This weekend the European Patrimony Days will take place all over France (and Europe actually). Like in all the 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 if you want to enter one of those places 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.
This is the list of 10 places we recommend you visit this weekend in and around Bordeaux (none of them require prior registration):
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. In addition to the regular tour the CAPC will also offer an opportunity to rediscover the work made by Keith Haring for the museum in 1985. For more info check out the website of the museum.
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 the 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 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 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30
Where: 5 rue Montesquieu, Bordeaux
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. Conferences on the construction of the synagogue and the history of the community since the 3rd century will take place at 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00.
When: Sunday 9:30 to 18:00
Where: 8 rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen, Bordeaux
Chantier Naval Nicolas
Cross the river to the other side to visit the Nicolas Shipyard, heritage listed for its expertise and specialisation in the restoration of traditional wooden boats. For more info click here or call 06 11 45 93 71.
When: Sunday 10:00 – 16:00
Where:21 Quai des Queyries, Bordeaux
Le Cimetière de la Chartreuse
Discover Bordeaux’s oldest and largest cemetery, with remarkable tombs sculpted by several renowned sculptors. Francisco Goya, Flora Tristan, Charles Delacroix are some of the big names buried in the cemetery that is located in the center of Bordeaux. The agents in place will be able to provide you with details about the noteworthy tombs.
When: Saturday 8:30 – 17:30 Sunday 9:00 – 17:0
Where: 180 rue Georges Bonnac, Bordeaux
Gardening on the quai
Share a moment along the quays with the gardeners of the city’s Parks and Gardens Directorate! Exchanges of plants, tips for ecological gardening, plant propagation workshop, games for children, safeguarding tree heritage, flowered footpaths and more. For more information: call the Maison du jardinier et de la nature en ville – 05 56 43 28 90.
When: Sunday 10am – 6pm
Where: Quai Louis XVIII, Placette de Munich, 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. 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: 45 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux
Académie Nationale des Sciences Belles lettres et Arts de Bordeaux
Hotel Calvet, or Hotel des Sociétés Savantes, is one of the prominent examples 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
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: Saturday from 10:00
Where: Allée Gaston-Rodrigue, 33170 Gradignan
The logistics center of Médecins Sans Frontières
This may not be related to the history of Bordeaux and its region but it’s nevertheless a great opportunity to witness the work of one of the most important humanitarian aid organizations in the world and its operations in Bordeaux. By visiting its huge hangar in Merignac you’ll get to see the aid packages sent to the main areas of humanitarian intervention and the innovative and unique platform dedicated to humanitarian logistics.
When: Saturday every hour from 9:00 to 18:00 (the last visit starts at 17:00).Where: 3 rue du Domaine de la Fontaine, 33700 Mérignac
Enjoy the Journées européennes du patrimoine! I will be sending a PDF with the full list of places to visit in Bordeaux during the patrimony days to the readers of my newsletter, so be sure to subscribe to it 🙂