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After a slightly sleepy January, Bordeaux is waking up to a stream of fun events taking place in February. We have the Spa Salon, a dance festival, a kids’ festival, shopping, concerts and more.
I know that it’s the middle of the winter, but last year we had a week in February when the temperatures went up to 25°C, so in case it happens again here’s an article about the best beaches around Bordeaux.
If you missed it on the Lost in Bordeaux Facebook page, last month I opened a group called Travel in the Southwest of France where me and other people living and traveling in the region share their recommendations and beautiful photos – it’s a super fun group so you should join and invite your friends of course 🙂 
Here’s the list of things to do in Bordeaux in February 2020!

Hors Piste – ski in the city

Hors Piste is a cool winter event in Darwin where they transform one of the Hangars into a ski station with fun free activities. The event will take place on February 1st. For more details and the full program click here.

When: February 1 / Where: 87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

Last days of winter Sales

Soldes d’hiver are several weeks in the winter during which you can find really good deals on clothes, shoes, electric supplies, toys and more. Les soldes d’hiver will take place until February 4 so you still have a few days to shop in February.

Disney on ice

One of the most popular events for kids in Bordeaux is happening again! All the popular Disney characters reunite for an ice skating spectacle. Disney Sur Glace includes three shows during this weekend (February 7-9) at the Arkea Arena.  For tickets and more details click here.

When: February 7-9 / Where: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac

Salon Spa

A spa salon with representatives from 70 establishments will take place on February 7-8 in Hangar 14. The program includes different conferences on health and thermal medicine. For the full program click here.

When: February 7-8 / Where:  Hangar 14, Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux

Braderie d’Hiver

Every winter the main streets of Bordeaux are getting filled with stands of clothes, shoes, toys, house supplies and more – this is the Bordeaux winter Braderie. If you’re in town for winter sales take the opportunity to check out the stands of more than 250 merchants on rue Porte Dijeaux, rue Sainte Catherine and rue des Trois Conils. The Braderie will take place on February 6-8.

braderie bordeaux
When: February 6-8 / Where: Center of Bordeaux: rue Porte Dijeaux, rue Sainte Catherine and rue des Trois Conils

Jumping International de Bordeaux

Jumping International de Bordeaux is a big riding equestrian event that includes competitions, spectacles and a fun fair. The event will take place on February 6-9 in Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux. More than 250 exhibitors will present their horses at the event which will include activities such as: Jumping world cup, amateurs competition, Equine Health Forum, a show of Iberian horses and more. For more details click here.

When: February 6-9 / Where:  Cours Jules Ladoumegue, 33300 Bordeaux

Villenave Trail Urbain

Villenave Trail Urbain is a sportive weekend taking place in Villenave d’Ornon on February 8-9. The weekend includes four different running/ hiking trails in the landscape of Villenave d’Ornon, starting with a Nordic night walking trail on February 8 and three other trails ranging from 5 to 21km. On February 9, there will also be two hiking trails tracks for kids: the Cross du CAV for kids from 11 to 14 years old and the Pouss’cross for ages 6 to 10. The tracks will start from Espace D’Ornon and will go through several chateaux in the area. You can see all the details and the inscription forms here

When: February 8-9 / Where: 147, route de Léognan 33140 Villenave d’ornon, 33140 Villenave-d’Ornon

Green Market au Château des Tours, Bouscat

A green market will take place on  February 9 in Château des Tours in le Bouscat. The market will host local producers of organic fruit and vegetables, patisserie, natural cosmetics and more. Check out the full list of merchants here. The entry is free.

When: February 9, from 10:30  / Where:  246 Avenue de la Libération Charles de Gaulle, 33110 Le Bouscat

Festival Pouce Bordeaux

Pouce is the annual kids’ dance festival taking place around Bordeaux metropole. During the festival, many dance shows will take place in Bordeaux, Pessac, Floirac, Bruges and other towns around the metropole. This year the festival will take place on February 11-21. The program also includes a dance workshop for parents and kids on January 26. Check out the full program here

When: February 11-21 / Where:  different locations around Bordeaux (check out the program)

One Night of Queen – Tribute

If you enjoy tribute concerts you may really like this one. Garry Mullen and The Works will pay tribute to Freddy Mercury and Queen at a special concert in Arkea Arena that will take place on February 12. For tickets and more details click here. 

When: February 12 / Where: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac

Lara Fabian in Bordeaux 

Lara Fabian will take the stage of the Arkea Arena on February 13. For the tickets click here

When: February 13 / Where: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac

Game In Jeux Vidéo

Union Saint Jean invites you to a weekend dedicated to video games on February 15-16. This year the event has a  “games from the 80s” theme. The program for kids includes a family space with kids makeup, paper toys, arcade games, big puzzles and more. The adults can enjoy a game museum, board games and more. Check out the long program on the facebook page of the event.

When: February 15-16 / Where: 97 Rue Malbec, 33800 Bordeaux

Chocolate Festival in Jardin Botanique

This tasty chocolate fair, organized by Fédération Autonome des Métiers Gourmands, is taking place at the Jardin Botanique on February 14-16. This year the theme is “Fruit time” and you’ll discover the beautiful sculptures made by the chocolatiers for the national chocolate competition of Bordeaux. Some of the best Bordeaux chocolatiers will present and sell their works at the fair. For the full program click here.

When: February 14-16 / Where:  Jardin Botanique Bordeaux-Bastide, Esplanade Linné, 33100 Bordeaux

Ratatam – kids festival

The fourth edition of the Ratatam kids festival will take place at the Entrepôt du Haillan on February 18-23. The program includes concerts, animated movies, a painting contest, video games, meetings with cartoonists, a comics workshop and more. Check out the full program here.

When: February 18-23 / Where:  Entrepôt du Haillan, Rue Georges Clemenceau, 33185 Le Haillan

Fête des Bœufs Gras 

Bazas in the Southern part of Gironde is a beautiful town that attracts many people with its weekly market. But what Bazas is mostly known for is its Beef. Since 1283, on the Thursday before Mardi Gras, the city of Bazas hosts the famous “Fête des Bœufs Gras” that celebrates the Bazas Beef. An Oxen parade takes place on the central streets of the town with the Oxen judged by a jury of experts. The day ends with a banquet where you can taste the famous meat. The event will take place on February 20.

Fête des Bœufs Gras in Bazas
When: February 20 / Where:  Place de la Cathédrale, Bazas, Gironde

Tour of Bazas and Local Foods Tasting

if you’re planning to go to Bazas for Fête des Bœufs Gras you have to read this one! This year two amazing English speaking guides Anne JORDAN and Simona PALENGA of Aquitaine Travel Guide will take for a two hours tour in Bazas. They will take you for a walk around the village of Bazas and show you the highlights of this UNESCO gem. You will discuss the history and importance of the Bazadais cattle and Boeuf Gras and finish with a tasting of local wine and foods, from foie gras to Bazadais saucisson. Tours offered Wednesday, February 19th at 3pm and Thursday, February 20th at 930am and 1030am. Meeting Point : Le Hotel Rodin / 3 Rue Charles de Gaulle Price is 10 EURO pp (cash only, kids under 10 free).

For all the details and reservation click here.

Cirque du Soleil – Corteo

The amazing Cirque du Soleil is coming back to Bordeaux once again with its new spectacle Corteo. Three shows will be performed on February 21-23 at the Arkea Arena. For tickets and more info about the show click here

When: February 21-23 / Where: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac

Black History Month in Bordeaux

The third edition of the Black History Month in Bordeaux is taking place from January 9 to February 18. It is a month of reflection on the dark history of slavery that Bordeaux was part of as well as a celebration of black culture in France and around the world. The program of the Black History month includes conferences, music concerts, exhibitions and more. This time the main two themes are the one hundred years mark to the sinking of the “French Titanic” with 192 Senegalese workers onboard and the role Boxing played in the Black liberation.  For more info and the full program click here.

Foire aux Plaisirs

This is the spring edition of the traditional Bordelaise Fair that is taking place at Place des Quinconces from February 21 to March 23. It’s a perfect activity for kids and for those who are young in spirit as La Foire aux Plaisirs de Bordeaux has it all: a big wheel, roller coasters, ghost trains, bumper cars, donuts, crèpes, barbes à papa and more. The fair is open daily from 14:00, you are not required to pay any entry fee, only for some of the attractions. See more info about the fair here.

Foire aux Plaisirs Bordeaux
Foire aux Plaisirs in Bordeaux
When: February 21 to March 23 / Where: Place des Quinconces , 33000 Bordeaux

Truffles market in Saint Emilion 

Truffles are one of the most identified products of the Southwest of France. Usually, Dordogne is the one to take most of the credit when it comes to truffle markets, but Gironde is giving a fight. Every Saturday morning in February a truffles farmers market will take place at Logis de Malet in Saint Emilion. See more info here.

Check out my article about what to do and see in Saint Emilion if you decide to go. 

When: February 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 / Where: rue des anciennes écoles, in front of la maison du vin), Saint-Émilion

Plenty of concerts at the IBOAT

If you’re looking for a cool music venue in Bordeaux, Iboat is your place. Tens of concerts are planned to take place in this chic boat in Bassin a Flot. For the full program click here.

When: February / Where: Bassin à Flot n°1, Cours Henri Brunet, 33300 Bordeaux

Carnaval de Bayonne

If you’re in a mood for traveling a bit in February, Bayonne is a good option as on February 22  the city will celebrate its annual carnival. This is a very traditional Basque festival with music and beautiful costumes. The program of the Carnaval has not been updated yet, I will update it here once it goes online.

When: February 22 / Where: Ville de Bayonne

Escape the rain

If it’s cold and raining and you’re not in a mood for an event, you can always choose one of the cool places on my list of things to do when it’s raining in Bordeaux.

Discover the foodie streets of Bordeaux 

Staying in foodie mood, you can also explore some of the foodie streets in Bordeaux. These are the places where you can find the best bakeries, coffee shops, cheese shops and more. They are not always on the tourist trail and not always easy to find and that’s why I decided to write an article about the foodie streets of Bordeaux.

cafe chartrons bordeaux

Go to one of Bordeaux’s museums

Last but not least, if it’s too cold outside, going to a museum is always a good idea! Bordeaux has a great variety of museums, from street art to science and history, just choose one from my list of museums in Bordeaux.

Finally, if you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.

Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. To help you choose a hotel I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

Lost in Bordeaux helps you enjoy the city and region in many ways so be sure to follow us on facebook/Instagram for more daily updates on things to do and see. Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

Wine enthusiasts don’t need an introduction to Saint Emilion. The small wine appellation (comprising only 6% of the vineyards in the Bordeaux denomination ) has long gained a reputation as one of the greatest wine regions in the world. It’s no wonder it attracts more than a million tourists every year. However, when many visitor plan their day trip to Saint Emilion they don’t realize it’s also one of the most beautiful and fascinating villages in the Southwest of France, registered as a heritage site by UNESCO. 

For many decades this picturesque town has been an economic and religious center attracting royals, winegrowers and pilgrims. Every square in the small village center is packed with history and some incredible architecture. Thousands of hectares of vines surround the medieval village making the landscape an unforgettable scenery. And so, many tourists arriving to Bordeaux become overwhelmed when trying to construct their own trip. In this article, my goal is to tell you about all there’s to do and see in Saint Emilion, where to eat and how to get there. While you can still take guided tours, I hope this complete guide to Saint Emilion will make you want to do it by yourself and at your own pace. If you still prefer to take a guided tour, I have a few to recommend, so you can continue reading or go directly to my article on how to get to Saint Emilion (with or without a tour).

day trip to Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion from above by lost in Bordeaux

I previously published an article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion so you can skip all my explanations about the city center and jump straight to wine tasting if you wish, simply click here

What to do and see in Saint Emilion

A little touch of history

Saint Emilion has an integral part in the history of Bordeaux and the region. The history of wine in Saint Emilion (or Ascumbas as it was called back then) can be traced to the 3rd century BC, when the Romans planted the first vines in the region. It originally had a mere 200 hectares dedicated to vineyards, clearly not the wine empire it is today. 

In the 8th century, a monk named Emilian arrived to the little village in search of a quiet simple life and decided to make it his home. He lived in a little cave, receiving the many followers who traveled all the way to Saint Emilion to get his blessing. That’s actually how the village received its name, Saint Emilion. In the following decades, many religious orders would follow the steps of the monk and move to Saint Emilion to build their churches and convents, which explains the abundance of religious buildings in such a small village. The city became an important landmark for many of the pilgrims following the Camino de Santiago pilgrim way to Spain. The cave of Saint Emilion inspired the construction of the most impressive monument of Saint Emilion, the monolithic church. 

In the middle ages, during the 300 years of British rule, Saint Emilion was an autonomous city with a lot of financial and governmental power. In 1199 the British king established the Jurade, a group of magistrates governing the city. In return for the economic and political autonomy, the British received in return the best wines of Saint Emilion. That’s how the wine of Saint Emilion become so popular in England. 

The rich history of this little town left many traces in the city center. Many books have been written about its historic monuments, but here I want to share with you a few places that are in my opinion a must on your day trip to Saint Emilion. 

Take a tour to discover the underground of Saint Emilion 

Probably the most famous monument of Saint Emilion is the 12th-century Monolithic church that as its name suggests is carved from one stone. It’s the largest Monolithic church in Europe and it’s construction required the extraction of 15 000 mof stone. When looking at its modest front, it’s hard to imagine how big it is from the inside. I saw many pictures of the Monolithic church before going to Saint Emilion for the first time but I was still amazed when I saw this masterpiece firsthand. 

As it’s a preserved site, to visit the church you will need to take the tour proposed by the tourist office. I know that many people are not big fans of guided tours but this one is really worth it. During the tour, you get to also visit other underground sites which tell some of the history of the city. Apart from the church itself, you will visit the catacombs, where the important people of Saint Emilion used to be buried in the middle ages. You will get to sit on a fertility chair in the original cave of Saint Emilion (according to the tourist office many babies have been born following this ritual) and to see the impressive paintings on the 14th century Chapelle de la Trinité.

Two English tours are offered two times a day. At 11:00 you can take a general tour in Saint Emilion which ends with the underground tour. While the 14:00 tour is dedicated only to the underground sites. Times may change according to the season. See more details on the official tourist office page. 

The bell tower of the Monolithic church. 

While the church itself is well hidden in the rock, its bell tower is standing tall and can be seen from every spot in the city. If you’re interested in architecture, the tower is a fascinating monument by itself, built in both Romanesque and gothic styles. You can climb the bell tower and see a magnificent view of Saint Emilion from the highest point in the city.

The Collegiate church

The Collegiate church is a beautiful monument built between the 12th and 15th centuries and you can visit it all by yourself, without taking a tour. Here again, you can see an interesting mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles, reflecting the long period of its construction. The west door of the church was built in a pure Romanesque style during the 12th century while the north door is a Gothic one from the 14th century. It’s located behind the tourist office and you can enter it through one of the two doors or through its beautiful cloister. If you pay close attention to the walls of the cloister you will see quite a lot of interesting items such as graves, statues and even a little dragon. 

La tour du Roy

The 13th century King’s Keep is one of the most famous military architecture monuments in Gironde. There’s still a debate between historians on who ordered its constructions but one thing is sure, it’s a beautiful monument well worth a visit. It’s also a great spot to see the view of the vineyards of Saint Emilion. The tower is open daily for visits, consult the opening hours and prices here

Les Cordeliers – drink sparkling wine in an old cloister

Red wine is not the only famous product of Saint Emilion, you can surprisingly find also one sparkling wine as well, called Cremant de Bordeaux. The producer of the sparkling wine sits in a beautiful old cloister that is worth a visit even if you’re not a fan of bubbly wine. The Cordeliers cloister was established in the 14th century by the Franciscan brothers. For several centuries that’s where they used to live, pray and grow vegetables in their beautiful garden. Most of the building was destroyed during the French Revolution and was later sold to private owners. In the 19th century, the new owners of the place decided to use the enormous underground galleries to produce and store sparkling wine.

Today the production has moved to a remote location but they still store their bottles in the caves underneath the cloister and they offer daily tours where you get to visit the caves and taste the sparkling wine of Saint Emilion. Although the tour is nice, it’s not a must unless you really want to see the underground galleries. 

They also have a nice bar outdoors where you can grab a glass of Cremant de Bordeaux (the sparkling white or rosé) together with a picnic basket and sit in the beautiful garden. For more details about the tours and the history of the place click here
Address: 2 Bis Rue de la Porte Brunet, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Enjoy the vibes of the Local markets

The markets in the Southwest of France are a treat so visiting at least one should always be on your list. The market in Saint Emilion takes place every Wednesday and Sunday between 8 am and 1 pm in the city center. It’s a nice small market that can give you a little taste of how a typical French village market looks like. However, if you want to experience a real big regional market with tens of stands of local cheese, wine, charcuterie, oysters and more you must visit the Libourne market that takes place every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Libourne is located just a few minutes drive from Saint Emilion so it’s really in the neighborhood. 

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One thing I really love to do in France is discovering new markets. That's why I was really intrigued when I heard that the market in Libourne is among the biggest in the region. When I visited there, I was really happy to find this vibrant market in the city center with tens of stands and people from all over the area coming to the "big city" for their friday shopping. Although Libourne is a lovely and interesting city, something about the market atmosphere really upgrades the visit there. If you're planning to visit Libourne definitely do it on the market day (Friday and Sunday) #libourne #market #marchéfrançais #marche #southoffrance #suddefrance #sudouest #gironde #libournais #nouvelleaquitaine #igergironde #igbordeaux #bordeauxfrance #bordeauxmaville🇫🇷 #bordeauxmaville #bordeauxmylove #lostinbordeaux #lovebordeaux #bordeauxregion #bordeauxguide #bordeauxcityguide #bordeauxcity #libournetourisme #bordeauxtourisme @tourismelibournais

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If you’re about to visit Bordeaux on your trip, don’t miss a chance to visit Bordeaux’s main market, Marché des Capucins. It’s truly one of the liveliest markets in France and a great place to try local food. There are plenty of restaurants at the market and you can read about the best ones in my article about where to eat at the Capucins market. 

Night market

Like many small villages in the area, Saint Emilion holds a weekly night market during the summer months. The market takes place at Parc Guadet and has a very fun local vibe to it. Every year it attracts many tourists and locals to enjoy the best local food and concerts. If you arrive to Saint Emilion in July-August you can get all the details about the night market in the tourist office. 

Try regional sweets 

macarons of Saint Emilion

If you’re tired of wandering around soaking history and sipping wine it’s time to stop for some local sweets! Yes, the Bordeaux region has special sweets that you can’t find anywhere else in France and one of them is coming straight from Saint Emilion. Did you know that the original Macaron was actually born in Saint Emilion? The macaroons of Saint Emilion are produced there since 1620 when the Ursulines sisters established their convent in the village. The recipe is being passed from generation to generation and hasn’t been changed ever since. You can get a box of macarons at the little sweets shop “Fabrique de macarons” ( Address: 9 rue Guadet). Or have a cup of tea with a great variety of local sweets and pastries at Au Parvis des Thés, a nice coffee shop, located behind the tourist office. Address: 1 Place Pioceau, 33330 Saint-Émilion

If you want to learn more about the macarons and other Bordeaux sweet specialties go to my article about the sweets of Bordeaux

The Saint Emilion wine route – visiting wineries 

How to visit wineries in Saint Emilion 

We’re finally getting to the topic most visitors come for – how to visit the wine chateaux of Saint Emilion. If you just want to drive around the Saint Emilion area and taste and buy some wine directly from the wineries, it’s quite straightforward. Many of them will happily welcome you to the chateau and will happily let you taste their wine. However, if you’re interested in a tour (even a basic one), you usually have to either make and appointment or book online. So it will require some communication on your part, but I highly recommend visiting at least one chateau when in the region. 

best wineries in Saint Emilion

Here’s a good tip for those of you who don’t like to plan and would just love to visit a few properties. The tourist office in Saint Emilion publishes a list of two to four chateaux on a daily basis that are open for a visit without prior reservation. It allows you to be both spontaneous and to discover some wine chateaux you may have never heard of. You can see the daily list of wine chateaux here

Having said that, I know that most people traveling such a long distance to the southwest of France would love to know ahead what chateaux are the best ones to visit. There are more than 130 wine producers in the great Saint Emilion area, many of which are open to visitors. So obviously choosing only one or two is not easy. But as I had the chance to visit many chateaux in Saint Emilion in the last two years, I’ve gathered a list of some of the best wineries to visits in Saint Emilion. This list is very limited and surely there are many other excellent wineries in the region but I found those to be particularly friendly and interesting to visitors. At least half of my list is dedicated to small family estates rather than big wineries owned by big companies. I personally prefer this kind of visits as they feel more personal and allow you to discover the passion and history stretching several generations of winegrowers in one family. 

Château Cantenac in Saint Emilion
Château Cantenac by lost in Bordeaux

Most of the winery owners and their employees speak English so contacting them should not be a problem. However, If you don’t want the hassle of contacting the chateaux you can always book a visit through Rue des Vignerons

Discover the Pomerol Appellation 

If you’re really passionate about wine I would also recommend discovering the luxurious neighbor of Saint Emilion, the Pomerol Appellation. It’s located very close to Saint Emilion but is considered a separate wine area and while it’s one the most prestigious appellations in the area, it’s not included in the official classification from 1855. It’s the smallest wine appellation in the Bordeaux wine region, covering roughly 800 hectares of vines.
Chateau Petrus is the most famous one in Pomerol. Unfortunately, most of us cannot visit this chateau as they are open only to wine professionals and honestly, most people can’t afford it either. But there are several Pomerol wineries who will be more than happy to welcome you to their estate. The most impressive one, in my opinion, is Chateau Beauregard with the most impressive wine tanks I’ve ever seen. Another one I really like is the smaller family-owned Chateau Bel Air.

Visit wineries in Bordeaux Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol
Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol

Even if you don’t have the time to visit a winery in Pomerol you can still taste it in one of the wine shops in Saint Emilion. It’s really a great wine so I strongly recommend it. Many call it a ladies wine because it’s easier to drink than a Saint Emilion, but don’t say that to a Pomerol producer, they don’t like that label 🙂 

Taking a guided tour to Saint Emilion 

While I believe that Saint Emilion is a great trip to do on your own, I know that many visitors love to take guided tours. So for those of you who would rather not drive in France or just don’t want to spend time planning their visit, here are a few recommended tours that will take you from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. 

  • This is one of the most popular half-day tours from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. Besides the ride to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux the tour also includes several wine tastings and a visit to two wine chateaux which for many people is plenty for one day. The price is €94 per person. You can find all the details of the tour and book directly here.
  • This is a half-day tour in Saint Emilion with a visit to one winery for € 75 per person. It’s rather intimate as they book small groups meaning you get to actually listen and ask questions. You can check out the details and get your ticket here.
  • A full day trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion, visiting three different chateaux at € 125 per person. This is a great option if you want to see different techniques of winemaking and taste different wines from the same area. You can see all the details and get your ticket here.
  • One of the cheapest tour options (€ 42 per person) is a half-day trip to Saint Emilion leaving on Wednesdays and Sundays that also includes a visit to a chateau. The downside is that these groups are quite big so don’t expect an intimate experience. See all the details and get your tickets here.

What to eat in Saint Emilion 

The village of wine must take itself seriously when it comes to gastronomy and indeed there are dozens of great restaurants in Saint Emilion. Nevertheless, as I already mentioned, Saint Emilion is a very popular tourist destination which means that there are plenty of tourist traps to watch out from. Also, it’s crucial to make reservations in advance! Most of the good restaurants are booked so avoid trying to enjoy a spontaneous meal there. I gathered a shortlist of good restaurants in Saint Emilion, which includes both high-end gastronomic institutions and more simple but very good restaurants.

Logis de la Cadene – I dare say that this one Michelin star restaurant is the most praised restaurant in Saint Emilion. If you’re celebrating a special event or just want to have a culinary treat, this is the place for you.
Address: 3 Place du Marché au Bois, 33330 Saint-Émilion

L’Envers du Décor – It’s the first wine bar in Saint Emilion that became one of the best restaurants in town. The place is a bit pricey but the food and the overhaul experience are worth it. Plus, they have a nice little garden which is super fun when it gets warm. It’s currently owned by the Perse family, the owner of the famous Château Pavie so perfect wine matching won’t be a problem. The restaurant is open daily. The address is 11 Rue du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Delices du Roy – a delicious menu of local cuisine with a more relaxed atmosphere than many of the other restaurants in Saint Emilion. One of their trademark dishes is the duck burger. Address:1 Rue de la Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 Saint-Émilion

L’huitrier-pie – a creative restaurant with great food. It feels very fancy but the prices are not too high compared to the more expensive restaurants in Saint Emilion. Address: 11 Rue de la Porte Bouqueyre, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Comptoir des Arts – If you don’t want to spend a lot of money or just prefer a light lunch head to Comptoir des Arts. This small little restaurant serves nice quiches and salads at very reasonable prices. The restaurant is located at the very pleasant Cour des Arts in the center of Saint Emilion. 

Chateau de Candale – If you want to take full advantage of the wine region you can have lunch between the vineyards. Chateau de Candale has a nice gastronomic restaurant in their wine chateau and you can even combine it with a great wine tour. 

Attend some of the best events in Saint Emilion 

Saint Emilion is a small but very lively town with plenty of events taking place throughout the year. This wine region celebrates everything from wine to gastronomy to Jazz music so check out if there’s an event lining up with your planned trip. I write monthly and weekly posts about the events taking place in and around Bordeaux (including Saint Emilion) so all the events will eventually appear on my blog. But here are just a few of the major ones:

The open doors in Saint Emilion – a weekend at the beginning of May when tens of wineries open their chateaux and welcome the public for free tours, wine tastings, exhibitions, concerts and more. 

Saint Emilion Jazz festival – The Saint Emilion Jazz festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the region taking place at the end of July. Plenty of local and international Jazz bands arrive to Saint Emilion to celebrate music and good wine. 

Montgolfiades de Saint-Emilion – a hot air balloon festival taking place every year in October above the vineyards of Saint Emilion. This event is absolutely stunning!

saint emilion hot air balloon
Saint Emilion hot air balloon festival

Ban des Vendanges – a ceremony taking place on the King’s Keep in September, officially starting the harvest season in Saint Emilion. 

What’s the best time to come to Saint Emilion 

Let’s start with when not to come to Saint Emilion! try to avoid coming at the beginning of April as it’s the primeur week. The En Primeur way of buying wine is very common in Bordeaux thus most wineries are busy with hosting wine traders and won’t have time to offer you a tour. Also, once in two years in June, Bordeaux hosts one of the biggest wine events in the world – Vinexpo, meaning that many wineries will send their staff to the expo and will welcome only a minimal amount of tourists. The next one is about to take place in June 2021. Also, avoid coming to Saint Emilion in the last week of December and the first week of January. While many wineries stay open for visits even during the winter, in those two weeks you will have a hard time finding an open chateau. Don’t forget that many of the wine estates employ only a small number of people and these usually leave for their Christmas vacation. 

day trip to Saint Emilion
cute little shops in Saint Emilion

Is Summer a good time to visit Saint Emilion?

Generally, summer is a good time to visit the Southwest of France and the Bordeaux area in particular. It’s the official tourist season and most places are open and offering you a world of activities and adventures in this lovely area. On the other hand, arriving in August, the most touristic month, can also be a disadvantage. Saint Emilion is one of the most popular destinations meaning that during the summer it gets packed with tourists flooding its narrow streets. Even getting a simple lunch in the city center can become a real hassle. And while the big chateaux are all open for daily tours some of the small family-owned chateaux can close their wineries for a few weeks in August. I’m not discouraging you from coming in August of course but I want you to be prepared. If there’s a particular winery you’d like to visit, contact them in advance. And most importantly, book your lunch and dinner in advance as well or else a homemade sandwich might be your only friend in August 🙂 

When is the best time to come to Saint Emilion?

In my opinion, the best time to come is from Mid April to July and then in September through October. May and June are excellent months for a visit as all the tourist attractions are open for the summer season but it’s not too crowded yet. September and October are the magical harvest season and if you’re interested in wine it’s something you wouldn’t want to miss. 

harvest time in Saint Emilion
harvest time in Saint Emilion

How to get to Saint Emilion

My directions here mostly focused on people coming from Bordeaux for a day trip. I will just mention that the two closest airports to Saint Emilion are the Bordeaux airport in Merignac and the little airport in Bergerac. 

How do you get from the center of Bordeaux to Saint Emilion

Saint Emilion is one of the easiest destinations to get to from Bordeaux as there’s a direct train from Gare Saint-Jean (Bordeaux’s main train station) to Saint Emilion. The station in Saint Emilion is located about 15-20 minutes walk from the city center. If you want to know in detail about the train’s time schedule, where to buy tickets and how to get a transport from the station to the city center, read my article about how to get from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion

Nonetheless, if your day trip to Saint Emilion includes a visit to more distant wineries I do recommend coming with a car. 

Where to park in Saint Emilion?

There’s the free parking lot of the Gendarmerie (police station). However, this parking is often full on busy days in which case you can leave your car at the free parking next to the train station. There are also several paid parking lots (about 2 euros/hour): around the collegiate church (the upper town) and Place Bouqueyre (bottom town). 

Where to stay in Saint Emilion

I know that many visitors go to Saint Emilion only for a day trip but consider staying a night in the medieval beautiful city as it can really be a beautiful experience. Here are a few recommended hotels for those who decide to stay in Saint Emilion.

Logis de la Cadene

This is one of the most recommended hotels in the center of Saint Emilion. The hotel, with an amazing view of the historic center, has a warm and elegant design to it. And as I mentioned above it also has one of the best restaurants in town. Book it here

Hostellerie de Plaisance 

One of the most luxurious and beautiful hotels in the center of Saint Emilion. The hotel is located just next to the Monolithic Church of Saint Emilion and offers a magical panoramic view of the medieval village and the vineyards. Book it here.

Les Chambres d’Ovaline

Les Chambres d’Ovaline is a cozy and beautiful B&B located a few minutes walk from the center of Saint Emilion. The rooms are beautifully designed and you can enjoy your breakfast in their cute garden. It’s also much more affordable than the other options in Saint Emilion. Book a room here

Château Hôtel Grand Barrail

where to stay in saint emilion

A luxury hotel located in the middle of the vineyards a few km from the center of Saint Emilion. The hotel has a pool and a SPA facility as well as a gastronomic restaurant. This is a great place if you’re looking for a more isolated vacation. Book it here

Le Relais de Franc Mayne Saint Emilion

A magical B&B with the most beautiful view on the vineyards of Saint Emilion. The rooms are quite spacious and beautifully decorated. To book a room click here.

Bleu Raisin

If you don’t mind driving a bit, this cute B&B is located in an old wine farm, about 14 km from the center of Saint Emilion. Their price is really great and the setting is quite amazing. Book a room here

I know that this article was very long so if you got to the end, “Bravo” as the French say. Here are a few other articles you’ll find useful when traveling to the area.

If you’re planning to visit Bordeaux you can follow my guide to a weekend in Bordeaux or my post about what to do in one day in Bordeaux.

If you want to discover other wine areas in the Bordeaux region read my article about two days in the Medoc region. Also, check out my article about day trips from Bordeaux

Hope you find this article helpful! If you do, please share it with your friends!

*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 🙂 

The harvest season in Saint Emilion or the ”vendange” as the French call it, is an old tradition that attracts many locals and foreigners to the area. While the prestigious wine region enjoys a steady stream of visitors starting from early Spring, Saint Emilion’s harvest season in September seems to be the busiest time of the year. It’s hard labor no doubt, but it doesn’t stop the flock of mostly young locals and foreigners taking part in this beautiful tradition. These days, the wineries are reluctant to take volunteers because of strict working regulations and their desire to control the quality of the harvest. That doesn’t mean however that you cannot take part in events related to the harvest in Saint Emilion and Bordeaux. In this article, I want to help you explore all the harvest related activities and make the best out of the harvest season of Bordeaux wines. 
Some Cheateaux I’ve been talking to are still planning their activities so I’ll update here with more events as they become available.

The ceremony of the harvest in Saint Emilion – Ban des Vendanges

The ceremony that kicks off the annual harvest in Saint Emilion is called Ban des Vendanges, meaning ‘the harvest ban’. The exact term is actually lifting the ban of the grape harvest, which historically allowed the winegrowers to start collecting the grapes from the vineyards. The ceremony is held in front of the beautiful front collegiate church of Saint Emilion by the Jurade, winegrowers dressed in red caps and robes. The Jurade is a brotherhood of 140 Jurats (members) founded 800 years ago with the mission to supervise the production and making of fine wines. Today they have a more symbolic role of maintaining the traditions of the Saint Emilion wine area. 

This year the events of the “Ban des Vendanges” will take place on the weekend of September 21-22, as part of the European heritage days. The first ceremony of the Jurade will take place on the evening of September 21st (Starting at 22:15) at the Tour du Roy and will end up with a sound and light show. The second day of the ceremonies (September 22) is a celebration of the new vintage. 

The day includes the Jurade ceremony which will be followed by a lunch reserved for wine professionals, many of whom attend the event only for this great networking event. Learn more about the Jurades ceremony here

If you want to see how the harvest process is actually done you can join the Journée Vendanges at Château Mangot (September 28). It’s a half-day activity where you get to visit the vineyards accompanied by in-depth explanations about the “vendanges” and the tradition and history of the château. You will also visit the cellars and taste the 2018 wines from the barrels. The day includes lunch at the park of the chateau. The price is 39 euros per person and you can book it here

As it’s the patrimony days, it a good opportunity to discover some of Saint Emilion’s most emblematic sites. On September 21-22 you are offered free visits to fascinating places like the Monolith Church and the collégiale of Saint-Émilion, guided free tours in the city, tours for kids, light shows and more. You can see the full program for the weekend here

Chateau La Croizzille in Saint Emilion
Chateau La Croizzille – by lost in Bordeaux

If you’re going to spend the weekend in Saint emilion it is highly recommended to try and book a visit to one of the wineries in the area. Some of them will probably be busy with the harvest season but others have enough personnel to welcome you in their domain. To chose a chateau, go to my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion

Grapes harvest in Bordeaux – other activities

The harvest season celebrations in Bordeaux are not limited to Saint Emilion. Bordeaux will host the big “Bordeaux fête ses vendanges” event on the weekend of September 12-15. On September 12, the Triangle d’Or district will host a jazz concert to celebrate the new harvest. On September 13-14 the city center will transform into a huge terrace with plenty of restaurants that will help you discover the different wines of Bordeaux. For more info about “Bordeaux fête ses vendanges” click here

The grape harvest celebration will end with the Vign’en ville festival, hosting winemakers in Jardin Public that will teach you all about wine production through a series of workshops and activities. You can read more about the Vign’en ville event in my post about things to do in Bordeaux in September

Another great harvest event will take place at the Sauve-Majeure, the ruins of the 11th-century Benedictine monastery.  The site also hosts the Maison des Vins de l’Entre-deux-Mers, one of Bordeaux’s wine regions known for its white wines. 

This is a very kids friendly event with pony and tractor rides, collecting grapes and a musical aperitif. The Fête des Vendanges will take place on September 14 at Place Saint-Jean in La Sauve Majeure, starting at 14:00. Click here for more info and reservation details. 

Chateau loudenne on the Medoc wine route
The pink house – Château Loudenne by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re a wine enthusiast and you want to discover more than just Saint Emilion, check out my guide to the wine trip in the Medoc wine region. It is a beautiful region with some of the most impressive chateaux in the area and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Bordeaux (even if you don’t like wine). If you don’t have enough time to discover all the wine regions of Bordeaux you can simply taste many of the wines at wine bars in Bordeaux. For that, you just have to read my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux

If you are looking for another fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three-hour journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. To help you choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred location.Want more updates about things to do in Bordeaux and the area? All you have to do is follow me on facebook/Instagram ! Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

Bordeaux is located in one of the most beautiful areas in France, surrounded by charming villages, impressive chateaux, vineyards and sandy beaches. When visiting the city, many are looking for day trips from Bordeaux that will allow them to discover the area without driving for hours. And you can indeed easily fill your visits here with amazing day trips from the city. However, many of these places are hidden secrets to most tourists and information is not easy to find online. That’s why I decided to make this list of places to visit around Bordeaux. I tried to make it as diverse as I could to help anyone find its perfect spot for a day trip. It’s important to notice that most of these locations are not very accessible by public transport, so renting a car is recommended. For those of you that prefer not to go by car, be sure to check up my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux by train.

Wine related day tips around Bordeaux

Saint Émilion

Saint Émilion is probably the most famous wine related day trip from Bordeaux. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent attraction for tourists in the area. Saint Émilion is mostly famous for its wines so a visit to one of the châteaux (wineries) is a must. The charming town, however, is worth a visit even if you’re not a wine lover. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe.

best wineries in Saint Emilion

There is a direct train from Bordeaux to Saint Émilion however if you want to visit some of the distant chateaux in the region, coming by car is recommended. There is just one problem is Saint Émilion, there are just too many beautiful spots to visit and it’s really hard to choose just a few! In my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion, I cover both the most interesting chateaux and the most welcoming wine producing families in the area so check it out!

The Medoc Wine Route

The Medoc is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, attracting many wine enthusiasts to the Medoc wine route. The famous route is a never-ending road (the D2) leading from the northern part of Bordeaux Metropole (start in Blanquefort) to almost the northernmost point in Gironde. An infinite landscape of vineyards adorned with mesmerizing châteaux. A view that will leave you speechless even if you don’t like wine.

Chateau d'Arsac in the Medoc
Chateau d’Arsac by lost in Bordeaux

There are about 600 châteaux along the Medoc wine trail. You probably won’t have time to visit most of them, but luckily, some of the most beautiful ones can be seen from the road so all you have to do is stop for a quick photo. The most famous wine houses (like Château Margeaux and Château Mouton Rothschild) are open only to professionals but don’t worry, there are plenty of beautiful properties you can visit. Some of the prettiest and more interesting are Château d’Arsac, Château Siran, Château Beychevelle and Château Cos d’Estournelle. If you don’t mind going a little further to the north I highly recommend visiting the last chateau on the trail, Château Loudenne. This charming (it’s pink!) old château has a huge garden and its own port so apart from the wine visit, you can have a lovely picnic or take a boat tour. Make sure you book your visit to the wineries before going there as it can get quite busy in the summer.

Cognac

Tasting Cognac
Tasting Cognac – Lost in Bordeaux

Wine is not the only alcoholic drink the Southwest of France is known for! Bordeaux is located about 120 km (75 miles) from Cognac, an area that produces one of the most luxurious spirits in the world. The town of Cognac, located in the Charente department, is a charming and interesting place that’s worth a visit even if you’re not a big fan of Cognac. The old center of the city is characterized by narrow paved streets with houses dating from the 16th and 17th century. Some of the most famous Cognac houses are located right in the city center, among them, you’ll find Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin.  All of them offer tours which normally include a visit to the cellars and Cognac tastings. You can read more about Cognac in my post about the 10 best things to do in Cognac. While it’s possible to get to Cognac by train, it’s quite a long journey so going by car is recommended.

Discover the sandy beaches around Bordeaux

Arcachon

dune du Pilat - one day trips from Bordeaux
Dune du Pilat – Lost in Bordeaux

Arcachon is one of the most popular summer destinations in the southwest of France. A seaside resort town renowned for its beautiful beaches, impressive architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Within an hour drive from Bordeaux you get  to swim in the ocean, eat oysters and see beautiful villas. A day trip from Bordeaux to Arcachon can easily take a whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe and one of the most popular destinations in France.

I recently wrote a post about the best things to do and see in and around the town of Arcachon, which is one of the main tourist destinations on the Arcachon Bay. So take a look at it before you head to the area. You can reach Arcachon by train, however coming by car will allow you to easily access the dune and to visit other places on the bay, such as Gujan Mestas and the Teich bird reserve.

Soulac sur mer

This charming little town is one of the highlights of the Medoc region. It’s located on the very top of the Medoc Atlantique, about 90 km (55 miles) from Bordeaux. If this is too far for you, you can combine it with the wine trail in Medoc which I mentioned above.

Soulac sur Mer is a resort town that resembles Arcachon, with the city center looking like Ville d’été and the impressive 18th-century villas that look just like Ville d’Hiver. Soulac has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, attracting many French tourists to the area. There are plenty of cute little restaurants both in the center and on the promenade. Seafood is a very important part of the local cuisine and so many restaurants will serve oysters and large shrimps.

Villas in Soulac sur Mer
Villas in Soulac sur Mer

When there, take a map in the tourist office and go on a discovery tour of the most interesting villas. I highly recommend coming here at the beginning of June during the festive weekend of Soulac 1900, a really fun Jazz festival.

Cap Ferret

oysters in Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret is a charming town located on the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon (Arcachon Bay) and has been traditionally known as a summer getaway for the French upper class. Although it’s been recently gaining popularity among tourists visiting the south of France, it has yet to lose its relaxing, uncrowded beach village atmosphere.

Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic ocean and a view on the eastern side of the Bassin. It’s also one of the main producers of oysters in France due to its location on the bay that creates perfect conditions for the ostréiculture industry. Dozens of oyster cabins and restaurants with a view on the Bassin give Cap Ferret a unique character that’s worth a visit and a taste.

The Biscarrosse lake

Lac de Biscarrosse
Lac de Biscarrosse – lost in Bordeaux

This one is a great option for a day in nature. If you don’t mind driving a bit longer, the beautiful Biscarrosse lake is located about 70 km (45 miles) from Bordeaux. It is one of the biggest lakes in the area with plenty of amazing beaches and pine forest surrounding it. As it’s so big there are several beaches to choose from, some of which are Plage Navarrose and Plage de Caton. Aquapark, the biggest inflatable water park in France is located on Plage Maguide. If you’re into surfing, head to the beaches on the Atlantic coast. You can also start the day with a biking trail on the canal, connecting the big and little lakes.

A day trip to beautiful villages

Bazas

Bazas is a beautiful town with lovely people and a great heritage embodying the Gascony culture. It’s located at the eastern edge of the Gascon Landes forest, about 65 km (40 miles) from Bordeaux. A stroll in the historic center will allow you to discover the rich history of the city and its past role as an important bishopric. Its beautiful architecture includes the gothic cathedral (recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO), old mansions, gardens and historic monuments.

Bazas
Bazas by lost in Bordeaux

Heritage is not the only attraction of this charming town, it’s actually quite famous for its gastronomy, especially its meat. You can enjoy the Bazas meat in one of the restaurants that are perfectly located on the main square. True meat lovers could also buy meat in one of the many butcher shops in the center. If you’re looking for a full gastronomic experience to discover the cuisine of the region, there’s one tour you shouldn’t miss. Anne, an American living is Bazas is an expert on everything related to food in the region. She knows all the farmers and chefs around Bazas and a guided tour with her is an experience you don’t want to miss. Check out her website.

Blaye

Blaye
Blaye – by Lost in Bordeaux

Blaye is one of the most interesting places in the Bordeaux area, located only about 50 km (30 miles) from the center of Bordeaux. This little town has a long military and strategic history and today it’s mostly known for its remarkable Citadel and red wine. The Citadel and the city walls are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can easily spend half a day discovering the old city walls. The entrance to the Citadel is free and you can explore the streets and ramparts admiring the view of the Gironde estuary which can be seen from the top.

Blaye is also known for its red wine. You can visit the Maison du Vin on the main street (12 Cours Vauban), where they would gladly introduce you to the wines of the area and the chateaux you can visit around Blaye. The easiest way to get there is by car or by ferry if you’re coming from the other side of the Gironde estuary. The ferry is leaving from Lamarque.

Visit castles in the South of Gironde

South Gironde is a magical area with a landscape colored with history, tradition and character. It’s a rural area, abundant with beautiful medieval villages and ancient castles. One of the most impressive castles is Château de la Brede which is located only 30 minutes from Bordeaux. It is a 14th-century castle that was built in a Gothic style. The house has a historic importance as it was the residence of Montesquieu. The château is open for visits from April to November (consult their opening hours here).

Château de la Brede
Château de la Brede

Another interesting castle to visit is château de Cadillac located in a charming little town that goes by the same name. The chateau is very impressive and is best known for being a women’s prison starting from the French revolution until 1950. Now it serves as a museum that mostly displays the life of the royals who were occupying the estate before it became a prison. However, on the last floor, you can actually still see the cells and an exhibition about the prison.

Bergerac

Bergerac is one of the main cities in the Dordogne area, quite close to the eastern border of the Gironde department. While it’s not as appealing as some of the small beautiful villages in Dordogne, it’s a lively city with a lot of charm to it. In the city center, you will find plenty of restaurants, a great market and long shopping streets. Bergerac is seated on the banks of the Dordogne giving it a beautiful view of the river. You can take a tour on the traditional boats (les gabarres) and discover the history of the city as well as the natural reserve around it.

The area is also known for its wine and you can combine your trip there with a visit to a château. One of the most famous ones is the beautiful Château de Monbazillac, which is located only 15 minutes away. It’s known for its sweet white wine. If you’re going to Bergerac on a Saturday, don’t miss the great market in Saint Foy la Grande which is just on the way from Bordeaux.

Château de Monbazillac
Château de Monbazillac – lost in Bordeaux

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in Bordeaux. To help you choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred location.

Finally, if you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.

Lost in Bordeaux helps you enjoy the city and region in many ways so be sure to follow us on facebook /Instagram for more daily updates on things to do and see. Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

Saint-Émilion is one of the most prestigious wine areas in the world. With more than 800 wine producers, an endless landscape of vineyards, and its vicinity to Bordeaux, it became one of the top destinations in the southwest of France. More than a million visitors arrive each year to explore the nine communes of the Saint-Émilion region: Saint-Émilion, Saint-Christophe des Bardes, Saint-Sulpice de Faleyrens, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Etienne de Lisse, Saint-Laurent des Combes, Saint-Pey d’Armens, Vignonet and parts of Libourne.

With so much excellent wine and beautiful châteaux, choosing which wineries to visit in Saint-Émilion can be quite a difficult task. The fact that many of the well-known châteaux are only open to professionals in the wine industry doesn’t help either. So to help you build your trip to this amazing wine region, I gathered my list of the best wineries to visit in Saint-Émilion. The list includes wineries having great wine (obviously), beautiful properties and interesting tours. I featured both small family run wineries and bigger châteaux, and if time permits I would recommend combining both in your visit. If you’re planning a day trip to Saint Emilion and want to visit the charming village as well, check out my article about the best things to do and eat in Saint Emilion. The article also includes recommendations for hotels if you plan to spend the night in Saint Emilion.

Just a quick note before we start. If you’re coming to Bordeaux in September, you should know that it’s the grapes harvest season, with events and activities that will allow you to witness one of the most interesting processes in the wine production. To learn more about that go to my article about the harvest season in Bordeaux and Saint Emilion. Also if you’re interested in disccovering other regions of the Bordeaux wine area, check out my article about the Medoc wine route. Now let’s dig in!

Château Coutet

Château Coutet in Saint Emilion
Château Coutet by lost in Bordeaux

This elegant château is located about 20 minutes’ walk from the center of Saint-Émilion. The property has a 400-year history as it has been handed down from generation to generation since at least the early 17th century. Today, the family’s 14th generation lives in the property and runs the winemaking business. One of the things that won me over when I first visited was their amazing garden with its own pond and ducks. Combine that with a glass of wine and you will enjoy an amazing picturesque scenery. It’s particularly great if you’re visiting with kids as they can enjoy the garden while you’re taking the wine tour. The David-Beaulieu family is very welcoming and they guide the tours themselves giving a very personal feel to it.

There are two tours to choose from: The “Tradition” (45 min – 5€) which includes the history of the estate, a visit to the winery and the family cellar, and wine tasting. And the “Prestige” visit (1h30 – 12€), which is for 8 people max, and also includes a tour through the vineyards and an exploration of Coutet’s treasures. The tours have to be scheduled ahead. To book a visit call ++33 (0) 5 57 74 43 21  or ++33 (0) 7 82 22 01 05 or write an email to [email protected] .
Website: http://chateau-coutet.com/en/wine-tour/
Address: Coutet, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Château Bernateau

Château Bernateau in Saint Emilion
Château Bernateau by lost in Bordeaux

Château Bernateau is also a family run winery owned by the 11th generation of the Lavau family. The tour is run by the lovely Karine who is married to one of the sons running the family business. The visit, which lasts around an hour and a half, takes you from the vineyard to the glass. You will see 60 years old vines as well as new ones, visit their beautiful new gravity vat house and then taste wine from different years and styles. It’s a beautiful property with a green and charming garden and a small playground for kids. So if you want to spend some time in the château beyond the tour itself and maybe have a picnic, this place is highly recommended.

They are open daily and offer tours in English and French. The price is 6 euros if you join a group and 10 euros for a private tour. Click here to book a tour online. You can also book a tour by phone (++33 (0) 5 57 40 18 19) or by email: [email protected]
Address: Château Bernateau, 33330 Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse

Château Beaurang

Château Beaurang in Saint Emilion
Château Beaurang – by lost in Bordeaux

The Beaurang winery is located in the southern part of Saint-Émilion, about 5 km from the center. This isn’t a fancy château, but if you’re looking for a warm welcome, a family feel and great wine this is the right place for you. Claude Puyol and his daughter Delphine represent the third and fourth generation in this artisanal wine-making family. They have an interesting history as they are descendants of Spanish immigrants who came to the region in the early 20th century as simple workers and were eventually able to buy the château and start making their own wine.

The visit will teach you quite a lot about the wine in the region and about the life of a winemaker. In a fascinating way, Claude presents both the beauty and the struggles of wine growers including the effect weather has on their business. At the end of the tour, you will taste some of their great wine, which was one of our favorites in Saint-Émilion. The tours are offered every day from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00. They offer the visit for free but require a reservation. You can book a tour by phone (++33 (0) 6 81 56 35 58) or by email: [email protected]
Website: https://www.chateau-beaurang.com/
Address: Château Beaurang, 1, Beaurang, 33330 Saint-Emilion

Château La Croizzille

Chateau La Croizzille in Saint Emilion
Chateau La Croizzille – by lost in Bordeaux

Château la Croizille offers a fascinating journey combining old and new. The modern château stands right next to the traditional Château of Tour Baladoz, owned by the same family. This tour allows you to discover the differences between the traditional techniques and the innovative ones for which Château la Croizille is known for. One of the highlights of this tour is the amazing view from the tasting room overlooking the vineyards from the top.
The basic tour (12€ per person) is offered daily and includes the modern cellars and tastings. You can also get a picnic basket full of local goodies for 35€. Click here to book online. Another option is to book a private tour (35€ per person) by phone (33) 05 57 74 55 86 or by email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.chateaulacroizille.com/en/
Address: lieu-dit Baladoz, 33330 Saint-Laurent des Combes (Saint-Emilion)

Château Guibeau

Chateau Guibeau Saint Emilion
Chateau Guibeau – by lost in Bordeaux

Château Guibeau is a bit far from Saint-Émilion (15 minutes drive) but totally worth the ride. It’s considered a big winery in Saint-Émilion, with 38 hectares on which they produce around 120,000 bottles a year. It’s owned and run by Brigitte and Eric Destouet. Brigitte is the one running the tours and she will easily make you fall in love with their property and bio wine.

The visits to the chateau are possible from Monday to Friday from 10h30 to 12h and from 14h to 18h for only 5€ per person. You can also take the gourmand tour, with a delicious basket to take to a picnic in the garden of the chateau with an amazing view. Book both tours here or by email to [email protected] or by phone: ++33 (0) 5 57 55 22 75. The owners also have a guesthouse on their property so if you’re looking for an immersive experience that includes a stay in a wine chateau, this is a great opportunity. Click here to book a room.
Website: http://www.chateau-guibeau.com/
Address: 51 Guibeau Ouest, 33570 Puisseguin

Château Soutard

Chateau Soutard in saint emilion
Chateau Soutard by lost in Bordeaux

At a mere 10 minutes walk from the center of Saint-Émilion stands the impressive 18th-century Château Soutard. If visiting a beautiful château is high on your list, this is a great option. Since 2006, its owned by La Mondiale company, so it doesn’t have the cozy family feel like many of the other chateaux on this list. But it’s a very popular and highly rated experience. The Château offers plenty of fun activities such as a wine blending workshop, biking in the vineyards, a gourmet picnic and of course, wine tours.
Their basic wine tour (12€ / person) starts at 14h every day from April to October, no reservation is required. It includes a visit to their vineyards and cellars. At the end of the tour, you have the chance to taste their renowned Grand Cru Classé wines. To book any of their activities click here.
Website: http://www.chateau-soutard.com/
Address: Soutard, 33330 Saint-Émilion

Château Cantenac

Château Cantenac in Saint Emilion
Château Cantenac by lost in Bordeaux

Another charming family-run winery is Château Cantenac, built in 1870 on the locality “Cantenac”. The property and its vineyards are located about 3.5 km west of the center of Saint Emilion. Since 1937, the winery is owned by the Roskam-Brunot family, which are now in their 3rd and 4th generations of winemakers. The family is very friendly and their tours are full of knowledge about the winemaking process. The tours are guided by a family member, who is really passionate about the heritage, the wine and the whole process of producing it. The tour ends up with a comparative and educational wine tasting experience.
The winery offers two tours: The one-hour classic tour (10 € / person) and the Prestige tour ( 25 € / person ) which also includes some snacks and more wine. You can visit the château from Monday to Friday (10h30 to 14h) upon reservation. Click here to book the tour directly through their site.
Website: https://www.chateau-cantenac.fr/histoire/la-famille-roskam/
Address: 2 locality Cantenac, 33330 Saint-Emilion

Château de Ferrand

Château  de Ferrand by lost in Bordeaux

Another impressive château on our list is Château de Ferrand, located about 6km from the center of Saint-Émilion. Part of the tour will include the history of the Château that dates back to the 17th century. The wine is a Grand Cru Classé and with its 32-hectare, it’s considered a big winery in the Saint-Émilion wine region. During the tour, you’ll get to visit the vineyard and their big wine cellars. While many of the wineries on this list have a family feeling to them this one is a bit different. It’s much more professional and the wine tasting part is conducted by a professional sommelier that will teach you how to taste wine.
Tour prices range between 17 and 21 euros depending on the number of glasses you’re going to taste. The most expensive tour (21 euros) includes tastings of cheese and charcuterie. Click here to book a visit through their site. You can also book by phone + 33 (0) 5 57 74 47 11 or email: [email protected]
Website: http://www.chateaudeferrand.com/en-gb/home.aspx
Address: Château  de Ferrand, Saint-Hippolyte, 33330 Saint Emilion

Château Villemaurine

Château Villemaurine in Saint Emilion
Château Villemaurine

If you come to Saint-Émilion by train and you really don’t want to leave the village, Château Villemaurine is perfect for you as it’s a short walking distance from the village center. The Château combines tradition, modernity, centuries of history and the refined production of great wines.
Château Villemaurine offers three guided tours. The first one is a group discovery tour (15€ / person) where you get to visit the vineyards and the monolithic cellars which are located underneath the vines of the estate. Second is the Heritage tour (15€ / person ) where you will discover the stunning network of quarries owned by the Château Villemaurine. Last is a private tour (45€ / person) which is personally designed for wine enthusiasts.  All the tours include wine tasting in the end. Click here to book the tour online.
Website: https://www.villemaurine.com/index.php/en/
Address: 23 Villemaurine-Sud, Saint-Émilion

Visiting with kids

tourist train in Saint Emilion
photo by: tourist office Saint Emilion

If you’re visiting Saint-Émilion with kids and you’re afraid that a visit to a winery will bore them, take the train tour. The little train leaves every 45 minutes from Espace Villemaurine (next to the bus parking). It’s a 35 minutes tour (7€ / person) that takes you through the vineyards and the big châteaux of Saint-Émilion. If you wish to combine that with a winery visit, the 11€ tour includes a stop at Chateau Rochebelle and its stunning, beautifully lit monolithic cellars (with wine tastings at the end). The tickets can be bought in the tourist office in Saint-Émilion or online (24 hours in advance).  For all the details and to book a train tour click here.

Now for the more practical part. While some châteaux will welcome spontaneous visitors, most of the wineries require prior reservations. So be sure to book the tours in advance. In addition, unless you’re coming during the summer, some of the châteaux are closed on the weekends, so if you have the chance, try visiting during the week. Lastly, while visiting Saint-Émilion is a beautiful experience any time of the year, there are some months that are less recommended for wine tours. During the winter (from December to March) and especially in January when it gets cold, many wineries are closed for visits. September is one of the most interesting times in the area as it’s the harvest season but take into account that many small châteaux don’t have enough staff to offer tours during that time so make sure to contact the château in advance.

Saint-Émilion is the queen of wine tourism and one article cannot possibly cover all the tours you can take in the area. In this article, I simply wanted to highlight some of the tours I personally enjoyed and to offer a variety of both big and small châteaux to help my readers plan their trip to the area. Hope you liked it 🙂

If you’re also visiting Bordeaux be sure to check out my post about the best things to do in the city and the best hotels in Bordeaux. Saint-Émilion is not the only day trip you can do from Bordeaux. The area is full of historic villages and beautiful nature. If you want to discover some of them, I invite you to read my article about the best day trips you can do by train from Bordeaux.

If you want to learn more about wine (from Bordeaux and other regions) you can also visit the Cite du Vin, the amazing wine museum of Bordeaux. I wrote a whole article about it and you can read it here.

Finally, If you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.

Need more ideas for things to do in and around Bordeaux? you should definitely join my newsletter where I share a lot of info about the area – sign up here.

When staying for more than a weekend in the area, many tourists are looking for day trips from Bordeaux. And rightly so, as Gironde (Bordeaux’s department) is one of the most fascinating areas in France, rich with beaches, beautiful villages, nature and heritage. There are plenty of beautiful locations around Bordeaux and some are even accessible by public transport. Thus, in order to help those who don’t want to rent a car, I gathered a list of the 10 best day trips from Bordeaux you can do by train.

* If you do rent a car you have much more options for day trips around Bordeaux – check out my article about day trips with a car.

Before we start, here are a few other articles you might want to read when you’re traveling around Bordeaux:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Best places to visit on the Arcachon Bay
A weekend in Medoc- Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion
You can also join my Facebook group “Travel in the southwest of France” where many enthusiasts of the region share their recommendations for places to visit and things to do in the southwest of France.

All the tickets to the suggested destinations can be bought directly at the Gare Saint Jean train station in Bordeaux. The only one I would recommend ordering ahead of time is Angouleme, only because it’s on the direct line to Paris and the tickets might be expensive if you buy them last minute at the train station. So let’s start discovering the Bordeaux area by train with this list of the 10 best day trips around Bordeaux.

Arcachon and Dune du Pilat

Dune du Pilat
Dune du Pilat by: Lost in Bordeaux

Arcachon is one of the most popular summer destinations in the southwest of France. A seaside resort town renowned for its beautiful beaches, impressive architecture and vibrant atmosphere. The town is divided into four districts, named after the four seasons. Ville d’Été, covering the touristic center, main beach, restaurants and boutiques. Ville d’Hiver – the historic center adorned with glamorous 19th century villas. Ville de Printemps in the west is closer to the most beautiful and less crowded beaches and Ville d’Automne is the amazing port area of Arcachon packed with great sea food restaurants. A day trip from Bordeaux to Arcachon can easily take a whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe and one of the most popular destinations in France. Words can’t describe how impressive this sand monster is, you’ll have to climb it to fully appreciate its beauty.
For more info: www.arcachon.com
*If you want to learn more about Arcachon check out my guide to what to do and eat in the Arcachon.

How to get there by train? There is a direct train to the center of Arcachon from the Gare Saint Jean train station (or Pessac train station). To continue to Dune du Pilat, take bus number 1 from the train station in Arcachon. The train leaves Bordeaux every 30 minutes from 6 am to 11:30 pm.

Saint Émilion

Day trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion by lost in Bordeaux

Saint Émilion is probably the most famous wine related day trip out of Bordeaux. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent attraction for tourists in the area.

Saint Emilion is mostly famous for its wines, with four appellations d’origine controlee (AOC) – Saint Émilion, Saint Émilion Grand Cru, Lussac Saint Émilion and Puisseguin Saint Émilion. A visit to one of the châteaux and participating in some wine tasting is a “must” when coming to the area. If you’re having a hard time choosing a wine château for a visit, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.

The charming town, however, is worth a visit even if you’re not a wine lover. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the famous monuments is the 11th century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. Check out the tourist office’s website for all the information about châteaux in the Saint Émilion area – http://www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com/

How to get there by train? You can get to Saint Emilion by train from the Saint Jean station in Bordeaux. There’s a 15 minutes walk from the station to the city center.

Another option is to take a guided tour that picks you up from Bordeaux and brings you to Saint-Emilion and back. Here are some of the best guided tours from Bordeaux to Saint-Emilion:

La Réole

day tip from Bordeaux to La Reole
La Réole – by Lost in Bordeaux

La Réole is a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne river about 50 km from Bordeaux. Although the town developed around a monastery founded in the 7th or 8th century, it’s golden era was in medieval times when it became the second largest city in the region after Bordeaux. Still today, it’s one of the biggest towns in the south of the Gironde department with plenty of interesting events and a very lively weekly market on Saturdays. Get lost in the narrow charming streets of the historic center of La Réole and let the beautiful architecture take you back in time.
For more info: http://www.lareole.fr/

How to get there by train? It takes about 40 minutes to get from Bordeaux to La Réole train station. The train leaves from Gare Saint Jean every two hours.

Wine tasting in Margaux

Visiting châteaux in the Médoc area is definitely easier by car, but if you prefer going by train that’s totally doable. You can always do this day trip the DIY way. A train from Bordeaux will bring you to the center of Margaux in the Haut Médoc wine making region. Margaux is also the name of one of the most famous wine appellation d’origine which includes châteaux in the village itself and several villages around it. Some of the wine châteaux are within a walking distance from the train station allowing you to have the route du vin experience without renting a car.

*If you do rent a car you should check out my article about a two-day itinerary in the Medoc wine region.

Here are the names of several recommended wine châteaux which are close to the train station (all require prior reservation):

  • Château Lascombes: 1 Cours de Verdun, 33460 Margaux
  • Château Marquis de Terme: 3 Route de Rauzan, 33460 Margaux
  • Château Ferriere: 33bis Rue de la Tremoille, 33460 Margaux
  • Château Les Barraillots: 4 Rue Corneillan, 33460 Margaux

The beautiful Château Margaux is only a 25 minutes walk from the train station. Unfortunately their tours are only open to professionals but you can walk around the winery, see the beautiful vines and take photos of the famous chateau.

For more info: https://www.margaux-tourisme.com/

How to get there by public transport: There’s a train leaving Bordeaux to Margaux every couple of hours.

Saint Macaire

This is not a familiar destination to most people visiting Bordeaux, but it’s definitely worth a day trip. Saint Macaire is a medieval city located some 50 km from Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne river. In the 13th and 14th centuries Saint Macaire was one of the most prosperous cities in Aquitaine due to its significant agricultural and trade activities. This charming town with its narrow streets and beautiful old houses is a great place for those looking to get a sense of the region’s heritage.

Saint Macaire is also well known for its white wine. Guided tours are organized by the tourist office, including tastings of the Côtes de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire wines. It’s really worth visiting Saint Macaire at the end of August when the Fêtes médiévales takes place and the little town is getting very lively with amazing costumes, music, medieval games and more.
For more info: https://www.tourisme-sud-gironde.com/patrimoine/notre-territoire/saint-macaire/

How to get there by public transport? You can get to Saint Macaire by train from the Saint Jean station in Bordeaux. In the middle of the week, however, the train leaves very early in the morning and the next one leaves only in the evening. Several trains are running between Bordeaux and Saint Macaire on Saturdays so this is the recommended day to go if you want to get there by public transport. A more flexible option would be to get to Langon, from which there are more frequent trains from Bordeaux and then take a taxi (it’s a 10 minutes ride from Langon). Or if you have a bike you can take it with you on the train to Langon and then ride about 15 minutes to Saint Macaire.

Libourne

day trip to libourne
Libourne by Lost in Bordeaux

Libourne is a beautiful town located at the confluence of the Isle and Dordogne rivers. The city was founded as a Bastide town in the 13th century and has been for many years an important port city central to the wine and wood trade done on the river. Surrounded by some of the world’s most renowned wine labels such as Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac, it used to play an important role in the economy of the region. While it’s not as attractive as Bordeaux, it’s the main city in northern Gironde and it’s rich with history and beautiful architecture.

Due to its location, many people see it as a wine destination from which you can visit the numerous chateaux in the area. But this city has more to offer and is worth a separate visit. You can start your visits at Place Abel-Surchamp, the main square of the city hosting the outdoor market every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. This is one of the main markets in the area, attracting people from all the little towns around Libourne. It’s recommended to visit the city on one of the market days as it really lifts the atmosphere. You can see a lot of interesting buildings on the little streets leading to the main square, some worth mentioning are Rue Victor Hugo and Rue Fonneuve. Don’t forget to take a walk on the beautiful quais of the Isle river.
For more info: http://www.tourisme-libournais.com/

How to get there by train? There’s a train from Bordeaux to Libourne every 20-30 minutes.

Sainte Foy la Grande

Sainte-Foy-la-Grande
Sainte-Foy-la-Grande by Lost in Bordeaux

This beautiful bastide town, situated in the north east of Gironde, is one of the most charming towns in the Libournais area. The Dordogne river runs through the town, unusual for bastides which are typically situated on hilltops. Many of the buildings in the center of this medieval town date back to the 15th century and give St. Foy la Grande it’s charming look. It’s a small lively town with little cafés on the main central Place du Marché square. Although it’s not a very touristy destination it does get quite busy during Saturday’s market. The market is one of the biggest in the area and it’s the recommended day to visit Sainte Foy la Grande. If you want to spend the whole day there you can cross the river to the other side and visit a small river beach called Plage des Bardoulets.
For more info: http://www.tourisme-dordogne-paysfoyen.com/

How to get there by train? It takes about an hour by train from Saint Jean station to Sainte Foy la Grande.

Gujan-Mestras

Gujan-Mestras is a little town known as the capital of oyster farming on the Bassin d’Arcachon. It has seven oyster ports which you can visit and watch oyster farmers work. You can even join one of the farmers and take part in their work for a few hours. Find the list of farmers providing that experience on the tourist office website. One “must” stop is the “Maison de Huitre”, an interactive museum where you discover everything about oyster farming. And finally, don’t forget to taste the freshest oysters in one of the cabanes along the coast line, many of which are located at the famous Port de Larros. If you’re planning to spend the whole day there, check out the Plage de la Hume. For more info on what to do in
Gujan-Mestras check out: https://www.gujanmestras.com

How to get there by train? Gujan-Mestras is one of the stations on the way from Bordeaux to Arcachon. The train leaves every 30 minutes from Bordeaux Saint Jean or Pessac Centre stations.

Visit Châteaux in Bordeaux by tram or bus

Many people are looking for châteaux in the Médoc region or next to Saint Emilion, but actually there are some famous châteaux in Bordeaux metropole and you can easily reach them by tram or by bus.

Some of the more familiar ones are:
Château Pape Clément in Pessac
Take line B to Pessac Centre and then continue 20 minutes by foot or take a direct bus from Place Tourny in Bordeaux (line 4). For more info click here. Château Haut brion in Pessac
You can reach it by bus 4 from Place Tourny in Bordeaux.
For more info click here.
Château du Taillan in Le Taillan-Médoc
You can reach it by bus 5N from Place Tourny in Bordeaux.
For more info click here.
Château Saint Ahon In Blanquefort
Take line C to the Blanquefort train station and then continue 20 minutes by foot or take bus 29 from the Blanquefort train station.
For more info click ere.
All of them have amazing wine and are beautiful destinations, be sure to make reservations before you go.

Angoulême

One of the biggest cities in the south west region is Angoulme. The town is located on a plateau overlooking the Charente river, attracting many tourists thanks to its beautiful historic center and vibrant cultural life. Stroll the streets to explore the historic part of the city and the beautiful boulevards with their view on the original ramparts. It’s a vibrant city with plenty of cafes and restaurants, a big market, museums and historic monuments worth visiting. It’s also famous for its comics festival taking places in January and its interesting comics museum. You can admire the comics art by just strolling the streets. There are 20 murals of comics and illustrations on buildings in almost every neighborhood around the city.
For more info: http://www.angouleme-tourisme.com/

How to get there by train? The TGV train to Paris stops in Angouleme, so even though it’s located 130 km from Bordeaux, you can still get there from Bordeaux in about 35 minutes.

If you have more time and you’re looking for a weekend destination to go to by train check out my two posts about things to do in Biarritz and in Cognac.

Need more ideas for things to do in and around Bordeaux? you should definitely join my newsletter where I share a lot of info about the area – sign up here.

December is the magical season in France when cities, big and small, get decorated with Christmas lights and shiny shop vitrines. Bordeaux too is joyfully embracing the Christmas spirit with a huge Christmas tree, in front of the city hall and the traditional Christmas market on Allees des Tourny. But Christmas doesn’t have to be only about traditional stands of chestnuts, cheese and hot wine. It can also be innovative, creative, social and generally inspiring. This is one of the strong sides of Bordeaux, the city is really good at combining the traditional with the new and creative. And so, alongside the traditional Christmas market, Bordeaux offers some alternative markets that will inspire your Christmas gifts list. This is a great month to be in Bordeaux!  In this post, I gathered a list of Christmas markets worth visiting in and around Bordeaux in 2019. Remember that we are at the end of October now and many markets have not yet published their dates. So be sure to come back to this page for updates later in November and December. Also, if you’re in Bordeaux in November, check out the list of events taking place in and around Bordeaux during the month. Here we go!

Marché de Noël de Bordeaux 

The traditional Christmas market of Bordeaux will open its gates between November 27 and December 29. This is one of the biggest Christmas markets in the region with 150 pavilions selling all the traditional Christmas merchandise such as clothes, decorations, jewelry, toys and local products. Even if you don’t intend to buy any gifts at the market you can still enjoy the Christmas spirit with some hot wine and roasted chestnuts.  For more info click here.

marche de noel bordeaux
When: November 27 – December 29 from 10:30 to 21:30 / Where: Allées de Tourny, 33000 Bordeaux

Xmas Market – Darwin

This market is gradually gaining status as one of the main Christmas markets in Bordeaux. Like Darwin itself,  the Xmas market is an alternative event with craftsmen and regional creators. The market will include stands of clothes, jewelry, accessories, art objects, books, sports accessories and organic products. To make it more entertaining many activities will take place during these three days, among them workshops for kids, tastings, concerts and other surprises. The market will take place on December 13-15, for more info click here.

xmasmarket darwin
When: December 13-15 / Where: 87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

Arcachon fête Noël

The city of Arcachon invites you to its traditional Christmas celebration with a Christmas market and an ice skating rink. The event will take place from December 14 to January 5 on Place Thiers. For more details click here

When: December 14 – December 5 / Where: Place Thiers, Arcachon

Le Marché de Noël Solidaire 

The Solidarity Christmas market is part of the Social Economy and Solidarity month. This is a unique market, organized by the city hall of Bordeaux and the local social development fund aiming to support young local creators who founded their company thanks to microcredits. The market will take place at the Maison écocitoyenne on December 6-24. See more details here.

When: December 6-24 / Where: Maison écocitoyenne, Quai Richelieu, 33000 Bordeaux

Marché de Noël de Talence

The city of Talence invites you to their big Christmas celebration taking place on December 20-22 in Park Peixotto. You can see the program for the festive weekend here.

When: December 20-22 / Where: Peixoto, 33400 Talence

Le Grand Bazar des Créateurs

The Garage Modere in the Bacalan district will hold a very fun and creative event on December 7-8 called the Big Creators market. Around 20 local craftsmen and creators of clothes, jewelry, leather goods, accessories, sewing and photography,  will offer their original items for sale. The event is free, for more details click here.

When: December 7-8 / Where: 1 rue des Etrangers, 33300 Bordeaux

Marché de Noël Japonais

This special Christmas market has become a tradition. Every year the Japanese restaurant Little Tokyo hosts a Japanese style Christmas celebration with workshops of origami, calligraphy and other beautiful Japanese traditions. This is one of the early Christmas markets, taking place on November 9-10. For more info click here

When: November 9-10 / Where: 21 allée de Megevie, 33170 Gradignan

Marché de Noël in Saint-Émilion

The traditional Christmas market in Saint Emilion will take place on December 7-8. You will find more than 60 exhibitors at the main locations of the historic center: the square of the monolithic church, the old market hall and the cloister of the collegiate church. For more details click here.

When: December 9-10 / Where: Saint Emilion – center

Marché de Noël in Bazas

Bazas will host its traditional Chrismas market at the main square on December 22nd. Besides the traditional Christmas stands, the market will have activities for kids, concerts of local bands and Santa Clauss of course :). The beautiful town of Bazas is known for its annual Chrismas market that includes several traditional ceremonies at the main square, so if you’re in the region check it out. For more info click here

When: December 22 / Where: Place de la Cathédrale, 33430 Bazas

Marché de Noël à Sarlat 

If you’re in the mood to travel a bit, why not go to one of the most impressive Christmas markets in the South of France, the Sarlat Christmas market. Sarlat is a magical place that is worth a visit any time of the year, but this market makes it even more worthwhile. The village includes 70 chalets selling local products, clothes, decorations, hot wine and more. For more info click here.

When: December 4-30 / Where: Place de la Grande Rigaudie , 24200 Sarlat-la-canéda

Noël à Bergerac

Another great destination in Dordogne which is much closer to Bordeaux is Bergerac. Bergerac is one of the best Christmas markets in the south-west region with tens of stands, beautiful decorations and activities. The market takes place at place Louis de la Bardonnie on December 14-24. For more details click here. 

When: December 14-24/ Where: place Louis de la Bardonnie, 24100 Bergerac

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas market list!

Throughout the month I’ll give plenty of updates about Christmas related events in and around Bordeaux in my newsletter so be sure to subscribe here.

Finally, if you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.

Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. To help you choose a hotel I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred AirBnB location.

This weekend the European Patrimony Days will take place all over France. Like all major cities, Bordeaux offers a rich program of more than 100 historical locations to discover. Many famous places such as the Opera of Bordeaux will be open to the public. However, popularity means big lines, so be prepared to wait patiently. 

There are also plenty of great tours offered by the Bordeaux Metropole but many of them require a prior reservation and finding one that hasn’t been fully booked yet is quite a daunting task. 

But fear not, I’m here to make your life easier and help you plan this weekend. While you might miss some of the more popular venues, there are plenty of gems in the city with less buzz around them or that do not require a reservation which are still worth visiting. 

Here’s a list of places you can visit this weekend in and around Bordeaux that do not require a prior reservation.

Heritage Days in the center of Bordeaux

CAPC – the museum of contemporary art

During the weekend the Museum of contemporary art will hold tours of ongoing exhibitions with access to special areas, workshops and body painting activities.
When: Saturday and Sunday 11:00 to 18:00 / Where: 7 rue Ferrère, 33000 Bordeaux

Restaurant le Chapon Fin 

Established in 1825, Le Chapon Fin is one of the first restaurants to receive 3 Michelin stars in the history of the guide. Upon its establishment, the main clients visiting the restaurant were wealthy travelers and Bordelaise merchants and it was regarded as an English Café. Today, however, Le Chapon Fin became a French institution of fine food, beautifully decorated by the architect Cyprien Alfred-Duprat. This Sunday you have a chance to admire this beautiful restaurant from within without having an expensive meal. For more info check out the site of the restaurant or contact 05 56 79 10 10 
When: Sunday from 9:30 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30 / Where: 5 rue Montesquieu

Synagogue de Bordeaux

synagogue bordeaux
The Synagogue of Bordeaux

There are plenty of beautiful churches in Bordeaux and you have probably entered at least some of them while discovering Bordeaux. How about discovering the structures dedicated to other religions? This Sunday you can visit the synagogue of Bordeaux and learn about the history of the Jewish community in this city. 
When: Sunday 9:30 to 18:00 / Where: 8 rue du Grand Rabbin Joseph Cohen, Bordeaux

Palais Rohan

Visit the beautiful city hall of Bordeaux, Palais Rohan. During the weekend, plenty of performances and activities will take place in the courtyard of Palais Rohan as well as guided tours at the city hall itself.  
When: Saturday 14:00-16:00 and Sunday 10:00-12:00, 14:00- 18:00 / Where: Place Pey Berland

Collections du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle.

Are you curious to see how the backstage of a museum looks like? The renovated Museum of Natural History in Bordeaux offers a guided visit to the backstage of its collection’s conservation center.
When: Saturday and Sunday  14:00-17:00 / Where: 5 place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux

Grosse Cloche

This beautiful monument can’t be missed when touring Bordeaux. The Grosse Cloche is the city’s former belfry and one of the last monuments remaining from the defensive wall built in the 14th century. The tower will be open to free visits during the weekend, however, the visit is limited to 5 people at a time so the queue is expected to be quite long so be sure to come early. 
When: Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 19:00 / Where: Quai Louis XVIII, Placette de Munich

Académie Nationale des Sciences, Belles lettres et Arts de Bordeaux

Hotel Calvet, or Hotel des Sociétés Savantes, is a prominent example of a 19th century Bordeaux mansion, with a spacious staircase, reception rooms and a library. Today it is the home of the National Academy of Science, Literature and Art of Bordeaux, founded by Louis XIV. This weekend, academics from the institution will be there to answer all of your questions during your free visit.
When: Saturday and Sunday from 13:30 to 18:00 / Where: Hôtel des Sociétés Savantes, 1 Place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux 

Site archéologique de Saint Seurin

Visit one of the most ancient sites of Nouvelle Aquitaine – Site archéologique de Saint Seurin. This free visit to the underground site gives you a glimpse into how an early Christian cemetery used to look like. The visit is limited to 20 people at a time, so you’ll probably have to stand in line. 
When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-19:00 / Where: Place des Martyrs-de-la-Résistance

Places to visit in Bordeaux Metropole

Journées européennes du patrimoine à Mérignac

Mérignac opens the doors to some of its interesting sites including among others the château de Bourran and the Chapelle de Beutre. Guided tours will be offered throughout the weekend. For more info click here.

Cité Frugès – Le Corbusier 

Cité Frugès in Pessac is a very interesting site that looks like no other place in Bordeaux metropole. It was designed by the notable architect Le Corbusier and includes about 70 housing units. The site is registered on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. Guided tours will be offered during the weekend.  For more details about the Heritage days in Pessac click here
When: 10:00, 11:00, 14:00, 15:30 and 17:00 / Where: Cité Frugès

Château de Laurenzane in Gradignan

The beautiful Château de Laurenzane in Gradignan was built in the 18th century and is now the town hall of Gradignan. The Chateau is surrounded by a large park with ponds and bridges and sculptures by the artist Bigata Escale, which definitely make the visit worthwhile. 
When: Sunday from 11:00, 15:00 and 17:00 / Where: Allée Gaston-Rodrigue, 33170 Gradignan

What to do around Bordeaux

Saint Emilion

Saint Emilion is one of the best places to go to on the European heritage weekend. This little town is home to some of the most important historical monuments in the region and all of them will be open to the public. Moreover, the tourist office offers plenty of interesting guided tours and activities in the city center. For the full program click here.

saint-emilion

Some of the activities and ceremonies on the Heritage weekend are related to the start of the harvest season in the area. So if you decide to go there be sure to check out my article about the harvest season in Saint Emilion

Château de Vayres

The beautiful Château de Vayres will open its doors for two days of free visits and activities for kids. For more details click here

When: Saturday and Sunday 14:00 – 18:30 / Where: château de Vayres, 33870 Vayres

Enjoy the Journées européennes du patrimoine! If you want to take a look at all the places you can visit in Bordeaux during the Journees Europeennes du Patrimoine, click here

For more events this weekend check out my weekend list. You can also see some of next week’s event in the September list and plan your future weekends with the October list

Want more updates about things to do in Bordeaux and the area? All you have to do is follow me on facebook/Instagram ! Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

Saint Emilion is one of the most popular day trip destinations from Bordeaux. It’s a beautiful medieval town, abundant with historical monuments and surrounded by its famous vineyards. I receive plenty of messages from tourists wondering about the best way to get from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. So in this short article, I’m going to cover all the ways you can easily get to Saint Emilion and where you can park in case you come with a car. 

Before visiting Saint Emilion you might want to check out my articles about what to do, see and eat in Saint Emilion and the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.

How to get to from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion without a car

How to get from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion by train 

If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get to Saint Emilion is by train! There’s a direct train from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion leaving from the Saint-Jean train station in Bordeaux. The 40 km ride takes approximately 35 minutes by train. The first train leaves at around 6 am and then every one/two hours until 10 pm. You can check the time table here. The price of a one-way ticket is € 9.50 and you can book it online or buy the ticket directly at the station. 

I recommend buying a return ticket to Bordeaux as the ticket vending machines at the little station in Saint Emilion are often broken. If you’re not sure about your return time, you can buy an open return ticket at the agent’s desk with no additional cost. 

The Saint Emilion station is about a 15 minutes walk from the city center. Alternatively, you can reserve a tuk-tuk shuttle service that will cost you 4 euros per person. Call +33640836260 or [email protected] to book it in advance (only from April to October). 

Take a Bus from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion

Taking a bus to Saint Emilion is a much cheaper option than taking a train as the price is only € 2,60. The TransGironde company has a regular line from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion that takes about one hour. However, it operates only during the high season and otherwise stops only in Libourne, which makes the tour too complicated. Bus number 302 leaves from the Quinconces station in Bordeaux and stops just a few minutes’ walk from the center of Saint Emilion. You can check out the timetable here

By Bike – an adventurous way to get from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion

If you’re in shape, making a bike trip to Saint Emilion can be a pretty amazing experience. You begin your trip cycling along the Garonne river, then continue on the Roger Lapebie cycle path where you can stop for lunch at one of the charming villages on the way. After you cross the Dordogne river you start the famous route through the vineyards of Saint Emilion. The route is quite long and will take at least three hours without stops.
You can see the exact cycling road map here

Take a guided tour to Saint Emilion

Another option is taking a guided tour from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. There are several options for day/ half-day tours to Saint Emilion, both group tours and private ones.

This is one of the most popular half-day tours from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. Besides the ride to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux the tour also includes several wine tastings and a visit to two wine chateaux which for many people is plenty for one day. The price is €94 per person. You can find all the details of the tour and book directly here.

This is a half-day tour in Saint Emilion with a visit to one winery for € 75 per person. It’s rather intimate as they book small groups meaning you get to actually listen and ask questions. You can check out the details and get your ticket here.

A full day trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion, visiting three different chateaux at € 125 per person. This is a great option if you want to see different techniques of winemaking and taste different wines from the same area. You can see all the details and get your ticket here.

One of the cheapest tour options (€ 42 per person) is a half-day trip to Saint Emilion leaving on Wednesdays and Sundays that also includes a visit to a chateau. The downside is that these groups are quite big so don’t expect an intimate experience. See all the details and get your tickets here.

By car  – the best way to go to Saint Emilion

If you just want to visit the city and a winery next to the city center, a train will do just fine. However, the Saint Emilion wine area is quite big and if you want to discover more distant beautiful chateaux, you must rent a car. Also, if you’re more than two people traveling, renting a car might be a much cheaper option. There are plenty of rental companies both at the airport and Gare Saint-Jean, the main train station, so renting a car is very easy. 
To get to Saint Emilion by car take the N89 (Bordeaux – Libourne) route. 

Where to park in Saint Emilion

There’s a free parking lot at the Gendarmerie (police station). However, this parking is often full so on busy days you can leave your car at the free parking next to the train station. There are several paid parking lots (about 2euros/ hour): around the collegiate church (the upper town) and Place Bouqueyre (bottom town).

*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 🙂 

If you don’t have time for a ski vacation this year but still want to enjoy the after-party you’re going to love the Hors Piste event taking place in Darwin this weekend. Apart from that, we have an art festival, a truffle market in Saint Emilion and plenty of other cute events. You can also use this weekend to discover Bordeaux in a special way… This weekend I have a special guest, Tim from the wonderful site Invisible Bordeaux who was kind enough to write an article about Five alternative ways to discover Bordeaux. For those of you who missed it, I recently started a Facebook group fully dedicated to traveling in the region, it’s called Travel in the Southwest of France, and you’re very welcome to join us:)  If you want to see what’s on in the next few weeks check out my February list. Here’s the list of things to do this weekend in Bordeaux (January 31- February 2) 

Hors Piste – ski in the city

Hors Piste is a cool winter event in Darwin where they transform one of the Hangars into a ski station with fun free activities. The event will take place on February 1st. For more details and the full program click here.

When: February 1 / Where: 87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

Truffles market in Saint Emilion 

Truffles are one of the most identified products of the Southwest of France. Usually, Dordogne is the one taking most of the credit when it comes to truffle markets, but Gironde is giving a fight. Every Saturday morning in February a truffles farmers market will take place at Logis de Malet in Saint Emilion. See more info here.

the streets of Saint Emilion
the streets of Saint Emilion

Check out my article about what to do and see in Saint Emilion if you decide to go. 

When: February 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 / Where: rue des anciennes écoles, in front of la maison du vin), Saint-Émilion

La nuit des conservatoires

This Friday (January 31) le Conservatoire de Bordeaux invites you to a special night with concerts and performances from all the disciplines taught at the conservatory. Besides concerts, the night includes workshops and lectures. The concert is free and open to all. For more info click here

When: January 31 / Where:  Jacques Thibaud 22 quai Sainte-Croix, Bordeaux

Trente Trente – Emerging arts Festival

Trente Trente is an annual festival, created to promote emerging artists in Bordeaux and Nouvelle Aquitaine in general. The festival includes more than twenty performances by artists from all genres, with some experimenting with interdisciplinary arts. Check out the full program that includes dance, music, theater, circus and more. The festival takes place on January 21-February 1st in different theaters and cultural spaces across the metropole (see the full list here).

When: January 21 – February 1st / Where: Different venues in the Bordeaux area (check out the full program)

Tremplin de 2 Rives

This is the 7th edition of the Tremplin de 2 rives festival which aims to promote the musical talents of Bordeaux. The festival includes eight evenings from January 10 to February 8 in different districts of Bordeaux. This weekend is dedicated to the western districts of Bordeaux with a night of concerts taking place this Saturday ( February 1) at Salle Quintin Loucheur. For more details click here.

When: February 1st / Where: 96 Rue de la Béchade, 33000 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 my articles about the best museums of Bordeaux to get a sense of the art scene in the city.

CAPC Bordeaux
CAPC museum in Bordeaux

Here are more ideas for free things you can do in Bordeaux.

Winter Sales – last chance

It’s the last weekend to enjoy the winter sales of 2020! The sales are taking place until February 4 and most shops in the city center will stay open during the weekend.

Plenty of concerts at the IBOAT

If you’re looking for a cool music venue in Bordeaux, the Iboat is your place. Tens of concerts are planned to take place in this chic boat in Bassin a Flot. For the full program click here.

When: February / Where: Bassin à Flot n°1, Cours Henri Brunet, 33300 Bordeaux

Lacanau En Jeu 2020

Lacanau En Jeu is a fun weekend event for kids and adults that includes costumes, creators competition, video games and a lot more. The event will take place on February 1-2 in Lacanau city. For more details click here.   

When: February 1-2 / Where: COSEC – Avenue Albert François – 33680 Lacanau-Ville

Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême

If you love comics here’s a great festival for you! The international comics festival is taking place in Angouleme this weekend (January 30 – February 2). I know it’s a bit far but it’s a cool city and can be a great day out. For all the details click here.

When: January 30 – February 2 / Where: 71 Rue Hergé, 16000 Angoulême

Swing Party avec Hot Swing Sextet

A swing concert and party will take place this Friday (January 31) at the Quartier Libre club in Saint Michel. It will start with a swing lesson at 20:00 and continue with a Hot Swing Sextet concert. For more info click here.

When: January 31, at 20:00 / Where: 30 rue des Vignes, 33800 Bordeaux

Pintxo Gaua

Pintxo Gaua is a fun event taking place in Halles de Bacalan every last Friday of the month. As the name indicates, this event is all about Pintxos, with ingredients coming solely from the market. Finish your week this Friday (January 31) with Pintxos, some wine and a Dj set. For more info click here

When: January 31 / Where: 10 Esplanade de Pontac, 33300 Bordeaux

Le M.U.R de Bordeaux Performance

The Blind is the next artist whose work will decorate the M.U.R de Bordeaux. You can meet him and see him perform his art on the wall this Saturday (February 1st). For more info click here.

Le M.U.R bordeaux
When: February 1, at 18:30 / Where: place Paul et Jean-Paul Avisseau 33300 Bordeaux

I hope you enjoyed the weekend list and if you need help with some Bordeaux basics check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux that will help you get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. Also, don’t forget to join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.