This weekend the European Patrimony Days will take place all over France. Like all major cities, Bordeaux offers a rich program of more than 100 historical locations to discover. Many famous places such as the Opera of Bordeaux will be open to the public. However, popularity means big lines, so be prepared to wait patiently.
There are also plenty of great tours offered by the Bordeaux Metropole but many of them require a prior reservation and finding one that hasn’t been fully booked yet is quite a daunting task.
But fear not, I’m here to make your life easier and help you plan this weekend. While you might miss some of the more popular venues, there are plenty of gems in the city with less buzz around them or that do not require a reservation which are still worth visiting.
Here’s a list of places you can visit this weekend in and around Bordeaux that do not require a prior reservation.
Heritage Days in the center of Bordeaux
CAPC – the museum of contemporary art
During the weekend the Museum of contemporary art will hold tours of ongoing exhibitions with access to special areas, workshops and body painting activities.
When: Saturday and Sunday 11:00 to 18:00 / Where: 7 rue Ferrère, 33000 Bordeaux
Restaurant le Chapon Fin
Established in 1825, Le Chapon Fin is one of the first restaurants to receive 3 Michelin stars in the history of the guide. Upon its establishment, the main clients visiting the restaurant were wealthy travelers and Bordelaise merchants and it was regarded as an English Café. Today, however, Le Chapon Fin became a French institution of fine food, beautifully decorated by the architect Cyprien Alfred-Duprat. This Sunday you have a chance to admire this beautiful restaurant from within without having an expensive meal. For more info check out the site of the restaurant or contact 05 56 79 10 10
When: Sunday from 9:30 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30 / Where: 5 rue Montesquieu
Synagogue de Bordeaux
There are plenty of beautiful churches in Bordeaux and you have probably entered at least some of them while discovering Bordeaux. How about discovering the structures dedicated to other religions? This Sunday you can visit the synagogue of Bordeaux and learn about the history of the Jewish community in this city.
When: Sunday 9:30 to 18:00 / Where: 8 rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen, Bordeaux
Visit the beautiful city hall of Bordeaux, Palais Rohan. During the weekend, plenty of performances and activities will take place in the courtyard of Palais Rohan as well as guided tours at the city hall itself.
When: Saturday 14:00-16:00 and Sunday 10:00-12:00, 14:00- 18:00 / Where: Place Pey Berland
Collections du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle.
Are you curious to see how the backstage of a museum looks like? The renovated Museum of Natural History in Bordeaux offers a guided visit to the backstage of its collection’s conservation center.
When: Saturday and Sunday 14:00-17:00 / Where: 5 place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux
This beautiful monument can’t be missed when touring Bordeaux. The Grosse Cloche is the city’s former belfry and one of the last monuments remaining from the defensive wall built in the 14th century. The tower will be open to free visits during the weekend, however, the visit is limited to 5 people at a time so the queue is expected to be quite long so be sure to come early.
When: Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 19:00 / Where: Quai Louis XVIII, Placette de Munich
Académie Nationale des Sciences, Belles lettres et Arts de Bordeaux
Hotel Calvet, or Hotel des Sociétés Savantes, is a prominent example of a 19th century Bordeaux mansion, with a spacious staircase, reception rooms and a library. Today it is the home of the National Academy of Science, Literature and Art of Bordeaux, founded by Louis XIV. This weekend, academics from the institution will be there to answer all of your questions during your free visit.
When: Saturday and Sunday from 13:30 to 18:00 / Where: Hôtel des Sociétés Savantes, 1 Place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux
Site archéologique de Saint Seurin
Visit one of the most ancient sites of Nouvelle Aquitaine – Site archéologique de Saint Seurin. This free visit to the underground site gives you a glimpse into how an early Christian cemetery used to look like. The visit is limited to 20 people at a time, so you’ll probably have to stand in line.
When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-19:00 / Where: Place des Martyrs-de-la-Résistance
Places to visit in Bordeaux Metropole
Journées européennes du patrimoine à Mérignac
Mérignac opens the doors to some of its interesting sites including among others the château de Bourran and the Chapelle de Beutre. Guided tours will be offered throughout the weekend. For more info click here.
Cité Frugès – Le Corbusier
Cité Frugès in Pessac is a very interesting site that looks like no other place in Bordeaux metropole. It was designed by the notable architect Le Corbusier and includes about 70 housing units. The site is registered on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. Guided tours will be offered during the weekend. For more details about the Heritage days in Pessac click here.
When: 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 15:30 and 17:00 / Where: Cité Frugès
Château de Laurenzane in Gradignan
The beautiful Château de Laurenzane in Gradignan was built in the 18th century and is now the town hall of Gradignan. The Chateau is surrounded by a large park with ponds and bridges and sculptures by the artist Bigata Escale, which definitely make the visit worthwhile.
When: Sunday from 11:00, 15:00 and 17:00 / Where: Allée Gaston-Rodrigue, 33170 Gradignan
What to do around Bordeaux
Saint Emilion is one of the best places to go to on the European heritage weekend. This little town is home to some of the most important historical monuments in the region and all of them will be open to the public. Moreover, the tourist office offers plenty of interesting guided tours and activities in the city center. For the full program click here.
Some of the activities and ceremonies on the Heritage weekend are related to the start of the harvest season in the area. So if you decide to go there be sure to check out my article about the harvest season in Saint Emilion.
Château de Vayres
The beautiful Château de Vayres will open its doors for two days of free visits and activities for kids. For more details click here.
When: Saturday and Sunday 14:00 – 18:30 / Where: château de Vayres, 33870 Vayres
Enjoy the Journées européennes du patrimoine! If you want to take a look at all the places you can visit in Bordeaux during the Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine, click here.
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