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The tradiotional Bordeaux fair starts this weekend so it’s a really fun weekend for kids which will also enjoy the huge game hall in Villenave d’Ornon and the science village and libraries nights all over the metropole. For adults there’s a big book festival, a second wine fair, the Asian pop culture festival and plenty of other surprises. If you missed my latest article, I wrote in detail about my experience in the amazing Cité du Vin. Also, if you want to see what else in on this months check out my article about things to do in October in Bordeaux. Here’s the list of things to do this weekend in Bordeaux (October 11-13).

Nuit des Bibliothèques

La Nuit des Bibliothèques will take place on October 12, and it’s the best opportunity to discover the libraries across the city. 24 libraries in 20 different towns in Bordeaux Metropole will participate in this event and will offer such activities as concerts, theater shows, science workshops, games for kids and more. See the full programs here.

When: October 12 in the evening / Where: Bordeaux, Merignac, Pessac and more – check out the full program

Planet Jeux 

Every October Espace d’Ornon is transformed into a huge game hall with games for every age. Logic games, sports, strategic games and plenty of other genres coming from all over the world.  Besides a huge game area, part of the space will be dedicated to babies and toddlers and will help parents entertain their little ones (kids under 5 years old). The event will take place this weekend (October 12-13), entry is 3 euros.  For more info check out the website and the facebook page of the event.

When: October 12-13 / Where: 147, route de Léognan 33140 Villenave d’ornon

Festival Animasia

Animasia is a festival of Asian pop culture bringing together many elements like J-POP music, Yosakoi dance, karaoke and Cosplay performances. The place will also include thematic areas with martial arts, video games, board games and more. The festival will take place on the weekend of October 12-13 at the Parc des Expositions. For more info and tickets check out the website of the festival or the facebook page of the event.

When: October 12-13 / Where: Parc des Expositions, 33000 Bordeaux

Village des Sciences

As part of the Fête de la Science events this month, Cap Sciences invites you this weekend (October 12-13) to the Science village. This year the village will be all about robots and the place they take in our day to day life. The program includes two exhibitions, several competitions, demonstrations of different robots, workshops, conferences and more. See the full program here and for more details look here. The event is free.

When: September 12-13, 14:00 to 19:00 / Where: Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Foire aux Seconds Vins

More than 50 important Bordeaux wine producers will present their second wines at the Foire aux Seconds Vins this Saturday (October 12). Many wine producers in the region produce the second label wines from the grapes that were not used for their Grand Vin. This is a great opportunity to taste and buy wine from the best chateaux in the region at the best prices. The event will take place in Hangar 14. For more details click here

When: October 12 / Where: 173 Quai des Chartrons, 33300 Bordeaux

Lire en Poche – books festival 

Lire en Poche is a pocketbooks festival that will take place in Gradignan on October 11-13. Besides a huge book sale, a wide range of activities are offered to the participants, among them: reading sessions, theater shows, music, games, workshops for kids and more. The entrance to the festival is free, however, some activities are paid and/or require a prior reservation – click here to register.  For more info click here.

When: October 11-13 / Where: Théâtre des Quatre Saisons et à La Médiathèque Jean Vautrin, 32 route de Léognan – 33170 Gradignan

Eufonia, festival international chant chorale

Eufonia is an international choir festival taking place in Bordeaux on October 4-13. The festival will host choirs from all over the world taking the stage on some of Bordeaux’s most iconic places. For the full program click here

When: October 4-13 / Where: Check out the different locations in the program.

Très Toucher – an exhibition for kids

If you have little kids and you still haven’t been to the museum of natural history, it’s time to check it out. While the whole museum is beautifully designed and very interesting, the temporary exhibition is the most fun part for kids. The Très Toucher exhibition is dedicated to kids 3-6 old (although all ages will love it) and is focused on the sense of touch. Every section is an experience where kids get to touch different materials and discover textures with or without seeing them. It is very interactive and I highly recommend it. The exhibition will be presented until November 3rd so hurry up! The exhibition is on level (-1) of the museum so go straight down when you arrive. For more info click here

Très Toucher exhibition
by lost in Bordeaux
When: Until November 3 / Where: 5 place Bardineau – 33000 Bordeaux

Foire aux Plaisirs

This is the fall edition of the traditional Bordelais Fair that is taking place at Place des Quinconces from October 11 to November 3. It’s a perfect activity for kids and for those who are young in spirit as La Foire aux Plaisirs de Bordeaux has it all: a big wheel, roller coasters, ghost trains, bumper cars, donuts, crèpes, candyfloss and more. The fair is open daily from 14:00, you are not required to pay any entry fee, only for some of the attractions. See more info about the fair here.

When: October 11 – November 3 / Where: Place des Quinconces, 33000 Bordeaux

FAB – International art festival

FAB is the annual International art festival of Bordeaux Metropole taking place this year on October 4-20. As one of Europe’s biggest art festivals, it attracts some known names from the international contemporary art scene. During the three weeks of the festival, more than 30 shows will take place in more than 20 different locations in Bordeaux, from the TnBA theater to the Opera of Bordeaux and the CAPC. Among the shows this weekend you can find:

Le Grand DébarrasOctober 11-12 at Plaine des sports, Saint-Michel, 33000 Bordeaux
Cria (dance show) – October 11-12 at Carré, Place de la République 33160 Saint-Médard-en-Jalles
Blue Tired HeroesOctober 11-12 at QG Quai de la grave 33000 Bordeaux

Click here to see the full program of the festival.

When: October 4-20 / Where: Different locations in Bordeaux – check out the program

Vide dressing d’automne

This weekend (October 12-13) Darwin invites you to a huge clothes sale with more than 90 stands of merchants and creators. The event will also include a kids’ corner, a workshop of DIY clothes, food trucks and a place where you can donate your old clothes. For more details click here.

When: October 12-13 / Where: 87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux, France

Pop n’Break Digital Battle

A hip hop dance battle will take place this Saturday (October 12) at the Pôle Culturel Ev@sion in Ambarès-Et-La Grave. More than 40 dancers will take part in this cool event. For more details click here

When: October 12, at 14:00 / Where: Place de la république, 33440 Ambarès-Et-La Grave

Les Rendez-vous des Polichineuses – a vintage sale

“Les Rendez-vous des Polichineuses” is coming back for yet another edition of second-hand chic. The big vintage sale will take place in Chartrons on October 1-26 hosting many vintage merchants with furniture, toys, art and plenty of accessories. For more details click here.

When: October 1-26 / Where: 8 rue Cornac 33000 Bordeaux

Marché des Producteurs

On Saturday (October 12) Darwin will host its big organic market with many local producers from all over the southwest of France. Among others, you will find stands of oysters, wine, cheese, flowers and more.  For more info click here

When:  October 12 / Where: Darwin Caserne Niel / 87 quai des queyries, Bordeaux

Le Salon d’Automne

Saint Emilion will host a big art exhibition with works by 24 artists from photographers to graffiti artists, sculptors and many painters. The exhibition will be presented in Salle des Dominicains and Salle Gothique from October 4 to October 20. For more details click here

When: October 4-20 / Where: rue Guadet, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Mama’s Party

Enjoy the last party nights at Mama Shelter, the coolest rooftop in Bordeaux. This weekend (October 11-13) Mama Shelter invites you to three DJ nights starting from 21:30. For more info click here.

When:  October 11-13 / Where: 19 Rue Poquelin Molière, 33000 Bordeaux

If it’s raining and you don’t find anything on this list that you want to do just check out my articles about things to do in Bordeaux when it’s raining or about free things to do in Bordeaux. I’m sure you can find plenty of activities there 🙂 And if you just want a laid back weekend go to the Capucins market for some oysters and white wine. If you want more suggestions about what to eat at the market, you can read 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.

Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in Bordeaux. To help you choose a place to stay in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

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

The Croissant, Saint Honoré and Éclair are familiar names when it comes to French patisserie and desserts. But did you ever hear of canelé or puits d’amour? It’s time for you to meet the local sweet specialties of Bordeaux. Bordeaux harbors a unique pastry scene with delicacies that can’t be found anywhere else in France. So if you’re a foodie like me you wouldn’t want to miss it when visiting the region. In this article, I’m going to tell you about the best local desserts, pastries and chocolates you can find in Bordeaux and where to buy them. If you want me to personally take you to my favorite places in Bordeaux (sweets and others) you should check out my food tours :). Now let’s go and discover the sweet world of Bordeaux :). 

Canelé

canele in Bordeaux
Canelé

We cannot talk about Bordeaux’s specialties without mentioning the most famous local dessert, the Canelé. The little brown striated pastry became one of Bordeaux’s symbols and can be found in many sizes all over the city. Like many other things in Bordeaux, the story of Canelé is related to the wine world. Legend has it that the first canelés were made by nuns at the Couvert de L’Annociade de Bordeaux at the end of the 17th century. The original canelé didn’t have the sweet flavor it has today and was made out of flours and egg yolks that were given to nuns by winemakers who used egg whites to purify the wine. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Canelés reappeared as a dessert when an unknown pastry chef decided to upgrade the recipe with rhum and vanilla. Traditionally the canelé’s mold was waxed with bee’s wax to make the pastry crispy from the outside and soft from the inside. Today, however, many use butter instead. You can usually find them in three different sizes and in some places they are even filled with different sweet or savory flavors. In Bordeaux, you have many places specialized in Canelé and almost every bakery will offer them. While the biggest and most famous canelé producer is Baillardan, I think the best one is offered by La toque cuivrée. You can find two of their boutiques on rue Sainte Catherine and many others in different districts of Bordeaux. 

Puits d’Amour

Le Puit d’amour, or “well of love” in English, is a local little pastry that you can’t find anywhere outside the Bordeaux region. The pastry was created in 1952 by Maison Seguin in a little town South of Bordeaux called Captieux. It is made out of pâte à choux (light pastry dough) topped with crème Chiboust (a mix of crème pâtissière and an Italian meringue). You can enjoy the perfect bite-size pastry at the Capucins market or in Maison Seguin in the Cauderan district (address: 160 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, 33200 Bordeaux).

les-puits-damour-capucins-market-in-Bordeaux
les Puits d’amour

discover more places to eat at the market check out my article about the Marche des Capucins

Les dunes blanches

Les dunes blanches
Les dunes blanches

One of Bordeaux’s most popular pastries actually comes from Cap Ferret. The delicious dunes blanches were created in 2008 by the pastry chef Pascal Lucas, or should I say by his son. One night, 12 years ago the young man came back home from a party very early in the morning and was really hungry. Knowing that by that time his dad would already be at the bakery he headed there to find something sweet to satisfy his appetite. At the bakery, he found a chouquette (Choux pastry sprinkled with pearl sugar) and a cream his father had prepared for another dessert and simply mixed the two. The result became an immediate success and Pascal opened dedicated shops for the dunes blanches in Arcachon, Bordeaux and now even Paris. In the center of Bordeaux, you can find them at 7 Rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 Bordeaux

The macarons of Saint Emilion

If you ever visited Paris you probably tasted the famous macaroons of Ladauree or the fancy ones of Pierre Herme. But did you know that the original macaron actually comes from Saint Emilion? The macaroons of Saint Emilion are produced since 1620 when the Ursulines sisters established their convent in Saint Emilion. The recipe is being passed from generation to generation and hasn’t been changed ever since. As opposed to the colorful two-cookies macarons you can find in the rest of France these have only one cookie that is made from almonds, egg whites and sugar. After wine, it’s the second most famous produce of Saint Emilion. You can find them at the little “Fabruque de macarons” shop in the center of Saint Emilion. Address: 9 rue Guadet, 33330 Saint-Emilion, France

Le Jésuite

Le Jésuite
Le Jésuite

This yummy triangle pastry is rare to find anywhere outside of the Bordeaux region. It’s a puff pastry (just like mille-feuille) stuffed with frangipane cream and shaved almonds on top. Some chefs add a bit of creme patissiere to it, in order to lighten the heavy frangipane texture. The strange name comes from its shape. Originally the jésuites were covered with pralines or chocolate icing which created a look of a hat with raised edges, just like those of the Jésuites. The original Jésuites are a catholic order of the Catholic Church founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola from the Spanish Pyrenees. When in Bordeaux, don’t waste your calories on a simple croissant, instead try the local Jesuit in one of the bakeries in the city. I buy my Jesuits at the bakery in Saint Michel.
Address: 51 Rue des Faures, 33000 Bordeaux

Les Guinettes de Chocolats

When you stroll the streets of Triangle d’Or, the fancy district of Bordeaux you will come across a handful of chocolate shops. However, there’s only one chocolate that’s truly identified with Bordeaux and it’s called les guinettes. The guinette is a cherry macerated in alcohol and then encased in dark chocolate. In Bordeaux you can find them in two tastes, Kirsh which is a cherry liqueur or in Armagnac which is an excellent local Brandy from the South West of France. 

Bouchon du Bordeaux

Bouchon de Bordeaux is a traditional dessert, much less known than others on this list. It was created in 1965 by the patissier- chocolatier Jacque Ponquet who wanted to create a pastry that would highlight the wine specialty of the region. In 1976, a discovery of almond trees in Saint Emilion inspired him to use almonds with raisins to create an alcoholic dessert. The dessert is created in his factory in Bruges and sold in several shops in Bordeaux specializing in products of the Southwest. 

Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in Bordeaux. To help you choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

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

This weekend summer officially comes to an end. The big events that entertained us during the summer are now on their last days, among them the Bordeaux Open air festival and the Bordeaux food truck festival. But fear not! for October brings new fun weekly events like Friday at the Capucins market and the Darwin bio market. If you want to step out of town don’t miss my latest article about things to do and eat in Espelette in the Basque country. You can also plan your weekends ahead with my October list

Here’s the list of things to do this weekend in Bordeaux (September 27-29):

Bordeaux Food-truck Festival

After an amazing summer at the most beautiful châteaux in the region, the food truck festival is coming to an end. The last event of the festival for this summer is taking place this weekend (September 28-29) at the Hippodrome du Bouscat. The events are free but require a reservation – you can do it here. For more details click here.

When:  September 28-29 / Where: 8 Avenue de l’Hippodrome, 33110 Le Bouscat

Open Air Festival

Bordeaux Open Air continues into September with more cool electronic music parties at different locations in the city center. The next event of the Open Air Festival will take place on September 29 at Parc Palmer in Cenon This is the last Open Air festival for this summer so don’t miss it. For more info click here.

When:  September 29 / Where:  Parc Palmer – Cenon

Marché des Capucins Friday party

Here’s a new great tradition! Staring this Friday le Marché des Capucins is going to be open the whole day until 21:00. This weekend celebration is going to take place every Friday from now on. It’s quite a recent decision and they’ll test it for a few months, so come and support the best market in Bordeaux!. If you don’t know the market well check out my post about what to eat at Marché des Capucins for my favorites. For more info click here.

Chez-jean-mi-capucins-market-in-Bordeaux
Chez Jean Mi
When:  September 27 / Where: Marché des Capucins – Place des Capucins – 33800 Bordeaux

Marché des Producteurs

While many summer events are coming to an end this weekend new weekly events are starting to take place to keep us entertained. Starting this Saturday (September 28) Darwin will host every week a big organic market with many local producers from all over the southwest of France. Among others, you will find stands of oysters, wines, cheese, flowers and more.  For more info click here

When:  September 28/ Where: Darwin Caserne Niel / 87 quai des queyries

Utopia fête ses 20 ans

Utopia is an independent cinema theater located in what was once an ancient church. This Friday (September 27) Utopia celebrates its 20th anniversary and invites everyone for an evening of concerts and other activities on Place Camille Jullian. For more info click here

When:  September 27 / Where: Place Camille Jullian, 33000 Bordeaux, France

Marché du Bon Goût d’Aquitaine

Marché du Bon Goût d’Aquitaine is a big event that will host 150 different farmers, local producers, chefs and other professionals related to the food industry. The program includes a big market with local products as well as activities related to biodiversity, animals and more. The event will take place on September 27-29 in the Bastide district. For more details click here

When: September 28 / Where: 4 Place de Stalingrad, 33100 Bordeaux, France 

Les Campulsations

Les Campulsations is a students festival, celebrating the beginning of the new academic year in different locations in the Aquitaine region: Bordeaux, Talence, Pessac, Gradignan, Bayonne, Périgueux, Agen and Pau. In Bordeaux Metropole, the events will take place in many different locations from university campuses to museums and theaters. The program is varied and includes such events as a brocante party, music concerts, theater shows, exhibitions and more. Check out the full program and find an event near you. The festival will take place from September 26 to October 5.

When: September 26 to October 5 / Where: Different locations, consult the program.

Salon ABC Kidz

A big event dedicated to future parents and young families will take place on September 28 – 29 in Hangar 14. Salon ABC kids is the annual gathering of all the important companies and organizations related to babies and little kids from clothing to room decoration, toys and different services like childcare companies and health providers. The event allows young parents to meet all the relevant products and services in one place. Many activities will take place at the Salon to make it more entertaining, among them a massage space, workshops for kids, soft play for toddlers and more. For tickets and more info click here.

When: September 28-29 / Where: 115 Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux

IBOAT Birthday – Mini club des Marins

For its 8th birthday anniversary, IBOAT is hosting a fun party for kids that will take place this Saturday (September 28) afternoon, starting 15:30. The program includes workshops for kids, makeup, snacks and more. For more info click here

When:  September 28 / Where: Bassin à Flot n°1, Cours Henri Brunet, 33300 Bordeaux

Dance at la Guingette chez Alriq

This is the last weekend of La Guinguette chez Alriq before it closes down for winter. If the weather is good you don’t need much more than a concert at the tavern with a cool rosé. The concerts take place from Friday to Sunday (September 27-29). For more info click here.

When: September 27-29 / Where: ZA Quai des Queyries, Port Bastide, 33100 Bordeaux

Mama’s Party

Enjoy the last party nights at Mama Shelter, the coolest rooftop in Bordeaux. This weekend (September 27-29) Mama Shelter invites you to three DJ nights starting 21:30. For more info click here

Mama shelter bordeaux
When:  September 27-29 / Where: 19 Rue Poquelin Molière, 33000 Bordeaux

Festival d’Ici Danse

Festival d’Ici Danse is an annual dance festival taking place this week (until September 29) in Saint-Germain-du-Puch. Some of the concerts and the events are free and some require a reservation, check the full program here.

When:  until September 29 / Where: different locations in Saint-Germain-du-Puch

Salon La Ferme en ville

La Ferme en Ville is a fair dedicated to local agriculture and better ways of consuming it. The event takes place this weekend (September 28-29) in Hangar 14. For more details click here

When:  September 28-29 / Where: 173 Quai des Chartrons, 33300 Bordeaux, France

Salon Bio and Local

Another fair dedicated to local and organic food will take place this Saturday (September 28) at the Bacalam Market. For more details click here

When:  September 28 / Where: 10 esplanade de pontac, 33300 Bordeaux,

The Big Plants Sale

A big plants sale will take place this weekend (September 28-29) in Hangar 14. The prices are guaranteed to be quite low (from 2€ to 10€) so it’s a good opportunity to fill your house with summer plants. For more details follow the facebook page of the event.

When: September 28-29 / Where:  173 Quai des Chartrons, 33300 Bordeaux, France

Graines de Sauvage

A fun evening with music and drinks will take place this Friday (September 27) at the cool terrace of Graines de Sauvages. For more details click here

When: September 27, at 19:30 /  Where: 2 Rue de Saintonge, 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.

Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in Bordeaux. To help you choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

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



If you love wine, food and beautiful architecture you simply cannot miss a visit to Bordeaux when visiting the region. One day in this vibrant city may not be enough to discover all the attractions and gastronomic experiences it has to offer, but with the right plan, you’ll be able to explore the main sites and to appreciate its tranquil atmosphere. So for those of you wondering how to spend only one day in Bordeaux, in this article, I offer a plan to help you taste most of the amazing things this city has to offer. You will discover the remarkable architecture in the city center, visit the main market, taste Bordelais cuisine, ride a bike on the riverfront, eat delicious chocolate and taste amazing wine. By the end of this day, you’ll be exhausted and totally in love with Bordeaux!

If you’re coming for a weekend, you should check out my Ultimate Guide to a weekend in Bordeaux. Also, don’t miss my articles about the best neighborhoods to stay in Bordeaux and the best hotels in the city center if you’re looking for accommodation in Bordeaux.

Now let’s start discovering the beautiful capital of the Southwest of France.

Marché des Capucins – Visit the main market of Bordeaux

If you’re a foodie or just like discovering new markets, I highly recommend starting your one day in Bordeaux in Marché des Capucins. This is the biggest daily market in Bordeaux and has everything from stands of fruits, vegetables, sweets and spices to a bunch of lively cafés and restaurants. It’s a covered market so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside where you can have a coffee or an early lunch. While the market is pretty calm during the week it becomes very busy on the weekend when the Bordelaise rush to the market for their weekly shopping and a glass of wine.  

Marche des capucins
Marche des Capucins – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you like oysters there’s one restaurant in the market you simply cannot miss! Chez Jean-Mi has become an institution in Bordeaux, attracting many locals for a plate of oysters with white dry wine. Before you go, be sure to check out my article about the best places to eat at the Marché des Capucins. The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, however, be aware that not all the restaurants and stands are open on Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you need help in discovering the market, I offer a market tour where you will taste and get familiar with the flavors of the southwest of France. So if you’re into starting your day with a foodie experience check out my food tours page

Stroll the narrow streets of old Bordeaux

I have yet met one person who was not stunned by the beauty of the “Vieux Bordeaux”, the historic part of the city. You can spend hours getting lost among the16th and 17th-century houses on the narrow paved streets of old Bordeaux. The historic center is also home to some of the city’s most emblematic monuments, which you shouldn’t miss on your one day in Bordeaux. The southwest capital has 362 preserved buildings labeled as historic monuments, second only to Paris. The historic part of the city (and several streets around it) is recognized by UNESCO as an “outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of 18th-century architecture. Let yourself get lost for a few hours in the narrow streets of Bordeaux, that will give you the best introduction to the city. 

The center of Bordeaux
The center of Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

Here’s a shortlist of the sites you should not miss on your visit:

Main sites in the city center

Grosse Cloche – the 15th-century gate to the old city. This stunning bell tower is part of a whole structure that was previously a part of the city hall of Bordeaux and at some point served as a prison to misbehaved juveniles (!). It’s one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic monuments and appears on the coat of arms of Bordeaux. The Gross Cloche is located on one end of rue Saint James, one of the liveliest streets of Bordeaux, with stylish boutiques and wine bars. 

Porte Cailhau
Porte Cailhau by Lost in Bordeaux

Porte Cailhau – another magnificent 15th-century gate to the historic center of Bordeaux. This glamourous monument was built to commemorate the glory of king Charles VIII and opens up to one of Bordeaux’s nicest squares, Place du Palais. 

Two other important monuments are located on the border between the historic part and the fancy triangle d’Or neighborhood. 

The Grand Theatre -The beautiful 18th-century building on Place de la Comedie will be hard to miss. This is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and is home to the National Opera and the national ballet of Bordeaux. If you have the chance, try to book tickets to one of the concerts of the Opera or the national ballet. Continue from there to Place des Quinconces, the largest city square in France and one of the biggest in Europe. On one of the sides of this enormous square, you will find the beautiful monument dedicated to the Girondins (members of a political faction) who were killed during the French Revolution. Throughout the year the square hosts many different events, festivals and fairs such as the Brocante de Quinconces. Check out the weekend [psts on this blog to see what’s currently on at Quinconces.

one day in Bordeaux - discover the monuments
Discover the monuments of Bordeaux

Have a drink on the lively squares of Bordeaux

There’s a very special atmosphere in Bordeaux. It’s a very touristy and lively city that somehow is able to maintain its tranquility (except on the shopping street, Sainte Catherine). What contributes to that are the lively squares in the city center, linked by pleasant pedestrian streets. On every square, you can find terrasse restaurants and coffee places with someone sipping a glass of Bordelais wine anytime during the day. Some of the liveliest squares in the city center include the Place du Palais with a magnificent view of Porte Cailhau, Place Pierre with the Saint Pierre church right in the middle of it and Camille Julian with the nice Utopia bistrot (an old church converted into an independent cinema and restaurant). The biggest square in the old center is Place du Parlement, which was built in the 18th century in an Italian style. Its facades are very richly decorated and resemble the facades of the buildings on the riverfront of Bordeaux and the magnificent Place de la Bourse. 

place du parlement bordeaux

Lift your eyes to see the mascarons

Mascaron in Bordeaux
Mascaron in Place de la Bourse

If you’re following my advice and on your way to Place du Parlement don’t miss the beautiful little sculptures that decorate the buildings. Just lift your eyes and look at the buildings of this beautiful square as well as Place de la Bourse and most of the buildings on the riverfront of Bordeaux. The sculpted faces between the ground and first floor are called mascarons, a variation on the word masks in Italian. There are more than 3000 mascarons decorating the buildings and the monuments of Bordeaux, taking inspiration from Greek mythology, wild animals, religion and the economical development of Bordeaux. Some examples are Neptune who represents the importance of the river and African faces, a memory of the slave trade Bordeaux was part of.  

You can read in more detail about all the main monuments in Bordeaux in my ultimate guide to a weekend in Bordeaux

Dine in one of Bordeaux’s delicious restaurants

After the long walk, a proper lunch is in order! In recent years Bordeaux is gaining popularity as a gastronomic city and even holds the record for the number of restaurants per person in France. If you have only one day in the city, trying one of Bordeaux’s restaurants should be on your list. There are a lot of excellent restaurants in the city center and choosing one won’t be easy, but let me suggest just a few. 

If you want to enjoy an elegant lunch by one of France’s celebrity chefs, Philippe Etchebest, go to Le Quatrieme Mur, a beautiful restaurant located inside the Opera building. To taste the specialties of the area go to Les Noailles or le Mably. These are not cheap restaurants but they offer a traditional Bordelais cuisine which is not as easy to find as you might think. For meat lovers, Le bar du Boucher and Le Grill Bordelais are great restaurants. You also have L’entrecote with its famous steak sauce, however, prepare yourself for a long queue if you decide to go there. Other great restaurants include Le Bouchon Bordelais, Le M restaurant, Miles and Frida. For a great view, you can also pass the river to the other side and enjoy lunch at L’Estacade. The list can go on and on but I won’t confuse you with too many options. 

Le quatrieme mur
Le Quatrieme mur – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s important to notice that restaurants in Bordeaux tend to be closed on Sundays or Mondays (or both) so check out their websites when planning your trip. Also, it’s always recommended to book a table ahead of time, even if you do it on the same day. 

Have a picnic in Jardin Public, Bordeaux’s main park

Jardin Public in Bordeaux
Jardin Public in Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you prefer leaving the dining experience for the evening you can replace a fancy lunch with a picnic in the beautiful park of Bordeaux, Jardin Public. Make yourself a basket of regional products and join the other Bordelais on the vast green planes. Don’t forget to add a bottle of Bordeaux wine you can get in most supermarkets or in dedicated wine shops. One of the most interesting wine shops is called l’Intendant, which holds the nickname “the wine library” due to its 15,000 bottle collection. 

Jardin public is beautiful and by far one of the most kid-friendly places in the city. However, it’s not the only good spot for a picnic or a little break. Bordeaux has many gardens and parks that you can enjoy on a sunny day. To discover them check out my post about the best places for a picnic in Bordeaux.

Shop on the Longest street in France

Sainte Catherine is the longest pedestrian street in France, full of clothing boutiques and one of the only places in the center where you can find all the main fashion retail stores. If you prefer smaller boutiques, you won’t find them on the main streets but rather on the small narrow streets of Saint Paul and Saint Pier districts, as well as on rue Notre Dame in Chartrons. 

Shopping in Bordeaux
Shopping in Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re into second-hand clothing be sure to check my guide to second hand and vintage shops in the center of Bordeaux

Visit the main church in Bordeaux -Saint-André 

cathédrale saint-andré de bordeaux
Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

The big Cathedral on the main square of Pey Berland is a Roman Catholic church and the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux. This cathedral has an important part in the history of Bordeaux. Here, the 13 years old Eleanor d’Aquitaine, married the future king of France Louis VII, therefore making her the queen of France (for a very short period of time). Like many other churches and basilicas in Bordeaux, Saint-André is classified as a national monument of France. In the evening the Cathedral often hosts concerts of classical music, choirs and an organ festival during the summer. You can check out more info about the concerts here

Eat chocolate in the fancy district of Bordeaux 

It’s time for a little dessert and there’s no better place for it than the Triangle d’Or neighborhood, the fancy district of Bordeaux. You will immediately notice that the architecture and landscape of this district are different from the narrow streets of the historic center of Bordeaux. The wide boulevards and decorated 18th-century houses reflect the economic boom that the city was undergoing at the time. Today it’s considered as the gourmet district with plenty of wine and cheese boutiques. 

Like every French city, Bordeaux too has its chocolatiers and many of them are located in and around Triangle d’Or. On rue Michel Montaigne you will discover the most famous local patissier and chocolatier, David Capy. On Allée de Tourny you will visit the oldest chocolatier in Bordeaux, Cadiot Badie. It’s a very prestigious place that feels more like a jewelry shop than a chocolate boutique. Other amazing chocolate shops are la Maison Darricau and Hasnaa Chocolat grand cru.

David Capy- chocolat in Bordeaux
Taste chocolate and delicious pastry at David Capy

If you also want to take the opportunity to stop for a coffee. Bordeaux has some amazing coffee shops. You can read about my favorite ones in my article about the five coffee places in Bordeaux you don’t want to miss

Chill at the Miroir d’eau

Now it’s time to visit Bordeaux’s most famous attraction and one you have probably seen in any guide or video about Bordeaux – Le Miroir d’eau. This modern monument, built in 2006, is the world’s largest reflecting pool. The surface is made from blue granite covered in water, reflecting the 18th century Place de la Bourse. It’s a perfect place to chill on a hot sunny day in Bordeaux. If you’re coming with kids you can easily spend more than an hour here as it’s going to be quite hard to get them out of it. Kids seem to really love it! (don’t forget to bring replacement clothes for the kids, they tend to get soaked!)

miroir d'eau in Bordeaux

Take a bike ride on the banks of the Garonne

The promenade on the left bank of the Garonne river is one of Bordeaux’s highlights. Since the massive overhaul project in the early 2000s the quais (docks) of Bordeaux have become one of Bordeaux’s most popular spots, hosting many events and festivals during the summer. The 4.5 km promenade is also perfect for a walk or a bicycle tour. The most interesting part of it is between the two bridges of Bordeaux – Pont Saint Pierre in the center and Pont Chaban Delmas in the north of the city, which includes the Miroir d’eau as well as playgrounds for kids and restaurants with a view on the river.

the riverfront of Bordeaux
take a ride on the riverfront of Bordeaux

You can use city bikes that are spread all over the city. The price is only 1.7 euros for 24 hours if you return them to the station every 30 minutes (you can take another bike right away). If you rather not spend your time looking for a station in the middle of your trip you can return them after you finish your ride and pay 2 euros for every additional hour. 

Discover the hipster side of Bordeaux

After spending several hours in the classic left side of the river, it’s time to discover the more hipster right bank of the Garonne. If you take my advice and go on a ride on the riverfront you can continue with the bike to the other side, there are V3 stations (the Bordeaux city bikes) there as well. When you cross Pont de Pierre to the Bastide neighborhood you’ll discover a very pleasant park along the riverbank. There are a few great restaurants with a great view of the old part of Bordeaux that operate from May to October. 

The Bastide district
The Bastide district by Lost in Bordeaux

But the main attraction of the Bastide neighborhood is Darwin. An old military base turned into an urban space with a workspace/incubator for startups, a skate park for all ages, a restaurant and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. One of the buildings hosts the restaurant and the Darwin products store with a huge selection of different organic products from pastries to beer and even soap. Darwin is one of the most extraordinary places for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented regional artists on every one of its buildings. 

Darwin in Bordeaux
Darwin by Lost in Bordeaux

If you visit the Bastide district on the weekend (during the summer) don’t miss one of Bordeaux’s hidden gems, La Guinguette chez Alriq. The Guinguette is a tavern on the banks of the river hosting plenty of open-air concerts from May to the end of September. The performing bands and artists are coming from all over the world and create an atmosphere of a laid back world music party. 

Have a drink in one of Bordeaux’s wine bars 

Wine bars are springing up like mushrooms in the center of Bordeaux. It’s not a big surprise considering it’s the capital of the biggest wine area in France. A great way to finish your one day in Bordeaux is by tasting some of the best wines of the region in one of Bordeaux’s wine bars. There are plenty of bars to choose from in the city center, here are some of my favorite ones: Un Chateau en Ville for a cozy family feeling, Wine more time for their huge selection, and le Bar a Vin for the beautiful decor and professional waiters. Other great bars with knowledgeable staff include Le wine bar, La ligne rouge, Le Flacon and Vins Urbains

un chateau en ville Bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

Some bars offer wine tasting experiences that allow you to better understand the wines of the region. To discover the best places for wine tasting check out my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux

If you’re interested in wine don’t miss a trip to Saint Emilion where you can visit some of the best wineries in the region. You can easily plan the trip by yourself using my post about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. Not less interesting and beautiful is the Medoc wine area where you can see some of the most impressive chateaux in the region. Follow my post about the Medoc wine route when planning your trip there. 

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful city and if you have a few more days in the area don’t forget to check out my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux.

If you want more tips on restaurants, concerts and exhibitions follow me on facebook/Instagram. 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

girondins-monument-in-Bordeaux
The Girondins monument

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

Darwin Bordeaux
Darwin Bordeaux

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. 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

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

Like in most cities in France, the first Sunday of the month is a free museums day (apart from July and August). You have 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. If you want to discover some of Bordeaux’s best museums check out my article about the museums of Bordeaux.

Free galleries in Bordeaux 

Discover the local art in the many galleries spread in the city, many of which you can visit without a reservation. Here are some of the best galleries in Bordeaux: Galerie D.X., Bouillon d’art, Cox gallery (street art) and BAG (which is also a coffee shop and a gluten-free bakery). For contemporary art, head to FRAC which is located at the new MECA, an interesting architectural attraction by itself. 

Take a city bike

biking-in-Bordeaux

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 bike stations. See the location of the stations here.

See Bordeaux’s most ancient monument

Palais Galien
Palais Galien

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

Bordeaux churches

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 which 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. 

Free events

Carnival-in-Bordeaux
The Carnival of Bordeaux

There are free events taking place every weekend, from concerts on the street to huge brocantes, street art events, dance lessons and more. Every month I publish a list of the best events taking place in Bordeaux, so check out the monthly lists here. Also, every weekend I send an email list with plenty of ideas and events to attend on weekends in Bordeaux, so subscribe to my newsletter if you want to be updated on these too.

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 dealers) 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.
If you decide to go to the Saint Michel district, check out my article about the things to do in Saint Michel.

Discover the heritage and nature of Bordeaux by foot

If you love walking and nature, this is the perfect place for you. There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails to discover in Bordeaux metropole and the towns around it. On the way, you will see lakes, rivers, forests, and historical monuments and guess what, it’s all free. Take a look at the best hiking trails in and around Bordeaux in my article.

What to do for free in Bordeaux during the summer

Go to a free music concert

Bordeaux open air festival in Jardin Public
Bordeaux open air festival by Lost in Bordeaux

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 August list will be out soon.

Learn how to dance 

Dansons sur les quais
learn how to dance with Dansons sur les quais

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.

Have a picnic at the Park

chateau peixotto
chateau peixotto in Talence

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’s 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. 
You’ll probably also like my article about the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux.

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 work 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.  
See the list of the most beautiful beaches around Bordeaux in my article.

Fun stuff to do (almost) for free with kids in Bordeaux

Chill at the Miroir d’eau 

mirior-deau-bordeaux-with-kids

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 in 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 the Bordeaux metropole, two of which 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 a baby 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.

UPDATE – This park is going through a renovation project until November 2022, but if your kids really love skating go to the skatepark of Bourgailh park in Pessac.

For more activities with kids in Bordeaux check out my list of the best 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux

Enjoy the free scenery of the South of Gironde

There are plenty of amazing day trips you can go on 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

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

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
The other option is visiting a chateau in Saint Emilion, many of which offer very affordable tours, check out my list of recommended wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.

Go to one of Bordeaux’s beautiful beaches

Plage de la Hume
Plage de la Hume on the Bassin d’Arcachon

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 

Rions
Rions

To its south and east, Bordeaux is surrounded by amazing medieval villages that 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.
Don’t miss my article about the most beautiful villages in Gironde.

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! 

Just to remind you that I often update about events and exhibitions on my facebook/Instagram accounts so be sure to follow! Also, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check up my ultimate guide to Bordeaux, which will get you familiar with all the “must” places to visits in Bordeaux. To help you to choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you choose your preferred location.

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

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

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Another long weekend is ahead of us with plenty of amazing events all over Gironde. I really hope it’ll be sunny this weekend as the list of outdoor events is super long! We have music festivals in Talence and Canejac, open parks event, plenty of Jazz and more. If you want to plan ahead for the rest of the month, check out my list of things to do in Bordeaux in June. If big events are not your thing, you can enjoy the weekend in Marche des Capucins. I just wrote an article about my favorite places there, so check it out
Here’s the list of things to do this weekend in Bordeaux (June 7-10). 

Rendez-vous aux Jardins

Nature lovers will love this weekend! On June 7-9 plenty of parks and gardens in Nouvelle Aquitaine will welcome you and your family for three days of fun activities. The events include guided visits, exhibitions, gardening workshops for kids and more. This is an amazing opportunity to visit one of the 366 parks (out of those 255 are private) that will be open for the public this weekend. For the full list of parks and gardens click here.

When:  June  7-9 / Where: choose a park from the list above

ODP Music Festival in Peixotto

This is the fifth edition of the ODP Festival, whose objective is to raise funds for the orphans of firefighters that have died on duty. The festival will take place on June 7-9 at Peixotto Park in the center of Talence. That’s one of the best music festivals in Bordeaux metropole and always has a great lineup. For more details and tickets go to the festival’s website and their facebook page.

When: June 7-9 / Where: Parc du Château Peixotto, 33400 Talence

Festival ODP KIDS

The organizers of the ODP music festival didn’t forget to entertain the little ones as well. Before the concerts in the evening, park Peixotto will host plenty of activities for kids such as creative workshops, hip hop workshop, escape games and more. The activities are free and will take place on June 8-9 until 16:00, when the music festival starts. For more details click here.

When: June 8-9, 10:00 to 16:00 / Where: Parc du Château Peixotto, 33400 Talence

Take your picnic to the Vineyard

Wine related activities and picnics are two favorite French pastimes, so why not combine them? Usually, the vines, owned by the different chateaux can only be visited as part of a guided tour in the chateau. However this weekend you have an opportunity to bring your picnic basket and spend a great day with your family and friends in the vineyards. The principle is quite simple: You bring your own picnic and the chateau will provide the wine and entertainment. Around 400 different wine domains from all over France are participating in the event taking place during the long weekend (June 8-10). More than 1000 activities will be proposed to families by the participating chateaux, they will reflect the specialties of the chateaux and the area, among them: art workshops, concerts, bike tours and more. There are 18 participating Chateaux in the Bordeaux area – see the list here. To find a chateau in other areas in France click HERE. The places are limited so I recommend reserving a spot as soon as possible!

picnic in a chateau Bordeaux
When: June 8-10 / Where: Different châteaux around Bordeaux and France

Bordeaux Geek Festival

Comics, science fiction, video games, parallel worlds, creative industries – you’ll find all of these at the next Bordeaux Geek festival (BGF), taking place June 8-10 at Parc des Expositions. The goal of this festival is to experience geek culture and share knowledge on topics that are at the heart of the Geek community. The BGF brings together different players from these industries, among them: video artists, gamers, illustrators, designers, scientists, authors, comedians and more. For more details and tickets click here.

When: June 8-10 / Where: Hall 3 and 1 – Parc des Expositions, 33000 Bordeaux

So Good Fest

The So Good Fest is an electronic music festival of the Gironde department that takes place every year at Plaine du Courneau in Canéjan. The 8th edition of the festival will take place on June 7-8 and will include a two-day lineup of French and international artists in the Electro, Dub, and Techno genres. For more details and tickets check out the site of the festival.

When:  June 7-8 / Where: Plaine du Courneau in Canéjan

Open doors at the chateaux of Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux

If you didn’t make it to the Open doors in Saint Emilion last month, you can make up for it with another wine area in the Bordeaux region: Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux. An open doors weekend will take place on June 8-9, with 45 different chateaux hosting you for wine tastings and other activities. For the full list of chateaux click here.

When: June  8-9 / Where: different locations around Cadillac (see program)

Salon de l’agriculture of Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Salon de l’agriculture of Nouvelle Aquitaine is an annual ten-day event where you get to discover the agricultural richness of our area through different activities. For example, a farm area with many animals and plants will be put in place, offering interesting activities for both kids and adults. Another feature that may attract you is the Gastronomy and Wine space, which will highlight the exceptional heritage of the region. The Salon de l’agriculture is part of a larger event taking place at the same time (Foire Internationale de Bordeaux) and is taking place on June 1-10 in Parc des Expositions. For more info check out the website, for tickets click here.

When: June 1-10 / Where: Parc des Expositions, Cours Jules Ladoumegue, 33300 Bordeaux

la Fête de l’Huître

La Fête de l’Huître (oysters celebration) will take place on June 7-8 at the center of the Saint Augustin neighborhood in Bordeaux. During the day, plenty of people will come to enjoy oysters and other goodies that the festival has to offer, while the ones staying for the evening will enjoy free concerts. For more info click here.

When:  June 7-8 / Where: Place de l’Eglise Saint Augustin, 33000 Bordeaux

Portuguese Art and Gastronomy Market

Musicians, artists, and craftsmen, are coming to Cenon from the north of Portugal to introduce their culture during this three-day festival. The program includes tastings of Portuguese local products, stands of traditional art, concerts and more. The event will take place on June 7-9 in Domaine Du Loret and will include an area for kids. See the full program here.

When: June 7-9 / Where: Domaine Du Loret, 33150 Cenon

Bambino Party

This weekend (June 8-9) l’Île aux enfants in Hourtin (Medoc Atlantic) will hold a kids festival for children up to 12 years old. This annual kids celebration will host plenty of artistic workshop and sportive activities. For more details click here.

When:  June 8-9 / Where: L’Île aux Enfants, 33990 Hourtin

Festival Le Haillan Chanté

The 10th edition of the singing festival, Le Haillan Chanté, is taking place on June 4-8 in Le Haillan. French songs lovers will adore this event which is full of performances of both current and more nostalgic songs. To see the full program of the festival click here.

When:  June  4-8 / Where: 13 rue Georges clémenceau 33185 Le haillan

Jazz and Blues Festival in Leognan

The 24th edition of the Jazz and Blues Festival of Leognan will take place on June 6-15. Six concert nights will be given in four different towns in the area: Beautiran, Saucats, Martillac et Léognan. Take a look at the full program here.

When:  June 6- 15 / Where: See all the locations in the program above

Festival Jazz 360

This is the 10th edition of the Jazz 360 festival that was initiated to support the creation of Jazz music. During the six days of the festival, tens of professional and young artists will take the stage in several different towns and villages in Gironde. The festival will take place on June 5 -10 in six different locations: Langoiran, Saint-Caprais-de-Bx, Cénac, Camblanes-et-Meynac, Quinsac, and Latresne.  For more details visit the site of the festival.

When: June 5-10 / Where: see different locations here.

Heures d’été in Caudéran

Heures d’été is a series of musical evenings taking place every Friday in different parks in the Cauderan neighborhood in Bordeaux. This week the musical evening will take place on Friday (June 7) in Parc de Lussy and will include a line up of three concerts. For the full program click here.

When:  June 7 / Where: Parc de Lussy, Bordeaux

Relache Festival

Relache Festival, created by the Allez les filles association, is a series of free concerts taking place at different venues and dates during the summer. The next event will take place this Thursday (June 7) at Place Saint Michel. For the lineup and more details click here.

When:  June 7, at 18:30 / Where: Place Saint Michel, 33800 Bordeaux

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the “must see” places in Bordeaux. To help you choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred location.

If you have more days to spend in our beautiful region, check out my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux. If you want to have a super foodie experience, check out the Lost in Bordeaux food tours 

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

Have a great long weekend!

Last month I’ve noticed that more and more people are scrolling through my article “Six things to do with kids in Bordeaux over spring break in search of new ideas for the upcoming school break. So I decided that it’s time to do some research and give you a new article to help you make the most of the upcoming fall break. So for those of you who want their kids to have new and exciting experiences or for those just trying to survive the vacances de la toussaint, this articles is for you. From circus to coding, painting and climbing, here’s the list of ideas for things to do with your kids on school break.  

Circus School of Bordeaux

Let your kids become acrobats in a circus for a week! The Circus school of Bordeaux offers discovery programs for all ages during the upcoming school break. There are five programs for different ages ranging from 3 year-old to kids older than 11. In the first group (ages 4-5 yo) kids have to be accompanied by one of the parents. According to your kids’ age they can learn things like juggling, improvisation, acrobatics and more. If you missed this vacation, don’t worry, l’ecole de cirque offers many different programs on all school breaks. Click here for more information about days and prices of the different programs.

For reservations: by phone 05 56 43 17 18  or by email  info@ecolecirquebordeaux.com

Ecole de cirque Bordeaux

When: Different dates for different programs (check out the link above)
Where: Centre Culturel des Arts du Cirque, 286 boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 BORDEAUX

Paint in the Fine arts museum

If your kids are into arts or you would like them to discover their artistic side you can take them painting in one of the best museums of Bordeaux- Musee des beaux arts de Bordeaux. There are plenty of nice art workshops for kids (starting from 3 years old) for the price of only 5 euros, on both school breaks and during the school year.
Check out
 the full list of workshops hereTo reserve your spot call 05 56 10 25 25. 

When: Different dates from October 22 to October 31, depending on the workshop.
Where: 20 Cours d’Albret, 33000 Bordeaux

Turn them into little coding geeks

Magic makers, the great programming school for kids is a fantastic opportunity to let your little girls and boys explore the world of coding. During the first week of the fall vacation, the school will offer several programs according to your kids age – from robots and minecraft for the little ones to creating games and star wars workshops for older kids. This is a popular place so reserve your place as soon as possible- click here and here for more info and registration. They have two centers in the Bordeaux area so if you live quite far from the center of Bordeaux, the other center is in Latresne. Also, if you missed out the registration and there’s no more space available, remember that many of the courses and workshop run during the school year as well.

WhenOctober 22-26
Where: Centre Magic Makers, 60 cours de la Martinique 33000 Bordeaux AND AEROCAMPUS Aquitaine 1, route de Cénac 33360 Latresne

Discover the nature around Bordeaux with la Foret d’art Contemporain

la foret d'art contemporain

You don’t really have to spend money to enjoy this fall break with your kids (except on therapy). If weather permits, this could be a good opportunity to discover the area around Bordeaux. Don’t forget that we are living just a few km from the largest maritime-pine forest in Europe in -Foret des Landes de Gascogne. One of the best ways to discover this massive forest is by following the map of la foret d’art contemporain. This is an extraordinary project that aims to promote contemporary art by placing it in different spots in the forest. Around 20 different pieces of art were placed in all parts of the forest, usually close to one of the smaller towns, to allow you to discover the more rural parts of Gironde. Follow the map of the project – here.

Dance Capoeira

When you see Capoeira circles on the street, do you ever wish you could know the moves and be part of that circle? Well maybe your kids can teach you after they participate in the Capoeira course offered by Dojo La Fleche during the first week of school break. The course that will take place on October 23-26 will include elements of movement, music, songs and acrobatics. For more info click here.

WhenOctober 23-26
Where:21 Rue Ulysse Despaux, Bordeaux

Space month in Merignac

The city of Mérignac is currently hosting a whole month of space discovery with workshops, exhibitions, conferences, parties and more. Many of the events are scheduled to take place on weekends but an activity you can enjoy during the weekdays of les vacances de la toussaint is the “Dessine-moi l’Espace”.  Médiathèque de Mérignac invites your children to a week of creativity. From Tuesday to Saturday, during the month of October, your kids can come and take inspiration from the books of the library to draw planets, rockets, aliens, stars and more. Awards will be given to the most imaginative paintings. For details about this activity and all the other events of Space month click here.

When: October 1-31, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 13:00-19:00, Wednesday 10:00-19:00 and Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
Where: Médiathèque de Mérignac, 19, place Charles-de-Gaulle, Mérignac

Foire aux Plaisirs

What kid doesn’t appreciate a big wheel or bumper cars? For a cool day out just take them to the Bordeaux fair at Place des Quinconces starting from October 12. Amusements rides are obviously only part of the fun, you will also find plenty of side stall games and stands with donuts, crèpes, barbes à papa and many other guilty pleasures. The fair is open daily from 14:00, you are not required to pay any entry fee, only for some of the attractions. See more info about the fair here.

When: October 12 – November 4
Where: Place des Quinconces , 33000 Bordeaux

Let them climb some walls

Climb Up, a climbing center of more than 2000m2, was opened in June 2018 in the Décathlon village in Mérignac. The center includes a huge climbing surface with walls rising to 15 meters, more than 200 different tracks and 60 lines of rope. There’s also a dedicated blocs zone for kids (over 3 years old) allowing them to climb in a secured space.  On school break they offer 2 climbing courses of half days for kids – one for 6-8 year old and the other for 9-15 year old – check out more details here.

When: Monday to Friday on school break
Where: Décathlon Village – Domaine de Pélus, 17 avenue Pythagore – 33 700 Mérignac

Discover the Idea box workshops at the Marché des Douves

Have you ever noticed the beautiful hangar with the red bricks just in front of the Capucins Market? Marché des Douves, previously the city market, is today a house to different associations, with plenty of activities and workshops for kids. Every Wednesday and Thursday three different workshops are taking place at the old market: a music workshop, mini film creation and a coding course. You can register to one or several of the activities on the spot or by phone 05 35 38 16 06. For more info click here.

When: Wednesday and Thursday – 14:00 to 17:30
Where: 4 Rue des Douves, 33800 Bordeaux

Let them become Ninja kidz

Last but not least, don’t forget to pass by The Temple Bordeaux which hosts a variety of activities for all ages. Gym Kidz is a bilingual Gymnastics program starting at 18 months old! One of their biggest success is the Ninja Kidz course which is a mix of Gymnastics & Martial Arts. The will stay open during the vacation so check them out. All courses are 200€ per year! and drop-ins are 10€ per class. Check out their facebook page for more info.

gym kidz schedule

Where:  3 Quai de Brazza Bordeaux, 33100

 

Now, with this list in your hands you are ready to survive the school break (les vacances de la toussaint) and even enjoy it a bit :).  If you have other ideas or other places that offer special activities during the vacation, please share them in the comments.

If you didn’t find anything interesting in this list, you can always take some ideas from my “What to do with kids when it’s raining in Bordeaux” or discover a new place for a picnic with my guide to the best picnic places in Bordeaux.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter if you don’t want to miss more article like this one. And please share the post on facebook, twitter or pinterest, that would make me very happy 🙂

For many years Bordeaux was considered a bit of a shady town, where you would stop by on your way to the wine regions in the south of France. In the last decade, however, Bordeaux has gone through a massive makeover, making tourism its highest priority and becoming one of the most beautiful and interesting destinations in Europe. With it’s 362 historic monuments (second only to Paris), an extraordinary gastronomic scene, and a vibrant city life, it’s no wonder this beautiful town was named the European Best destination in 2015.

There are plenty of articles, suggesting lists of things to do in Bordeaux. However, my objective for creating yet another one was to offer you a detailed step by step guide to all the must-see things in the city from a local’s perspective. This article is primarily meant for first-time visitors in Bordeaux and can be done in 2-3 days if you’re in shape 🙂

If it isn’t your first time in Bordeaux you’ve probably visited most of the things in the list, but Bordeaux is beautiful enough to see it twice and you might have missed some of the items mentioned here. I still enjoy revisiting these sites when making tours with my guests.

Although this guide proposes a specific route to follow, feel free to take whatever you want from the list, and adapt it to your style of travel. You can switch the order of places you’re planning to visit but pay attention to things that are taking place only on Saturdays or Sundays. This list is quite dense so if you come for more than two days, feel free to reduce the pace and take some time to visit the city more calmly, enjoy its cafés and the general atmosphere.

One last thing before we dive in. If you’re looking for a hotel to stay in during your visit here, check out my post about the best places to stay in Bordeaux. I’ve included some beautiful boutique hotels and several more affordable ones.

First Day

Place de la Victoire

Start your day from Place de la Victoire, an impressive square which is recognized by the 18th-century arc and the marble obelisk at its center. The square, located at the southern part of central Bordeaux, connects some of the biggest streets in the city, among them the popular Sainte Catherine street. It’s proximity to the busiest street in the city, the University campus, and the numerous cafes and bars on and around the square create a very happy and busy vibe. I wouldn’t necessarily put this place on my “5 top things to see in Bordeaux” list, but this beautiful arc is a very good place to start your Bordeaux tour with due to t’s central location.

Place de la Victoire in Bordeaux

If you don’t have much time in the Bordeaux and you really want to see only the main sights of the city you can skip to number 4 where I lead you to the center and more chic part of Bordeaux. But if you want to taste the local vibe, continue with me to number 2 on our list.

Marché des Capucins

If it’s not too early in the morning for starting your gastronomic experience in Bordeaux, I highly recommend going to Marché des Capucins. This is the biggest daily market in Bordeaux and has everything from stands of fruits and vegetables, sweets, spices, and a bunch of lively cafés and restaurants. It’s a covered market so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside where you can have a coffee or an early lunch. During the weekend, the market is packed with locals, who gather to eat oysters accompanied by white wine. Be sure to come early to be able to catch a table.

Marche des Capucins
Marché des Capucins – for an early lunch with the locals

Before you go, be sure to check out my article about the best places to eat at the Marché des Capucins. The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, however, be aware that not all the restaurants and stands are open on Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you need help in discovering the market, I offer a market tour where you will taste and get familiar with the flavors of the southwest of France. So if you’re into starting your day with a foodie experience check out my food tours page.

Now after opening the morning at the market we can start touring Bordeaux and admire its beautiful architecture. If you followed my advice and went to the market, your next destination should be Saint Michel. From Place des Capucins continue to rue Clare which will bring you to the heart of the Saint Michel neighborhood. As I said before if you don’t have much time you can skip it and go straight to number 4. but from my experience, even a short tour in Saint Michel is quite worth it.

Discover the Saint Michel neighborhood

Until quite recently Saint Michel was not the most welcoming place and was quite ignored by the tourists arriving to Bordeaux. In recent years a younger population moved to the neighborhood and gave it a second life. Today the interesting mix of chic cafes and shops of immigrants makes it a great authentic place.

There are many things to do and see in this area and if you have more than two days and would like to spend some time in Saint Michel, check out my detailed guide to Saint Michel. If, however, you are short in time and just want the “best of”, this is what I suggest:

  • The Basilica of Saint Michel – classified as a world heritage of UNESCO in 1998 stands at the heart of this lively neighborhood. It is located on the main square, Place Meynard, surrounded by plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars.
  • la Flèche Saint-Michel – Just next to the basilica you’ll find the Saint Michel bell tower, one of the main monuments of the city. I highly recommend climbing it to see a magnificent view of Bordeaux.
  • The market on SaturdayEvery Saturday there’s a local market around the Basilica. Even if you don’t need to buy anything I’d still recommend going there on a Saturday morning just for the atmosphere
  • Antiquesif you love antique markets, whether it’s to buy or just to have a look, you’re at the right place. This neighborhood has several antique places that are open daily. Check out my guide to Saint Michel for a detailed list with addresses.

The view from la Flèche Saint-Michel
The view from la Flèche Saint-Michel

From here we will be entering the historic center of Bordeaux- Follow me 🙂

Grosse Cloche

From Place Meynard take rue des Faures to get to one of the main streets in the center of Bordeaux (rue Victor Hugo), which will lead you from the Saint Michel neighborhood to the Quartier de la Grosse Cloche (see the beautiful gate on your right).  The charming paved streets of this small neighborhood will definitely leave their charm on you. This area is full of chic cafés and boutiques and is one of the most popular places among the locals. The Grosse Cloche, a bell tower through which you’ll enter the neighborhood is one of the most prominent symbols of Bordeaux and was used to be the gateway to the city (and at some point functioned as a prison).  

grosse cloche

Rue Saint James

The first street you encounter when entering through the Grosse Cloche is Rue Saint James. This is one of the most charming streets in the neighborhood, with beautiful coffee shops (such as books and coffee with its elegant decor and beautiful cakes) chic boutiques and specialized shops. Take some time to discover this street as well as the lovely narrow streets around it.

Continue on the street until you get to Place Fernand Lafargue. A long time ago this square used to be the city’s market and today it’s one of the best spots for a nice Lunch. The square and the emerging streets are a real food hub with plenty of cafes, bars, and a variety of restaurants from hamburgers to Sushi and Ramen soup.

A few of my recommendations are: Apollo bar for a drink, Un chateau un Ville for a glass of wine, Frida restaurant for a brunch on a nice terrace, Kokomo for a great hamburger and Piha for a great coffee.

After you finish strolling around the Grosse Cloche continue on Cours d’Alsace et Laurent until you get to rue Sainte Catherine.

Shop on rue Sainte-Catherine

This is the longest pedestrian street in France, full of clothing boutiques and one of the only places in the center where you can find all the main clothing retail stores. If you followed my list you would have entered the street somewhere in the middle of it. If you go left, in the direction of Place de la Victoire you will mostly find cheap clothing shops and a huge variety of fast food. If you fancy a great naan kebab, this is the street for you (and yes, it’s a thing in Bordeaux).  If you choose to go right, you will find all the big chains such as  Mango, H&M, Fnac as well as the best canelé (a Bordelais pastry) in Bordeaux -La Toque Cuivrée. When you finish your shopping go back to Place Saint Projet and through rue des Trois Colis continue to the main cathedral of Bordeaux on Place Pey Berland.

rue sainte Catharine Bordeaux
Sainte Catharine – the main shopping street in Bordeaux

Place Pey Berland

Place Pey Berland is one of the most central places in Bordeaux and the home to the town hall and one of the biggest Cathedrals in Bordeaux. Located very close to two of the main museums of the city (see item #7 on the list for details), Pay Berland is also full of great coffee shops and restaurants.

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux
Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

The big Cathedral on the main square of Pey Berland is a Roman Catholic church, the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux, and is labeled as a national monument of France. In the evening the Cathedral often hosts concerts of classical music, choirs, and an organ festival during the summer. You can check out more info about the concerts here

Tour Pey Berland

Just next to the Cathedral you’ll find its 15th-century bell tower – la Tour Pey Berland. On the top of the tower, you can see the statue of Notre-Dame d’Aquitaine rising to the height of 66 m and three bells that are still operating today as the bells of the Cathedrale.  A “short” climb of 231 stairs of the tower will take you to one of the best views of the city. A ticket to the bell tower is 6 euros and free to people below 26 years old. I recommend climbing it only if the weather is good, otherwise, you won’t see much.

Opening hours: June – September 10:00 – 13:15 and 14:00-18:00/ October to may  10:00 – 12:30 and 14:00-17:30.

Good places for a coffee break:

Although I’m not a big fan of French coffee, somehow Bordeaux has figured out the secrets of a great brew. Some of the best coffee places in the city are actually in this central neighborhood, among them: Sip, Black list and l’alchimiste café. If you’re a coffee-lover check out my article about Five coffee places in Bordeaux you don’t want to miss.

Follow the tram line to discover two of the most interesting streets of the Pay Berland neighborhood

From Place Pey Berland continue on rue Vital Carles, alongside the tram B line which goes through the main spots of the center of Bordeaux. One of the most noticeable things on this street is, Librairie Mollat, a Bordelais establishment since 1896 which is the first independent book store in France. Apart from the huge literature selection, the bookshop ads to its charm by having employees write little notes on the books they recommend, making it an intimate shopping experience. Another point worth mentioning is Porte dijeaux, which you will see on your left. This pretty arc is another gate to the historic center of Bordeaux and has been classified as a historic monument in 1921.

Museums 

There are three museums in this neighborhood, which are nice if you have a lot of time to spend in Bordeaux, but I wouldn’t put them on my priority list when coming only for a weekend. Nevertheless, if you must visit a  museum during your visit or it’s raining outside and you need a getaway, here they are:

Musée des Beaux-Arts: is the fine-art museum of Bordeaux and one of the largest art galleries in France outside Paris.

20 Cours d’Albret, 33000 Bordeaux

Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux – installed in a beautiful chateau, the museum is home to collections of furniture, ceramics, and many other objects dated from the 18th and 19th centuries. The museum also has a nice outdoor coffee place in the beautiful courtyard of the building

Musée des arts décoratifs bordeaux
Musée des arts décoratifs bordeaux

39 Rue Bouffard, 33000 Bordeaux

Musée d’Aquitaine – If you want to learn about the history and archaeology of Bordeaux and its region (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), this is your best source.

20 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux

If you skipped the museums continue walking on Vital Carles street and be ready for a beautiful surprise. At the end of the street, you will turn right to one of the most impressive streets of Bordeaux Cours de independence. This is a wide street which really conveys the feeling of Bordeaux – historic, beautiful and very calm- just stand there and take a breath for a second. Continue on Cours de independence until you get to Place de la Comedie

Grand Théâtre

The beautiful 18th-century building on Place de la Comedie will be hard to miss. This is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and is home to the National Opera of Bordeaux. If you have the chance, try to book tickets to one of the concerts of the Opera or the national ballet. If you didn’t have a chance to see a concert you can still have a tour inside this impressive building (the tour is in French). The tours take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 14:30 – 16:00 – 17:30 costing 6 € (free under 26 years old). There are no tours during the summer period.

Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

Have a fancy meal

If you want to have a fancy meal while in Bordeaux, Place de la Comedie and its surrounding streets is one of the main spots for fine dining in Bordeaux. My favorite restaurant, when I’m in a bit of a luxury mood is le Quatrième Mur, which has a lunch menu of 35 € (relative to the quality of the restaurant and the popularity of the chef this price is quite low). The restaurant is located inside the Opera of Bordeaux complete with all its lavish decor.

Place des Quinconces

Next on our list is Place des Quinconces, the largest city square in France and one of the biggest ones in Europe. On one of the sides of this enormous square, you will find the beautiful monument dedicated to the Girondins (members of a political faction) who were killed during the French Revolution. Throughout the year the square hosts many different events, festivals, and fairs such as the Brocante de Quinconces. I tend to write a lot about the events that take place on Place des Quinconces so be sure to check out my monthly and weekly updates about things to do in Bordeaux for up to date recommendations.

The tram passing Place de Quinconces
The tram passing Place de Quinconces

If you’ve been following my guide so far, you’ve probably walked quite bit. This would be the perfect time for a rest in one of Bordeaux’s most beautiful green spots.  From Place des Quinconces continue to Cours du Marechal Foch until you get to Jardin Public.

Do a picnic in Jardin Public

Jardin Public is the largest park in the center of Bordeaux with more than 300 trees and vast green planes – a perfect place for a picnic in the park. Besides being visually stunning, it has a large pond (with ducks and geese!), great facilities for kids, and even a nice and coffee place. If you’re traveling with kids, it’s really worth visiting the new Natural history museum that is situated in the park.

Jardin Public Bordeaux
Jardin Public – a green island in the city

If you want to know more about parks and gardens in Bordeaux check out my article with plenty of places for picnics in Bordeaux.

Now back to the city and to the last location on the first day of discovering Bordeaux – the Chartrons neighborhood. Leave the park from Cours Xavier Arnozan and continue towards the Garonne river. Turn left on rue Notre Dame to enter the Chartrons neighborhood, but before doing so, on your right you’ll see the CAPC, which is the Contemporary art museum of Bordeaux. This beautiful building was previously used as a warehouse for colonial foodstuffs and today is the house of contemporary art in Bordeaux, curating many exhibitions. Now turn left on rue Notre Dame to enter our next destination.

Visit the northern chic district of Bordeaux –  Les Chartrons

Although it’s not part of the center of Bordeaux, this northern district is a popular place with a high concentration of fashionable boutiques, antique stores, and restaurants, most of which are located on the main street – rue Notre Dame. At one point on your left, you will see Eglise Saint-Louis des Chartrons, a 19th-century Neo-Gothic church.

Turn left straight after the church to get to the heart of the neighborhood- Halle des Chartrons. There are plenty of restaurants around the central square, mostly French and Italian, most offer good lunch menus. The Halle des Chartrons in the center of the square often hosts activities and exhibitions, so check it out.
If you want to discover all the interesting places you can visit in the Chartrons district check out my article about the best things to do in Chartrons

Second Day

Start the day at Place du Palais Station (Tram A) to enter the Saint Pierre Neighborhood.

Enjoy the squares of Saint Pierre neighborhood

This neighborhood is the tourist heart of  Bordeaux. There aren’t any major monuments to see in this part of town but the little narrow paved streets and the beautiful lively squares are what makes it one of the more pleasant places in Bordeaux. I’ll mention some of the best things to do in this neighborhood, but I really recommend to just take a few hours to get lost in the beautiful little streets and get a feel of historic Bordeaux.

Porte Cailhau

From Cours d’Alsace et Lorraine turn left to place du Palais. This is the first of many squares you’ll see while touring the neighborhood and probably the most special one. The magnificent Porte Cailhau, a monument that looks like it has been taken from a fairy tale cannot be missed. This gate was built in 1495 to commemorate the glory of king Charles VIII. On the square itself, you’ll find a few nice cafes and restaurants that have an incredible view on Porte Cailhau. For a light, lunch try La Cagette restaurant.

Porte Cailhau on Place de Palais
Porte Cailhau on Place de Palais

There are three other squares worth mentioning in this neighborhood, all of which are beautiful and full of nice cafes with tables outside for sunny days. Each and every one of them is quite unique and worth a visit, but if you don’t have much time don’t feel obligated to visit all the squares.

Place Camille Julian

One of the busiest squares in towns and one of the rare places where you can find food quite late at night. The most interesting thing to see on the square is Utopia, a church turned into a cinema with a varied program of both blockbuster movies and small independent films.

Place Saint Pierre

Place Saint Pierre is not that interesting by itself but what makes it special is the Gothic Flamboyant styled Saint Pierre church. This church was previously the main praying temple of the craftsmen and traders living in the area and today is classified as a historic monument.

Place du Parlement

Another beautiful square in this lovely neighborhood is Place du Parlement, which was classified as a historic monument in 1952. This is yet another spot with many cafés with tables outside which are perfect for a sunny Bordelaise day. This square is located just a few steps from one of the biggest and most special squares of Bordeaux – Place de la Bourse.

place du parlement bordeaux
Place du Parlement

Miroir d’eau

From Place du Parlement continue to rue Fernand Philippart to Place de la Bourse which is facing one of the most popular attractions in Bordeaux – le Miroir d’eau! This modern monument, built in 2006, is the world’s largest reflecting pool. located on the quay of the Garonne river. The surface is made from blue granite covered in water reflecting the 18th century Place de la Bourse.

Miroir d'eau bordeaux
le Miroir d’eau – the world’s largest reflecting pool

During the summer months, the system of le miroir d’eau operates in cycles of 15 minutes creating a shallow pool where you can wet your feet and fog at the end of the cycle when the water is coming down. The sight of little kids running in the water creates one of the most beautiful and photogenic moments that you can experience in Bordeaux.

Take a walk on the quai (promenade)

The promenade on the board of the Garonne is one of Bordeaux’s highlights. In recent years, since the renovation of the area, the quai became one of the city’s most central spots, hosting many events and festivals during the summer. The 4.5 km promenade is also perfect for a walk or a bicycle tour. The most interesting part of it is between the two bridges of Bordeaux – Pont Saint Pierre in the center and Pont Chaban Delmas in the north of the city, which includes the miroir d’eau as well as big playgrounds for kids, restaurants with a view on the river and the Chartrons Market, which is our next stop.

Wine Festival on the quai in Bordeaux
Wine Festival on the quai

Shop and dine at the Chartrons market

Every Sunday morning dozens of food stalls with the best oysters of the region, fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, fish, and plenty of food trucks are installed on the Quai des Chartrons. The market is usually quite busy with both locals and tourists, especially if you come towards noon, but it’s still worth the visit. Besides the local products you can buy at the market it’s simply a very nice spot to have an early lunch. For many visitors, the main attraction is the few stalls with oysters which cost around 6 euros a dozen and come with a glass of white wine, this plate kind of embodies life in the region 🙂

For more info about the market and other places around it read my article about the best places to visit in the Chartrons district.

Pont Chaban Delmas

Pont Chaban Delmas is a modern bridge, named after the previous mayor of the city which was inaugurated in 2013. It’s the longest vertical-lift bridge in Europe and seeing it elevating to let the tall ships pass is a very impressive sight. On the way there you will pass by several hangars that were turned into restaurants, boutiques, and a fantastic science museum for kids (Cap Sciences).

Cite du Vin

Cité du vin in Bordeaux

What comes after the bridge is hard to miss. The cité du vin is a “must” place for any wine lover and can also be very interesting and enjoyable for people who don’t drink at all. This extraordinary building is the wine museum of Bordeaux, a one of a kind cultural center, all dedicated to discovering the wine world. Through its interactive exhibition, It offers a journey to both French and global wine history. You will learn about winemaking, see movies and interviews with wine producers and then smell and taste wine. The cite du vin allows you to discover a selection of wines from all over the world in its spectacular wine shop and to see the best panoramic view of Bordeaux.

Book your visit at La Cité du Vin

Read more about visiting the world’s best wine museum in my article about the Cité du Vin.

Marché des Bacalan

This covered market is new in Bordeaux (Opened in November 2017). It’s not a must-visit place if you’re short in time but it’s a great place for drinks with friends and a nice way to discover the Bacalan neighborhood. This impressive 950m2 hangar is located just in front of the famous Cité du vin and hosts 23 different artisans and traders that were chosen for the quality of their products (85% of which are produced in the South-West region of France).

Marché de Bacalan
Les Halles de Bacalan – a new covered market

If you have time, you can stay a bit longer and explore one of the rising neighborhoods in the city. Read about it in my article about the Bacalan district.

Take a boat to the other side of the Garonne

Now it’s time to discover the other side of the Garonne river – the Bastide neighborhood. To do that you can either cross the bridge (it’s a very nice walk but will take some time) or take a boat. Since 2013 the public transport system in Bordeaux has introduced a ferry (navette fluviale)  that will cross you over to the other side. The ferry that operates from 7am to 7pm, stops at five stations: Stalingrad, Quinconces, les Hangars, La Cité du Vin and Lormont. If you followed my guide up to now, take the navette at La Cité du Vin and get down at Stalingrad (on the other side of the river).

Take a look at the ferry time table here.

Jardin Botanique

Arriving from Place de Stalingrad your first stop would be Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux, a beautiful little park that can be a great spot for a pause. Jardin Botanique was created to allow the wide public to discover the world of plants, biodiversity and sustainability. If you’re not really interested in plants and have no need for a break continue straight to Darwin which is located a few minutes walk from the park.

Darwin

Darwin is probably one of the most surprising places in Bordeaux. An old military base turned into an urban space with a workspace/incubator for startups, a skate park for all ages, a restaurant, and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. Whether alone or with kids you can spend hours in Darwin. One of the buildings hosts the restaurant and the Darwin products store with a huge selection of different bio products from pastry to beer and even soap. Also, Darwin is one of the most extraordinary places for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented artists on every one of its buildings. They host many cool events so don’t be surprised if suddenly you see an artisan market or a collection of old cars on display.

Darwin
Darwin – one of the coolest places in Bordeaux

This is the end of our weekend journey in Bordeaux! Before I leave you, here are some useful links:

Useful links and info

Bordeaux expats blog is great if you need more info about the tram system as well as recommendations on restaurants and other interesting places given by expats who live in Bordeaux.

The site of the tourist office in Bordeaux has loads of information about all the points of interest in the city as well as about most of the main events, although not all in English unfortunately. They also offer a lot of tours in and around Bordeaux – so check it out here.

The official site of Bordeaux offers a lot of interesting info about the places you will see (in French)- read it here.

I’m sure that by now, like many people coming for a visit, you have fallen in love with Bordeaux. I hope you’ve been able to see most of the places I’ve suggested, and if not then you should definitely come back as there are plenty of other things to do in and around Bordeaux. If you only have one day, these are the sites I consider “the must see”: Grosse Cloche, Cathédrale Saint-André, The Opera building and Miroir d’eau.

If you have a bit more time to tour the area, check out my list of 10 day trips from Bordeaux you can do by train.

if you like the article and have other friends that are planning to come here soon, click the share button below to share it with friends on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!

Don’t forget to check out my weekly and monthly updates on all the events that are taking place in Bordeaux and don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for more recommendations of places to visit in and around Bordeaux- sign here

Saint Michel is one of the most cosmopolitan and lively neighborhoods in Bordeaux, a home to a mixed population of students, immigrants, artists and people attracted to the hip vibe of the neighborhood. While it’s usually not part of the traditional sights seeing tours of Bordeaux, it’s worth much more than a short visit to the Basilica of Saint Michel and its tower. Saint Michel is located next to some of the most posh areas of Bordeaux and yet it has a completely different feeling to it, at times it feels as if Victor Hugo cuts Bordeaux into two different cities. The neighborhood is home to some of the best markets of Bordeaux, numerous places where you can browse for vintage clothes and furniture and an endless list of lively restaurants and cafes.

This guide to Saint Michel offers you a great variety of things to Do and See in Saint Michel. We’ll go through the most important monuments in the neighborhood and recommend where to eat, drink, shop and have a picnic. This neighborhood is constantly evolving and new places are opening all the time so even if you live in Bordeaux for a while now, I invite you to take a look and re-discover one the happiest places in town.

Basilique Saint Michel

The Saint Michel Basilica, classified as a world heritage of UNESCO in 1998 stands at the heart of this lively neighborhood. This church, built between the 14th and 16th century in a Flamboyant Gothic style, is the biggest parish church in Bordeaux. The Basilica is 75 meters long and is divided into 3 distinct parts. Start your tour from rue Canteloup and go towards Place Meynard in order to have the basilica fully reveal herself. 

Basilique Saint Michel in Bordeaux
Basilica of Saint Michel

See Bordeaux from la Flèche Saint-Michel

Just next to the basilica you’ll find the Saint Michel bell tower or “la flèche” as the Bordelaises like to call it. This is one of the main monuments of the city and one of the sights you will often find on postcards of Bordeaux. Built in the 15th century, the bell tower of the basilica is 114 meters high and is the highest bell tower in the south of France. La flèche is a standalone building alongside the basilica, rather than on top of it.  During the tourist season the tower is open to visitors and due to its height, offers a magnificent view of the city. 

In 1881 a cemetery and catacombs were discovered under the town bell. Several mummies, that were also part of that discovery were shown to the public in the late 18th century. You can learn more about one the biggest mysteries of the city in the film presented in the cellar of the tower. The “Fleche” is located on Place Canteloup and can be visited daily from April to October, the ticket price is 5 euros. 

View of Bordeaux from the bell tower of Saint Michel
The view of Bordeaux from the bell tower of Saint Michel

The Saint Michel Market

Marché Royal, one of the biggest open-air markets in Bordeaux, takes place every Saturday morning at Place Meynard. The surroundings of the church and bell tower is filled with more than 100 merchants, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to kitchen supplies, clothes and even pillows :). From my experience, this is the cheapest market in Bordeaux. However, if you are into bio produce, this one is probably not for you. On sunny Saturday mornings, the market attracts both locals, doing their weekly shopping and outsiders that come for the noisy market atmosphere and chic cafés.

On Monday mornings a different market is taking place in front of the church. You will find very diversified merchandise displayed on the stands of Marché Neuf, including books, house supplies, clothing, toys and more, however it’s not a food market and doesn’t have the vibe of Marché Royal. This market is composed of hundreds of stands but has a more local vibe to it.

Saturday morning market of Saint Michel
The Saturday market of Saint Michel

When: Marché Royal: Saturdays 7am to 1pm; Marché Neuf:Mondays 7am to 1pm
Place Canteloup et Meynard – 33800 Bordeaux

Browsing for Antiques

A French Brocante  (secondhand goods market) is a nice way to discover the history, culture and different fashion trends of a city through the interesting stories of the objects you find. It usually doesn’t have a feeling of a flea market but rather a more antiques and vintage vibe to it.  In Bordeaux , the brocantes have an important place and besides many local vide greniers (kind of a garage sale), the city hosts a huge brocante twice a year in Place de Quinconces. But if your visit is not planned during this time of the year,  Saint Michel proposes a smaller scale brocante all year long.

Les Brocanteurs du Passage

Passage Saint Michel, located just in front of the church is home to 18 stands of antiques dealers and artists, with a variety of art and design items from different periods and styles. The prices are quite high but it can definitely inspire if you are into vintage stuff.  The passage is open daily except Monday , see more details here. 

Passage Saint Michel in Bordeaux
Le Passage – a lot of different styles, very vintage oriented

Address: 15 place Canteloup, 33800 Bordeaux

Les Hangars

Les Hangars is a new space of antiques and vintage pieces of art and furniture. It has a very posh and spacious look to it and is quite pricey but it has a significant selection of antiques.

les hangars saint michel - antiques shop
Les Hangars – very posh with a nice selection

Address: 18 – 22 Rue des Allamandiers, 33800 Bordeaux

Sunday flea market

Every Sunday morning more than 80 dealers gather at the square in front of the Basilica of Saint Michel for the Brocante du Dimanche. This is the weekly flea market of Bordeaux where you can find real bargains and purchase everything from toys for kids to antique frames and electronic devices. The quality of most of the items is not the highest but as with any flea market, you’ll have to work to find what you’re looking for.   

When: Sundays 7am to 2pm
Place Canteloup et Meynard – 33800 Bordeaux

Eat and shop at La Mère Michel

La Mére Michel is the essence of what the main square of the quartier is all about, a combination of a brocante with good food, a great location and a hip atmosphere. It has a beautiful view of the bell tower of Saint Michel, but distant enough from the hustle of the market. On the menu it says “Crêperie-Bistrot-Brocante” and that’s what it is. The house specialty are crepes and the menu is mostly composed of many different types of crepes and galettes, with some traditional plates as well. The interior is decorated with many vintage items and they are all for sale for very affordable prices. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, I’d still recommend you take a look on the unique design they’ve put in place. On a sunny day, it’s a perfect place for an outside brunch, with tables  right on Place Meynard, facing the bell tower and the church.  The restaurant is open the whole day on weekends and closes for a break between lunch and dinner on week days. 

la mere michel
La Mère Michel – perfect for a sunny day and you can buy anything you see on the walls

Address: 22 Place Meynard, 33000 Bordeaux

Drink mint tea

Saint Michel is full of chic cafes and it’s hard to chose one when you want to take a break from antiques browsing. If you stay in the church area you will see that a lot of locals are actually drinking mint tea and not coffee. Until recently Saint Michel was mostly an immigrant neighborhood and many shops and cafés are owned by families who emigrated to Bordeaux from the Maghreb or the Middle East. Glasses stuffed with spearmint is something your’re going to see a lot on Saturday mornings there. My favorite place is Café de la Fraternité which is located on place Meynard right in front of the church.

café de la fraternité
Drink mint tea at Café de la Fraternité

Address: 27 Place Meynard, 33000 Bordeaux

Buy pastries at la Boulangerie

If you see a long line of people coming from a boulangerie, especially on Saturday morning, you’re at the right place. La Boulangerie (la boutique) on  51 rue des Faures, is a very popular bakery frequented by both locals and tourists. It’s located next to the Bell tower of Saint Michel. The design is very simple and modern with a nice vintage touch. They offer great baguettes and a nice selection of pastry that you can take with you to one of the cafés on Place Meynard.

la boulangrie saint michel
La boulangrie – great baguettes and a nice selection of pastries.

Address: 251 rue des Faures, 33000 Bordeaux

Buy Mediterranean spices

Alongside the many cafes and restaurants, you will find plenty of shops specializing in mediterranean food, most of them located in Rue des Faures.  From outside they may seem as just small supermarkets but if you go inside you’ll discover a paradise of spices such as Sumak, Bahar, Tahini and more. Bordeaux doesn’t have a big immigrant population and specific ingredients are not always easy to find, that’s why this place is a treasure for everyone who is looking to cook an Arabic or Persian dish. My favorite one is Bazar Istanbul on 84 Rue des Faures, where I’ve always been able to find anything I need. 

If you’re planning on a mint tea break, as was suggested before, combine it with some beautiful oriental pastry. France is the Queen of Patisserie, there’s no dispute about that, but if you need a break from the traditional French patisserie, A la rose de Tunis on 70 Rue des Faures, with its huge selection of Tunisian pastry is the place for you. 

Bazar Istanbul Saint Michel
Bazar Istanbul- one of the best places for oriental spices

 

The cafés:

Saint Michel is a rising area in Bordeaux and a wave of new  hip coffee places have established themselves in the neighborhood. Besides the many restaurants next to the main square and all around the area, there are also plenty of relatively new cafés with a hipster vibe to them. Two of my favorite ones are:

Michel ma belle: a small cozy coffee place on 33 Rue Gaspard Philipp,  with a great selection of cakes, beautiful interior design and a distant view of the bell tower from the few tables outside. 

Michel ma belle - cafe in Bordeaux

Excuse my French: Located right in front of Bazar Istanbul on 87 Rue des Faures.  There are a few tables on the busy street outside giving it a very lively atmosphere.

excuse my French cafe in Bordeaux

 

Visit the Capucins market

Le Marche des Capucins is a true Bordelaise institution. It’s located a few minutes walk from the main area of Saint Michel and can be seen from the Basilica. This is the biggest daily market and has everything that a good market should have. Stands of Fruits, vegetables, sweets, spices and fish all mixed with lively cafes and restaurants. Most of it is covered so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside, which makes it a perfect place to hang out with friends and family for an early snack or a proper lunch. In the weekend, the market is packed with locals, who gather to dine oysters accompanied by white wine. Be sure to come early to be able to catch a table.  Marché des Capucins is open daily except Monday.

Marché des Capucins SainMichel bordeaux
Oysters and wine at Marché des Capucins

Have a picnic in Parc des Sports

Parc de Sports is a large green area with different sport facilities, located on the bank of the Garonne just in front of the Saint Michel neighborhood. If you walked too much and need to rest, buy some goodies at the market and head to the “Quai” for a picnic. This parc is less known than other picnic spots in the city and is mostly used by the locals, which makes it less crowded on Sunny days.  Also, the view of the Garonne is quite impressive so try to find a spot closer to the river.

If you are looking for more places for a picnic, check out my list of best places for picnics in Bordeaux.

Parc des sports saint michel-
Take a little pause at Parc des sports

See an expo in the Silicon gallery

Silicon is a space of contemporary art with an agenda to promote young local artists. The gallery is located in one of the quieter streets in Saint Michel and is not that easy to spot, but definitely worth a visit if you’re around.  See up to date info about the running exhibitions here. The gallery is located on 33 rue Leyteire. 

silicon art gallery Saint Michel
Silicon art gallery – discover new local talent

Address: 33 rue Leyteire, 33000

Shop for second hand clothing

There are several second hand clothing shops in the area including Amos, a big chain of solidarity shops in France. One of my favorites is the little boutique on 9 rue des Faures, called Le Fil a Retordre. 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. You can feel she’s a real local with an agenda to make clothes accessible to everyone and has not raised prices despite the rising popularity of the neighborhood.

Le Fil a Retordre in Saint Michel
Le Fil a Retordre – a small shop that has everything you need

Address: 9 rue des Faures, 33000

Dinner and concert at Quartier libre

Although it doesn’t look very impressive from the outside, this is one of the best places in town for a nice dinner with a live concert. The menu is usually quite limited but has great value. Most nights a concert is taking place at the bar, with a variety of local bands playing. Wednesday evening is jazz night, and you even have a place to dance if you feel like swinging. Quartier Libre is located on 30 Rue des Vignes.

quartier libre Saint Michel
Quartier Libre – good food and live music

Address: 30 Rue des Vignes, 33000

Discover rue Camille Sauvageau

There are so many beautiful boutiques, trendy cafes and bars on this street that it requires a separated article.
I invite you to take a walk on this charming street that starts from the Basilica of Saint Michel and goes all the way to the Saint Croix neighborhood. Everything feels very stylish, vintage clothing shops, a nice little flower shop, the old buildings and the paved road all add to the charm of this narrow street. Take a long walk to discover the gems on rue Camille Sauvageau.

Rue Camille Sauvageau - Saint Michel
Rue Camille Sauvageau – one of the most charming street in Saint Michel

 

As this is one of the most growing neighborhoods in Bordeaux there are new cafes, restaurants and boutiques popping up almost weekly so to be really up to date you should visit there frequently. In this list I tried to give you the places that are particularly loved by the locals so you could try and experience your visit through their eyes.

If you go visit and find something new, don’t be shy and comment with your update below.

Share it with friends who are planning to visit Bordeaux this summer. Thanks!!

After the success of my article about things to do in Bordeaux with kids when it’s raining I decided that it’s time to dedicate a separate article for adults trying to escape the rain in Bordeaux. Some of the suggestions in my first list are also valid without kids but I wanted to offer more options for those who don’t have kids to entertain. 

When you look at local guides to Bordeaux you mostly see outdoor places such as the Miroir d’eau, Place de la comedie and so on. But the truth is that Bordeaux is a very active city and there are many things you could do outside your house even when it’s pouring.  I’ve come up with a list of fun activities in Bordeaux, and you’d be surprised how many cool stuff you can experience indoors. So if it’s your first time in Bordeaux, don’t be discouraged by the wet weather and follow my list of special things to do in rainy Bordeaux.
If it’s your first time in Bordeaux, I think you’ll also like my guide to a weekend in Bordeaux

Food and wine with friends at Halles des Bacalan

Les halles des bacalan

This fancy food market opened its gates on November 2017 and has been visited by more than 60,000 people in the first month. No surprises there , as Bordeaux is well known for its gourmand population. This impressive 950m2 hangar is located just in front of the famous Cité du vin and hosts 23 different artisans and traders that were chosen for the quality of their products (85% of which are produced in the South-West region of France). Now, when all of this food is accompanied by several bars, you are guaranteed to have a good time. If you want to discover other cool places in the Bacalan neighborhood check out my article about things to do in Bacalan.

Address: 149 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Visit Darwin

Darwin is probably one of the most surprising places in Bordeaux. An old military base turned into an urban space with a work-space/incubator for startups, a skate park for all ages, a restaurant and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. If you want to discover Bordeaux beyond the center. go ahead to Darwin where you can eat at their designed restaurant, buy local organic products in their shop, do shopping in Emmaus and enjoy unique street art.

Darwin ecosystem Bordeaux
Address: 87 Quai de Queyries – 33100 Bordeaux

Visit art museums

If you are in the mood for some art on a rainy day, there are a few museums in the center of Bordeaux that are dedicated to art and design, the most important ones are:

Le musée des beaux-arts

This museum is famous for its sculptures and paintings from the 16th to  20st century, among them the works of Pérugin, Rubens, Chardin, Delacroix, Matisse alongside Bordelaise artists such as Odilon Redon and Albert Marquet. The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions as well as concerts and art events. Open every day except Tuesday 11:00-18:00

Address: 20 Cours d’Albret, 33000 Bordeaux

Musée des Art décoratifs et du Design

The museum of decorative art and design is located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion and is one of UNESCO’s heritage sites in Bordeaux. Many of the furniture and pieces of art you will see in this museum are dated to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.  Not less impressive is the original woodwork and wooden floor of the museum. Open every day except Tuesday 11:00-18:00

Address: 39 rue Bouffard 33000 Bordeaux

Le CAPC – musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux

Le CAPC is worth visiting even if you are not a big fan of contemporary arts. The museum is housed in an old wool warehouse where commodities, traded down the river, used to be stored. What makes it special is the combination of modern art with the old architecture of the building. In the permanent collection, there are almost 300 works of art and it regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that are dedicated to the history of art.  Open from Tuesday to Sunday 11:00-18:00.

Address: 7 Rue Ferrere, 33000 Bordeaux
CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux
CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux

*All museums mentioned above are free every first Sunday of the month.

Visit the Capucins Market

One of the main attractions in Bordeaux is Marché des Capucins. It’s the biggest daily market in Bordeaux and it has everything from fruits and spices, to local sweets and plenty of oysters stands. When it’s heavily raining in Bordeaux, this is one of the best places to go to. You can take your time strolling between the stands and discover the Southwest of France gastronomy and then conclude with lunch in one of the many excellent restaurants in the market. If you need help choosing what and where to eat at the market, check out my article about the best places to eat in Marche des Capucins. Weekends are especially busy in Capucins with locals meeting their friends for oysters and wine after their market run. So if you want to get a table on a Sunday be sure to be there before 11 am. 
You can also join my food tours in the market which is a fun way to learn about the local food scene.

Bistro Poulette Capucins market in Bordeaux

Play board games in Jeux barjo

Jeux Barjo is the most central game bar in Bordeaux which includes several spaces: mezzanine, cellar and large libraries. Anyone can enjoy this bar as it holds a very impressive board game collection, and even if you are not familiar with the games, the friendly staff are there to explain the rules. The bar offers different menus of games, drinks, and tapas. Jeux barjo is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 14:00.

Address: 12 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux

See local contemporary art in MECA

If you crossed Pont Saint-Jean in the last year or so you must have noticed the new, very modern building that reminds a bit the Arc of La Defense in Paris. This is MECA the Regional Pole of Culture and Creative Economy. It houses many offices that don’t mean much to people trying to escape the rain, but there is one place inside where you can easily spend hours when the weather is bad. Frac, that sits in MECA is a cultural institution with a mission to promote contemporary art in Nouvelle Aquitaine, hosting several exhibitions of local artists. It has reopened its doors after being closed for two years. The exhibitions are varied and include many genres from photography to painting and sculpture. The works are not always my style but it’s big and you can always find a lot of interesting artists there.  For more details click here

MECA Bordeaux
Address: 54 Quai de Paludate, 33800 Bordeaux

La cité du vin

The cité du vin is a “must” place for any wine lover but can be very interesting and enjoyable for people who don’t drink at all. This impressive piece of modern architecture is a one of a kind cultural center, all dedicated to discovering the wine world. Through its interactive exhibition, It offers a journey to both French and global wine history. You will learn about winemaking, see movies and interviews with wine producers and then smell and taste wine. Le Cite du Vin allows you to discover a selection of wines from all over the world and to see the best panoramic view of Bordeaux. If you want to learn more about this super innovative museum, check out my article about visiting the Cite du Vin.

However, before going you should know that it is quite expensive (20€ per ticket) and many people are quite disappointed that the wine tasting includes only one glass of wine. Having said that it is an interactive full sensor activity that you are most likely to enjoy and is a great thing to do on a rainy day in Bordeaux. The Cite du vin is open daily from 10am to 7pm.

cite du vin Bordeaux
photo by: ramonszmuk
Address: 134 – 150 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Make a tour in the Opera of Bordeaux

The Grand Theatre de Bordeaux was built at the end of the 18th century by the architect Victor Louis. It’s one of the most beautiful 18th-century theaters in the world and is one of France’s preserved historical buildings. Previously a seat of the French parliament, today it serves as a home to the Opera National de Bordeaux and the Ballet National de Bordeaux. Excluding the summer period, the Grand Theatre offers guided tours in the building. The tours take place almost daily at 14h30, 16h00 and 17h30. The price is 6 euros and free for people under 26. For reservations click here.

Address: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux

See modern art in la Base sous marine

This is one of the most unique places you can find in Bordeaux. Built by the Germans during the Second World War, this old submarine base has been converted into a space dedicated to contemporary arts, which allows you to enjoy the space itself no less than the art presented there. Base sous marine is located in the Bacalan neighborhood, so it can be combined with a drink in the Bacalan market mentioned above.

It can be a bit tricky to find the entrance, so if you come from the la cité du vin tram station be sure to walk on rue lucien faure before turning right to Boulevard Alfred Daney. Also, if you come with kids, it’s important to know that strollers are not allowed in the exhibition as it’s dark and has a lot of stairs.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday 13:30 to 19:00 (only during exhibitions).

la base sous marine bordeaux
Address: Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

Visit the chic foodie market – Boca 

If your stomach starts growling after the long art session in FRAC, just continue to the next place on Quai de Paludate – La Boca Foodcourt. They call it the first French food court, although it reminds me less of a traditional food court in an American mall and rather a chic and a bit of a pricy foodie’s market. Le Halle the Boca is a long hangar with rows of wooden tables in the middle and about 15 different restaurants. I really like it as there’s a great variety of food such as seafood, Spanish tapas, a meat restaurant, and a good bar.

It’s especially nice if you come as a group of people and share many different plates. I also found it to be very kids friendly with a lot of low tables that are a perfect fit for families. The paying method there is a bit tricky as you need to charge a special card and pay with at the restaurants. I’m not a fan of that as it makes you spend more than you would in a normal restaurant but the food is great and the experience is good anyway. Needless to say that it’s a covered market so it’s perfect for a rainy day. 

Address: 208 Quai de Paludate, 33800 Bordeaux

Try to get out of an escape room in Espace Hunt

Escape rooms have become popular around the world and it definitely didn’t skip Bordeaux. There are a few escape rooms in Bordeaux and Espace Hunt, located next to Gare Saint-Jean is one of them. The concept is that for one day you become a group of detectives and you have 60 minutes to collect clues and solve a series of questions in order to exit the room before time runs out. The place offers 3 different games: “ The Mystery of St-Emilion”, “Murder in the Harbour” and “Jack the Ripper “. The bigger your group is the easier it will be to get out, and in general, the Hunt is not recommended if you’re only 2 players unless you have previous experience in escape rooms.

After the game you can enjoy a coffee in a 100m2 Victorian salon and take photos in special detective costumes. Speaking French is not necessary as Espace Hunt provides a dedicated multi-lingual game master that will be your personal guide throughout the game. Age: the place isn’t recommended for kids under 12 and all kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. One of the rooms is forbidden for kids under 16.

Adresse: 5 rue Pierre Loti, 33800 Bordeaux 

Taste Wine 

wine tastings in Bordeaux
photo by lost in Bordeaux

We are in the capital of wine, so instead of being gloomy about the weather, use it as an opportunity for wine tasting. Here in Bordeaux, you have several places where you can taste local wines during the day without waiting for the bars to open up in the evening. One good example is Bar à Vin which is located in one of Bordeaux’s beautiful 18th-century buildings. This place specializes in the wines of Bordeaux and it changes its wine menu once a month, so there’s always a good reason to go back and learn about new local wines. If you want to discover other good places for wine tasting check out my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux

See street art in a beautiful Chateau

institut bernard magrez bordeaux

Socially aware street art and a fancy 18th-century chateau, can you imagine a bigger contrast than that in a place like Bordeaux?. Well, this is exactly what Institut Bernard Magrez had successfully put together in 2011.  Situated in Chateau Labottiere, the cultural institute regularly hosts exhibitions by the best local and international street artists which are interestingly integrated with the classical features of the chateau. The exhibitions are being alternated every couple of months so there is always something interesting to see there. 

Address: 16 Rue de Tivoli, 33000 Bordeaux

See a movie in Utopia

Utopia is an independent cinema theater that offers a unique experience as it’s installed in an ancient church, l’église du Vieux Bordeaux. The program is very diverse, from little independent productions to big-budget movies and old classical ones. Utopia is much more than just a cinema, there are regular meetings with directors and debates on social issues that are being addressed in movies. At the entrance to this beautiful building, you will also find a restaurant and for sunny days there are a lot of tables outside watching Place Camille Jullian. An old movie and a lunch in an old church with a friend, sounds like the most comforting plan for a rainy day. The price is 7 euros, see the program.

Utopia cinema Bordeaux
Photo by: Ramon Szmuk
Address: 5 Place Camille Jullian, 33000 Bordeaux

Surfing in a coffee place

This is a super cool activity for a rainy day. The Wave Surf Café is the first indoor cafe where you can surf! The Big artificial wave in the middle of the coffee shop imitates an ocean wave and allows you to feel like a professional surfer in the city center :). It’s a nice experience for those who don’t live next to the sea and don’t have the opportunity to surf. For more details click here.

Address: 174 Cours du Médoc, 33300 Bordeaux

Centre Aquatique Caliceo

What’s better than to pamper yourself in a spa when it’s raining outside? The Caliceo center offers you just that. A spa with pools, aquatraining, hammam, different saunas and massage to relax and forget about work and city life. The place is open daily from 10:00 to 21:00.

Address: Quartier du Tasta, 8 Rue Jean Pommies, 33520 Bruges

Axe Throwing in Pessac

If you feel like doing something extraordinary that you probably haven’t done before – consider axe throwing. Apparently it’s a thing and Les Freres Jacks is the place for it in the Bordeaux area. You have to reserve a target for one hour (up to 3 people for 1 target) and the price is 48€ for a target. Open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Address: 152 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 33600 Pessac

Le garage moderne

Le Garage Moderne is a special combination of a garage for cars and bicycles and a place of art and culture, workshops and social meetings. If you have a problem with your car or your bicycle, it’s a good opportunity to learn how to fix them from the mechanics in garage moderne as they accompany the reparation with explications adapted to your level of mechanic knowledge. Apart from that you can just drop by to have a drink, make friends and see interesting art expos. Le garage moderne is open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00.

Address: 1 Rue des Étrangers, 33300 Bordeaux

Attend one of Bordeaux’s events

The Bordelais are quite used to rainy winters (or falls and springs for that matter) so there are plenty of events that are adapted for people trying to escape the rain. While the summer events are usually outdoors, starting October many events, like special markets and open doors in various Chateaux, are starting to take place all over the region. To know about specific events taking place every month, follow my monthly lists that I publish regularly on the blog and check out my weekend list that includes all the main events taking place right now.


I hope this list gave you a lot of ideas for the upcoming rainy weather! If I missed any indoor places that you know about please let us know in the comments below.

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