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Lège-Cap-Ferret is a narrow peninsula that sits on the western part of Arcachon Bay about an hour or two drive from Bordeaux, depending on traffic. Albeit its growing popularity, notably among Parisians, Cap Ferret managed to keep its raw atmosphere of simplicity and tranquility. The area consists of twelve little villages, one of them being the town of Cap Ferret, located in the south part of the peninsula. Its position between the bay and the Ocean turns it into an amazing place for a summer vacation with tens of small village beaches and wilder ones on the ocean side.

In this article, I’ll help you discover the most beautiful beaches in Cap Ferret. It’s important to note that during the low tide, it’s impossible to swim on the bay side and it’s thus very important to check out the tide hours before going. Here’s a site where you can see when the tide is high enough to enjoy the beach.

The best beaches in Cap Ferret
The best beaches in Cap Ferret – by lost in Bordeaux

If you have a few days to spend in Arcachon I have two other articles you might want to read. One is about all the best places to visit in Arcachon Bay and the other is a detailed guide for visiting Arcachon (the town) and the dune

One last thing before we start, traffic to Cap Ferret can be quite heavy, especially in the summer. So you can either try to get there as early as possible or stay the night :). If you love camping check out my article about the most recommended camping sites in Cap Ferret. If camping is not your thing, here are a few recommended hotels in Cap Ferret: Domaine du Ferret Balnéo & Spa in the north part of the peninsula, the 4- star hotel Hôtel Côté Sable in the center of Cap Ferret town, or Les Chambres du Phare, a beautiful bed and breakfast, located near the lighthouse of Cap Ferret. 

You can also rent a house near the beach, here are two recommendations: Cabane Japajo, a wooden cabin on the beach of le Four, or this rental unit in Claouey. Both are located in cute villages in the north of the peninsula. 

Now let’s dive into the most beautiful beaches in Cap Ferret

The best beaches in Lège Cap Ferret

La Plage des Américains

La Plage des Américains - cap ferret
La Plage des Américainsby lost in Bordeaux

Visiting the peninsula, many people go straight to Cap Ferret, which is the largest village in Lege Cap Ferret. You can find a number of nice beaches here, including the central one, but the best one in my opinion, is the Plage des Americains. This little piece of heaven is located a few minutes’ walk from jetée de Belisaire, the pier of Cap Ferret.  The narrow beach with its beautiful water and the forest behind it will immediately put you in a state of tranquility. It feels like nothing in the world could bother you here. When the tide is low you can get there walking on the beach from the main pier of Cap Ferret. 

Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux

Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux - beach in Cap Ferret
Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux – lost in Bordeaux

One of the most popular beaches in Cap Ferret is Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux. The beach is located right next to a little oyster-port and you can see plenty of pinasses (oyster farming boats) floating on the calm waters of the bay. When the tide is low you can enjoy a beautiful walk on the beach and then continue into the foresty route located at the southern part of the beach. If you continue to ’avenue de la Pointe aux Chevaux’ you will reach a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the beach. 

Finish your day with a plate of oysters at La Dégust du Grand Coin, which is located right on the beach. The beach is located between the two port-towns of Grand Piquey and Petit Piquey. Access to the beach is easier from the latter.  

And here’s a pro tip from me, make the effort to get there early in the morning to see the amazing sunrise. If you’re not an early bird, you can do it in the winter when the sun rises after 8 am. 

Plage de la Truquette

Plage de la Truquette - hidden gem in Cap Ferret
Plage de la Truquette -by lost in Bordeaux

Plage de la Truquette is a little hidden gem located right to the north of Plage de la Pointe aux Chevaux. The beach is tucked in Foret Dromanile de la Lege et Garonne, so the access there goes through the forest. It’s one of the rawest beaches in Cap Ferret with solely the pine forest in the background. 

Another way to access it would be through the little oyster port of Petit Piquey, Les Parcs de l’Impératrice. Park the car at the oyster park and walk through the Impasse des Pecheurs to get to the beach.

This beach is located in Petit Piquey which has plenty of cute little shops on its main road. 

Plage de l’Herbe

L'herbe - one of the most beautiful villages in Cap Ferret
l’Herbe – by Lost in Bordeaux

L’Herbe is definitely my favorite place on Bassin d’Arcachon. Nothing matches the charm of this little village with its colorful oyster farmers’ cabins. Along the shore, you can find a handful of little oyster cabins where you can eat fresh oysters accompanied by white dry wine. 

In the north of the village, you’ll find the main beach, Plage de l’Herbe. It’s a small beach with a few vacation houses of people that are coming here every year. It’s one of the most kids-friendly beaches on Bassin d’Arcachon with plenty of space for them to run around even when the tide is high. 

When you go to l’Herbe you must do the little trail to the upper part of the village and enjoy the view of the cabins from the top. To go up, take the stairs from the southern part of the beach (just next to the public toilets ).

The best beaches in Cap Ferret – Ocean side 

Plage Du Truc Vert

Plage Du Truc Vert - on the Atlantic ocean
Plage Du Truc Vert – by lost in Bordeaux

Surfers’ favorite, le Truc Vert is one of the wildest beaches in the region. This beach is so long that if you walk far enough, you’ll have the beach all for yourself.   

The beach is located on the ocean side of Cap Ferret and you have to walk a bit to get there. Park your car in the forest near the Truc Vert camping. Then cross the route Forestiere du Truc Vert and walk along the path to the Truc Vert beach. 

If you have little kids who hate walking (like mine do) I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going there. Otherwise, it’s a perfect beach for surfers and anyone who loves the ocean and long walks on the beach. 

Plage du Grand Crohot

Grand Crohot beach is located on the Ocean side of the Cap Ferret peninsula. As opposed to the calm water on the side of the Bassin d’Arcachon, on the ocean side, the waves are strong, making it a surfing paradise. This beautiful white sand beach attracts both kite surfers and families that love to swim in the ocean.  In the summer the beach tends to be quite busy and sometimes parking can be an issue so try to come early. If you’re coming with kids, this beach is supervised during the summer. The beach is located in the north part of the peninsula which makes it a good choice if you want to avoid the heavy traffic of Lege Cap Ferret. 

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret
Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret – by lost in Bordeaux

Plage de la Pointe Cap Ferret is located at the most southern point of the Cap Ferret Peninsula which makes it one of the most special places in Arcachon. Due to its position, you can see both the ocean and the famous Dune du Pilat on the other side of the Bay. The beach is quite isolated and requires a bit of a walk to get to. 
It’s important to note that due to the strong current of the bay it’s considered quite dangerous for swimming. Also, due to the erosion of the Cap Ferret point, the beach can be closed to the public from time to time. However, when open, it’s one of the most beautiful beaches in our region. 

Need more ideas for things to do in and around Bordeaux? you should definitely join my newsletter with where I share all the best events in the region and all my other Bordeaux discoveries. I send an email every Fiiday in the afternoon– sign up here.

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

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

*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 🙂 

The Bordeaux wine route is one of the most visited attractions in the southwest of France. It’s actually not one but five different wine trails around Bordeaux and one of them is the beautiful Medoc region. “Route des chateaux” is the unofficial name of this magnificent wine trail, which combines nature, history, and culture in one beautiful road. If you have more than a day to spend on a wine trip in Bordeaux, you should definitely consider Medoc. In two days, you can see a wealth of beautiful chateaux, taste some of the best wines in the world, go to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean and enjoy the local cuisine. The list of things to do in Medoc is quite long and you can easily turn it into a weeklong vacation if you like. However, as most people go to Medoc for a weekend, I decided to write a two-day itinerary. I tried to cover the most important things to do and places to visit in the Medoc Peninsula, so apart from wine-related activities I also included recommendations of beautiful villages to visit, beaches, markets, hotels, restaurants, and more. I truly hope this article will help you plan your wine trip in the area and will make you fall in love with the marvelous region of Medoc.

If you’re interested in doing more than just one wine route while in Bordeaux, you should check my list of châteaux to visit in Saint Emilion

The Medoc wine region in numbers

The Medoc wine region consists of eight appellations (AOC) covering 16,500 hectares, which include Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Margaux, Pauillac, Saint Julien, Saint-Estéphe, Moulis and Listrac. The Medoc wine is classified according to the Bordeaux wine official classification of 1855 with five levels of Grand cru classé, Premier cru classé being the highest of the five. There are five chateaux classified as Premier cru classé in the Bordeaux area, four of them being in the Medoc area: Château Margaux, Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour and Château Mouton Rothschild. The fifth one is Château Haut-Brion from the Graves wine area. Visiting the Medoc Premier cru chateaux can be complicated as they are usually open only to professionals or by appointment. But you don’t really need these four to make it an unforgettable trip. There are 60 Grand cru classé wineries, craft and cooperative chateaux, and many other incredible wine chateaux that you can visit on the Medoc route. Now it’s time to discover them, so let’s dive into the two-day itinerary in the Medoc wine route. 

Day one – Châteaux along the Medoc wine road

Start your day from Bordeaux on the D2 road, which is essentially the famous wine road called “Route des châteaux”. It starts at Blanquefort and continues all the way to the top of the Medoc Peninsula. All along the D2 road, you will pass through tens of km of vineyards and châteaux and through towns like Margaux and Pauillac, names you may know from the labels of Bordeaux’s wine bottles. The Medoc wine route is beautiful and you will enjoy it even if you don’t plan to taste any wine at all. Take your time to admire (and take photos of) the breathtaking châteaux that you will randomly see by the road. Some of them are so magical that you start feeling as if you’re on a movie set.

For the full wine route experience, you need to actually visit one or several wineries and taste their wines. However, as you will witness, there are so many of them on the D2 road that choosing one or two to visit is practically impossible without some guidance.

While I recommend renting a car to visit the Medoc wine area, you have quite a few chateaux in this region you can visit by public transport.

Visiting a château in Medoc – how to go on a wine tour?

Visiting a wine château in Medoc is a marvelous experience providing you with a glimpse into winemaking in one of the most prestigious wine areas in the world. Most guided visits in the wineries will start with a tour of the properties, many of which carry historic value. Often this includes the story of a wine-making family over several generations. Some châteaux also hold little art museums with family collections. Others display impressive exhibitions of art in their gardens or even in the cellars themselves. In some cases, the property won’t be very impressive but the warm welcome of the family will make it an unforgettable visit. 

Chateau Siran
Château Siran private collection – by lost in Bordeaux

The second part of the visit deals with the wine itself. You get to visit the vineyards and hear the characteristics of different types of grapes and blends. In most tours, you will continue to the cellars and see some old and new techniques of winemaking. And there’s always the fun part, the tastings, where you get to taste two or three different wines of the château. 

There are many wineries that welcome visitors to their wineries but it’s important to know that they usually require prior reservations for the tour. However, if you come spontaneously and ask to have a quick look at the property and taste some wine, many of them will happily welcome you inside (if they’re not in the middle of a tour). Don’t try to run and see tens of chateaux, there are just too many of them, just take your time to enjoy a few. I recommend visiting two or three châteaux just for the sake of comparison. 

Here are a few of my recommended wineries to visit in Medoc that are not far from Bordeaux

Chateau du Taillan (book a visit here) which is owned by 5 sisters, is one of the closest wineries to Bordeaux.
Chateau d’Arsac, 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 itself you have the charming family-run Chateau Siran (book a visit here) and Chateau Kirwan (book a visit here). 
If you prefer to go on a tour with a guide, here’s a great wine tour company that will take you on a half-day tour, with two winery visits – click here for all the details.

Chateau d'Arsac
Château d’Arsac by Lost in Bordeaux

The town of Margeaux

Margaux isn’t very impressive on its own, but there are several reasons for a quick stop there during your trip. The first one is Mademoiselle de Margaux, a chocolate shop and factory with chocolates you can find only in the region. The factory was created in Margaux in 1969 and produces delicious chocolates that are inspired by wine. If you’re looking for an original present to bring back home from Medoc, this is one of the best options. Also, Margaux is home to one of the most famous châteaux in the world, Château Margaux. They don’t offer visits to individuals but you can still take a walk around some of their facilities and see the magnificent mansion through the gate. If it’s lunchtime, there are a few restaurants in the center. Remember, in France all the restaurants close for a break at 14:00 so try not to miss the lunch slot!

Pauillac

Next on our route du vin is Paulliac, one of the main wine destinations in the Bordeaux area. It’s a very nice town with a charming riverfront where you’ll find plenty of restaurants. If you want to stop for a nice meal of mussels and wine, Les Moules du Cabanon on the riverfront is the perfect place. Pauillac is also home to the famous Café Lavinal, one of the most renowned dining institutions in the area. If you wish to discover the traditional food of Medoc, this is the place for you. 

Château cos d'estournel on the Bordeaux wine route
Château cos d’Estournel by Lost in Bordeaux

After lunch, head to the Tourist Office and the Maison du Vin which is located on the riverfront. Contrary to many tourist offices, this one is a very informative resource for all you can do in the area. They have recently launched a new interactive activity for kids and adults where you get to practice your wine-smelling skills. They can also advise you on the closest wineries to visit in the afternoon.

Wineries to visit in Medoc – neat Pauillac

There are plenty of impressive chateaux to see in the northern area of Medoc, both in Pauillac, Saint Julien, and Saint-Estéphe. Some of the most impressive and interesting ones are Château Beychevelle, Château Cos d’Estournel, Château Lamothe Bergeron (book your visit here) Château La Tour de By, Château la Tour Carnet (you can book your visit here), Château Lafon-Rochet and Château Pichon Longueville Baron. As mentioned above, many of the wineries require you to book the visits in advance.

If you have only one day to dedicate to visiting the Bordeaux wine region, you go on a tour that takes you to both Medoc and Saint Emilion – see the details here.

Château Loudenne for a special experience!

Château Loudenne was one of my favorite experiences in the region. It’s a 17th-century mansion, known as château rose, the pink house, which you get to explore during the visit.  The château is located almost at the end of the wine route and is the only château in Medoc that has a private port, with a beautiful view of the Garonne Estuary. Apart from the impressive property, they have a beautiful garden where you can take a walk after tasting their divine wine. They offer two free tours at 11 am and 2 pm during the tourist period and will welcome you without reservation when it’s less busy.

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

If you arrive for the morning visit (11 am) you can spend the whole day at the château. They offer an amazing picnic basket (which you should order ahead) so if the weather is nice you can have a picnic on the river banks. There are boats that pass by the port several times a week, proposing a guided tour of the Gironde estuary. Book the boat tour on the same day as it will depend on the tide. Chateau Loudenne is open from Tuesday to Saturday, check out their contact details on their website.

Have dinner at the Port of Saint Vivien de Medoc 

The northern part of the Medoc peninsula is a magical place most travelers don’t get to see. Starting from Château Loudenne the vineyard landscape starts to change into a completely different scenario of little ports on the Gironde Estuary. Several little port villages lay between the last châteaux and Le Verdon Sur Mer, the northernmost point of Medoc. One that I found especially charming was Saint Vivien de Medoc, a cute little port with several restaurants and bars perched along the river. My favorite one was la Cabane du Port, a charming tapas bar with comfy chairs, great food, and a great view of the docking boats. The Kayak Café is also great for a more substantial meal. 

The port of Saint Vivien de Medoc
The port of Saint Vivien de Medoc by Lost in Bordeaux

Visit Phare de Richard and the traditional fishing houses

Phare de Richard is an old lighthouse turned into a nice museum telling the story of the Estuary and the fishing industry around it. If you come during the opening hours you can climb to the top and see a beautiful view of the Estuary. However, the site is worth a visit even without entering the lighthouse just to see the Carrelets, the traditional fishing cabins. The site also has a very nice picnic area with a small playground for kids.

 Carrelets in Medoc
Carrelets in Medoc by Lost in Bordeaux

Second Day – from wine to the ocean – discovering Medoc Atlantic

Soulac Sur Mer – the Arcachon of Medoc

This charming little town is one of the highlights of the Medoc region, located at the very top of the Medoc Atlantique, about 90 km (55 miles) from Bordeaux. Soulac sur Mer looks like a little Arcachon, with the city center resembling Ville d’été and the impressive 18th-century villas have a similar architectural style to Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon (For more details about Arcachon click here).

Soulac has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, attracting many French tourists to the area. There are plenty of cute little restaurants both in the center and on the promenade. Seafood is a very important part of the local cuisine and so many restaurants will serve oysters and large shrimp. While there, don’t forget to visit the amazing covered market of the region that sells all the delicacies of the area. Also, if you want to stop for a coffee, Livres Et Cornets is a cute chic cafe on the main pedestrian street. 

Soulac sur mer
Soulac sur mer by Lost in Bordeaux

Sunday Market at Montalivet les Bains

The Montalivet market is not to be missed if you happen to be there on Sunday morning. This is one of the biggest markets in the area, hosting more than 200 merchants all year long. Here you will find all the delicacies of the region, the Medoc wine, oysters from Cap Ferret and Île de Ré, cheese from the Basque country, and more. But the real attraction of the market is the oyster stands where plenty of people gather to sip white wine accompanied by this local delicacy. By 11 am it gets really crowded so try to make it as early as possible. 

The Montalivet market
The Montalivet market by Lost in Bordeaux

Due to its location on the Atlantic coast, Montalivet les Bains became a popular destination for surfers. The city center, which is located close to the main beach, looks like a typical surf resort town with plenty of surf and water equipment shops. All along the main street, restaurant owners will invite you to have a drink or lunch on their terraces.

The highlight for me was the gallery café, located just in front of the market, which is both a very chic coffee place and a vintage shop. They serve delicious fresh food and it’s a perfect spot for a brunch. The address is 49 Avenue Brémontier, 33930 Vendays-Montalivet.  If you’re traveling with kids, this town can be a nice break for lunch but I didn’t find the beach very kids-friendly. 

Visit Vertheuil – an old beautiful village

If you’re done with wine and the ocean (if that’s at all possible) there’s one last stop to make on the way back from your Bordeaux wine route. Vertheuil is probably one of the most charming little towns in the Medoc area. It’s located somewhere in the middle of the peninsula so it can be on your way whether you still have some wineries to visit or want to go back straight to Bordeaux.  It’s a very small village surrounding the Abbey of Vertheuil that dates back to the 12th century (and was reconstructed in the 18th century). At the back of the Abbey, there’s a lovely garden with a terrace cafe and even a little playground for kids. The Abbaye of Vertheuil is open from Tuesday to Sunday in the afternoon in July and August. 

the Abbey of Vertheuil
The Abbey of Vertheuil by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re hungry there’s a nice little Italian restaurant right in the center of the village called Casa Trogarra.

Where to stay in the Medoc area?

There are plenty of accommodation options in the Medoc area, you just have to decide on the setting and view. You can spend a night in the vineyards and enjoy the calm atmosphere, sleep in gorgeous chateaux on the Route des chateaux or have a more lively vibe in the center of Soulac sur Mer. Here are some good options:

Hotels in Medoc

Château de l’Isle

An exceptional bed and breakfast in a beautiful 18th-century house, located between Margaux and the two lakes of Medoc Lacanau and Hourtin. Breakfast is served outside in the beautiful garden, just next to the pool. They provide their guests with bikes so you can even enjoy a bicycle ride in the vineyards of Medoc. They have only four rooms in the chateau so try and book as early as possible. 
Book it here

Relais de Margaux

A 4-star hotel located in a beautiful 19th-century chateau in the heart of the Margaux vineyards in Médoc.  The hotel has beautiful and spacious rooms and offers a spa and an outdoor pool. There’s also a golf course but it’s currently closed for renovation. 
Book it here

Sleeping in a wine Chateau

You’re traveling on the wine road so why not make your hotel part of the journey and stay in one of the wine-producing chateaux that also offer accommodations? Here are some options:

Hotel Rollan de By

A beautiful 3 stars hotel located in one of the most gorgeous areas in the Medoc, between the vineyards and the Gironde Estuary. The hotel is quite close to the little ports I’ve mentioned above meaning you have a lot of options for dinner. Rollan de By is an active winery so you can have a wine tour and tastings while staying at the chateau, how great is that?
Book it here

Château du Tertre

chateau-du-Tertre
credit Chateau-du-Tertre

This is a beautiful guesthouse, located in a 19th-century mansion. The rooms are elegantly decorated and have a view of the vineyards of the estate. You also get a free tour of the château and the cellars, which are quite remarkable. This is the closest hotel to Bordeaux, so if you want to visit Bordeaux and the Medoc area without changing your accommodation, this is a great option. 
Book it here

Château La Tour Carnet

If you want to feel like you’re staying in a real castle, this is your best option. Château La Tour Carnet is a famous winery located in one of Médoc’s oldest estates, a former medieval fortress. The chateau’s room decoration highly contributes to the amazing experience. There are only two rooms in the chateau so it’s almost private. The stay here is not cheap but it’s truly exceptional!
Book it here 

Château Pierre de Montignac 

This is a simple and more affordable place if you want to stay in a wine chateau. The rooms are comfortable and clean and you get a nice breakfast in the morning. And you even get a gift bottle as a gift 🙂
Book it here

Soulac sur mer – for a more lively stay

Au cœur de la station et de la plage 

A charming apartment in the center of Soulac sur Mer, just a few minutes walk from the main beach.
Book it here

Villa Le Cid 

A guest house in one of Soulac’s most beautiful villas. The rooms are quite simple but the house is incredible and the staff is amazing. It’s located a few minutes walk from the market of Soulac.
Book it here

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in Bordeaux. To help you 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 find your preferred location.

Lost in Bordeaux helps you enjoy the city and region in many ways so be sure to follow us on facebook/Instagram for more daily updates on things to do and see. Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

Enjoy Medoc!!

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

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

Before we start, if you have only one day in Bordeaux, check out my article about what to do and see on a one-day trip – read it here. Also, if you want to get lost in Bordeaux with me, check out the dates of my group tours in Bordeaux. And last but not least, check out my Travel in the Southwest of France group on Facebook for many more tips. Now let’s start! 

Best things to do in Bordeaux and its surroundings 

Admire the stunning gates of Bordeaux

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

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

The Famous Water Mirror

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

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

Taste Canelé 

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

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

Stop for a coffee

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

Check out my video about Café Eriu

Bike along the Garonne river

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

Go to the Capucins Market 

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

capucins market in Bordeaux

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

Drink at the Bacalan market

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

See the best exhibitions at the Base Sous-Marine

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

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

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

Cité du Vin – the world’s biggest wine museum

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

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

Visit Bordeaux’s real wine museum

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

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

See a concert at the Opera of Bordeaux 

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

Opera house of Bordeaux
Opera house of Bordeaux

Classic music concert at the auditorium

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

Go to the CIBC for Bordeaux wine tasting

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

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

L’intendant – the wine library of Bordeaux

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

Explore the Saint Michel neighborhood

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

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

Sunday flea and Antique Market

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

Discover Bordeaux’s amazing street art

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

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

L’entrepôt Saint Germain – the best vintage shop

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

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

Time for chocolate!

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

Do a picnic in Jardin public

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

Freep’show – a funky vintage shop

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

second hand shops in Bordeaux

Have a delicious meal 

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

Discover one of the most charming streets in Bordeaux

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

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

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

Discover the oldest boulangerie in Bordeaux

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

Eat oysters at the Sunday Market

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

See a concert on the Iboat

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

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

Buy cheese 

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

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

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

Try the best patisseries

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

Don’t miss the main Cathedral of Bordeaux 

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

Shopping of course!

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

A day trip to Saint Emilion 

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

You can get there by train but I recommend renting a car for a better experience – click here for car rentals. Here’s a list of the recommended chateaux to visit by public transport in case you still want to go by train.

what to do in Saint emilion

See a movie in Utopia

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

Do a cocktails night 

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

Mama shelter bordeaux
Mama Shelter

Take a boat ride on the Garonne 

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

Darwin

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

Darwin in Bordeaux
Darwin

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

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

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

See a beautiful view from Parc de L’ermitage

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

Go to the beach

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

begles plage

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

Palais Galien

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

Palais Galien
Palais Galien

Buy French alcohol 

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

Visit the Natural history museum 

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

Natural history museum in Bordeaux

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

Visit wineries by tram 

The Bordeaux wine region has thousands of wine châteaux spread all over the Gironde department. Luckily there are several great wineries within the Bordeaux metropole you can visit by tram or by bus and I have a full article about it.
Here are two chateaux on my list that I particularly like:
Château Pape Clément in Pessac
Take line B to Pessac Centre and then continue for 20 minutes by foot or take a direct bus from Place Tourny in Bordeaux (line 4). You can book the tour online – just click here.
Château du Taillan in Le Taillan-Médoc
You can reach it by bus line 5N from Place Tourny in Bordeaux.
For more info click here.

Chateau pape Clement Pessac
Chateau pape Clement

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

Librairie Mollat – one of the oldest bookstores in France

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

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

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

Parc Majolan
Parc Majolan

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

Climb the Dune du Pilat for a magnificent view

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

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

Discover the oyster-farming villages of Cap Ferret

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

Arcachon bay - a day trip from Bordeaux

A day trip to Pessac 

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

Visit the chateau of Montesquieu

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

Château de la Brede
Château de la Brede

See contemporary art in a beautiful building 

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

Taste the delicious dunes blanches

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

dunes blanches
Dunes Blanches

Where to stay in Bordeaux 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bordeaux is a very lively city with plenty of restaurants, boutiques and interesting places to visit. So if you want to fully enjoy all this city has to offer, choosing the right hotel or apartment location is crucial. The most vibrant and central neighborhood in Bordeaux is Saint Pierre and if you don’t have a tight budget or other constraints (kids, noise, vicinity to the train station, etc.) it’s a great area to stay in. But you shouldn’t limit yourself to Saint Pierre, there are lots of good neighborhoods in Bordeaux. In this guide, I’ll help you discover the best areas to stay in Bordeaux: lively neighborhoods, hipster districts and the best areas for families visiting the city. I also added a few recommended hotels to some of my district descriptions in case you’re not an Airb&b kind of person 🙂 If you need more recommendations for hotels in the city center, check out my post about the best hotels in Bordeaux for every budget. Let’s dive in!


Booking.com

Central Areas in Bordeaux

Saint Pierre and Saint Paul – The historic center of Bordeaux

Saint Pierre and Saint Paul districts represent the historic heart of the city. These are the most vibrant and lively areas in Bordeaux, where you stroll by paved narrow streets, charming squares and several famous monuments (the Miroir d’eau, place de la Bourse and others). it’s also the heart of the gastronomic scene in Bordeaux, with plenty of amazing restaurants, cocktail bars and hip cafés. Many are concentrated around the Place Fernand Lafargue, especially on rue Saint James. In Saint Pierre, almost every street has a good restaurant, but the best bars are on rue Parlement Saint Pierre and rue Parlement Sainte Catherine.

The neighborhoods are bounded by the Opera of Bordeaux from the north and rue Victor Hugo from the South. Going east you can enjoy a pleasant stroll on the gorgeous promenade of the Garonne River. The western border of the historic center is marked by rue Sainte Catherine, the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe hosting all the main retail stores as well as several smaller boutiques.

You can find plenty of Airbnb apartments in this area but they will usually be more expensive. Also, you should know that some of the streets can be a bit noisy at night.
There are lots of little hotels in this touristy area. If you’re looking for something very simple but with good value for money I recommend staying at Hôtel Acanthe. Another good option is the Quality hotel, which is a very nice 3- star hotel.
You can see more recommendations for hotels in the Saint Pierre district in my post about the best places to stay in Bordeaux.  

Pey Berland and Meriadeck – the administrative district of Bordeaux

Bordering the historic center is the Pey Berland neighborhood, home to the main Cathedral of Bordeaux, Saint André and the city hall (Hotel du Ville). This is one of Bordeaux’s central neighborhoods located within a walking distance from all the main monuments in Bordeaux. Pey Berland is also known as the museum district of Bordeaux with several good museums worth visiting: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design and the Musée d’Aquitaine (a regional history museum).

Musee des beaux arts in Bordeaux
Musee des beaux arts in Bordeaux

This district is also a hub for the new wave of hip quality cafés emerging around Bordeaux such as SIP, The Blacklist, l’Alchimiste and Gusco. If Sainte Catherine left you hungry for more shopping, this district will not disappoint you. Plenty of clothing boutiques and art galleries are located between the town hall, place Gambetta and Cours de l’independance. On rainy days, you can also visit the Mériadeck, the only shopping mall in the center of Bordeaux. If you’re looking for accommodation in this area but still want to feel the historic vibe of Bordeaux, try choosing a place to the east side of Cours d’Albret.

In this district, you can find the coolest hotel in town  – the Mama Shelter. Stylish rooms, a good restaurant and a super chic rooftop bar with the best view of Bordeaux. What more do you need? If you’re traveling with kids, Novotel can be a good option for you. It’s located within 10 minutes walk from the center of Bordeaux and they offer big rooms that will fit your whole family.

Quinconces and Triangle d’Or – The fancy area of Bordeaux

Opera of Bordeaux
The Opera of Bordeaux

To the north of the historic center, we find the Triangle d’Or district, where the architecture mostly dates back to the 18th century. You’ll immediately notice the contrast in scenery coming from the narrow paved streets of old Bordeaux to the wide boulevards and elegant facades of the Triangle d’Or. This is the fancy part of Bordeaux, abundant with luxury boutiques and some of the best chocolatiers in Bordeaux.

The neighborhood also borders Jardin Public, the biggest park in the center of Bordeaux, making it a very kid-friendly area. Triangle d’Or is also the home of the Opera of Bordeaux as well as the Esplanade des Quinconces, one of the biggest squares in France. Several times a year, different fairs take place at the square or on the Allée de Tourney. Among them are the Christmas market, the big brocante (flea and antique market) of Bordeaux and an amusement park. In my blog I cover all the main events taking place in the city during the year, so for more updates follow my monthly and weekly lists.

This district is home to the more fancy and prestigious hotels. Hôtel de Sèze is a beautiful 4-star hotel that also has a Spa. Another option would be the very popular Le Boutique Hotel. They have a few very chic rooms and a great bar where they offer wine tastings (you can read more about it here).

Chartrons – the posh area of Bordeaux

Chartrons in Bordeaux
The Chartrons district in Bordeaux

The Chartrons district, neighboring esplanade des Quinconces, starts the northern part of Bordeaux. It’s quite a big district but the more interesting part of it lies next to the riverfront and around the long rue Notre Dame, one of the poshest streets in Bordeaux. This central street and the little ones surrounding it are full of excellent restaurants, trendy boutiques and antique shops.

The Chartrons riverfront is characterized by warehouses once used by foreign merchants to age and store wine. It gives the neighborhood a vibe different than the rest of the city. Also, every Sunday a big market takes place on Quai des Chartrons, gathering many tourists and locals from all parts of the city. So even if you don’t stay there, don’t miss this charming neighborhood.

In the Chartrons district, you can stay at Casa Blanca, a very cozy and stylish B&B with a yummy breakfast. It’s located just a few minutes walk from the main square of this chic neighborhood and is also super close to the main park of Bordeaux, Jardin Public. 

Saint Michel, Saint Croix and Victoire  – the Cosmopolitan areas of Bordeaux

Saint Michel in Bordeaux
Saint Michel in Bordeaux

If you’re looking to lower your budget or change the scenery from classic Bordeaux, the southern districts of the city are a great option. Saint Michel, Saint Croix and Victoire are the cosmopolitan districts of the city. A very mixed population lives in these neighborhoods, you could find international students, artists and immigrant merchant families. The area has a lively culinary scene, from the main market of Bordeaux to local bars and cute little restaurants. If you’re a foodie, check out my food tours in the main market of Bordeaux.
Although it’s only a few minutes walk from the city center, apartments in this area are considerably cheaper than the neighboring Saint Paul district.

The best known hotel in this district is Maison Fredon, a little boutique hotel located in a beautifully renovated 18th-century house. There are only five rooms in this hotel, all uniquely designed to combine modern decor with the classic style of a bourgeois bordelaise house.

Click here to read more about things to do in Saint Michel.

Jardin Public and Saint Seurin – the quiet and green area of Bordeaux

Jardin Public and Saint Seurin are two residential neighborhoods, located quite close to the city center. If you’re planning a trip to Bordeaux with kids, these neighborhoods are perfect as they are calm and close to the main park of Bordeaux, Jardin Public. They are within a short walking distance from the Opera of Bordeaux and some of the best restaurants in the city so you won’t feel isolated.

If you decide to stay in this area, Villa Victor Louis is your place. A charming boutique hotel with beautiful decor and a nice little garden which is just perfect to spend your summer days.

The more distant neighborhoods in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is not a big city and you can easily reach the center from several other more distant districts. So if the center of Bordeaux is a bit out of your budget, consider some of the following areas. Another option would be to look for something on one of the tramlines as those are very regular, as opposed to buses in Bordeaux. Here is the map of the tramline in Bordeaux, to make it easier for you to do your search.

Bastide – the other side of the river

LES CHANTIERS DE LA GARONNE
The hip area of Bordeaux

While most of the historic monuments are located on the west side (rive gauche) of the Garonne, rive droite has its own charm and can be a good place to stay in Bordeaux. By crossing the central bridge of Bordeaux (Pont Pierre) you arrive at the Bastide neighborhood. Until quite recently it was a sleepy residential neighborhood but in the last decade, it transformed into a hip area where many locals love to spend their weekends.

This district is especially charming from May to October when you can enjoy all its green areas and all the summer bars and restaurants on the riverfront which are then open for the summer season. Bastide is still much cheaper then the center of Bordeaux and can be a great option if you’re on a budget. However, to still feel like you’re close to the city center, search for a hotel or apartment close to Tram A. This line will take you through Pont Pierre to Hotel du Ville in just a few minutes ride.

There is a new cool eco-friendly hotel in this neighborhood, named Eklo. It has a very young design and it’s located just next to Darwin. However, I would mainly recommend it to young travelers or families with kids who want to sleep in the same eco-friendly room 🙂

Bacalan – The grungy area of Bordeaux

bassins a flot
The grungy part of Bordeaux

Neighboring Chartrons from the north is the Bacalan district, located about 30 minutes walk from the center of Bordeaux. They are a far not only in their geographical distance but also in their landscape. The Bacalan neighborhood is built around the port of Bordeaux and has a very grungy look to it as opposed to the classic city center. In recent years, the city of Bordeaux has been transforming this neighborhood into one of the most interesting areas in the city. Apart from the magnificent Cité du Vin, it also houses some of the best music venues and has a thriving street art scene. If you chose to stay in this area, be sure to stay in the Southern part (close to the Chartrons district) and as close as possible to the tramline (Tram B) that will take you to the city center in a few minutes.

The best option in Bacalan, in my opinion, is the Seeko’o Hotel which has a very urban and cool design to it. It’s located just next to the riverfront and within a few minutes walk from the big wine museum of Bordeaux. Another great option is the Radisson Blu hotel which is located on the Bassin a Flot and has one of the best rooftop bars in town.

If you want to learn more about things to do in the Bacalan neighborhood, click here.

Gare Saint Jean – next to the train station

Saint-Jean isn’t one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Bordeaux and in some parts can be a bit shady. However, if you need to catch a train early in the morning staying there can be quite practical. And it’s also much more affordable than the center of Bordeaux, which you can easily reach with the Tram Line C. There are some nice hotels on the way from the train station to the riverfront (the quai) and, generally speaking, this is the nicer part around Gare Saint-Jean. Also, Quai des Paludate is home to some of Bordeaux’s night clubs and to the new Boca food market. Gradually and with a lot of investment from the city of Bordeaux, this area is becoming more popular and the stay can indeed be quite nice.

Hôtel Mercure is a good option if you want to stay next to the train station. It’s not very new but the rooms are comfortable and clean. If you’re looking for something fancier, the Hilton Garden Inn hotel is also within a few minutes walk from the station. It is however located a bit further from the city center so take that into consideration.

Saint Agustin

One of the most family friendly neighborhoods in Bordeaux is Saint Augustin. It’s a small quiet neighborhood, located about 20 min (by tram) from the city center and a walking distance from two beautiful parks in Bordeaux, Parc bourran and Parc Bordelais. The neighborhood has a little center with a few restaurants and a weekly market.

Saint Genes and Nansouty

South to the center, you can find Saint Genes and Nansouty. These are two quiet neighborhoods bordering Place de la Victoire from the South. There isn’t much to do here but it’s only about a 15 minutes walk from the center and it’s conveniently placed on the tram line B that takes you to all the main spots  in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Lac

The Bordeaux Lac district is located in the north, quite far from the center of Bordeaux. Apart from cheaper rates, its main advantage is being close to the parc des expositions, where many of Bordeaux’s fairs and salons take place. So if you come to Bordeaux for a conference this will be a good option for you. Also, if the shopping in the city center was not enough, Bordeaux Lac has one of the biggest shopping centers in the region.

As its name suggests, the neighborhood has a big lake with a popular beach that is open to the public during the summer. You can reach the exhibition park, the shopping center and the beach by line C from the center of Bordeaux.  

I hope this article covers everything you need to know about the different neighborhoods you can stay in when visiting Bordeaux. If you need more specific recommendations, check out my post about the best hotels in the city center.

If it’s your first time visiting Bordeaux, here are a few other articles you’ll find useful:
Things to do in Bordeaux, France – the ultimate guide
10 day trips from Bordeaux by train
30 things to do in Bordeaux with kids

If you’re moving to Bordeaux, be sure to check out the Bordeaux Expats website which is full of valuable knowledge for newcomers.  

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.

*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 🙂 

I absolutely love street art and any city that makes the effort to complement its historic landscape with a modern expression of art is buying a fast ticket to my “go-to” list. That’s why Angoulême, which is located in the Charente department, about 1.5 hours drive from Bordeaux (or 35 minutes by train) has been on my mind for quite a while now. Angoulême is widely known as the comics and street art capital of France and is globally renowned for its Internation Comics festival hosting more than 200,000 people every year. Although I knew that I’m expected to see some beautiful murals in Angoulême, the creativity of this city took me by surprise the minute I entered the historic part of the city. Angoulême’s admiration for comics was expressed in every detail, from colorful post boxes to painted recycling bins and statues of famous comics characters. Visiting Angoulême is a little bit like playing treasure hunt for art lovers, there’s something to find on every street corner. 

Now, don’t get me wrong here, this is by far not the only reason to visit Angoulême. It’s a beautiful historic city, surrounded by ancient ramparts, abundant with elegant monuments, and generally a vivid place with an impressive number of bars and restaurants. My article about all the things you can do in Angouleme is in the making but in this article, I want to focus on what attracted me to this city, which is its street art. My goal is to make you experience this city as if we were in an open museum of comics and street art. Having said that, if you really love comics don’t miss la Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’Image, the comics museums of Angoulême. 

Street art in Angouleme France

If it’s your first visit in this region, check out my guide to Bordeaux and my article about visiting Cognac. You can also get plenty of traveling tips in my Facebook group “Travel in the Southwest of France“.

The map of all my favorite murals and statues 

There are 25 huge murals painted on different buildings spread around Angoulême. If you can, pass by the tourist office (located in the Hotel de Ville), and grab a map indicating all of these murals. However, you should know that some of them are located quite far from the city center and require a long walk to get there. So if you are limited in time or just want to save your energy for the more interesting parts of the city, I made a map of my favorite murals and other street art that I really loved when strolling the city. In most of the locations on the map, I added the name of the work and the artist’s name and in some, I also added a photo and a link for more info about this work (in French). 

I should mention also that there’s an app that can help you navigate around the murals in the city. I didn’t try it myself, but if you want to give it a try, these are the links, Google Play, App Store.

My three favorite murals in Angoulême

I should start by saying that all the murals in Angouleme are stunning but there are several that I particularly loved and I think you should see.

La Fille des Remparts – Max Cabannes

This one is probably the most famous mural in Angouleme and one of the best spots for taking photos and selfies in the city 🙂
In this Mural, Max Cabann imitates the atmosphere of the old city with its ramparts and old buildings. It almost feels like a continuation of the street your standing on. You can find it just next to the market on 6 Boulevard Pasteur. 

Chassez le Naturel – François Boucq

This beautiful mural is located in a residential neighborhood slightly outside of the city center, but it’s so stunning it’s worth the walk. François Boucq is a French comics artist known for its books about Jérôme Moucherot, an insurance salesman, who is dressed in a leopard suit. The mural can be found at: Rue du Dr Duroselle above the parking entrance.

Chassez le Naturel - François Boucq - mural in Angouleme

L’Archiviste – François Schuiten

L’Archiviste by François Schuiten is one of the most special artworks on the streets of Angoulême – one million holes on a stainless steel plate over a huge building facade. The building is located on 24 Avenue Gambetta.

L'Archiviste - François Schuiten - street art angouleme

The Comics Festival

If you can choose when to visit Angouleme, the best time would be in January when the city hosts its famous Comics Festival. The Angoulême International Comics Festival is the third biggest comics festival in the world, hosting more than 200,000 visitors every year. 

Discover more art when strolling Angoulême 

The murals of Angoulême display the works of the most famous comics artists in France. However, street art and comics are such an important part of the modern identity of this city that the murals are only a fraction of the art you can find in Angoulême. I spent hours just walking and absorbing the colors, the cute characters painted on the shatters, and unusual statues in the garden below the ramparts. Here are some of my favorite discoveries from this beautiful city. I count on you to find many more when you visit fascinating Angoulême 🙂

Street art Angouleme
memoire du xxeme ciel - street art Angouleme

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

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

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

Eymet – a lively bastide town 

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

Eymet in Dordogne

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

Issigeac – known for its market

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

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

Monpazier – one of the most beautiful villages of France

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

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

Limeuil – one of the most beautiful views

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

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

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

beautiful village in purple perigord, dordogne

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

Lalinde – a magical spot on the river

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

Beaumont de Périgord – the center of Purple Périgord 

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

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

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

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

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Bordeaux has quite a few amazing chocolatiers, and I thought Easter would be a great opportunity to take you on a virtual tour of the best chocolate shops in Bordeaux. As we approach Easter week, the chocolatiers of Bordeaux become extra creative and their shop windows become a display of colorful rabbits, chickens, and other small cute chocolate creatures. So if you’re visiting Bordeaux around that time make sure to take some time to visit the places I mention in this article. Nevertheless, remember that chocolate shops are open all year long so you can come back to this article any time of the year. If you’re interested in chocolate shops, there’s a big chance you’d also love my article about the best foodie streets in Bordeaux

Now let’s discover Bordeaux’s talented chocolatiers!

Modern chocolate shops of Bordeaux 

We’ll get to some of Bordeaux’s chocolate institutions later in this article, but I wanted to kick off with some of my favorite modern chocolate shops in Bordeaux. 

David Capy

David Capy - chocolatier Bordeaux

The MOF (titled as Meilleurs Ouvriers de France – an almost noble status for French craftsmen) David Capy is one of the most celebrated chocolatiers in Bordeaux, holding shops in Bordeaux center, Cauderan, Gradignan, and Eysines. Capy opened his first shop in Bordeaux in 2012 and since then has been enjoying raving reviews from locals and tourists alike. Apart from divine chocolate, Capy produces some of the best ‘patisseries fines’ in Bordeaux. If you visit his shop in Gradignan, you can also enjoy their cute coffee shop. 
Visit their website here.

Address city center:  7 rue Michel Montaigne, 33000 Bordeaux 

Chocolaterie Lalère

One of my favorite chocolate shops in Bordeaux is Chocolaterie Lalère, run by a young talented chocolatier Xavier Lalère. His chocolate shop is located on one of the more foodie streets of Bordeaux, rue Fondaudège. One of the highlights of the place is the chocolate bar, where you can order their delicious hot chocolate and all the yummy things they have on display. You can see all the details here.  

Chocolaterie Lalère - one of the best chocolatiers in Bordeaux

Address: 145 Rue Fondaudège, 33000 Bordeaux

Hasnaâ Chocolats Grands crus 

Hasnaâ Ferreira is definitely one of the stars of Bordeaux’s chocolate world. After participating in the French version of Master chef, she opened her chocolate shop in Bordeaux in 2014 and quickly became the locals’ favorite. In 2016 she won the Chocolatier of the Year award from the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat. In her creations, she uses only Premier Cru beans, carefully selected from a single plantation. Read more about Hasnaâ and her dedication to the chocolate world on her website

Address: 4 Rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 Bordeaux

The classic chocolate houses of Bordeaux

These three places are considered Bordeaux’s chocolate institutions, passing their chocolate-making savoir-faire from generation to generation. They appear in many Bordeaux guides and tend to be more crowded during the tourist season. 

La Maison Darricau

La Maison Darricau is a family business created in 1915 and passed from generation to generation of chocolate makers ever since.  Today it’s run by Michel and Clément Garrigue, father and son, the third and fourth generations of the family, who still use the family recipes for many of their chocolate creations.  Apart from the amazing variety in their collection, it really feels like a family business with a huge passion for chocolate. Check out their website to learn more about the shop. 

La Maison Darricau - institution in the Bordeaux chocolate world

Address:  7 bis rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 – Bordeaux France

Saunion

This emblematic place is the oldest family-run chocolate shop in Bordeaux!  Originally opened as a confectionery store, it became a chocolaterie in 1983 and since then has been frequently ranked among the best chocolatiers in France at the annual Salon du Chocolat. In 2017, Maison Saunion has been awarded the EPV label, a heritage label that celebrates the traditional craftsman know-how. Learn more about them on their website

Address: 56 Cours Georges Clemenceau, 33000 Bordeaux

Cadiot Badie

Cadiot Badie is one of the oldest and most reputable chocolate stores in Bordeaux. Starting as a confectionery shop it became the chocolate house we know today as early as 1900. Located on Allées de Tourny just next to the Opera, this place became a major attraction for visitors in Bordeaux. They have two other shops in the suburb of Bordeaux, one in Pessac and one in Gradignan.  Its most famous chocolate is the créoles, cherries macerated in rum, coated in chocolate, that are inspired by the Les Guinettes de Chocolats, one of Bordeaux’s specialties. You can learn about other local sweet specialties in my article here
See their Facebook page for more info. 

Cadiot Badie - one of the oldest chocolate places in Bordeaux

Address: 26 Allées de Tourny, 33000 Bordeaux

Chocolate shops outside of Bordeaux center

There are also a few chocolate shops in the towns surrounding Bordeaux that are worth checking. Here are a few of my favorites.

Franck Labasse Patisserie

Pessac center became quite a foodie spot in Bordeaux metropole and Franck Labasse’s chocolate shop is a good example of that. Franck, a locals’ favorite, produces quite a big variety of chocolates and beautiful pastries throughout the year but during the Easter period, this place is a celebration of creativity. 
Check out his beautiful work on his Facebook page.

Address: 11 Place de la Liberté, 33600 Pessac

Monsieur Pillet

Monsieur Pillet created in Bordeaux in 1964 is a pastry and a chocolate shop, loved by many locals in the region. It’s located outside the busy center of Bordeaux in the Cauderan neighborhood. Check out their Facebook page

Address: 167 Avenue Louis Barthou, 33200 Bordeaux

Have a sweet visit in Bordeaux 🙂

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:

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APRILBLAYEBROCANTEEASTERMEDOC

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

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

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

Visit the beautiful villages of Landes d’Armagnac

La Bastide d’Armagnac

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

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

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

 Chapel Notre-Dame de Cyclistes

Saint Justin

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

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

Mauvezin d’Armagnac

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

Roquefort

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

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

Visiting distilleries in Armagnac

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

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

Chateau de Lacquy 

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

Chateau de Lacquy  in Bas Armagnac
Chateau de Lacquy

Chateau de Ravignan

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

Chateau de Ravignan in Armagnac
Chateau de Ravignan

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

Taste Floc de Gascogne

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

La Fete de la Distillation 

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

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

Camping sites in Cap Ferret

Camping Aux Couleurs du ferret

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

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

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

Camping Village Sublu Les Viviers – Maeva

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

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


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

Camping le Truc Vert

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

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

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

Camping Panorama du Pyla

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

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

Camping La Forêt (Camping La Forêt du Pilat Tohapi)

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

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

Pyla Camping

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

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


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


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

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

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

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

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From time to time I receive questions about beautiful places to walk dogs in Bordeaux, and so “inspired” by the third confinement in France I decided it’s time to dedicate an article to our little four-legged friends. In the last few months, I wrote numerous articles about hiking and parks in Bordeaux that many found useful this year. Most parks in Bordeaux are very dog friendly so I really recommend you go through my previous articles:

The most beautiful parks in Bordeaux
The best hiking trails around Bordeaux
Best places to visit 20km from your home
The most family-friendly hiking trails in Gironde

Important note: In many parks in Bordeaux dogs are allowed only on a leash and some need to be muzzled, here’s the exact wording from the site of the Marie de Bordeaux: “Les chiens “non classés” sont autorisés tenus en laisse, de même que les chiens de seconde catégorie tenus en laisse et muselés”

In this article, I want to give you a bit more than just the list of parks. This year I’ve spent quite a lot of days exploring nature around Bordeaux with my kids, looking for hidden lakes, easy walking trails, streams, and just any beautiful place where my kids can feel free to run and enjoy nature. I’ve noticed that many of these places are perfect for dogs as well, in many of them you can let them run free and they can even enjoy a swim. So here are some of the best green spaces to walk your dog in Bordeaux metropole.

Parc des Berges de la Garonne in Bègles

Berges de La Garonne is one of the hidden gems of this region. Many, visit this part of Bègles to do shopping in Rives d’Arcins without even knowing that behind the big shopping center hides a very tranquil green park with a beautiful view of the Garonne river.  Take your dog for a walk along the river and enjoy the metallic sculptures along the way. Don’t miss the Carrelets, the traditional fishing cabins that you can find mostly on the banks of the Gironde Estuary.

Parc des Berges de la Garonne in Begles
Parc des Berges de la Garonne in Begles

Where to park: You can park near Cultura in the main parking of the shopping center and go in the direction of the Garonne river until you see the park. You can equally find parking at the port of Begles and start the walk from the northern part of the park. 

Bois de Thouars in Talence

The Thouars forest is located on the border of Talence and Gradignan and has 4km of walking paths in the woods and around the lake as well as different sports facilities. The hilly path around the lake is especially beautiful and is a great adventure for dogs and kids alike. 

Where to park: There’s a huge parking in front of the pool at 235 Avenue de Thouars, 33400 Talence.

Parc de Montgaillard in Gradignan

Gradignan is known as one of the greenest towns in Bordeaux metropole so it’s not a surprise that one of our dog-friendly places is located there. The path follows the Bourde stream that goes through Gradignan and continues to Canejan, a great hiking path for the more avid walkers among you. At the heart of this park, you’ll find one of the last fully restored water mills in the metropole, a fishing lake, playgrounds, and a picnic area.  

Where to park: There are several parking spots around the mills at Chemin des Moulins, 33170 Gradignan

Bois des Sources du Peugue in Pessac

How about a hike in a magical forest with a beautiful lake where your dog can swim? Bois des Sources du Peugue in Pessac is one of the less known forests/parks in the metropole, but it’s really worth a visit. It has plenty of trails that are perfect not only for hiking but also for cycling. It’s a perfect place to walk your dog and also to have a picnic at the end of the walk.

Where to park: You can find parking around the intersections of Avenue du Port Aerien et Rue des Bouvreuils.

Parc de la Bruthe in Floirac

Moving on to rive droite to the beautiful Domaine de la Burthe in Floirac. This park is part of a beautiful forest and is a perfect place for hiking and for spending the day enjoying the hidden spots between the trees. The place is also home to the equestrian center so you can see plenty of horses all over the park.

Where to park: Chemin de la Burthe, 33270 Floirac

Parc de la Bruthe in Floirac
Parc de la Bruthe

Bois d’Arboudeau in Parempuyre

Another hidden gem that many are not aware of is the Arboudeau forest in Parempuyre, one of the northern towns in Bordeaux metropole. Like other places on this list, this forest has a beautiful lake in its center and you can do a fun circuit with your dog around it. 

Where: Rue de Bordeaux, 33290 PAREMPUYRE

Lac Bleu and Lac Vert

These two lakes are very popular among dog owners and they are also two of the most beautiful lakes in Gironde. The first one is Lac Vert (the green lake) in Canejan and the second one is Lac Bleu (the blue lake) in Leognan, both located about a 15/20 minute drive from Bordeaux. Their names derive from the color of the water and they are both stunning. I think that Lac bleu is the dogs favorite one 🙂

Forêt de Migelane in Martillac

Forêt de Migelane is a 280 hectares forest situated on parts of the Saucats, Martillac, and la Brède towns in Southern Gironde. This calm forest has several hiking trails to offer, all of them are perfect for walking your dog: la Petite Boucle circular (1.4 km), La Petite Boucle circular trail to la Balade Forestière (2.7 km), la Balade Géologique (5.2 km) and la Grande Balade (6.5 km). See more info here.

Forêt de Migelane in Martillac
Forêt de Migelane in Martillac

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

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group