France is one of the best countries in the world for visiting castles, or châteaux in French. There are an estimated 45,000 castles, each holding a special place in the country’s history. Dordogne, a rural department in the southwest of France is famous for its medieval castles and fortified towns. In this article, you’ll discover the best castles to visit in Dordogne, some of which are located in France’s most breathtakingly beautiful villages.

Château de Castelnaud – Lost in Bordeaux

The Dordogne Valley is said to be home to 1001 castles. Not as refined as the ones you can visit in the Loire Valley, which were built as decoration for kings in more recent times, the fortresses and châteaux in Dordogne were built for defense and as lookout points. Instead of lavish, gold interiors, picture knights in armor and medieval feasts.

Summers at the castles are wonderfully festive as many of them host events, child-friendly adventures and games, night markets, musical evenings, and even candlelit picnics. Whether you’re looking for romance or family fun, the châteaux of Dordogne have it all!

Just a bit of history before we start – fortresses and châteaux in Dordogne

The chateaux of the Dordogne were mostly built around the 10th and 11th centuries. The sites for these castles were chosen because of their natural geographical advantages. Many of them were built near rivers for easy transport and to make passing boats pay tolls. Others are found on high ground to look out for enemies. 

The Hundred Years War between France and England heavily impacted the region in the Late Middle Ages and castles were built all over the Dordogne Valley for defense purposes.

fortresses and châteaux in Dordogne - the best castles to visit
Fortresses and Châteaux in Dordogne – Lost in Bordeaux

Fun fact: the Dordogne department is referred to colloquially as the Périgord and is divided into four parts, named by color after each one’s resource. This article breaks down the castles worth visiting by area, making it easier for you to plan your vacation.

some practical informatiion

One thing to know before your trip is the fantastic Périgord Pass – an electronic pass that gives you a 20% discount at all the top tourist sites in Dordogne, including castles, gardens, and caves. It’s definitely worth it if you plan on doing multiple visits and outings, especially in groups or with the family.

Importnat- most of the castles in Dorodgne require a car to get to, so be sure to book one advance to get good prices.

Now let’s discover some of the most impressive castles to visit in Dordogne!

Châteaux to visit near Sarlat-la-Canéda – Perigord Noir 

Château de Beynac: the most famous castle in the Périgord

First on my list is one of the most impressive medieval castles in the region, Château de Beynac. Located about 20 minutes from the famous village Sarlat-la-Canéda, this imposing château originated in the 12th century and is perched high up on a cliff. Sweeping views overlooking the river and castles on the opposite banks as well as its historical importance make Château de Beynac a must-see.

The castle is open all year long, every day from 10 am – 7 pm with audio guides or solo visiting options. You can do a 15-minute walk up through the breathtaking village of Beynac or drive to the castle where parking is available. If you’re visiting with babies, be sure to take a carrier with you as there are quite a lot of stairs to climb.

Chateau de Beynac - one of the most impressive castles to visit in Dordogne
Chateau de Beynac – a photo from my Canoe

If you’re staying in Sarlat, take advantage of a fantastic guided tour for you and the whole family. One of the best views you’ll get of Château de Beynac is from the river if you’re doing a kayak tour! You can also do a little stop in Beynac and enjoy the town during the tour. 

Château de Castelnaud

Located just down the river from Beynac you’ll find the magical Château de Castelnaud in one of the most beautiful villages in the region. With a history dating back to the 12th century and having changed hands between the French and the English during the Hundred Years War, it’s the perfect home for the Museum of Medieval Warfare. 

The Castel of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle
The castle of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle near Sarlat – Lost in Bordeaux

The museum was created with the aim of preserving and educating about the military history of the region. There are incredibly interesting displays of all kinds of medieval weapons, creepy dungeons, and armory. 

It offers an immersive experience that transports visitors, including kids, to the tumultuous times of medieval warfare. The Catelnaud castle is one of the best places to visit with kids in Dordogne

Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle - activities for kids at a chateau in Dorodgne
Cool activities for kids at the castle – by Lost in Bordeaux

In summer they host special medieval plays about the history of the castle and the region as well as free guided tours in English, old-fashioned trébuchet (catapult-like) firing displays, blacksmith demonstrations, and evening performances.

Château de Castelnaud is open every day of the year. It’s recommended to get tickets online ahead of time as this is one of the gems of the Dordogne, with many tourists visiting in the summer months. You can get a discount if you buy it as a twin ticket with the Jardins de Marqueyssac, one of the most beautiful gardens in Dordogne

Château de Milandes

This charming, dainty, Gothic château was built in 1489 by the Caumont family, who were also the owners of Château de Castelnaud. The Milandes castle, with its stunning stained glass windows and Renaissance architecture, became their permanent residence as it was more appropriate and beautiful to live in. This was in contrast to Castelnaud’s austere, fortress-style architecture.

The view of the Garden from Chateau de Milandes - one of the best castles in Dordogne
The view from Château de Milandes – Lost in Bordeaux

However, it became very famous thanks to another resident. In the 1940s, American-born dancer, entertainer, WWll resistance agent, and civil rights activist, Josephine Baker, bought the castle. She lived there with her husband and grew her family, adopting 12 children and working for the French resistance movement during the Second World War. 

Today, you can see incredible displays detailing Joséphine’s life at Milandes, including stage costumes and stories about her life. That’s what attracts most of the visitors to the impressive Château de Milandes. 

Chateau de Milandes - home to a musuem dedicated to Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker in Chateau de Milandes

There is also a magnificent garden, a very pretty chapel, a parakeet aviary, and fantastic birds of prey shows. Children can do falconry workshops and feed exotic birds, play with swords in a musketeer workshop, and feed goats while adults can also participate in a range of fun, educational activities all summer long. For more ideas for things to do with kids in Dordogne, click here

The castle is open daily from February to December (and the first week of January), see the opening hours here. There is a restaurant onsite and various shady areas with picnic tables if you want to bring your own lunch.

Château de Hautefort 

Way up in the northeast of the department, you’ll find what is often referred to as the most beautiful castle in the entire Dordogne. Château de Hautefort, overlooking the Beuze and Lourde river valleys. 

Built in the 12th century for military purposes, the castle became more suited to everyday use after a series of renovations to modernize and beautify it in the 16th century. During the French Revolution, Hautefort was used as a prison for suspected rebels and thus saved from destruction. 

In 1929, after a period of neglect and abandonment, the Baron de Bastard and his wife, Simone, fell in love with the castle and decided to restore it to its former glory. Simone moved in as a widow in 1957, but a devastating fire almost destroyed the castle once again in 1968. 

That didn’t stop Baroness Simone –  she started fixing her home up again almost the very next day! It’s thanks to her passion and the foundation she created that the Château de Hautefort is what it is today.

Visiting the castle gives you a good idea of the mix between defensive fortress architecture and gorgeous Renaissance architecture. It’s a great outing for children who enjoy exploring the castle interiors with its perfectly-preserved rooms and furniture.

The castle of Hautefort is open every day from April until November, see the opening hours here. In the summer the chateau offers different evening events, such as Theatrical nights this year, these must be cooked in advance. There is a great café for food and drinks and you can also picnic in the stunning, manicured gardens. 

While you’re there, you can discover the small but charming village of Hautefort and for children on hot days, a water park nearby. Also nearby is the charming village of Excideuil. 

Château de Commarque

Situated high on a rocky hill, about 15 km from Sarlat, Château de Commarque allows you to travel back in time. This unique gem of a castle is far less renovated than the others on this list and therefore plunges you back into the Medieval, or even prehistoric, times.

The building itself dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, but mankind had settled there long before. During the visit, you can see how they lived in caves carved out of the rocky cliffs nearby. You’ll also discover the troglodyte houses, pushed underground by centuries of soil deposit build-up, a testament to ancient life in the region. 

It was during the Wars of Religion that the Château de Commarque fell into ruin and abandonment, swallowed up by lush green forests and almost disappearing completely. The castle was neglected and forgotten for four centuries, from the 16th to the 20th century. 

In 1962, the descendant of the Commarque family, Hubert de Commarque bought the castle back and made it his life mission to bring the castle its glory back. Since then he has been working on restoring and renovating the castle and in 2011 it was opened to the public.

Château de Commarque - one of the oldest chateaux in Dordogne
Château de Commarque – Lost in Bordeaux

As you arrive for a visit you park your car under big trees, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and walk along a path until the castle suddenly stands tall, majestic, and breathtaking in the clearing right in front of you. The parking near the chateau is reserved for people with reduced mobility. 

There are plenty of fun activities taking place in the summer, such as evening visits with lights projected onto the castle, outdoor plays, and music concerts. The chateau offers cool activities like an escape game and adventure-seekers and kids can even abseil down the castle walls to the dungeon. Check out even more activities and games on their website.

*I find it a perfect chateau for a bit older kids but personally, I wouldn’t recommend it to families with very young kids. There are a lot of stairs there that feel a bit unsafe for very small kids. 

Château de Commarque is open from April to the beginning of November, see the opening hours here. Buy your tickets online to avoid disappointment. There are food trucks available for different snacking options.

Château et Jardins de Losse

Heading North along the Vézère River, you’ll find the Château et Jardins de Losse. The castle is perched on the river banks, overlooking the beautiful valley and boasting some of the most incredible gardens in the whole region. 

Le Château de Losse was originally built as a medieval fortress with protective walls and a ditch. In the 16th century, a Renaissance Hall was built within the castle. The decor of the chateau is a testimony to the luxurious lifestyle of Marquess Jean II de Losse in the 16th century. Today the castle and its extraordinary gardens are listed as a French historical monument. 

The famous Jardins de Losse consists of a rose garden, an arbor, manicured lavender fields, carefully trimmed, lattice-shaped hedges, various ancient fountains, and trees with magical blossoms. Taking a walk through the château gardens is like taking a trip back in time – you’ll be transported by the smells of fresh flowers, the sound of the river below and the birds in the trees, and the peacefulness of the lush greenery.

If you’re traveling with kids, there’s a variety of fun activities at the castle and in its gardens. The most unique and fun idea is the treasure hunt, which is perfect for kids aged 5-11 years old. You can book online ahead of time. Other activities include Chivalry shows, pony rides, and more. Be sure to check the schedule before going to see what activities are currently offered. 

The castle is open from May to October – see opening hours here. The Losse castle also offers beautiful vacation houses to those wishing to stay near the chateau – you can book them here.

Château de Marzac

Sitting along the banks of the Vézère River is the stunning Château de Marzac, famous for its original escape game and breathtaking, manicured gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site sits high above the valley and floats above clouds on gray days, making for a picture-perfect visit. 

For 6 centuries, Marzac remained in the same family, until it was eventually bought by a Danish family in the 1980s and sold again in 2019.

The best-known attraction at this fairytale castle is an escape game that takes you on an adventure of the buildings and grounds while you race against the clock. There’s also a labyrinth for kids and adults alike and a murder mystery party adventure. 

Château de Marzac is open daily in July and August, and if you’re planning on doing a game during your visit, be sure to book your tickets online. You can snack on the grounds with their yummy lunch options. 

Château de Marzac is located just 15 minutes drive from Saint Léon sur Vézère, one of the most beautiful villages in Dordogne. And just a few minutes’ drive from Les Eyzies, the prehistoric center of the Dordogne. 

Château de Fénelon

Situated on the border between the Dordogne and the Lot departments you’ll find the ancient, understated Château de Fénelon, perched on a hilltop near the village of Saint-Modane. 

Originally built in the 13th century, this castle changed hands between the French and the English during the Hundred Years War and was renovated for residential living in the 15th century. One of this castle’s highlights is the view!  it’s perched so high up that you catch a glimpse of the charming surrounding countryside out of every window.

While Fénelon might be a little more modest-looking than some other castles on this list, it’s by no means any less impressive. With its typical yellow stone walls and fairytale-like gray lauze (stone) roof towers, you can easily picture a Disney princess living here. In fact, this castle’s medieval architecture and interiors are so beautifully preserved, it’s been the shooting location for a number of Hollywood films, such as Ridley Scott’s The Last Dual.

It’s a great place to travel with kids as they have armory and weapons on display in the castle, as well as picnic spots with great views where the family can enjoy refreshments.

The castle is open for self-guided visits or tours with a guide from April to October, but be sure to check the website before you go as they’re closed on some days. Château de Fénelon is located in the east part of Dordogne, on the border with the Lot department. When there you can also visit the beautiful villages of Carlux and Carsac-Ailla. 

Castles to visit in other parts of the Dordogne – Green and Purple Perigord

Château de Jumilhac

Another Disney-looking castle on our list is Château de Jumilhac in the very north of Dordogne in Périgord Vert (green). In fact, it’s sometimes nicknamed the ‘Sleeping Beauty Castle’! Sitting high above the Isle River valley with sweeping views of the countryside, Juilhac is breathtaking from every angle.

It was built in the 13th century and underwent many renovations through the centuries. The most notable one was by Antoine Chapelle, Count of Jumilhac, who turned it into a stunning Renaissance residence in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Between the French Revolution and the 20th century, the castle again passed through many hands before finally being bought by the descendants of the original family. Today Henry de la Tour-Du-Pin is in charge and continues the passionate work of his family.

During your visit, you’ll find plenty of magnificent, extravagant gems like grand fireplaces, a perfect reconstruction of a medieval kitchen, and a delightful garden overlooking the valley. There’s a salon de thé where you can stop for a sweet treat and a cold drink during summer.

Château de Jumilhac hosts plenty of fun activities at night all summer long. Picture the fairytale castle with candles, costumes, music, and food – it’s a fantastic experience. Be sure to check out their website for upcoming events and ticket sales.

On the way to the château stop by Thiviers, one of the best market towns in Dordogne. 

Château de Biron 

Located in the Purple Perigord, Château de Biron is a nearby option if you’re visiting Bergerac. You can see the majestic castle from far away, high on the hilltop overlooking the lush green countryside below.

Like many other châteaux on this list, Biron originates in the 12th century and was originally a fortress for defense purposes. After the Hundred Years War it underwent a makeover in the Renaissance style. Every century’s styles are still visible today in the mixed architecture of the buildings.

This official Historic Monument is publicly owned today and is home to vaulted kitchens, an ancient bakery, State chambers, and a beautiful chapel. The most impressive part of the visit is the panoramic views which stretch far out over the villages below, so be sure to snap some photos! 

During the summer months, Château de Biron hosts fantastic events including evening concerts in the courtyard, exceptional art exhibitions inside the castle, and a musical festival. So be sure to check out their event calendar when planning your trip. 

While you’re in the area you should head to Monpazier, one of France’s official Most Beautiful Villages. It’s only a 10-minute drive and the village is definitely worth a visit. If you’re planning to visit the castle on Saturday, don’t miss the lovely market in Villareal, one of the most beautiful villages in the region. 

Château de Biron is open from April to the beginning of November, see hours here. You’ll find a restaurant and picnic tables onsite. You can also do a fun weekend out of it and spend a night in the delightful Le Prieuré du Château de Biron.

Château de Bridoire

If you’re visiting Bergerac in the Purple Périgord, this castle is a great place to explore as it’s not far away. Château de Bridoire is one of the best day trips for kids in the whole region. Start your visit with lunch in the stunning village of Eymet, just a few minutes away, before heading to Le Château des Jeux, the castle of games.

The fairytale-like castle is a private historic monument dating back to the 15th century. You’ll visit 15 different rooms, from the kitchen to the dining room and the working office, but what makes this château special is that it’s much more interactive than the others in the southwest of France. 

For example, there’s the games room where you can touch and play with all the fun wooden games. The highlight of the visit is the garden where adults and kids alike can have fun with a variety of huge, human-sized games.

Château de Bridoire - the chateaux of 1000 games - the best castle with kids
Château de Bridoire – the castle of 1000 games – Lost in Bordeaux

Today Château de Bridoire is a popular tourist destination but it also knew some dark times. In the 1980s the castle was left abandoned and for 22 years plenty of items were stolen, wrecked, and damaged. 

Thanks to volunteers, the French state, the Guyot family, and lots of passionate, hard work, the castle was beautifully restored. It opened its doors to the public for the first time in 2012, drawing in 40,000 visitors in its first season.

Château de Bridoire is open from February to the end of October, but not every day, so be sure to check out the opening hours before going. 

Other châteaux worth a visit in the Dordogne department if you have time

Château de Puymartin in Sarlat

If you’re visiting Sarlat, Château de Puymartin is an easy visit as it’s located only a few minutes away. The legend of the haunted castle is a fun one to explore and you’ll find plenty of activities, games, and shows happening all summer long.

Le Château Manoir de La Salle in Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère

Manoir de La Salle is an impressive 15th-century house that also has a stunning dungeon, both make a very enjoyable visit. The chateau is located in Saint Léon sur Vézère, a delightful little village sitting snugly in a curve of the river and is full of quaint, meandering lanes and charismatic old houses. It’s one of the most beautiful villages in Dordogne

Le Château Manoir de La Salle – Lost in Bordeaux

If you need more information about amazing stuff to do and see and Dordogne, check out my other articles about Dorodgne.
The most beautiful villages in Dordogne 
The most beautiful villages in Purple Perigord
The most beautiful gardens in Dordogne
A family vacation in Dordogne 
What to do in Sarlat

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

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

Le Week-end Portes Ouvertes (open doors weekend) in Médoc is an annual event that officially starts the tourist season in the wine region of southwest France.  This year the Medoc open doors weekend is taking place on April 6-7 2024, and it’s a perfect opportunity to discover the beautiful wine region and taste a lot of wine. 

Also, if you’re planning to go to Medoc at any other time, here are a few wineries (located close to Bordeaux) that I recommend visiting: Chateau du Taillan (book a visit here) which is owned by 5 sisters, is one of the closest wineries to Bordeaux. Chateau d’Arsac, is one of the most beautiful properties in Medoc with an extravagant display of art in its enormous gardens (book a visit here). Closer to Margaux you have the charming family-run Chateau Siran (book a visit here) and Chateau Kirwan (book a visit here).

If you’re interested in visiting wineries in Bordeaux check out my guide to the Bordeaux wine region as well as my list of all the open-door events in the Bordeaux wine region.

Winery in Medoc, Bordeaux

If you want to discover this beautiful region beyond the wine, you can also read my article about a weekend in the Medoc region where I talk about beaches, beautiful villages, wineries, and all the other wonders of this part of Gironde.

Around 80 wine châteaux usually participate in the Portes Ouvertes weekend, located in all of it eight different AOCs (appellations d’origine contrôlée) :  MEDOC, HAUT MEDOC, PAUILLAC, SAINT ESTEPHE,  SAINT JULIEN, LISTRAC, MOULIS and MARGAUX. The AOC is the French certification for geographical indications of agricultural products such as wine and cheeses. Click here to see which châteaux are participating in the event.

While wine is still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional activities such as music, workshops, food, art expos, and games for kids. If you don’t have a specific winery (château) in mind you can choose one according to the proposed activities. I gathered a list of activities to help you choose one:

Fine dining

Wines are not the only product the Médoc region does well, it is also famous for its gastronomic specialties, such as: l’agneau de Pauillac (Pauillac lamb), l’entrecôte cuite aux sarments (entrecote cooked with wine shoots), les chocolats de Mademoiselle de Margaux and more.

In addition to in-house restaurants, some of the chateaux offer gourmet markets, food trucks, and bars. So, besides tasting great wine you are guaranteed to have a great culinary experience.  Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the ones offering dining options.

Visiting with kids

Some châteaux try to make it a family-friendly event by proposing activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting wine. Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the activities they propose.

Some of the châteaux require a prior reservation for the wine tastings and cellar tours, so if you find a château you would like to discover this weekend, hurry up and make a reservation by email or phone.

If you’re coming to Bordeaux, especially for this occasion, be sure to check my list of recommended hotels in Bordeaux center.

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

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 a weekend Bordeaux 
The best districts in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

The weather may not be getting warmer but Bordeaux’s event calendar is definitely getting  hotter. Plenty of activities are waiting for us in May, festivals, concerts, cultural events, music and more; there is an event for everyone.  In this list I just want to give you a heads up on the 10 biggest events in and around Bordeaux this month, so that you could plan ahead and buy tickets if necessary. As usual weekly updates will be published in the following weeks to give you the full coverage of the events in Bordeaux.

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), that will take place May 19-21 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 will bring together different players from these industries, among them: video artists, gamers, illustrators, designers, scientists, authors, comedians and more. The festival will also include four big contests where people can win quite impressive awards: BGF E-Sport, BGF Awards, BGF Makers and  BGF Comics.

For more details and tickets.

When: May 19-21
Where: Hall 3 and 1 – Parc des Expositions, 33000 Bordeaux

Take your picnic to the Vineyard

Wine activities and picnics are two favorite French activities, 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 month 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 are participating in the event that will take place during the long weekend of May 19-21. More than 1000 activities are proposed to families by the participating chateaux, they will reflect the specialty of the chateaux and the area, among them: art workshops, concerts, bike tours and more.

There are 17 participating Chateaux in the Bordeaux area-  See the list
Find a chateaux in other areas in France click HERE. 
The places are limited so reserving a spot as soon as possible is recommended.

picnic between the vines of Bordeaux area

When:May 19-21

ODP Music Festival in Peixotto

This is the fourth 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 the long weekend of Ascension, May 18-20, in Park Peixotto in the center of Talence. Here is a list of some of the acts that will perform at the festival: NTM, alt-J, Ibeyi, Coeur de Pirate, BALOJI, Dätcha Mandala, Laurent Lamarca, Da silva officiel, Gauvain Sers, Les Négresses Vertes

The prices go from 35€ to 45€  for a day ticket, 60€ to 70€  for a two days pass and  100 € for a 3 days pass – see tickets.

For more details and tickets go to the website of the festival and the facebook page.

ODP festival peixotto 2018

When: May 18- 20
Where: Parc du Château Peixotto, 33400 Talence

The Medieval Festival of South Gironde

The Medieval Festival of Gironde will take place in the Cabiros forest in Landiras (about 40 min south of Bordeaux) on May 12-13. This unique site, at the heart of the forest, creates a perfect atmosphere for this festival giving you the feeling that you have been transported to medieval times. The medieval village, the costumes and the sword fighting are only part of the activities that will help you discover the history and habits of those ancient times. A free fire show will be offered on Saturday night!

The ticket price for the whole festival is 10 and it’s free to kids under 12.  For more info check out the website of the festival.

When: May 12-13
Where: Landiras, 33720

Go to a secret event at the Festival de Caves

Festival de Caves (Cellars festival) is an underground theater festival, gathering a small number of spectators in cellars and other underground places throughout the city. In Bordeaux, the festival will take place on May 16-27 and will run the whole month of May in different cities in France.  So where are those city cellars we are talking about you ask? Well that’s the whole idea, these events are being kept secret and the locations will be revealed to those who reserved their spot only on the day of the shows. The launching of the festival will take place on May 16 (7pm) at the Marché des Douves. The event is free and will include a concert, a buffet and the presentation of the artists taking part in the festival.  

Check out the full program on the website of the event. For more details click here.

photo by: Compagnie Gbouillon

When:May 16-27
Where: locations are secret for now 🙂 , the lauching event: Marché des Douves. 4 Rue des Douves, 33800 Bordeaux
How much: full price is 12€/ reduced price is 10€. The launching event is free of charge.

Banzai Lab- an independent music festival

This is the 10th edition of the Banzai – Lab, the independent music festival of Bordeaux that takes place in Le Rocher de Palmer in Cenon on May 4-5. To celebrate its anniversary le Rocher de Palmer invites you to two full days of concerts of different genres: Hip-hop, Electro, Dub and more.

See the full program, the prices and buy tickets here.

For more info about the artists see the website of the festival.

When:May 4-5
Where:1 Rue Aristide Briand, 33152 Cenon

Learn how to dance at the Bordeaux Tango Festival

The 6th edition of the Bordeaux Tango Festival will take place May 8-13. This hot festival connects Bordeaux and the place where Tango was born, Buenos Aires. A variety of activities will be offered to celebrate the link between these two cities, such as music, art, cinema, literature and of course dance. Most of the event will take place in Espace St. Remi, except the events on Friday which will take place at the Rocher de Palmer in Cenon.

See the program of the festival.

When:May 8-13
Where: 4 Rue Jouannet, 33000 Bordeaux

Let your kids discover the art of circus at the Festival Jubil’à Jongle

The 12th edition of the festival will start with an inauguration evening on May 25, which will include magic and fire shows, different activities for kids and even a rock concert. The second day (May 26) of the festival will allow you and your kids to discover the art of circus and street entertainment through shows of Juggling, magic, games and introductory workshops. The festival will take place at the Parc de Fongravey in Blanquefort.

For more info click here.


When: May 25-26
Where:Parc de Fongravey in Blanquefort


Last chance to see the Digital Abysses expo 

If you still didn’t go to the incredible Base sous- Marine to see the currently running exhibition, this is your last chance. The Digital Abysses exhibition, by the digital artist Miguel Chevalier, will be presented until May 20, so hurry up.  His fantastic work of art explores nature through underwater plants and wildlife. The characteristics of this unique place with the combination of fixed works and interactive digital installations makes it a special experience.

See more details.

base sous marine
photo by: Ira Szmuk

Address:  Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

Brocante des Quinconces

The big brocante of Bordeaux is hosted twice a year at place des Quinconces with 200 antique dealers, horticulturists, restaurants and craftsmen. This spring is the 100th edition of the brocante and it will take place from April 20 to May 8.

When: April 20 – May 8
Where: Place des Quinconces

Hope the sun will soon be back with us!

If you know of any other interesting events in Bordeaux and the area, please let me know in the comments below and I will be sure to add them to my weekly list of things to do in Bordeaux.

If you are living in France or just passing by and you wish to discover one of its most important regions, now is an excellent time to be heading to Médoc, one of the most famous wine growing regions in the world, located in the Gironde department, north of Bordeaux.  To celebrate the beginning of the spring the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac will hold an open doors weekend on April 7-8, where you will be able to visit all the chateaux of the Médoc region and do a lot of wine tasting.

Le Week-end Portes Ouvertes (open doors weekend) in Médoc is an annual event that officially starts the tourist season in the wine region of South west France. The first time that vineyards have collectively decided to open their doors to the public was in 1991 and it was an immediate success. Starting its third edition, the  Week-end Portes Ouvertes has seen tens of thousands of visitors and the tradition of the open house was copied to other chateaux in France. This tradition has grown so much that it became a challenge to pickthe best chateaux to visit during that weekend.

Sixty three châteaux (Château Clarke will eventually not be participating in the open house weekend) from eight different AOC (appellation d’origine contrôléewill participate in the Portes Ouvertes weekend:  MEDOC, HAUT MEDOC NORD, PAUILLAC, SAINT ESTEPHE,  SAINT JULIEN, LISTRAC, MOULIS, MARGAUX. The AOC is the French certification for geographical indications for agricultural products such as wine and cheeses. To see what châteaux are participating in the event, see the full list and the map below.

Although visiting the cellars and wine tastings are still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional attractions such as the restaurant of the chateau, music, games, art expos and activities for kids. If you don’t have a specific chateaux in mind you can choose one according to the proposed activities . What follows is a listing of chateaux according to their proposed activities:

Fine dining

Wines are not the only product the Médoc region does well, it is also famous for some of its gastronomic specialties, such as: l’agneau de Pauillac (Pauillac lamb), l’entrecôte cuite aux sarments (entrecote cooked with vine shoots), les chocolats de Mademoiselle de Margaux and more. In addition to in house restaurants, some of the chateaux offer gourmet markets, food trucks and bars. So, besides tasting great wine you are guaranteed to have a great culinary experience.

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxSaint-Hilaire – Saint-Christoly – Chantelys – Castera – Tour des Termes –Tronquoy Lalande – St-Estèphe – Le Crock – La Rose Pauillac – Julia – Hourtin Ducasse – Cassana – La Tour Carnet – Lanessan – Lauga –Lamothe Bergeron – Malescasse – Reverdi – Baudan – Vignerons associés Grand Listrac – Fonréaud – Chasse Spleen – Meyre – Bellevue de Tayac  – Haut-Breton Larigaudière – Ferrière – Lascombes – Marquis de Terme –  Prieuré Lichine – Desmirail – Dauzac – Larrieu-Terrefort – Belle-Vue – Clos la Bohème –  Maucamps – Paloumey – Agassac – Ségur – Saint Ahon – Taillan

chateaux desmiral

Art in the Chateaux

Some of the châteaux will host exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and photography of both local and international artists.

in Châteaux Saint Hilaire, for example, two Medoc artists will present their aquarelle paintings  and photographs. Châteaux Lanessan will give visitors the opportunity to see the family’s carriage collection, dated to the 19th century. And in Châteaux Castera, one of the most ancient chateaux of the region, you could see the permanent sculpture exposition “Les bouteilles de vincent libecq”. Follow the list of the participating chateaux to see the kind of art  on display.

castera chateaux
photo by: castera chateaux

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxSaint-Hilaire – La Tour de By – Saint-Christoly – Chantelys – Castera – Tour des Termes – Tour Sieujean – Lanessan – Moulin Rouge – Granins Grand Poujeaux – Chasse Spleen – Bellevue de Tayac – Clos La Bohème – Cantemerle – Paloumey – Ségur – Saint Ahon – Magnol

Visiting with kids

Many people take the chance to  make the chateaux visit a family trip, and rightly so as kids can appreciate the charming chateaux and their gardens.  Nonetheless, having to look after your little kids while wine tasting can definitely undermine the experience. That is why some of the chateaux propose activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting wine.

For example: Château Lamothe Bergeron will hold creative workshops as well as grape juice tasting for kids,  Château Hourtin-Ducasse will entertain your kids with activities like coloring, ping pong and comics; and Château Ségur  will hold an egg hunt and a mask coloring workshop.

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxSaint-Hilaire – Saint-Christoly – Livran – Lilian-Ladouys – Julia– Hourtin-Ducasse – Lanessan – Lamothe Bergeron – Fonréaud – Haut-Breton Larigaudière – Marquis de Terme – Prieuré Lichine – Clos La Bohème – Paloumey – Agassac – Ségur – Saint Ahon – du Taillan – Magnol


Getting to know the wine world

The world of wine is a huge body  of knowledge and many of the châteaux would like to see you experience more than just wine tasting. Some of them organize workshops and activities revolving around the production of wine. Those can come in the form of a demonstration of the different tractors they use (Château Maucamps), discovering your sensors in blind wine tasting (Château Ségur), a vines workshop (Château Chantelys) and more.

See the plan of the participating ChâteauxChantelys – Lilian-Ladouys – Hourtin-Ducasse – Lamothe Bergeron – Haut-Breton Larigaudière – Prieuré Lichine – La Tour de Bessan – Dauzac – Maucamps – Paloumey – Ségur – Saint Ahon

A Map of all the Châteaux participation in the Portes ouvertes weekend:


Most of the Chateaux require prior reservation to the wine tasting and cellar tours, so if you found a chateaux you would like to discover this weekend, hurry up and make a reservation by email or phone. All the details, including the address, the activities proposed, the hours and the contact details appear in the link of the participating chateaux above. For more info, go to the site of the event.

Enjoy your glass of wine and the official beginning of Spring in the region!