So we can finally go a little bit farther than 1 km from our house Wouhoooo!!! I know that it’s not really considered traveling but we’re in 2020, take whatever you can my friends 🙂 In this article, I want to offer a few ideas of places you can visit within the 20km radius of your home, which is the new limitation for the moment. I don’t mention places in Bordeaux itself as I believe it will be very crowded so I prefer to encourage you to find more spacious places and discover nature or other cute parts of the metropole. As we are limited to only three hours a day I included places that can be visited shortly rather than long hiking trails.
For the purpose of this list, the 20km radius is measured from the center of Bordeaux. I assume that many of you live outside of Bordeaux so before going out check if the location fits in your 20km limitation. You can use this site to check. Here’s the list of ideas for places to visit during the next stage of confinement – 20km, 3 hours – here we go!
This is my getaway when I need a bit of nature close to Bordeaux. The beautiful Parc Floral of Bordeaux is located at the Barails natural reserve, next to the forest of Bordeaux (Bois de Bordeaux). With its beautiful flower garden and the creative twin city gardens with sculptures and structures donated by some of Bordeaux’s twin cities. No matter where you live in Bordeaux metropole, this park is probably within the allowed distance and it will fill your three hours with a lot of beauty.
Parc de l’Ermitage
Parc de l’Ermitage Sainte-Catherine in Lormont with its while cliffs is one of the most beautiful parks near Bordeaux and if you haven’t been there yet, this is an excellent opportunity to check it out. When on the upper side of the park don’t miss the stunning view from the Aquitaine bridge above the Garonne river.
For those of you coming with kids, there’s a cute animal park just next to the park called la ferme des Iris. Also if you’re traveling with a stroller I would recommend doing either the upper or lower parts of the park as the stairs between the two parts are quite steep.
Réserve Naturelle Des Marais De Bruges
Another beautiful and under-discovered nature spot in the metropole is the natural reserve of Bruges. Just a few minutes’ drive from Bordeaux Lac you’ll find 256 hectares of natural treasure with more than a hundred bird species and many types of insects and mammals. There is an itinerary of 2.4 km offered by the site that will allow you to discover one of the parts of the reserve and watch the birds from three different observatory spots.
The entry to the site is free, the address is Avenue des 4 Ponts.
Now something for those in the South part of the metropole, although it is within your 20 km even if you live in Bordeaux center. If you like taking a stroll next to water sources this one is for you. The beautiful Lac Vert (the green lac) in Canejan is a perfect place for a short hike with kids or with dogs or both 🙂 It has a nice 1.5 km trail surrounding the lake and a playground for kids when they finish the stroll.
A lake, beautiful nature, and mysterious caves all in one stunning park located less than 10km from the center of Bordeaux. Parc Majolan in Blanquefort is one of the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux and an excellent way to spend your three hours outside.
Take a long walk on the quai
The right side of the Garonne river is worth a visit not only for Darwin and la Guinguette chez Alriq but also for its beautiful promenade, especially Parc aux Angéliques next to Darwin. You can start your walk at Pont Chaban Delmas and continue walking along the riverside until you get to Arkea Arena in Floirac – it is about 6km in total.
The Ecosite of Bourgailh
I have mentioned this place on several occasions just because I really love it. It’s a great park for walking or cycling and definitely the best one if you have active kids who love skating and climbing on walls (aren’t they all 🙂 ) The area of the Forêt du Bourgailh includes a 2.6 km walking trail, the largest tropical greenhouse in the region, sports facilities, a skate park, an amphitheater, a zoo, and a beautiful animal-themed playground. If you’re cycling from Pessac you don’t have to get to the main entrance to enter the park, on the crossroad between Rue des Frênes and Avenue de Monbalo there’s a cycling path that leads right into the park.
For more places to visit in Pessac read my article.
Lla Forêt du Taillan-Médoc
If you want to discover a proper forest rather than a park, this one is for you. La Forêt du Taillan-Médoc is a 420 hectares forest that proposes four trails for hiking: The 2.6 km Circuit vert, the 5.3 km Circuit bleu, the 7.1 km Circuit rouge, and the 8.6 km Circuit noir. You can read more info about the forest and the circuits here.
Discover other markets
If you live far from a market and are obliged to buy everything at the supermarket, this is a great opportunity to get familiar with some of the best markets of the metropole. Many of the big weekly markets take place on the weekends and they are spread around some of the biggest suburbs in Bordeaux metropole. A few of my favorites are the Sunday market of Bassens, the Saturday market at Merignac, and the Sunday market of Pessac.
Check out the list of the best markets in Bordeaux is my article
Discover the suburbs of Bordeaux
Most people usually leave the metropole on the weekend or go to the center of Bordeaux, but these new rules give us an opportunity to discover some of the other towns surrounding Bordeaux. I have already written about Pessac with its lovely center (check out my article) but there are other cute little towns around Bordeaux. Lormont has a cute little center, Gradignan is lovely and has some interesting sites to visit such as the Prieure de Cayac and Parc René Canivenc with its aminal park. In Bordeaux itself, you can visit Saint Agustin and Saint Bruno which are two nice neighborhoods, or take a walk in the developing neighborhood of Bassin a flot.
If you don’t live in Bordeaux metropole, join my group “Travel in the Southwest of France“. We have members from all over the southwest of France that share a lot of advice about secrets spots in their region.
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:
Bordeaux isn’t one of France’s cheapest cities but there are quite a lot of things you can enjoy here for free (or at a very low price). In this article, I gathered plenty of ideas for you to enjoy the city and the area around Bordeaux without spending a dime. Following my list, you will learn how to dance, discover amazing art, visit beautiful beaches and do most of it completely free. If you’re coming with kids, this post will give you some nice ideas for entertaining them without breaking the bank. Many of the offered attractions in this article are available during the summer season but some things you can do during winter as well. So let’s start with the list of free things to do in Bordeaux!
Free things you can do all year long in Bordeaux
Stroll the historic city
You don’t need much to enjoy this amazing city. The exceptional architecture is present on almost every street. The old gates to the city, the romantic streets leading to lively squares, the wide beautiful promenade on the river banks will all leave a great impression on you. After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest number of preserved historical buildings in France. No wonder that its historic part was declared as an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble by UNESCO. If it’s your first time in Bordeaux you can read about the most important monuments in my guide to a weekend in Bordeaux.
Darwin – hipster paradise
If you want to take the off-beaten track go to where the locals love to hang out. Darwin is an old military base on the right bank of the river converted into an urban space with a very cool vibe to it. It has a very chic restaurant and several shops but you don’t really need to spend money to enjoy it. You can stroll around the hangars, check out the charity shop, see plenty of street art and just embrace the hipster vibes :). Darwin and the associations it hosts are very active and offer plenty of free events. I tend to write quite a lot about it, so check out my weekend posts. You can also have a picnic at the Parc aux Angéliques located just in front of Darwin.
Address: 87 Quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux
Free museums Sunday
Like in most cities in France, the first Sunday of the month is a free museums day. You have a free entrance to all the public museums and to most exhibitions. Check out the full list of museums in Bordeaux that you can visit for free this Sunday.
Free galleries in Bordeaux
Discover the local art in the many galleries spread in the city, many of them you can visit without a reservation. Here are some of the best galleries in Bordeaux: Galerie D.X., Bouillon d’art, A deux pas d’ici (photography), Cox gallery (street art). For contemporary art, head to FRAC which is located at the new MECA, an interesting architectural attraction by itself.
One of the best ways to discover the city is by bike and you don’t even have to pay much to do that in Bordeaux. There are city bikes (V³) stations spread all over the city and they cost only 1.7 euros for 24 hours. You have to return it to the station every 30 minutes and you can immediately take another one to continue your journey. You can also pay 2 euros per hour and return it later if you want to make a longer ride to areas without city bikes stations. See the location of the stations here.
See Bordeaux’s most ancient monument
Strolling the city center you’ve probably noticed a lot of impressive monuments dating back to the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries such and the Grosse Cloche or the Saint Michel Basilica. But Bordeaux’s oldest monument is actually located outside of the old city walls.Palais Galien is the ruins of a Gallo Roman amphitheater dating back to the second century when Bordeaux was called Burdigala. The site is located a few minutes walk from Jardin public and you can see all of it from the street. There are guided tours to Palais Galien during the summer season. You can book them calling this number +33 5 56 00 66 00.
Bordeaux Metropole is rich with many basilicas and churches, decorating almost every big square in the city. Its history is blended with religion and the churches are a testament to the development of the city. One of the best things about them is that they are always free and open every day. Bordeaux is an old city so you get to explore religious temples from various periods in time, carrying very different styles. Some examples are the amazing Saint Andres on Place Pey Berland that is built in a Gothic Style or the church of Notre Dame with its Baroque style. Other impressive and interesting churches and Basilicas include Saint Croix, Saint Michel and Saint Bruno.
There are free events taking place every weekend, from concerts on the street to huge brocantes, street art events, dance lessons and more. All you need to do is follow my weekend list to be updated on what’s happening in the city at the moment.
Drink at the Capucins Market
One of the main attractions in Bordeaux is Marché des Capucins, Bordeaux’s main market. Eating at the market definitely isn’t free (although very affordable) but you don’t have to eat there to feel the vibe. You can just sip a glass of cold white wine at Chez Jean Me (only 2 euros a glass) and absorb the sounds and smells of the market. If you need more recommendations check out my post about the best restaurants at the Capucins market.
Discover the street art
Like many other cities, Bordeaux too has the street art fever, with numerous talented local artists. One of the best things about street art is that it’s usually free, you just need to put some effort to find it. Darwin is one of the places that have the largest concentration of street art by local artists in Bordeaux. Other spots in the city include the Bassin a Flot district, rue du Loup with a beautiful work by Nasty, rue Bourrard, quai des platitudes, the Mur in Chartrons, rue Bergeret. One of the most beautiful works, in my opinion, is located just next to Pessac’s train station. The street art scene is always evolving so again you’ll have to get back here for updates 😉
Brocante in Saint Michel
Antiques and flea markets are a popular attraction in many cities. Some people go there to hunt for special bargains to take home and others see it as a way to discover more about the place through the pieces on display. Bordeaux is quite rich with Brocantes and Vide Greniers (a local version of a garage sale) and you can find many of them both in the center and the villages around it. The most famous one is located in Passage Saint Michel, a hangar that gathers about twenty brocanteurs (second-hand goods dealer) together. Just in front of it, on the main square in Saint Michel, you will find the Sunday Brocante with much cheaper items for sale. Another neighborhood to visit is Chartrons, with plenty of more expensive Antique boutiques. If you want to experience a local and cheaper “flea market” you should attend a Vide Grenier in one of the suburbs or the villages next to Bordeaux. To discover when are the next vide greniers taking place check out this site.
Discover the heritage and nature Bordeaux by foot
If you love walking and nature, this is the perfect place for you. There are plenty of beautiful hiking trails to discover in Bordeaux metropole and the towns around it. On the way, you will see lakes, rivers, forests, and historical monuments and guess what, it’s all free. Take a look at the best hiking trails in and around Bordeaux in my article.
What to do for free in Bordeaux during the summer
Go to a free music concert
The summer in Bordeaux is one big music festival with plenty of free concerts and parties scattered all over the city. There are several associations that organize free concerts from June to the end of September in many different styles and locations. Bordeaux Open Air offers amazing electronic festivals in the parks of Bordeaux almost every summer. Relache will make you rock with free rock concerts on different squares of Bordeaux. Banzai lab has amazing parties on the weekend of July and the Pavillon d’été welcomes you to enjoy free music concerts on the right bank of the river. For more information follow my post about things to do in July and August as well as my what to do this weekend post that I publish every Wednesday/ Thursday.
Learn how to dance
If dance classes are too expensive for you, in Bordeaux you can learn it for free! The main dance festival in the summer is Dansons sur les quais, with free dancing lessons on the promenade. The lessons are taught by professional teachers and it’s quite an amazing experience for both kids and adults. However, this is not the only place to take free dance classes in Bordeaux during the summer season. You can also learn how to dance Tango with Tango Bordeaux association and Swing with the Swing In Kiosque at Jardin Public.
Have a picnic at the Park
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a proper French meal or snack. Just buy some cheese and wine, add to it a crispy baguette from the boulangerie and head to one of Bordeaux magical picnic spots. Many of you probably heard about the beautiful Jardin Public, but this is far from being the only park in Bordeaux. Check out my list of the best picnic places in Bordeaux where I also included information about playgrounds for kids and the closest supermarkets. You’ll probably also like my article about the most beautiful parks in Bordeaux.
Listen to music and dance at la Guingette chez Alriq
La Guinguette chez Alriq is one of the best summer places in Bordeaux with plenty of concerts in the open air. During the summer they host amazing bands from Thursday to Sunday. While on most evenings the concerts cost 6 euros on Sunday afternoon the concerts are free!
Adress: ZA Quai des Queyries, Port Bastide, 33100 Bordeaux
Go to one of the beaches in the city
One of the best free attractions to do during the Bordelaise summer is going to a beach. There are many lakes in the area and two of them happen to be in the city and you can even reach them by public transport. Bordeaux Lac is a fantastic little beach in the north of the city. Unfortunately, the direct line to the beach (line c) from the city center is going through some works until September so going to the beach will take more time than usual. The second city beach is located in the southern suburb of Bordeaux, Bègles. Bègles plage can be reached by line c within 25 minutes from the train station. See the list of the most beautiful beaches around Bordeaux in my article.
Fun stuff to do (almost) for free with kids in Bordeaux
Chill at the Miroir d’eau
The best free attraction for kids (and adults) in Bordeaux is definitely Mirroir d’eau. Kids absolutely love splashing in the water, especially on hot summer days. When tired you can have a picnic at the little garden right next to it.
Go to the pool
Going to the pool is not really free in Bordeaux but it’s very affordable and you can spend the whole day there. There are several kids friendly pools in Bordeaux metropole, two of them are not very far from the city center. Next to the Meriadeck, you’ll find the piscine Judaique located in a beautiful art deco building. A bit farther from the center is Piscine du Grand Parc. Both are very kids friendly with facilities like kids’ pool, water slides, floats and more.
Skateboarding on the quai
If your kids love skating be sure to bring the skateboard with you when coming to Bordeaux. One of the best skateparks in the city is located on Quai des Chartrons and it’s free. For those heading to the Sunday market on the quai, that would be a great break for the kids.
There are plenty of amazing day trips you can go to when visiting the Bordeaux area. It’s not entirely free of course as you have to rent a car but it gives you the chance to discover plenty of amazing places around Bordeaux without paying a dime. Also, If you make sure to rent it a few months before your arrival rental prices are fairly low. If you prefer to go by train, check out my list of the 10 day trips you can do by train from Bordeaux.
Discover the beautiful châteaux of the Medoc region
Even if you don’t want to spend money on a wine tour I highly recommend doing the route du Vin, just for the beautiful châteaux all along the way. If you don’t want to rent a car you can do most of the trip by bike. While in many wineries you’d have to pay for a guided tour, some will offer you to taste their wine for free. For more information check out my article about the wine road in Medoc.
Go to one of Bordeaux’s beautiful beaches
Above I’ve mentioned two beaches that are located within the city but with a car, Gironde is a paradise for beach lovers. Plenty of beautiful sandy beaches surround the Bordeaux Metropole. The more kids friendly ones are located on the lakes, such as lac Lacanau or lac Cazaux and on the Bassin d’Arcachon. Surfers will definitely fall in love with the beaches on the Atlantic coast. If you need help in choosing the best beaches, I just recently released a post about the best beaches near Bordeaux.
Visit medieval villages
To its south and east, Bordeaux is surrounded by amazing medieval villages that you can reach within less than an hour drive. One of the most famous villages in our area is Saint Emilion, but it’s not the only charming village in the area, others include, Bazas, Saint Macaire, La Reole, Rions and more. For more information about some of these destinations check out my article about day trips from Bordeaux. Don’t miss my article about the most beautiful villages in Gironde.
I hope I convinced you that a trip to Bordeaux can be quite cheap when you have so many incredible free things to do. Hope you enjoyed the list!
Just to remind you that I often update about events and exhibition on my facebook/Instagram accounts so be sure to follow! Also, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.
Capucins is one of the oldest markets in France and it rightfully carries the title “The belly of Bordeaux”. Bordeaux’s market has such an importance in the gastronomic scene of Bordeaux that I always spend at least an hour there on my food tours.
It’s a big market, abundant with colorful stands of fruits, vegetables, meat, cheese and all the delicacies of the Southwest of France. However, it differs from many other French markets in that it’s a place for much more than just buying groceries. People go there for their morning coffee, for lunch or the sacred combination of wine, oysters, and friends meeting on the weekend. There are so many restaurants and stands at the Bordeaux market that for a newcomer it can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I decided to gather a list of all my favorite places at Marché des Capucins.
When it comes to local food, oysters are one of the highlights of our region. Bordeaux is just one hour away from Arcachon, one of France’s main oyster farming centers. So it’s not a surprise to find good oysters at the main market of Bordeaux. Chez Jean-Mi became one of Bordeaux’s go-to places for fresh oysters. I love that place so much that it quickly became a must on my food tour! On weekends, many locals rush here to meet their friends over a plate of oysters and a glass of white wine. Apart from oysters, the place serves a variety of seafood, delicious soups and more. You can sit inside and soak up the market atmosphere or grab a table outside to enjoy the sun while you sip your wine. The place tends to be very busy during the weekend so be sure to come early (around 11 am) to get a table.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Saturday from 7:00 to 13:45 and Sunday from 9:00 to 15:15.
Café Laiton – the best coffee in the Bordeaux market
Finding good coffee in a French market is not always easy and that’s what makes Café Laiton quite revolutionary. This cozy little coffee place is owned by the lovely Gaëlle who decided to open a quality cafe in Bordeaux after spending several years in Buenos Aires. There she used to work and drink her coffee at the market and came with the idea to replicate the ‘coffee at the market’ experience back home. Moving to Bordeaux, she realized that the Capucins market, where she used to spend a lot of time as a child, is the perfect scenery for her coffee shop. The place is quite small, but the market adds a lot of space to it. You can sit at the bar or grab a table outside. Apart from good coffee, they also serve homemade food and pastries and a delicious brunch on Sundays.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 8:30 to 13:45 and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 to 14:45.
Bistro Poulette is a chic restaurant that can easily fit the stylish food scene in the city center. But being located at the market of Bordeaux gives it a unique twist. Food and drinks are being served quite early in the day and you don’t have to wait for lunch to start your gastronomic celebration. If you come in the morning you can enjoy their breakfast, brunch or take it a bit further with a plate of charcuterie and wine. At lunchtime, you get to enjoy their specialty, which is Mussels, served in casseroles and cooked with a variety of sauces like white wine, curry and more.
Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday from 8:30 to 15:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 7:00 to 15:00.
Tortill’art – a Spanish delight at the Bordeaux market
Strolling in the market, you can easily miss this littletortilla bar. But, as it’s one of my favorites at the marché des Capucins, I must spread the word. Juan servers several types of tortillas and delicious Spanish Jambon with wine or a homemade Sangria. Tortillas are his specialty and some of the recipes run in his family for generations. He’s a super nice guy who you can have a fun chat with while sitting at the bar. What makes this place even more attractive are the prices! You can easily have a full lunch here for less than 10 euros.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday until 13:00 and Saturday and Sunday until 14:30.
Pata Negra – for the best Pintxos
One of the best tapas bars in Bordeaux is located in the Capucins market. In the middle of the week, this place mainly sells Spanish delicacies but on weekends it turns into a fantastic tapas bar with a huge variety of pintxos. Once you’re seated by the hostess and get your plate you can start picking the Pintxos. There is one problem though! there are so many of them that it’s really hard to choose only a few. Just be sure not to throw the long toothpicks holding the pintxos, as that’s how the restaurant knows how much to charge you. This is a very popular place so if you’re in the mood for delicious tapas, be sure to come early.
Opening hours of the bar: Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 15:30
Les Jardins – delicious lunch and tapas
Another fun place for lunch is Les Jardins. This little restaurant has a great variety of dishes on their daily menu. You can enjoy local meat dishes and many French delicacies like snails, oysters, and shrimps. The service is super friendly, especially when you’re coming in the middle of the week. The owner really tries to give attention to every customer which is refreshing.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 to 13:00, Saturday 5:00 to 14:00
Les Puits d’Amour – a magical dessert before you leave the market
This beautiful pastry carries the name le Puit d’amour, a well of love. It’s a local pastry, created by Maison Seguin in a little town South to Bordeaux called Captieux. Les Puit d’amour is filled with crème Chiboust (a mix of crème pâtissière and an Italian meringue). It’s a perfect bite size end to your market journey. Be aware that they arrive every day with only a few trays of les Puits d’Amour and once they finish selling them, puff they’re gone. So be sure to pass by before lunch and buy a box for later.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 9:00 until the last puit d’amour 🙂
Hope you enjoyed our virtual market tour! If it opened your appetite to discover more of the local flavors of the South West of France, check out the Lost in Bordeaux food tours where I take you through a journey of tastes and fascinating stories about the cuisine of the Bordeaux region.
Saint Michel is one of the most cosmopolitan and lively neighborhoods in Bordeaux, a home to a mixed population of students, immigrants, artists and people attracted to the hip vibe of the neighborhood. While it’s usually not part of the traditional sights seeing tours of Bordeaux, it’s worth much more than a short visit to the Basilica of Saint Michel and its tower. Saint Michel is located next to some of the most posh areas of Bordeaux and yet it has a completely different feeling to it, at times it feels as if Victor Hugo cuts Bordeaux into two different cities. The neighborhood is home to some of the best markets of Bordeaux, numerous places where you can browse for vintage clothes and furniture and an endless list of lively restaurants and cafes.
This guide to Saint Michel offers you a great variety of things to Do and See in Saint Michel. We’ll go through the most important monuments in the neighborhood and recommend where to eat, drink, shop and have a picnic. This neighborhood is constantly evolving and new places are opening all the time so even if you live in Bordeaux for a while now, I invite you to take a look and re-discover one the happiest places in town.
Basilique Saint Michel
The Saint Michel Basilica, classified as a world heritage of UNESCO in 1998 stands at the heart of this lively neighborhood. This church, built between the 14th and 16th century in a Flamboyant Gothic style, is the biggest parish church in Bordeaux. The Basilica is 75 meters long and is divided into 3 distinct parts. Start your tour from rue Canteloup and go towards Place Meynard in order to have the basilica fully reveal herself.
See Bordeaux from la Flèche Saint-Michel
Just next to the basilica you’ll find the Saint Michel bell tower or “la flèche” as the Bordelaises like to call it. This is one of the main monuments of the city and one of the sights you will often find on postcards of Bordeaux. Built in the 15th century, the bell tower of the basilica is 114 meters high and is the highest bell tower in the south of France. La flèche is a standalone building alongside the basilica, rather than on top of it. During the tourist season the tower is open to visitors and due to its height, offers a magnificent view of the city.
In 1881 a cemetery and catacombs were discovered under the town bell. Several mummies, that were also part of that discovery were shown to the public in the late 18th century. You can learn more about one the biggest mysteries of the city in the film presented in the cellar of the tower. The “Fleche” is located on Place Canteloup and can be visited daily from April to October, the ticket price is 5 euros.
The Saint Michel Market
Marché Royal, one of the biggest open-air markets in Bordeaux, takes place every Saturday morning at Place Meynard. The surroundings of the church and bell tower is filled with more than 100 merchants, selling everything from fruits and vegetables to kitchen supplies, clothes and even pillows :). From my experience, this is the cheapest market in Bordeaux. However, if you are into bio produce, this one is probably not for you. On sunny Saturday mornings, the market attracts both locals, doing their weekly shopping and outsiders that come for the noisy market atmosphere and chic cafés.
On Monday mornings a different market is taking place in front of the church. You will find very diversified merchandise displayed on the stands of Marché Neuf, including books, house supplies, clothing, toys and more, however it’s not a food market and doesn’t have the vibe of Marché Royal. This market is composed of hundreds of stands but has a more local vibe to it.
When: Marché Royal: Saturdays 7am to 1pm; Marché Neuf:Mondays 7am to 1pm
Place Canteloup et Meynard – 33800 Bordeaux
Browsing for Antiques
A French Brocante (secondhand goods market) is a nice way to discover the history, culture and different fashion trends of a city through the interesting stories of the objects you find. It usually doesn’t have a feeling of a flea market but rather a more antiques and vintage vibe to it. In Bordeaux , the brocantes have an important place and besides many local vide greniers (kind of a garage sale), the city hosts a huge brocante twice a year in Place de Quinconces. But if your visit is not planned during this time of the year, Saint Michel proposes a smaller scale brocante all year long.
Les Brocanteurs du Passage
Passage Saint Michel, located just in front of the church is home to 18 stands of antiques dealers and artists, with a variety of art and design items from different periods and styles. The prices are quite high but it can definitely inspire if you are into vintage stuff. The passage is open daily except Monday , see more details here.
Address: 15 place Canteloup, 33800 Bordeaux
Les Hangars is a new space of antiques and vintage pieces of art and furniture. It has a very posh and spacious look to it and is quite pricey but it has a significant selection of antiques.
Address: 18 – 22 Rue des Allamandiers, 33800 Bordeaux
Sunday flea market
Every Sunday morning more than 80 dealers gather at the square in front of the Basilica of Saint Michel for the Brocante du Dimanche. This is the weekly flea market of Bordeaux where you can find real bargains and purchase everything from toys for kids to antique frames and electronic devices. The quality of most of the items is not the highest but as with any flea market, you’ll have to work to find what you’re looking for.
When: Sundays 7am to 2pm
Place Canteloup et Meynard – 33800 Bordeaux
Eat and shop at La Mère Michel
La Mére Michel is the essence of what the main square of the quartier is all about, a combination of a brocante with good food, a great location and a hip atmosphere. It has a beautiful view of the bell tower of Saint Michel, but distant enough from the hustle of the market. On the menu it says “Crêperie-Bistrot-Brocante” and that’s what it is. The house specialty are crepes and the menu is mostly composed of many different types of crepes and galettes, with some traditional plates as well. The interior is decorated with many vintage items and they are all for sale for very affordable prices. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, I’d still recommend you take a look on the unique design they’ve put in place. On a sunny day, it’s a perfect place for an outside brunch, with tables right on Place Meynard, facing the bell tower and the church. The restaurant is open the whole day on weekends and closes for a break between lunch and dinner on week days.
Address: 22 Place Meynard, 33000 Bordeaux
Drink mint tea
Saint Michel is full of chic cafes and it’s hard to chose one when you want to take a break from antiques browsing. If you stay in the church area you will see that a lot of locals are actually drinking mint tea and not coffee. Until recently Saint Michel was mostly an immigrant neighborhood and many shops and cafés are owned by families who emigrated to Bordeaux from the Maghreb or the Middle East. Glasses stuffed with spearmint is something your’re going to see a lot on Saturday mornings there. My favorite place is Café de la Fraternité which is located on place Meynard right in front of the church.
Address: 27 Place Meynard, 33000 Bordeaux
Buy pastries at la Boulangerie
If you see a long line of people coming from a boulangerie, especially on Saturday morning, you’re at the right place. La Boulangerie (la boutique) on 51 rue des Faures, is a very popular bakery frequented by both locals and tourists. It’s located next to the Bell tower of Saint Michel. The design is very simple and modern with a nice vintage touch. They offer great baguettes and a nice selection of pastry that you can take with you to one of the cafés on Place Meynard.
Address: 251 rue des Faures, 33000 Bordeaux
Buy Mediterranean spices
Alongside the many cafes and restaurants, you will find plenty of shops specializing in mediterranean food, most of them located in Rue des Faures. From outside they may seem as just small supermarkets but if you go inside you’ll discover a paradise of spices such as Sumak, Bahar, Tahini and more. Bordeaux doesn’t have a big immigrant population and specific ingredients are not always easy to find, that’s why this place is a treasure for everyone who is looking to cook an Arabic or Persian dish. My favorite oneis Bazar Istanbul on 84 Rue des Faures, where I’ve always been able to find anything I need.
If you’re planning on a mint tea break, as was suggested before, combine it with some beautiful oriental pastry. France is the Queen of Patisserie, there’s no dispute about that, but if you need a break from the traditional French patisserie, A la rose de Tunis on 70 Rue des Faures, with its huge selection of Tunisian pastry is the place for you.
Saint Michel is a rising area in Bordeaux and a wave of new hip coffee places have established themselves in the neighborhood. Besides the many restaurants next to the main square and all around the area, there are also plenty of relatively new cafés with a hipster vibe to them. Two of my favorite ones are:
Michel ma belle: a small cozy coffee place on 33 Rue Gaspard Philipp, with a great selection of cakes, beautiful interior design and a distant view of the bell tower from the few tables outside.
Excuse my French: Located right in front of Bazar Istanbul on 87 Rue des Faures. There are a few tables on the busy street outside giving it a very lively atmosphere.
Visit the Capucins market
Le Marche des Capucins is a true Bordelaise institution. It’s located a few minutes walk from the main area of Saint Michel and can be seen from the Basilica. This is the biggest daily market and has everything that a good market should have. Stands of Fruits, vegetables, sweets, spices and fish all mixed with lively cafes and restaurants. Most of it is covered so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside, which makes it a perfect place to hang out with friends and family for an early snack or a proper lunch. In the weekend, the market is packed with locals, who gather to dine oysters accompanied by white wine. Be sure to come early to be able to catch a table. Marché des Capucins is open daily except Monday.
Have a picnic in Parc des Sports
Parc de Sports is a large green area with different sport facilities, located on the bank of the Garonne just in front of the Saint Michel neighborhood. If you walked too much and need to rest, buy some goodies at the market and head to the “Quai” for a picnic. This parc is less known than other picnic spots in the city and is mostly used by the locals, which makes it less crowded on Sunny days. Also, the view of the Garonne is quite impressive so try to find a spot closer to the river.
Silicon is a space of contemporary art with an agenda to promote young local artists. The gallery is located in one of the quieter streets in Saint Michel and is not that easy to spot, but definitely worth a visit if you’re around. See up to date info about the running exhibitions here. The gallery is located on 33 rue Leyteire.
Address: 33 rue Leyteire, 33000
Shop for second hand clothing
There are several second hand clothing shops in the area including Amos, a big chain of solidarity shops in France. One of my favorites is the little boutique on 9 rue des Faures, called Le Fil a Retordre. It looks small but has everything you need, clothes, shoes, books, toys, house decor and even some original designs of clothes and bags recycled from old items, all in very good condition. It’s owned by a nice lady who has owned several second hand shops in Saint Michel in the last 35 years. You can feel she’s a real local with an agenda to make clothes accessible to everyone and has not raised prices despite the rising popularity of the neighborhood.
Address: 9 rue des Faures, 33000
Dinner and concert at Quartier libre
Although it doesn’t look very impressive from the outside, this is one of the best places in town for a nice dinner with a live concert. The menu is usually quite limited but has great value. Most nights a concert is taking place at the bar, with a variety of local bands playing. Wednesday evening is jazz night, and you even have a place to dance if you feel like swinging. Quartier Libre is located on 30 Rue des Vignes.
Address: 30 Rue des Vignes, 33000
Discover rue Camille Sauvageau
There are so many beautiful boutiques, trendy cafes and bars on this street that it requires a separated article. I invite you to take a walk on this charming street that starts from the Basilica of Saint Michel and goes all the way to the Saint Croix neighborhood. Everything feels very stylish, vintage clothing shops, a nice little flower shop, the old buildings and the paved road all add to the charm of this narrow street. Take a long walk to discover the gems on rue Camille Sauvageau.
As this is one of the most growing neighborhoods in Bordeaux there are new cafes, restaurants and boutiques popping up almost weekly so to be really up to date you should visit there frequently. In this list I tried to give you the places that are particularly loved by the locals so you could try and experience your visit through their eyes.
If you go visit and find something new, don’t be shy and comment with your update below.
Share it with friends who are planning to visit Bordeaux this summer. Thanks!!
This weekend the European Patrimony days will take place and some of you might take this opportunity to discover the city through its beautiful buildings and institutions. If you are not into that, there are still plenty of events taking place this weekend in and around Bordeaux. A street art festival, an open air electronic music party, swing dancing on the streets, a biking tour and much more.
Here is the list of things to do this weekend in and around Bordeaux:
Journées Européennes du Patrimoine
The European Patrimony days are a great opportunity to discover some of the most beautiful and interesting places in Bordeaux that are usually hidden from the public. During the weekend of September 15-16 many public and private buildings will open their doors to the and allow you a taste of the city’s history. Some of the most interesting places to visit during the weekend are: the Opera of Bordeaux, Grosse Cloche, Hôtel de Nairac, Tribunal de grande instance de Bordeaux and many more. If you haven’t planned anything yet and want to avoid standing in line, check out my post about the 10 places to visit on Journées Européennes du Patrimoine.
You can see the full list of places open to visits here.
When: September 15-16 Where: Many places across the city, check out the program above.
Shake Well Festival
Shake Well Festival is an international graffiti festival taking place in the university campus of Pessac on September 14-16. This is a free event that gathers more than one hundred graffiti artists and gives them a huge space of 2000 m2 to express themselves during the weekend of the festival. The event will be accompanied by a lineup of different electronic music artists taking the scene from 10:00 to 21:00. For more info check out the website of the festival.
When: September 14-16 Where: Domaine Universitaire, BORDEAUX MONTAIGNE, 19 esplanade des Antilles, 33607 Pessac
Swing on the streets
Swing In Kiosque is a series of improvised dance events that are taking place in Jardin Public two times a month. This weekend the event will take place on September 16. Take a look at the full program of events on their facebook page.
When: September 16 at 15:00 Where: Jardin Public, 33000 Bordeaux
Festival L’Effet Papillon
The third edition of the Effet Paillon Festival will take place in Martignas-sur-jalle on September 14-15. The festive weekend will be packed with music, street art shows, a designers market, workshops and an outdoor food area. For more details and the lineup click here, to purchase tickets click here.
When: September 14-15 Where: 14 avenue de Verdun, 33127 Martignas-Sur-Jalle
Last Chance to see the street art expo in Base Sous Marine
Legendes Urbaines, the beautiful street art exhibition presented at the Base Sous Marine during the last 2 months is coming to an end on September 16 so this is your last chance to go and see it. The exhibition, hosting more than 50 street artists, follows the evolution of street art from the 80’s until today and presents different art styles from graffiti, to video art, vitrage paintings, works on wood, fabric and much more. The entrance to the Base Sous Marine will be free on the weekend of September 15-16.
For more details check out the facebook page of la Base Sous-marine.
When: until September 16 Where: La Base Sous Marine, Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux
The Pavillon d’été of L’Orangeade
The summer pavilion on le Quai Deschamps on the right bank of the Garonne is a great way to enjoy your evenings during the hot Bordelaise summer days. The pavilion, organized by the Orangeade association, is hosting free music and gastronomy events every Friday and Saturday until September 22. Take a look at the program for this Friday (Sep 14) and for this Saturday (Sep 15).
When: September 7-8, starting 6pm Where:Quai Deschamps, 33100 Bordeaux
A free concert of JJ. Thames and BearCatz will take place this Friday at the Place Fernand Lafargue as part of the Relache festival. The free music festival is promoting local music, and is taking place in different locations during the summer months. For more info click here.
When: September 14 starting 18:00 Where: Place Fernand Lafargue, 33000 Bordeaux,
Open Air Festival
Bordeaux Open Air is a series of free summer electronic music events, all set in different locations and with a great city vibe to them. The next event will take place on September 16 in Jardin Public and will be dedicated to Djs from New Delhi .
When: September 16, 14:00 Where: Jardin Public, place du Champ de Mars, 33000 Bordeaux
La Guinguette des Enfants
One of the best summer places in Bordeaux la Guinguette Chez Alriq dedicate this Saturday to families with kids. Plenty of games, workshops and a picnics will take place on the bank of the Garonne. For more info click here, the price is 5€ for adults.
When: September 15, 11:00 to 17:00 Where: ZA Quai des Queyries, Port Bastide, 33100 Bordeaux
The big scooter race
The Nire Laguna Thomas association organised a wonderful event to help raise funds for research on pediatric cancer.
A kids scooter race will take place this Saturday on the Quai of Bordeaux, starting from la Maison Eco-citoyenne. More than 300 kids, ages 5 to 10 will take place in the event. If you want your kids to participate in the race, register here.
When: September 15 10:30 to 16:30 Where: la Maison Eco-citoyenne , 33000 Bordeaux
Summer Rock in Bouliac
This Saturday (September 15) a fun event will take place in Bouliac called “Bouliac on the Rock”. The program includes an American cars exhibition, a rock concert, a raffle, vinyl discs and food stands. The festival is free, see more info here.
When: September 15, starting 11:00 Where: Parking du stade, Bouliac,
Exhibition and a painting atelier for kids in Le Garage Moderne
An exhibition of three painters will take place on September 13-25in one of the most unique places in the north of Bordeaux, Le Garage Moderne. This Saturday (September 15), the Garage Moderne will also hold a painting workshop for kids so you can enjoy some art while your kids are busy creating one.
When: September 15, 14:00- 18:00. The exhibition will be presented September 13-25. Where: 1 Rue des Étrangers, 33300 Bordeaux
Did you ever ride a bike in a museum or a hotel? Discover Bordeaux by bike through places where usually bicycles are not allowed: museums, sport centers, cultural and historic places and more. More than ten places have opened their doors for this unusual experience. The tour will take place this Saturday (September 16) and will start at the Maison Écocitoyenne Bordeaux. For tickets click here and for more info about the event click here.
When: September 16 Where: Quai Richelieu, 33000 Bordeaux
Open doors in Climb Up
Climb Up Bordeaux will hold an open door weekend (September 15-16) to allow you discover one of the newest climbing centers in Bordeaux. For details check out the website and the facebook page of the event.
When: September 15-16 (9:00- 18:00) Where:17 Avenue Pythagore, 33700 Mérignac
Vegan Market in the Bastide Neighborhood
A vegan and vegetarian market will take place this Saturday (September 15) at la Place Stalingrad. The stands will include food, drinks, oils, accessories, flowers and different objects, all with the agenda to promote a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. For more info click here.
When: September 15, 10:00- 18:00 Where: Place Stalingrad, 33100 Bordeaux
Monuments of Cinema
The Monuments of Cinema festival allows you to see great movies at remarkable monuments in the Gironde. During the whole week (September 8-15) movies such as Lumière, l’aventure continue, Monty Python and Everybody wants some! will be screened in places like Château de Cadillac, Parc Chavat in Podensac and the Sauve-Majeure Abbey. See the full program here.
When: September 8-15 Where: Different locations in Gironde, check out the program