station, which you can visit and learn about astronauts’ daily life at the station. There are also daily demonstrations and activities offered by the museum for different age groups – you can prepare your visit in advance and see all the information for that day in their app.

The tickets are a bit pricy but if you’re going with kids, it can be a full-day experience so it’s quite worth it. Here’s a link to purchase the tickets. If you have a city pass, you have a 15% discount on the tickets.

Where to stay in Toulouse 

Whether you’re looking for an apartment or a hotel, the best areas to stay on a short visit are the Capitole de Toulouse (the old center) or the Carmes. There are many hotels and rentals you can find in both areas, but let me give you a few recommendations. 

I really enjoy my stay at the Hôtel des Arts, near Place Saint George. It’s a 3-star hotel with amazing service, very clean, and has the perfect location. Click here to book the hotel.

 A bit more simple but really nice hotel is Hôtel Croix Baragnon in the hip Les Carmes neighborhood. It’s a 2-star hotel with a cute design and a very friendly staff. Click here to book the hotel.

If you have a higher budget, you’d like Le Grand Balcon Hotel, located just next to Place du Capitol – book it here.

That’s it for my long and very detailed guide to visiting Toulouse. 

If you happen to also come to Bordeaux, here’s my article about the best things to do in Bordeaux

How to get to Toulouse 

Toulouse has a train station and is well-connected to other parts of France. If you’re coming here from Bordeaux or Paris, the best way to get to Toulouse would be by train. The train station is located within a 15 minutes walk from the city center. Purchase your train tickets here.

If you come by car, finding parking in the center of Toulouse isn’t very easy. The best way would be to park at daily parking. The most reasonable price I was able to find was at Q-park on Place Jeanne d’Arc. You’ll pay around 15-20 a day, depending on the number of hours you. This is a link to reserve your spot.

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

Like the article? Want to read it again when you’re in Toulouse? 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 🙂 

 

If this February is even slightly similar to last year, we might have some sunny and warm days coming soon. You can use the opportunity to discover the region! Visit some of the beautiful villages around Bordeaux, go eat oysters in Arcachon, or just spend one day in Bordeaux like a tourist

In this article, I wanted to update you on some of the best events taking place in Bordeaux (and the region) in February. But if you need more ideas for fun things to do, here’s an article about the best things to do here in the winter. 

You can also subscribe to my newsletter where I update you about all the best things happening in the city every weekend.
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.

The best things to do in Bordeaux in February 2023

Ratatam – kids festival

The fourth edition of the Ratatam kids festival will take place at the Entrepôt du Haillan from January 31 to February 5. The program includes concerts, animated movies, a painting contest, video games, meetings with cartoonists, a comics workshop, and more. Check out the full program here.

When: January 31 – February 5 / Where:  Entrepôt du Haillan, Rue Georges Clemenceau, 33185 Le Haillan

Jumping International de Bordeaux

Jumping International de Bordeaux is a big riding equestrian event that includes competitions, spectacles, and a fun fair. The event will take place February 2 -5 in Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux. For more details click here.

When: February 2-5 / Where:  Cours Jules Ladoumegue, 33300 Bordeaux

Party at Blonde Venus

The Blonde Venus is a fun space on the Bassin a Flot with plenty of cool events taking place on weekends. They organize everything from vintage markets to kids’ dance parties and DJ sets. A few of the events about to take place in February are A Cabaret party, a 90s dance party, Jazz concerts, and more. See the list of events here

Winter Sales

If you still haven’t found time to enjoy the winter sales yet, the first week of February is your last chance. Les soldes d’hiver are taking place until February 7.

Truffles market in Saint Emilion 

Truffles are one of the most identified products of the Southwest of France. Usually, Dordogne is the one to take most of the credit when it comes to truffle markets, but Gironde is giving a fight. Every Saturday morning in February a truffles farmers market will take place at la Maison Espace Gaudet in Saint Emilion. See more info here.

visit Saint Emilion

Check out my article about what to do and see in Saint Emilion if you decide to go. 

When: every Saturday in February/ Where: Maison Espace Gaude

Salon Spa

A spa salon with representatives from 70 establishments will take place on February 3-4 in Hangar 14. The program includes different conferences on health and thermal medicine. For the full program click here.

When: February 3-4/ Where:  Hangar 14, Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux

Les Toiles Filantes – kids cinema festival 

Les Toiles Filantes is a cinema festival allowing kids to discover cinema through screenings, meeting with people from the industry, new movie contests,s and more. The festival takes place at Cinéma Jean Eustache in Pessac from February 13-19. For more details see the website of the festival.

When: February 13-19/ Where:  Pl. de la 5ème République, 33600 Pessac

Fête des Bœufs Gras

Bazas in the Southern part of Gironde is a beautiful town that attracts many people with its weekly market. But what Bazas is mostly known for is its Beef. Since 1283, the Thursday before Mardi Gras, the city of Bazas hosts the famous “Fête des Bœufs Gras” that celebrates the Bazas Beef. An Oxen parade takes place on the central streets of the town which will be judged by a jury of experts. The day ends with a banquet where you can taste the famous meat. The event will take place on February 16. See more details here.

Fête des Bœufs Gras in Bazas
When: February 16/ Where:  The Center of Bazas

Dali and Gaudi – Les Bassins de Lumières

Les Bassins de Lumières is hosting a new exhibition and I’m sure it’s going to be amazing as usual! This time the exhibition is dedicated to Dali and Gaudi. Les Bassins de Lumières is a visual arts space, situated in an old submarine base, that is known for its immersive exhibitions. 

You can see a video I took in their previous exhibitions just to get the vibe. 

 The new exhibition will be presented from February 3 to January 7, get your tickets here

When: February 3 – January 7, 2024 / Where:  Imp. Brown de Colstoun, 33300 Bordeaux

See a dance show at Pin Galant

Pin Galant is a theatre in Merignac (Bordeaux’s suburb) that often hosts some of the best theatre, dance, and circus shows coming to Bordeaux. In February the program includes dance spectacles by the Tutu company and the Blanca Li company, A Tom Sawyer musical, and more. 

Is it your first time in Bordeaux?

If it is you should definitely 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 to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

If you need more tips for things to do in the SW of France I invite you to join my Facebook group ” Travel in the South West of France“. Also, every Friday I send a newsletter with plenty of additional events you can enjoy during the weekend, so hurry up and subscribe to my email list now 🙂

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


Toulouse is known for its large space industry and its remarkable red brick architecture which attracts many visitors. If you’re considering traveling here with kids you’d be surprised to know that Toulouse is a family-friendly city. There are quite a lot of fun things to do in Toulouse with kids such as the space museum, boat rides, treasure hunts, and more. 

This list includes both indoor and outdoor attractions you can do with your kids in Toulouse. Like other cities in France, Toulouse offers something that’s called the Tourist Pass which gives you discounts and free entrance to many museums and other entertainment in the city. With the pass, you can also use public transportation for free. 

A family vacation in Toulouse - what to do and where to visit
Toulouse with kids is an amazing vacation – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re a particularly active family and you know that you can make it to several museums or other activities on this list in 2-3 days, then it’s really worth purchasing the pass. The price of the pass is 18€/28€/35€ for 24/48/72 hours respectively. You can see the list of all the discounts you can benefit from here. If you want to purchase the city pass – click here

Entry to museums in France is usually free (or reduced price) for kids, so I recommend purchasing the pass only for yourselves, the parents. Also, it’s important to note that the museums are free every first Sunday of the month, so don’t buy a pass if that’s the day you’re going to visit Toulouse. 

Here’s my detailed list of all the family friendly things to do in Toulouse.

Best kids-friendly activities in Toulouse

Visit the Space museum 

La Cite de l’Espace is one of the most popular attractions in Toulouse, a city known for its space industry. The museum opened its doors in 1997 and has attracted millions of visitors ever since. It has a variety of different exhibitions focusing on the International space station, the solar system, weather predictions, and more. Most of the museum is very interactive which makes it very popular with kids of all ages. 

La Cite de l’Espace - one of the best museums for kids in Toulouse
La Cite de l’Espace – by Lost in Bordeaux

Apart from the main building, there are a few interesting exhibitions and demonstrations in the outdoor area of the museum. One of these is the Russian MIR space station, which you can visit and learn about the astronauts’ daily life at the station. 

Younger kids aren’t left behind! 

One of the buildings, called “La Cite des petits” is dedicated to small kids (4 years and older). The two-floor space-themed park allows kids that don’t read yet to discover the work of an astronaut and their day-to-day lives in the space station. That’s the perfect place to let them touch, construct, deconstruct and just get curious. 

There are many daily demonstrations and activities offered by the museum for different age groups – you can prepare your visit in advance and see all the information for that day in their app

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets are a bit pricy (23€ for adults and 19€ for kids over 5yo) but quite worth it for a full-day experience. Here’s a link to purchase the tickets. If you have a city pass, you have a 15% discount on the tickets. Purchase the pass here

Opening hours: The museum is closed in January and opens daily throughout the rest of the year, although some weeks it’s closed on Mondays so check the hours before going. Address: Av. Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse

How to get there: La Cite de l’Espace is located in the eastern part of the city, only about a 6 km drive from the center of Toulouse. If you get there by car, there’s a huge parking space next to the museum. If you don’t have a car, take the metro (line A) to the Jolimont station and then the bus (line 37) to the Cité de l’Espace station. 

The little train 

If you have little kids you know how exhausting visiting a city with them can be. In recent years I learned that the easiest way to see all the monuments in a city is by using the little train, that many French cities offer to tourists. Luckily Toulouse has one of those too. 

The little train in Toulouse offers two different circuits. First, Circuit Garonne follows the Garonne river and takes you through most of the historic center around Place du Capitole. The second tour is the “Circuit de Canal du Midi”, following the canal, the gardens around the Grand Rond, and the chic Carmes neighborhood.

Weekend in Toulouse
Place du Capitole – by Lost in Bordeaux

Practical info:

The tickets: The ticket price is 7€  for adults and 3€  for kids (3-11 yo) and you can get a 2 €  discount with the city pass. You can buy the tickets next to the train, but be sure to arrive about 20 minutes prior to the scheduled train time.

La Halle de la machine

La Halle de la machine is one of my favorite places in Toulouse and is the perfect place to take your kids to! 

This huge machinery playground belongs to a theatre group called la Compagnie La Machine which incorporates machines in its shows. The machines, built by the group members, are usually quite funny and ridiculous which makes the visit very entertaining. The place itself is the storage hangar of the company, where they keep all the machines that aren’t currently used in shows around the world. 

La Halle de la Machine in Toulouse
La Halle de la Machine – by Lost in Bordeaux

At first glance, the whole place looks overwhelming, full of what seems like useless machinery. That’s why you must follow one of the guides, hear the stories behind the machines and see how they operate.  However, what your kids will probably love the most is the Minotaure. Outside the hanger, you’ll meet a 14 meters height wooden animal, created especially for a show in Toulouse. This humongous machine is operated by the staff and takes the visitors on its back for a ride. 

Practical info:

The tickets: You can pay for a visit and the ride separately if you’re not interested in both activities. Like in many other activities on this list, here too you can enjoy a 2.5 euros discount with the city pass (the discount is for the exhibition only). If you don’t use the city pass, here’s a link to purchase the tickets to the exhibition

Opening hours: La Halle de la machine is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday and closed in January. See the schedule here. Address: 3 Av. de l’Aérodrome de Montaudran, 31400 Toulouse

How to get there: La Halle de la machine is located outside the city center but is reachable by public transport (you can use public transport for free with the city pass). Take metro B from Jean Jaures station in the direction of Ramonville, get off at Rangueil station, and take bus number 23 to the Jardin de la Ligne station. 

Take your kids on a family boat ride 

With the Garonne river and the canal du midi running through the city, Toulouse is a great destination for boat trips. 

One option is to go on a big boat for a cruise on the Canal, which is fun but a rather static experience. I tried that in many cities in France and it doesn’t work well with my dynamic kids who get quickly bored. 

Instead what works perfectly for our family is small electric boats you can navigate by yourself. Your kids can then help you navigate the boat and feel like they are more involved. The boat speed is very slow so it’s pretty safe to let your kids hold the wheel (under your supervision of course).

Canal Du Midi – by Lost in Bordeaux

In Toulouse, you can choose between two boat sizes (without any special permit): up to 3 people and a bigger one for up 8 people. You can choose a one or two hours tour, but from my personal experience with little kids, one hour is more than enough.

Practical info:

The tickets: The prices range between 50€ to 88€ for the boat, depending on the number of people. You can get a 10% discount with the city pass, so try to plan it on a day with other activities so you can enjoy the discounts.

Opening hours: Les Caboteurs, the company that runs this operation is open from June to November. You can see more info hereAddress: The departure point is Port Viguerie in the Saint Cyprian neighborhood in Toulouse.

Aeroscopia – the airplanes museum

If your kids love airplanes, they will definitely enjoy Aeroscopia, a 7 000 m² museum dedicated to the history of aviation. The huge exhibition includes some of the most legendary planes like the Concorde, Caravelle, Super Guppy, and A300B. 

The museum is very interactive and includes many activities for kids. Older kids are offered activities like drone flying and lab experiments, while the small ones can enjoy a lego workshop. You can see the program of workshops and events here. 

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets are 14€ for adults and 11€ for kids – you can purchase your tickets here.

Opening hours: The place is open daily, see the opening hours hereAddress: 1 All. André Turcat, 31700 BlagnacHow to get there: the aviation museum is located outside the city of Toulouse. It takes about 20 minutes to get there by car and about an hour by public transport. Public transport is free if you have a city pass.

The Natural History Museum of Toulouse

One of the best places for kids in Toulouse is the Natural History museum.

Muséum de Toulouse possesses more than 2 million items in its collection and is considered  one of the best natural history museums in France. 

Their collections evolve around five main themes: Planet Earth, living beings, the notion of time, human beings, and the future. The interactive exhibition involves sounds and explanations to accompany your family’s journey at the museum.

Museum de Toulouse - one of the best things to do with kids in Toulouse
Museum de Toulouse – by Lost in Bordeaux

A little tip for the parents – there’s a really cute garden coffee place on the Terrace of the museums, just in case you need a glass of rosé at the end of your visit 🙂 

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets to the museum range between 5€ and 9 € – see all the details here. Entry to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month and with the tourist (city) pass

Opening hours: The museum is open daily except on Mondays. See hours here. Address: The museum is located in the big park of Toulouse, le Jardin des Plantes.

Jardin des Plantes

Jardin des Plantes, one of the more beautiful parks of Toulouse, is located just next to the Museum of Toulouse. Here you’ll find a pond with ducks, a big playground, a coffee and ice cream shop; everything little kids need to enjoy. With its many cute shaded spots spread all over the park, it’s also a perfect place to picnic. If you didn’t bring food with you, head to the Carmes Market and buy fruits, veggies, and some good cheese, et Voila you have the perfect French picnic. 

The gardens are open all year long, see the opening hours. Entry is free. 

Jardin des Plantes park in Toulosue
Jardin des Plantes – by Lost in Bordeaux

Quai des Savoirs

Quai des Savoirs is the science museum of Toulouse. It’s a huge interactive space allowing kids to touch, try, and experiment with science-related activities. On weekends the museum offers interesting workshops for kids (7 yo and older), called Plateau Creatif. During the workshops, they touch on topics like equilibrium and 3D by experimenting in a creative environment. The best way to make them fall in love with science! 

For younger kids (2 to 7 yo) the museum offers a fun space called Le Quai des Petits. A magic mirror, weird tunnels, an emotions-themed photo booth, and musical instruments are only part of what this magical space offers. 

Apart from these activities, the museum always has different exhibitions running during the year. 

Practical info:

The tickets: The tickets to the museum range between 5€ and 7 € – see all the details here. Entry to the museum is free on the first Sunday of the month and with the tourist (city) pass

Opening hours: The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm and is closed on May 1st, January 1st, and December 25. See all the details hereAddress: Where: Allée Matilda, 31000 Toulouse. The museum is located just next to the Natural Science museum of Toulouse

Take your kids to a playground 

Sometimes the most simple thing to do is just to go to a playground and let them play with other kids. There are many good playgrounds in Toulouse but two have a particularly attractive location for parents as well. 

One is an ocean-themed playground with a big boat in the middle, located on Quai de la Daurade. You can enjoy the stunning view of the Garonne while they play, and then do a fun picnic on the river banks. 

Playgrounds in Toulosue
Playgrounds in Toulosue – by Lost in Bordeaux

The other is located in the middle of Place Saint George, right in the heart of the historic center. 

It’s a beautiful playground but what makes it perfect is the location, surrounded by plenty of chic restaurants and cafes. So while your kids play you can enjoy a drink or snack, a win-win situation!

Play in the Virtual Reality room

This is a perfect spot to take older kids (over 10 yo) who might be a bit bored from a classic city trip. The concept of a virtual room, a 3d version of an escape room, has become very popular in France in the last few years. The Virtual Room in Toulouse is run by one of the best companies in this field which happens to be French. 

The place offers several themed games that you can play in a team of two to four people.

Practical info:

The tickets: Tickets prices range from 20€ to  28€- you can purchase your tickets here

Opening hours: The place is open daily, see the available hours when you book your game. Address: 457, l’Occitane – 31670 Labège

How to get there: Take the train from the Toulouse Matabiau station to Labège-Innopole and walk for 15 minutes.

Best things to do with kids around Toulouse 

You don’t have to stay in the city to make it a family-friendly vacation in Toulouse. There are plenty of amazing day trips from Toulouse that your kids are going to absolutely love. Here are a few of the most kids-friendly day trips from Toulouse. 

Kids friendly day trips from Toulouse - Carcassonne
by Lost in Bordeaux

Take them on a day trip to Carcassonne 

Toulouse is located within just one hour’s drive from one of the more magical places in the South of France, the medieval town of Carcassonne. This old citadel is located on the right bank of the Aude river. Early signs of civilizations date back 2500 years, it’s said to be one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the world. 

Access to the citadel is free and you can take the whole day to stroll the narrow medieval streets. It’s considered one of the best day trips from Toulouse for both adults and kids. 

Now, as a mom of three kids, I had my share of traveling with them to historic destinations. Strolling the streets and admiring medieval gates is not something they are overly motivated to do. Luckily, the Carcassonne Tourist Office offers families fun games and activities to make it a kid-friendly visit. These include workshops in calligraphy, medieval cooking lessons, and virtual experiences among others. My kids really enjoyed the Treasure hunt box that allowed them to discover the city in a more interactive and fun way. Read about all the family-friendly activities in Carcassonne here

Kids friendly visit in Carcassonne
Carcassonne with kids – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can also take a guided tour to discover Carcassonne in a fun way. Led by a guide in a medieval costume, the tour is a living story of Carcassonne in the 13th century. The tour is for adults and kids over 5yo. See all the details here

How to get from Toulouse to Carcassonne

Carcassonne is located about 90 km from Toulouse (a little more than an hour’s drive). However you can also get there by train, there are many trains going there daily. You can see the schedule and buy tickets here

Another option is taking the organized bus tour from the center of the city with the City tour Toulouse company.

Zoo African Safari 

Toulouse has one of the biggest Zoos in the SouthWest of France, located only 20 minute’s drive from the city center. The African Safari Zoological park inhibits more than 600 wild animals from all over the world. One part is done by car, with animals freely running around you, kind of a simulation of an African Safari. The park also has big sea lions and bird shows, which are the most beloved part of the visit for many kids. It’s not a huge zoo, but little kids really love it. 

Practical info:

The tickets: Tickets prices are 20€ for adults and 15€ for kids. You can buy your tickets here or at the park.  You can get a 3€ with the tourist (city) pass.

Opening hours: The park is open all year long. See the opening hours hereAddress: 41 rue des landes, 31830 Plaisance-du-Touch

Au Lac de la Ramée

If you are visiting Toulouse in the summer and want to include some beach time, Lac de la Ramme is your place. The lake is located about 30 km from Toulouse and offers a variety of kid-friendly activities such as kayaking, windsurfing, skating, and more. 

The natural lake has a nice beach, surrounded by a park where you can let your kids run. You can also enjoy the public BBQ facilities on the beach if you’re planning to stay there for a few hours. 

Swimming is authorized only during the summer season (July and August) when the beach is supervised. See all the facilities at the Lac de la Ramée in this link.

The lac is located at 21 Chem. de Larramet, 31170 Tournefeuille.

It’s reachable by car or by public transport (metro+bus). If you happen to have a Tourist Pass, you can use public transport for free. 

Visit Village Gaulois

Village Gaulois is a unique archaeological site located on the banks of the Garonne river about 50 km south of Toulouse. The old Gallic village of nine hectares was reconstructed in the heart of the forest by a group called “Les Gaulois”  after extended historic and scientific research. The historians and researchers behind the project became farmers, craftsmen, carpenters, and every other profession needed to run this beautiful eco-museum. 

During your visit to the village, you can see demonstrations of metalwork, pottery, woodworking, and more. Children are offered different games to help them discover the village. In this link, you can see the different activities and craftsmen operating in the village

Practical info:

The tickets: Ticket prices are 14€ for adults and 12€ for kids over 4 yo. You can buy your tickets here.

Opening hours: The site is open from Wednsday to Sunday from 14:00 to 17:00 most of the year and all day in the summer months. See the 2023 calendar here and more info hereAddress: La Chaussée Rd 25, 31310 Rieux-Volvestre

How to get there: The best way to get there is by car. But you can also take a train from Toulouse to Carbonne or to Cazères and get a taxi from there (about a 10-minute drive). Here’s a link to get train tickets and here are a few taxis you can contact. 

AnimaParc

The animaParc is the amusement park of Toulouse, where families go for a day of pure adrenaline and fun! Located in a large, four hectars forest, the park offers plenty of activities for any age. 

The amusement park has 26 attractions such as the wild tower, the pirate boat, a splash park, and more. Another fun feature is the dinosaur park with 30 real size dinosaurs spread over the forest. And finally, for the little ones, there’s an animal farm with more than 150 animals they can feed. 

Practical info:

The tickets: Tickets range from 15€ to 18€. See all the info and tickets here.

Opening hours: The park is open during the tourist season from April to October and during the Christmas season. See all the info and tickets hereAddress: 3000 Pouchot, 31330 Le Burgaud. The park is located 40 km North-west of Toulouse, you have to have a car to get there. 

Bike along the Canal

Toulouse is a bike-friendly city, with biking lanes in the city center and along the Garonne riverfront. However, the most fun biking trip to do with kids is the one along Canal du Midi. The famous navigation canal connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean sea, in the city of Sete. All along the canal, there is a path, that is perfect for walking and biking. 

You can start your trip at any point on the Canal du Midi near the city and continue cycling in the south direction. If you’re traveling with kids and want A Short Ride, You Can Do The 5km Route Ramonville. If you’re looking for a longer trip, continue to Villefranche-De-Lauragais which is located around 40 km south of Toulouse. 

biking along the Canal du Midi
biking along the Canal du Midi – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can rent a bike at La Maison du Vélo which is located on the Canal just next to the train station. If you happen to have the tourist (city) pass you can get up to 4€ discount on your bike rental. 

That’s it for my “What to do in Toulouse with kids” list! I hope it gave you a lot of new ideas for how to turn it into an unforgettable trip for both you and your kids.

If you also happen to travel to Bordeaux, check out my article about the 30 best things to do in Bordeaux with kids

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

*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 🙂 

Saint Emilion is one of the most popular destinations in the Southwest of France attracting more than a million tourists every year. When visiting the wine region many people choose to stay in Bordeaux and come to Saint Emilion for a day trip. However, staying in Saint Emilion, surrounded by vineyards, even for a night, is an unforgettable experience, and I highly recommend it!

In this article, you’ll find some of the best places to stay in Saint Emilion and the villages close by. I included luxury experiences and cozy family-owned B&Bs so that everyone can find the best accommodation in Saint Emilion. Some of the hotels are located right in the center of Saint Emilion and others are nestled amidst the vineyards. There’s something for any type of vacation, from a romantic weekend to a summer trip with kids. 

If you’re not sure what winery you should visit, read my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. Also, don’t miss my articles about the best things to do in Bordeaux and about what to do in one day in Bordeaux in case you’re planning a day trip there. 

Now let’s dive right into the best places to stay in Saint Emilion 🙂

Hotels and B&Bs in Saint Emilion

Logis de la Cadene

Logis de Cadene is one of the best hotels in Saint Emilion and is very popular amongst tourists from all over the world. The hotel, with its stunning view of the old town, is located right in the heart of Saint Emilion. Its elegant design and spacious rooms make for a very pleasant stay. 

Logis de la Cadene belongs to the Boüard de Laforest family, the owner of the famous Château Angélus. It is widely known for its fine dining restaurant which has been awarded a Michelin star in 2017. 

Book it here.

Address: 3 Place du Marché au Bois, 33330 Saint-Émilion, France

Hostellerie de Plaisance  (Hôtel de Pavie)

One of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the center of Saint Emilion. The hotel is located just next to the Monolithic Church of Saint Emilion and offers a magical panoramic view of the medieval village and the vineyards. Hôtel de Pavie was once a convent where nuns used to host pilgrims and travelers. Today it belongs to the Perse family, who are also the owners of Château Pavie, one of the four 1er Grand Cru Classé A, so a more elegant and chic experience is guaranteed.

Book it here.

Nearby you can find their amazing 2-star Michelin restaurant La Table de Pavie

The hotel is usually closed from December to mid-March so if you’re looking for a place to stay during your winter vacation, check out the other hotels on this list.

Address: Place du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Émilion, France

Le Relais de Franc Mayne Saint Emilion

A magical B&B with the most beautiful view of the vineyards of Saint Emilion. The rooms are spacious, and uniquely decorated, and all feature a view of the vineyard. Le Relais de Franc Mayne was renovated in 2019 which makes it one of the newer facilities on this list. It’s located about 1km from the center of Saint Emilion. 

To book a room click here.

Château Franc Mayne is also one of Saint Emilion’s best wineries, classifies as a Grand Cru. Luckily when you stay there, you are offered a tour of their wine-making facilities. However, even if you don’t end up staying there, I highly recommend booking a visit to their winery.  

Book your winery visit here

Address: 14 La Gomerie – D243, 33330 Saint-Émilion, France

Les Chambres d’Ovaline

Les Chambres d’Ovaline is a cozy and beautiful B&B located a few minutes’ walk from the center of Saint Emilion. The rooms are beautifully designed and you can enjoy your breakfast in their cute garden. It’s also much more affordable than the other options in Saint Emilion.

Book a room here

Address: 2 Place Bouqueyre, 33330 Saint-Émilion, France

Château Hôtel Grand Barrail

Château Hôtel Grand Barrail is a  luxury 5-star hotel, located just a few km from the center of Saint Emilion. The hotel has an amazing SPA facility that includes a sauna, hammam, and 4 beauty cabins. The hotel also features a fine-dining restaurant with exceptional wine and food.

This is a great place if you’re looking for a luxury vacation with a very scenic view.

Book it here

*The hotel is closed for renovation until March 2023, but you can still make reservations for future dates. 

Address: Route de Libourne, 33330 Saint-Émilion, France

Badon Boutique Hotel

Badon is a 4-star boutique hotel, located in the heart of Saint Emilion. The hotel has a very clean and pleasant design and is perfectly located next to all the monuments of Saint Emilion. If you want to stay in the center next to all the restaurants, this is a rather affordable option compared to other hotels in Saint Emilion. 

They also accept pets with additional pay of 10 euros per night.

 Book your night here.

Address: Badon Boutique Hôtel, 8 Rue de la Prte Bouqueyre, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Hotels and B&Bs close to Saint Emilion

Château du Palanquey & Spa

If you’re going on a romantic weekend in the Saint Emilion region, this is the place for you! Château du Palanquey & Spa is a luxury B&B, overlooking the vineyards of Saint Emilion and Castillion. 

The property has a large spa that you can freely use during your stay, featuring a heated indoor pool, sauna, and jacuzzi. It also has a nice outdoor pool for the summer months with a stunning view of the vineyards.

The Château is home to a great restaurant with a large menu introducing you to French specialties. For more foodie guests, the place can also organize a cooking class upon request. The property is open and receives guests all year long, so it can even be a cozy winter vacation. This is a real piece of paradise with amazing hosts that will make you feel very welcome!

Château du Palanquey is located in Sainte-Colombe, about 10 km from Saint Emilion. It will take you only 5 minutes to get to one of my favorite wineries in Saint Emilion, Château de Pressac.

Book your stay here.

Address: 2 Lieu dit Palanquey, 33350 Sainte-Colombe

Bleu Raisin

If you don’t mind driving a bit, this cute B&B is located on an old wine farm, about 14 km from the center of Saint Emilion. The rooms are beautifully designed and all have a separate entrances. A delicious breakfast will welcome you every morning on the terrace overlooking the vineyards. 

They also have amazing prices so if staying in the heart of Saint Emilion is not in your budget, this is a great option. 

Book a room here

Address: 3 La Cabane, 33350 Les Salles-de-Castillon, France

La Maisonnée Girondine

This romantic B&B is located about 10 km from Saint Emilion in a little village called Saint Magne de Castillon. The beautiful sandstone house is nestled amidst the vineyards of another Bordeaux wine appellation called Castillon – Côtes de Bordeaux, which is also interesting to explore. The house has five rooms and a beautiful garden with fruit trees.  La Maisonnée Girondine is run by two expats who love French cuisine and culture. They are very welcoming and will help you discover some of the hidden gems of the region. 

Book your stay here

Address: 2 Chem. du Moulin, 33350 Saint-Magne-de-Castillon

Camping sites in Saint Emilion 

Yelloh! Saint-Emilion

One of the most popular groups of camping sites in France, the Yelloh campsites, has a great site in Saint Emilion. The camping is located within 3 km from the center of the Saint Emilion, surrounded by some of the best vineyards of this prestigious wine area. The camping is open from mid-May to Mid September. 

Yelloh camping is based on a fishing lake and offers plenty of great amenities like a huge pool, a tennis court, and a bar. You can also rent a bike to discover the town and the vineyards from the camping site. 

It’s a perfect stay for families as Yelloh runs a summer kids club (over 5yo). 

Book your stay here.

Where:  2 Lieu-dit, Les Combes, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Camping du Vieux Château 

Camping du Vieux Château is another great camping site located about 13 km from Saint Emilion in the cute village of Rauzan. The 3-star site is more simple than Yelloh camping but it has most of the facilities that you need for a cool family summer vacation near Saint Emilion.

See all the details and book here

Address: 6 Blabot-Bas, 33420 Rauzan

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

*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 🙂 

In November, many places in the Southwest start to shut down for the winter season, almost like the region is going to sleep. Bordeaux, however, is different! It’s a very lively city where you can always find interesting stuff to do, even on the coldest days. In this article, I’m going to give you a few fun ideas of things to do in Bordeaux in the winter.

I start my article with 10 ideas of places to go to in Bordeaux as well as Cognac and Saint Emilion. The second part of my article is dedicated to fun events taking place in the winter in Bordeaux. 

If it’s cold and raining at any other time of the year, you should read my article about the best things to do when it’s raining in Bordeaux and things to do with kids when it’s raining in Bordeaux

If it’s your first time in Bordeaux, you’d also enjoy my article about the 50 best things to do in Bordeaux

Best things to do in winter in Bordeaux and the region

Visit Bordeaux wineries 

Many places are indeed closed during wintertime in the Bordeaux region but wineries are not one of them. You’d be surprised to know that many wineries are open for visits during January- February, however in a slightly limited version. Many are closed on weekends during the winter season as well as during the week of Christmas and New years. 

Saint Emilion, which is the most visited wine area in the Bordeaux region has many chateaux accepting visitors during the winter. If you need some recommendations, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion

best wineries in Saint Emilion

If you don’t have a car, your options are a bit more limited, but there are still a few nice chateaux you can visit by public transport. One of my favorite ones is Chateau pape clement, and it happens to be open during the winter too – book your visit here

Go to the Opera

The Grand Theatre de Bordeaux is one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic historic buildings and should not be missed when in Bordeaux. 

During the winter months, The Opera of Bordeaux offers a long program of classical music concerts for kids and adults. See the full program here.

Visit a distillery in Cognac

Winter is a great time to do a trip to the Cognac region and witness the traditional distillation process. That’s when the Cognac producers transform the wine into eau-de-vie and what will eventually become the famous brandy. 

There are many distilleries that run tours during the winter and include a detailed explanation of the distillation process. I highly recommend visiting family-owned producers in the winter as you’re more likely to be taken through the whole process. 

Cognac Pasquet

Cognac Raby is a great example of such a distillery. We had a great visit there in the winter a year ago. Book your visit here. Another great place to visit is Cognac Pasquet.

Here are a few other things you can do in Cognac in case you decide to go. 

Eat a Raclette 

Raclette is quite popular in Bordeaux in the winter, even though it’s far from being a traditional Southwest cuisine. There are a few restaurants where you can find this wintery treat. One of the best ones is La Petite Savoie, a local institution that now has two restaurants in the center. One on the riverfront and the other one on rue des argentiers in the Saint Pierre district. 

Go to a Spa 

Nothing better than Spa on a freezing winter day! There are several small and big Spa facilities in Bordeaux. The biggest one is called Caliceo center and it’s open daily, without any reservation. It has a few pools, saunas, and different types of massages. 

If you want something more cozy and romantic, go to Domaine de Raba in Talence.

Go Ice Skating 

Ice Skating is one of the most popular winter activities and luckily there’s a great place for that in Bordeaux. La Patinoire de Mériadeck is a sports complex with a huge ice skating arena open to the public for a few days a week. As the Patinoire hosts many different events during the year, its opening hours might change from time to time, so before heading there with your kids, check out the schedule.  

Check out the covered markets in Bordeaux 

Bordeaux has a few covered markets in Bordeaux, which are perfect for cold days. You can use it as an opportunity to discover local delicacies but also have lunch or a drink in a very local environment.

The best one to start with is Marché des Capucins, the main market of Bordeaux. That’s my go-to place when I want Arcachon oysters without actually going to Arcachon. Two other, more modern markets I highly recommend belong to the Biltoki group and are located in Talence and the Bacalan neighborhood. These two very markets are perfect for an evening drink and tapas.

Chez-jean-mi Bordeaux market
Chez-jean-mi at the Capucins Market

Discover all the best markets in Bordeaux in my article.

Discover the foodie streets of Bordeaux 

Staying in a foodie mood, you can also explore some of the foodie streets in Bordeaux. These are the places where you can find the best bakeries, coffee shops, cheese shops, and more. They are not always on the tourist trail and not always easy to find and that’s why I decided to write an article about the foodie streets of Bordeaux.

Go to one of Bordeaux’s museums

Last but not least, if it’s too cold outside, going to a museum is always a good idea! Bordeaux has a great variety of museums, from street art to science and history, just choose one from my list of museums in Bordeaux.

Musee d'Aquitaine Bordeaux
CAPC museum in Bordeaux

Winter Sales

Who cares if it’s raining and cold? January is the winter sales month!!

Soldes d’hiver are several weeks in the winter during which you can find really good deals on clothes, shoes, appliances, toys, and more. This year the winter sales were shortened to 4 weeks from the previous six weeks period. But from my experience even if you come to Bordeaux a week or two after the sales many shops will still have a lot of items on discount. This year Les Soldes d’Hiver will take place from January 11 to February 7.

Events taking place this winter in the Bordeaux region (2023)

Disney on ice

One of the most popular events for kids in Bordeaux is happening again! All the popular Disney characters reunite for an ice skating spectacle. Disney Sur Glace will take place on January 6-8 at the Arkea Arena.  For tickets and more details click here.

Trente Trente – Emerging Arts Festival

Trente Trente is an annual festival, created to promote emerging artists in Bordeaux and Nouvelle Aquitaine in general. The festival includes more than twenty performances by artists from all genres, with some experimenting with interdisciplinary arts. Check out the full program that includes dance, music, theater, circus, and more. The festival takes place on January 12- February 2 in different theaters and cultural spaces across the metropole.

Fête de la truffe in Sarlat

A big truffles market will take place this weekend (January 14-15) in Sarlat. I know that’s a bit far from Bordeaux but it’s one of the biggest truffles markets in the region so worth checking out. For more info click here.

Truffles market in Saint Emilion 

Truffles are one of the most identified products of the Southwest of France. Usually, Dordogne is the one to take most of the credit when it comes to truffle markets, but Gironde is giving a fight. Every Saturday morning in January and February a truffles farmers market will take place at la Maison Espace Gaudet in Saint Emilion. See more info here.

Festival des Lanternes in Montauban

This year the big lanterns festival is moving to Montauban (about 50 km from Toulouse). Around 80 talented artists from the province of Sichuan in China will present their monumental sculptures. This event will take place every evening on Cours Foucault from December 1st to February 5, 2023 (from 6 pm to 11 pm). See all the info here

La Flamme de l’Armagnac

Armagnac is one of the best products in the Southwest of France! Its production spreads over three departments in this region: Les Landes, Lot et Garonne, and Gers, all located within a 1-2 hour drive from Bordeaux. From the end of October to the end of January, the producers of Armagnac celebrate the distillery period with fun events at the chateaux and in small towns in the regions. see more details here

Go to 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 in 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.

Les Toiles Filantes – kids cinema festival 

Les Toiles Filantes is a cinema festival allowing kids to discover cinema through screenings, meeting with people from the industry, new movie contests,s and more. The festival takes place at Cinéma Jean Eustache in Pessac from February 13-19. For more details see the website of the festival.

Fête des Bœufs Gras

Bazas in the Southern part of Gironde is a beautiful town that attracts many people with its weekly market. But what Bazas is mostly known for is its Beef. Since 1283, the Thursday before Mardi Gras, the city of Bazas hosts the famous “Fête des Bœufs Gras” that celebrates the Bazas Beef. An Oxen parade takes place on the central streets of the town which will be judged by a jury of experts. The day ends with a banquet where you can taste the famous meat. The event will take place on February 16. See more details here

Fête des Bœufs Gras in Bazas
Fête des Bœufs Gras

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Visiting wineries in Bordeaux is definitely one of the highlights of traveling in the Southwest of France. More than 6000 wine châteaux are spread over the 120,000 hectares covering the Bordeaux wine region. Many of these offer tours and tastings but due to their rural location, they are quite hard to reach by public transport. 

I highly recommend visiting the Bordeaux vineyards by car just because it gives you more flexibility and because the view on the way to the vineyards is magical (here’s a link to find a car rental in Bordeaux). But if you don’t want to drive, don’t give up the dream to visit a Bordeaux winery just yet! Several amazing châteaux are reachable by train or bus, and I’m here to help you discover them!

To make it easier for you to understand the region, I divided the article into subregions, with a list of wineries you can visit without a car. So whether you want to learn how Saint Emilion wine is produced or visit an ancient winery without actually leaving Bordeaux, I have you covered. 

If you’re looking for more organized options such as private or semi-private tours to the vineyards, scroll to the end of the article. There are many options there.  

See other wine-related articles here:
Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
The Medoc wine route
Best family-friendly wineries in Bordeaux
All the Open door events in the wineries of Bordeaux

Here are the best wineries in Bordeaux you can visit without a car!

Visit wineries in Bordeaux by bus or tram 

You’d be surprised to learn that a few of Bordeaux’s wineries are sitting within the city limits and are reachable by tram/bus. These are naturally the easiest ones to get to and that’s why they are the first on my list.  

Château Pape Clément in Pessac

A simple bus ride from the center of Bordeaux will bring you to one of the most gorgeous châteaux in Bordeaux. Château Pape Clément is a Grand Cru Classé wine labeled under the Pessac Leognan appellation. The vineyards of Château Pape Clément were planted at the request of the Archbishop of Bordeaux, the future Pope Clement V. The castle itself was built much later and has beautiful Neo-Gothic embellishments. Today apart from producing wine, it’s also one of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Bordeaux

The château offers daily visits in both French and English as well as winemaking workshops where you can assemble your own wine. 

You can book the tour online – just click here.

The château is located in Pessac, one of Bordeaux, most interesting suburbs. You can spend the whole day, discovering Pessac with the help of my article – check it out here

Chateau pape Clement Pessac
Château pape Clement by Lost in Bordeaux

Instructions:
Address: 216 Av. Dr. Nancel Penard, 33600 Pessac
How to get there: You can take a direct bus (line 4) from Place de Tourny in the center of Bordeaux. The second option is to take Tram B to the Pessac Centre station and then continue by foot for about 20 minutes until you reach the château. See more info here.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 19:00 and Sundays 10:00 to 18:00

Château du Taillan in Le Taillan-Médoc

Château du Taillan is a beautiful Bordeaux wine estate dating back to the 19th century. Today it’s owned by five sisters who all contribute in some form to their wine-making business. The winery produces red, white, and rosé wines and is labeled as “Médoc Cru bourgeois”. 

Château du Taillan is labeled under the Medoc wine appellation, but I’ve put it in this segment just because it’s located in the Bordeaux metropole region and is easily reachable by bus from the center of Bordeaux. 

The winery offers several visits. The classic one allows you to taste two wines of Château du Taillan. While their most expensive tour takes you on a more intimate journey to discover the house where the sisters grew up. This one ends with tastings of four different wines accompanies by cheese and chocolate. You can read about all their tours and book your visit here.

During the high season, you can also order a picnic basket from the château and have a fabulous lunch in their garden. You can see more info about that here

Château du Taillan - how to visit wineries in Bordeuax without a car
Château du Taillan by Lost in Bordeaux

Instructions:
Address: 56 Av. de la Croix, 33320 Le Taillan-Médoc
How to get there from Bordeaux: You can take a direct bus (line 2) from Place des Quinconces in the direction of le Taillan la Boetie, get down at La Pargaud station and walk for 5 minutes until you reach the chateau. See the schedule of line 2 here.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 18:00 and Sundays 10:00 to 16:00

Château Les Carmes Haut Brion

Château Les Carmes Haut Brion is one the most interesting visits for both wine and art lovers. Its history goes back to the 16th century when the Lord of Haut Brion, Jean de Pontac, donated a windmill surrounded by vines to the Carmelite Order. In the 17th century, the Carmelite order purchased more land with vines and continued to develop the estate for more than two centuries.

Today the château is owned by Patrice Pichet, who turned it into a modern winery. The 35 hectares château produces red wines under the appellation of Pessac Leognan. It’s actually the only winery to be located in the limits of Bordeaux city. What makes the tour more exceptional is the stunning modern reception area designed by Philip Starck in 2016.

This is a prestigious château and the prices of the tours are higher than most wineries on this list (ranging from 45€ to 70€ per person). See all the details of the tours they offer here.

Instructions:
Address: 20 Rue des Carmes, 33000 Bordeaux
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take line A of the tram at Hôtel de Ville (in the direction of Pin Galant), get down at the Saint Augustin station and walk about 10 minutes until you get to the château. You can also take the bus and get directly to the chateau in about 15 minutes. Take the bus (line 24) from Republic station (next to Place de la Republique). See the schedule here
Opening hours: Mon-Sat from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 18:00 (by appointment only). 

Château Olivier

Another gem in the Pessac Leognan appellation is Château Olivier. Just a few km from Bordeaux, you’ll find a beautiful château, surrounded by a forest and vines. Château Olivier is a Grand Cru Classé producing red and white wines. Since 2014, the winery produces only organic wines from its 60 hectares. 

The château offers several visiting experiences where you could learn about their wine-making process, and taste wine straight from the barrel. 

Book your visit here.

Instructions:
Address: 173 Av. de Bordeaux, 33850 Léognan
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take bus number 5 from Palais de Justice (a few minutes walk from Place Pey Berland). Get off the bus at the Piscine Chambéry station in Leognan, just a few minutes walk from Chateau Olivier. See more info here
Opening hours: from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00 by appointment only – book here

Château Saint Ahon In Blanquefort

If you’re traveling with kids, I highly recommend vising Château Saint Ahon in Blanquefort. The Chateau is a family-owned winery located at the very beginning of the Medoc wine route

My kids particularly enjoyed the gardens, called Les Jardins de Mirabel. The gardens offer a fun discovery trail that teaches kids about winemaking and nature in the region in a playful way. For more info about the visit and the gardens click here

Château Saint Ahon  in Medoc is easy to reach by bus
Château Saint Ahon – by lost in Bordeaux

Instructions:
Address: 57 Rue de St Ahon, 33290 Blanquefort
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take line C to the Blanquefort train station and then continue 20 minutes by foot or take bus 38 from the Blanquefort train station to the Caychac station. See the timetable here
Opening hours: The winery is open all year long apart from August and you don’t have to book the visit in advance, just check out the opening hours before going. 

Discover more family-friendly chateaux in the Bordeaux wine region in my article. 

Visiting wineries in Saint Emilion by public transport

The best way to get to Saint Emilion without a car is by taking the train from Gare Saint Jean in Bordeaux. The train doesn’t stop in the center of Saint Emilion, but a 20 minutes walk will get you into this medieval treasure. Most châteaux are located quite far from the town itself but a few are within a walking distance from the city center. Leave some time to discover Saint Emilion itself, it’s one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux. For more wineries to visit in Saint Emilion check out my article

If you’re planning to do a weekend in Saint Emilion, here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in the Saint Emilion region

Château Villemaurine

Château Villemaurine is one of the most popular visits to tourists visiting Saint Emilion. The Château combines tradition, modernity, centuries of history, and the refined production of great wines.

Château Villemaurine offers two group guided tours. A discovery tour where you get to visit the vineyards and the monolithic cellars which are located underneath the vines of the estate. A Heritage tour where you will discover the stunning network of quarries owned by the Château.  Click here to book the tour online.

Instructions:
Address: 23 Villemaurine-Sud, Saint-Émilion
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take the train from Gare Saint Jean to the Saint Emilion train station and walk for about 20 minutes in the direction of the center of Saint Emilion. 
Opening hours: Château Villemaurine is open daily all year long (closed from mid-Dec to mid-Jan). Book a tour in English here

Château Soutard

Château Soutard is an impressive 18th-century winery, located a few minutes walk from the center of Saint Emilion. It’s about 30 minutes walk from the train station but it’s worth a visit if you’re going to visit the village anyway.  The Château offers plenty of fun activities such as a wine blending workshop, biking in the vineyards, a gourmet picnic, and of course, wine tours.

Their basic wine tour (20€ / person) starts at 15h every day from April to October. The tour includes a visit to their vineyards and cellars and a tasting of their renowned Grand Cru Classé wines. To book any of their activities click here.

Chateau Soutard in saint emilion
Chateau Soutard by lost in Bordeaux

Instructions:
Address: Soutard, 33330 Saint-Émilion
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take the train from Gare Saint Jean to the Saint Emilion train station and walk for about 30 minutes in the direction of the center of Saint Emilion. 
Opening hours: The schedule is changing during the less touristy season. When in Bordeaux, be sure to contact them for information about tours in English.

Château La Gaffelière

Closer to the train station you can find Château La Gaffelièr. The winery is classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé under the Saint Emilion wine classification, making it one of the more prestigious estates on this list. 

The château belongs to the Malet-Roquefort family who is very passionate about sharing their wine-making craft. Their group tours, lasting for about an hour, take you through their colorful vats and the underground barrel cellar. The visit includes a tasting of three of their wines. Book your tour here

Instructions:
Address: Château La Gaffelière, BP 65 / 33330 Saint-Emilion
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take the train from Gare Saint Jean to the Saint Emilion train station and walk a few minutes to get to the chateau. 
Opening hours: Château La Gaffelière is open daily from April to November 12 and on a few specific dates during other months of the year. Check out their availability here

Visiting Medoc without a car

There are a few wineries in Medoc you can easily reach by train but yet again, if you have the option to do it by car, I highly recommend it. Driving the Medoc wine route is one of the most remarkable experiences Bordeaux has to offer. If you want to follow that advice, here’s a link to find a car from a few locations in Bordeaux. 

One of the easiest parts of Medoc to reach by public transport is the town of Margaux. A direct train from Gare Saint Jean (train 42) will take you to the famous wine town with several options for chateaux to visit. Check out the schedule here

Château Marquis de Terme

If you choose Medoc for your wine trip, I highly recommend visiting Château Marquis de Terme. It’s a fantastic place to visit during summer times as they have an open bar in the garden where you can get wine, cheese, and charcuterie. A perfect way to end your tour. 

If you’ve already visited a few wineries in your life and don’t necessarily want to go through yet another explanation about winemaking, this place also offers wine tasting without a tour. Château Marquis de Terme also has a great restaurant which is yet another reason to go there. 

You can book your visit here

Château Marquis de Terme - medoc - one of the only wineries in Bordeaux you can visit by public transpot
Château Marquis de Terme – by Lost in Bordeaux

Instructions:
Address: 3 Rte de Rauzan, 33460 Margaux
How to get there from Bordeaux: take a train from Gare Saint Jean to Margaux (in the direction of le Verdon) and walk a few minutes to the winery. If you’re staying closer to the city center, take tram C, to get to the Blanquefort station instead of Gare Saint-Jean.
Opening hours: Château Marquis de Terme offers visits daily from April to mid-November and only on weekdays during the winter season. 

Château Ferrière

Another great winery to visit in Margaux is Château Ferrière, founded in the 18th century by a shipbroker named Gabriel Ferriere. In 1988 the château was sold to Jacques Merlaut, the owner of Château Chasse-Spleen, La Gurgue, and Haut-Bages Liberal. The Merlaut family revived the winery and produced its first vintage in 1992. Today, the château is run by the granddaughter, Claire Villars, who took over the family business after the tragic death of her parents in a car accident. 

A variety of tours are available to you at Château Ferrière, all of which include wine tasting, of course. One of their popular tours takes you through the history of the chateau while another is more focused on the agricultural aspect of wine production.

Book your tour at the Château here

Instructions:
Address: 33 bis Rue de la Tremoille, 33460 Margaux-Cantenac
How to get there from Bordeaux: take a train from Gare Saint Jean to Margaux (in the direction of le Verdon) and walk a few minutes to the winery. If you’re staying closer to the city center, take tram C, to get to the Blanquefort station instead of Gare Saint-Jean. The winery is located about 1km from the train station. 
Opening hours: During the tourist season (June to mid-October) the château is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:30 and from Monday to Friday the rest of the year. 

Château Chasse Spleen

Staying in the same family, we move north to the Paulliac area. The beautiful Château Chasse-Spleen belonged to Jacques Merlaut, one of the most important figures in the Medoc wine region. For many years it was run by his daughter, Bernadette and she’s credited for its high reputation. Today it’s managed by one of her daughters Celine Villars and her husband. The 107 hectares winery is labeled under the Moulis en Medoc, the smallest appellation in the Medoc wine region. 

The château, dating to the 16th century has a very long history before the Merlaut family acquired it. And you will hear all about it on the tour! You can also combine the classic visit with a light lunch (charcuterie, wine, and a small local dessert).
Choose and book your visit here

Château Chasse-Spleen also has a wine bar and an art gallery, which are worth a visit even if you’re don’t fancy a wine tour. 
They also have a fabulous hotel, just in case you’re looking for a romantic weekend 🙂
Check it out here

Instructions:
Address: 33 bis Rue de la Tremoille, 33460 Margaux-Cantenac
As with all the other Medoc wineries on this list, you need to take the train from Bordeaux in the Direction of Le Verdon. This time you’re getting off at the Pauillac station. The chateau is located about 15 minutes walk from there. 
Opening hours: From April 21st to November 6th and on public holidays, open 7/7
10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm.  From November to March, tours and tastings by appointment only from Monday to Friday (email at visites@chasse-spleen.com).

Visiting Graves by train 

Château de Cerons 

Château de Cerons is one of the more impressive properties on the list. It’s also one of the only wineries in the Graves region you can reach by public transport. A few other wineries in Graves are reachable by bike, but that’s for another article 🙂 

The château is a historical Chartreuse (little house) dating back to the 17th century. The winery produces both red and white dry wines and offers a range of different visits that include wine tasting, picnic baskets with regional products, and more. 

It’s one of the more kids-friendly chateaux in the region. You can rent bikes at the château and go on a beautiful rural path discovering the heritage of the village and the Garonne river. If you want to discover some other kids-friendly options, check out my dedicated list

You can book their tours here.

For picnics and bike rentals, you can check their website.

Instructions
Address: 1 Latour, 33720 Cérons
How to get there from Bordeaux: Take the TER train from Gare Saint Jean in Bordeaux to the Cerons station.  Château de Cerons is located within a 15 minutes walk from the station. 
Opening hours: Mon to Sat from May to October and Mon to Fri from November to April – by appointment only.

Wine tours from Bordeaux city

In case you’re too nervous to use public transport in Bordeaux there are a few other solutions. 

visit Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion – by lost in Bordeaux

A semi-private wine tour to Saint Emilion

There are quite a few companies offering private and semi-private tours from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion or Medoc. 

St. Emilion Village Half-Day Wine Tour

With this semi-private tour, you get to visit the village and one winery in Saint Emilion. Book it here

Saint-Émilion Food and Wine Tour

If you want a full-day trip to Saint Emilion I recommend taking the one offered by Olala Bordeaux. Their tour lasts about six hours and includes a visit to three châteaux in Saint Emilion as well as a fun picnic. Book it here

Afternoon Wine Tasting in the Medoc Region

This is a great option if you rather go to the Medoc wine region without a car. An afternoon trip taking you from Bordeaux to discover two very different wineries on the Chateaux route. One is a small family-owned winery and the other is one of Bordeaux’s more prestigious Great Classified Growth wine estates. Book the tour here

Rustic vines 

This company takes you from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion where you hop on an electric bike. That’s another really fun way to discover the religion.  See more details here

Just to conclude, visiting wineries in the Bordeaux region is a marvelous experience that you should not miss even if you don’t have a car. In this list, you have so many amazing options for chateaux reachable by public transport! Now it’s time to choose the one you like most! Enjoy!

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

*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 🙂 

There are a thousand châteaux in the Bordeaux wine region which makes it almost impossible to choose just a few when you visit this region. However, if your timing is right, you might be visiting during one of the open doors weekends taking place at the wineries of Bordeaux throughout the year. There are around 60 different appellations in the Bordeaux wine region with many of them hosting “Portes Ouvertes” (open doors) weekends at least once a year. These events are usually hosted by the wineries of each appellation and include free tastings, tours, and activities for kids.

In this article, I will be listing all the open doors weekends in the wineries in chronological order. Don’t worry If you’re visiting outside of these specific dates, many of these châteaux offer tours and tastings (by appointment). In the article, I will also recommend my favorite wineries to visit in each appellation of Bordeaux wine. The list is long so let’s go!

Most of these wineries in the Bordeaux region are reachable by car only, so if you want to learn how to visit wineries in Bordeaux by public transport, read this article

The Blaye Spring Wine Festival

The Blaye Spring Wine Festival is usually the first event to start the wine festival season in the Bordeaux region. The event takes place at the Blaye citadel at the beginning of April, bringing together more than 80 winemakers from the Blaye appellation. The program includes discovery workshops (introduction to tasting, mixing, and food and wine pairing), guided visits to the citadel, and more. For the full program and tickets click here.

In 2023 le Printemps des Vins de Blaye will be taking place on April 15-16.

Open doors in the Médoc wine region

The first open doors event of the year is always the Portes Ouvertes weekend in Medoc, taking place in April. During the festive weekend, you can visit plenty of châteaux in the Medoc region and taste some of the finest wines in the world. I usually update you about the event and the wineries you can visit in this article. This year (2023) the event takes place on April 1-2.

If you wish to make this trip an unforgettable experience, you should go on the Medoc wine road trip that includes all the wonders this area of Gironde has to offer. I personally did the Medoc wine route a few years ago and wrote a very detailed article about it, read it here

Medoc portes ouvertes - open doors in the chateaux of Bordeaux
Chateau d’Arsac

Recommended wineries in Medoc you can visit all year long 

Château du Taillan (book a visit here), which is owned by 5 sisters, is one of the closest wineries to Bordeaux. Château d’Arsac, is one of the most beautiful properties in Medoc with an extravagant display of art in its enormous gardens (book a visit here). Closer to Margaux you have the charming family-run Chateau Siran (book a visit here), Chateau Kirwan (book a visit here), or the beautiful Chateau Marquis de Terme (book a visit here). 
Discover all the wineries in the Medoc you can get to by public transport.

Open doors at Lalande de Pomerol

Another Open doors weekend in April is taking place at the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. A neighbor to the highly prestigious wines of Pomerol and Saint Emilion, this appellation produces some great wines you’d really enjoy discovering. Some of the Lalande de Pomerol properties are owned by famous wine families, such as La Fleur de Boüard, which is owned by Hubert de Boüard of Château Angélus. If you want to learn more about the Lalande de Pomerol appellation and its châteaux, click here.

Recommended wineries in Lalande de Pomerol you can visit all year long 

Château Siaurac is one of the best wineries to visit in that part of Bordeaux’s wine region (check out their website). A bit less famous but also a great estate to visit is Château Tournefeuille (Book your visit here).

Open doors in Saint-Emilion

Saint Emilion, the most famous wine appellation in Bordeaux, celebrates its open doors weekend at the beginning of May. The weekend will include many activities such as wine tastings, visits to the chateaux, games for kids, and bike rides. Check out the full program for the participating châteaux, the activities, and the wine tasting proposed for that weekend – here. You can also plan your trip to this wine region with my detailed guide to Saint Emilion.

In 2023 the open-doors weekend takes place from April 29 to May 1.

Chateau La Croizzille - portes ouvertes in Saint Emilion
Chateau La Croizzille in Saint Emilion

Recommended wineries in Saint Emilion you can visit all year long 

I tend to visit the Saint Emilion region quite often so I have many recommendations for wineries to visit there. I put some of them in my article about the best chateaux to visit in Saint Emilion
Learn about the wineries in Saint Emilion that you can visit by public transport.

Grand Crus Weekend

One of the most anticipated events in Bordeaux’s wine world is the Grand Crus Weekend that is usually taking place in June.  This event, organized by the Union des Grands Crus (the regional wine classification), aims to create an international meeting of wine lovers. The highlight of this weekend is the major wine-tasting event with more than 100 Grand Crus where you get to meet different chateaux owners. Read more about the event and the full program here. This year (2023) the event will take place on June 9-11.

If you want to visit some of the Grand Cru châteaux in Bordeaux, here are a few recommended ones:

In Saint Emilion: Chateau Franc Mayne (Book your visit here) and Chateau Beau Sejour Becot (Book your visit here).

In Pessac and Leognan: Château Larrivet Haut Brion (Book your visit here), Château Pape Clement (Book your visit here), and Château Latour Martillac (Book your visit here).

In Medoc: Château La Tour Carnet  (Book your visit here), Chateau Fourcas Hosten (Book your visit here), and Chateau de Camensac (Book your visit here). 

Open doors in the Côtes de Bourg appellation

Ô Chais is the annual open doors event taking place at the Côtes de Bourg appellation situated on the west end of the Dordogne river before it flows to the Gironde estuary. It’s less known than the renowned Saint Emilion or Medoc appellations but it’s an excellent wine you should try when visiting the Bordeaux wine region. See more details here

Château le Clos de Notaire  in Bourg
Château le Clos de Notaire

Recommended wineries in Bourg you can visit all year long 

One of my favorite châteaux in Bourg is Château le Clos de Notaire with its amazing view (see their website).

Bordeaux Wine Festival

Bordeaux Fête le Vin is the biggest wine event in Bordeaux! Once in two years in June, the banks of the Garonne river in Bordeaux are taken over by wine enthusiasts celebrating the Bordeaux wine festival. Apart from wine tastings, you should expect plenty of music, good food, and activities for kids. See more details here. In 2023 the event takes place on June 22-25. 

Sauternes Fête le vin

Sauternes is a prestigious wine area famous for its sweet white wines. This is the only wine appellation in Bordeaux that hosts two open-door events every year, one in June and the other in November. For more details click here

Recommended wineries in Sauternes you can visit all year long 

Château Guiraud is one of the most beautiful estates in Sauternes and often hosts interesting events (book your visit here). Also don’t miss the magnificent Château Lafaurie-Peyrague and its Michelin restaurant (book your visit here). Another fun option is the Château d’Arche (Book you visit here).

Open doors at the châteaux of Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux

Another smaller and less known appellation in Bordeaux wine is Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux. This appellation has a very active Maison du Vin which organizes an annual open doors event every June, with close to 50 participating chateaux.
See the list of participating Chateaux.
When there, don’t miss the beautiful Château de Cadillac, one of the most important historic monuments in Gironde. Check out other beautiful towns you can visit in that part of Gironde in my article about the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux.

Portes Ouvertes de l’Appellation Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux

Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation hosts its annual open doors event in early September and it’s usually a great event to start the Autumn with. Contrary to other appellations where you get to visit different châteaux, this one is a rather small appellation and the event usually takes place at the beautiful Château de Pitray, with many stands of smaller producers. See more info here.

Château de Pitray- Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux - open doors
Château de Pitray- Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux

Les châteaux de l’appellation Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux

Another hidden gem in Bordeaux wine is Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, located near the Blaye citadel in the north of Gironde. I already mentioned this wine appellation in the first event of the year, however, in September, there’s a real Open doors weekend where you get to visit the winemakers in their châteaux. Many of them are family-owned wineries and the visit there feels very cozy. The information about their next event will be published here

Open doors in the Chateaux of Graves

Graves is another famous sub-region of Bordeaux wine, located on the left bank of the Garonne river. It’s a huge appellation that includes within itself a few other appellations like Pessac Leognan, which often participate in the Open doors weekend as well. The event usually takes place in October with more than 70 participating chateaux. See more info here

In 2022 the event will take place on October 15-16.

If you want to visit Graves at any other time, one of the most interesting wineries to visit in that appellation is Chateau de Portets (book your tour here).

Portes ouvertes in Fronsac

Another great wine to try in Bordeaux is Fronsac & Canon Fronsac and their Portes Ouvertes is a good opportunity to do just that. The event usually takes place at the end of October with more than 30 chateaux hosting people for free tastings, guided tours, and more. One of the main events is taking place at the magnificent Château de la Rivière. The info about the next event will be published hereIn 2022 the event will take place on October 22-23.

Château de la Rivière in Fronsac - vin de Bordeaux
Château de la Rivière in Fronsac

Recommended wineries in Fronsac you can visit all year long 

Château de la Rivière is probably one of the most interesting wineries to visit in the region (Book your tour here) however there are other great places to visit such as Chateau de la Dauphine with its impressive vat room (book your visit here) and Chateau George 7 with their fun summer terrace (see all the info here). 

Open doors in the Chateaux of Sauternes et Barsac

The second event of Sauternes et Barsac wine appellations takes place in November. This wine area is famous for its sweet white wines and some of the chateaux look like historic monuments and are worth a visit. You can find the full program here closer to the event. 

Recommended wineries in Sauternes you can visit all year long 

Château Guiraud is one of the most beautiful estates in Sauternes and often hosts interesting events (book your visit here). Also, don’t miss the magnificent Château Lafaurie-Peyrague and its Michelin restaurant (book your visit here). Another fun option is the Château d’Arche (Book you visit here). Another amazing vineyard to visit in Barsac is Chateau de Myrat (book your visit here).

Portes Ouvertes in Pomerol

Pomerol is probably the most prestigious wine appellation in the Bordeaux wine region, however, for some reason, its Open doors weekend is not as well known as the other ones. The event usually takes place at the end of October and it’s a rather straightforward one. Most of their chateaux don’t offer tours or special activities during the event because they really only want you to taste their wine. But it’s Pomerol, so amazing wine is guaranteed! The list of the participating chateaux is usually published here.
In 2022 the event will take place on November 20.

Château Beauregard - Pomerol- portes ouvertes
Château Beauregard – Pomerol

Recommended wineries in Pomerol you can visit all year long 

Château Beauregard has one of the most impressive Vat rooms I have ever seen and is one of the best places to visit in Pomerol (see info about visits here). Château de Sales is another magnificent chateau to visit, and they offer many different activities on and around their property (book a visit here)

les Journées Gourmandes Loupiac & Foie Gras

les Journées Gourmandes Loupiac & Foie Gras is a great opportunity to get familiar with the sweet wines of Loupaic, meet the farmers of the department, and taste their gourmet production. The event always takes place on the last weekend of November. See the list of participants here.  

In 2022 the event will take place on November 26-27.

Open Doors in the Châteaux of Pessac-Léognan

The Pessac-Léognan appellation is usually the one closing the year with its Open doors weekend in December. This event includes tens of wineries that offer wine tastings, tours, gourmet food, and activities for kids. All the information about the event is published on this website. Pessac is a beautiful little town near Bordeaux so if you want to spend the day there, check out my article about it

In 2022 the event will take place on December 3-4.

Chateau pape Clement Pessac
Chateau pape Clement

Recommended wineries in Pessac and Leognan you can visit all year long 

Château Larrivet Haut Brion (Book your visit here), Château Pape Clement (Book your visit here), and Château Latour Martillac (Book your visit here), as well as the renowned Château les Carmes Haut-Brion (info about visits here).

See other wineries in Pessac Leognan reachable by public transport from Bordeaux.

I gave you a lot of information to process hoping it will help you choose the best time to come to Bordeaux. If you’re interested in more events taking place in Bordeaux, don’t forget to check out my monthly lists and also subscribe to my newsletter where I update you about all the best things to do in Bordeaux and the region every weekend. 

Cheers everyone! 

*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 🙂

Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely 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 to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

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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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 (Click here to find a car for your trip).

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:

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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

The Sauternes and Barsac wine AOC is a small segment of the Bordeaux wine region where sweet white wine is produced. And while Bordeaux is mostly renowned for its red wine, the Sauternes appellation is actually one of the most prestigious wines in the world attracting many tourists traveling to Bordeaux.

There are many options when it comes to visiting the vineyards of Sauternes, everything from small family-owned wineries to big producers settled in stunning châteaux. If you have limited time in Bordeaux, knowing which wineries to visit isn’t always obvious and that’s where my article comes in handy. In this article, I gathered all the wineries I enjoyed visiting in Sauternes and Barsac, including the touristic experiences they offer. 

It’s important to know that most wineries ask you to book your visit in advance (even though some might offer you a spontaneous tour), that’s why I included a link to book a tour next to every château mentioned in this article. Public transport in this region is not very developed so you will need a car in order to get from Bordeaux to Sauternes and visit wineries, here you can find some good offers.
If renting a car is not something you plan to do, here are a few wineries in the Bordeaux region you can visit by public transport.

If you like Bordeaux wine, you should also check out my articles about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion and the Medoc wine route, two of the other famous wine areas in Bordeaux.

What you need to know about Sauternes wine

The Sauternes (and Barsac) appellation covers five small villages in the South of Gironde: Sauternes, Barsac, Preignac, Fargues, and Bommes located between two rivers, the Garonne and the Ciron. Sauternes wine owes its rich taste to Botrytis Cinerea, a fungus found on the grapes in this small part of Gironde. In Autumn, a morning mist is created when the cold water of the Ciron river meets the warm water of the larger Garonne, stimulating the formation of a fungus, also known as noble rot. 

In order to achieve the sweet taste, only the ripe grapes are picked up, which makes the harvesting process longer and more complicated. But that’s also what makes the visit to Sauternes so interesting. 

Wineries not to miss in Sauternes and Barsac

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey – the fancy winery

The Sauternes oped doors weekend introduced me to the Lafaurie-Peyraguey winery, which back then I chose to go to mostly based on how impressive the château was.

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in Bomme is one of the oldest chateaux in the region, dating back to the 13th century. The Château with its 18.5 hectares is located on a hill, 70 m above sea level, just next to its prestigious neighbor Château d’Yquem. It is also one of the most esteemed wineries in the Sauternes wine region, recognized as a Sauternes Premier Grand Cru Classé in the 1855 classification.

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey is open every day (10:00 – 19:00) in the high season and from Thursday to Monday (10:00 – 18:00) in the low season. You can visit the winery by appointment only.

You can book your tour in Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey here

However, this beautiful place is more than a winery! The Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 5 stars Hotel was opened in 2018, receiving a Michelin star for its Lalique restaurant in its first year. Since then it became a must-stop for those looking for a luxurious experience in the Bordeaux wine region. If you’re looking for an idea for a romantic weekend, this one is definitely a great option. Book a stay here

Château d’Arche

Another chateau I had the chance to visit this year is château d’Arche. The 50-hectare winery in the Sauternes village dates back to the 17th century and has one of the most beautiful views of both the vineyards and the little church of Sauternes. The visit itself takes place at their modern facility where you will find the vat room, tasting room, and a beautiful shop. Just across the road you will find the beautiful 17th-century house where their hotel is located.  

Château d’Arche is open daily all year long and offers many touristic experiences. One is the discovery visit of the Sauternes wine, a tour that takes about an hour and includes an explanation of the Sauternes-making process. On this visit you get to see their cellars and vineyards and taste 3 different wines of the chateaux – you can book the visit here

Château d'Arche - one of the best wineries to visit in Sauternes
View from Château d’Arche

If you want something more active, you can also rent an electric bike at the chateau for a day/ half day, stroll around Sauternes admiring the view, and then finish with wine tasting at the chateau. If you’re mainly interested in wine tasting, book their workshop where you’ll learn to better understand the characteristics of the different wines the château offers. See other activities offered by Château d’Arche here.

If you’re planning to discover several wineries in the region, you could also stay the night in Château d’Arche. Book your stay here.

Château Guiraud

Château Guiraud is one of the biggest wineries in the Sauternes and Barsac AOC, spreading over 128 hectares. The winery, specializing in biodiversity, is classified as Premier Cru Classé (first growth) in the original classification of 1855. 

Château Guiraud is renowned for the many touristic activities and events it has been offering in the past 30 years. There are two English tours you can do on a regular basis. A tasting tour where you’ll learn all about their wine-making process and compare different vintages. The other is a more active tour where you take an electric bike from the château and use a special app to discover the property. Book their tours here

Château Guiraud one of the best wineries to visit in Suaternes
Château Guiraud

Château de Rayne Vigneau

Le Château de Rayne Vigneau in Bommes is another one of my favorite wineries to visit in Sauternes. Imagine yourself sipping wine at a bar in a beautiful little château, glancing at a sea of vines from the top of a hill, that’s what a visit to Château de Rayne Vigneau feels like. 

The château is positioned at the center of a single-block vineyard of 84 hectares and was labeled as 1er Grand Cru Classé de Sauternes in the original 1855 classification, making it one of the top wines of Sauternes. 

Rayne Vigneau is known for being very welcoming to tourists and will usually offer wine tastings even if you didn’t book a visit in advance (even though I always recommend doing so in case there’s a surge of visitors). In addition to their classic tours, Château de Rayne Vigneau offers fun activities like wine tasting on a tree, an escape game, and a trip around Sauternes on an electric scooter. See all the details here

The winery is open daily from April to November and is closed on Sunday during low season.

Château de Rayne Vigneau
The cellar of Château de Rayne Vigneau

Château de Myrat

Château de Myrat is located in Barsac and it’s one of the wineries I love to recommend to families visiting the Bordeaux wine region

The Château dates back to 1700 but since 1937 is owned by the famous Pontac family. Apart from their great wine and the beautiful property, what makes the visit fun for kids is the cute animal garden, with chickens, rabbits, dogs, and more. See more details about the château here

Château de Myrat is open for visits every day, upon appointment only. Here’s the email to contact and book: myrat@chateaudemyrat.fr

Château de Myrat
Château de Myrat

Château Filhot

Château Filhot, another Grand Cru Classé winery, is one of the most impressive castles in the Sauternes AOC.  The chateau was built by Romain de Filhot, an advisor to the Bordeaux Parliament in 1709, and has stayed in the family since. It’s one of the biggest estates in the region, covering 350 hectares with 65 hectares of vineyards in the village of Sauternes. Château Filhot is also known for its stunning English park, created by Bernard Fischer in 1845. 

The winery offers tours without prior appointment from Monday to Friday, although I recommend booking in advance if you want a tour in English. If you’re planning to visit on weekends, booking is required, here’s the email to contact the château: filhot@filhot.com

See opening hours and more information about the winery on their site

Château Filhot
Château Filhot

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 where I publish a weekly ‘what to do’ newsletter, 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 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

*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 🙂