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Bordeaux is a very touristic city and as such it’s packed with boutique and budget hotels. However, not all of them offer good value for your money and finding a good hotel can be a hard task. That’s why I gathered this list of hotels to help you out.
This list includes hotels from the city center and from surrounding districts. I included both basic hotels and beautifully designed boutique ones so the price range is quite big and you can easily find a place that fits your budget and needs. If this is your first visit to France, read my short article about things you should know before ordering a hotel in France.

This post includes affiliate links, meaning that if you book a hotel through my links I’ll receive a small commission. It will cost you nothing, and you will be supporting the work I do at Lost in Bordeaux. So thank you 🙂

Hotels in the center of Bordeaux – from budget to luxury

Mama Shelter

A super stylish central hotel with a great atmosphere and an incredibly good value for your money. Mama Shelter is part of a chain of hotels, located in several cities in France. It has 97 colorful and funky rooms designed by Philippe Starck. The hotel is located next to Hotel de Ville and so it’s very close to the historic center of the city. You’re at a walking distance from all the bars, boutiques and monuments the city has to offer. It has a great restaurant and one of the best rooftop bars, with an amazing view of Bordeaux. The price is really affordable, especially if you book in advance.

Address: 19 Rue Poquelin Molière

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Le Boutique hotel

boutique hotel in Bordeuax

The Boutique Hotel is a 4- star luxury hotel which is quite popular among Bordeaux tourists. It’s located in the elegant district of Triangle d’Or, at just a few minutes walk from the Opera. The owners designed the rooms themselves with a lot of charm, combining the historic elements of the building with a more modern design. Each of the 27 rooms and suites reveals a different atmosphere and is named after one of the region’s famous chateaux. If you come with kids there are a few large apartment style rooms available.  The rooms come with a view of Bordeaux’s rooftops or the green courtyard which also has a beautiful wine bar. Parking is not provided but you have a reduced price in the parking lot next to the hotel.

Address: 3 Rue Lafaurie Monbadon

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Hôtel Majestic

hotel majestic bordeaux

Hôtel Majestic is another establishment located close to the Opera of Bordeaux. The 4-star hotel, situated in a beautiful 18th-century building has 47 rooms, each with its own specific decor. The hotel is a few minutes walk from the Miroir d’eau and the historic center. But as it’s in the north part of the center it’s also quite close to Jardin Public which is perfect for sunny days. All the chic wine and chocolate boutiques are located just a few steps away. Private parking is available in the hotel.

Address: 2 Rue de Condé

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Hôtel de sèze

hôtel de sèze bordeaux

Hôtel de sèze is a 4-star hotel, located in the fancy Triangle d’Or district next
to many luxury boutiques and wine and chocolate shops. Situated in a beautiful 18th-century building, the hotel has 55 rooms with 18th-century decor that gives it a very elegant look. It also harbors a spa (not commonly seen in Bordeaux’s hotels), a beautiful library and a golf course (15 minutes by shuttle).

Address: 23 Allées de Tourny

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Best Western Premier Bordeaux Bayonne Etche-Ona

Best Western Premier Bordeaux Bayonne Etche Ona

This is a 4-star hotel with 33 rooms complete with a late 20s art-deco atmosphere. The hotel is made of two beautiful houses dating from the 18th century, the Bayonne and the Etche-Ona, with an interesting story behind each one. A perfect location, just a minute walk from the Opera and next to le Marche des Grands-Hommes where you can buy some delicious souvenirs to bring back home. If you need a good coffee in the morning, Kuro is just a minute away. Parking requires prior reservation.

Address: 4 Rue Martignac

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Quality hotel

quality hotel bordeaux

This hotel is located in the Saint Pierre district of Bordeaux, probably the best location you could think of.  It’s the heart of Bordeaux’s historic center and the best bars and restaurants are just around the corner. The hotel itself is a simple 3-star hotel but it’s very clean and has everything you need for a nice stay. This is a great value considering its location. It’s important to note that the hotel doesn’t have a parking space but they do have a partnership with the parking lot of the Grand Hommes (5 minutes walk) with reduced prices at around 15 euros a day. The parking is closed on Sunday.

Address: 27 Rue Parlement Sainte-Catherine

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Hotel Gambetta

hotel gambeta bordeaux

A very basic 2-star hotel, perfectly located just a few minutes walk from the hotel de Ville and the opera. There’s nothing very special about the decor or its atmosphere but it’s clean and very affordable. And as a bonus, you have one of the best coffee places in Bordeaux, L’alchimiste, just next door. The parking is a six minutes walk from the hotel and requires prior reservation.

Address: 66 Rue de la Porte Dijeaux

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Hôtel Acanthe

acanthe hotel Bordeaux

A 2-star hotel located at the heart of the historic center of Bordeaux. It’s a basic hotel with small but clean rooms. The location is perfect! It’s situated on rue saint Remi, a street full of bars and restaurants, and just two minutes from the Miroir-d’eau, one of Bordeaux’s main attractions.
It’s a great value if you want to stay in the city center.

Address: 12 Rue Saint-Rémi, 33000 Bordeaux

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La Maison du Lierre

la maison du lierre bordeaux

This is a 3-star boutique hotel situated in a beautiful 18th-century house. La Maison du Lierre was named after the 200 years old ivy covering its terrace. It’s located on a quiet street, away from the hustle but just a few minutes walk to the opera of Bordeaux. The rooms are small but very nice and clean and it has a beautiful terrace which is a real upgrade.

Address: 57 Rue Huguerie

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Where to stay in the surrounding districts of Bordeaux center

Villa Victor Louis

hotel victor louis Bordeaux

Villa victor Louis is a charming boutique hotel with beautiful decor that combines 18th-century  furniture with a contemporary style. You have a wonderful outdoor space where you can relax on sunny days. It’s located in the quiet Saint Seurin neighborhood, a few minutes walk from the main park of Bordeaux and the elegant Triangle d’Or district. While you won’t be located in the heart of the historic center (a 15 min walk), you’ll benefit from being a few minutes away from one of the best patisseries in Bordeaux, Maison Lamour.

Address: 42 Rue Rodrigues-Pereire

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Seeko’o Hotel

seekoo hotel bordeaux

A 4-star hotel located in the north of the Chartrons neighborhood. A bit out of the historic center but a good location nonetheless. The Seeko’o hotel has 44 spacious rooms with a chic and urban style, very different from the classic hotels in the city center. Some of the rooms’ windows turn to the bassin-a-flot, an old port with plenty of boats and a very unique architecture. The hotel also offers a sauna and a hammam which is a lovely bonus. The parking requires a reservation as there are only 10 places available.

Personal note: if it’s a short stay and you really want to feel the vibe of the center of Bordeaux, then this hotel is a bit far. If you don’t mind walking 20 minutes to the city center (or taking the tram) then it could be a great option. It’s located at the southern border of the Bacalan neighborhood, which is now one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, with a beautiful covered market, the wine museum and plenty of street art so you will enjoy your stay nontheless. Discover this funky district with my post about the best things to do in Bacalan.

Address: 54 Quai de Bacalan

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Ibis Styles Bordeaux Centre Mériadeck

ibis styles meriadeck bordeaux

There’s nothing fancy about this one but it’s a decent clean nicely designed hotel. The rooms are air-conditioned which is a big bonus if you’ll be staying in Bordeaux during the summer. It’s located at the Meriadeck district about 15 minutes walk from the historic center of Bordeaux. Not far from the hotel you can find the Meriadeck, the only shopping mall in the city center, and the ice skating rink of Bordeaux.

It’s the administrative district of Bordeaux and it’s not very chic, so if you really have the urge to feel the vibe of the historic center when you go out of the hotel, look at some of the hotels at the begining of this article. If you need a good coffee place, Gusco is perfect and nearby. All-in-all It’s a nice hotel and because the location isn’t perfect the price is usually affordable.

Address: 54 Rue Joseph Abria

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Maison Fredon – Tupina

maison fredon bordeaux

Maison Fredon is a little boutique hotel located in a renovated beautiful 18th-century building. There are only five rooms in this hotel, all uniquely designed to combine modern decor with the classic style of a bourgeois bordelaise house. The rooms are very spacious which is uncommon in French hotels. It’s located in Saint Michel, an old neighborhood just outside the historic center of Bordeaux, a special place by itself. In recent years it gained popularity having plenty of bars and restaurants open up on a monthly basis. In the same property you’ll find a very popular restaurant, Tupina, serving delicious French food.

On a personal note: This is a perfect gourmet location. It’s only 5 minutes walk from the main market of Bordeaux and has five restaurants on the same street. It’s also a few minutes walk from the train station, which can be great from those of you traveling by train. discover the Saint Michel neighborhood check out my post about the best things to do in Saint Michel.

Address: 7 Rue Porte de la Monnaie

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Where to stay next to the train station of Bordeaux

Many people are looking for accommodations next to the train station as they are traveling to the area by train. That’s why I added two affordable hotels just next to gare Saint-Jean, although I’m not a big fan of this area.

Hôtel Mercure de la Gare Saint-Jean

The first one is hôtel Mercure de la gare Saint-Jean, one of the best options in the area. While the hotel is a bit old the rooms are clean and comfortable and the staff is very welcoming. It’s a 4-star hotel but very affordable. It’s located just a few minutes walk from the station but very close to one of the most beautiful churches in Bordeaux, L’église Sainte-Croix.

Address: 28 – 30 Rue de Tauzia

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Ibis gare saint jean

ibis gare saint jean bordeaux

If you’re on a limited budget, Ibis gare saint jean could be a good solution as well. It’s not the most charming hotel but it’s definitely a good value for its price. It’s a 3-star hotel with nice clean rooms and it’s located 300m from the station.

Address: 19 Quai de Paludate

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I hope this post was helpful for finding accommodation on your next trip to Bordeaux! Just remember that Bordeaux is not a huge city so all of these hotels are relatively close to the center. If you found a hotel that interests you, it’d be amazing if you book it through the links on my site. It’ll add absolutely nothing to your cost and will allow me to continue writing more fun and useful articles about things to do in Bordeaux and Southwest France!

One last thing before I go, if it’s your first visit to Bordeaux, check out my ultimate guide to a weekend in Bordeaux.

Thank you my dear readers!

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

Wine related day tips around Bordeaux

Saint Émilion

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

best wineries in Saint Emilion

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

The Medoc Wine Route

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

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

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

Cognac

Tasting Cognac
Tasting Cognac – Lost in Bordeaux

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

Discover the sandy beaches around Bordeaux

Arcachon

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

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

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

Soulac sur mer

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

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

Villas in Soulac sur Mer
Villas in Soulac sur Mer

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

Cap Ferret

oysters in Cap Ferret

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

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

The Biscarrosse lake

Lac de Biscarrosse
Lac de Biscarrosse – lost in Bordeaux

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

A day trip to beautiful villages

Bazas

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

Bazas
Bazas by lost in Bordeaux

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

Blaye

Blaye
Blaye – by Lost in Bordeaux

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

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

Visit castles in the South of Gironde

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

Château de la Brede
Château de la Brede

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

Bergerac

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

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

Château de Monbazillac
Château de Monbazillac – lost in Bordeaux

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

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

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

Arcachon is the main town on the Bassin d’Arcachon, a bay of the Atlantic ocean that attracts many visitors from  Bordeaux. Less than 60 km separates the capital of the Southwest from Arcachon and its beautiful villas, clear blue beaches and delicious seafood. This is also one of the main osticulture (oysters farming) centers of France so eating oysters is a “must” when coming to the area. I know many of my readers are less enthusiastic about oysters than the French are, but don’t worry, this place is a gem even if you’re not a fan of “huitres“. In this article, I will walk you through the best things you can do in Arcachon, where you should eat and even how to get there.  

I have to warn you though, Arcachon is one of the most popular sea resorts in France and in the summer, it’s flooded with tourists and locals alike. The best time to go there is either May-June or September. To avoid the crowded places you can visit one of the other charming villages on the Bassin d’Arcachon, such as la Teste de buch and Gujan Mestras. There are other amazing towns in the north and west parts of the bay, such as Andernos les Bains and Cap Ferret. However, in my opinion, if it’s your first time in Arcachon, you can by no means miss the incredible Dune du Pilat, south of the bay, and so I’ve focused my recommendations on that area.  

Arcachon is divided into 4 regions: the summer city is the city center with walkways and restaurants; the winter city is adorned with beautiful 19th-century villas; the autumn city includes the fishing area; and the spring city covers the most beautiful beaches in the Southern part of the bay. In most cities, people usually get to visit only the city center, but in Arcachon each part offers something completely different and you have to visit at least three to fully discover it. To help you do just that I’ve made a list of all the places I think you should visit and things you should do while in Arcachon. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Best things to do in Arcachon

La Ville d’Eté – the main beach and the Arcachon market

The summer city is the touristic center of Arcachon. Typical to most towns in the region it has a nice pedestrian area with plenty of restaurants and boutiques. You can start your visit directly on the waterfront, just stroll along the beautiful promenade next to the main beach (Plage d’Arcachon). Its location on the Arcachon bay protects it from the threatening waves of the Atlantic Ocean and makes it the safest beach for kids. During the summer this beach tends to be very crowded so you might consider searching for a quieter one in Ville de Printemps (see below).

Arcachon Market
Arcachon market

One of the main attractions in Arcachon’s city center is the main market, Marché d’Arcachon. Like many towns in the area, Arcachon too has a fantastic covered market gathering plenty of food stands with local delicacies. The best thing is that the market is open daily from mid-June to mid-September and from Tuesday to Saturday the rest of the year so you can rely on it for great home-cooked meals or just a breakfast snack. In the summer, a night market takes place several days a week, with stands of clothes, accessories, jewelry and more. The night market is open until 23:00 (for the dates click here).

La Ville d’Hiver – Beautiful villas and the main park of Arcachon

The Architecture of La Ville d’Hiver

This neighborhood might not be the city center but La Ville d’Hiver is definitely the most beautiful part of Arcachon. The winter town, built on the hills of the city in the late 19th century, attracts many visitors thanks to its gorgeous architecture. Strolling the calm – green streets you will discover beautiful villas, each designed with different elements, giving the neighborhood an elegant yet eclectic style. Among the 300 villas, there are a few that should not be missed, among them Villa Tolledo, Villa Teresa, Villa Alexandre Dumas, and Villa Bremontier. If you can read some French, here’s a site with a short history of the most famous villas in the winter city.

ville d'hiver Arcachon

Parc Mauresque – a beautiful park with a panoramic view

Overlooking La Ville d’Eté you will find the charming Parc Mauresque, built in 1843. It’s located on a hill which you can spot right from the city center. If you don’t want to climb too many stairs, there’s a lift that will bring you all the way up to the park’s center. That’s also the best way to pass from the summer city to winter city.  The park is equipped with great playgrounds for kids and many cute spots for a picnic. This would be a great time for a picnic before heading to the beach.

Just next to the park, you’ll find the Observatoire de Sainte Cécile, a belvedere built from metal on which you can climb to see an incredible panoramic view of the Arcachon Bay. If it reminds you of the Eiffel Tower, that’s because Gustave Eiffel took part in the project!. The site is open daily and is free.

The beaches of La Ville de Printemps

The best beaches of Arcachon are located in “Spring town”, the western part of the city. The most famous beach is Plage Pereire, which starts right after the pedestrian promenade (bordered by Jetée de la Chapelle). It’s a beautiful three km beach with white sand and a view of the Cap Ferret peninsula on the other side of the bay. This beach is equipped with many sports facilities, a cycle path and green lawns for people to have a picnic on.

If you walk south on the beach line, you’ll get to Plage des Abatilles and des Arbousiers, the last one attracting the windsurfers and kite surfers coming to the area. Most beaches in Arcachon are supervised and well-equipped, so you just have to choose between the calmer beaches on the bay or the big ocean waves.

A visit to Le Moulleau

Day trip from Bordeaux
Le Moulleau beach

Le Moulleau, located in the far west, is officially a part of the city of Arcachon. However, in reality, it feels like a completely separate little resort town with its own center, beaches and restaurants. Le Moulleau is built around the beautiful Notre Dame des Passes square and its pier. There are several restaurants on the main street (Boulevard de la côte d’argent) and the Chemin des Pères promenade. The hotels and some restaurants in Le Moulleau are quite pricey as the area attracts a lot of wealthy French tourists. The resort is located mid-way between the center of Arcachon and the famous Dune du Pilat, so this could be a nice stop on the way there. If you’re coming by public transport, line 1 (Baia company) will take you from the Arcachon train station to the main street of Moulleau.

Take a boat to go eat lunch in Cap Ferret

oysters in arcachon

If you’re around Le Moulleau during lunchtime, you can upgrade your lunch to a fun adventure. Just in front of Le Moulleau beach lies the peninsula of Cap Ferret. It’s one of the most charming villages on the Bassin d’Arcachon and is known particularly for its oyster farming. Many people go there from Arcachon just for a few hours to eat the freshest oysters in one of the restaurants on the beach. The village is located on the other side of the bay so going there by car will take more than an hour. But you can totally skip the long route and go by sea. From April to mid-September there’s a fairy that takes you from le Moulleau to Cap Ferret in just 20 minutes (leaving from Jetée du Moulleau). You can also take the fairy from the center of Arcachon, which takes 30 minutes to reach  Cap Ferret. For the schedule and tickets reservation click here.

A boat trip to Iles aux Oiseaux and the Cabanes Tchanquées

The Arcachon bay is not just another resort town. The biodiversity and natural conditions which helped its famous oyster farming industry also make for fascinating adventures. If you really wish to discover the Bassin d’Arcachon beyond its beautiful beaches visit two of its landmarks, Les Cabanes Tchanquées and L’Ile aux Oiseaux. Les Cabanes Tchanquées, the two wooden huts decorating almost every postcard in Arcachon, are one of the most emblematic symbols of the bay. They were originally used for supervising the oysters farms but are no longer in use and can only be seen from outside. L’Ile aux Oiseaux, the birds’ island, owes its name to the many birds that reside in the Island yearlong.

There are several companies that offer both group and private tours to these and other parts of the bay. You can go by regular boat or by pinasse, which is a traditional boat from Arcachon. The tours are usually in French but many of the guides speak some English and can easily explain the most important details. The tour leaves from Jetée Thiers, located on the main beach of Arcachon. You can also get more information about different tours in the tourist office.

Dune du Pilat – the amazing sand dune

If there’s one thing in this list I consider a “must” it’s definitely this one. The gigantic sand dune is one of the wonders of the area, with its 60 million metric cubes of sand it’s quite astonishing the first time you see it. Dune du Pilat is Europe’s tallest sand dune, rising to an impressive 110 m high.  It’s also 500 meters wide and 2.7 km long so you’ll have plenty of room to wander. You can climb the dune by stairs that are installed from the end of May to early November. If you come during the low season or just feel energetic, you can just climb straight up the sandy slopes.

Dune du Pilat Arcachon
Dune du Pilat

Once you reach the top, a stunning panoramic view will be revealed with the Cap Ferret peninsula on one side a huge pine forest on the other and the magnificent Banc d’Arguin nature reserve just in front.  After working so hard climbing the dune, you can slide to the other side (when the sand is not too hot of course) and go straight to the beach. If you’re not in a rush you can easily spend the day here, have a nice picnic and swim in the crystal clear water. It’s hard to describe the beauty of this site in words, you really must see it yourself.

If you’re coming by public transport, line 1 (Baia company) will take you from the Arcachon train station to Dune to Pilat.  

Discover Arcachon by Bike

There are many bike paths and roads with very little traffic in the Bassin d’Arcachon which makes it a perfect place to discover by bicycle. The bike lanes go along most of the waterfront and lead from one beach to the other quite easily. You can also take the circuit from the center of Arcachon to Dune du Pilat and go through le Moulleau and Pyla sur Mer, the village where Dune du Pilat is located. To follow the path see the map here. There are many bike rental places in Arcachon where you can rent a bike for a few hours or for the whole day, see their details here.

Have a drink at la Co(o)rniche

Credit: Booking

La Co(o)rniche is a 5-star hotel designed by Philippe Starck with the most amazing view of the bassin. The hotel is luxurious and expensive so it’s for special occasions, but you can still enjoy the stunning view with a cocktail in the terrasse. The Co(o)rnice is just a few minutes by car from the Dune du Pilat.

Theater and Casino

If you want to finish your day with an artistic program, go ahead to Theater Olympia. This great theater hosts a variety of shows and concerts almost every night. For more details and tickets click here. If you’re staying the night in Arcachon you can also check out the Casino located in the city center.

Where to eat in Arcachon

There’s quite a few restaurants in Arcachon, but you should know where to go in order to avoid tourist traps. A few good places are located right at the market.

Le Bouchon du marché is located in the heart of the market with plenty of tables outside as well. The restaurant serves excellent local food, is open daily and has a great vibe to it. The market is also a good opportunity to taste some of the best oysters in Arcachon. l’Oyster Bar is an excellent spot to taste the local delicacies as well as other seafood. If you want to enjoy a better view, go to Chez Pierre located on the main beach of Arcachon.

You don’t have to stay in the city center for Lunch, there are some nice spots in Le Moulleau as well, among them is Le Jardin with the magnificent terrace and the Royal Moulleau on the riverfront. For desserts head to the center of Moulleau where you can find plenty of great ice cream on every corner.

For special occasions, there are several fine dining places worth mentioning, among them Thierry Renou’s Le Patio on the port of Arcachon. You can also stop for lunch at the Haaitza hotel which has an amazing restaurant, located just a few minutes by car or bicycle from the Dune du Pilat.   

Ha(a)ïtza Arcachon
Ha(a)ïtza Credit: Booking.com

How to get to Arcachon and where to park?

By public transport

The easiest way to get to Arcachon is by train from the Saint-Jean station in Bordeaux. The train leaves every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the hour (with a break of two hours between 9:00 and 11:00). It takes about 50 minutes to get there and if you want to avoid traffic this is how I recommend getting to Arcachon. However, the train tickets aren’t cheap so if you’re more than two people, renting a car is a better option. It’s a local train without seat reservation and tickets can be bought online or at the station. See the hours of the trains here.

By Car

It can take about an hour to get from Bordeaux to Arcachon, depending on traffic. During the summer, the bay is packed with locals and tourists so the traffic can be a bit heavy. If you’re planning to visit only the town of Arcachon and the dune, getting there by train would be the easiest option.

However, if you also want to visit some of the other magical spots on the bay, a car is a more practical way to get around. Except Dune du Pilat mentioned above, there are plenty of other fascinating places you can visit on the way, such as the oyster capital Gujan-Mestras and the Teich bird reserve.    

By air

The Bordeaux airport in Merignac is less than an hour drive from the Bassin d’Arcachon. You can rent a car at the airport and avoid entering the city if you’re planning to go straight to Arcachon. If you want to do everything by public transport, take bus number 1 from the airport to the train station and a train to Arcachon from there, as explained above. There’s also an airport for private jets if you want to make a classy entrance to the bay 😉

Parking

If you’re coming in low season parking is not a big issue. Between October 1st and March 31, you can park in most of the streets of Ville d’hiver which is only a few minutes walk from the city center. However, during the summer, finding free parking is nearly impossible and you should get familiar with some of the parking spaces the city proposes. On July and August, the cheapest way to park in Arcachon is to leave your car at the Parking Relais, and then take their Navette to the city center and other parts of Arcachon. Some other parking places in the city include the Parking du centre ville, Parking de la gare, Parking place de Verdun, Parking place Peyneau and Parking place Carnot.

The main events

Arcachon is a very lively place with plenty of entertaining events. Besides the local small events taking place throughout the year, there are several big ones you should pay attention to when planning your visit.

Andernos Jazz Festival at the end of July – a jazz festival in one my favorite towns on the bay (Andernos les Bains). This place was not mentioned in the article as it’s located a bit far from the city of Arcachon but if you come during the festival I highly recommend going there.

Music O Teich in July – a world music festival with free concerts every night on the port of Teich.

Fêtes de la mer in August – the city celebrates the sea and its maritime traditions. Festival Arcachon en Scéne at the end of July, beginning of August – a big music festival you should check out

Festival Cadences  in September – a dance festival on the beach and at the Olympia theater.

Cabanes en fete in December – another fun event celebrating oysters, taking place in Andernos les Bains.

To be honest, this area is pretty amazing even without any special events but those definitely add to the fun atmosphere of the Bassin d’Arcachon.

That’s it, that’s my first article about the Bassin d’Arcachon.  As someone who lives close by I know that there’s plenty more to do around the bay. However, some of the other towns deserve a separate article, that’s exactly what I intend to do in the future. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this list!

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

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

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

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

With so much excellent wine and beautiful châteaux, choosing which wineries to visit in Saint-Émilion can be quite a difficult task. The fact that many of the well-known châteaux are only open to professionals in the wine industry doesn’t help either. So to help you build your trip to this amazing wine region, I gathered my list of the best wineries to visit in Saint-Émilion. The list includes wineries having great wine (obviously), beautiful properties and interesting tours. I featured both small family run wineries and bigger châteaux, and if time permits I would recommend combining both in your visit.

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

Château Coutet

Château Coutet in Saint Emilion
Château Coutet by lost in Bordeaux

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

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

Château Bernateau

Château Bernateau in Saint Emilion
Château Bernateau by lost in Bordeaux

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

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

Château Beaurang

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

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

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

Château La Croizzille

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

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

Château Guibeau

Chateau Guibeau Saint Emilion
Chateau Guibeau – by lost in Bordeaux

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

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

Château Soutard

Chateau Soutard  in saint emilion
Chateau Soutard by lost in Bordeaux

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

Château Cantenac

Château Cantenac in Saint Emilion
Château Cantenac by lost in Bordeaux

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

Château de Ferrand

Château  de Ferrand by lost in Bordeaux

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

Château Villemaurine

Château Villemaurine in Saint Emilion
Château Villemaurine

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

Visiting with kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bordeaux is a very lively city with plenty of restaurants, boutiques and interesting places to visit. So if you want to fully enjoy all this city has to offer, choosing the right hotel or apartment location is crucial. The most vibrant and central neighborhood in Bordeaux is Saint Pierre and if you don’t have a tight budget or other constraints (kids, noise, vicinity to the train station, etc.) it’s a great area to stay in. But you shouldn’t limit yourself to Saint Pierre, there are lots of good neighborhoods in Bordeaux. In this guide, I’ll help you discover the best areas to stay in Bordeaux: lively neighborhoods, hipster districts and the best areas for families visiting the city. If you need specific recommendations for hotels in the city center, check out my post about the best hotels in Bordeaux for every budget. Let’s dive in!



Booking.com

Central Areas in Bordeaux

Saint Pierre and Saint Paul – The historic center of Bordeaux

Saint Pierre and Saint Paul districts represent the historic heart of the city. These are the most vibrant and lively areas in Bordeaux, where you stroll by paved narrow streets, charming squares and several famous monuments (the Miroir d’eau, place de la Bourse and others). it’s also the heart of the gastronomic scene in Bordeaux, with plenty of amazing restaurants, cocktail bars and hip cafés. Many are concentrated around the Place Fernand Lafargue, especially on rue Saint James. In Saint Pierre, almost every street has a good restaurant, but the best bars are on rue Parlement Saint Pierre and rue Parlement Sainte Catherine.

The neighborhoods are bounded by the Opera of Bordeaux from the north and rue Victor Hugo from the South. Going east you can enjoy a pleasant stroll on the gorgeous promenade of the Garonne River. The western border of the historic center is marked by rue Sainte Catherine, the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe hosting all the main retail stores as well as several smaller boutiques.

You can find plenty of Airbnb apartments in this area but they will usually be more expensive. Also, you should know that some of the streets can be a bit noisy at night. You can see a few recommendations for hotels in the Saint Pierre district in my post about the best places to stay in Bordeaux.  

Pey Berland and Meriadeck – the administrative district of Bordeaux

Bordering the historic center is the Pey Berland neighborhood, home to the main Cathedral of Bordeaux, Saint André and the city hall (Hotel du Ville). This is one of Bordeaux’s central neighborhoods located within a walking distance from all the main monuments in Bordeaux. Pey Berland is also known as the museum district of Bordeaux with several good museums worth visiting: Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design and the Musée d’Aquitaine (a regional history museum).

Musee des beaux arts in Bordeaux
Musee des beaux arts in Bordeaux

This district is also a hub for the new wave of hip quality cafés emerging around Bordeaux such as SIP, The Blacklist, l’alchimiste and Gusco. If Sainte Catherine left you hungry for more shopping, this district will not disappoint you. Plenty of clothing boutiques and art galleries are located between the town hall, place Gambetta and Cours de l’independance. On rainy days, you can also visit the Mériadeck, the only shopping mall in the center of Bordeaux. If you’re looking for accommodation in this area but still want to feel the historic vibe of Bordeaux, try choosing a place to the east side of Cours d’Albret.

Quinconces and Triangle d’Or – The fancy area of Bordeaux

Opera of Bordeaux
The Opera of Bordeaux

To the north of the historic center, we find the Triangle d’Or district, where the architecture mostly dates back to the 18th century. You’ll immediately notice the contrast in scenery coming from the narrow paved streets of old Bordeaux to the wide boulevards and elegant facades of the Triangle d’Or. This is the fancy part of Bordeaux, abundant with luxury boutiques and some of the best chocolatiers in Bordeaux.

The neighborhood also borders Jardin Public, the biggest park in the center of Bordeaux, making it a very kid friendly area. Triangle d’Or is also the home of the Opera of Bordeaux as well as the Esplanade des Quinconces, one of the biggest squares in France. Several times a year, different fairs take place at the square or on the Allée de Tourney. Among them are the Christmas market, the big brocante (flea and antiques market) of Bordeaux and an amusement park. In my blog I cover all the main events taking place in the city during the year, so for more updates follow my monthly and weekly lists.

Chartrons – the posh area of Bordeaux

Chartrons in Bordeaux
The Chartrons district in Bordeaux

The Chartrons district, neighboring esplanade des Quinconces, starts the northern part of Bordeaux. It’s quite a big district but the more interesting part of it lies next to the riverfront and around the long rue Notre Dame, one of the most posh streets in Bordeaux. This central street and the little ones surrounding it are full of excellent restaurants, trendy boutiques and antique shops.

The Chartrons riverfront is characterized by warehouses once used by foreign merchants to age and store wine. It gives the neighborhood a vibe different than the rest of the city. Also, every Sunday a big market takes place on Quai des Chartrons, gathering many tourists and locals from all parts of the city. So even if you don’t stay there, don’t miss this charming neighborhood.

Saint Michel, Saint Croix and Victoire  – the Cosmopolitan areas of Bordeaux

Saint Michel in Bordeaux
Saint Michel in Bordeaux

If you’re looking to lower your budget or change the scenery from classic Bordeaux, the southern districts of the city are a great option. Saint Michel, Saint Croix and Victoire are the cosmopolitan districts of the city. A very mixed population lives in these neighborhoods, you could find international students, artists and immigrant merchant families. The area has a lively culinary scene, from the main market of Bordeaux to local bars and cute little restaurants. Although it’s only a few minutes walk from the city center, apartments in this area are considerably cheaper than the neighboring Saint Paul district.

Click here to read more about things to do in Saint Michel.

Jardin Public and Saint Seurin – the quiet and green area of Bordeaux

Jardin Public and Saint Seurin are two residential neighborhoods, located quite close to the city center. If you’re planning a trip to Bordeaux with kids, these neighborhoods are perfect as they are calm and close to the main park of Bordeaux, Jardin Public. They are within a short walking distance from the Opera of Bordeaux and some of the best restaurants in the city so you won’t feel isolated.

The more distant neighborhoods in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is not a big city and you can easily reach the center from several other more distant districts. So if the center of Bordeaux is a bit out of your budget, consider some of the following areas. Another advice is to look for something on one of the tramlines as those are very regular, as opposed to buses in Bordeaux. Here is the map of the tramline in Bordeaux, to make it easier for you to do your search.

Bastide – the other side of the river

LES CHANTIERS DE LA GARONNE
The hip area of Bordeaux

While most of the historic monuments are located on the west side (rive gauche) of the Garonne, rive droite has its own charm and can be a good place to stay in Bordeaux. By crossing the central bridge of Bordeaux (Pont Pierre) you arrive at the Bastide neighborhood. Until quite recently it was a sleepy residential neighborhood but in the last decade, it transformed into a hip area where many locals love to spend their weekends.

This district is especially charming from May to October when you can enjoy all its green areas and all the summer bars and restaurants on the riverfront which are then open for the summer season. Bastide is still much cheaper then the center of Bordeaux and can be a great option if you’re on a budget. However, to still feel like you’re close to the city center, search for a hotel or apartment close to Tram A. This line will take you through Pont Pierre to Hotel du Ville in just a few minutes ride.

Bacalan – The grungy area of Bordeaux

bassins a flot
The grungy part of Bordeaux

Neighboring Chartrons from the north is the Bacalan district, located about 30 minutes walk from the center of Bordeaux. They are a far not only in their geographical distance but also in their landscape. The Bacalan neighborhood is built around the port of Bordeaux and has a very grungy look to it as opposed to the classic city center. In recent years, the city of Bordeaux has been transforming this neighborhood into one of the most interesting areas in the city. Apart from the magnificent Cité du Vin, it also houses some of the best music venues and has a thriving street art scene. If you chose to stay in this area, be sure to stay in the Southern part (close to the Chartrons district) and as close as possible to the tramline (Tram B) that will take you to the city center in a few minutes.

If you want to learn more about things to do in the Bacalan neighborhood, click here.

Gare Saint Jean – next to the train station

Saint Jean isn’t one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Bordeaux and in some parts can be a bit shady. However, if you need to catch a train early in the morning staying there can be quite practical. And it’s also much more affordable than the center of Bordeaux, which you can easily reach with the Tram Line C. There are some nice hotels on the way from the train station to the riverfront (the quai) and, generally speaking, this is the nicer part around Gare Saint Jean. Also, Quai des Paludate is home to some of Bordeaux’s night clubs and to the new Boca food market. Gradually and with a lot of investment from the city of Bordeaux, this area is becoming more popular and the stay can indeed be quite nice.

Saint Agustin

One of the most family friendly neighborhoods in Bordeaux is Saint Augustin. It’s a small quiet neighborhood, located about 20 min (by tram) from the city center and a walking distance from two beautiful parks in Bordeaux, Parc bourran and Parc Bordelais. The neighborhood has a little center with a few restaurants and a weekly market.

Saint Genes and Nansouty

South to the center, you can find Saint Genes and Nansouty. These are two quiet neighborhoods bordering Place de la Victoire from the South. There isn’t much to do here but it’s only about a 15 minutes walk from the center and it’s conveniently placed on the tram line B that takes you to all the main spots  in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Lac

The Bordeaux Lac district is located in the north, quite far from the center of Bordeaux. Apart from cheaper rates, its main advantage is being close to the parc des expositions, where many of Bordeaux’s fairs and salons take place. So if you come to Bordeaux for a conference this will be a good option for you. Also, if the shopping in the city center was not enough, Bordeaux Lac has one of the biggest shopping centers in the region.

As its name suggests, the neighborhood has a big lake with a popular beach that is open to the public during the summer. You can reach the exhibition park, the shopping center and the beach by line C from the center of Bordeaux.  

I hope this article covers everything you need to know about the different neighborhoods you can stay in when visiting Bordeaux. If you need more specific recommendations, check out my post about the best hotels in the city center.

If it’s your first time visiting Bordeaux, here are a few other articles you’ll find useful:
Things to do in Bordeaux, France – the ultimate guide
10 day trips from Bordeaux by train
30 things to do in Bordeaux with kids

If you’re moving to Bordeaux, be sure to check out the Bordeaux Expats website which is full of valuable knowledge for newcomers.  

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

Bordeaux attracts many tourists coming for the wine, fine dining and beautiful architecture. But many are unaware that it’s also a family-friendly city with plenty of things to do with kids. Beautiful gardens, adventure parks, climbing, biking and even discovering the wine world, the Bordeaux area has it all. In this list, I gathered 30 things you can do in Bordeaux and its surroundings with both small and big kids. This is a long list of ideas for both tourists and locals and is meant to be exhaustive, a kind of reference to keep for the future. It includes both outdoor and indoor activities (for those rainy days), both calm and active, in both Bordeaux and its surroundings. I hope it will give you some ideas you didn’t think about! Let’s dig in!

Things to do with kids in Bordeaux center

Splash in the Miroir d’eau

The biggest water mirror in the world is one of the best things to do with kids when the temperatures rise in Bordeaux. Every 15 minutes the water rises and creates a very shallow pool where kids can run and splash in the water. When tired you can have a picnic at the little garden right next to it.

Eat in a kids friendly restaurant

Bordeaux is the city of restaurants but we all know how exhausting it can be with kids. That’s why you must have a list of a few good kids friendly restaurants you can go to when you start recognizing those kids hunger tantrums :). Here are a few kids friendly restaurants in Bordeaux: Osteria pizzeria de bartolo and It for Italian food, Santosha next to the Grosse Cloche for Thai food, Kokomo for hamburgers, Horace and Cofete B for coffee and cake and a light lunch, Mama Shelter for a more chic experience.

Cap Sciences

Cap Sciences is a kids science museum and one of the most fun and educative places in Bordeaux. The museum proposes interactive exhibitions and activities all dedicated to different aspects of science. Another interesting feature of the museum is the kids’ workshops arranged by different age groups. Among them you can find photography, molecular cooking, eco-citizens and more. For more details click here.
Where: Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Take a scooter or bicycle and go to the quai

One of the main accomplishments of Bordeaux’s makeover in the last decade is the beautiful new dock on the left bank of the Garonne river. A pedestrian only 4.5 km quais stretches out between Gare Saint Jean and Bassin a flot in the north of the city. When it’s sunny outside you can see plenty of families with bikes, scooters or skates riding the paths. You also have an amazing view of the river on one side and the beautiful architecture of Bordeaux on the other. If you don’t have bicycles you can take the (almost) free city bike, all you need is a credit card. Check out all the station in Bordeaux here.


Puppet show in the parc

Le Guignol Guérin, founded in 1853, is the oldest puppetry show in France which holds daily spectacles for kids in the Parc Bordelais during the summer (July and August). The show usually starts at 16:00 but can be cancelled or postponed when it’s raining or getting too hot. Read more about the theater here.
Where: Rue du Bocage, 33000 Bordeaux

Picnic in the park (Jardin public and many others)

A picnic in the park is one of the easiest ways to spend some time outside with your kids. You can enjoy your bottle of rosé while they run around the park. When in Bordeaux, many people head straight to Jardin Public, and while it’s a beautiful park, it’s far from being the only green spot in the city. To help you get familiar with the green parts of the city, I gathered a list of the best places to have a picnic in Bordeaux, which include both big parks and little gardens and some necessary playgrounds – click here to read the post.

parc Bordelais in Bordeaux
Parc Bordelais by Lost in Bordeaux

Take the little train to tour the city

If you want to discover Bordeaux in a fun way, take the little train which departs from the tourists’ office. This 45 minutes tour passes by the main sites of the historic city like place des Quinconces and Place de la Bourse (with Scripted commentaries available in 8 languages). The train leaves every two hours from the Tourist information office, where you also buy the tickets. For more details and tickets click here.

Natural History Museum

After years of renovations the museum of natural history of Bordeaux has finally opened its doors on March 2019. Created in 1971, the museum has one of the biggest collections in France with more than a million specimens. Besides the new design and the incredible collection, one of the new features in the renovated museum is the “Early Years Museum” for kids under 6 years old.
Where: 5 Place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux

Go to the pool

There are several kids friendly pools in Bordeaux metropole, two of them are not very far from the city center. Next to the Meriadeck, you’ll find the piscine Judaique located in a beautiful art deco building. A bit farther from the center is Piscine du Grand Parc. Both are very kids friendly with facilities like kids pool, water slides, floats and more.

Go ice skating at the meriadeck

La Patinoire de Mériadeck is a sports complex in Bordeaux center that hosts hockey games as well as many different concerts. However, several days a week the place is open to the public and you can come with your family and enjoy ice skating in this huge arena. As the Patinoire hosts many different events during the year, it’s opening hours might change from time to time, so before heading there with your kids, check out the schedule.  It is usually closed during the summer vacation.
Where: 95 Cours Maréchal Juin, 33000 Bordeaux

Artistic workshop in institut Bernard Magrez

Institut Bernard Magrez is one of the best places in the city for art lovers. They present beautiful street art exhibitions several times a year and frequently hold kids creative workshops around the theme of the exhibition. To be updated on their future workshops follow them on facebook.
Where: 16 Rue de Tivoli, 33000 Bordeaux

Surfing in a coffee place

This is a super cool activity for kids (over 8 yo). The Wave Surf Café is the first indoor cafe where you can surf! The Big artificial wave in the middle of the coffee shop imitates the ocean waves and allows you to feel like a professional surfer in the city center :). It’s a nice experience for kids who don’t live next to the sea and don’t have the opportunity to surf. For more details click here.
Where: 174 Cours du Médoc, 33300 Bordeaux

Go rollerblading with the whole family

Kids love rollerblades so if you’re looking for a fun family time, why not do it with them?  You can join the Airroller club association that organizes a big family ride once a month. You don’t have to be a member to join the ride, but if you do, you can enjoy skating lessons adapted to all levels and ages. For more info about the activities of the association click here.  

Skating

There are two great options for kids who like to skate. One is the skatepark on Quai des Chartrons which is a great facility. For those heading to the Sunday market on the quai, that would be a great break for the kids. If you need a change of scenery from the center of Bordeaux, cross the river to Darwin. It’s a super cool urban space that has a skateboard park made from recycled materials and a special cultural landscape of street art and electronic music. This is a good option for rainy days.
Where: 87 Quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

skating on the quai in Bordeaux
photo by: @lost_in_bordeaux

Shopping in one of the malls

Who doesn’t love shopping, right? Well I personally don’t but I know that quite a lot of teenagers see it as legitimate site seeing in the city. So where do we shop in Bordeaux? The main shopping street is rue Sainte Catherine, the longest pedestrian street in France. Very close to it you have the Meriadeck which is the only shopping center in the city center. But if you’re looking for bigger malls, with plenty of clothing retailers, you’ll have to go a bit further to the shopping centers in the surrounding towns such as Rives d’Arcins in Begles, Aushopping in Bordeaux lac or Mérignac Soleil.

Spend time at the main library

If your kids are interested in books, the Bibliothèque in Mériadeck has a library for kids between 0 and 13 years old. The place includes novels, comics, manga, music, movies and even a coloring space for the little ones. Apart from books the Meriadeck library also hosts different events such as little shows for kids, story time and video games in groups.
Where: 85 Cours Maréchal Juin, 33000 Bordeaux

Things to do with kids in Bordeaux –  outside the city center

Go to a kids cinema

It’s not always easy to find movies for little kids, so I was happy to find a cinema fully dedicated to mini me’s. The cinéma Le Festival in Begles specializes in animation movies and special effects. Plenty of animated movies and cartoons, accessible to kids over 3 years old are screened every day.  Check out their website for all the details and the program.
Where: 151 Boulevard Albert 1er, 33130 Bègles

Go to the beach at Bordeaux Lac

The beach is the perfect summer spot for kids and if you’re in Bordeaux you don’t have to go very far for it. The cute beach of Bordeaux Lac has everything you need: a sandy clean beach with beautiful clear and calm water and a lot of shade from the nearby trees for those who don’t really like the sun. The beach is open to the public daily from June 1st to August 31 and starting July 1st it offers water and beach activities such as sailing, kayaking, mini-golf and more. Check out the list of daily activities here.

Bordeaux lac
Bordeaux lac by Lost in Bordeaux

Soft play

When you really need your kids to let off some steam the best place to go is a soft play and there are several of those in Bordeaux: Yopi park Royal kids in Pessac, Happy park in Begles and Kidooland in Bordeaux Lac where you can actually have lunch while someone is watching your kids.

Kfe des familles – Café associative

Kfe des Familles is a cute associative café that allows parents to spend time with their kids while also enjoying a coffee or lunch. Besides a nice little restaurant, the place has a room for kids’ workshops as well as a space for the little ones, where they can play accompanied by their parents. The cafe organizes plenty of activities and events throughout the year. For more info click here.
Where: 46 rue de New-York 33300 Bordeaux

Ferme urbaine des Iris

The Iris animal farm in Lormont is a magical place that allows you to spend a fun day with your kids in nature. In the farm your curious kids can learn about animals and feed them. They have  a big variety of animals, among them rabbits, donkeys, and goats. The farm is closed for groups on school vacations. For more info click here.
Where: 8 Rue Sourbes, 33310 Lormont

Discover the city on a canoe

The Bordeaux Canoe company offers you a fantastic tour on a canoe or a SUP. During the two hours tour you will discover the wild islands on the Garonne river, the traditional cabane on the riverbanks, and the river’s history. The starting point of the tour changes according to the flow of the river. The tour is adapted to kids over 10 years old on the Canoe and 14 on the SUP. For more info click here.
Where: 21 Parc d’Activités des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux

Climbing

Indoor climbing has become extremely popular in Bordeaux and there are numerous facilities where you can do that with kids. These are the climbing centers in or close to Bordeaux: Arkose, Block’out Roc’ Altitude and the newest one – Climb up.

Adventure park in Talence  

The Loisirs et Aventures company runs an adventure park in Bois de Thouars in Talence where kids can practice treetop walking. The company offers six courses for different ages, starting from 4 years old. The adventure park is open on Wednesdays and during the weekend from April to October and every day on July and August. For more details click here. Where: Bois de Thouars, Avenue de la Marne – 33400 Talence

Go to the zoo

The zoo of Bordeaux, which is actually located in Pessac, is a beautiful family friendly place. It allows you to discover more than 250 different animals from monkeys to giraffes and white tigers. The zoo organizes plenty of events for kids throughout the year. For more details click here. Where: 3 Rue du Transvaal, 33600 Pessac

A bit farther – things to do around Bordeaux

Discover contemporary art in the forest

How about combining nature with art? One of the best ways to discover the massive forest of Landes de Gascogne in the south of Gironde is by following the map of la foret d’art contemporain. This is a cool project that aims to promote contemporary art by placing it in different spots in the forest. Around 20 different pieces of art were placed in all parts of the forest, usually close to one of the smaller towns, to allow you to discover the more rural parts of Gironde. Follow the map of the project – here.

la foret d'art contemporain

La Ferme Exotique

La Ferme Exotique is a charming animal farm located in Cadaujac, about 20 minutes from Bordeaux. There are almost 1000 animals in the farm, coming from all over the world and in all sizes. It’s a unique experience as they allow kids to really connect with the animals and even help feed some of them. For more details click here.
Where: Domaine de la Roussie, 1932 Chemin du Port de l’Esquillot, 33140 Cadaujac

The inflatable water park in Biscarrosse

Bordeaux is just one hour away from the biggest inflatable water park in the world! The AquaPark is equipped with water ziplines, several diving boards of different heights, trampolines, catapults, climbing walls, slides and more. The park is accessible to kids over 4 years old. For more details and tickets click here.
Where: Port Maguide, 18 Chemin de Maguide, 40600 Biscarrosse

Take the kids to an amusement park

Parc de la coccinelle is an amusement park in Gujan-Mestras, on the Bassin d’Arcachon. This park is a perfect day out that your kids will definitely enjoy. It has everything from water slides, roller coasters, trampolines and even an animal farm where you can feed baby goats. It’s open from April to the beginning of November, however, it’s not open every week, so check out the schedule before going. For more info click here. If you need more ideas on what to do with kids when going to Arcachon, check out my post about day trips from Bordeaux.
Where: Parc de loisirs, La Hume, 33470 Gujan-Mestras

Route du vin with kids

Coming to Bordeaux with kids doesn’t mean you can’t discover the incredible wine of this region. Children are welcomed to many Bordeaux wine estates (wine chateaux) but some of them organize activities that will make it a super kids friendly visit. Chateau d’Agassac has a treasure hunt game. Château Gruaud Larose has a special path for families in the vineyards and Chateau Kirwan organized a gouter (a snack) for kids every Wednesday.

If you need ideas for what to do with kids when it’s raining in Bordeaux, click here. Apart from that list I constantly update about kids friendly events and activities taking place every weekend, so follow the blog for more update. And don’t forget to join me on my weekly newsletter where I share plenty of recommendations on where to go and what to do in and around Bordeaux – click here to subscribe.

This article was very fun to make. I, together with the super talented photographer Laura Macias , went out to check five coffee shops in Bordeaux. There are plenty of nice coffee places in Bordeaux, with quality coffee, beautiful design and a great atmosphere so choosing this list wasn’t an easy task. So how did I choose these five? First, all of them have amazing coffee and a cozy atmosphere. But I also wanted them to be spread out around the city so every coffee in this article is located in a different district of Bordeaux. And last but not least, as most of my readers are English speakers I chose coffee places that are English friendly. In all of them, the owners and most of the staff speak English and you don’t have to break your tongue when ordering a coffee. So let’s start discovering the best coffee places in Bordeaux!

Café Piha

This place, I must admit, is my coffee place of choice when I hang out with my girlfriends, I discovered it through my Kiwi friend Julie and it’s on our list ever since. The place is owned by Pierre Guerin, one of the nicest and most welcoming people in coffee land. The name Piha combines two of his big loves: kite surfing and coffee. Piha is the name of a surfing village in New Zealand, where Pierre used to live and surf for quite a while and where he learned the barista craft. Coming back to France, knowing that he wanted to continue his journey in the coffee industry, he started working as a Barista in the KB Cafeshop in Paris and then in Loomi cafe where he learned to roast coffee. Several years ago he and his wife Carole moved to Bordeaux, her hometown. After a stint in Arcachon, where he created the MaxiCoffee, two years ago he and his wife decided to open their own coffee place in the center of Bordeaux.

Piha cafe

Piha was opened in February 2017 in what was previously a print shop. With the help of his interior designer friend they designed this elegant coffee shop, with mostly sofas instead of chairs to make you feel comfortable when you meet your friends for a coffee.  

Pierre really loves his staff, you can see that he genuinely appreciates their contribution to the success of this place. From Pauline, the manager and tea expert to Joslin the Barista and Angele, the chef, who’s also responsible for the delicious desserts on the bar (you must try the homemade chocolate cookies). Most of Piha’s clients are people from the neighborhood and while Pierre loves Bordeaux his real dream is to move closer to the sea where he can roast his coffee and surf everyday.

What else?
They offer a brunch every Saturday and the first Sunday of every month. On Saturdays, Pierre hosts coffee workshops and from the little course we received while making this article, I can assure you that it’s worth your time. Pierre has plenty of interesting collaborations with other places in the city. Other cafes use his roasted coffee and he sells other craft products in Piha (a local beer for example). These days he and Carole are developing their online shop selling freshly ground coffee roasted in the shop in Bordeaux, check it out here.

Address: 69 Rue des Ayres, 33000, Bordeaux
Opening hours: Monday 10:00 – 18:30, Tuesday to Friday 8:30 to 18:30, Saturday 10:00 to 18:30. Find them on: Website, Facebook, Instagram

L’Alchimiste Café Boutique

We now move to the fancy district of Quinconces and to one of the most popular coffee addicts places, L’Alchimiste Café. Arthur Audibert is a pioneer in specialty coffee roasting in Bordeaux. After working for a decade in consulting in Paris, he came back to his home area to open the first roastery in Bordeaux. He was influenced by his many travels abroad where he tasted quality coffee and decided to contribute his part in developing the coffee culture in France. Five years ago he opened a roastery, L’Alchimiste torréfacteur de cafés d’exception, in Darwin. In the first year, he was roasting coffee for other establishments in Bordeaux, mostly serving fancy restaurants and hotels.

alchimiste bordeaux

After a year he was joined by Yohan Caunegre, another caffe enthusiast who wanted to learn from the master and open the coffee scene to the wider public. After living in Australia and working in a coffee shop, Yohan wanted to bring the rising culture of coffee shops with a quality cafe to Bordeaux. In 2016, in addition to their roastery in Darwin they opened their coffee shop on a cute paved street not far from hotel de ville, Rue de la Vieille Tour. Albeit the central location, opening the cafe on that street was a gamble as at that time it wasn’t such a popular spot. Today, when you see this popular street with all the beautifully designed boutiques and pastries on the way to the coffee shop it’s easy to see the gamble paid off.

This cozy little place is divided into three areas: the bar, the sitting room with a few little tables surrounded by forest themed wall decorations and a small gallery with changing works of art, chosen by Virginie, Arthur’s wife. The name, L’alchimiste comes for the idea of transformation – the fact that the product starts from a fruit and transforms into a coffee.
This place is all about coffee, they don’t serve food, and the only snacks you can get are the cakes on the bar. Their coffee mostly comes from Central America and Eastern Africa (Ethiopia and Kenya).

What else?
The first Saturday of every month they hold a 2 hours workshop of tasting and brewing coffee. The price is 10 euros and you can register on their website. Next Autumn is going to be big for the guys! They will open a new coffee shop in Darwin, where apart from their amazing coffee they will make their own pastry and natural juices.

Address: 12 Rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000, Bordeaux /Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 8:30 to 18:00, Saturday 10:00 to 18:00 /Find them on: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Café Gusco

We finally get to the female representative on the list and for that, I will make you leave the center of Bordeaux. Gusco is run by Pauline Savin and is located in the Meriadeck district, distant from the buzz of Bordeaux center. Just a few minutes walk from Hotel de Ville you’ll get to a tiny square with turquoise tables from where you can spot the beautiful welcoming smile of Pauline.

Gusco Bordeaux

Pauline started her career in the wine industry and learned to appreciate good coffee through her husband, a distributor of coffee beans. He used to bring home samples of green coffee which they would taste together. After many exhausting years in the wine industry and after becoming a mom, Pauline decided to open her own business. It took a trip to New-York, which included a marathon of visiting coffee places, for her to decide to open a coffee place back home. She wanted to prove that good coffee culture can exist in France. Another brave decision was to roast her own coffee in order to own its taste. As someone who didn’t come from the coffee word, she had to learn everything from scratch and this girl definitely owns it!

In June 2017 she opened her specialty coffee place, Gusco. The name is a combination of the names of her kids Gustav and Colombe. The place is small but beautifully designed. It is a combination of many ideas she saw in other coffee shops as well as Portuguese touches as its a country she really loves. I especially loved the sofa with the hanging tables. They cook their own food and many customers actually come to Gusco for lunch. Pauline is super funny and charming and makes you feel at home in a second, and if you combine that with her great coffee, it’s really worth the walk.

Address: 2 Rue Ligier, 33000, Bordeaux /Opening hours: Monday 8:30 – 14:30, Tuesday to Friday 8:30 to 18:00, Saturday 9:00 to 12:00/ Find them on: Facebook, Instagram

La Pelle Café

We are moving from the historic center of Bordeaux to the northern chic neighborhood of Chartrons. A charming street like notre dame, deserves a beautiful place like La Pelle Cafe. The founders of the place is Carlos Pereira and his wife Paula.

pelle cafe bordeaux

Carlos, originally from Brazil, was surrounded by coffee from an early age and says he was always the one making coffee for his family so it’s no surprise he chose it as his profession. He left Brazil at the age of 26 and moved to Italy where he started his career in the coffee world. His first city in France was Paris, where he was one of the associates in a specialty coffee place, called Coutume Cafe.

In the end of 2015, he and his wife Paula have decided to move to Bordeaux and open their own little coffee place. While searching for the perfect place for their new “baby” they fell in love with the Chartrons neighborhood, and I can definitely see why. They are located on one of the most pleasant streets of Bordeaux, and they perfectly fit there with their chic design. The idea behind it is to make the bar the main scene with the baristas being the main actors in the play. The name Pelle comes from the Italian and Portuguese word for skin and it’s also the name of a coffee shovel in French.

He’s a real advocate for quality coffee and if you are interested in expanding your knowledge about different types of coffee and roasting he’s your guy.  Pelle cafe usually has coffee from 10 different origins, from countries like Costa rica, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia, Salvador and Guatemala. They try to educate people about the coffee they drink and enrich their experience beyond just drinking coffee.Left to the bar you’ll notice coffee related equipment on sale that will help you make your own quality coffee at home, with some guidance from Carlos himself of course.

What else: From time to time Carlos runs coffee tasting workshops, you can see more details on their facebook page.

Address: 29 rue Notre Dame, 33000, Bordeaux/ Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00 to 18:00, Thursday 9:00 – 22:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 18:00/ Find them on: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Cofete B

Coming back to the heart of the historic center we are heading to Cofete B in the saint Pierre district. Although it’s located in one of the most touristic areas in Bordeaux, it’s not very easy to spot and I discovered it through a friend who lives in the area. The owner is Lizbel Lombardi. Born in Peru, raised in Germany, studied in England and moved to France following her French boyfriend who she met in Spain. Quite an international gal.

cofete b bordeaux

Lizbel’s story is about not giving up and having a lot of patience and optimism to follow your dreams. Her studies and career in England looked very different from what she does now. After several years in the hospitality industry she arrived to Bordeaux with no prior knowledge of French and had to find work and reinvent herself. During her student years in London she had worked as a Barista is a coffee shop, where she got equipped with the techniques and with a dream to have her own place. Finding the right place wasn’t easy and took a very long time. But with her ambition and the support of her boyfriend and his family she opened Cofete B, less  than a year ago. She chose this location because she wanted something central but on a small street for it to feel cozy and something that would draw the neighbors in. The name has a special meaning to her. Cofete is a beach in fuerteventura in Spain where she and her boyfriend met (yes, very romantic I know) and B stands for Bordeaux, barista and bio food.

While her coffee is amazing, it’s the food that gets her excited and she made it the focus of the place.The food is mainly vegetarian and there are always vegan options so for all of my vegan readers, here’s a great place for you. Saturday and Sunday are the brunch days and they have become very popular. On Sundays the place gets so busy that you have to book in advance.

Most of the clients are locals who come for a coffee in the middle of the week and then come back with their kids for a brunch on the weekend. You can see that people really love her, they come in and give her a bissou and tell her personal stuff about their lives. Others just come by to say hello on their way home. I can see why, she’s a really loveable person. Her vision for the place is a neighborhood coffee shop where people come to talk and be with friends.

What else?
One of the spaces in the cafe is quite isolated from the bar and that allows for hosting different events, which is something Lizbel really loves. As she’s busy with making the food and coffee, the events are not coffee related. It can be anything from a language exchange to yoga.

Address: 22 Rue Chai des Farines 33000, Bordeaux/ Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 to 18:30, Sunday 11:00 to 16:00/ Find them on: Facebook, Instagram

All these beautiful photos were taken by Laura, you can see her other amazing photos from Bordeaux and other places on her website and instagram.

Hope you enjoyed our list!!! I would love to read about your favorite coffee places in Bordeaux in the comments below!



Having a picnic with your bottle of rosé and some fromage on a sunny day is one of the most French things you can do. If you ever tried to find a green spot in Bordeaux you’ve probably noticed that it’s not an easy task as there aren’t many parks in the center of town, especially comparing to Paris. But what many people don’t know is that there are actually quite a lot of green, magical islands between all these historical buildings, you just have to find them- and that’s what we’re here for.

I gathered the top places where you can join other Bordolaise for a picnic with family, friends or just on your own with a good book. Just in case you don’t come prepared, I added the location of nearby places to get some snacks and drinks. Also for those coming with kids, I give you my review on  the playgrounds in place.

So here is my list of places to picnic in Bordeaux (see the full map at the end of the article):

Center of Bordeaux

Miroir d’eau

This is one of the most photographed places in Bordeaux, and rightly so. The reflection of Place de la Bourse on one side and the view of the Garrone on the other, turns it into one of Bordeaux’s must seen spots. On a hot day, one of the most pleasant things to do is to splash your feet in the water and then catch a spot in the gardens surrounding the miroir d’eau. The place is usually very crowded and there’s no shade, so it is recommended to get there in the morning, before it gets too hot and busy. So spread your blanket between the rows of flowers and bon appetite.

Where to buy snacks: The closest supermarket to get your fruits or a bottle of rosé on a hot day is the Monop’ at  Promenade St Catherine – cross the road to Place de la Bourse, continue strait on rue Saint-Rémi until you reach  Promenade St Catherine on your right. 

What’s for kids: While there is no playground next to the Mirior d’eau, the monument itself is probably one of the most enjoyable places for kids in Bordeaux. As part of its operating cycle, the level of the water goes up for several minutes creating a shallow pool, letting kids splash in the water.

picnic next to Miroir d'eau in Bordeaux
Le Miroir d’eau – one of the most photographed places in Bordeaux

Parc des Sports Saint-Michel

Parc des Sports is located just in front of quartier Saint Michel which is one of the most hip places in Bordeaux nowadays. Many people don’t pay much attention to this huge green spot in the city center,  which leaves the whole area for the locals to enjoy. The lawns of the park are wide enough to forget that you are actually one step away from the the road. Also the view of the Garonne is quite impressive so try to find a spot closer to the river.   

Where to buy snacks: if you need a big supermarket,  take a few minutes walk to the carrefour on 13 Rue de Saget in the saint croix neighborhood. However, if you need just a few snacks head to the little superette on rue des allamandiers,  just next to place saint Michel. If you happen to arrive there on Saturday or Monday, go ahead to the market at saint Michel to get some fruits for your picnic.

What’s for kids: As its name indicates, this place is very sport oriented. Besides a nice playground for kids, there are other sports facilities such as ping pong tables and a skate park.

Parc des sports saint michel-
Parc des Sports – two steps from the hip Saint-Michel neighborhood

Jardin Public de Bordeaux

The largest park in the center of Bordeaux needs no introduction. Jardin Public invites you to spread your arms (and body) on its vast green planes. It attracts most of the picnickers wandering around the center of town. Besides  being visually stunning, it has a large lake (with ducks and geese!) and a chic caffee you can visit when not in the mood for sitting on grass.

What’s for kids: There is a very impressive playground in the park as well as a puppet theater and a lot of ducks in the lake (for little animal lovers).

Where to buy snacks: There are two supermarkets from both sides of the park, one is located in the Chartrons neighborhood (8 Rue Notre Dame) and a small casino on 76 Rue Lagrange.

 

jardin public in Bordeaux
Jardin public – beauty in the middle of the city

Parc Rivière

A green sprawling paradise in the midst of a residential neighborhood.
The vibe here is more wild and freestyle compared to the meticulously planned jardin publique.
You can find a lot of sweet spots to picnic beneath the trees. While strolling along you can visit the tiny cute castle and the Maison du jardinier et de la nature en ville, which holds gardening activities.

where to buy snacks : There’s a small Casino market between park Rivière and Jardin Publique on 76 Rue Lagrange or you can take a walk to Auchan market in the Centre Commercial de l’Europe, 19 Place de l’Europe.

what’s for kids: This is the main downside of this park. The playground is very small and older kids will be bored with it.

Parc Rivière in Bordeaux
Parc Rivière- green paradise in the midst of a residential neighborhood

Place des Martyrs de la Résistance

A small local garden which draws its atmosphere from the beautiful Basilique Saint-Seurin. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city center but still stay close, this is a good spot. The green pasture is quite big and usually not very crowded.

where to buy snacks : to buy fruits for a picnic go ahead to Charlotte Clementine on 14 Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, if you need to add some wine, there’s a carrefour city on rue Judaique, next to Place Gambetta.

what’s for kids: This little garden has a a very small playground, mostly for the younger ones.

Place des Martyrs de la Résistance
Place des Martyrs de la Résistance- when you need a quiet spot close to the city center

le Jardin de ta Soeur

Winner of the funniest public garden name of all time, this hidden spot in Chartrons, usually frequented by the local neighbors, has a very communal and cozy feel to it.
The designed playground and sitting areas give it a special artistic vibe.

where to buy snacks : for snacks go to the nearest intermarche on 67 Cours Edouard Vaillant.

what’s for kids: This garden is mostly used by the local community and hence is very kids friendly. As part of the overall original design of the park, the playground too has an artistic vibe to it.

 

le Jardin de ta Soeur
le Jardin de ta Soeur – original landscape design

Quai des Chartrons

Why get dirty with grass when you can just get drunk on a cozy wooden deck?
If you fancy to get wasted on a Sunday or Thursday afternoon, this is the spot for you as it hosts the weekly Quai des Chartrons market full with wine, oysters, shrimps and local products.

where to buy snacks : At the market! Otherwise go to the Carrefour city at 8 Rue Notre Dame.

what’s for kids: This place is a heaven for kids! Right next to the market you’ll find both a playground and a big skate park.

drinking wine on quai des chartrons
yours truly doing what you should

La Place Gambetta

Yes, it’s a roundabout.. but a really really beautiful one, complete with a small pond and several really great spots to hang out with friends or alone reading a book.
Due to it’s central location, it gets full quickly.. so get there early.

where to buy snacks : The carrefour city on rue Judaique is just around the corner.

what’s for kids: nothing really… It’s a small place in the the city center and is more suitable for friends to get together rather than for a family picnic.

Place Gambetta Bordeaux
Place Gambetta – a green island in the middle of the city

The green spaces of Rive droite

Parc aux Angéliques

The Rive Droite of Bordeaux is usually the calmer part of the city, far from the busy touristic east side of the Garonne, which makes it a perfect spot for a quiet afternoon picnic or nap.
Parc aux Angéliques on quai des Queyries offers a wide green space with a view of the most beautiful monuments in the center of Bordeaux.  Closer to Darwin, the vibe gets more hipstery.. farther away and it’s more of an extended family kind of atmosphere 😉

What’s for kids: Place des Droits de l’enfant, a large playground both for little ones and for older kids is located In front of the park, just next to Jardin Botanique.

Where to buy snacks: Magasin Général in Darwin would be the closest place to get some bio fruits, cheese and wine. For a larger selection go to the Carrefour supermarket on Allée Serr.

Parc aux angeliques bordeaux
Parc aux Angeliques – quiet green space with a beautiful view of Bordeaux

Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux

Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux is a magical place of biodiversity and sustainable development, located in front of Quai des Queyries, in the middle of the Bastide neighborhood. There’s a big lawn in the middle of the park but if you are looking for a more intimate picnic, check out the western section where you can find cozy little green corners between the plant pools.

What’s for kids:  Place des Droits de l’enfant is a large playground  located just next to the park. Also, Jardin Botanique is a place where kids can explore rare and exotic plants and flowers, which can turn your outdoor activity into an educational one.

Where to buy snacks: The big  Carrefour supermarket is located just next to the park in zone d’activité commerciale Coeur De Bastide-Allée Serr

Jardin Botanique bordeaux
Jardin Botanique – cozy little green corners for a more intimate picnic

 

The big Parks

Parc Bordelais

Parc Bordelais, the biggest parc in Bordeaux, is located in the northern part of the city in the Cauderan neighborhood. Although quite far from the city center,  making an effort to get there really pays off.  A lake, beautiful trees, huge green spaces and a lovely terasse cafe are only part of what parc Bordolais has to offer.

What’s for kids:  This is probably the most kids oriented place in this list. Besides two large playgrounds (for younger and older kids), there is a puppet theater and a little train that takes you on a tour of the park.

Where to buy snacks: The little superette on avenue Charles de Gaulle is located just one minute walk from the park. if you need a better selection you can walk a few minutes to Carrefour city on 10 Rue de Marseille.

park bordelaise, Bordeaux
Parc Bordelaise- the biggest park in Bordeaux

Parc de Bourran

Parc de Bourran in Merignac is not officially in Bordeaux but is located along the tram’s A line making it a short ride from the city center. This park has a more foresty feeling to it. Besides picnicking on the big green lawn at the center of the park, you can also take lovely strolls along the many paths encircling this beautiful park and maybe find your own secret spot.

What’s for kids:  There are two separate playgrounds in the park for different age ranges.

Where to buy snacks: If you enter the park from rue Alfred de Musset, the big Auchan super market on 19 Avenue du Maréchal Gallieni, 33700  is not very far.

parc de Bourran bordeaux
Parc de Bourran – feels like a forest

Parc Peixotto

Another off Brodway candidate that you can reach with a short Tram B ride.
A very lovely park with a pretty little chateaux, a pond and lots of ducks.
A relatively big picnic area where you can mingle with the many students living and drooling around the park.

What’s for kids:  Peixotto is very well eqiped for kids. It has a playground, a carousel and a little lake where you can feed the ducks.

Where to buy snacks: There is a big Casino market just next to the park at  412 Cours de la Libération, 33400 Talence.

Parc de Peixotto
Parc de Peixotto in Talence

Are you familiar with any other green spots in the city where you like to spend time with your friends? Please share your ideas in the comments below 🙂

And if you like the article, please share it with your friends!

 

The full map of top picnic places in Bordeaux

 

 

Cognac is a beautiful town in the South West of France that is mostly known for its luxurious spirits. I’ve been living in France for years but somehow visiting Cognac has never crossed my mind until we moved to Bordeaux. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the spirit itself, and I drink it only on special occasions. So prior to my visit there I was wondering what’s there to do in Cognac beyond the cellar tours? Luckily there’s plenty of things to do in Cognac! This little town will surprise you with its impressive architecture, delicious restaurants and remarkably nice people. In this article I gathered the top 10 things to do, see and eat in Cognac.

1. Discover the Old City of Cognac

Stroll the narrow paved streets of the city center to absorb the charm of Vieux Cognac (the old Cognac). The architecture will take you back in time to the early days of the salt trade that started the economic growth of the city. Many of the old houses date back to the 16th and 17h centuries, displaying the eclectic architectural style of the city. Most buildings have large windows, an indication of the wealth of the traders living in this area at that period of time. The “newer” part of the old city unveils the vibrant economic and cultural development of Cognac in the 19th century. That trail called the “Belle epoque” starts at Place Francois I and ends at the Jardin de l’hotel de ville. While the center is relatively small, there are plenty of charming streets and nice boutiques so give yourself some time to get lost.

Booking.com

2. Take a tour in a Cognac distillery

With almost 200 Cognac producers in the area, this is definitely the main attraction of Cognac. The cognac houses include big names like Hennessy, Martell, Rémy Martin and Courvoisier. These four produce most of the Cognac exported to the world. Other known brands include Otard, Camus, Meukov and Delamain (located in the neighboring town of Jarnac). Many distilleries offer tours in French and English. However, if you need an English speaking tour, be sure to book in advance. Martell and Hennessy are very popular tours as well those by Otard where you get to visit the old Chateau de Cognac (place of birth of King François I). You should know, however, that many distilleries are closing for winter so consult their tours schedules before heading to Cognac.

We took the Hennessy tour and had a fabulous time. The company’s boat took us to the other side of the river to visit the cellars. Then we learned all about the processes of creating this luxurious spirit, from the terroir to the maturing and assembling processes. At the end of the tour you get to taste two different Cognacs and a Cognac-based liqueur (which to be honest, I loved the most). The price of the tour is 18 euros per person, you can book it here.

If you’re looking for a more authentic / boutique experience check out the “in the Terroir of Cognac” tour. This half day trip includes a visit to several artisan distilleries and a cognac co-operative. You will get to taste some of the best craft cognacs in the region and get a more diverse and full experience of Cognac.

Book this Tour

3. Walk along the Quai of the Charente river

Charente river - Cognac
The promenade by the Charente river in Cognac

For many years the river banks of the Charente river were the prime business center of the city. King François initiated the salt trade in Cognac, making the river an important economic player. Later, all the big Cognac houses would establish their main buildings on the riverfront. Walking on the elegant promenade you’ll pass by the port of Cognac, the Hennessy house, the Chateau de Cognac (now the Otard Cognac house) and the impressive Tours Saint Jacques, one of the only remainings left from medieval times. The promenade itself is very pleasant and makes for a nice tour on both sides of the Charente river.

4. Eat great local food

Do you really think that a place with such a reputation for its luxury alcohol wouldn’t master the gastronomic side as well? There are plenty of great restaurants in Cognac, both in the old city and on the other side of the river (in quartier Saint Jacques). The one we particularly liked was L’atelier des quais, where the delicious food was accompanied by an incredible view of the old part of Cognac. Their big terrace in front of the riverbanks makes it a perfect place for sunny days. Other recommended restaurants are: La Courtine, La Poulpette, L’arty show

5. Taste Pineau des Charentes

Although Cognac is the main star here, there’s another spirit you must taste if you’re in the Charente department. Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine, created from the mix of grape juice and Cognac eau-de-vie, which then goes through a maturing process. This is a very popular aperitif in Charente but not very known in other parts of France. It’s really good so don’t miss the chance to taste it!

6. Visit the local market

the market in Cognac
The covered market in Cognac

I absolutely adore French markets so I was very happy to discover that there’s a covered market in Cognac. This market is not on my top 10 French markets list but it’s a nice place to buy some local products. One of the stands sells great local alcohol and cheese and you can even order a cheese plate and take it to the picnic area in the middle of the market.

7. Learn about Cognac in the Musée des Arts du Cognac

If you’re interested in learning more about the production of the spirit head to the Musée des Arts du Cognac. This great museum located in a 16th-century mansion, next to the quai, holds an impressive amount of articles, documents and an audio-visual exhibition that will help you learn everything you need to know about Cognac. The price is 5 euros and it’s open daily between 14:00 to 18:00. The address is: Les Remparts, Place de la Salle Verte, 16100 Cognac

8. Drink a Cognac cocktail

As Cognac became an international success it took a life of its own. A fair amount of Cognac-based cocktails have been developed outside of France, in particular in the US. Some cocktails can be ordered in bars and restaurants in Cognac and they are really worth a try. Some of the most popular ones are Classico, Sidecar, French75 and Le Cognac Summit (the tourist information even gives you the recipe, click here to learn how to make it).

9. Visit the villages around Cognac

Although Cognac is the main town of the region, it’s not the only place where the spirit is produced and definitely not the only one worth visiting. If you want to visit more distilleries go to Jarnac, the second distilling town in the area. There you can find Cognac houses like Courvoisier, Louis Royer, Hine and Delamain. And it’s also the place of birth of the former French president François Mitterrand. You can visit a nice museum with all the presents he received during his presidency. Other pretty villages in the area are Bassac and Bourg Charente.

10. A city of festivals

Although it’s a small sized city, there are plenty of cultural events and festivals taking place in the Cognac area throughout the year. In the summer the city hosts one of the biggest music festival in the region, the Cognac Blues Passion. The festival, taking place in July, attracts some of the biggest names in the Blues world. Another big summer festival is Fête du Cognac. The Cognac festival celebrates the spirits of the region, the Cognac, Pineau des Charentes and wines of the region. Another cool festival is Distillerie en fête which takes place during the winter. From December to February plenty of activities are put in place by the Cognac distilleries to help you discover the behind the scenes of Cognac production. For more info check out the tourist info website.

Get into the atmosphere with more photos from Cognac

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cognac for pinterest

Looking for more destinations in the South of France? Check out my guide to a weekend in Bordeaux and the 25 best things to do in Biarritz.

Bacalan is a northern district of Bordeaux, an area that, until recently, has largely been avoided by tourists and locals.  The grungy landscapes of the port and its distance from the city center aren’t as appealing as the beautiful architecture and lovely squares of the historic center of Bordeaux. In the last few years, however, the Bacalan district has been changing its face, emerging to be one of the most interesting places in Bordeaux, with plenty of new neighborhoods and places to explore.

Smart planning transformed the otherwise unsavory port characteristics of the neighborhood into pleasant features. The gigantic hangars, the boats and the unusual infrastructure turned into places of emerging arts, music, food and leisure, transforming the neighborhood into one of the most intriguing places in Bordeaux. So if you haven’t yet had the chance to visit this amazing neighborhood or you feel there’s not much there for you to do, let me prove you wrong. From street art, to wine, whiskey and live music, here is the list of the best things you can do and see in Bacalan:

La Cité du Vin

la cite du vin in Bordeaux

La cité du vin is a “must” place for any wine lover but can be very interesting and enjoyable for people who don’t drink at all. This impressive piece of modern architecture is a one of a kind cultural center, all dedicated to discovering the wine world. Through its interactive exhibition, It offers a journey to both French and global wine history. You will learn about wine making, see movies and interviews with wine producers and then pass on to smell and taste wine. The cite du vin allows you to discover a selection of wines from all over the world and offers one of the best panoramic views of Bordeaux.

Address: 134 – 150 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux
Opening hours: weekdays from 10am to 6pm, weekends and holidays 10am to 7pm
For more info check out the website of cite du Vin

Have a drink or a snack at les Halles des Bacalan

marche de bacalan in Bordeaux

This fancy food market opened its gates on November 2017 and has been visited by more than 60,000 people in the first month. It’s no surprise, as Bordeaux is well known for its gourmand population. This impressive 950m2 hangar is located just in front of the famous Cité du vin and hosts 23 different artisans and traders that were chosen for the quality of their products (85% of which are produced in the South-West region of France). Now, when all of this food is accompanied by several bars, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

Opening hours:  from Tuesday to Friday 8:00 – 14:30 and 16:30-20:30, Saturday 8:00- 22:00 and Sunday 8:00-17:00
Address: 149 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Les Vivre de l’art – emerging arts and impressive sculptures 

les vivres d'art - art and music events

Les vivres de l’art is one of the most fascinating arts projects in Bordeaux. Located just a few steps from the cité du vin, in an architectural historic monument called les Vivres de la Marine. Iron sculptures made by the artist Jean-François Buisson (which works there since 2003) adorn the place and give it its creative characteristic. Since 2008 it has become an artistic association, holding cultural events, workshops, vintage sales, music festivals, exhibitions, and more. This is one place in the neighborhood you don’t want to miss, even just for a sneak peak of the beautiful and creative sculptures which can be seen from the road.

Opening hours: open daily from Monday to Friday 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 18:00, and usually hosts different events during the weekend (consult the program on their site).
Address: Les Vivres de l’Art – Place Victor Raulin – 1 rue Achard – 33300 Bordeaux
For more info check out the website of Les Vivres de l’art

Le Garage moderne – a social garage

la garage moderne - social garage

Le Garage Moderne is a social garage, a brilliant gem of a place where you can come to fix your own car and bicycle while experiencing art and culture, workshops and social meetings. If you’re fed up with being clueless about your car or bike every time they break, then it’s time to join a social garage and acquire some skills. The mechanics in the garage moderne can accompany the reparation process  with explanations adapted to your level of mechanical ability. This incredible space is far more than just a garage. There’s a restaurant where you can eat lunch, an outdoor café and a cultural space where weekly expos and concerts take place.

Address: 1 rue des Etrangers, 33000 BORDEAUX
Opening hours: The garage itself is open Monday to Friday (9:00 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:00, closed Tuesday morning), the restaurant is open from Tuesday to Saturday 11:00- 18:00
For more info check out the website of le garage moderne

Street art all over 

graffiti bacalan

As seen in many dynamic cities around the world, the street art scene has a tendency to bloom in emerging neighborhoods. It brings both new and established artists to portray their art on the walls of their neighborhood and in some cases it’s the city who invites these artists the use the urban space and get creative. This is exactly the case of Bacalan and the results are nothing but astounding. No matter where you go, you’ll cross by some of the most impressive paintings on building walls, warehouses, and different urban structures. Even if you don’t enter any of the places I mentioned in this list, Bacalan is worth a visit only for the art.

La Base sous marine – a German bunker turned into a museum

base sous marine

Built by the Germans during the second World War, this old submarine base has been converted into a space dedicated to contemporary arts, which allows you to enjoy the space itself no less than the art presented there. The fact that the expositions are usually of the digital, street and visual arts kind, allows the artist to leverage this unusual space to its full potential. There aren’t any permanent exhibitions in La Base Sous Marine so the place is open only when an exhibition is being presented. It is located on one of the most interesting parts of the Bacalan area  – the Bassins a flot, which are worth a visit even if the museum is closed. Finding the entrance can be quite tricky. So if you come from the” la cité du vin“ tram station be sure to walk on rue Lucien Faure before turning right to Boulevard Alfred Daney. Also, if you come with kids, it’s important to know that strollers are not allowed in the structure as it’s dark and has a lot of stairs (you can leave the stroller at the entrance).

Open from Tuesday to Sunday 13:30 to 19:00 (only during exhibitions). Check out the facebook page of la Base Sous Marine for more details.
Address: Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33300 Bordeaux

Go to a concert on the I.boat

Iboat in Bordeaux

The Iboat, mostly known as a concert venue, is a three level ferry spanning 687m2, anchored to one of the docks of Bassins a flot. Since its opening in 2011 the I.boat has dedicated itself to promoting emerging artists, especially in the electronic music scene. Within the years it has become a multidisciplinary place with a concert hall and a club hosting more than 250 events a year, a terrace hosting Dj sets and happy hours and a restaurant. One of the special features of the place is the Upper deck where they host events and exhibitions during the evenings and then transform it into a chill out area after midnight. During summer you could also enjoy the outdoor area on the deck, with an exceptional view of the basin. Take a look at the program of events.
The opening hours:
Concert from 7pm to 23pm | Club from 11.30pm to 6am  from Tuesday to Saturday
Restaurant: Lunch from Monday to Saturday from 12am to 2pm and Dinner from Tuesday to Saturday from 7pm to 23pm
Address: bassin a flot n°1 – Quai Armand Lalande

Have a lunch or a drink at one of the restaurants next to the basins 

standby coffee shop
Standby coffee shop

If you’re hungry or need a coffee break, I’ve got you covered. Although there are some bars and restaurants all over the Bacalan neighborhood, many of the cool places are concentrated on the southern side of the first basin (Bassin à Flot n°1). On the long dock (which you can approach from rue Lucien Faure), you’ll find restaurants, coffee shops and plenty of bars on the dock, on the roof and on boats.
Some places worth mentioning are:
  • The Wallace Bar – the rooftop bar of the Radisson Blu hotel (Bassin à flot n°1, Quai Armand Lalande).
  • Café Maritime – a very classical French restaurant with a beautiful decor (Bassin à flot n°1, Quai Armand Lalande)
  • The standby cafe– on the main street – just in front of the Bassins – a cool place to grab a cup of coffee (80 rue Lucien Faure).
  • Loft 33 – a wine bar and a restaurant with live music – Hangar G4, 51 rue Lucien Faure.

Visit the Bordeaux Whiskey Distillery

Did you know that there’s a whiskey distillery in Bordeaux? While many activities and tours in Bordeaux revolve around wine, it’s actually the local whisky producer who is housed in one of the most special places in Bordeaux. The Moon Harbour Whiskey, opened in 2014, is 100% Bordelaise, from the grains that are growing in Saint Jean d’Illac to the barrels used to age the Whiskey that are coming from some of the most famous wine chateaux in the region (such as Sauternes). The barrel room is located inside a bunker built by the Germans during the Second World War as part of the constructions of the Submarine Base (mentioned above). Apart from  tasting the local whiskey and gin, the location of the barrel room is what makes the visit there so special. The tour (which is offered in French and English) is followed by explanations on malting and the production of whiskey as well as tastings of the three products of the distillery. The visit requires prior reservation by phone ( 05 56 29 86 60) or email ([email protected]). The price is 10€/pers for the visit and tasting.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 to 18:00 and Saturdays from 11:00 to 15:00 and from 16:30 to 18:00.
For more info check out the site of Moon Harbour.
Address: 492 Boulevard Adfred Daney, 33300 BORDEAUX

Find the UFO on the water

bassins a flot

Le “soucoupe volante”, a UFO shaped sculpture, the work of the artist Suzanne Triester, made quite a buzz in Bordeaux when it appeared in the middle of the basins last May. This piece of art was purchased by the Bordeaux Metropole as part of their vast investment in contemporary art in the city. Now all you have to do is take a walk on the docks of the basin to find it. As the area is quite packed with boats, buildings and a lot of construction machinery, the sculpture is not that easy to find. So to give you a little hint, try to look for it when you are searching for a bar/ restaurant on the docks :).

Hope you enjoyed the list and that it will help you to discover new places in this surprising city.
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If it’s your first time in Bordeaux and you want to get to know the other parts of this beautiful city – check out my general guide to Bordeaux.
Thanks for reading!!