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Until just a few months ago I used to publish monthly posts with plenty of suggestions for things to do in Bordeaux every month and then like the rest of the world I had to stop. So I can’t even describe how good it feels to finally write this article. Those who live or have ever visited Bordeaux know that there are plenty of fun events taking place here every summer. This summer most events were obviously postponed to the summer of 2021 but luckily there are still plenty of great summer places that will be open, allowing us to enjoy this lovely season. In this article, I gathered 15 places and things you can do in Bordeaux this summer (2020). For specific events and other ideas for things to do every weekend, I invite you to subscribe to my email list here

If it’s your first time on Lost in Bordeaux and you want to get more tips about traveling in Bordeaux and the Southwest of France feel free to join my Travel in the southwest of France group on Facebook or follow me on my Facebook/ Instagram accounts.

Things to do this summer in Bordeaux Metropole

Go see the amazing Gustave Klimt exhibition – D’or et de couleurs

The long-awaited Gustave Klimt exhibition at the Bassins de Lumières (previously known as the Base sous-marine) was finally opened on June 10th. This is one of the most stunning exhibitions to ever arrive at Bordeaux and a visit there is a must! Whereas previously the quays of the Base sous-marine were used only to access the exhibition, this time all four pools, the quais, and the bridges are all used to screen the animated paintings of Klimt and his friends in the Vienna Secession movement. The result is mesmerizing! Important information: tickets must be bought in advance (here’s the link) and masks are obligatory. 

Dance at La Guinguette chez Alriq

The Guinguette is a tavern on the right banks of the Garonne hosting plenty of open-air concerts every summer. The performing bands and artists are coming from all over the world and create a laid back party atmosphere. You can see their program here. The place is open from Wednesday to Sunday with concerts taking place daily. If you’re a group of people you can book a table – see all the details here

Bordeaux museums are free this summer 

Yes, you heard it right! Five main museums in Bordeaux are going to be free all summer long! This is the list: le Muséum d’histoire naturelle, le CAPC, le Musée d’Aquitaine, le Musée des Arts Décoratifs and le Musée des Beaux-Arts. If you’re coming with kids, the natural history museum of Bordeaux is fantastic! 

kids museums in Bordeaux

Read more about these and other museums of Bordeaux in my article about the museums of art, wine, and history in Bordeaux

The Cité du Vin is free for kids this summer!

la cite du vin in Bordeaux

The Cité du Vin is one of the most popular attractions on the tourist trail in Bordeaux. The extraordinary building, inspired by the movement of wine swirling in a glass, 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, culture and knowhow. One of the downsides is that the visit is quite expensive, the entry price for an adult is 20 euros and 9 euros for kids, so a family visit there makes it a pricey experience. However, this summer la Cité du Vin is free for kids under 17yo so it’s a great opportunity to take them to one of the most entertaining museums in Bordeaux. You can read my article about my visit to the Cite du Vin to get a good idea of what to expect there. 

Enjoy a fun day in Darwin 

Hipster paradise is finally open again! For those new to Bordeaux, Darwin is an old military base turned into an urban space with a huge chic restaurant and a cafe/organic food shop, a skate park for all ages, a second-hand shop, and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. On Saturdays, you can enjoy an outdoor local produce market. It’s also one of the most extraordinary places for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented artists on each one of its buildings. Since the reopening, they added plenty of tables outdoors in what they call “Darwin Plein Air”, with some nice food stands for snacks. It’s not clear if Darwin Plein Air will continue throughout the summer but Darwin is a fun place to hang out in any case.

darwin graffiti

It’s also one of the places I like to go to on rainy weekends and it’s on my list of the things to do when it’s raining in Bordeaux, so take a look. 

Free beach activities in Bordeaux

This summer (until August 31) Bordeaux Lac will offer FREE activities such as kayaking, SUP, zumba and more! The activities are taking place daily from 14:00 to 18:00 and registration is taking place on the beach starting from 13:30. Please read the content in this link as it includes instructions for some documents you need to present to be able to register as well as the schedule of the daily activities.

Bordeaux lac
Bordeaux lac by Lost in Bordeaux

Puppet Theater for Kids

Le Guignol Guérin, founded in 1853, is the oldest puppetry show in France with daily spectacles for kids in Parc Bordelais during the summer (July and August). The show usually starts at 16:00 but can be canceled or postponed when it’s raining or getting too hot. Read more about the theater here.

Go to the IBOAT beach 

Well, it’s not really a proper beach where you can swim but it’s definitely one of the coolest places in town. La Plage de L’IBOAT is a fun outdoor space with a bar, comfy sofas, and different outdoor events. The Iboat, mostly known as a concert venue, is a three-level ferry spanning 687m2, anchored to one of the docks of Bassins a flot.

For more cool places to visit in the Bassin a flot area check out my article about the Bacalan district

Have a drink at Mama Shelter

This is one of the best places for drinks in Bordeaux, a rooftop bar on top of the Mama Shelter hotel in Bordeaux center. The rooftop is currently open every day from 12:00 to midnight, however, hours may change so check out their website before going. This place is very popular and tends to get busy in the late evening, so booking a table is recommended. 

Mama Shelter is only one of the cool rooftops in Bordeaux Metropole, if you want to discover more hip rooftops and fun terrace cafes check out my article about the best summer bars in Bordeaux.

Summer sales

Don’t we all need to refresh our closet after this long period of being stuck at home? Summer sales are a great opportunity to enjoy good deals on clothes, shoes, electric supplies, toys and more. This summer the soldes d’été will take place from July 15 to August 11.

Enjoy the best markets in Bordeaux

You know how you always see people uploading beautiful pictures from French markets, with piles of strawberries, mouth-watering cheese, and crispy baguettes? Why not have the same fun touristic experience here, in one of Bordeaux’s numerous markets. The most popular market in Bordeaux is of course Marché des Capucins but there are plenty of amazing open-air markets in different neighborhoods in the city. Even if you live here you’ll probably discover a few new markets in my article about the best markets in Bordeaux

Sunday market in Bordeaux

Things to do around Bordeaux – Gironde and Dordogne 

Taste the good life of Arcachon

If I had to make my top “good life in the Southwest of France” list, oysters, white wine, and beautiful beaches would probably be in my top 5. The Arcachon Bay is located about 50 km from Bordeaux and offers some of the best summer experiences in France. Tens of amazing beaches, oyster farmers villages, natural reserves, beautiful 19th-century architecture, and plenty of attractions for kids. A day trip (at least) to the Bassin d’Arcachon is an absolute must when visiting Bordeaux. To help you decide where to go I wrote an article about the best places to visit on the Arcachon Bay.

oysters arcachon

For a perfect summer afternoon gateway, head to Dune du Pilat and finish with a drink in La Corniche. Sounds splendid, isn’t it? Read more about these places in my article about the southern part of Arcachon

Kayaking or Canoeing in the Dordogne river

Bordeaux is surrounded by many big and small rivers, it’s not a surprise then that there are quite a few places for Kayaking and Canoeing in the Bordeaux region. One of the biggest rivers near Bordeaux is the Dordogne, which splits from the Estuary of Gironde some 30 km north of Bordeaux. The low flow in most parts of the river makes it ideal for a kayak or canoe trip as you can easily descend and visit many beautiful villages and impressive chateaux on the way. I wrote an article about some of the best Kayaking clubs on the Dordogne river, some of which are located close to Bordeaux. You can also enjoy kayaking on the Leyre river on the Arcachon Bay.

Kayak and Canoe on the Dordogne
Kayak and Canoe on the Dordogne by Lost in Bordeaux

See more details about that in my guide to what to do with kids in Arcachon

Enjoy the beautiful beaches in Gironde 

Being close to the Atlantic ocean and surrounded by lakes are some of the best things about being in Bordeaux in the summer. We have an incredible amount of beautiful beaches with white fine sand, amazing views and nice beach facilities. You can surf in the Atlantic ocean, enjoy the kids’ friendly beaches of the Arcachon Bay or go to one of the beautiful lakes (and even hike around them!). If you’re here for a short period of time, it’s hard to choose where to go. To help you out I wrote an article about the best beaches around Bordeaux. 

Cap Ferret - one of the best day trips from Bordeaux to Arcachon

Discover the most charming villages in Gironde

Bordeaux itself is a beautiful and lively city but some of the best architectural treasures are spread around Gironde. The biggest department in France has some of the most charming villages in the Southwest of France. Bastide towns with arched squares, medieval towns with narrow streets, historic chateaux and citadels are all part of the incredible heritage of this region. In my article about the most beautiful villages in Gironde, I listed all my favorite villages around Bordeaux.  

the most beautiful villages in Gironde

Go hiking and discover Gironde’s nature

Besides impressive heritage and beautiful beaches, the Bordeaux region is also rich with nature reserves, forests, and parks. If hiking is your thing, the options are endless. If you need some ideas for fun and interesting hiking trails, check out my article about hiking in Bordeaux.  

Réserve écologique des Barails

Picnic in the vineyards

Like many industries the wine growers of Bordeaux have suffered the financial consequences of the lockdown. To bring back visitors to their wineries the winegrowers of the Bienvenue à la ferme en Gironde association are coming up with a great initiative – a picnic at the vineyards. Every Friday, 16 wineries in Gironde will host visitors for an event that will include wines and tapas from different local producers at a price of 7 euro per person. The visit has to be booked in advance directly with the winery – you can see the list of the chateaux here

Visit the most beautiful chateaux in Gironde 

Dordogne earned its reputation as the queen of Chateaux in the southwest of France, but did you know that some of the most beautiful chateaux (castles) in this region are actually located in Gironde? Château Royal de Cazeneuve, Château de Roquetaillade and Chateau Villandraut are all located in the south of Gironde. These three are rich with history and beautiful architecture and are some of the most interesting heritage sites in our region. This summer the tourist offices of the South of Gironde offer a special chateaux pass giving you a discount if you visit more than one chateau. The pass can be bought in the tourist office in Langon and at the reception desk of all three chateaux. You can see more details here

A new huge Labyrinth in Gironde

Popcorn Labyrinth is a new huge Labyrinth in Cestas that is about to open its doors on July 11th. During the summer the Labyrinthe will be open every day and even has night sessions on Fridays and Saturdays. You can see the hours and prices in this link. 

Taste white wine in Entre deux mers

Bordeaux is the capital of wine and is mostly associated with red wine. However, I think that the hot summer in Bordeaux is a great opportunity to discover the white wines of Bordeaux. The largest sub-region in Bordeaux is Entre Deux Mers, the area located between the Dordogne and the Garonne river. While both red and white wines are produced in this region, only the white ones can get the AOC label of the Entre Deux Mers appellation. The wine is usually drunk young and is absolutely perfect for the Bordelais summer. In this link, you’ll find many of the wineries you can visit in the Entre Deux Mers region. 

If you need more advice about the wines of the region and about the best wineries to visit, you can visit the Maison des Vins that is located at the La Sauve Majeure Abbey, about 30 minutes drive from Bordeaux.

If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you may also like to read some of the following “intro to Bordeaux” articles I wrote:
The Ultimate Guide to Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

Apart from luxurious wine, the Bordeaux area is also known for its beautiful beaches. On sunny days many tourists rush to the coast of Arcachon without knowing that there is actually a great deal of amazing beaches near Bordeaux. In this article, I want to share ten beaches in the area that I find absolutely stunning. The list includes both lake beaches, ocean beaches and of course the best beaches on the Bassin d’Arcachon. There are many more gorgeous beaches in the Southwest of France but I made sure to include only those that are located within a reasonable distance from the center of Bordeaux. Hope you’ll enjoy the article and the beaches around Bordeaux 🙂

Before we start, here are a few other articles you might want to read when you’re traveling around Bordeaux:
Best places to visit on the Arcachon Bay
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 join my Facebook group “Travel in the southwest of France” where many enthusiasts of the region share their recommendations for places to visit and things to do in the southwest of France.

Lake beaches near Bordeaux 

Plage du Lac d’Hostens – South of Gironde

Plage du Lac d'Hostens
Plage du Lac d’Hostens – by lost in Bordeaux

Hostens lac is one of the highlights of the South Gironde region. Domaine des Lacs d’Hostens is located at the heart of the Landes de Gascogne forest (50km from Bordeaux) and has one of the most beautiful beaches in our area. This place is much more than just a nice place to swim. Hostens offers plenty of water activities such as kayaks and pedaling as well as hiking trails, mountain bike trails and more. There are actually 5 lakes at the domain but the beach is located on the shores of lake of Lamothe. There’s also a restaurant and a snack bar next to the beach so no worries if you didn’t come prepared. You can get more information about the activities at the tourist information point which is located next to the parking at the entrance to the Domain or read some of it here.

Bordeaux Lac – in Bordeaux city

Bordeaux lac
Bordeaux lac by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re in Bordeaux and prefer to avoid renting/using a car, this beach is perfect for you. Bordeaux Lac has everything you need, a sandy clean beach and a lot of shade from the nearby trees for those who don’t really like the sun. the beach is open to the public daily from June 1st to August 31 and starting July 1st it offers water and beach activities such as sailing, kayaking, mini-golf and more. Check out the list of daily activities here.

La Plage du Moutchic – Lacanau

La Plage du Moutchic - a fun beach near Bordeaux
La Plage du Moutchic by lost in Bordeaux

Plage du Moutchic is located on the banks of Lacanau lake, about 50 km from Bordeaux. This beach has a nice supervised swimming area, a shaded picnic area and sports facilities like boat rentals, windsurfing, canoes and paddle boats which makes it very popular with families from the region. In case you forgot to bring food (god forbid), there’s a snack bar and two restaurants with a beautiful view on the lake.  For those who don’t like sand (my hubby including 🙂 ), part of the beach is covered with soft green grass. There’s big free parking behind the beach.

Plage Laouga – Close to Arcachon

Plage Laouga on Lac Cazaux is a fine sandy beach located about 400 m from the main beach of this beautiful lake (Plage Cazaux). Its calm warm water makes it one of the best places for families. This part of the lake is sheltered by the pine forest of Landes de Gascogne, which creates a lot of shaded spots on the beach (a must in the South-west summer). The beach is supervised during the summer season (mid June- mid September) and has free parking just next to it. Plage Laouga is located about 70 km from Bordeaux.

Beaches on the Arcachon Bay – close to Bordeaux

Le Moulleau beach

Day trip from Bordeaux

Le Moulleau, while officially a part of the city of Arcachon, feels like a completely separate little resort town with its own center, beaches and restaurants. It’s a very popular beach that attracts both families and many young people. The Moulleau is located midway between the center of Arcachon and the famous Dune du Pilat which is always a great spot to finish your day. There are a few bars and restaurants very close to the beach so you can easily spend the whole day in this resort. You can also take a ferry and check the beaches on the other side of the Bassin at Cap ferret. The beach can be reached by car, bike or a bus from the train station of Arcachon.

If you’re going to Arcachon for the day check out my guide to the best things to do and eat in Arcachon.

Plage Pereire in Arcachon

Plage Pereire, one of the most popular beaches in Arcachon, is located in Ville de Printemps (the winter city of Arcachon) about 67 km from Bordeaux. It’s a beautiful three km long beach with white sand and an amazing view of the Cap Ferret peninsula on the other side of the bay. This beach is equipped with many sports facilities, a cycle path and green lawns for people to have a picnic on. When coming from Arcachon center, one of the best ways to get there is cycling. A flat cycle path, stretched from the central beach to the Dune du Pyla, passes through Plage Pereire and other Arcachon beaches. On a hot summer day, you can enjoy a cold rosé at the bar-restaurant du soleil located on the beach. 

Andernos les bains

A more isolated beach in Andernos les bains
A more isolated beach in Andernos les bains

Andernos les bains at the north of the Bassin d’Arcachon is one of the most attractive towns in the area, especially during the summer season. It has a cute little center leading to the main beach that is abundant with restaurants, ice cream shops and beach clothing boutiques. While the main beach is really nice, if you want a more isolated and relaxed atmosphere you should continue in the direction of the oysters port and go the remarkable nature reserve of les Quinconces. After a short walk from the port into the reserve, you’ll discover a beautiful beach with the forest as your background. This beach is quite isolated so there are no facilities here and it’s not supervised. Andernos les bains is located about 50 km from Bordeaux. 

Plage de la Hume – Gujan Mestras 

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

Plage de la Hume is a family friendly beach located at the touristic part of Gujan Mestras, a little town known as the capital of oyster farming on the Bassin d’Arcachon. Its location on the bay makes the water very calm and easy to swim in. However, if you’ve come for more than the beach itself and really want to swim, check the tide hours first. They are changing daily and in some hours of the day, you can barely see any water. Click here for the daily hours. The beach is supervised in July and August (from 10:00 to 19:00), which makes it a very safe place for kids. Plage de la Hume is located just next to the ports that Gujan Mestras is famous for, so if you’re getting hungry you can always stop in one of the cabanes on the port for fresh oysters. 

Beaches at the Atlantic coast

Plage du Grand Cohort – Lège Cap-Ferret

Grand Cohort beach is located on the Ocean side of the Cap Ferret peninsula. As opposed to the more calm water on the side of the Bassin d’Arcachon, on the ocean side, the waves are strong which makes it a surfing paradise. This beautiful white sand beach attracts both kite surfers and families that love to swim in the ocean.  In the summer the beach tends to be quite busy and sometimes parking can be an issue so try to come early. If you’re coming with kids, this beach is supervised during the summer. This beach is located about 60 km from the center of Bordeaux.

Lacanau Ocean beaches

Lacanau-Ocean - surfing beach near Bordeaux
Lacanau-Ocean main beach

If your idea for a beach day is a more active one, this is the beach for you. The Lacanau Ocean beach begins right at the end of Boulevard de la Plage at the Lacanau Ocean town, which is located about 55km from Bordeaux. It is one of the longest beaches in the Aquitaine area, spreading to 15 km of white sand. The beach is considered a perfect place for surfing and windsurfing and it has become known for surfing competition and events. This long beach is also a great place for bathing in the sea with your family and has all the facilities you need, including many restaurants and shops in its little center. 

There are plenty of other amazing beaches near Bordeaux but I think that these ten beaches will give you a sense of how beautiful and magical the Gironde region is! 

For more places to visit around Bordeaux check out my guides about day trips from Bordeaux by car and by train.