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Chartrons is a chic neighborhood in Bordeaux, located in the north part of the city right after Place des Quinconces. It developed in the 17th century when Flemish, Irish, and German wine traders (négociants) settled beyond the walls of old Bordeaux to export wines to their home countries. So it was basically the “expats” neighborhood of the time. They have built beautiful houses along the riverfront with long warehouses on the first floor where they would store the barrels and bottles of wine before sending them by ship to other countries in Europe.

By the time Chartrons became officially part of Bordeaux in the 19th century, it had already become a flourishing and lively neighborhood. It was a hip bourgeois district attracting many artists, craftsmen, and sailors. The “place to be” of the 19th century if you want 🙂

While it lost some of its glory during the 20th century, in the last two decades it was revived into a chic neighborhood with plenty of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and museums giving new life to the old warehouses. Today it’s one of the more posh and cool neighborhoods of Bordeaux and you can easily spend a day here when visiting the city. To help you discover it like a local I wrote a list of all the places you should visit and things you can do in the Chartrons district. 

If you want to learn about other neighborhoods in Bordeaux you can also check my guide to the Saint Michel district and my article about things to do in the Bacalan neighborhood. Now let’s discover the chic district of Bordeaux, Chartrons!

Stroll rue des Notre dame – the main street of Chartrons

what to do in Chartrons Bordeaux

Chartrons is one of the biggest districts of Bordeaux, but there’s only one street that represents the heart and soul of this neighborhood, Rue Notre Dame. It’s one of the most beautiful streets in Bordeaux with tiny balconies decorated with planters full of colorful flowers. Plenty of coffee places, trendy boutiques, and antique shops can be found all along the posh street. You can spend several hours here admiring the beautiful architecture, shopping, and trying great pastries.

If you’re a foodie, a visit to this part of Bordeaux should be on your list. You can take this fun Chartrons food tour to help you discover some of its gastronomic secrets, or just take the day to stroll the narrow streets and try to find them yourself :). Rue Notre Dame and other gastronomic parts of Bordeaux can be found in my article about the foodie streets of Bordeaux

Discover some of the best pastries in Chartrons

boulangerie rue notre dame bordeaux

Chartrons is home to some of the best boulangeries and patisseries in the city. On rue Notre Dame you can find P’tite Boulangerie (Notre-Dame62 Rue Notre Dame), one of the best bakeries in Bordeaux. Continue South on the main street and you’ll find the cutest pastry shop of Chartrons, Micheline et Paulette (21 Rue Notre Dame). In other parts of Chartrons, you can find Maison Boileau (11 Rue Camille Godard), which won the Meilleure boulangerie de France award (best bakery in France) in 2019 in a very popular TV show. Chartron even has the oldest bakery in the city (but more about that later).

Stop for a good cup of coffee

If you’re a coffee lover, another place you’d want to discover is la Pelle Café (29 Rue Notre Dame). The place is owned by Carlos who roasts his coffee on the spot and is a real advocate for quality coffee. It’s a popular place where both locals and tourists like to stop for a cup of coffee and homemade cakes.

Before you enter, take a moment to look at the beautiful building, which used to be an oriental bath in the 19th century. Another good coffee shop that’s worth a visit is the 4e Vague Café (92 Rue Notre Dame) which makes Hawaiian coffee. You can also stop for a cup of tea (or coffee) at Juliena, a cozy Salon de thé with a nice selection of cakes (15 Rue Notre Dame).  

If you want to discover other good coffee places in Bordeaux check out my article about the five coffee places in Bordeaux you don’t want to miss

One of the best spots for shopping in Bordeaux 

shopping in Bordeaux

Bordeaux can be a fun place for shopping but If you’re looking for something more than big retail stores like Zara or H&M, I highly recommend going to the Chartrons district. Here you can find plenty of chic clothing boutiques, beautiful babywear, and the coolest accessories. Most of the stores are located on rue Notre Dame, here are just a few examples: Do you speak français? (a chic clothing store with a funky name), Nos Minis (the cutest baby wear ever), Coutume store (for anything stylish for your home). 

Look for antiques 

Antiques chartrons Bordeaux

Remember that I’ve told you that many of the houses on the east side of Chartron (the ones that are close to the river ) were originally warehouses where wine was stored? Well, today many of those warehouses are used as big antique shops. More than ten antique and vintage shops can be found on rue Notre Dame alone and if you take some time to stroll the little streets around it you’ll find plenty of others.

The biggest antique shop is Village Notre Dame (61 rue de Notre Dame) which is situated in an old printing bureau. It’s the first antique shop of Aquitaine and it gathers several professional dealers in one huge store. Most of the antique shops on the main street are quite pricey but there are a few places in Chartrons where you can find some bargains. One example is the big hangar named Broc Alain (58 cours de la Martinique).  

Every October Chartrons celebrates wine and antiquities with the lively Fête du Vin nouveau & de la Brocante. If you’re in town I highly recommend going to this event.

Learn about the history of Bordeaux wine at the musée du Vin et du Négoce

musee du vin et du Négoce bordeaux

The Cité du Vin is Bordeaux’s famous wine museum but in the Chartrons district, there’s another museum dedicated to the wine of Bordeaux. Musée du Vin et du Négoce is a small museum, located in what used to be a typical house of a négociant (wine trader) in the 18th century. It’s not as modern and interactive as the Cité du Vin but it’s the best place to discover the history of the Bordeaux wine region. The visit ends with a wine-tasting session where you get plenty of explanations about the different wine appellations in Bordeaux.

Le Musée du Vin et du Négoce is located in the northern part of Rue Notre Dame (the entrance is from 41 Rue Borie).  If you also want to continue to the Cité du Vin which is located close to Chartrons, read my article about my visit there

Have a picnic in the central park of Bordeaux

Jardin Public Bordeaux

Jardin Public, the central park of Bordeaux, is technically not a part of the Chartrons district but one of the entrances is on Course de Verdun, one of the main streets of Chartrons. It’s a beautiful park with vast green lawns, a lake with ducks and geese, and plenty of different facilities for kids. On a hot day, it’s a perfect spot for a picnic, just don’t forget to buy a bottle of wine before heading there 🙂 

If you want to discover other perfect spots for picnics go to my article about the best picnic places in Bordeaux

Discover one of the foodie streets of Bordeaux – Cours Portal

Cours Portal is not a very charming street but it definitely deserves a visit if you’re interested in food. It’s a long street with most of the good boutiques located close to Place du Marché des Chartrons. Here you have several good cheese shops and specialty shops for local products. If you like to make quality coffee at home, check out Café Refuge, a coffee specialty shop. The coffee roaster machinery there is really impressive! Like every foodie street, Cours Portal has its own little patissier, named Taupy (19 Cours Portal). If you’re a foodie, don’t miss this street. 

Have a delicious meal in one of the restaurants in Chartrons

Chartrons is one of the most gastronomic spots in the city with dozens of restaurants to try. Many of the good ones are located in the center, on rue Notre Dame, place du marché des Chartrons, or the little streets surrounding it. If you want even nicer scenery go to the quai (river banks), where you can find plenty of good restaurants with tables facing the Garonne River. Mt favorite restaurant in Chartron is located exactly there, it’s called Symbiose on 4 Quai des Chartrons.

Discover the oldest boulangerie in Bordeaux

Au Pétrin Moissagais the oldest bakery in Bordeaux

Au Pétrin Moissagais on 72 Cours de la Martinique is the oldest bakery in Bordeaux, established in 1765. Serge, the baker and owner of the place, is very proud of his Gascognian traditions and still makes the original Gascognian white bread in the 18th-century oven. And yes, it’s the same oven since the opening of the boulangerie (bakery), some 24 years before the French Revolution!

Don’t be shy if you want to take photos of the oven, Serge will happily show you around. The bakery has a completely different look and feel compared to a standard French bakery, it really feels like you’ve gone back in time to the 18th century. Don’t miss a visit there when in the neighborhood. 

A visit to this ond bakery and tasting of some of its delicacies is always included in the Chartrons Food Tour.

Visit the local market

marche des quais Chartrons

There are several food markets taking place in Chartrons on different days of the week. The biggest and most famous market takes place every Sunday morning on Quai des Chartrons. It’s a very popular market with dozens of food stalls selling everything from fresh fruits, cheese, pastries, and oysters.

The market is usually quite busy with both locals and tourists, especially if you come towards noon, but it’s still worth the visit. Besides the fresh local products you can buy at the market, it’s simply a very nice spot to have an early lunch or a plate of oysters with white wine if you want to feel like a local. A much smaller version of that market takes place at the same spot every Thursday morning. During the week you can also go to the covered market on Place des Chartrons, which is open every morning from Tuesday to Saturday. 

Visit Church Saint Louis

Eglise Saint Louis Chartrons Bordeaux

Eglise Saint Louis is the main church of Chartrons, a gothic-revival church built in the 19th century on the remains of the former chapel of the Chartreux (a religious brotherhood, Chartrons is named after). Tourists often overlook this church in Bordeaux because it’s situated outside the city center. However, it’s worth exploring, particularly for its captivating stained-glass windows. It’s located on rue Notre Dame, so it’ll be hard to miss. 

Go to the contemporary art museum

The Contemporary Art Museum of Bordeaux (CAPC) is located right on the southern edge of the neighborhood. 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. I admit that I’m not always a fan of their exhibitions but I think the place in itself is very impressive. 

The CAPC is open from Tuesday to Sunday 11:00-18:00. It’s included in the Bordeaux city pass, so if you have it, you don’t need to pay to enter the museum.

If you’re looking to discover other art venues in Bordeaux, check out my article about the best museums in Bordeaux.

Explore the street art 

le MUR - street art Bordeaux

The street art scene in Bordeaux is blooming! You can find quite a few extraordinary works of local artists on many of Bordeaux’s buildings. Chartrons is one of the most interesting neighborhoods to explore when it comes to street art. There’s even a guided tour dedicated to the street art of Chartrons.

If you’re planning to discover it on your own, let me give you one spot you shouldn’t miss. Le M.U.R (the wall) of Bordeaux (located at 2 Place Paul) is a 35m2 wall where local street artists can express their art. Every month or so a different artist is invited to paint on the wall and you can come and watch them do it live. This event is usually published on their Facebook page, you can check it out here.

Discover the kids’ Science museum of Bordeaux

Cap Sciences Bordeaux

If you’re looking to occupy your kids in Bordeaux, Cap Science is a great option and it’s located here in the north of Chartrons. This cool kids’ science museum proposes interactive exhibitions and activities all dedicated to different aspects of science. The museum is located at Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan.

For other stuff to do with kids in Bordeaux check out my list of 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux

Wave Surf Café

Another cool place in Bordeaux for both kids and adults is the Wave Surf Café, the first coffee shop where you can also surf! The Big artificial wave in the middle of the coffee shop imitates the ocean waves and allows you to feel like a professional surfer in the city center. If you’re in Bordeaux for just a few days and have no time to go to the ocean, this can replace your surfing experience  (although real surfers will probably disagree with me here 🙂 ). For more details click here.

Sing Karaoke

For all of you wannabe singers, Chartrons has recently welcomed the biggest Karaoke bar in town, called BAM Karaoke Box. The bar offers private Karaoke rooms for 6 to 15 people for blocks of two hours. The place is designed in a central American style with every room having a different theme. If you’re a group of friends this could be a fun way to finish your day in the Chartrons neighborhood. For more details click here. 

Shop in the Hangars – Quai des Marques

quai of Bordeaux

If you’re really craving more shopping there’s another place in Chartrons you can go to. Les Hangars on the promenade are old warehouses converted into a shopping center with plenty of boutiques and restaurants. It’s not my favorite spot to eat but sometimes when the weather is really good I do sit there for lunch as the view on the river is just stunning. The center is called Quai des Marques and it’s located at 15-19 Quai des Chartrons. 

Check out what’s happening in Hangar 14

To the north of the shopping center, you will find Hangar 14 – a venue that frequently hosts different events like wine fairs, creators’ markets, and more. I usually publish these events in my newsletter but if you’re passing by, don’t hesitate to take a sneak peek to see if anything is interesting going on.

There are plenty of cool bars and boutiques in Chartrons so I could continue talking about it all day long but I think I’ve intrigued you enough to make you go and visit this chic neighborhood. Hope I helped you discover some hidden spots in Bordeaux that you didn’t know about :). 

If it’s your first visit to Bordeaux don’t miss my full guide to a weekend in Bordeaux and my article about the most interesting districts in Bordeaux.

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

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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:

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 
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 🙂