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October has always been one of the best months for events in Bordeaux and this year is no exception. The international contemporary art festival is taking place this month as well as the hot air balloon festival in Saint Emilion and open doors weekends in different chateaux. In this post, I published only the biggest and most famous events and festivals in the region, but in a city like Bordeaux you can enjoy many activities and events like brocantes, art markets, and concerts every weekend. I usually publish those in my newsletter which is send every Friday morning – you can subscribe to my email list to enjoy all the updates about Bordeaux and the southwest of France. 

Don’t forget to join my Travel in the Southwest of France group for more tips and ideas for things to do in the region. And if you’re currently planning your trip to Bordeaux, here’s an article about the best districts in Bordeaux with hotels recommendations

Here are the best things to do in Bordeaux in October 2021 (scroll down for exhibitions recommendations)!

FAB – International art festival

FAB is the annual International art festival of Bordeaux Metropole taking place this year on October 1-23. 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. Click here to see the full program of the festival.

When: October 1-20 / Where: Different locations in Bordeaux metropole – check out the program

Nuit des Bibliothèques

La Nuit des Bibliothèques taking place on October 2, is a great opportunity to discover the libraries across the city. 27 libraries 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 more details here and the full program here.

When: October 2 – evening / Where: Bordeaux, Merignac, Pessac, and more – check out the full program

La Grande Transhumance Urbaine

The Grande Transhumance Urbaine is a fun event taking place every October in Villenave d’Ornon (one of Bordeaux’s southern suburbs). The idea of this festival is to connect city people to the local agriculture with the main event being an 8km sheep march, passing through different farms. On the way, you can enjoy concerts and markets with local products. This year the event will take place on October 3rd, with the march starting from Ferme de Baugé and ending at Domaine de la Junca. See more details here and the full program here.   

When: October 3 / Where: Villenave d’Ornon, check out the full program

Foire aux Plaisirs

This is the fall edition of the traditional Bordelais Fair that is taking place at Place des Quinconces from October 8 to November 1. 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.

Place des Quinconces

When: October 8 – November 1 / Where: Place des Quinconces, Bordeaux

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 9-10 at the Parc des Expositions. For more info and tickets check out the website of the festival

When: October 9-10 / Where: Parc des Expositions, Bordeaux

Village des Sciences

On October 9-10 Bordeaux’s science museum will host its annual Village des Sciences weekend.  This year’s theme is “critical thinking”. See more details here (the program will be published soon). 

When: September 9-10 / Where: Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, Bordeaux

Lire en Poche – books festival 

Lire en Poche is a pocketbooks festival that will take place in Gradignan on October 8-10. 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 require prior reservation.  For more info click here.

When: October 8-10 / Where: Théâtre des Quatre Saisons et à La Médiathèque Jean Vautrin, 32 route de Léognan – 33170 Gradignan 

Montgolfiades de Saint-Emilion

Montgolfiades is an annual festival of hot-air balloon flights organized by Le Ciel est à Toi association. The flights will take place on October 15-17 above Saint Emilion and the vineyards around it, so the sight is promised to be breathtaking. For more info click here.

Before you go be sure to check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.

When: October 15-17 / Where: in the vineyards of Saint Emilion, just follow the balloons

Open doors in the Chateaux of Graves

Graves, one of the wine regions in the Bordeaux wine area, invites you to an open doors weekend, allowing you to discover its wines and châteaux. During the weekend (October 16-17) 71 châteaux will open their doors to visits, wine tastings, wine workshops and different activities for kids and adults. See the full program of the event and the list of participating châteaux here.

When: October 16-17 / Where: Graves area – chose your chateau from the program

FIFIB- Bordeaux international festival of independent movies

Bordeaux Independent Films Festival will take place on October 13-18 at Rue Mably in the center of Bordeaux. The program includes film screenings, concerts and meetings with special guests. Every evening, the festival village will transform into an open cinema theater and a dance floor. The event is free and open for all. See the full program on the site of the festival.

When: October 13-18 / Where: Le Village du FIFIB, 3 rue Mably, Bordeaux

A bit of Basque country!

Foire au Jambon

If you really love ham, this is the event for you! Every year, Bayonne, the capital of the French Basque country hosts the Foire au Jambon, where the best ham producer is chosen. The program also includes a big market with plenty of local food producers, farm animals, and music on the streets of Bayonne. The festival will take place on October 15-17. For more info click here

When: October 15-17 / Where: Bayonne

Fête du Piment d’Espelette

Piment d’Espelette is the red pepper that decorates every market in the Basque country and every shop selling Basque products. Like every important ingredient in the French kitchen, this little pepper needs a “fête”. Fête du Piment d’Espelette is taking place on October 23-24 in the beautiful village of Espelette. The program includes a big parade, a huge market, musical concerts, activities for kids, a mass with the choir of Espelette, and more. For more details click here

Read more about this beautiful village in my article about Espelette.

When: October 23-24  / Where: Espelette, 64250

Exhibitions not to miss in Bordeaux

If you want to discover the main museums of Bordeaux, check out my article about the best art, history, and wine museums of Bordeaux. Otherwise here are three exhibitions you can go see this month:

L’Institut Bernard Magrez – Free Spirit 

Finally, for the first time since March 2020, l’Institut Bernard Magrez hosts a new exhibition. This beautiful place is known for hosting some of the best street art exhibitions in Bordeaux and this time it will be the American artist JonOne with his exhibition “Free Spirit”! The exhibition will be presented between September 25 and February 27.
For more details and tickets click
here

La Cité du Vin – Boire avec les dieux

Drinking with the gods is a temporary exhibition presented at the wine museum of Bordeaux until November 7. Through a lively experience of sound and visuals, the exhibition touches upon the connection between wine, gods, and men in Greco-Roman civilization. For more details click here

Monet, Renoir… Chagall, Voyages en Méditerranée

Visiting Les Bassins de Lumières is an amazing cultural experience that should not be missed when in Bordeaux. The exhibition that is currently running there is called Monet, Renoir… Chagall, Voyages en Méditerranée. You can get a bit of an impression of how it looks inside in my video below. The exhibition is taking place from May 19 to January 2nd. You must book your tickets in advance.

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:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

UPDATE: If you want to know what’s happening in Bordeaux in April 2019 – click here.

Don’t let the rain get you down, spring is almost here and the Bordeaux area will soon start flourishing with interesting things to do.  Now all we need is the sun to come out so we can get our spring party started. Meanwhile, take a look at all the great events Bordeaux has to offer this month.

This is my list of things to do in April 2018 in Bordeaux and the surroundings. I didn’t want this list to be too long so I focused on the big events, however I do plan to publish updates so stay tuned.

Treasure Hunt on Pâques Weekend

The first weekend of April is the long weekend of Easter in France and the area of Bordeaux offers a great deal of activities to entertain you and your kids. Egg hunting, visits in beautiful chateaux and chocolate workshops are only some of the activities you could do this weekend. To discover all Pâques events in and around Bordeaux read my article about “What to do in Bordeaux  in Easter 2018“.

Huge chocolate egg, easter in Bordeaux
photo by: Ramon Szmuk

Festival Musical Écran

Festival Musical Écran is a very unique film festival all dedicated to documentaries about music. This year the program of the festival includes 20 films from four different countries. The festival will be held April 1-8 in different places in Bordeaux: Cinéma Utopia, Cour Malby, Bibliothéque Mériadeck, Institut Cervantes, Université de Bordeaux Campus Victoire.

Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution
Queercore: How to Punk a Revolution
When: April 1-8
Where: see locations.
How much: 39 € for the whole festival

Bicycle spring sale

Are you looking to buy or sell a bicycle, the big spring bicycle sale is just around the corner. Bordeaux bicycle stock exchange will take place  April 1 at Quai Louis XVIII. Those who wish to sell their bike can do it between 9:30 and 11am and the buyers will be able to start buying after 10am.
For more details.

bourse velo Bordeaux

When: April 1 (9:30 to 17:30)
Where: Quai Louis XVIII

Esclave du livre (literature festival)

Esclave du livre  is a literature association whose goal is to promote reading and to support the creation of new literature. April 6-8 they will hold a literature festival that will bring together authors and illustrators for debates, public readings, performances and uncovering of pieces that haven’t been published yet.

When: April 6-8
Where:  Place Renaudel – Quartier Ste Croix

Convention Tattoo Bordeaux 

The international tattoo convention of Bordeaux will take place on the weekend of April 14-15 in Hangar 14, which is located at Quai des Chartrons.  The program includes: tattoo contest, expositions, live concerts and different activities such as jungling and brakedancing.

a girl with tattoos
Photo by Timothy Paul Smith on Unsplash
When: April 14-15
Where: hangar 14, 115 Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux
How much: 15 € /day

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.

brocante des quinconces
photo by: Ira Szmuk
When: April 20 – May 8
Where: Place des Quinconces

Art

Digital Abysses at Base Sous-Marine 

If you still didn’t have a chance to visit the incredible Base sous- Marine, it’s time to do it. The first exhibition, Digital Abysses, ( 9 March to 20 May 2018 ) is by the digital artist Miguel Chevalier, which 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.

base sous marine
photo by: Ira Szmuk
Address:  Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

Street Color at Institut Bernard Margez

An extensive street are exhibition will be presented from April 5 to June 24 at the Institut Bernard Magrez. The expo will include some well known street artists (mostly French ones), such as MAD C (GER), Seth (FRA), d’Alexöne (FRA) and more. This institute is a historic monument dated to the 18th century, so the combination of an ancient chateau with street art will most certainly add to the atmosphere of the exposition.

For more info and tickets.

seth-street-art merapi indonesia
Seth street art-Merapi Indonesia
Address:  16 rue de Tivoli, Bordeaux

Luminopolis at Cap Sciences

The Luminopolis  exposition of Cap Sciences has been running from June 2017 and if you haven’t had the chance to go there yet, it’s time to do it now before the museum gets crowded with a lot of tourists. Luminopolis is a light exposition that have been structured as an Escape game where you need to answer questions about light in order to get out.
The expositions runs from June 2017 to September 2017 ,the ticket price is 8 euros and the minimum age is 6.

For more info.

Address: Cap Sciences Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Concerts:

Lisa Stansfield

The famous British 90s start, Lisa Stansfield will perform at Theatre Femina on April 28 at 20:00.

For more info and tickets

When: April 28/ Where: 10 Rue de Grassi, 33000 Bordeaux

Virginia Rodrigues in Cenon

Virginia Rodrigues, the Brazilian singer with the amazing voice will give one concert at Le Rocher de Palmer in Cenon in April 6.


When: April 6 / Where: 1 Rue Aristide Briand, 33152 Cenon

Imagine Dragons

The american rock band, Imagine Dragons, will stop by the Bordeaux Métropole Arena  on April 4 as part of their world tour. 

For more info and  tickets

Address: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac

Portes Ouvertes

Open doors in Médoc 

To celebrate the beginning of the spring the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac will hold an open doors weekend where you’ll be able to visit all chateaux of the Medoc region and do a lot of wine tasting. The event will take place April 7-8.

For details about all the participating chateaux.

When: April 7-8
Where:  different locations (see the site)

Open doors in Saint-Emilion

An open door weekend will take place on April 29 to May 1 at Saint Emilion where 84 chateaux will hold open door events and will propose different activities to the visitors. Some châteaux (such as Château Fleur Cardinale) will start the open door weekend April 28.

On the event website you can see the participating châteaux , the activities and the wine tasting proposed for that weekend – see more info.

When: April 28 – May 1
Where: 7 Thibaud, 33330 Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse

Meetings

If you’re craving for some activity with other English speakers, like going to Utopia cinema or just having a coffee together , check out the monthly planning of the ICB (International Club of Bordeaux)- see agenda.

Do you have any interesting events you know about? Please share with us in the comments below.

The main event in Bordeaux this weekend is definitely the Marathon of Bordeaux. For those who look for smaller events there are nice festivals and expos and even a big vinyl records salon, and for some of them you don’t even have to get into Bordeaux center.

These are the things to do in Bordeaux in the weekend of March 23-25:

Special events

Bordeaux Marathon

The Marathon  (24 March) takes place in the historic city center, allowing the runners to cross all the historic sites and some of Bordeaux’s biggest wineries. The Marathon will start at 20:00 which makes it even more special as runners can see the city by night with special decorations just for the event.  Most of us are probably not in shape for the 42km run, but that should not prevent us from enjoying the atmosphere in the city as well as seeing others run 🙂

Marathon in Bordeaux

 

Culture

“Le vin & La musique, accords et désaccords” à La Cité du Vin

The art exposition at la Cité du Vin, named “Le vin & La musique, accords et désaccords“, reveals the relationship between wine and music through a visual journey that alternates between  paintings, music and stage art. Around 150 pieces of art will be put in place from French and European collections: ceramics, paintings, music books , instruments and more. The exposition will take place March 23-24 for the price of 8€.

LE VIN & LA MUSIQUE, ACCORDS ET DÉSACCORDS

Address: 134 – 150 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

 

Festivals and Salons

Salon International du Disque de Bordeaux

The international salon of vinyl and cd records of Bordeaux will take place March 24-25 in the Parc des expositions.  It’s the 57th edition of this festival that brings together 80 exhibitors from France and abroad and proposes all genres of music: rock, pop, soul, jazz, punk, reggae and more.

Price: Normal 3€50 / Student 2€ / free for kids.

Address: Parc des expositions de Bordeaux – Vélodrome

Cordes Sensibles 2018- Guitar Festival

The annual guitar festival, Cordes Sensibles will take place on March 23-25 in Saint-Médard-en-Jalles and this year will be mostly dedicated to duos. Besides the concerts the festival will include master classes, art expos and concerts of the music school of Saint-Médard-en-Jalles.

See the program of the festival.

les cordes sensibles- guitar festival

Address: Carré des Jalles, place de la République33160 Saint-Médard-en-Jalles

Les Fous Rires de Bordeaux 

If you still haven’t attended, les Fous Rires de Bordeaux   is still on until March 24. It’s a very unique humor festival  with more than 80 artists participating and different activities taking place all over the city. The festival provides the opportunity to experience humor in different forms, such as on stage, in pictures and even  through cooking!!

There are two parts to the festival:
Festival IN, with well known artists on stage.
Festival OUF– that proposes free activities during the whole week of the festival such as workshops, happenings, entertaining children in hospitals and more.

See the program here.

Concerts/ Shows

Piano concert in Château de Cadillac

Piano voyageur, a concert performed by the pianist Jérôme Médeville will take place at Château de Cadillac on March 25, at 15:00.  Médeville will play classical music from the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart, and Liszt.  Ticket Price is 9€.

jerome medeville

Address: 4 Place de la Libération, 33410 Cadillac

Reggae concert and fundraising in Cenon 

On March 24, le Rocher de Palmer will hold an evening in support of the SOS Mediterranee association  denouncing the deplorable conditions in which refugees cross the Mediterranean, often risking their lives. The event will include a reggae concert of two and a half hours with the following artists: Yannis Odua, Natty Jean, Papa Style, Brahim.

The concert will start at 20:30, ticket price is 20€ (18€ online). For tickets and more details.

Address: 1 Rue Aristide Briand, 33152 Cenon

With Kids

Early Easter egg hunt in Talence

The Taillade neighborhood in Talence organizes an early Easter egg hunt March 24, between 14:00 and 19:00. Once the baskets of chocolate are full, kids and their parent will be able to taste it together.

Address: salle les Mallerettes, 170-172 cours Galliéni – 33400 TALENCE

Festival Entre 2 Rêves 

The Entre 2 Rêves  Festival, organized by the Collectif Entre 2 Rêves, takes place between 21-31 March on the right side of the Garonne river ( Cénac, Langoiran, Cambes and other towns in the area). Those 10 days will be full of  shows of different genres: theater, music, circus and more. For the full program and tickets.

Prices: daily show 2.50€, evening show 5€.

festival entre 2 reves

Drinking and Fooding

Original Cocktail Tour 2018

The Original Cocktail Tour  takes place March 20-26 in five bars in Bordeaux: Madame Pang, Au Symbiose, Le Gabriel, Le Taquin, Au CanCan “Coquetels & Flonflons” . During these 7 days these five bars will propose a menu of special cocktails at reduced prices.

 

Hope this list will help you find some nice things to do during this rainy weekend in Bordeaux. And for all the Marathon runners, you are very brave and good luck to you 🙂