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When you visit Bordeaux, dedicating at least a day or two to its exquisite countryside is a must. Bordeaux is the capital of Gironde, the biggest department in France with a huge variety of places to visit and things to do.  Among others, the Bordeaux region is known for its beautiful villages.

I’ve already written in detail about the best beaches surrounding Bordeaux, the most beautiful parks in the city, and even about hiking trails in Gironde. Now it’s time to explore some of the most charming villages in the Bordeaux region!

In this article, I gathered some of the most beautiful villages in Gironde, the perfect places to discover the architecture and heritage of the region. My list includes villages in Cap Ferret, wine towns as well and medieval villages from the south of Gironde.

*Note – most villages on this list require a car to get to, in case you don’t have one, click here to get a rental car in Bordeaux.

Castelmoron d'Albret

If you’re traveling to Dordogne, read my article about the most beautiful villages in Dordogne. If you need more information about traveling in the region, be sure to join my Travel in the Southwest of France Facebook group.

Now let’s hit the road and discover the most beautiful villages in Gironde. 

The right bank – Saint Emilion and Pays Blayais

Saint Emilion 

You can’t really do a list of villages around Bordeaux without including Saint Emilion in it, can you? This medieval village is known all around the world for its splendid wine but it’s also undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux.

A day trip to Saint Emilion in the southwest of France

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. 

Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent tourist attraction. If you’re visiting Saint Emilion in the high season of July-August beware that you need to book everything in advance, it gets very busy!  

There are plenty of things to see in and around Saint Emilion, and it requires a full-day trip to see all of it. I recommend reading my guide to Saint Emilion before heading there. Also, if you want to visit wineries in the Saint Emilion wine region, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. You can, of course, take a guided tour to Saint Emilion that will include both the town and the wineries. 

If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Saint Emilion, here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in the Saint Emilion region

Blaye 

Blaye is one of the most interesting places in the Bordeaux area, located only about 50 km north of Bordeaux. This little town has a long military and strategic history and is mostly known for its remarkable Citadel. 

The Citadel and city walls are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can easily spend half a day discovering them. 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.

The citadel of Blaye on of the most beautiful villages near Bordeaux

Blaye is also well known for its red wine which I really like and find reasonably priced. 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 region and the chateaux you can visit around Blaye.

How to get from Bordeaux to 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, you can see all the details about the tariffs and hours in this link.

Bourg

Bourg (Previously called Bourg sur Gironde) is a picturesque village, located at the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers. Playing a key role in the region’s history, Bourg was fortified by the English and visited by several kings, such as Louis XIV in 1650. Just like its neighboring town of Blaye, Bourg also has a very impressive citadel called Château de la Citadelle.

Apart from the citadel, the historic part of the city has a cute central square with restaurants and shops, the market takes place every Sunday.

Bourg - a beautiful day trip from Bordeaux

Bourge is also known for its great wine, labeled under the Côtes-de-Bourg appellation. Don’t miss a visit to the Maison des Vins, a 19th-century former residence with a warm atmosphere that acts as a venue for exhibitions, talks, receptions, tasting classes, meetings with winegrowers, and more. You can also see the map of all the wineries here, it’s better to call them before your visit. 

Whether you decide to go to Blaye or Bourg, I highly recommend staying at the stunning Domaine La Corniche located in between the two towns.

How to get from Bordeaux to Bourg:
Two bus lines of TransGironde (201, 202) from Lormont pass through Bourg. However, unless you live or stay on rives droite of the Garonne it will take you some time to get to Lormont from the center of Bordeaux. So here too, going by car is recommended.

Beautiful villages in Arcachon, Cap Ferret, and Medoc

L’herbe

L’herbe is a traditional oyster-farming village located on the Cap Ferret Peninsula. Here you won’t find the typical French village, no central square with a bakery, no old houses or medieval gates. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most beautiful villages in the southwest of France, in my opinion at least.

Arcachon bay - a day trip from Bordeaux

There’s something raw and authentic about L’herbe. You get to stroll amidst the colorful huts of oyster farmers and see them in action on their special workboats. If you like oysters, you’re going to love this place. Charming cabanes de huitres spread along the beach with a tiny menu that mostly includes oysters, pork paté and white wine. This is a perfect destination for a sunny half-day trip from Bordeaux, or a full-day if you add a trip to the beach as well.

How to get from Bordeaux to L’herbe: by car is the best way to get here as the bus is not a direct one and it takes almost two hours to get to L’herbe from Bordeaux. But if you have no choice take bus 601 (Trans Gironde) from Bordeaux center. 

If you want to discover all the other amazing places to visit around the Bassin d’Arcachon check out my article about a day trip to the Bassin d’Arcachon.

Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is a little town located in the south end of the Cap Ferret Peninsula in the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon. It’s 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 beach village atmosphere, especially if compared to Arcachon city.

Cap Ferret one of the most popular destinations near Bordeaux

Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches. It’s also known for its ostréiculture industry, which produces some of the best oysters in France. Dozens of colorful oyster huts adorn the bay side of the town of Cap Ferret, giving it a unique character. 

If you want to profit from the day, rent a bike and cycle along the beaches and through the pine forest that covers a large part of the Cap Ferret peninsula. There are plenty of bike rentals in Cap Ferret, Beach Bikes is a good one to check first.  

For a perfect weekend in Cap Ferret, check out Les Chambres du Phare, a cozy B&B within walking distance from the beach.

How to get from Bordeaux to Cap Ferret:
Bus 601 will bring you to Cap Ferret but it’ll take you at least two hours to get there, so a car is definitely a better option here. You can also take a ferry from Arcachon or le Moulleau beach, you can see the schedule here.

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 area, about 90 km from Bordeaux.

If you ever had the chance to visit the town of Arcachon, you will find Soulac sur Mer a bit familiar, and many actually call it “little Arcachon”. The city center with its market and restaurants resembles Ville d’été in Arcachon. The northern part of the town with its charming 18th-century villas is similar in style to the impressive villas of Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon. 

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 shrimp.

Soulac sur mer - a beautiful village in Medoc, France

Every June Soulac hosts one of my favorite events in Gironde, called Soulac 1900. A celebration of music, dance, ancient cars, and costumes from the beginning of the 20th century.

Entre deux mers and South Gironde 

I finish my list with the Entre Deux Mers region and the South of Gironde, my go-to places when I’m in the mood for beautiful medieval towns. This is one of the most beautiful parts in the southwest of France, embodying the historic and cultural richness of this region. 

Most of the villages on my list are located close to one another so you can visit them all in one weekend. Public transport is not extremely developed in this part of Gironde so it’s better to travel by car or bike if you like cycling a lot. I did, however, add public transport routes to these places just for completeness.

If you fancy a romantic weekend in that part of Gironde, check out Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, one of the best wine hotels in the region.

Saint Macaire 

First on my list is Saint Macaire, a little medieval town located on the banks of the Garonne River. Located about 50km from Bordeaux, Saint Macaire is an attractive destination for those interested in history and beautiful architecture.

What today seems like a sleepy town in the Entre Deux Mers wine region was once an important city under British rule and declared the “Ville royale d’Angleterre” (An English royal city) in 1341. During the 13th and 14th centuries, it was one of the most prosperous cities in Aquitaine due to its significant agricultural and trade activities.

Saint Macaire - one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux

When there take the time to discover its rich heritage, the narrow streets, and beautiful old houses and monuments. Place Mercadiou, surrounded by beautiful medieval houses is the main square of the village, where the market takes place every Thursday morning. Another monument not to miss is Porte de la Benauge, the main gate to the old city whose historic center is surrounded by ramparts. 

The most important monument of the village is Eglise de Saint Sauveur et Saint-Martin. The big church, built in the 12th and 15th centuries has impressive murals that are worth seeing. Every year at the end of August, Saint Macaire hosts one of the best medieval festivals in the region. 

How to get there from Bordeaux to Saint Macaire:
There’s usually only one or two trains a day going from Bordeaux to Saint Macaire, so getting there by public transport is not very practical. However, you can take a train to Langon and then cross the Garonne to the other side and bike or even go for a nice hike along the river until you reach Saint Macaire.

Cadillac

Cadillac is a little town located on the right bank of the Garonne River in the Entre Deux Mers wine region. It’s quite a popular destination attracting many tourists, especially during summer.  Cadillac is hard to miss when driving the D10 route to the south of Gironde. You will be greeted by a big defensive wall and the main gate into the old medieval center built in the 13th century. 

However, its undeniably most famous monument is the Château des Ducs d’Épernon, built by the Duke of Épernon in the 17th century. The chateau is very impressive and is best known for being a women’s prison starting from the French Revolution up until 1950. 

It now 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 still see the cells and a small exhibition about the prison.

Cadillac - medieval village in Gironde, France

The town is also known for its wine, the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. You can visit the Maison des vins of Cadillac to learn about the wine of this region and taste it of course 🙂

How to get from Bordeaux to Cadillac:
You can get there by bus number 501 from the Bastide neighborhood in Bordeaux, see the schedule here.

Rions

About 5km from Cadillac you will find Rions, a medieval village located on the banks of the Garonne river. Like other towns in this region, Rions is also characterized by cute narrow streets and medieval houses.

During medieval times it was an important town that was greatly affected by the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. In 1295, Rions, which was at the time under British rule, was conquered by the French Charles of Valois who took down its defensive walls. In 1313, England was able to take the city back and surround it with ramparts, making it one of the Fortified English cities of British-ruled southwest of France (Guyenne).

Rions - a medieval town in the South of Gironde

It went back into French hands right before the end of the long war and, despite all the turmoil, was left with its impressive architecture and charm, perfect for a few hours trip. If you want to make the best of your day trip to the region, you can go on a 5km hike and see the beautiful surroundings of this medieval town. 

Read more about the hiking trail from Rions, in my article about hiking around Bordeaux.

How to get from Bordeaux to Rions:
You can take bus number 501 from the Bastide neighborhood in Bordeaux, see the schedule here.   

Castelmoron d’Albret

This tiny medieval village is brimming with charm! Almost every house here is covered with colorful roses and other beautiful flowers spilling from eclectic pottery that is made here in the village. 

No house here looks the same, every window and door has its particularity. There are almost no signs of modern life here, no cars, no sidewalks, just a beautiful village frozen in time. Only about 50 people are living here and only three businesses operate in the 3.5 hectares village so the atmosphere is incredibly relaxing. I think my kids were the loudest thing this village has experienced in a while. 

Castelmoron d'Albret - the smallest village in France

It will take you about an hour of a scenic drive over the hills and along the vineyards of Entre Deux Mers to reach the little town from Bordeaux. If you want to combine the visit with any other activity, I recommend visiting the impressive bastide town of Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, which is located just a few minutes drive from Castelmoron d’Albret. 

There are also several hiking and cycling routes you can do in this part of Entre deux Mers.  In this link, you can find a great hiking trail that starts from the village itself.

How to get there:
Getting there by bus is fairly complicated and I would advise going only by car. The closest train station to this village is La Reole but the bus from there to Castelmoron d’Albret is not very regular.

La Réole

La Réole is a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne River about 50 km from Bordeaux. 

The town originally developed around a monastery founded in the 7th or 8th century however its 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. 

La Reole a beautiful town around Bordeaux

There are quite a few impressive houses and monuments to see in this little town. Just to name a few are the historic 12th century Town Hall, the Saint Pierre church and the Benedictine abbey, the old ramparts of the city, and more. Wander through the enchanting narrow streets of the historic center and let the beautiful architecture take you back in time. 

If you happen to arrive in La Reole when the tourist office is open, be sure to take a map of all the monuments in the city.

How to get from Bordeaux to La Reole:
This is a great destination for those who don’t own a car. You can get to La Réole in 40 minutes by train from Bordeaux. The train leaves from Gare Saint Jean every two hours.

If you want more ideas for trips by train from Bordeaux check out my full article about day trips from Bordeaux by public transport.

Bazas

Bazas is one of my favorite towns in the south of Gironde not only because it’s a beautiful place but also due to its rich heritage embodying the Gascony culture. It’s located at the eastern edge of the Gascon Landes forest, about 65 km from Bordeaux. 

A leisurely walk through the historic center unveils the city’s remarkable architecture and its past role as an important bishopric. The main square of Bazas is home to its famous gothic Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste which appears on the UNESCO world heritage list. When strolling the historic center don’t miss the charming old houses on the smaller streets as well as the gardens.

Bazas - heritage and Gastronomy in the southwest of France

Architecture is not the only attraction of Bazas which is quite famous for its gastronomy, especially its meat. You can enjoy the Bazadaise meat in one of the restaurants 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 in Bazas is an expert on everything related to food in the region. She knows all the farmers and chefs around Bazas and her guided farm-to-table tours are an unforgettable experience. Check out her website.

How to get from Bordeaux to Bazas
This is the most complicated place on my list to get to by public transport and I wouldn’t recommend doing it. If you want to get to Bazas from Bordeaux, renting a car is a must!

We came to the end of my list of the most beautiful villages in the Southwest of France, Gironde (at least until I find another treasure that has a place on this exclusive list :)). There are of course more charming villages around Bordeaux such as le Canon in the Cap Ferret Peninsula or Monsegur in Entre deux mers, but I narrowed down the list to the ones I find most special. 

If you’re interested in day trips in the region there are a few other articles you might like:
Best day trips from Bordeaux
10 day trips from Bordeaux by train 
Two days in the Medoc wine region
The most beautiful villages in Dordoge

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

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

I started writing this article mostly for myself about a week before the end of confinement. I wanted to come up with a long enough list of places I could go to with my kids or even alone (if that’s ever possible) where we can enjoy the wonders of the region but still keep social distancing. (If you’re reading this in 2050, we were all locked in our houses for two months, just google COVID-19).

Gironde is one of the most beautiful departments in France with an impressive number of hiking options. You can discover the parks and lakes around Bordeaux metropole or combine your trips with some heritage in Entre Deux Mers, or the vineyards of Saint Emilion.

There are long hiking trails for fit walkers and shorter ones for families with kids. I had so many ideas that I just had to come here and share them with you. I included hiking trails from every part of Gironde to give a big landscape variety.

I also publish quite a lot of my daily trips on social media so you are of course invited to follow me on Facebook/Instagram. Now let’s start! 

Hiking in Bordeaux Metropole

Let’s start with destinations closer to Bordeaux and its suburbs. There are dozens of big and small parks in the metropole that can be perfect for a nice and easy hike, so you don’t even need a car to be able to enjoy the green areas of Bordeaux.

The ones I particularly love are Parc de l’Ermitage in Lormont, Parc Majolan in Blanquefort, and Parc Bordelais in Bordeaux. There are of course many more green and lush places in the city and I’m working on an article with the full list which will be published soon. But for now, I wanted to introduce you to a few great hiking trails in Bordeaux Metropole through which you can discover the towns and forests surrounding the city. 

Parc Majolan

Au fil de l’eau bourde – From Talence to Gradignan

I live in Talence so the first one on the list is close to my home, a 5km trail through some of the green areas of Talence and Gradigan. It’s important to mention though that while most of your hike is going to be accompanied by green scenery, this is not a classic nature trail, meaning that you will have to walk through some urban areas to get from one location to another. Having said that, it’s a beautiful path and you will be surprised by some of the parks and monuments located in the footsteps of Bordeaux.

 Parc du Moulineau in Gradignan

The starting point is Bois de Thouars, a forest located on the border of Talence and Gradignan (it’s recommended to enter the forest from Avenue de Thouars in Talence). Don’t be in a rush here, take your time strolling around the lake, it feels more unspoiled here than many of the other lakes in the area.

From this point, you can follow the markup of GR® métropolitain throughout the entire route. But just to make sure you’re in the right direction, here are a few interesting points you should check on the way.

From the forest cross the bridge of the rocade (highway) to get to Gradignan (you should reach rue de Bénédigues in Gradignan). After a few more minutes walk, you’ll be on rue Saint-François-Xavier and will enter a green area that follows the Eau Bourde, a little stream of the Garonne river.

Your second destination on the trail is Parc de Pelissey in Gradignan. From there continue along the Eau Bourde to enter one of the biggest parks in this town – le Parc du Moulineau. This park is a gem for kids. Not only can they enjoy a big playground but it’s also home to the Maison de la Nature that inhabits nearly 50 different animal species from rabbits to the black and white goat of the Pyrénées. The animal park is unfortunately still closed due to Covid 19, but that should not bother you to enjoy the vast green Parc du Moulineau (or Le parc René Canivenc by its other name).

When you leave le Parc du Moulineau continue along the stream to get to Parc Mandavit. From here you will continue to the last destination of this trail – le Parc de Cayac, a historic monument on the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage road. From here you can take bus line number 10 to get back to the Thouars forest.
There’s also an option to continue to another 9 km hike through Gradignan. You can find more info about this and other hiking trails in the Metropole here

Réserve écologique des Barails

If you prefer to forget that cars exist for a couple of hours, this next trail is for you!  I’m happy to introduce you to the Réserve écologique des Barails, a beautiful natural reserve spreading over 156 hectares which also includes the beautiful Parc Floral of Bordeaux.

Located in the North of Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Lac district), it’s actually the biggest green space in Bordeaux. The reserve consists of different parts each with their own characteristics: the forest, the park, the meadows, the wetlands, and the ecological corridors. It’s so rich in nature that most visitors don’t cover it in one visit. 

Réserve écologique des Barails

There are three entries to the park. If you enter through Entree bois you’ll have the pleasure to discover more than 6km of hiking trails in the beautiful green forest. Enter the entree roseraie (next to the Golf de Lac) and you can enjoy a beautiful flower park with more than 500 varieties of roses. 

The reserve is also perfect for an easy stroll with kids and in fact, it was the first place I took mine after the deconfinement. Before heading there check out the information about the different entrances and parking on the official site of Bordeaux

Floirac – fil vert – the green path

Le Fil vert on the right side of the river has more than 25 km of hiking to offer, passing through Parc des coteaux, the green space that encompasses most of the parks of Floirac, Cenon, Lormont, and Bassens. There are numerous hiking trails you can do here, depending on what part of “rive droite” you want to discover. You can see some of the trails here.

Parc Castel in Floirac

In this article, I’ll focus on hiking in Floirac and Boulac, a trail called Boucle de Floirac – Bouliac, which starts at Parc Castel in Floirac. The park itself is very cute with an impressive chateau, which is the starting point of your walk.

Before you start the green path you can climb to the heights of the park to see the “belvédère” for a nice view. Then go down again to find the green loop path (boucle vert) in the le Chemin de Montagne.

After about  500m take a left on the main street (Chemin des plateaux) that you will have to follow to reach le Domaine de la Burthe, the biggest park of Floirac. Enter the park through Chemin de Beaufeu and follow the red and white markup in the park, this will lead you to Ruisseau de Jacotte (a little stream of water). You will then have to go down under the highway to cross to the next town – Bouliac. Continue following the markup until it leads you to the next destination –  le Bois de Loc Boué in Bouliac.

The final destination on this route is the 12th-century church of Saint-Siméon. From here you can start your way back to Floirac. To avoid repeating the same path, you can take a different route through rue de Bourg.

Before leaving rive droite you can also take a walk on Quai Deschamps and enjoy the beautiful view on the Garonne river. 

The Saint Emilion region 

Discover the lamprey capital of Gironde – Sainte Terre – 6.4 km

I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the beautiful Saint Emilion region. Even if you haven’t had the chance to do any hiking there, most of you living here had the chance to drive through the stunning vineyards of the famous wine region.

This trail, however, is different from the usual view you see from Saint Emilion as it goes along the Dordogne river. This is a good opportunity to learn about another product the Saint Emilion region is famous for, the lamproie (lamprey in English).
The little village of Sainte Terre is the capital of Lamprey. Start your tour from Église Saint-Alexis, the church of Sainte Terre and walk on Rue du Parlement until you reach the river. Take a nice long stroll along the river until you reach the prohibited area sign, then turn left with the path. Follow the path until you reach the town again and then turn left on Rue du Parlement to reach the town center.

On normal days you can also visit the Lamprey’s garden, a small park and the museum of lamprey, however, I believe that it’s still closed for visits. You can see the map of the trails with the points of interest here

Sainte Terre

The chateaux and restaurants are still closed, but once they’ll re-open I really recommend combining this hike with a visit to a winery or a nice meal in one of the villages around Saint Emilion. If you want more information on what to do in Saint Emilion, check out my article with everything you need to know about visiting this beautiful village. 

Entre Deux Mers

Boucle de Rions heritage and hillsides

Entre Deux Mers is one of the most beautiful parts of Gironde. An abundance of medieval villages scattered along the Gironde river, centuries-old historic monuments, wineries and a lot of nature makes it a perfect place for day trips from Bordeaux. And above all, it’s also a great region for hiking with several paths mixing heritage and nature. Today I want to focus on hiking around one of my favorite towns in the region – Rions.

Rions

Rions is a small medieval town on the hills on the banks of the Garonne river that played an important role in the Hundred Years War and was occupied by England during the 13th century. Even if you come here specifically for hiking, don’t be in a rush and take some time to admire the beautiful houses with old shatters and the colorful flower pots decorating the narrow streets of the village. After you got inspired by the beautiful architecture we can start the hike. Leave the city center following rue Lavidon, through Porte Lavidon, and enjoy a pleasant 4.5 km path with a stunning view of the Garonne hillsides and vineyards. You will enter back through the most impressive gate in Rions, Porte du l’Hyan, the only gate that was kept fully preserved to this day. Before you leave, visit the old ramparts of the city, built in the 14th century and restored in the 18th century. You can find the map and all the details here

The South of Gironde

Hostens 

Hostens is one of the highlights of the South Gironde region. Domaine des Lacs d’Hostens is located at the heart of the Landes de Gascogne forest (50 km from Bordeaux) and offers some of the best hiking trails you can find near Bordeaux. The Domain consists of five different lakes with plenty of water activities as well as hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and more. If you’re after a good hike, head to the second lake, Lac du Bousquey. On the way you can see horses, butterflies and other wonders of nature. There are three trails in the Domain of Hostens:  8, 11 et 16 km long so there is something for both fit walkers and people who just want to enjoy a relatively short walk in nature. 

Hostens

In Hostens you will also find one of the best beaches in Gironde, this one located on the shores of another lake, the lake of Lamothe. So if the weather is good this would be the best way to end your hike. 

Lac Vert and Lac Bleu

Lac Vert

I really love hiking around lakes! I think that water in combination with the greenery around it gives it a very meditational vibe 🙂 Luckily there are a few beautiful lakes around the area where you can have a lovely walk and admire the colors of the water. The first one is Lac Vert (the green lake) in Canejan and the second one is Lac Bleu (the blue lake) in Leognan, both located about 15/20 minutes’ drive from Bordeaux. Their names derive from the color of the water and they are both stunning. 

Saint Symphorian

Did you know that the largest man-made forest in Europe is located just an hour’s drive from Bordeaux? The huge Landes forest has a few hiking trails, one of them starting in Saint Symphorien, a village located about 50 km south of Bordeaux. The route starts from the center of Saint Symphorien, which by itself is not very interesting. But it’s nice to dedicate a few minutes to see the town hall, the gothic Saint Symphorien church, and the cute little Maison Cammunale, which was built during the great depression. To start the walk, leave the city center and walk about 5 minutes on Cours de Verdun until you reach Le Chalet Mauriac. In this house the famous novelist, Francois Mauriac used to spend his vacations as a child. The chateau itself is probably closed right now, but the nice park around it might be open.

Le Chalet Mauriac

Your next destination is Moulin de Marian, an old windmill standing close to the Hure river. This is a nice walk that should take you about 30 minutes. From here continue on the path until you reach the department route number D220. Don’t turn to D220, instead continue straight on D115 until you reach Landes de Lassus, turn left here. Then continue north until you get to l’Atelier des Chemins de fer économiques de la Gironde. The building, built in the 19th century is a testimony of what was one of the main economic activities of this village. The site was closed in 1978 but you can still see some of the machines they used back then. You are now almost back to the center of Saint Symphorien, where our tour ends.

Arcachon

Lanton

Lanton on the Arcachon Bay

One of my favorite hiking places in the region is Lanton on the Arcachon bay. There are of course many other great places for a promenade around the Bassin but I love the fact that you rarely see any people in Lanton and that the drive is not very long.  You can start your walk from Plage de Suzette, which is a little port with a few restaurants on it, from there just follow the trail surrounding the little port. If you’ve ever been to the Bassin d’Arcachon you know that the view changes a lot depending on the tide. This trail goes along the bay and that’s why, depending on the time you arrive, it may feel like walking along the beach or in an apocalyptic desert. The scenery and tranquility are just magical and it’s less than an hour from Bordeaux!
To discover more places in Bassin d’Arcachon go to my article about the best day trips to Arcachon Bay.

Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon 

Here’s an idea for those who like urban trails. The touristy city of Arcachon currently feels very different from its usual lively vibes. Tourists are yet to flood the region and the restaurants will stay closed until at least June. Why not use this opportunity to discover the beautiful architecture of ville d’Hiver in Arcachon city. The winter city of Arcachon was mainly built in the 19th century and among its 300 villas, you can find some architectural treasures. Here are a few villas you don’t want to miss: Teresa, Toledo, Brémontier, Trocadero, Alexandre Dumas, Bayard, and Athena. Before you go, don’t miss the beautiful Parc Mauresque which separates the winter city from the summer city. If you can read some French, here’s a site with a short history of the most famous villas in the winter city. For more info on what to do in Arcachon city check out my article about Arcachon.

Ville d'hiver Arcachon

There are of course many more hiking routes in the region. We are surrounded by forests, lakes, parks, old villages, and a lot of heritage, so there’s an endless amount of ideas for a walk. But I wanted to release this article as soon as possible so you can start enjoying the weather and the deconfinement. I will add more ideas for walks in this article in the next few weeks, so I invite you all to return to this page. If you enjoyed reading the article, you can always share it with friends and make them go on a hike instead of the crowded city center 🙂 

Before I go, I just wanted to let you know about all the other places you can get my information about traveling in Bordeaux and the Southwest of France. 

  1. My Travel in the Southwest of France Facebook group – where people from all over the Southwest of France share their favorite places to visit in the region.
  2. My Facebook/Instagram pages where I share almost all my travels and experiences in the region on a daily basis.
  3. Newsletter – I decided to go on a little break with my emails during the confinement being that most of the content there is about villages, restaurants, museums, and heritage sites, which is not content anyone currently needs. But I’m coming back with my weekly emails soon so you are all welcomed to join me there – subscribe 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 people plan their day trip to Saint Emilion they’re surprised to discover that it’s also one of the most fascinating villages in the Southwest of France.

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. Today the stunning Saint Emilion is listed as a heritage site by UNESCO

Planning your first-day trip from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion can be a bit overwhelming. In this article, I want to give you all the information about what 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 decide to stay the night in Saint Emilion (which I highly recommend), here are my hotel recommendations. In case you’re looking for a unique experience in the vineyards of Bordeaux, check out my article about the best wine hotels in the region.

A day trip to Saint Emilion- what to do
Discover the vineyards of Saint Emilion – Lost in Bordeaux

Car / Public transport 

Generally speaking, I always recommend renting a car when you visit vineyards because it gives you a lot of flexibility to visit any winery you want. And driving in between the small wine villages surrounding Saint Emilion is just magic by itself. If you decide to rent a car, check out this website for good deals

However, if you rather avoid driving just know that it’s very easy to visit Saint Emilion or other wine areas in Bordeaux by public transport. Here’s a detailed explanation of how to get to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux. If you prefer taking a guided tour of the vineyards I have a few recommendations in this article, you can click here if you want to read it now.

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

I have another article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion so if you want to jump straight to wine tasting, simply click here. Also if you’re traveling with kids here are some of my recommendations for the most kid-friendly wineries.

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. 

the streets of Saint Emilion
The Streets of Saint Emilion – Lost in Bordeaux

In the 8th century, a monk named Emilian arrived in 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. That 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. 

Monolithic church in Saint Emilion
Monolithic church in Saint Emilion – Lost in Bordeaux

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 its 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.

Take a tour in Saint Emilion
A small group tour in Saint Emilion – by Lost in Bordeaux

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 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 of 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. 

What to do in Saint Emilion

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. 

The Collegiate church in Saint Emilion
The Collegiate church – by Lost in Bordeaux

La Tour du Roy

The 13th-century King’s Keep is one of the most famous military architectural monuments in Gironde. There’s still a debate among 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 actually find here sparkling wine as well. The wine is called Cremant de Bordeaux and it’s produced 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. The Codeliers offers 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) accompanied by 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

Les Cordeliers - the sparkling wine on Saint Emilion
Les Cordeliers – sparkling wine produced in a Cloister

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. Unfortunately, there’s no market in the center of Saint Emilion but one of the best markets in the Bordeaux region is just within a few minutes drive!

Libourne market is a must for anyone who wants to visit a big regional market with tens of stands of local cheese, wine, charcuterie, oysters, and other local delicacies. The market is taking is taking place every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday in the center of Libourne.

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.

Try regional sweets 

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 its special sweets that you can’t find anywhere else in France and one of them is coming straight from Saint Emilion. 

macarons of 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 (1 Place Pioceau)

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 let you taste their wine.

However, if you’re interested in a tour (even a basic one), you usually have to either make an appointment or book online. I highly recommend visiting at least one chateau when in the region. Here I want to facilitate the planning part for you with some tips.

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.

As I had the chance to visit many chateaux in Saint Emilion since moving here, I’ve gathered a list of some of the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. This list is very limited and there are of course many other excellent wineries in the region but I found those to be particularly friendly to visitors.

Most of my list is dedicated to small family estates rather than big wineries owned by big companies. I personally prefer these kinds of visits as they feel more personal and allow you to discover the passion and history stretching several generations of winegrowers in one family. 

Note– Most of the wineries are reachable only by car. If you rather using the train to get to Saint Emilion, check out my article about wineries you can reach by public transport.

Chateau de Ferrand - a winery to visit in Saint Emilion
Chateau de Ferrand – 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, you should also visit the luxurious neighbor of Saint Emilion, the Pomerol Appellation. Pomerol is one the most prestigious appellations in the area, even though 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. 

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

But there are several Pomerol wineries that will be more than happy to welcome you to their estate. Two of the most impressive ones, in my opinion, are Chateau de Sales (book a visit here) and Chateau Beauregard with the most impressive wine tanks I’ve ever seen. Other smaller family-owned properties I love include Château du Tailhas (book a visit here) and Chateau Bel Air.

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 of 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 if you rather avoid planning or driving, here are a few recommended tours you can take from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. For more options for wine tours in the Bordeaux region check out my article about the Best wine tours in Bordeaux

From Bordeaux: Afternoon Saint-Emilion Wine Tasting Tripone of the most popular half-day tours from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion. The tour takes you from the center of Bordeaux to visit two wine chateaux. You can find all the details of the tour and book directly here.

Full-Day St Emilion Wine Tasting Tour – This tour from Bordeaux to Saint Emilion allows you to visit three different chateaux in the region as well as the town itself. 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.

Guided wine tour in Saint Emilion
Ebike wine tour in Saint Emilion – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint-Emilion Electric Bike Day Tour with Wine Tastings & Lunch – one of the best ways to discover the vineyards of Saint Emilion is on E-bikes. Rustic Wines is a company that offers amazing full-day ebike tours in Saint Emilion. The tours include a visit to two wineries, a lunch, and a visit to the village. Book the tour here

Private wine tours– there are quite a few amazing guides here in the region that can take you on a private tour to Saint Emilion. Three I particularly like are Olala wine tours, Niclolle from SIP, and Anne from Aquitiane travel guide.

What to eat in Saint Emilion 

Saint Emilion takes itself very seriously when it comes to gastronomy with plenty of restaurants in the city center as well as at the vineyards of the region. Saint Emilion is a very popular touristic destination which means that if you’re traveling in the summer season, reserving a table is a must!  

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 – The first wine bar in Saint Emilion that has become 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

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

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. Click here to book a wine tour and a meal at Chateau de Candale.

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 posts about the events taking place in and around Bordeaux (including Saint Emilion) as well as a weekly newsletter I send to my subscribers. 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 end of April/ beginning of May with almost 90 wineries opening their doors to welcome the public for three days of free tours, wine tastings, exhibitions, concerts, and more. Here are more open-door events taking place in the Bordeaux wine region.

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- by Lost in Bordeaux

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

Fête les Vins Kms de Saint-Émilion – The official marathon (and semi-marathon) of Saint Emilion, taking place every March.

What’s the best time to come to Saint Emilion 

In my opinion, the best time to visit Saint Emilion is from May to Mid July and then September and October (the harvest season). But that’s the short answer, it’s obviously it a bit more nuanced than that. You can find my detailed answer about when to come to Saint Emilion and when to avoid it here. However, I just want to highlight that it’s a huge and very popular wine region, so you’ll find a winery to visit no matter when you come.

harvest time in Saint Emilion
harvest time in Saint Emilion – by Lost in Bordeaux

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 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 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 by car – if you need to rent one click here.

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 (the 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.

*You can also read the full article about where to stay in and around Saint Emilion, where I included luxury experiences as well and more simple and cute B&B in the countryside around the beautiful town.

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

Le Relais de Franc Mayne Saint Emilion

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

See the full list of my recommended hotels and B&Bs in the Saint Emilion region.

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Are you also planning to visit Bordeaux?

Here are a few articles to help you plan the best trip to Bordeaux:

50 best things to do in Bordeaux
My guide to a weekend in Bordeaux
What to do in one day in Bordeaux

And this is a full list of all Bordeaux wine-related articles with more winery recommendations, that will help you plan your Bordeaux self-guided wine tour:

Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion Best wine tours in Bordeaux
A guide to the Bordeaux wine region 
How to visit wineries in the Bordeaux wine region without a car
A weekend in the Medoc wine region 
Best wineries to visit in Sauternes 
Best wineries in Bordeaux to visit with kids 

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email  | Facebook group

*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.

Saint Emilion, one of the world’s most prestigious wine regions, is home to over 800 wineries, making it challenging to choose which to visit. To help, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites, focusing on great wine, beautiful properties, welcoming owners, and interesting tours. My list features both small family-run estates and larger Grand Cru Classé châteaux, and I recommend visiting a mix of both. Click here for more articles about the Bordeaux wine region.

Saint Emilion, is also one of the most beautiful villages near Bordeaux and is worth a few hours of exploration. I’ve written a detailed guide on the best things to do and eat in Saint Emilion. For hotel recommendations, check out my list of hotels in and around the village. If you’re traveling with kids, read my article on the most kid-friendly wineries in the Bordeaux region, including a special section on Saint Emilion. 

Note – You’ll need a car to get to most wineries in Saint Emilion – here’s a good website for renting a car in the region.

Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion

Château Bernateau

Château Bernateau, a family-run winery owned by the 11th generation of the Lavau family, offers an hour-and-a-half tour from vineyard to glass. You’ll explore old and new vines, visit their gravity vat house, and taste various wines. The property features a charming garden, a small playhouse for kids, and picnic spots. Open daily with tours in English and French, prices range from 6 to 25 euros. Click here to book a tour online.

Château Bernateau - one of the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
Château Bernateau by lost in Bordeaux

Château Montlabert

The stunning Château Montlabert, located less than a five-minute drive from the center of Saint-Émilion, was known as the “Maison Noble de Montlabert” in the 18th century, adopting its current name in 1750. Over the past decade, innovative tools have elevated Château Montlabert to a Grand Cru Classé of Saint-Émilion, recognized for its excellence. In 2018, the estate underwent significant reconstruction, resulting in one of the region’s most remarkable architectural feats, highlighted by a unique wine cellar. The chateau offers daily tours in English and French, which can be combined with a picnic in their beautiful rose garden. You can book a tour online through this link.

Château Montlabert - one of the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
Château Montlabert by Lost in Bordeaux

Chateau de Pressac

Château de Pressac was probably one of my favorite winery visits thanks to its welcoming service and stunning view. The Chateau dates back to the Middle Ages and over the years has changed many hands and architectural styles. Since 1997 it has belonged to the Quenin family who has done extensive work to rebuild the winery. The winery offers different experiences from wine tasting to a discovery of their property. The wine of Château de Pressac is fantastic, but as it’s Grand cru classé the prices are quite high. Click here to book a tour online.

Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion - Chateau de Pressac
Château de Pressac – by Lost in Bordeaux

Chateau Cadet Bon

Château Cadet Bon, a small 7-hectare vineyard, has been producing classic Saint Emilion wine since 1867. Owned by Michele and Guy Richard since 2001, it has undergone significant renovations and transitioned to organic wine production in 2017. Labeled as Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé, the château follows stringent production standards. Conveniently located just minutes from Saint Emilion’s center, it offers tours including tastings, comparative experiences, and wine-tasting courses, making it an ideal visit even via public transport. You can book all their tours online – click here.

wines. 

Chateau Cadet Bon in the center of Saint Emilion  - winery to visit
Château Cadet Bon – by Lost in Bordeaux

Château La Croizzille

Château la Croizille offers a captivating blend of tradition and innovation. Adjacent to the traditional Château Tour Baladoz, both estates are family-owned. The tour showcases the contrast between old and new winemaking techniques, with a highlight being the stunning vineyard views from the tasting room. Daily tours include a visit to the modern cellars and tastings, providing a comprehensive experience. Click here to book a tour at Château la Croizille.

Chateau La Croizzille - one of the wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
Chateau La Croizzille – by lost in Bordeaux

Château Soutard

A mere 10-minute walk from the center of Saint-Émilion stands the impressive 18th-century Château Soutard. While it lacks the cozy family feel of other wineries, being owned by La Mondiale since 2006, it remains a popular and highly-rated experience. Château Soutard offers fun activities such as wine blending workshops, vineyard biking, gourmet picnics, and wine tours. Choose your tour here.

Chateau Soutard  in saint emilion
Chateau Soutard by lost in Bordeaux

Chateau de Ferrand, Grand Cru Classé

The impressive Château de Ferrand is located about 6km from the center of Saint-Émilion. The domain occupies 32 hectares, which is considered a big winery in Saint Emilion. The tour takes you through the vineyard and the big wine cellars. Part of the visit also includes the history of the Château which dates back to the 17th century. There are two beautifully designed tasting rooms that they have recently finished renovating. Château de Ferrand offers a variety of visits, masterclasses, and wine-related events throughout the year. You can see them all here.

Chateau de Ferrand - a winery to visit in Saint Emilion
Chateau de Ferrand – By Lost in Bordeaux

Château Beaurang

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 family welcome and great wine this is the right place for you. Claude Puyol and his daughter Delphine represent the third and fourth generations in this artisanal wine-making family. A family with a beautiful history they love sharing with their guests. See more info about the tours here.

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

Château Coutet

This elegant château, a 20-minute walk from the center of Saint-Émilion, boasts a 400-year history passed down through 14 generations of the David-Beaulieu family. The family personally guides the tours, offering a welcoming and intimate experience. The picturesque garden, complete with a pond and ducks, adds to the charm and makes it a favorite among visitors, especially families with children. Combined with excellent wine, it’s one of the best wineries to visit in Saint-Émilion. You need to call to book a tour – here are all the details.

Château Coutet in Saint Emilion
Château Coutet by lost in Bordeaux

Château Villemaurine

If you come to Saint-Émilion by train and prefer to stay close to the village, Château Villemaurine is ideal, just a short walk from the center. This château blends tradition, modernity, and centuries of history in its refined wine production. They offer three guided tours: a group discovery tour with visits to the vineyards and monolithic cellars, a Heritage tour exploring the château’s quarries, and a private tour tailored for wine enthusiasts. All tours conclude with a wine tasting. Click here to book a tour online.

Château Villemaurine in Saint Emilion
Château Villemaurine

Check out other wineries you can visit by public transport around Bordeaux.

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-minute tour 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.

Discover all the other wineries you can visit with kids in the Bordeaux region.

If you’re planning to stay the night in Saint Emilion, here are my recommendations for the best hotels and B&Bs in and around Saint Emilion.

Practical information about visiting wineries in Saint Emilion

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 offer a variety of both big and small châteaux to help my readers plan their trip to the area. Hope you liked it 🙂

Learn about the Bordeaux wine region with my detailed guides:

Best wineries to visit in Bordeaux
The harvest season in Saint Emilion
How to get to Saint Emilion from Bordeaux
Best wine tours from Bordeaux
Wineries to visit in Medoc
Wineries to visit in Sauternes
How to visit wineries without a car
Best wineries to visit by public transport
Family-friendly wineries in Bordeaux
Open doors in the wineries of Bordeaux

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

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

One of the wonders of visiting Bordeaux is the day trips you can do in the region. Gironde (Bordeaux’s department) is one of the most fascinating areas in France, rich with beaches, beautiful villages, nature, and heritage. If you’re spending more than a weekend in Bordeaux, be sure to leave some time to discover its surroundings. 

If you have a car or plan to rent one, I have a more detailed guide to all the best day trips in Gironde. This article, however, is dedicated only to places around Bordeaux you can get to by train. If you have more time to discover the southwest of France, check out this list of other destinations to visit by train.

Arcachon and Dune du Pilat – a day trip from Bordeaux to the Ocean

Ville d'Été - Arcachon - one of the best day trip from Bordeaux
Ville d’Été – Arcachon – by Lost in Bordeaux

Arcachon is one of the most popular summer destinations in southwest 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 tourist center, main beach, restaurants, and boutiques. Others include Ville d’Hiver with glamorous 19th-century villas, and Ville de Printemps (the beautiful beaches). Ville d’Automne (the port).

Its most popular attraction, however, is not the town itself but rather Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. A day trip from Bordeaux to Arcachon, especially when combined with the dune can easily take a whole day, so don’t plan anything else that day. I have a detailed guide to a day trip to Arcachon and the dune, be sure to read it before you go. You can also take a semi-private tour from Bordeaux to Arcachon.

In case want to stay the night in Arcachon, here are my recommendations for the best hotels.

How to get to Arcachon 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. You can buy tickets here or at the station.

Saint Émilion – a day trip to the Bordeaux wine region

Saint Émilion is 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. The main attraction of Saint Emilion is, of course, visiting wineries. In my article about the best wineries to visit by public transport in the Bordeaux region, you can find a few Saint Emilion chateaux. For more recommendations check out my list of recommended wineries in Saint Emilion

Another option for visiting Saint Emilion is taking a wine tour from Bordeaux. Here are two tours I highly recommend for a full-day trip and a half-day trip to Saint Emilion. For more wine tour recommendations click here

Saint Emilion - the best day trip from Bordeaux
The Medieval Town of Saint Emilion – Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Emilion, however, is worth a visit even if you’re not a wine enthusiast. 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. You can read about all the special things to do on a day trip to Saint Emilion in my article.

If you have time to stay the night in Saint Emilion, that is also a perfect destination for a weekend. Here are my recommendations for the best places to stay in the Saint Emilion region.

How to get to Saint Emilion by train?
A direct train from Bordeaux to the Saint Emilion train station, which is located 15-20 minutes walk from the station to the city center. For more details about getting to Saint Emilion, read this article. You can buy train tickets at the station or online.

Visit Châteaux in Bordeaux by tram or bus

Did you know that some of the best wineries in the Bordeaux wine region are actually located within Bordeaux Metropole? This means you don’t have to make the effort to get to Saint Emilion or Medoc if you want to visit chateaux in the region. A few months ago I published a detailed list of all the wineries you can get to by public transport. However, here I want to mention the closest one to the center of Bordeaux (booking in advance is recommended).

Château Pape Clément in Pessac
Take line B to Pessac Centre and then continue for 20 minutes by foot or take a direct bus from Place Tourny in Bordeaux (line 4). You can book the tour online – just click here.

Château du Taillan in Le Taillan-Médoc

Chateau du Taillan is a beautiful winery in Medoc. 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. If you’re visiting with kids, this is one of the most kids-friendly wineries to visit in the Bordeaux wine region. For more info click here.

Château Olivier
Another gem in the Pessac Leognan appellation is Château Olivier. Just a few km from Bordeaux, you’ll find a beautiful château, surrounded by a forest and vines. Take bus number 5 from Palais de Justice in Bordeaux to get to the winery. Book your visit here.

La Réole – a charming medieval town

La Réole is a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne river about 50 km from Bordeaux. It’s considered one of the most beautiful villages in Gironde. The town grew around a monastery founded in the 7th or 8th century, but its golden era was in medieval times when it became the region’s second-largest city after Bordeaux.

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

Today La Reole is a quiet town that often holds interesting cultural events as well as one of the best markets in Gironde on Saturday mornings. Get lost in the narrow charming streets of the historic center of La Réole and let the beautiful architecture take you back in time. On the way back be sure to stop by the beautiful Château de Cérons for wine tasting (get down the Cerons station on the same train line).

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

Margaux is one of the most prestigious wine appelations in the Bordeaux wine region. It’s one of the 8 wine appelations in Medoc, a region I usually recommend visiting by car. Having said that, visiting wineries in Margaux by train is very easy.

A train will bring you directly from Bordeaux to the town of Margaux. Some of the best wineries in this appellation are located within a walking distance from the train station. When there don’t miss the chance to dine in one of the great restaurants this town has to offer.

Here are the names of several recommended wine châteaux that are close to the train station (all require prior reservation):
Château Marquis de Terme – you can book your visit here.
Château Ferriere – Book your visit here.
Château Lascombes – book your visit here.

Château Marquis de Terme  in Medoc
Château Marquis de Terme – Lost in Bordeaux

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. Check out these and other wineries I recommend visiting in the Medoc wine region. For more info about Bordeaux check out the tourist office website.

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

Angoulême – the capital of comics and street art

Angouleme is one of the biggest cities in the southwest region, known as the capital of comics in France. In recent years it has been 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. However, it’s mostly known for its huge comics museum and the annual International Comics festival (in January).

Angoulême - the capital of street art and comics of France
Angoulême – Lost in Bordeuax

One of the biggest attractions Angouleme has to offer is its street art scene. There are more than 20 murals of comics and illustrations on buildings in almost every neighborhood around the city. Discover the best murals in my article about street art in Angouleme.

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. You can book your tickets in advance.

Saint Macaire – a charming medieval town

Saint Macaire is a medieval city located some 50 km from Bordeaux on the banks of the Garonne river. It’s not a familiar destination to most people visiting Bordeaux, but it’s definitely worth a day trip.

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. The 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. Read more about Saint Macaire here.

The town 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. The little town gets very lively with amazing costumes, music, medieval games, and more.

Medieval festival in Saint Macaire
Medieval festival in Saint Macaire – Lost in Bordeaux

How to get there by public transport? You can get to Saint Macaire by train from the Saint Jean station in Bordeaux. There are several trains running to Saint Macaire on Saturdays and fewer during the week.
A more flexible option would be to get to Langon, the main town of southeast Gironde, and then take a taxi (it’s a 10-minute 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 – One of the best markets in Gironde

Libourne is a pretty town located at the confluence of the Isle and Dordogne rivers. Founded as a Bastide town in the 13th century it used to be an important port city central to the wine and wood trade in the region.

day trip to libourne
The market in Libourne by Lost in Bordeaux

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 day trip 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. Read more about the city on the page of the tourist office.

How to get there by train? There’s a train from Bordeaux to Libourne every 20-60 minutes.

Sainte Foy la Grande – visit a bastide town 

This beautiful bastide town, situated in the northeast 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 its charming look.

Although it’s not a very touristy destination it does get quite busy during Saturday’s market, one of the biggest markets in the region. Every fours Sunday of the month, the town hosts a big antique market too. If you want a full-day trip you can then continue to Bergerac, one of the biggest towns in the Dordogne department (the station is located on the same train line).

Sainte Foy la Grande - a beautiful bastide town
Sainte Foy la Grande – by Lost in Bordeaux

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. You can combine this day trip with a visit to the Chateau de Vayres. The stunning castle is located in Vayres, a village sited on the same train line as Sainte Foy la Grande. 

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

Gujan-Mestras – discover oyster farming 

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. The best way to discover the town and its ports is by bike. You can rent one in the Gujan itself, here’s the link to the bike rental shop

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.

A place I particularly like in Gijan Mestras is La “Maison de Huitre”, an interactive museum where you discover everything about oyster farming. Gujan also has a very cute beach, Plade de la Hume. You can see more details about it in my article about the best beaches around Bordeaux.

No matter what you choose to do in Gojan Mestra, there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss – taste oysters! Along the ports and especially at Port de Larros, you’ll find tend of oyster cabanes. That’s where most Bordelaise will go for fresh oysters. 

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.

That’s my list of the 10 best day trips from Bordeaux by train! If you enjoyed it, please help me spread the word by sharing this post.

If you have more time to discover the southwest of France, here are a few other destinations you should check out. All of these are easily reachable by train from Bordeaux. 

A weekend in Toulouse
The best things to do in Biarritz
Best things to do in Sarlat, Dordogne
A day trip to Bergerac, Dordogne
What to do in Cognac

Pin this article, so you can use it when in Bordeaux!

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

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

September is hands down the best month to visit Bordeaux! It’s still hot enough to go to the beach, many summer bars are still open, and don’t even get me started with how beautiful the vineyards are this time of the year. So you don’t really need events to enjoy the SW of France in September, but I’m going to tell you about them anyway! And that’s because I believe it’s the best way to discover the hidden gems of Gironde.

So this September we have everything from the Medoc Marathon to the European Heritage Days and a dance festival on the beach. If you’re reading this in August, don’t forget to check out my article about the best things to do in August as well. 

September is the best month to visit the Bordeaux region
Beaches around Bordeaux in September

There are only the biggest events taking place in September in the region. There are of course many other smaller festivals, markets, and concerts happening here all the time. These usually appear in my weekend newsletter so don’t forget to subscribe to my email list if you’re not on it yet. 

If you want to discover more of the region I also invite you to join my Travel in the Southwest of France group on Facebook or follow me on my Facebook/ Instagram accounts.

Here are some of the best things you can do in Bordeaux in September 2024!

The best events in Bordeaux (and Gironde) in September 2024

The Medoc Marathon

Running 42km is only a small part of the Medoc Marathon experience. It’s mostly about enjoying the amazing scenery accompanied by great wine and food. This year the celebrated Marathon will take place on September 7. You don’t have to run to enjoy this event, many activities will take place on the weekend of the marathon (Sep 6-8). follow the program here. 

See all the other things you can do in Medoc in my article about a weekend in Medoc

Initial Festival

In September, Bordeaux will be hosting one of the biggest electronic music festivals in France. The initial Festival will take place on September 6-7 at the Parc des Expositions. The long program includes 3 stages and more than 20 artists, see more details here.

Ouvre La Voix Festival

Ouvre La Voix Festival allows you to discover the beautiful Entre-Deux-Mers region in Gironde in a unique way. The three-day program of the festival (September 6-8) combines concerts, wine, and gastronomy with biking routes taking you to places like Créon, Frontenac, Sauveterre de Guyenne, and more. See more details here.

Festival des Gueilles de Bonde in Macau

Festival des Gueilles de Bonde is an art and music festival taking place in Macau in the Médoc region. This year the free festival will take place on September 6-7. The program includes music concerts, street theater, and a gastronomic market. Check out the program of the festival here.

Festival Teste à Têtes

The Teste à Têtes festival, organized by the circus school Komonò Circus, will take place on September 6-8 in La Teste de Buch. The program includes plenty of activities dedicated to street art, music concerts, and circus workshops for kids. For more details click here.

Festival Teste à Têtes in La teste du buch , Arcahon
Festival Teste à Têtes – Lost in Bordeaux

See my other recommendations about places to visit in Arcachon in my article about a day trip to Arcachon.

The Big Scooter Race

The Nire Laguna Thomas Association organized a wonderful event to help raise funds for research on pediatric cancer. A kid’s scooter race will take place on September 7 on the Quai of Bordeaux, starting from Placette de Munich. The race is open to kids aged 5 -10 years old, register here.

The medieval festival of Bouliac

Every year, Bouliac, one of Bordeaux’s suburbs, organizes a fun medieval celebration full of art, games, and amazing costumes. This year the festival will take place on September 6-8. Check out all the details here

The Vino Voce festival

The vino festival in Saint Emilion is a celebration of voices in all forms, from singing voices to voices on the radio, voices of actors, and more. The festival (September 6-8) includes a rich program of music concerts, movie screenings, singing master classes, and other platforms where voice plays an important role.  For more info about the festival click here

Discover the Chartrons neighborhood

There’s no specific event taking place here in September, but I don’t want you to miss one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Bordeaux on your visit. Elegant buildings with flower-covered balconies, chic coffee places, some of the best pastry places in Bordeaux, and many antique shops are only some of the things you can find in Chartrons. See all the best things to do in Chartrons in my article

Climax Festival 

Darwin will host its annual Climax Festival on September 11-15. The festival focuses on environmental issues and climate change and its program includes conferences debates and many cultural events and concerts. This is one of the biggest festivals in the center of Bordeaux located in one of the hippest places in the city. Take a look at the site of the festival for the full program.

 Summer Rock in Bouliac

The annual “Bouliac on the Rock” event will take place this year on September 14. The program of the event includes an American car exhibition, a rock concert, a raffle, vinyl discs, and food stands. The festival is free, see more info here.

Journées Européennes du Patrimoine

The European Heritage Days are a great opportunity to discover some of Bordeaux’s most beautiful and interesting buildings. During the weekend of September 21-22, many public and private places will open their doors and allow you to peek into parts of this city’s history otherwise hidden from our daily view. Some of the most interesting places to visit during the weekend are the Opera of Bordeaux, the Grosse Cloche, and many more. You can see the full list of the places that will be open for visits here. You can also see the program all over France here

Grosse Cloche - Bordeaux
Grosse Cloche – Lost in Bordeaux

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 ceremony is held in front of the beautiful collegiate church of Saint Emilion by the Jurade, winegrowers dressed in red caps and robes. This year the events of the “Ban des Vendanges” will take place on September 21-22, as part of the European Heritage Days. For more info about this special day check out my article about the harvest season in Saint Emilion.

harvest in Saint Emilion
My son, harvesting in Saint Emilion

There are a few wineries that host harvest events where you can come and take part in the harvest process. At the end of August, I’ll update this list with more specific information.

Festival Cadences d’Arcachon

Festival Cadence is a dance festival taking place every year in Arcachon. The program of the festival is known for its diversity including classic, contemporary, hip-hop, flamenco, and more. The festival will take place on September 17-22, for the full program click here, and see more info here.

Vélotour Bordeaux

Discover Bordeaux by bike through places where bicycles are usually not allowed: museums, sports centers, cultural and historic places, and more. More than ten places have opened their doors for this unusual experience. The tour will take place on September 22 and will start at the Maison Écocitoyenne Bordeaux. For more info about the event click here.

A similar event will take place in Saint Emilion on September 7, see all the details here. See other things you can do in Saint Emilion in my article about a day trip to Saint Emilion.

Visit the Vineyards of Sauternes and Barsac

Bordeaux is mainly famous for its red wines but a small part of this huge wine region is actually dedicated to white sweet wine. The Sauternes and Barsac AOC produce some of the most prestigious sweet wines in the world. But what makes the visit there even more interesting are the beautiful chateaux in which these wines are produced. See my latest article about wineries to visit in Sauternes and Barsac.

Les Campulsations

Les Campulsations is a student festival, celebrating the beginning of the new academic year in different locations in the Aquitaine region. The program is varied and includes such events as a brocante party, music concerts, theater shows, exhibitions, and more. Check out the full program and find an event near you. The festival will take place from September 26 to October 3.

Go for a drink in one of Bordeaux’s summer bars

Many of the outdoor bars of Bordeaux are still open this month and many of them have fun musical programs over the weekend. Don’t miss the last month of a proper Bordolais summer! Check out the list of the best summer bars in Bordeaux.

Dance at la guingette chez Alriq

La Guinguette chez Alriq is a tavern in the Bastide neighborhood, on the rive droite of the Garonne. During the summer the place is full of locals who escape the more touristy rive gauche and come to enjoy live concerts on the river bank. The Guinguette is open from Wed to Sun. For the concert program for September click here.

Big events in other parts of the SW of France – September 2024

Piano aux Jacobins (Piano concerts)

Piano aux Jacobins is a Piano festival taking place every September at the Couvent de Jacobins in the center of Toulouse. Le Couvent de Jacobins is one of the landmarks of Toulouse and a must-stop on your visit there. This year (2024) the festival is taking place on September 5-30, see the program here. See other places not to miss on your visit to Toulouse

Le Temps d’Aimer la Danse

Le Temps d’Aimer la Danse is a dance festival taking place every year in Biarrtiz. In 2024, the festival takes place on September 4-16, see the program here.

Anglet Jazz Festival 

If you don’t mind traveling a bit south, don’t miss the Anglet Jazz Festival which will take place on September 19-22. The town of Anglet is located within just a few minutes’ drive from Biarritz so you can enjoy some amazing beaches on the way. For more details and ticket prices click here

Sarlat celebrates gourmet taste

This is an amazing culinary event taking place every year in the medieval town of Sarlat. Every fourth weekend of September Sarlat is holding an event that celebrates the gastronomy of the region with a big market, an open-air meal, and a walk to see the seasonal migration ramble. The event is taking place on September 28-29. See more details here.

If you’re looking for more ideas for day trips in the Bordeaux region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches, and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

October is an amazing month to visit the Bordeaux region and enjoy a variety of events and festivals. Some of the main events include a hot air balloon festival, open doors in wineries, a big art festival, and more. This year, October is going to be even happier than usual thanks to the Rugby World Cup. 

This article includes a list of all the best things to do this October in the Bordeaux region and beyond. I hope it’ll help you plan the best stay in our beautiful area. 

Bordeaux in October
Bordeaux in October – Lost in Bordeaux

This list includes only the biggest events taking place this month. Throughout the month I also send tons of information about different events and markets taking place on weekends. To get that you need to subscribe to my newsletter. For more cool things to do in Bordeaux check out my list of 50 best things to do in Bordeaux

For more tips and info about traveling in the region, join my “Travel in the Sw of France” Facebook group. 

Let’s start with my list of the best things to do in Bordeaux in October 2023!

Best things to do in October in and around Bordeaux (Gironde)

The Rugby World Cup is coming to Bordeaux!

This year Bordeaux is one of the cities hosting the Rugby World Cup which means that the city is going to be extra lively in September and October 2023. Bordeaux is about to host five matches at the Matmut Atlantique stadium on September 9 – 30. You can buy tickets here.

Bordeaux is going to welcome the worldwide fans at the Rugby Village that will be set up at the Parc des Sports de Saint Michel. There you’ll be able to socialize with other fans, enjoy interactive activities, and watch the match together on a 52m² screen. 

See more details about the Rugby village here

La Grande Transhumance Urbaine

The Grande Transhumance Urbaine is a fun event taking place every October in Villenave d’Ornon (one of Bordeaux’s southern suburbs). The idea of this festival is to connect city people to local agriculture. The main event is a sheep march, passing through different farms. 

On the way, you can enjoy concerts and markets with local products. The event will take place on October 1st, and the details about the exact location will be published here.  

When: October 1st / Where: Villenave d’Ornon, check out the full program

FAB – International Art Festival

FAB is the annual International Art Festival of Bordeaux Metropole taking place this year from September 30 to October 15. Two weeks with a rich program of dance and street art performances will be taking place in many locations in Bordeaux. Click here to see the full program of the festival.

When: September 30 – October 15 / Where: Different locations in Bordeaux metropole – check out the program

Foire aux Plaisirs

This is the fall edition of the traditional Bordelais Fair that is taking place at Place des Quinconces from October 6 to November 1. It’s a perfect activity for kids and for those who are young in spirit as La Foire aux Plaisirs de Bordeaux has it all: a big wheel, roller coasters, ghost trains, bumper cars, donuts, crèpes, candyfloss and more.

The fair is open daily from 14:00, you are not required to pay any entry fee, only for some of the attractions. See more info about the fair here.

When: October 6 – October 1 / Where: Place des Quinconces, Bordeaux

Space Week 

The city of Mérignac is hosting a Space Week with plenty of workshops, exhibitions, conferences, and more. The events will take place on October 3-8 in all parts of Meriganc (Bordeaux’s suburbs). You can find the detailed program with all the events here.

When: October 3-8 / Where: Merignac

Vibrations Urbaines Festival in Pessac

Vibration Urbaines is a cool urban festival taking place every year in Pessac (one of Bordeaux’s suburbs). The program includes events like an international BMX contest, a skating contest, a hip-hop dance battle, urban sports, workshops, street art exhibitions, and more.

The festival is taking place from September 7 to October 21 in the campus area in Pessac. See all the events on the website or facebook page of the festival.

When: September 7 – October 21 / Where: University Campus area in Pessac

Festival Animasia

Animasia is a festival of Asian pop culture bringing together many elements like J-POP music, Yosakoi dance, karaoke, and Cosplay performances. The place will also include thematic areas with martial arts, video games, board games, and more. 

This year the events will be taking place on October 7-8 at the Parc des Expositions. For more info and tickets check out the website of the festival

When: October 7-8 / Where: Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux

Dali and Gaudi – Les Bassins de Lumières

Les Bassins de Lumières is hosting a beautiful immersive exhibition dedicated to Dali and Gaudi. Les Bassins de Lumières is a visual arts space, situated in an old submarine base, that is known for its immersive exhibitions.   The Dali exhibition will be presented from February 3 to January 7, get your tickets here.

Dali and Gaudi – Les Bassins de Lumières
Dali and Gaudi – Les Bassins de Lumières – Lost in Bordeaux

When: February 3 – January 7, 2024 / Where:  Imp. Brown de Colstoun, 33300 Bordeaux

Nuit des Bibliothèques

La Nuit des Bibliothèques, the libraries night, taking place on October 7, is a great opportunity to discover the libraries across the city. 27 libraries in Bordeaux Metropole will participate in this event and will offer such activities as concerts, theater shows, science workshops, games for kids and more. See the full program here.

When: October 7 / Where: The libraries of Bordeaux

Burdicolor 

Participate in the fun color -run on the University campus in Pessac. If you’re not into running, you can go straight to the village where all the fun activities will take place. The event takes place on October 8, see all the details here

When: October 8 / Where: The libraries of Bordeaux

Le Pressoir – a festival in Entre deux Mers

Le Pressoir is an annual festival celebrating the end of the harvest season in the Entre Deux Mers wine region with plenty of concerts and fun activities. The event will take place on October 6-7 in Targon, Check out the program here.. 

When: October 6-8 / Where: Targon

Lire en Poche – books festival 

Lire en Poche is a pocketbook festival that will take place in Gradignan on October 6-8. Besides a huge book sale, a wide range of activities are offered to the participants, among them: reading sessions, theater shows, music, games, workshops for kids, and more.  For more info click here.

When: October 6-8/ Where: Théâtre des Quatre Saisons et à La Médiathèque Jean Vautrin, 32 route de Léognan – 33170 Gradignan 

Festival Les Spiritives : dégustations & cocktails inédits

A spirits festival will take place at the Palais de la Bourse on October 13-15. The program includes spirits tasting, mixology workshops, and a lot of cocktails. For more info click here

When: October 13-15 / Where: Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux

Open doors in the Chateaux of Graves

On October 14-15, the Graves appellation, one of Bordeaux’s biggest wine areas, will hold an open-door weekend. During the weekend you’ll be able to visit plenty of stunning chateaux and enjoy wine tastings, wine workshops, and activities for kids. See the full program of the event and the list of participating châteaux here.

* Discover all the other open-door events in the Bordeaux wine region in my article

wineries in Graves wine region Bordeaux  - Château Méric

When: October 14-15 / Where: Graves area – chose your chateau from the program

Village Sport & Sciences

Like every October Bordeaux’s science museum is hosting a science village. This year, however, to celebrate the Rugby World Cup taking place in France this year it will become the “Village Sports & Sciences “. The event will take place on October 14- 15, check out all the details here

This event is part of the big Fête de la Science with science-related events taking place all over France in October and November. You can find all the events here

When: October 14-15 / Where: Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, Bordeaux

FIFIB- Bordeaux international festival of independent movies

The Bordeaux Independent Films Festival will take place on October 13 -18 at Rue Mably in the center of Bordeaux. The program includes film screenings, concerts, and meetings with special guests. 

Every evening, the festival village will transform into an open cinema theater and a dance floor. The full program will be published soon on the site of the festival.

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

Fascinant Week-end

The third edition of “Fascinant Weekend” is about to take place on October 19-22. Throughout the long weekend, plenty of wineries and wine-related venues and museums are offering concerts, tastings, workshops, yoga classes, and more. Check out the full list of Chateaux and wine-related activities here.

When: October 19-22 / Where: Wineries in the Bordeaux wine region

Montgolfiades de Saint-Emilion – the event was canceled!

Montgolfiades is an annual festival of hot-air balloon flights organized by Le Ciel est à Toi association. The flights will take place on October 20-22 above Saint Emilion and the vineyards around it, so the sight is promised to be breathtaking. For more info click here.

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

When: October 20-22 / Where: in the vineyards of Saint Emilion, just follow the balloons

Madame Loyal

A huge electronic festival will take place on October 21-22 at the Parc des Expositions in Bordeaux. More than 40 live sets are waiting for you in the rich program of the Madame Loyal festival. See all the details and tickets here.

When: October 21-22/ Where: Parc des Expositions, Bordeaux

Celebrate Halloween

There are quite a lot of fun Halloween events taking place every year in the city and the different chateaux around the region. To see what’s planned for this year, go to my article about where to celebrate Halloween in Bordeaux.

Margaux Saveurs 

The town of Margaux in the Medoc wine region is hosting its annual, Margaux Saveurs, on October 19-22. The idea of the festival is to make you discover the great wines of the Margaux appellation and to get to know the winemakers, merchants, and restaurants of this gourmet region. During the weekend you can enjoy special workshops in the different wine domains and enjoy fun activities. For more details click here. 

If you’re attending this event be sure to read about other places to visit in the area in my article about the Medoc region.

When: October 19-22/ Where: different places in Margaux

Fête du Vin nouveau & de la brocante

Every year at the end of October, the lovely neighborhood of Chartrons in Bordeaux celebrates the autumn with the festival of new wine and Brocante. For two days the main street, rue Notre Dame, will be transformed into a brocante (antique market) with wine stands, roasted chestnuts, and a lot of music and dancing. Come and spend a festive weekend on one of the most interesting streets in Bordeaux. The event will take place on the weekend of October 21-22, for info click here.

Fête du Vin nouveau & de la brocante in Chartrons, Bordeaux
Fête du Vin nouveau & de la brocante – lost in Bordeaux

When: October 21-22 / Where: Rue Notre dame, 33000 Bordeaux

Portes ouvertes dans les châteaux

Fronsac & Canon Fronsac wine appellations will hold their annual open-door weekend on October 21-22. Tens of wineries will open their doors to the public offering guided tours and wine tastings. See the list of participating wineries here.

See more open-door events in the region in my article.

Château de la Rivière - a kid friendly winery in Fronsac Bordeaux
Château de la Rivière – lost in Bordeaux

When: The dates will be published soon / Where: Around Fronsac, check out the full program

Le Festival Isulia 

The Isulia festival is a cultural event taking place on October 26-28 in a few fun locations in Bordeaux. The goal of the festival is to promote emerging arts through a fun program of concerts, artistic workshops, kids’ activities, and more. See the full program here

When: October 26-28/ Where: Different locations in Bordeaux

Festival Objectif Terre

Objectif Terre is an annual festival that focuses on environmental issues through cinema. The festival takes place on October 25-29 at Cinema Eden, in Monsegur. During the five days of the festival movies and cartoons, all related to themes of nature and environment will be screened, accompanied by different workshops and activities. See the full program here.

When: October 22-29  / Where:  7 Rue Porte du Dropt, 33580 MONSEGUR

Foire de La Toussaint

The big fair of Toussaint will take place from October 28 to November 1 on the banks of the Garonne River in La Reole. An ancient tradition in La Reole that brings together hundreds of local exhibitors and merchants. This is one of the biggest events in La Reole, fun for both kids and adults. For more info click here.

When: October 28 –  November 1 /Where: Quais, 33190 LA REOLE

People of Stone exhibition

People of Stone is the first solo exhibition of Denis Monfleur, an artist born in Perigeux, the capital of Dordogne. More than 100 stone sculptures will be presented at the Galerie, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, and outside in the garden of the Hôtel de Ville until January 7. See more information here.

More events in the Southwest of France

Laruns La Foire Au Fromage / Hera Deu Hromatge

Every first weekend of October Laruns in the Pyrenees celebrates the end of the summer pastures grazing season with a big cheese fair. The event introduces the different cheese producers in the region and has an entertaining program for adults and kids. This year the event will take place on Sep 30 – Oct 1. See more details here.

Festival Toulouse les Orgues

Every year Toulouse hosts the International Organ Festival. During the days of the festival, several churches in Toulouse are hosting daily Organ concerts. This year the event will be taking place on October 4-15. See all the info here.

See all the best events taking place in Toulouse in my article.

Circa – A circus festival

Circa is an international contemporary circus festival taking place every year in Auch (about 1.5 hour’s drive from Toulouse). The shows in this festival are beyond traditional circus and include elements of dance, music, and digital arts. This year the festival is taking place on October 20-27, see more info here.

Armagnac en Fête

Armagnac en Fête is a fun festival celebrating the beginning of the distillation process in the Armagnac region. The event will take place on the main square of LaBastide d’Armagnac on October 28-29. See all the details here

Labastide d’Armagnac is a beautiful little village in Les Landes, that’s really worth a visit if you’re traveling in the region. See my article about this part of the Les Landes department.

Fête du Piment d’Espelette

Piment d’Espelette is the red pepper that decorates every market in the Basque country and every shop selling Basque products. Like every important ingredient in the French kitchen, this little pepper needs a “fête”. 

Fête du Piment d’Espelette is taking place on October 28-29 in the beautiful village of Espelette. The program includes a big parade, a huge market, musical concerts, activities for kids, a mass with the choir of Espelette, and more. For more details click here.

If you’re looking for more ideas for day trips in the Bordeaux region here are a few other articles you might want to read:
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches, and villages
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion
What to do and eat in Arcachon

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

If this February is even slightly similar to last year, we might have some sunny and warm days coming soon. You can use the opportunity to discover the region! Visit some of the beautiful villages around Bordeaux, go eat oysters in Arcachon, or just spend one day in Bordeaux like a tourist

In this article, I wanted to update you on some of the best events taking place in Bordeaux (and the region) in February. But if you need more ideas for fun things to do, here’s an article about the best things to do here in the winter. 

You can also subscribe to my newsletter where I update you about all the best things happening in the city every weekend.
If it’s your first time in Bordeaux I recommend reading my article about the best things to do in Bordeaux and about the best districts in Bordeaux in case you’re still looking for accommodation.

The best things to do in Bordeaux and the region in February 2024

See the stunning Vin Gogh exhibition at Les Bassins de Lumières

Les Bassins de Lumières will finally be hosting the stunning Vin Gogh exhibition that has been traveling the world for a few years. And even if you’ve already gone to this expo elsewhere in the world, I still recommend going to the Bassins de Lumières just to experience it in this special location. The visual arts space is situated in an old submarine base built during WWII. The reflection of the works of art of the most notorious artists in the world in the water of the basin just makes it a very immersive and special experience. You can see a video I took in their previous exhibitions just to get the vibe. 

The new exhibition will be presented from February 16, 2024, to January 5, 2025. You get your tickets here.

Les Nuits Au Musée

The CAPC Museum in Bordeaux in collaboration with the IBOAT team is organizing a big electronic music weekend. See the full program here.

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 February 1 -4 in Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux. For more details click here.

Fête des Boeufs Gras de Captieux

Fête des Boeufs Gras is a festive day celebrating the famous Bazas cattle in the southeast of Gironde. There are two places where celebrations usually take place. This year the first one will be Captieux where the Fête des Boeufs Gras will take place on February 4, followed by Bazas (you’ll read about it next). The festive event includes a parade, music, and a tasting of delicious meat. For info click here.

Fête des Bœufs Gras de Bazas

Since 1283, the Thursday before Mardi Gras, the city of Bazas has been hosting the famous “Fête des Bœufs Gras” that celebrates the Bazas Beef. An Oxen parade takes place on the central streets of the town which will be 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 8. See more details here.

Fête des Bœufs Gras in Bazas

Ratatam – kids festival

The Ratatam Kids Festival is taking place at the Entrepôt du Haillan until February 13-18. 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.

Bordeaux Electronic Week-end

Bordeaux Electronic Week-end 2024 is a fun music festival taking place on Feb 23-25. The long lineup of DJS will perform in many places in Bordeaux such as the IBOAT, Les Vivres de l’art, the Warehouse, and more. You can find the program and tickets here.  

Les Toiles Filantes – Kids Cinema festival 

Les Toiles Filantes is a cinema festival allowing kids to discover cinema through screenings, meetings with people from the industry, new movie contests, and more. The festival takes place at Cinéma Jean Eustache in Pessac from February 26 to March 3. For more details see the website of the festival.

Party at Blonde Venus

The Blonde Venus is a fun space on the Bassin a Flot with plenty of cool events taking place on weekends. They organize everything from vintage markets to kids’ dance parties and DJ sets. See the full list of events here

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 la Maison Espace Gaudet in Saint Emilion. See more info here.

visit Saint Emilion

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

Go to a concert at Arkea Arena

Arkea Arena is one of the biggest concert venues in Bordeaux, hosting a great variety of shows from French mega starts to dance shows and spectacles for kids. It’s a great option for the cold days of February. See the full program here.

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.

If you need more tips for things to do in the SW of France I invite you to join my Facebook group ” Travel in the South West of France“. Also, every Friday I send a newsletter with plenty of additional events you can enjoy during the weekend, so hurry up and subscribe to my email list now 🙂

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

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group


April is such a fun month in Bordeaux! It starts to be warm outside, everything blossoms and a lot of places are slowly opening up for the summer season. It’s also one of the best months to discover the surroundings of Bordeaux before they become too crowded with visitors from all around the world.

Before I give you the list of events taking place in April, I want to recommend a few articles for you to read before visiting the region. My detailed guide to Saint Emilion as well as my list of recommended chateaux to visit are two articles that have helped many tourists to properly discover this amazing little village. You should also take a look at my list of the best places to visit in Bassin d’Arcachon and the Guide to the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux.

Best things to do in Bordeaux in April
April in Bordeaux

Make sure to read my article about the best 50 things to do in Bordeaux. And if you have questions about other parts of the Southwest of France, be sure to join my Facebook group “Travel in the Southwest of France

If you live in the region or are planning to visit soon, you’d love to know that there are many fun and interesting events taking up this month so let’s discover what are the best things to do in Bordeaux in April 2024!

The best events in the Bordeaux region in April 2024

Territoires Sauvages – Nature festival

Territoires Sauvages is a nature festival that will take place at the Halle du Port in Teich (Arcachon Bay) from March 29 to April 1st. You’re invited to spend your Easter weekend discovering the natural treasures of the region. For more info click here

When: March 29- April 1/ Where: Halle du Port, 33470 Le Teich

Festival Cinémarges

Festival Cinémarges is an annual independent and queer film festival that explores issues of gender and sexuality. This year it takes place from March 31 to April 9 in venues like the Utopia movie theater and and the CAPC museum. Take a look at the program.

When: March 31- April 9/ Where: Different locations in Bordeaux

L’Orangeade celebrates its 10th anniverssay

L’Orangeade is a collective of passionate music lovers who have been organizing some of Bordeaux’s best music events in the last few years. This year the collective will be celebrating its 10th birthday with a huge party that will be taking place at Place des Quinconces on April 5-7. The program includes three electronic music stages, sportive activities, and games for kids. For more info click here.

Itinéraires des Photographes Voyageurs – photography festival

The 32nd edition of the “Traveling Photographers Routes” festival will take place on April 3-28. During one month, 10 photography exhibitions will be presented at the main cultural institutions in the city, among them, the Rocher de Palmer in Cenon, the Bibliothèque in Meriadeck, Espace Saint-Rémi, and others. Get the full list of all artists and more info about the event here.

When: April 3-28 / Where: Different locations in Bordeaux (see program)

Treasure Hunt on Pâques Weekend

The first weekend of April is the long weekend of Easter in France and the area of Bordeaux offers plenty of activities to entertain you and your kids. Egg hunting, visits to beautiful chateaux, and chocolate workshops are only some of the activities you could do this weekend.

I will be updating all the best events taking place on Easter weekend around Bordeaux in my article, as well as in my newsletter (subscribe here).

Les Grandes Heures de Saint-Emilion

Les Grandes Heures de Saint-Emilion is a series of concerts and exhibitions taking at different wine chateaux in Saint Emilion. The events always include wine tasting which makes them even more attractive :). The first concert for this season will take place at Chateau de Ferrand on April 5th. You can see the program and book your tickets here.

A romantic winery accomofdation - Chateau de Ferrand in Saint Emilion
Chateau de Ferrand in Saint Emilion – Lost in Bordeaux

BLIB – the beer festival of Bordeaux 

The 8th edition of Bordeaux’s beer festival will take place on April 1-6 at Hangar 14 in Chartrons. In the last two days of the festival, the best artisanal beer producer from the region will be chosen. Check out the Facebook page of the event for more info. 

When: April 1-6 / Where: 115 Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux

Open doors in Médoc

To celebrate the beginning of the spring the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac will hold an open-door weekend on April 6-7. During the weekend you can visit plenty of châteaux in the Medoc region and taste some of the finest wines in the world. For details about all the participating chateaux click here.

If you want to know more about the event you should read my post about the Open doors weekend.
For more open-door events in Bordeaux – go to my Portes Ouverts guide.

When: April 6-7 / Where:  different locations (see the website of the event)

European days for arts and crafts professions

This April you have an opportunity to discover some of the arts and crafts of the region. It’s a week of demonstrations and workshops taking place in training centers and other craft places. You can enjoy a painting workshop in Arcachon, visit woodwork ateliers in Bordeaux, meet restoration specialists in Royan, and more. The events will be taking place on April 2-7, see the full program here.

Salon du Vintage

The annual vintage salon will take place in Darwin on April 6-7. This chic event will gather more than 50 exhibitors with a great selection of accessories, furniture, vinyl records, classic cars, jukeboxes, paintings, and more. For more details check the website of the event.

When: April 6-7 / Where:  87 Quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

Escale du livre

Escale du Livre is an annual book festival taking place in the center of Bordeaux. The program includes plenty of activities for kids and adults such as interviews with writers, workshops for kids, poem reading, and more. The event is taking place on April 5-7 at Square Dom Bedos in Bordeaux. See all the details and the full program here.

When: April 5-7 / Where:  Square Dom Bedos, Bordeaux

The Blaye Spring Wine Festival

The Blaye Spring Wine Festival will take place on April 13-14 at the Blaye Citadel. The annual wine festival brings together more than 80 winemakers. 

The program includes discovery workshops (introduction to tasting, mixing, and food and wine pairing), guided visits to the citadel by train or horse, and more. For the full program and tickets click here.

For more open-door events in Bordeaux – go to my Portes Ouverts guide.

The Blaye Spring Wine Festival
The Blaye Spring Wine Festival – Lost in Bordeaux

When: April 13-14/ Where: Citadelle de Blaye, 33390 Blaye

Week-end des Vins Vivants

On April 13 -14, the town of Monségur in Entre-deux-Mers is hosting a wine festival. The event is dedicated to organic and natural wines. See all the participating wineries here.

When: April 13-14/ Where: Halle de Monségur

Grande Brocante Antiquites À Rauzan

Every year the village of Rauzan in the Entre deux Mers region hosts one of the best brocantes (an antiques/ flea market) in the SW of France. This year the big market will take place on April 19-21. See all the details here

When: April 19-21 / Where: Village Antiquités in Rauzan

Open doors at Lalande de Pomerol

An open-door weekend at the châteaux of the Lalande de Pomerol appellation will take place on April 20-21. During the weekend, the châteaux of this appellation will offer plenty of activities such as guided tours, tastings, markets, an old cars exhibition, and many other activities. If you want to learn more about the Lalande de Pomerol appellation and its châteaux, click here

When: April 20-21/ Where: Lalande de Pomerol (the program with the chateaux list will be published soon)

For more open-door events in Bordeaux – go to my Portes Ouverts guide.

Bobine de fil 

A free kids theatre festival taking place at Salle des fêtes du Grand Parc in Bordeaux on April 18-21. See the program here.

When: April 18-21/ Where: cours de Luze 33100 Bordeaux

Biodyssée

Experience the Biodyssée – Organic Gems Expo showcasing the treasures of 50 vineyards, breweries, cider houses, and distilleries from across France. The event is taking place in Darwin on April 21-22, see all the details and tickets here.

Salon Nautique d’Arcachon

The big Salon Nautique d’Arcachon will take place the weekend of April 19-21 at the Port de Plaisance d’Arcachon. More than 170 exhibitors will participate in the Salon, with 450 boats stationed all over the port. For more details click here.

When: April 19-21/ Where: Port d’Arcachon, 33120 Arcachon

Tauzia Fête les Jardins

Tauzia is a gardening festival that takes place on April 27-28 at the Tauzia chateau in Gradignan. The popular event brings together more than 80 exhibitors specialized in the world of plants: plant producers, landscape designers, artists, collectors, horticulturists, and in general people with exceptional knowledge of plants. See more details here.

When: April 27-28 / Where: Château de Tauzia, 216 Cours du Général de Gaulle, 33170 Gradignan

Search for beautiful antiques at the Brocante

The big brocante of Bordeaux is hosted twice a year at Place des Quinconces with 200 antique dealers, horticulturists, restaurants, and craftsmen. It’s the biggest brocante event in the area and the selection is huge, from vintage home decor to paintings, antique furniture, garden accessories, and more. 

Brocante de Bordeaux - one of the best events in Bordeaux
Brocante de Bordeaux – Lost in Bordeaux

The market is taking place from April 24 to May 14. For more info and the list of exhibitors click here.

When: April 24 – May 14 / Where: Place des Quinconces, Bordeaux

Fete de la Lamproie

Sainte-Terre, the world capital of the Lamproie, will celebrate this creepy jawless fish with a fun, festive weekend. The event will take place on April 26 – 28. See the program here.

When: April 26 -28/ Where: Sainte-Terre

Fête de l’Asperge du Blayais

la Fête de l’Asperge du Blayais in Etauliers is a big event celebrating asparagus and its farmers. More than 8000 visitors are expected to stroll along with the 50 exhibitors of local delights and enjoy the activities offered to both adults and kids (make-up sessions, mini farm, pony rides, and more). The event is taking place on April 27-28 at the center of Etauliers. The full program will be published soon.

la Fête de l’Asperge du Blayais in Etauliers
La Fête de l’Asperge du Blayais in Etauliers

When: April 27-28 / Where: Place principale, 33820 Etauliers

Big events in other parts of the SW of France 

Foire au Jambon à Bayonne

Like every year, Bayonne will celebrate its famous ham with a big fair called, Foire au Jambon. The event will take place on April 4-7. See all the details here

When: April 4-7 / Where: Center of Bayonne

Châteaux En Fête

Châteaux En Fête is one of the best evets the Dordgone department has to offer. 71 castles all over Dordogne will open their doors to visitors and offer guided visits, activities, and festive evenings. The Châteaux En Fête event will take place on April 13-28.  See the list of chateaux and their programs here.

When: April 13-28 / Where: different towns in Dordogne

Marché aux Fleurs 

The pretty town of Duras is hosting a big flower market on April 21. For more details click here.

When: April 21 / Where: Duras

Winestock Festival

The Winestock Festival is a new wine-gastronomic festival that will take place for the second time this year in the villages of Monestier and Thénac in Dordogne. The program of the event includes concerts, tastings, workshops, a wine fair, masterclasses, and more. The event will take place on April 26-28. See all the details here.

When: April 26-28 / Where: Monestier, Dordogne

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.

If you need more tips for things to do in the SW of France I invite you to join my Facebook group ” Travel in the South West of France“. Also, every Friday I send a newsletter with plenty of additional events you can enjoy during the weekend, so hurry up and subscribe to my email list now 🙂

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

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