I really love the summer in Bordeaux! And although I have a full guide to the best things to do in Bordeaux as well as a guide for a weekend in Bordeaux, I decided that I must dedicate an article to all the best things to do in Bordeaux in the summer. This list mostly includes my favorite summer places as well as activities that you can do all summer long in Bordeaux and more generally in Gironde. If you want to discover all the best events taking place in the region, you must read my monthly lists and subscribe to my newsletter where I update you about all the best things happening in the city every weekend.
If it’s your first time on Lost in Bordeaux and you want to get more tips about traveling in Bordeaux and the Southwest of France feel free to join my Travel in the southwest of France group on Facebook or follow me on my Facebook/ Instagram accounts.
So now let’s dive into all the best things to do in Bordeaux in the summer!
Things to do this summer in Bordeaux Metropole
Dance at La Guinguette chez Alriq
The Guinguette is a tavern on the right banks of the Garonne hosting plenty of open-air concerts every summer. The performing bands and artists are coming from all over the world and create a laid-back party atmosphere. The place is open from Wednesday to Sunday with concerts taking place daily. You can see their program here.
Dance on the Quai – learn to dance
Dansons sur les Quais is a series of dancing classes and events where people gather to dance together and learn a variety of dance genres like Tango, Salsa, Bollywood, Forro, Hip Hop, Street Jazz, Zumba, Country, and more. These activities will be guided by professional dancers from different dance schools in Bordeaux and they are completely free, so this is a great opportunity you don’t want to miss. The dancing events are taking place for several weeks every summer at Placette de Munich. For more details and the full program check out the website of Dansons sur les Quai.
Enjoy a fun day in Darwin
For those new to Bordeaux, Darwin is an old military base turned into an urban space with a huge chic restaurant and a cafe/organic food shop, a skate park for all ages, a second-hand shop, and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. It’s also one of the most extraordinary places for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented artists on each one of its buildings.
It’s also one of the places I like to go to on rainy weekends and it’s on my list of the things to do when it’s raining in Bordeaux, so take a look.
Have a drink at the terrace bar of the Bordeaux design Museum
Musée des Art décoratifs et du Design is located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion and is one of UNESCO’s heritage sites in Bordeaux. It has a large collection of furniture, porcelain, and art objects, dating to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. This museum is a cute cultural gem but what makes it even more attractive is the new terrace café that has been operating there for the last few years. The little outdoor restaurant is owned by Julie, who’s also the owner of one of my favorite coffee shops in Bordeaux. If you’re dreaming of a glass of wine on a terrace in a beautiful location, this is the place for you! Café Madd by Sip is open from Wed to Sun, see more details here.
Fun beach activities in Bordeaux
You will be surprised to discover that you don’t need to leave the city to go to the beach in Bordeaux, instead just catch a tram to Bordeaux Lac! Plage du Lac is open from June to August and during the summer offers plenty of activities such as kayaking, SUP, and more! The activities are taking place daily from 14:00 to 18:00, see the schedule here.
Puppet Theater for Kids
Le Guignol Guérin, founded in 1853, is the oldest puppetry show in France with daily spectacles for kids in Parc Bordelais during the summer (July and August). The show usually starts at 16:00 but can be canceled or postponed when it’s raining or getting too hot. Read more about the theater here.
Go to the IBOAT beach
Well, it’s not really a proper beach where you can swim but it’s definitely one of the coolest places in town. La Plage de L’IBOAT is a fun outdoor space with a bar, comfy sofas, and different outdoor events. The Iboat, mostly known as a concert venue, is a three-level ferry spanning 687m2, anchored to one of the docks of Bassins a flot.
For more cool places to visit in the Bassin a flot area check out my article about the Bacalan district.
Have a drink at Mama Shelter
This is one of the best places for drinks in Bordeaux, a rooftop bar on top of the Mama Shelter hotel in Bordeaux center. In the summer, the rooftop is open daily from 12:00 to midnight, however, hours may change so check out their website before going. This place is very popular and tends to get busy in the late evening, so booking a table is recommended.
Mama Shelter is only one of the cool rooftops in Bordeaux Metropole, if you want to discover more hip rooftops and fun terrace cafes check out my article about the best summer bars in Bordeaux.
Enjoy the best markets in Bordeaux
Little red strawberries, mouth-watering cheese, and crispy baguettes, you saw them all in market photos uploaded to social media by people visiting France 🙂 Now go have the same fun touristic experience here, in one of Bordeaux’s numerous markets. The most popular market in Bordeaux is of course Marché des Capucins but there are plenty of amazing open-air markets in different neighborhoods in the city. Even if you live here you’ll probably discover a few new markets in my article about the best markets in Bordeaux.
Summer sales are a great opportunity to enjoy good deals on clothes, shoes, electronics, toys, and more. This summer the soldes d’été will take place from June 22 to July 19.
Go to the pool
There are several great pools in Bordeaux, two of them are located not very far from the city center. Next to the Meriadeck shopping center, you’ll find the piscine Judaique which is 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 a kids pool, water slides, floats, and more. If you have a car you can enjoy other outdoor pools in the region, like the Stade Nautique in Pessac or the new Centre Aquatique “La Calinésie” in Libourne.
Things to do around Bordeaux – Gironde and Dordogne
Taste the good life of Arcachon
Bassin d’Arcachon (the Arcachon Bay), located about 50 km from Bordeaux is one of the most popular summer destinations in France, and rightfully so. Tens of amazing beaches, oyster farmers’ villages, natural reserves, beautiful 19th-century architecture, and plenty of attractions for kids are part of what you can enjoy at this destination on the Atlantic ocean. A day trip (or a weekend) to the Bassin d’Arcachon is an absolute must when visiting Bordeaux. To help you decide where to go I wrote an article about the best places to visit on Arcachon Bay.
For a perfect summer afternoon gateway, head to Dune du Pilat and finish with a drink in La Corniche. Sounds splendid, isn’t it? Read more about these places in my article about the southern part of Arcachon.
Spend your Sunday at Bel Ami
If you’ve been following me on Instagram you probably know that this is one of my favorite summer places in the region. If you don’t, let me introduce you to Bel-Ami, a summer outdoor restaurant/ bar located in the cute little village of Plassac on the Estuary of Gironde. Now try to imagine, sitting on comfy sofas, eating a delicious meal, and drinking a Lillet cocktail, with the impressive Gironde estuary calmly flowing in front of you. Every Wednesday and Saturday they also have live music in the evening, so be sure to book ahead as the place gets busy. If this tranquility is not enough for you to make an hour’s drive from Bordeaux, you should know that Plassac is also known as the mosaic village so there’s a lot to discover. See more info here.
Do a weekend in Medoc
Medoc is one of the most interesting and beautiful regions in Southwest France, and luckily it’s located an hour’s drive from the center of Bordeaux. It is, of course, known for its wine, and the Medoc wine route is indeed one of the best ways to discover the Bordeaux wine world. However, the Medoc peninsula is much more than just winery visits! You have amazing beaches on the Atlantic ocean, plenty of markets with fresh local food, little ports on the Gironde estuary where you can go for a drink, and amazing lakes with beaches and water activities. So even a weekend is not enough to enjoy this amazing region. See all the things you can do there in my article about the Medoc region.
If you have time, don’t miss the Saint Emilion wine region as well, here are a few chateaux I recommend visiting in Saint Emilion.
Kayaking or Canoeing in the Dordogne river
Bordeaux is surrounded by many big and small rivers, it’s not a surprise then that there are quite a few places for Kayaking and Canoeing in the Bordeaux region. One of the biggest rivers near Bordeaux is the Dordogne, which splits from the Estuary of Gironde some 30 km north of Bordeaux. 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. I wrote an article about some of the best Kayaking clubs on the Dordogne river, some of which are located close to Bordeaux.
Kayak and Canoe on the Dordogne by Lost in Bordeaux
You can also enjoy kayaking on the Leyre river on Arcachon Bay. See more details about that in my guide to what to do with kids in Arcachon.
Enjoy the beautiful beaches in Gironde
Being close to the Atlantic ocean and surrounded by lakes are some of the best things about being in Bordeaux in the summer. We have an incredible amount of beautiful beaches with white fine sand, amazing views, and nice beach facilities. You can surf in the Atlantic ocean, enjoy the kids’ friendly beaches of Arcachon Bay or go to one of the beautiful lakes (and even hike around them!). If you’re here for a short period of time, it’s hard to choose where to go. To help you out I wrote an article about the best beaches around Bordeaux.
Discover the most charming villages in Gironde
Bordeaux itself is a beautiful and lively city but some of the best architectural treasures are spread around Gironde. The biggest department in France has some of the most charming villages in the Southwest of France. Bastide towns with arched squares, medieval towns with narrow streets, historic chateaux, and citadels are all part of the incredible heritage of this region. In my article about the most beautiful villages in Gironde, I listed all my favorite villages around Bordeaux.
Go hiking and discover Gironde’s nature
Besides impressive heritage and beautiful beaches, the Bordeaux region is also rich with nature reserves, forests, and parks. If hiking is your thing, the options are endless. If you need some ideas for fun and interesting hiking trails, check out my article about hiking in Bordeaux.
Visit the most beautiful chateaux in Gironde
Did you know that some of the most beautiful chateaux (castles) in this region are actually located in Gironde? Château Royal de Cazeneuve, Château de Roquetaillade and Chateau Villandraut are all located in the south of Gironde. These three are rich in history and beautiful architecture and are some of the most interesting heritage sites in our region.
Discover the Labyrinth of the region
Labyrinth is a really fun summer activity for a group of friends with or without kids and there are two cool places to do it close to Bordeaux. The first is Popcorn Labyrinth, a huge Labyrinth in Cestas that is open in July and August and usually also offers night sessions. You can see the hours and prices in this link.
The other one is Parc Mysterra in Montendre, which is set in a beautiful location but is recommended for slightly older kids (more than 8 yo). See more details here.
Taste white wine in Entre deux mers
Bordeaux is the capital of wine and is mostly associated with red wine. The hot summer in Bordeaux, however, is a great opportunity to discover the white wines of Bordeaux. The largest sub-region in Bordeaux is Entre Deux Mers, the area located between the Dordogne and the Garonne river. While both red and white wines are produced in this region, only the white ones can get the AOC label of the Entre Deux Mers appellation. The wine is usually drunk young and is absolutely perfect for the Bordelais summer and a plate of oysters. In this link, you’ll find many of the wineries you can visit in the Entre Deux Mers region.
If you need more advice about the wines of the region and about the best wineries to visit, you can visit the Maison des Vins which is located at the La Sauve Majeure Abbey, about 30 minutes drive from Bordeaux.
If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here: