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
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
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.
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:
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
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 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
*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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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.
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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