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If you love wine, food, and beautiful architecture you simply cannot miss a day trip to Bordeaux when visiting the region. One day in this vibrant city may not be enough to discover all the attractions and gastronomic experiences it has to offer but with the right plan, you can have a perfect day exploring the highlights of Bordeaux. 

So if you’ve been wondering how to spend your one day in Bordeaux, this article will help you taste the best this city has to offer. It includes stunning architecture, a visit to the main market, cycling on the riverfront, tasting wine, and more. By the end of this day, you’ll be exhausted and totally in love with Bordeaux!

A perfect day trip to Bordeaux
The beautiful streets in Bordeaux – Lost in Bordeaux

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

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

Marché des Capucins – Visit the main market of Bordeaux

If you’re a foodie or just like discovering new markets, I highly recommend starting your one day in Bordeaux in Marché des Capucins. This is the biggest daily market in Bordeaux and has everything from stands of fruits, vegetables, sweets, and spices to a bunch of lively cafés and restaurants. 

Marché des Capucins - Visit the main market of Bordeaux
Marché des Capucins – Lost in Bordeaux

If you don’t have a lot of time, the best way to discover this huge market is by taking a food tour. You can take a private tour with Anne, who is a chef and an amazing food tour guide. Or join the group food tour of the No Diet Club.

If you like oysters there’s one restaurant in the market you simply cannot miss! Chez Jean-Mi has become an institution in Bordeaux, attracting many locals for a plate of oysters with white dry wine. Before you go, be sure to check out my article about the best places to eat at the Marché des Capucins.

Chez Jean Me - the best oysters in Bordeaux
Chez Jean Me – taste oysters at the market – Lost in Bordeaux

It’s a covered market so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside where you can have a coffee or an early lunch. The market gets very busy on the weekend so be sure to be there early. The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, however, be aware that not all the restaurants and stands are open on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stroll the narrow streets of old Bordeaux

I have yet met one person who was not stunned by the beauty of “Vieux Bordeaux”, the historic part of the city. You can spend hours getting lost in the narrow paved streets with beautiful 17th and 18th-century houses. 

The Southwest capital has 362 preserved buildings labeled as historic monuments, second only to Paris. The historic part of the city (and several streets around it) is recognized by UNESCO as an “outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of 18th-century architecture. 

The beautiful town of Bordeaux
The center of Bordeaux – Lost in Bordeaux

Give yourself at least a few hours to wander the picturesque streets of Bordeaux. The city is rich with history and different architectural styles so if you have time, take a historic tour in the center of Bordeaux. Here’s a tour that’s offered by the Tourists office in several languages. If you don’t like big groups you can always take a private tour.

Main sites in the city center

There’s a photographer in Bordeaux who does amazing photography tours with photoshoots of these and other Bordeaux highlights, so that could be a really special experience. Here’s a shortlist of the sites you should not miss on your visit:

Grosse Cloche – the 15th-century gate to the old city. This stunning bell tower is part of a whole structure that was previously a part of the city hall of Bordeaux and at some point served as a prison for misbehaved juveniles (!). 

The center of Bordeaux
Saint James Street – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic monuments and appears on the coat of arms of Bordeaux. The Gross Cloche is located on one end of rue Saint James, one of the liveliest streets of Bordeaux, with stylish boutiques and wine bars. 

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

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

The Grand Theatre -The beautiful 18th-century building on Place de la Comedie will be hard to miss. This is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and is home to the National Opera and the National Ballet of Bordeaux. If you have the chance, try to book tickets to one of the concerts the Opera or the national ballet. 

Continue from there to Place des Quinconces, the largest city square in France and one of the biggest in Europe. There you’ll also find the beautiful monument dedicated to the Girondins (members of a political faction) who were killed during the French Revolution. 

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

Have a drink on the lively squares of Bordeaux

There’s a very special atmosphere in Bordeaux. It’s a very touristy and lively city that somehow succeeds in maintaining its tranquility. What contributes to that are the lively squares in the city center, linked by pleasant pedestrian streets. Almost every square in Bordeaux is adorned with terrasse restaurants and wine bars. As you can imagine, the city of wine has plenty of amazing wine bars and wine tasting places for you to taste some Bordeaux wine.

Some of the liveliest squares in the city center include the Place du Palais with a magnificent view of Porte Cailhau, Place Pierre with the Saint Pierre church right in the middle, and Place Camille Julian with the Utopia bistrot (an old church converted into an independent cinema and restaurant). 

Discover the beautiful squares of Bordeaux - Place du Parlement
Place du Parlement – Lost in Bordeaux

The biggest square in the old center is Place du Parlement, which was built in the 18th century in an Italian style. Its facades are very richly decorated and resemble the facades of the buildings on the riverfront of Bordeaux and the magnificent Place de la Bourse.

Lift your eyes to see the mascarons

Mascaron in Bordeaux
Mascaron in Place de la Bourse

If you’re following my advice and on your way to Place du Parlement don’t miss the beautiful little sculptures that decorate the buildings.  

The sculpted faces between the ground and first floor are called mascarons, a variation on the word masks in Italian. There are more than 3000 mascarons decorating the buildings and the monuments of Bordeaux, taking inspiration from Greek mythology, wild animals, religion, and the economic development of Bordeaux. 

Some examples are Neptune who represents the importance of the river and African faces, a memory of the slave trade Bordeaux was part of.  Most of the mascarons can be found on the buildings on the riverfront of, Place de la Bourse and Place du Parlement.

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

Dine in one of Bordeaux’s delicious restaurants

After the long walk, a proper lunch is in order! In recent years Bordeaux has gained popularity as a gastronomic city and even holds the record for the number of restaurants per person in France. If you have only one day in the city, trying one of Bordeaux’s restaurants should be on your list. 

Bo tanique -one of the best restaurants in Bordeaux

There are a lot of excellent restaurants in the city center and choosing one won’t be easy, but let me suggest just a few: Bo Tanique, Lauza, Symbiose,  Cent 33, Frida, Au Bistro and the list goes on and on. 

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

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

If you prefer leaving the dining experience for the evening you can replace a fancy lunch with a picnic in the beautiful park of Bordeaux, Jardin Public. 

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

Make yourself a basket of regional products and join the other Bordelais on the vast green planes. Don’t forget to add a bottle of Bordeaux wine you can get in most supermarkets or in dedicated wine shops. 

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

Shop on the Longest street in France

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

Shopping in Bordeaux
Shopping in Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

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

Visit the main church in Bordeaux -Saint-André 

The big Cathedral on the main square of Pey Berland is a Roman Catholic church and the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux. This cathedral has an important part in the history of Bordeaux. Here, the 13-year-old Eleanor d’Aquitaine, married the future king of France Louis VII, therefore making her the queen of France (for a very short period of time).

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux
Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux – Lost in Bordeaux

Like many other churches and basilicas in Bordeaux, Saint-André is classified as a national monument of France. In the evening the Cathedral often hosts concerts of classical music, choirs and an organ festival during the summer. You can check out more info about the concerts here

visit the fancy district of Bordeaux 

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

Today it’s considered a gourmet district with plenty of wine and cheese boutiques. It’s also home to Olala Bordeaux, one of the best places to take wine-tasting classes. During the tourist season they offer daily wine tasting master classes.

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

Cadiot Badie - one of the oldest chocolate places in Bordeaux

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

Chill at the Miroir d’eau

Now it’s time to visit Bordeaux’s most famous attraction and one you have probably seen in any guide or video about Bordeaux – Le Miroir d’eau. 

This modern monument, built in 2006, is the world’s largest reflecting pool. The surface is made from blue granite covered in water, reflecting the 18th-century Place de la Bourse. It’s a perfect place to chill on a hot sunny day in Bordeaux. 

miroir d'eau in Bordeaux

If you’re coming with kids you can easily spend more than an hour here as it’s going to be quite hard to get them out of it. Kids seem to really love it! (don’t forget to bring change clothes for the kids, they tend to get soaked!)

Take a bike ride on the banks of the Garonne – or a cruise if you’re tired 🙂

The promenade on the left bank of the Garonne River is one of Bordeaux’s highlights. Since the massive overhaul project in the early 2000s, the quais (docks) of Bordeaux has become one of Bordeaux’s most popular spots, hosting many events and festivals during the summer. 

The 4.5 km promenade is also perfect for a walk or a bicycle tour. The most interesting part of it is between the two bridges of Bordeaux – Pont Saint Pierre in the center and Pont Chaban Delmas in the north of the city, which includes the Miroir d’eau as well as playgrounds for kids and restaurants with a view of the river.

Cycling in Bordeaux
Cycling in Bordeaux – Lost in Bordeaux

A few companies are offering a biking tour that covers all the parts of town and more, Monsieur Bacchus is one of the best ones.  But you can also do a self-guided tour using my bridge-to-bridge route article.

Want to cruise instead of cycling?

if you only have one day in Bordeaux and that’s taking a cruise. There are plenty of nice afternoon cruises on the Garonne, but I believe that to experience the good life of Bordeaux you should take the Cruise with a glass of wine.

Discover the hipster side of Bordeaux

After spending several hours on the classic left side of the river, it’s time to discover the more hipster right bank of the Garonne. Crossing the river to the other side you’ll get to the Bastide neighborhood. If you’re going on the biking tour from the previous item, you’re going to get there on your way.  

Here, the main attraction is Darwin, an old military base turned into an urban space with plenty of cool stuff to do. Among these, you’ll find a restaurant, a bakery, a winery, a huge skate park, and many hipster shops. 

Darwin in Bordeaux
Darwin by Lost in Bordeaux

Darwin is one of the most extraordinary places for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented regional artists on every one of its buildings. 

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

what to do in the summer in Bordeaux

How to get there? 

If you follow my advice about doing the bridge-to-bridge circuit, you’re going to pass through everything I mentioned on your way. Otherwise, you can do a nice walk, crossing Pont de Pierre or taking tram A to the other side. Another fun way to get there is by taking the river shuttle

Have a drink in one of Bordeaux’s wine bars 

Wine bars are springing up like mushrooms in the center of Bordeaux. It’s not a big surprise considering it’s the capital of the biggest wine area in France. A great way to finish your one day in Bordeaux is by tasting wine in one of Bordeaux’s wine bars

There are plenty of wine bars to choose from in the city center, here are some of my favorite ones: le Bar a Vin for the beautiful decor and professional waiters, Wine More Time for its huge selection, and Les doux secrets d’Hélène for the design and the tasty tapas. 

Wine more Time - one of the best wine bars in Bordeaux
Wine More Time – Lost in Bordeaux

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

If you’re interested in wine don’t miss a trip to Saint Emilion where you can visit some of the best wineries in the region. You can take a guided wine tour or plan the trip by yourself using my post about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion

What is the best time to visit Saint Emilion

Not less interesting and beautiful is the Medoc wine area where you can see some of the most impressive chateaux in the region. Follow my post about the Medoc wine route when planning your trip there.

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

Like the article? Want to read it again when you’re in Bordeaux? Save it on your Pinterest board.

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

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*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 🙂 

As someone living in this city, writing an article about things to do on a weekend in Bordeaux is not as easy as you might think. This amazing city has so many festivals, art events, amazing coffee places and restaurants that choosing the best things to do over a few days is almost impossible. But I will give it a try nevertheless 🙂 

I have a longer article where I talk about my 50 favorite things to do in Bordeaux and its region. However, if you have only a few days to spend here, this article will guide you step-by-step through all the must-see things Bordeaux has to offer. 

A weekend in Bordeaux France
Bordeaux by @Lostinbordeaux

A bit about Bordeaux and some tips

For many years, Bordeaux was nicknamed the sleeping beauty. A stunning city turned into a somewhat shady town following years of neglect. However, in the last two decades, the beautify has been awakened following a massive restoration work done by its administration. The goal was to make Bordeaux an attractive town to tourists again and give it back its well-deserved glory. 

The makeover included the restoration of monuments, modern tram lines, a building of a long beautiful promenade, an extensive cleaning of all the facades, and more. That plan was a great success with Bordeaux becoming one of the most interesting and popular destinations in Europe in the last decade. 

Bordeaux has 362 historic monuments (second only to Paris), so to visit them all will probably take weeks. So here in this article, I will cover only the most interesting/ beautiful ones. If you’re interested in a deeper understanding of the history and architecture of Bordeaux I highly recommend taking one of these tours:
A two hour guided walking tour offered by the tourist office
A guided bicycle tour of the historic center and Chartrons district.
A Nighttime highlights walking tour – a fun experience after you’ve been strolling the city in the morning

Guided cycling tour in the Bordeaux
Cycling in Bordeaux – by lost in Bordeaux

Also, despite it being the world capital of wine, I did not include wine-related activities in this article. I believe you need more than two days from that. If however, you do want to include a wine-related experience on your visit here, check out my articles about the Bordeaux wine region and wineries in Saint Emilion

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

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

A Weekend in Bordeaux -Day 1

Place de la Victoire

Start your day from Place de la Victoire, on the southern end of Bordeaux’s shopping street rue Sainte Catherine. The impressive square is recognized by the 18th-century arc and the marble obelisk at its center. 

Place de la Victoire in Bordeaux - one of the liveliest sqaures
Place de la Victoire – by Lost in Bordeaux

Its proximity to the busiest street in the city, the University campus, and the numerous cafes and bars give it a very young and happy vibe. It’s not one of my favorite squares in Bordeaux but it’s a great place to start your discovery tour of Bordeaux. If you only have one day in Bordeaux, you can skip Place de la Victoire and focus on the most beautiful monuments in the city.

Marché des Capucins – discover local gastronomy

It’s never too early to start your gastronomic discovery of Bordeaux and for that, there’s no better place than Marché des Capucins

The Capucins, the biggest daily market in Bordeaux has everything from stands of fruits and vegetables, sweets, spices, and a bunch of lively cafés and restaurants. It’s the best place to taste some of the specialties of this region like oysters, duck products, and sheep cheese. 

It’s a covered market so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside where you can have a coffee or an early lunch. During the weekend, the market is packed with locals, who gather to eat oysters accompanied by white wine. Be sure to come early if you want to catch a table. 

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

Before you go, be sure to check out my article about the best places to eat at the Marché des Capucins. The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, however, be aware that not all the restaurants and stands are open on Tuesday and Wednesday. If you happen to visit on Thursday, I highly recommend booking a market tour with Anne, an American chef living in the region.

Now after opening the morning at the market we can start touring Bordeaux and admire its beautiful architecture. If you followed my advice and went to the market, your next destination should be Saint Michel. From Place des Capucins continue to rue Clare which brings you to the heart of the Saint Michel neighborhood. If you don’t have two full days in Bordeaux skip Saint Michel and go to the next item.

Discover the Saint Michel neighborhood

Saint Michel is skipped by many tourists. But I think that its authentic atmosphere, chic cafes, and markets make it one of the more interesting places in Bordeaux. There are many things to do and see in this area and you have more time to discover the neighborhood, be sure to read my detailed guide to Saint Michel. If, however, you are short in time and just want the “best of”, this is what I suggest:

The Basilica of Saint Michel – classified as a world heritage by UNESCO in 1998 stands at the heart of this lively neighborhood. It is located on the main square, Place Meynard, surrounded by plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars.

la Flèche Saint-Michel – Just next to the basilica you’ll find the Saint Michel bell tower, one of the main monuments of the city. I highly recommend climbing it to see a magnificent view of Bordeaux.

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

The market on SaturdayEvery Saturday there’s a local market around the Basilica. Even if you don’t need to buy anything I’d still recommend going there on a Saturday morning just for the atmosphere

Antiquesif you love antique markets, whether it’s to buy or just to have a look, you’re at the right place. This neighborhood has several antique places that are open daily. Check out my guide to Saint Michel for a detailed list of addresses.

We are now going to enter the historic center of Bordeaux! If you’re short on time, I recommend starting the tour here!

The Grosse Cloche – one of the most impressive monuments in Bordeaux

From Place Meynard (in Saint Michel) take rue des Faures to get to one of the main streets in the center of Bordeaux (rue Victor Hugo). After a minute’s walk, on your right, you’ll see the spectacular bell town called the Grosse Cloche. 

The 15th-century bell tower is one of the most prominent symbols of Bordeaux. The gate was built on the remains of Porte Saint-Éloy, through which the pilgrims of Saint Jacques passed on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

grosse cloche

You will now be entering the historic center of Bordeaux through the Quartier de la Grosse Cloche/ Saint Paul. Let yourself be charmed by the narrow paved streets of this small neighborhood. It’s one of my favorite districts of Bordeaux, full of chic cafés and boutiques. 

Rue Saint James

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

Quartier de la Grosse Cloche on of the best district in Bordeaux
Quartier de la Grosse Cloche – by Lost in Bordeaux

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

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

Shop on rue Sainte-Catherine

Sainte Catherine is the longest pedestrian street in France. A long strip of shops where you can find all main clothing retail stores as well as boutiques of cosmetics, jewelry, books, and more. 

The Southern part of the street (closer to Place de la Victoire) is where you’ll find most of the cheap clothing shops. The big chain clothing stores are located in the northern part of the streets. After you finish your shopping go back to Place Saint Projet, a square in the middle of rue Sainte Catherine. Now take rue des Trois-Conils and walk towards the main cathedral of Bordeaux on Place Pey Berland.

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

Visit the main Cathedral of Bordeaux on Place Pey Berland

Place Pey Berland is one of the most central squares of Bordeaux and home to the main Cathedral of Bordeaux and its town hall. It’s also one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Bordeaux with many coffee places, chocolate shops, museums, and art galleries.

Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

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

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

Tour Pey Berland

Just next to the Cathedral, you’ll find its 15th-century bell tower – la Tour Pey Berland. On the top of the tower, the statue of Notre Dame d’Aquitaine rises to the height of 66 m. 

If you want to enjoy a beautiful view of Bordeaux climb the 231 stairs of the tower to get to the top. A ticket to the bell tower is 6 euros and free to people below 26 years old. I recommend climbing it only if the weather is good, otherwise, you won’t see much. See the hours and buy tickets here
*If you have the Bordeaux City Pass, you get free entry to the Tour Pey Berland.

Good places for a coffee break:

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

l'alchimiste café - one of the best coffee places in Bordeaux
L’alchimiste café – by Lost in Bordeaux

Other interesting streets in the Pey Berland neighborhood

From Place Pey Berland continue on rue Vital Carles, alongside the tram B line which goes through the main spots of the center of Bordeaux. On your left, don’t miss one of the city’s establishments –  Librairie Mollat, the oldest independent bookstore in France since 1896.

Another place worth mentioning is Porte Dijeaux. This pretty arc is another gate to the historic center of Bordeaux and has been classified as a historic monument in 1921.

Visit one of Bordeaux’s museums

If you have some time to visit a museum or two in Bordeaux, three of them are located in the Pey Berland neighborhood. It can also be a great option in case it’s raining in Bordeaux

Here are three museums in the neighborhood you should know about (all three have free entry with the Bordeaux City Pass): Musée d’Aquitaine (Bordeuax’s history museum), Musée des Beaux-Arts (the fine-art museum), Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux (currently closed for renovation).

If you skipped the museums continue walking on Vital Carles Street and be ready for a beautiful surprise. At the end of the street, you will turn right to one of the most impressive streets of Bordeaux Cours de l’Intendance. This street conveys the feeling of Bordeaux – historic, beautiful, and very calm- just stand there and take a breath for a second.

Cours de l'Intendance - a street to discover on your weekend in Bordeaux
Cours de l’Intendance – by Lost in Bordeaux

Continue on Cours de l’Intendance until you get to Place de la Comédie.

Grand Théâtre – one of the landmarks of Bordeaux

The beautiful 18th-century building on Place de la Comédie will be hard to miss. The Grand Théâtre, the home of the National Opera of Bordeaux is one of Bordeaux’s most important landmarks.  If you have the chance, try to book tickets to one of the concerts at the Opera or the national ballet. 

Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux
Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

Have a fancy meal in one of Bordeaux’s great restaurants

If you want to have a fancy meal while in Bordeaux, Place de la Comedie and its surrounding streets are one of the main spots for fine dining in Bordeaux. One of my favorite restaurants in Bordeaux is le Quatrième Mur, which belongs to the famous French chef Philippe Etchebest. The restaurant is located inside the Opera of Bordeaux complete with all its lavish decor.

There are of course many other amazing restaurants in Bordeaux such as Bo Tanique and Lauza.

Place des Quinconces

Next on our list is Place des Quinconces, the largest city square in France and one of the biggest ones in Europe. On one of the sides of this enormous square, you’ll find le Monument aux Girondins, a spectacular monument dedicated to the members of a political faction that were killed during the French Revolution. 

Throughout the year, many different events, festivals, and fairs (like the Brocante de Quinconces and the Foire aux Plaisirs) take place on this square. I tend to write a lot about the events that take place in Bordeaux in my newsletter and monthly to-do lists in Bordeaux.

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

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

Do a picnic in Jardin Public

Jardin Public is the largest park in the center of Bordeaux with more than 300 trees and vast green planes – a perfect place for a picnic. It has a large pond (with ducks and geese!), great facilities for kids, and even a nice coffee place. If you’re traveling with kids, it’s worth visiting the Natural History Museum, located in the park.

Read my article about all the other fun stuff you can do with kids in Bordeaux.

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

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

Now back to the city and to the last stop on the first day of discovering Bordeaux – the Chartrons neighborhood.

Leave the park from Cours Xavier Arnozan and continue towards the Garonne river. On your right don’t miss the CAPC, the Contemporary art museum of Bordeaux. This beautiful building was previously used as a warehouse for colonial foodstuffs and today is the house of contemporary art in Bordeaux, curating many exhibitions.

Now turn left on rue Notre Dame to enter the Chartrons neighborhood.

Visit the northern chic district of Bordeaux –  Les Chartrons

Located to the north of Bordeaux’s center, Chartrons is a very popular neighborhood with chic boutiques, antiques, and a lot of restaurants. The most interesting part of Chartrons is the main street, rue Notre Dame which is also one of the most foodie streets in Bordeaux. Don’t miss Eglise Saint-Louis des Chartrons, a 19th-century Neo-Gothic church.

rue Notre dame - one of the prettiest streets on Bordeaux
rue Notre Dame – by Lost in Bordeaux

Turn left straight after the church to get to the heart of the neighborhood- Halle des Chartrons. There are plenty of restaurants around the central square, with good lunch menus. The Halle des Chartrons often hosts activities and exhibitions, so take a peek inside to see if there’s anything going on. 

If you want to discover all the interesting places you can visit in the Chartrons district check out my article about the best things to do in Chartrons.

How to spend a weekend in Bordeaux – Day 2

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

Enjoy the squares of the Saint Pierre neighborhood

Saint Pierre is the most ancient district of Bordeaux and the tourist heart of the city. There aren’t any major monuments to see in this part of town but the little narrow paved streets and the beautiful lively squares are what make it one of the more pleasant places in Bordeaux.

I’ll mention some of the best things to do in this neighborhood, but I really recommend just taking a few hours to get lost in the charming narrow streets and get a feel of historic Bordeaux.

rue parlement saint pierre - one of the most beautful streets in the Saint Pierre neighborhood in Bordeaux
rue Parlement Saint Pierre in Saint Pierre – by Lost in Bordeaux

Porte Cailhau

From Cours d’Alsace et Lorraine turn to place du Palais. This is the first of many squares you’ll see while touring the neighborhood and probably the most beautiful one. 

The magnificent Porte Cailhau, a monument that looks like it has been taken from a fairy tale cannot be missed. This gate was built in 1495 to commemorate the glory of King Charles VIII. On the square itself, you’ll find a few nice cafes and restaurants with a view of the medieval gate. One I particularly like here is Tutiac, Le Bistro Vignerons.

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

There are three other squares worth mentioning in this neighborhood, all of which are beautiful and abundant with cute terrace restaurants. Each one is quite unique and worth a visit, but if you don’t have much time don’t feel obligated to visit all the squares.

Place Camille Julian

Place Camille Julian is one of the busiest squares in towns. Its main highlight is Utopia, a monastery turned into a cinema with a varied program of both blockbuster movies and small independent films.

Place Saint Pierre

The little square of Place Saint Pierre is where Bordeaux was born in the 3rd century. In the center stands the main church of the neighborhood Gothic Flamboyant styled Église Saint-Pierre. This historic monument used to be the main praying temple of the craftsmen and traders living in the area in medieval times. 

Place du Parlement

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

place du parlement bordeaux
Place du Parlement

From Place du Parlement continue to rue Fernand Philippart until you reach Place de la Bourse, a masterpiece of classic French architecture from the 18th century. Don’t miss the famous mascarons of Bordeaux, the little faces looking at you from the arches of the buildings.  There are more than 3000 of them decorating the buildings and monuments of Bordeaux.

In front, on the quay of the Garonne river, you’ll find one of the most popular attractions in Bordeaux – le Miroir d’eau! This modern monument, built in 2006, is the world’s largest reflecting pool. The surface is made from blue granite covered in water, reflecting the 18th-century Place de la Bourse.

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

Take a walk on the quai – Bordeaux’s promenade

The promenade on the board of the Garonne is one of Bordeaux’s highlights. In recent years, since the renovation of the area, the riverfront has become one of the city’s most central spots, hosting many events and festivals during the summer. 

The 4.5 km promenade is also perfect for a walk or a bicycle tour. The most interesting part of it is between the two bridges of Bordeaux – Pont Saint Pierre in the center and Pont Chaban Delmas in the north of the city. This trail includes the water mirror as well as big playgrounds for kids, restaurants with a view of the river, and the Chartrons Market, which is our next stop.

This is part of the trail you’ll do if you take the guided cycling tour.

Wine Festival on the quai in Bordeaux
The wine festival of Bordeaux in the summer

Shop and dine at the Chartrons market

One of the best markets in Bordeaux takes place every Sunday morning at Quai de Chartrons. The Chartrons market hosts dozens of food stalls, fruits, vegetables, cheese, fish, and plenty of food trucks. 

The Chartrons market - one of the best markets in Bordeaux
Marche des Quais – by Lost in Bordeaux

The market is usually quite busy with both locals and tourists, especially if you come towards noon, but it’s still worth the visit. For many visitors, the main attraction is the few stalls with oysters and a bottle of dry white wine. This, in a way, embodies life in the region 🙂

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

Bacalan – discover the northern part of Bordeaux

From here (if you have more time left) you can discover the Bacalan, the northern district of Bordeaux. From the market just continue walking north on the riverfront until you reach the Chaban Delmas bridge.

Pont Chaban Delmas in Bordeaux
Pont Chaban Delmas – by Lost in Bordeaux

Pont Chaban Delmas

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

La Cité du Vin – Bordeaux wine museum

Cité du vin in Bordeaux

Just next to the bridge, you’ll find one of Bordeaux’s main attractions – la cité du vin. The Wine Museum of Bordeaux is a one-of-a-kind cultural center, all dedicated to discovering the wine world. It’s a “must” place for wine lovers but can also be very interesting and enjoyable for people who don’t drink at all. 

The museum offers an immersive exhibition to help you discover both French and global wine history. You will learn about winemaking, see movies and interviews with wine producers and then smell and taste wine. 

Click here to buy tickets to the wine museum in advance to avoid the line.

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

Les Halles de Bacalan

Les Halles de Bacalan is a covered market, located just in front of the Cité du Vin and hosts tens of stalls with amazing food and drinks. It’s a perfect place to stop by for a snack or a drink when discovering the Bacalan district.

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

Take a boat to the other side of the Garonne

Now it’s time to discover the other side of the Garonne river – the Bastide neighborhood. It’s yet another district of Bordeaux worth exploring if you have time. There are a few ways to get to the Bastide district. You can either cross the bridge (it’s a very nice walk but will take some time), take a bus or take a boat. 

Since 2013 the public transport system in Bordeaux has introduced a ferry (navette fluviale)  that will cross you over to the other side. The ferry which operates from 7 am to 7 pm, stops at five stations: Stalingrad, Quinconces, les Hangars, La Cité du Vin and Lormont. If you followed my guide up to now, take the navette at La Cité du Vin and get down at Stalingrad (on the other side of the river).

Take a look at the ferry timetable here.

You can use the boat and all other public transport in Bordeaux free of charge if you have the Bordeaux City Pass

Jardin Botanique

Arriving from Place de Stalingrad you have a nice walk on the riverfront to get to our next stop. On the way don’t miss le Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux. This beautiful park was created to allow the wide public to discover the world of plants, biodiversity, and sustainability. It’s definitely not a must-stop, but can be a great spot for a picnic with kids. 

From the part continue straight on the riverfront until you get to our next stop – Darwin.

Darwin – the hipster hub of Bordeaux

Darwin is probably one of the most surprising places in Bordeaux. An old military base turned into an urban space with a workspace/incubator for startups, a skate park for all ages, a restaurant, and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. 

Whether alone or with kids you can spend hours in Darwin. One of the buildings hosts the restaurant and the Darwin products store with a huge selection of different organic products. 

Darwin
Darwin – one of the coolest places in Bordeaux

Darwin is also an extraordinary hub of street art done by many local and international street artists. The place hosts many cool events so don’t be surprised if suddenly you see an artisan market or a collection of old cars on display.

It’s also one of the best places to hide from the rain on one of Bordeaux’s many rainy days.

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

The Bordeaux expats blog is a great source of info for people considering moving to Bordeaux. 

The site of the tourist office in Bordeaux has loads of information about all the points of interest in the city as well as about most of the main events. They also offer a lot of tours in and around Bordeaux – so check it out here.

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

As I said, Bordeaux has a lot to offer! It’s hard to see everything if you only have a day or two but don’t be stressed, just take the time to enjoy the city. 

If you have only one day, I recommend following this article instead.

Where to stay in Bordeaux 

Before we end I want to help out those who are looking for accommodation in Bordeaux! If you’re looking for a hotel, I have an article with recommendations about the best hotels in Bordeaux for different budgets.  If you’re looking for an Airbnb or just want to understand where you should stay in Bordeaux, you should definitely read my Bordeaux districts guide

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

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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 
Where to stay in Bordeaux 
What to do in one day in Bordeaux
Things to do with kids in Bordeaux

If you like this article and want to read it again when you’re in Bordeaux – Save it to your Pinterest board!

*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 🙂