The harvest season in Saint Emilion or the ”vendange” as the French call it, is an old tradition that attracts many locals and foreigners to the area. While the prestigious wine region enjoys a steady stream of visitors starting from early Spring, Saint Emilion’s harvest season in September seems to be the busiest time of the year. It’s hard labor no doubt, but it doesn’t stop the flock of mostly young locals and foreigners taking part in this beautiful tradition. These days, the wineries are reluctant to take volunteers because of strict working regulations and their desire to control the quality of the harvest. That doesn’t mean however that you cannot take part in events related to the harvest in Saint Emilion and Bordeaux. In this article, I want to help you explore all the harvestrelated activities and make the best out of the harvest season of Bordeaux wines. Some Cheateaux I’ve been talking to are still planning their activities so I’ll update here with more events as they become available.
The ceremony of the harvest in Saint Emilion – Ban des Vendanges
The ceremony that kicks off the annual harvest in Saint Emilion is called Ban des Vendanges, meaning ‘the harvest ban’. The exact term is actually lifting the ban of the grape harvest, which historically allowed the winegrowers to start collecting the grapes from the vineyards. The ceremony is held in front of the beautiful front collegiate church of Saint Emilion by the Jurade, winegrowers dressed in red caps and robes. The Jurade is a brotherhood of 140 Jurats (members) founded 800 years ago with the mission to supervise the production and making of fine wines. Today they have a more symbolic role of maintaining the traditions of the Saint Emilion wine area.
This year the events of the “Ban des Vendanges” will take place on the weekend of September 21-22, as part of the European heritage days. The first ceremony of the Jurade will take place on the evening of September 21st (Starting at 22:15) at the Tour du Roy and will end up with a sound and light show. The second day of the ceremonies (September 22) is a celebration of the new vintage.
The day includes the Jurade ceremony which will be followed by a lunch reserved for wine professionals, many of whom attend the event only for this great networking event. Learn more about the Jurades ceremony here.
If you want to see how the harvest process is actually done you can join the Journée Vendanges at Château Mangot (September 28). It’s a half-day activity where you get to visit the vineyards accompanied by in-depth explanations about the “vendanges” and the tradition and history of the château. You will also visit the cellars and taste the 2018 wines from the barrels. The day includes lunch at the park of the chateau. The price is 39 euros per person and you can book it here.
As it’s the patrimony days, it a good opportunity to discover some of Saint Emilion’s most emblematic sites. On September 21-22 you are offered free visits to fascinating places like the Monolith Church and the collégiale of Saint-Émilion, guided free tours in the city, tours for kids, light shows and more. You can see the full program for the weekend here.
If you’re going to spend the weekend in Saint emilion it is highly recommended to try and book a visit to one of the wineries in the area. Some of them will probably be busy with the harvest season but others have enough personnel to welcome you in their domain. To chose a chateau, go to my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.
Grapes harvest in Bordeaux – other activities
The harvest season celebrations in Bordeaux are not limited to Saint Emilion. Bordeaux will host the big “Bordeaux fête ses vendanges” event on the weekend of September 12-15. On September 12, the Triangle d’Or district will host a jazz concert to celebrate the new harvest. On September 13-14 the city center will transform into a huge terrace with plenty of restaurants that will help you discover the different wines of Bordeaux. For more info about “Bordeaux fête ses vendanges” click here.
The grape harvest celebration will end with the Vign’en ville festival, hosting winemakers in Jardin Public that will teach you all about wine production through a series of workshops and activities. You can read more about the Vign’en ville event in my post about things to do in Bordeaux in September.
Another great harvest event will take place at the Sauve-Majeure, the ruins of the 11th-century Benedictine monastery. The site also hosts the Maison des Vins de l’Entre-deux-Mers, one of Bordeaux’s wine regions known for its white wines.
This is a very kids friendly event with pony and tractor rides, collecting grapes and a musical aperitif. The Fête des Vendanges will take place on September 14 at Place Saint-Jean in La Sauve Majeure, starting at 14:00. Click here for more info and reservation details.
If you’re a wine enthusiast and you want to discover more than just Saint Emilion, check out my guide to the wine trip in the Medoc wine region. It is a beautiful region with some of the most impressive chateaux in the area and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Bordeaux (even if you don’t like wine). If you don’t have enough time to discover all the wine regions of Bordeaux you can simply taste many of the wines at wine bars in Bordeaux. For that, you just have to read my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux.
If you are looking for another fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three-hour journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.
In Bordeaux, you don’t really have to leave the city in order to taste some of the best wines in the world. Several bars and wine shops offer wine tasting experiences that will allow you to discover different wine appellations and learn about the growing and production processes. In this article, I gathered several bars and wine shops in Bordeaux that offer great wine tasting experiences. They vary in the reputation of the wines served, the depth of the explanations and the prices of course, and yes, you can enjoy a wine tasting experience even on a budget! All the places on my list offer guidance in English and some also offer other languages such as Spanish. Let’s dive into the world of wine tastings in Bordeaux!
Best bars for wine tastings in Bordeaux
Un Château en Ville
Château Lestrille was the first wine producer in the Bordeaux area to come up with the brilliant idea to open a bar in the city center and offer their wine directly to the public. The winery is located in the Entre Deux Mers wine region, producing white, red and special rosé that you can only taste here in Bordeaux. If you want to feel like you’ve visited a wine château without actually leaving the city this is a great option. The bar offers wine tastings that include 3 glasses of wine (white, red and rosé) all from Château Lestrille.
The super friendly and knowledgeable staff accompany you during the tastings with interesting explanations about the production process, the soil, the Entre Deux Mers wine region and more. They also have a great food menu that is perfectly paired with their wine, such as cheese, tapas, duck sausages, oysters on weekends and more. The price is 6 euros per person. Un Chateau en Ville is open Wednesday to Sunday. This is one of my favorite bars in Bordeaux and I often stop there during my afternoon food tours so it’s a warm personal recommendation 🙂 Contact for reservations: [email protected] +33 9 53 04 48 93 Address: 25 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux
Wine more time
On the same lovely street, you have another great wine bar carrying the amusing name, Wine more time :). While the first bar on our list focuses exclusively on wine produced in one château, this one is the opposite. The idea is to offer a huge selection of wines and let the customer decide on the theme. The themes can be varied, you can choose to taste only red or white wines from different areas in Bordeaux, focus on certain years, taste wines only from Medoc, or from Saint Emilion, or try only wines made from a certain grape type. You get the picture. They have a selection of 400 bottles so there’s an endless amount of combinations you can think of.
The only downside is that you can’t do that if you’re alone or a couple. As they are opening the bottles especially for the occasion, the wine tastings in Wine More Time are open to groups of at least 5 people. The price is 20 euros per person which includes on average 3-4 bottles, the exact number varying according to the wines you choose. During the evening you will get a detailed explanation of the wines and winemaking process, which will be adapted to the customer’s knowledge level. So if you’re a newbie wine taster, you’ll get the “wine for dummies” session:). It is recommended to book at least a week in advance. Contact for reservations: [email protected] +33 5 56 52 85 61 Address: 8 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux
Bar à Vin
Bar à Vin is one of Bordeaux’s wine institutions, located in the 18th-century residence of the Bordeaux Wine Council. This place is quite surprising I must say. The fancy decor can be a bit intimidating if you’re on a tight budget and want to be able to taste more than one glass of wine. But in reality, it is the cheapest place in the center of Bordeaux for wine tastings! Bar à Vin offers two half glasses of Bordeaux wine for only 3 euros! The tastings are not accompanied by extended explanations, like in other bars on this list, but as all the people working there are sommeliers, you can freely ask them as many questions as you want and get thorough explanations to anything you ever wanted to know about wine. This is one of my favorite stops in Bordeaux due to the chic decor and friendly atmosphere. Bar a Vin is open daily except for Sundays. Contact for reservations: https://baravin.bordeaux.com/en/ +33 5 56 00 43 47 Address: 3 Cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux
Le Boutique Hotel Bordeaux wine bar
The Boutique Hotel is a popular 4-star luxury hotel with a very nice wine bar on its ground floor. The bar offers daily wine tastings taking place from 17:15 to 18:15. The tastings include five different Bordeaux wines (usually reds) and a cheese and charcuterie plate for 35 euros per person. During the tastings, you will learn about the different Bordeaux appellations, wine production, tasting techniques and more. After the workshop, you can take your wine glass and move to their beautiful terrace to enjoy the rest of the evening. The tastings must be booked in advance. Contact for reservations: www.hotelbordeauxcentre.com +33 5 56 48 80 40 Address: 3 Rue Lafaurie de Monbadon, 33000 Bordeaux
La Conserverie is one of those places you pass by unaware of the magical world hiding behind the door. It’s a wine and gourmet food store but also a restaurant with a cozy design and a cute little courtyard that is perfect for sunny days. If you want to discover local food they are a great place for lunch. The service is amazing and they love interacting with the clients, happily giving you detailed explanations about any wine you drink. For the tasting part, they offer a deal of four glasses and a charcuterie plate for 15 euros per person. The place is open from Tuesday to Saturday. Contact for reservations: [email protected] +33 5 56 81 49 17 Address: 18 Rue Notre Dame, 33000 Bordeaux
Wine shops that offer wine tastings in Bordeaux
Cousin et Compagnie
Cousin et Compagnie is a beautiful wine shop located just next to Place du Parlement offering a large selection of Bordeaux wines. They offer three different wine tasting experiences. The basic tour can be done daily and includes three to five glasses of wine (from 10 to 15 euros per person). The tasting lasts about 20 minutes and includes an explanation of the wines and tasting techniques. On Saturdays you can enjoy a more fancy experience (79 euros per person), tasting four Grands crus wines, accompanied by a professional from one of the châteaux. Here, you get a 1.5-hour training on wine classification, the Bordeaux vineyards and more.
Last but not least is their wine tasting on a boat experience that you can do during the summer season on Mondays and Tuesdays. This experience, priced at 49 euros per person, includes 3 glasses of wine with a plate of cheese and charcuterie and a romantic scenery of the Garonne river. It’s limited to 12 people so book in advance to be sure to have a spot. Contact for reservations: the two more expensive tastings require prior registrations: [email protected] +33 5 56 01 20 23 Address: 2 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, 33000 Bordeaux
Max Bordeaux is a wine shop with a neat concept allowing you to taste a lot of prestigious Bordeaux wines without paying for the whole bottle. Entering the bar you’ll discover huge wine columns with built-in wine machines containing many different Bordeaux wines. There are 3 different sizes (25, 50 and 75 ml) you can choose from ranging in price from 1 euro (for the cheaper 25ml servings) to 10 euros for the more luxurious wines. While this is not a guided tasting experience it does allow you to discover the Bordeaux wine area at your own pace and budget. The other option proposed by Max Bordeaux is their wine tasting atelier, a more traditional experience where you taste three Grands crus wines for 35 euros. The tastings are guided by a wine professional and last about an hour. The guided tastings must be reserved in advance. Max Bordeaux is open from Monday to Saturday. Contact for reservations: [email protected] +33 5 57 29 23 81 Address: 14 Cours de l’Intendance, 33000 Bordeaux
Emile & Marguerite
This article is about wine tastings in Bordeaux but I had to add one place where you can taste other spirits that this region is famous for. Emile & Marguerite is a charming shop in the heart of the center of Bordeaux specializing in made in France alcohol. They have everything from Whisky to Gin, vodka and a huge selection of local beers. But what’s more interesting is their large selection of Cognac and Armagnac brandies originating from the Southwest of France. The shop offers spirit tastings that include 3 different spirits (10 euros) and if you buy a bottle (for more than 40 euros) the tastings are on the house. If you don’t have an extra day to go to Cognac or Armagnac this can be a very nice way to taste and gain more knowledge about these two exceptional French spirits. You don’t have to make reservations, just pass by and you’ll be welcomed anytime. The shop is open daily, check out their facebook page for more info. Address: 13 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, 33000 Bordeaux
That’s it for today! Hope it gave you plenty of ideas for wine tastings in Bordeaux!
If you are looking for another fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three-hour journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.
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.
Capucins is one of the oldest markets in France and it rightfully carries the title “The belly of Bordeaux”. Bordeaux’s market has such an importance in the gastronomic scene of Bordeaux that I always spend at least an hour there on my food tours.
It’s a big market, abundant with colorful stands of fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and all the delicacies of the Southwest of France. However, it differs from many other French markets in that it’s a place for much more than just buying groceries. People go there for their morning coffee, for lunch or the sacred combination of wine, oysters, and friends meeting on the weekend. There are so many restaurants and stands at the Bordeaux market that for a newcomer it can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I decided to gather a list of all my favorite places at Marché des Capucins.
When it comes to local food, oysters are one of the highlights of our region. Bordeaux is just one hour away from Arcachon, one of France’s main oyster farming centers. So it’s not a surprise to find good oysters at the main market of Bordeaux. Chez Jean-Mi became one of Bordeaux’s go-to places for fresh oysters. I love that place so much that it quickly became a must on my food tour! On weekends, many locals rush here to meet their friends over a plate of oysters and a glass of white wine. Apart from oysters, the place serves a variety of seafood, delicious soups and more. You can sit inside and soak up the market atmosphere or grab a table outside to enjoy the sun while you sip your wine. The place tends to be very busy during the weekend so be sure to come early (around 11 am) to get a table.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturday from 7:00 to 13:45 and Sunday from 9:00 to 15:15.
Café Laiton – the best coffee in the Bordeaux market
Finding good coffee in a French market is not always easy and that’s what makes Café Laiton quite revolutionary. This cozy little coffee place is owned by the lovely Gaëlle who decided to open a quality cafe in Bordeaux after spending several years in Buenos Aires. There she used to work and drink her coffee at the market and came with the idea to replicate the ‘coffee at the market’ experience back home. Moving to Bordeaux, she realized that the Capucins market, where she used to spend a lot of time as a child, is the perfect scenery for her coffee shop. The place is quite small, but the market adds a lot of space to it. You can sit at the bar or grab a table outside. Apart from good coffee, they also serve homemade food and pastries and a delicious brunch on Sundays.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 8:30 to 13:45 and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 to 14:45.
Bistro Poulette is a chic restaurant that can easily fit the stylish food scene in the city center. But being located at the market of Bordeaux gives it a unique twist. Food and drinks are being served quite early in the day and you don’t have to wait for lunch to start your gastronomic celebration. If you come in the morning you can enjoy their breakfast, brunch or take it a bit further with a plate of charcuterie and wine. At lunchtime, you get to enjoy their specialty, which is Mussels, served in casseroles and cooked with a variety of sauces like white wine, curry and more.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 8:30 to 15:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 to 15:00.
Tortill’art – a Spanish delight at the Bordeaux market
Strolling in the market, you can easily miss this littletortilla bar. But, as it’s one of my favorites at the marché des Capucins, I must spread the word. Juan servers several types of tortillas and delicious Spanish Jambon with wine or a homemade Sangria. Tortillas are his specialty and some of the recipes run in his family for generations. He’s a super nice guy who you can have a fun chat with while sitting at the bar. What makes this place even more attractive are the prices! You can easily have a full lunch here for less than 10 euros.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday until 13:00 and Saturday and Sunday until 14:30.
Pata Negra – for the best Pintxos
One of the best tapas bars in Bordeaux is located in the Capucins market. In the middle of the week, this place mainly sells Spanish delicacies but on weekends it turns into a fantastic tapas bar with a huge variety of pintxos. Once you’re seated by the hostess and get your plate you can start picking the Pintxos. There is one problem though! there are so many of them that it’s really hard to choose only a few. Just be sure not to throw the long toothpicks holding the pintxos, as that’s how the restaurant knows how much to charge you. This is a very popular place so if you’re in the mood for delicious tapas, be sure to come early.
Opening hours of the bar: Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 15:30
Les Jardins – delicious lunch and tapas
Another fun place for lunch is Les Jardins. This little restaurant has a great variety of dishes on their daily menu. You can enjoy local meat dishes and many French delicacies like snails, oysters, and shrimps. The service is super friendly, especially when you’re coming in the middle of the week. The owner really tries to give attention to every customer which is refreshing.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 to 13:00, Saturday 5:00 to 14:00
Les Puits d’Amour – a magical dessert before you leave the market
This beautiful pastry carries the name le Puit d’amour, a well of love. It’s a local pastry, created by Maison Seguin in a little town South to Bordeaux called Captieux. Les Puit d’amour is filled with crème Chiboust (a mix of crème pâtissière and an Italian meringue). It’s a perfect bite size end to your market journey. Be aware that they arrive every day with only a few trays of les Puits d’Amour and once they finish selling them, puff they’re gone. So be sure to pass by before lunch and buy a box for later.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 until the last puit d’amour 🙂
Hope you enjoyed our virtual market tour! If it opened your appetite to discover more of the local flavors of the South West of France, check out the Lost in Bordeaux food tours where I take you through a journey of tastes and fascinating stories about the cuisine of the Bordeaux region.
Bordeaux may not be France’s fashion capital but the Bordelais are actually quite stylish. And just like everybody else, they also love to buy some of their items in second hand shops. However, these are not so easy to spot without some guidance. That’s why I decided to gather a list of the best vintage and second-hand shops in Bordeaux. The guide includes both trendy boutiques with special items from the 80s as well as more day to day shops where you can find cheap and beutiful items. Second-hand shops are chic and environmentally friendly so I’m totally for it! Let’s start with our list!
Second-Hand shops in Bordeaux city center
This is one of the funkiest shops in Bordeaux. 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. The shop is not big but the selection of plaid shirts, short jeans, and colorful dresses is really impressive. Freep’show has a hipster vibe to it. Stylish employees moving to the beat of the music played in the shop decorated with vinyl records (you get the picture..). The prices are very low, you can find plenty of items for 10 euros or less.
Address: 80 Rue du Loup, 33000 Bordeaux
Chamade looks like a fancy boutique from outside but it’s actually another beautiful vintage shop on rue du Loup. They have an impressive collection of women’s wear, a lot of stylish skirts and button-down shirts. They also have a big collection of beautiful jewelry, which is not second-hand but complements their vintage clothes perfectly. This store also buys second-hand clothes so if you have some stylish items to get rid off you may make some money on the way.
Address: 76 Rue du Loup, 33000 Bordeaux
Jolie Mome is a super stylish second-hand boutique with a very young vibe to it. They have a big selection of trendy outfits and the store has a very similar design to other fashion boutiques in the city center, so it’s hard to tell from the outside that it’s a second-hand shop. They sell only women wear, offering a lot of beautiful dresses you could wear on events as well as nice accessories like bags and scarves. The prices are really good with a lot of items at around 20 euros.
Address: 22 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, 33000 Bordeaux
Another good second-hand shop is Madame Plus, which has a big selection of women wear but also a nice section dedicated to kids and babies. It’s very well organized and you can find plenty of casual items from dresses to jeans and bags. I found the shopping experience there very pleasant.
Address: 22 Rue Castillon, 33000 Bordeaux
This is the most high-end vintage store in Bordeaux. From first glance, it looks more like a luxury bridal shop than a second hand one. There are lots of special vintage items like designer dresses, bags and beautiful hats. The prices are quite high but if you’re on a hunt for a special item for an event, this is a good store to stop by.
Address: 14 Rue Maucoudinat, 33000 Bordeaux
A very colorful shop with a huge selection of shorts and jeans for both men and women. You won’t find elegant dresses or bags in this shop but rather plenty of casual wear. The items are very fashionable with a lot of reference to the 90s. The prices in the shop are really affordable with most of the items ranging between 10 and 20 euros.
Address: rue 33000, 2 Rue Tustal, 33000 Bordeaux
Amos is an association that employs people going through reintegration into society and all of the clothes you’ll see in their stores are coming from donations. They have several stores in Bordeaux with the most central and stylish being the one on rue Sainte Catherine. All the shops have women, men and kids wear, with some offering also toys and books. The prices are very low and it’s nice to be able to take part in a social project. If you have clothes that you don’t use anymore, you can donate them to Amos. Their containers marked AMOS, are spread all over the city (click here to see where the containers are located).
Address: 146 Rue Sainte-Catherine, 33000 Bordeaux
Mad Vintage is a big second-hand store on rue Sainte Catharine that looks like a regular clothes store rather than a thrift shop. The shop is very well organized with a big selection of basic t-shirts and jeans and a section of 90s jackets, with some looking like they have been taken from the set of the Fresh Prince of Bel-air. This store has one of the best collections for men in Bordeaux, as opposed to many other second-hand shops that sell only women clothes.
Address: 142 Rue Sainte-Catherine, 33000 Bordeaux
Platine is a small store in one of the chicest areas in Bordeaux, located just next to the Grosse Cloche. It has a very strong 90’s vibe, offering a big selection of jeans jackets, belt pouches, polaroid cameras, and more. While I did find some nice 90’s accessories in the shop, I believe that in the clothing section it has a better selection for men than for women.
Address: 4 Rue Bouquière, 33000 Bordeaux
This is not one of those chic shops you go to for the second-hand shopping experience but rather a big shop where you go to dig in piles of clothes to find that one special item. It’s an outlet store and next to some second-hand items you can find plenty of clothes from retail stores and designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Prada and more. The prices are very low and you can find anything from coats to women lingerie, kids wear and ties for men. The store doesn’t look big from outside but it’s actually huge once you go inside.
Address: 187 Rue Sainte-Catherine, 33000 Bordeaux
Second-hand shops in Saint Michel and Victoire, Bordeaux
Declic is one of the most stylish vintage shops in Bordeaux. The boutique, located next to the Victoire square, is beautifully designed, offering a great shopping experience. If you’re looking for something to wear to an event that would be the best shop to start with. On the display, you can find plenty of beautiful dresses, stylish bags, belts and hats. The owner has already made the work for you by creating some beautiful combinations that you can see on the store’s walls. The prices here are a bit more elevated as its a vintage shop with very carefully selected items, but you can still find a lot of items at around 20 euros.
Address: 17 rue des Augustins, 33000 Bordeaux
Steack- Fripes is one of the most popular second-hand shops in Bordeaux. It offers a very eclectic style from vintage dresses from the 20s to old costumes and hats, all organized by color code. The owners are pretty good at selecting a lot of special items so if you want to add a twist to your look, you should definitely check out this store.
Address: 62 Rue du Mirail, 33000 Bordeaux
Boutique Marcelle, located in the Victoire neighborhood is more of a thrift store, meaning that you’ll have to work a bit to find the more stylish items. It’s packed with clothes, bags and shoes for both women and men. It’s not a very fashionable shop but it offers plenty of items with very eclectic styles. So if you have the time for some digging you might find great bargains here.
Address: 55 Rue du Mirail, 33000 Bordeaux
Le Fil a Retordre
Le Fil a Retordre is a cozy little second-hand shop in the Saint Michel neighborhood. It looks small but has everything you need, clothes, shoes, books, toys, house decor and even some original designs of clothes and bags recycled from old items, all in very good condition. It’s owned by a nice lady who has owned several second-hand shops in Saint Michel in the last 35 years.
Address: 9 rue des Faures, 33000 Bordeaux
That’s it! If you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.
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.
Bordeaux isn’t one of France’s cheapest cities but there are quite a lot of things you can enjoy here for free (or at a very low price). In this article, I gathered plenty of ideas for you to enjoy the city and the area around Bordeaux without spending a dime. Following my list, you will learn how to dance, discover amazing art, visit beautiful beaches and do most of it completely free. If you’re coming with kids, this post will give you some nice ideas for entertaining them without breaking the bank. Many of the offered attractions in this article are available during the summer season but some things you can do during winter as well. So let’s start with the list of free things to do in Bordeaux!
Free things you can do all year long in Bordeaux
Stroll the historic city
You don’t need much to enjoy this amazing city. The exceptional architecture is present on almost every street. The old gates to the city, the romantic streets leading to lively squares, the wide beautiful promenade on the river banks will all leave a great impression on you. After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings in France. No wonder that its historic part was declared as an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble by UNESCO. If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you can read about the most important monuments in my guide to a weekend in Bordeaux.
Darwin – hipster paradise
If you want to take the off-beaten track go to where the locals love to hang out. Darwin is an old military base on the right bank of the river converted into an urban space with a very cool vibe to it. It has a very chic restaurant and several shops but you don’t really need to spend money to enjoy it. You can stroll around the hangars, check out the charity shop, see plenty of street art and just embrace the hipster vibes :). Darwin and the associations it hosts are very active and offer plenty of free events. I tend to write quite a lot about it, so check out my weekend posts. You can also have a picnic at the Parc aux Angéliques located just in front of Darwin.
Address: 87 Quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux
Free museums Sunday
Like in most cities in France, the first Sunday of the month is a free museums day. You have a free entrance to all the public museums and to most exhibitions. Check out the full list of museums in Bordeaux that you can visit for free this Sunday.
Free galleries in Bordeaux
Discover the local art in the many galleries spread in the city, many of them you can visit without a reservation. Here are some of the best galleries in Bordeaux: Galerie D.X., Bouillon d’art, A deux pas d’ici (photography), Cox gallery (street art). For contemporary art, head to FRAC which is located at the new MECA, an interesting architectural attraction by itself.
One of the best ways to discover the city is by bike and you don’t even have to pay much to do that in Bordeaux. There are city bikes (V³) stations spread all over the city and they cost only 1.7 euros for 24 hours. You have to return it to the station every 30 minutes and you can immediately take another one to continue your journey. You can also pay 2 euros per hour and return it later if you want to make a longer ride to areas without city bikes stations. See the location of the stations here.
See Bordeaux’s most ancient monument
Strolling the city center you’ve probably noticed a lot of impressive monuments dating back to the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries such and 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 calling this number +33 5 56 00 66 00.
Bordeaux Metropole is rich with many basilicas and churches, decorating almost every big square in the city. Its history is blended with religion and the churches are a testament to the development of the city. One of the best things about them is that they are always free and open every day. Bordeaux is an old city so you get to explore religious temples from various periods in time, carrying very different styles. Some examples are the amazing Saint Andres on Place Pey Berland that is built in a Gothic Style or the church of Notre Dame with its Baroque style. Other impressive and interesting churches and Basilicas include Saint Croix, Saint Michel and Saint Bruno.
There are free events taking place every weekend, from concerts on the street to huge brocantes, street art events, dance lessons and more. All you need to do is follow my weekend list to be updated on what’s happening in the city at the moment.
Drink at the Capucins Market
One of the main attractions in Bordeaux is Marché des Capucins, Bordeaux’s main market. Eating at the market definitely isn’t free (although very affordable) but you don’t have to eat there to feel the vibe. You can just sip a glass of cold white wine at Chez Jean Me (only 2 euros a glass) and absorb the sounds and smells of the market. If you need more recommendations check out my post about the best restaurants at the Capucins market.
Discover the street art
Like many other cities, Bordeaux too has the street art fever, with numerous talented local artists. One of the best things about street art is that it’s usually free, you just need to put some effort to find it. 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 du Loup with a beautiful work by Nasty, rue Bourrard, quai des platitudes, the Mur in Chartrons, rue Bergeret. One of the most beautiful works, in my opinion, is located just next to Pessac’s train station. The street art scene is always evolving so again you’ll have to get back here for updates 😉
Brocante in Saint Michel
Antiques and flea markets are a popular attraction in many cities. Some people go there to hunt for special bargains to take home and others see it as a way to discover more about the place through the pieces on display. Bordeaux is quite rich with Brocantes and Vide Greniers (a local version of a garage sale) and you can find many of them both in the center and the villages around it. The most famous one is located in Passage Saint Michel, a hangar that gathers about twenty brocanteurs (second-hand goods dealer) together. Just in front of it, on the main square in Saint Michel, you will find the Sunday Brocante with much cheaper items for sale. Another neighborhood to visit is Chartrons, with plenty of more expensive Antique boutiques. If you want to experience a local and cheaper “flea market” you should attend a Vide Grenier in one of the suburbs or the villages next to Bordeaux. To discover when are the next vide greniers taking place check out this site.
Take a free tour in Bordeaux
If reading about the history of Bordeaux feels like a daunting task to you, you can just take a tour and let a professional guide tell you all about it. Free walking tours offer free tours in the city center and you can tip them at the end as you want.
What to do for free in Bordeaux during the summer
Go to a free music concert
The summer in Bordeaux is one big music festival with plenty of free concerts and parties scattered all over the city. There are several associations that organize free concerts from June to the end of September in many different styles and locations. Bordeaux Open Air offers amazing electronic festivals in the parks of Bordeaux almost every summer. Relache will make you rock with free rock concerts on different squares of Bordeaux. Banzai lab has amazing parties on the weekend of July and the Pavillon d’été welcomes you to enjoy free music concerts on the right bank of the river. For more information follow my post about things to do in July and August as well as my what to do this weekend post that I publish every Wednesday/ Thursday.
Learn how to dance
If dance classes are too expensive for you, in Bordeaux you can learn it for free! The main dance festival in the summer is Dansons sur les quais, with free dancing lessons on the promenade. The lessons are taught by professional teachers and it’s quite an amazing experience for both kids and adults. However, this is not the only place to take free dance classes in Bordeaux during the summer season. You can also learn how to dance Tango with Tango Bordeaux association and Swing with the Swing In Kiosque at Jardin Public.
Have a picnic at the Park
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a proper French meal or snack. Just buy some cheese and wine, add to it a crispy baguette from the boulangerie and head to one of Bordeaux magical picnic spots. Many of you probably heard about the beautiful Jardin Public, but this is far from being the only park in Bordeaux. Check out my list of the best picnic places in Bordeaux where I also included information about playgrounds for kids and the closest supermarkets.
Listen to music and dance at la Guingette chez Alriq
La Guinguette chez Alriq is one of the best summer places in Bordeaux with plenty of concerts in the open air. During the summer they host amazing bands from Thursday to Sunday. While on most evenings the concerts cost 6 euros on Sunday afternoon the concerts are free!
Adress: ZA Quai des Queyries, Port Bastide, 33100 Bordeaux
Go to one of the beaches in the city
One of the best free attractions to do during the Bordelaise summer is going to a beach. There are many lakes in the area and two of them happen to be in the city and you can even reach them by public transport. Bordeaux Lac is a fantastic little beach in the north of the city. Unfortunately, the direct line to the beach (line c) from the city center is going through some works until September so going to the beach will take more time than usual. The second city beach is located in the southern suburb of Bordeaux, Bègles. Bègles plage can be reached by line c within 25 minutes from the train station.
Fun stuff to do (almost) for free with kids in Bordeaux
Chill at the Miroir d’eau
The best free attraction for kids (and adults) in Bordeaux is definitely Mirroir d’eau. Kids absolutely love splashing in the water, especially on hot summer days. When tired you can have a picnic at the little garden right next to it.
Go to the pool
Going to the pool is not really free in Bordeaux but it’s very affordable and you can spend the whole day there. There are several kids friendly pools in Bordeaux metropole, two of them are not very far from the city center. Next to the Meriadeck, you’ll find the piscine Judaique located in a beautiful art deco building. A bit farther from the center is Piscine du Grand Parc. Both are very kids friendly with facilities like kids’ pool, water slides, floats and more.
Skateboarding on the quai
If your kids love skating be sure to bring the skateboard with you when coming to Bordeaux. One of the best skateparks in the city is located on Quai des Chartrons and it’s free. For those heading to the Sunday market on the quai, that would be a great break for the kids.
There are plenty of amazing day trips you can go to when visiting the Bordeaux area. It’s not entirely free of course as you have to rent a car but it gives you the chance to discover plenty of amazing places around Bordeaux without paying a dime. Also, If you make sure to rent it a few months before your arrival rental prices are fairly low. If you prefer to go by train, check out my list of the 10 day trips you can do by train from Bordeaux.
Discover the beautiful châteaux of the Medoc region
Even if you don’t want to spend money on a wine tour I highly recommend doing the route du Vin, just for the beautiful châteaux all along the way. If you don’t want to rent a car you can do most of the trip by bike. While in many wineries you’d have to pay for a guided tour, some will offer you to taste their wine for free. For more information check out my article about the wine road in Medoc.
Go to one of Bordeaux’s beautiful beaches
Above I’ve mentioned two beaches that are located within the city but with a car, Gironde is a paradise for beach lovers. Plenty of beautiful sandy beaches surround the Bordeaux Metropole. The more kids friendly ones are located on the lakes, such as lac Lacanau or lac Cazaux and on the Bassin d’Arcachon. Surfers will definitely fall in love with the beaches on the Atlantic coast. If you need help in choosing the best beaches, I just recently released a post about the best beaches near Bordeaux.
Visit medieval villages
To its south and east, Bordeaux is surrounded by amazing medieval villages which you can reach within less than an hour drive. One of the most famous villages in our area is Saint Emilion, but it’s not the only charming village in the area, others include, Bazas, Saint Macaire, La Reole, Rions and more. For more information about some of these destinations check out my article about day trips from Bordeaux.
I hope I convinced you that a trip to Bordeaux can be quite cheap when you have so many incredible free things to do. Hope you enjoyed the list!
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Apart from luxurious wine, the Bordeaux area is also known for its beautiful beaches. On sunny days many tourists rush to the coast of Arcachon without knowing that there is actually a great deal of amazing beaches near Bordeaux. In this article, I want to share ten beaches in the area that I find absolutely stunning. The list includes both lake beaches, ocean beaches and of course the best beaches on the Bassin d’Arcachon. There are many more gorgeous beaches in the Southwest of France but I made sure to include only those that are located within a reasonable distance from the center of Bordeaux. Hope you’ll enjoy the article and the beaches around Bordeaux 🙂
Hostens lac is one of the highlights of the South Gironde region. Domaine des Lacs d’Hostens is located at the heart of the Landes de Gascogne forest (50km from Bordeaux) and has one of the most beautiful beaches in our area. This place is much more than just a nice place to swim. Hostens offers plenty of water activities such as kayaks and pedaling as well as hiking trails, mountain bike trails and more. There are actually 5 lakes at the domain but the beach is located on the shores of lake of Lamothe. There’s also a restaurant and a snack bar next to the beach so no worries if you didn’t come prepared. You can get more information about the activities at the tourist information point which is located next to the parking at the entrance to the Domain or read some of it here.
Bordeaux Lac – in Bordeaux city
If you’re in Bordeaux and prefer to avoid renting/using a car, this beach is perfect for you. Bordeaux Lac has everything you need, 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.
La Plage du Moutchic – Lacanau
Plage du Moutchic is located on the banks of Lacanau lake, about 50 km from Bordeaux. This beach has a nice supervised swimming area, a shaded picnic area and sports facilities like boat rentals, windsurfing, canoes and paddle boats which makes it very popular with families from the region. In case you forgot to bring food (god forbid), there’s a snack bar and two restaurants with a beautiful view on the lake. For those who don’t like sand (my hubby including 🙂 ), part of the beach is covered with soft green grass. There’s big free parking behind the beach.
Plage Laouga – Close to Arcachon
Plage Laouga on Lac Cazaux is a fine sandy beach located about 400 m from the main beach of this beautiful lake (Plage Cazaux). Its calm warm water makes it one of the best places for families. This part of the lake is sheltered by the pine forest of Landes de Gascogne, which creates a lot of shaded spots on the beach (a must in the South-west summer). The beach is supervised during the summer season (mid June- mid September) and has free parking just next to it. Plage Laouga is located about 70 km from Bordeaux.
Beaches on the Arcachon Bay – close to Bordeaux
Le Moulleau beach
Le Moulleau, while officially a part of the city of Arcachon, feels like a completely separate little resort town with its own center, beaches and restaurants. It’s a very popular beach that attracts both families and many young people. The Moulleau is located midway between the center of Arcachon and the famous Dune du Pilat which is always a great spot to finish your day. There are a few bars and restaurants very close to the beach so you can easily spend the whole day in this resort. You can also take a ferry and check the beaches on the other side of the Bassin at Cap ferret. The beach can be reached by car, bike or a bus from the train station of Arcachon.
Plage Pereire, one of the most popular beaches in Arcachon, is located in Ville de Printemps (the winter city of Arcachon) about 67 km from Bordeaux. It’s a beautiful three km long beach with white sand and an amazing view of the Cap Ferret peninsula on the other side of the bay. This beach is equipped with many sports facilities, a cycle path and green lawns for people to have a picnic on. When coming from Arcachon center, one of the best ways to get there is cycling. A flat cycle path, stretched from the central beach to the Dune du Pyla, passes through Plage Pereire and other Arcachon beaches. On a hot summer day, you can enjoy a cold rosé at the bar-restaurant du soleil located on the beach.
Andernos les bains
Andernos les bains at the north of the Bassin d’Arcachon is one of the most attractive towns in the area, especially during the summer season. It has a cute little center leading to the main beach that is abundant with restaurants, ice cream shops and beach clothing boutiques. While the main beach is really nice, if you want a more isolated and relaxed atmosphere you should continue in the direction of the oysters port and go the remarkable nature reserve of les Quinconces. After a short walk from the port into the reserve, you’ll discover a beautiful beach with the forest as your background. This beach is quite isolated so there are no facilities here and it’s not supervised. Andernos les bains is located about 50 km from Bordeaux.
Plage de la Hume – Gujan Mestras
Plage de la Hume is a family friendly beach located at the touristic part of Gujan Mestras, a little town known as the capital of oyster farming on the Bassin d’Arcachon. Its location on the bay makes the water very calm and easy to swim in. However, if you’ve come for more than the beach itself and really want to swim, check the tide hours first. They are changing daily and in some hours of the day, you can barely see any water. Click here for the daily hours. The beach is supervised in July and August (from 10:00 to 19:00), which makes it a very safe place for kids. Plage de la Hume is located just next to the ports that Gujan Mestras is famous for, so if you’re getting hungry you can always stop in one of the cabanes on the port for fresh oysters.
Beaches at the Atlantic coast
Plage du Grand Cohort – Lège Cap-Ferret
Grand Cohort beach is located on the Ocean side of the Cap Ferret peninsula. As opposed to the more calm water on the side of the Bassin d’Arcachon, on the ocean side, the waves are strong which makes 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. This beach is located about 60 km from the center of Bordeaux.
Lacanau Ocean beaches
If your idea for a beach day is a more active one, this is the beach for you. The Lacanau Ocean beach begins right at the end of Boulevard de la Plage at the Lacanau Ocean town, which is located about 55km from Bordeaux. It is one of the longest beaches in the Aquitaine area, spreading to 15 km of white sand. The beach is considered a perfect place for surfing and windsurfing and it has become known for surfing competition and events. This long beach is also a great place for bathing in the sea with your family and has all the facilities you need, including many restaurants and shops in its little center.
There are plenty of other amazing beaches near Bordeaux but I think that these ten beaches will give you a sense of how beautiful and magical the Gironde region is!
For more places to visit around Bordeaux check out my guides about day trips from Bordeaux by car and by train.
The Bordeaux wine route is one of the most visited attractions in the south west 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.
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.
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 wine-making 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.
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 wine making. 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 who 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 on the property and taste some wine, many of them will happily welcome you inside (if they’re not in the middle of a tour). If you don’t want to be calling the wineries yourself you can buy tickets to many of the tours through the tourist office in Pauillac.
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.
Coming from Bordeaux, make the first stop at the southern appellations, not far from the Margaux area. As it’s located only about 30 km from Bordeaux city, you can make it early and still have time to visit more chateaux that day. Some of the châteaux I really loved in this area are: Chateau de Taillan which is owned by 5 sisters; Chateau d’Arsac, one of the most beautiful properties in Medoc with an extravagant display of art in its enormous gardens. Closer to Margaux itself you have the charming family-run Chateau Siran and Chateau Kirwan.
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. First one being 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 lunch time, 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!
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.
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 to 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. 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 La Tour de By, Château la Tour Carnet,Château Lafon-Rochet andChâteau Pichon Longueville Baron. As mentioned above, many of the wineries require you to book the visits in advance so go to their sites to see more details.
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 on 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 touristic period and will welcome you without reservation when it’s less busy.
If you arrive for the morning visit (11am) 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 at 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 on 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, with a cute little portwith 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.
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.
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 has a similar architectural style of 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 shrimps. While there, don’t forget to visit the amazing covered market of the region that sell 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.
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 oysters stands where plenty of people gather to sip white wine accompanied by this local delicacy. By 11am it gets really crowded so try to make it as early as possible.
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 travelling 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 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 on July and August.
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 a 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. The 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 travelling 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
This is a beautiful guesthouse, located in a 19th century mansion. The rooms are elegantly decorated and have a view on the vineyards of the estate. You also get a free tour in 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 amazing room decorations and the setting in a 12th century castle is an experience like no other in the Medoc area. There are only two rooms in the chateau so it’s almost private. The stay here is not cheap but its truly exceptional! Book it here
Château Pierre de Montignac
This is a more simple and 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’ 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
Finally, if you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.
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.
Bordeaux is a very touristic city and as such it’s packed with boutique and budget hotels. However, not all of them offer good value for your money and finding a good hotel can be a hard task. That’s why I gathered this list of hotels to help you out. This list includes hotels from the city center and from surrounding districts. I included both basic hotels and beautifully designed boutique ones so the price range is quite big and you can easily find a place that fits your budget and needs. If this is your first visit to France, read my short article about things you should know before ordering a hotel in France.
This post includes affiliate links, meaning that if you book a hotel through my links I’ll receive a small commission. It will cost you nothing, and you will be supporting the work I do at Lost in Bordeaux. So thank you 🙂
Hotels in the center of Bordeaux – from budget to luxury
A super stylish central hotel with a great atmosphere and an incredibly good value for your money. Mama Shelter is part of a chain of hotels, located in several cities in France. It has 97 colorful and funky rooms designed by Philippe Starck. The hotel is located next to Hotel de Ville and so it’s very close to the historic center of the city. You’re at a walking distance from all the bars, boutiques and monuments the city has to offer. It has a great restaurant and one of the best rooftop bars, with an amazing view of Bordeaux. The price is really affordable, especially if you book in advance.
The Boutique Hotel is a 4- star luxury hotel which is quite popular among Bordeaux tourists. It’s located in the elegant district of Triangle d’Or, at just a few minutes walk from the Opera. The owners designed the rooms themselves with a lot of charm, combining the historic elements of the building with a more modern design. Each of the 27 rooms and suites reveals a different atmosphere and is named after one of the region’s famous chateaux. If you come with kids there are a few large apartment style rooms available. The rooms come with a view of Bordeaux’s rooftops or the green courtyard which also has a beautiful wine bar. Parking is not provided but you have a reduced price in the parking lot next to the hotel.
Hôtel Majestic is another establishment located close to the Opera of Bordeaux. The 4-star hotel, situated in a beautiful 18th-century building has 47 rooms, each with its own specific decor. The hotel is a few minutes walk from the Miroir d’eau and the historic center. But as it’s in the north part of the center it’s also quite close to Jardin Public which is perfect for sunny days. All the chic wine and chocolate boutiques are located just a few steps away. Private parking is available in the hotel.
Hôtel de sèze is a 4-star hotel, located in the fancy Triangle d’Or district next to many luxury boutiques and wine and chocolate shops. Situated in a beautiful 18th-century building, the hotel has 55 rooms with 18th-century decor that gives it a very elegant look. It also harbors a spa (not commonly seen in Bordeaux’s hotels), a beautiful library and a golf course (15 minutes by shuttle).
This is a 4-star hotel with 33 rooms complete with a late 20s art-deco atmosphere. The hotel is made of two beautiful houses dating from the 18th century, the Bayonne and the Etche-Ona, with an interesting story behind each one. A perfect location, just a minute walk from the Opera and next to le Marche des Grands-Hommes where you can buy some delicious souvenirs to bring back home. If you need a good coffee in the morning, Kuro is just a minute away. Parking requires prior reservation.
This hotel is located in the Saint Pierre district of Bordeaux, probably the best location you could think of. It’s the heart of Bordeaux’s historic center and the best bars and restaurants are just around the corner. The hotel itself is a simple 3-star hotel but it’s very clean and has everything you need for a nice stay. This is a great value considering its location. It’s important to note that the hotel doesn’t have a parking space but they do have a partnership with the parking lot of the Grand Hommes (5 minutes walk) with reduced prices at around 15 euros a day. The parking is closed on Sunday.
A very basic 2-star hotel, perfectly located just a few minutes walk from the hotel de Ville and the opera. There’s nothing very special about the decor or its atmosphere but it’s clean and very affordable. And as a bonus, you have one of the best coffee places in Bordeaux, L’alchimiste, just next door. The parking is a six minutes walk from the hotel and requires prior reservation.
A 2-star hotel located at the heart of the historic center of Bordeaux. It’s a basic hotel with small but clean rooms. The location is perfect! It’s situated on rue saint Remi, a street full of bars and restaurants, and just two minutes from the Miroir-d’eau, one of Bordeaux’s main attractions. It’s a great value if you want to stay in the city center.
This is a 3-star boutique hotel situated in a beautiful 18th-century house. La Maison du Lierre was named after the 200 years old ivy covering its terrace. It’s located on a quiet street, away from the hustle but just a few minutes walk to the opera of Bordeaux. The rooms are small but very nice and clean and it has a beautiful terrace which is a real upgrade.
Where to stay in the surrounding districts of Bordeaux center
Villa Victor Louis
Villa victor Louis is a charming boutique hotel with beautiful decor that combines 18th-century furniture with a contemporary style. You have a wonderful outdoor space where you can relax on sunny days. It’s located in the quiet Saint Seurin neighborhood, a few minutes walk from the main park of Bordeaux and the elegant Triangle d’Or district. While you won’t be located in the heart of the historic center (a 15 min walk), you’ll benefit from being a few minutes away from one of the best patisseries in Bordeaux, Maison Lamour.
A 4-star hotel located in the north of the Chartrons neighborhood. A bit out of the historic center but a good location nonetheless. The Seeko’o hotel has 44 spacious rooms with a chic and urban style, very different from the classic hotels in the city center. Some of the rooms’ windows turn to the bassin-a-flot, an old port with plenty of boats and a very unique architecture. The hotel also offers a sauna and a hammam which is a lovely bonus. The parking requires a reservation as there are only 10 places available.
Personal note: if it’s a short stay and you really want to feel the vibe of the center of Bordeaux, then this hotel is a bit far. If you don’t mind walking 20 minutes to the city center (or taking the tram) then it could be a great option. It’s located at the southern border of the Bacalan neighborhood, which is now one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, with a beautiful covered market, the wine museum and plenty of street art so you will enjoy your stay nontheless. Discover this funky district with my post about the best things to do in Bacalan.
There’s nothing fancy about this one but it’s a decent clean nicely designed hotel. The rooms are air-conditioned which is a big bonus if you’ll be staying in Bordeaux during the summer. It’s located at the Meriadeck district about 15 minutes walk from the historic center of Bordeaux. Not far from the hotel you can find the Meriadeck, the only shopping mall in the city center, and the ice skating rink of Bordeaux.
It’s the administrative district of Bordeaux and it’s not very chic, so if you really have the urge to feel the vibe of the historic center when you go out of the hotel, look at some of the hotels at the begining of this article. If you need a good coffee place, Gusco is perfect and nearby. All-in-all It’s a nice hotel and because the location isn’t perfect the price is usually affordable.
Maison Fredon is a little boutique hotel located in a renovated beautiful 18th-century building. There are only five rooms in this hotel, all uniquely designed to combine modern decor with the classic style of a bourgeois bordelaise house. The rooms are very spacious which is uncommon in French hotels. It’s located in Saint Michel, an old neighborhood just outside the historic center of Bordeaux, a special place by itself. In recent years it gained popularity having plenty of bars and restaurants open up on a monthly basis. In the same property you’ll find a very popular restaurant, Tupina, serving delicious French food.
On a personal note: This is a perfect gourmet location. It’s only 5 minutes walk from the main market of Bordeaux and has five restaurants on the same street. It’s also a few minutes walk from the train station, which can be great from those of you traveling by train. discover the Saint Michel neighborhood check out my post about the best things to do in Saint Michel.
Where to stay next to the train station of Bordeaux
Many people are looking for accommodations next to the train station as they are traveling to the area by train. That’s why I added two affordable hotels just next to gare Saint-Jean, although I’m not a big fan of this area.
Hôtel Mercure de la Gare Saint-Jean
The first one is hôtel Mercure de la gare Saint-Jean, one of the best options in the area. While the hotel is a bit old the rooms are clean and comfortable and the staff is very welcoming. It’s a 4-star hotel but very affordable. It’s located just a few minutes walk from the station but very close to one of the most beautiful churches in Bordeaux, L’église Sainte-Croix.
If you’re on a limited budget, Ibis gare saint jean could be a good solution as well. It’s not the most charming hotel but it’s definitely a good value for its price. It’s a 3-star hotel with nice clean rooms and it’s located 300m from the station.
I hope this post was helpful for finding accommodation on your next trip to Bordeaux! Just remember that Bordeaux is not a huge city so all of these hotels are relatively close to the center. If you found a hotel that interests you, it’d be amazing if you book it through the links on my site. It’ll add absolutely nothing to your cost and will allow me to continue writing more fun and useful articles about things to do in Bordeaux and Southwest France!
Bordeaux is located in one of the most beautiful areas in France, surrounded by charming villages, impressive chateaux, vineyards and sandy beaches. When visiting the city, many are looking for day trips from Bordeaux that will allow them to discover the area without driving for hours. And you can indeed easily fill your visits here with amazing day trips from the city. However, many of these places are hidden secrets to most tourists and information is not easy to find online. That’s why I decided to make this list of places to visit around Bordeaux. I tried to make it as diverse as I could to help anyone find its perfect spot for a day trip. It’s important to notice that most of these locations are not very accessible by public transport, so renting a car is recommended. For those of you that prefer not to go by car, be sure to check up my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux by train.
Wine related day tips around Bordeaux
Saint Émilion is probably the most famous wine related day trip from Bordeaux. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent attraction for tourists in the area. Saint Émilion is mostly famous for its wines so a visit to one of the châteaux (wineries) is a must. The charming town, however, is worth a visit even if you’re not a wine lover. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe.
There is a direct train from Bordeaux to Saint Émilion however if you want to visit some of the distant chateaux in the region, coming by car is recommended. There is just one problem is Saint Émilion, there are just too many beautiful spots to visit and it’s really hard to choose just a few! In my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion, I cover both the most interesting chateaux and the most welcoming wine producing families in the area so check it out!
The Medoc Wine Route
The Medoc is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, attracting many wine enthusiasts to the Medoc wine route. The famous route is a never-ending road (the D2) leading from the northern part of Bordeaux Metropole (start in Blanquefort) to almost the northernmost point in Gironde. An infinite landscape of vineyards adorned with mesmerizing châteaux. A view that will leave you speechless even if you don’t like wine.
There are about 600 châteaux along the Medoc wine trail. You probably won’t have time to visit most of them, but luckily, some of the most beautiful ones can be seen from the road so all you have to do is stop for a quick photo. The most famous wine houses (like Château Margeaux and Château Mouton Rothschild) are open only to professionals but don’t worry, there are plenty of beautiful properties you can visit. Some of the prettiest and more interesting are Château d’Arsac, Château Siran, Château Beychevelle and Château Cos d’Estournelle. If you don’t mind going a little further to the north I highly recommend visiting the last chateau on the trail, Château Loudenne. This charming (it’s pink!) old château has a huge garden and its own port so apart from the wine visit, you can have a lovely picnic or take a boat tour. Make sure you book your visit to the wineries before going there as it can get quite busy in the summer.
Wine is not the only alcoholic drink the Southwest of France is known for! Bordeaux is located about 120 km (75 miles) from Cognac, an area that produces one of the most luxurious spirits in the world. The town of Cognac, located in the Charente department, is a charming and interesting place that’s worth a visit even if you’re not a big fan of Cognac. The old center of the city is characterized by narrow paved streets with houses dating from the 16th and 17th century. Some of the most famous Cognac houses are located right in the city center, among them, you’ll find Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin. All of them offer tours which normally include a visit to the cellars and Cognac tastings. You can read more about Cognac in my post about the 10 best things to do in Cognac. While it’s possible to get to Cognac by train, it’s quite a long journey so going by car is recommended.
Discover the sandy beaches around Bordeaux
Arcachon is one of the most popular summer destinations in the southwest of France. A seaside resort town renowned for its beautiful beaches, impressive architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Within an hour drive from Bordeaux you get to swim in the ocean, eat oysters and see beautiful villas. A day trip from Bordeaux to Arcachon can easily take a whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe and one of the most popular destinations in France.
I recently wrote a post about the best things to do and see in and around the town of Arcachon, which is one of the main tourist destinations on the Arcachon Bay. So take a look at it before you head to the area. You can reach Arcachon by train, however coming by car will allow you to easily access the dune and to visit other places on the bay, such as Gujan Mestas and the Teich bird reserve.
Soulac sur mer
This charming little town is one of the highlights of the Medoc region. It’s located on the very top of the Medoc Atlantique, about 90 km (55 miles) from Bordeaux. If this is too far for you, you can combine it with the wine trail in Medoc which I mentioned above.
Soulac sur Mer is a resort town that resembles Arcachon, with the city center looking like Ville d’été and the impressive 18th-century villas that look just like Ville d’Hiver. 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 shrimps.
When there, take a map in the tourist office and go on a discovery tour of the most interesting villas. I highly recommend coming here at the beginning of June during the festive weekend of Soulac 1900, a really fun Jazz festival.
Cap Ferret is a charming town located on the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon (Arcachon Bay) 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, uncrowded beach village atmosphere.
Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic ocean and a view on the eastern side of the Bassin. It’s also one of the main producers of oysters in France due to its location on the bay that creates perfect conditions for the ostréiculture industry. Dozens of oyster cabins and restaurants with a view on the Bassin give Cap Ferret a unique character that’s worth a visit and a taste.
The Biscarrosse lake
This one is a great option for a day in nature. If you don’t mind driving a bit longer, the beautiful Biscarrosse lake is located about 70 km (45 miles) from Bordeaux. It is one of the biggest lakes in the area with plenty of amazing beaches and pine forest surrounding it. As it’s so big there are several beaches to choose from, some of which are Plage Navarrose and Plage de Caton. Aquapark, the biggest inflatable water park in France is located on Plage Maguide. If you’re into surfing, head to the beaches on the Atlantic coast. You can also start the day with a biking trail on the canal, connecting the big and little lakes.
A day trip to beautiful villages
Bazas is a beautiful town with lovely people and a great heritage embodying the Gascony culture. It’s located at the eastern edge of the Gascon Landes forest, about 65 km (40 miles) from Bordeaux. A stroll in the historic center will allow you to discover the rich history of the city and its past role as an important bishopric. Its beautiful architecture includes the gothic cathedral (recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO), old mansions, gardens and historic monuments.
Heritage is not the only attraction of this charming town, it’s actually quite famous for its gastronomy, especially its meat. You can enjoy the Bazas meat in one of the restaurants that are perfectly located on the main square. True meat lovers could also buy meat in one of the many butcher shops in the center. If you’re looking for a full gastronomic experience to discover the cuisine of the region, there’s one tour you shouldn’t miss. Anne, an American living is Bazas is an expert on everything related to food in the region. She knows all the farmers and chefs around Bazas and a guided tour with her is an experience you don’t want to miss. Check out her website.
Blaye is one of the most interesting places in the Bordeaux area, located only about 50 km (30 miles) from the center of Bordeaux. This little town has a long military and strategic history and today it’s mostly known for its remarkable Citadel and red wine. The Citadel and the city walls are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can easily spend half a day discovering the old city walls. The entrance to the Citadel is free and you can explore the streets and ramparts admiring the view of the Gironde estuary which can be seen from the top.
Blaye is also known for its red wine. You can visit the Maison du Vin on the main street (12 Cours Vauban), where they would gladly introduce you to the wines of the area and the chateaux you can visit around Blaye. The easiest way to get there is by car or by ferry if you’re coming from the other side of the Gironde estuary. The ferry is leaving from Lamarque.
Visit castles in the South of Gironde
South Gironde is a magical area with a landscape colored with history, tradition and character. It’s a rural area, abundant with beautiful medieval villages and ancient castles. One of the most impressive castles is Château de la Brede which is located only 30 minutes from Bordeaux. It is a 14th-century castle that was built in a Gothic style. The house has a historic importance as it was the residence of Montesquieu. The château is open for visits from April to November (consult their opening hours here).
Another interesting castle to visit is château de Cadillac located in a charming little town that goes by the same name. The chateau is very impressive and is best known for being a women’s prison starting from the French revolution until 1950. Now it serves as a museum that mostly displays the life of the royals who were occupying the estate before it became a prison. However, on the last floor, you can actually still see the cells and an exhibition about the prison.
Bergerac is one of the main cities in the Dordogne area, quite close to the eastern border of the Gironde department. While it’s not as appealing as some of the small beautiful villages in Dordogne, it’s a lively city with a lot of charm to it. In the city center, you will find plenty of restaurants, a great market and long shopping streets. Bergerac is seated on the banks of the Dordogne giving it a beautiful view of the river. You can take a tour on the traditional boats (les gabarres) and discover the history of the city as well as the natural reserve around it.
The area is also known for its wine and you can combine your trip there with a visit to a château. One of the most famous ones is the beautiful Château de Monbazillac, which is located only 15 minutes away. It’s known for its sweet white wine. If you’re going to Bergerac on a Saturday, don’t miss the great market in Saint Foy la Grande which is just on the way from Bordeaux.
Finally, if you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.
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.
The Dordogne river is one of the most popular destinations in France. The low flow in most parts of the river makes it ideal for a kayak or canoe trip as you can easily descend and visit many beautiful villages and impressive chateaux on the way. The enchanting scenery on the banks of the river includes picturesque villages like Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Domme as well as local flora and fauna near Bergerac. In this article I gathered the best places from which to start your kayaking and canoeing experience on the Dordogne river. There are of course many other good kayaking clubs on this immense river but I chose a few that are nicely spread around and offer good tours at reasonable prices. Enjoy and leave a comment if you have any other kayak and canoe clubs to add.
Visit the most beautiful villages in the Dordogne on a canoe
There’s a beautiful scenery along most parts of the Dordogne river, but there’s one region that will leave you truly speechless. The Perigord noir region is located in the south east of the Dordogne department and has one segment of the river that passes right through it. The area is known for its marvellous villages, labeled among the most beautiful in France, with several of them located on the river banks. If you have only one day to discover the villages and castles of Dordogne, canoeing in Perigord Noir is your best choice.
River canoe kayak
River canoe kayak is located at Saint Vincent de Cosse, just next to Beynac, which many consider as the most beautiful village in France. The company’s minibus will take you to your preferred starting point on the Dordogne, from which you’ll start discovering the amazing villages and chateaux on both sides of the river. They offer three different tours: a half day tour, a 4-5 hours tour and full day tours. The bus will bring you to different starting points according to the tour you choose. Departure times are 9h15 – 10h15 – 11h15 – 12h15 – 14h15 – 15h15 – 16h15. Open from April to September
During the summer it’s recommended to make reservations by email [email protected] or by phone : 05.53.29.41.01 or 06.87.13.58.41 For prices check out their website. Address: Le Bourg, 24220 Saint-Vincent-de-Cosse
If you’re visiting the beautiful village of La Roque Gageac, you should definitely consider experiencing it from the river side. Canoe Dordogne proposes a one hour trip near La Roque-Gageac, which was chosen as one of the most beautiful villages in France. You can also take longer tours, from 9 to 25 km and the company bus will take you to the appropriate starting point depending on the trip you choose to take. If you come with kids, they offer different canoes for 2 to 4 people, meaning that it could fit the whole family. Unlike many kayak operators who are open only during the summer season, this one is open all year long. Details for contact and reservation: [email protected] or by phone at : 05 53 29 58 50. For prices check out their website. Address: Le Bourg, 24250 La Roque-Gageac
Canoe sans Frontiere
Canoe sans frontiere offers you a special trail they call the ‘Circuit des Châteaux’. It’s a 19km route (about 4 hours on a canoe) in which you discover five beautiful castles located on the Dordogne river. You start your journey in front of Château de Grolejac, followed by Château de Montfort, Castelnaud-La-Chapelle, Château de Fayrac and finally the famous Château de Beynac. If 19 km is a bit too much for you, this club also offers shorter trips with plenty of beautiful scenery on the way. Open from April to the end of October.
Reservations by phone at 06 31 70 40 08. For more details and prices check out the website Address: Pont de, Grolejac, 24200 Carsac-Aillac
Canoe Soleil Plage
If you want to combine canoeing on the Dordogne river with a beach day, this is the place to go. Canoe Sun Plage is located on the Caudon beach, about 6 km from Sarlat and Domme (two of France’s most beautiful villages). There are three itineraries to choose from, one covers the castles of Dordogne, the second emphasises nature and the third combines both. On the long tour you’ll get to see the châteaux of Castelnaud and Montfort and the beautiful villages of Domme and La Roque Gageac. They operate from April to October.
Contact details: [email protected] or Phone : +33 (0)5 53 28 77 61 and +33 (0) 6 58 08 99 34 For more details check out their website. Address: Plage de Caudon, 24200 Vitrac
Canoeing in the Dordogne around Bergerac
Another great location for water activities on the Dordogne river is the Pays de Bergerac, the western part of the Dordogne department. It’s a region full of beautiful bastide towns and vineyards. A canoe or a kayak can be a great way to discover the particular nature and architecture of this area.
Aquafun Canoes Dordogne
Aquafun Canoes Dordogne is located next to the beautiful village of Limeuil situated on the confluence of the Dordogne and the Vezere rivers. They offer several trips on both rivers that can start at different locations, depending on how long you want to paddle. On the Dordogne river, you can make short tours (starting from 5km) from places like le buisson or whole day routes from La roque gageac (32km). You have plenty of options in between which makes this place very flexible and adaptable for families. You can also discover the Vezere river from locations like Le Bugue and La Roque St. Christophe (another amazing place to visit in Dordogne). You start the tours at the port of Limeuil, from which you are bussed to your location of choice, with all the trips ending back at the same port in Limeuil.
Contact details: [email protected] or phone : 06 77 18 66 46 Open from May 1st to September 20th. For more details and prices check out their website. Address: Port de, 24510 Limeuil
Canoë Kayak Port Ste Foy
This small water sports club is located next to Sainte Foy la Grande, yet another charming town along the Dordogne river. The town is located right in between Bordeaux and Bergerac, making it a great option if you’re staying in Bordeaux (less than an hour drive). Every Saturday Sainte Foy la Grande hosts one of the biggest markets in the region, so this is the best day to visit. The club has a very friendly staff and offers Canoës, Kayaks and Stand Up Paddles.
Open the whole year, prior reservations are required (apart from July – August when you can come anytime). For more details go to their facebook page or their website (currently under construction). Address: Base nautique du Cléret, Allée Paul Ducou 33220 PORT-SAINTE-FOY
Pessac sur Dordogne
Another Canoeing club between Bordeaux and Bergerac is located on the riverfront of Pessac sur Dordogne. The town is not very interesting on its own but the club has a nice restaurant with an amazing view on the river. They offer two tours, one from Riberon (8km) and one from Eynesse (15km). The 8km tour is a good distance to do with kids, but it’s important to know that it doesn’t have a stop spot for a picnic. So if you want a more relaxed trail with a break, take the longer tour. Both trails start at Pessac sur Dordogne from which you are bussed to the chosen starting point.
Reservations by phone 06 63 82 34 53 / Open from mid June to mid September. For more details and prices check out their website Address: Les Quais, 33890 Pessac-sur-Dordogne