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. Before we start I recommend you first read my guide to the best districts in Bordeaux.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where to stay in the surrounding districts of Bordeaux center
Villa Victor Louis
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 visit other places on the bay, such as Gujan Mestas and the Teich bird reserve.
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. There are plenty of cute little restaurants both in the center and on the promenade. Seafood is a very important part of the local cuisine and so many restaurants will serve oysters and large shrimp.
When there, take a map from 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 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 which creates perfect conditions for the ostréiculture industry. Dozens of oyster cabins and restaurants with a view of the Bassin give Cap Ferret a unique character that’s worth a visit and a taste.
The Biscarrosse lake
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 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.
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 in 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 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).
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 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.
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.
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This year Bordeaux launched a fascinating cultural program named Liberté. As the name suggests, many of the exhibitions inaugurated in the last few weeks have the common theme of Freedom. In this article, I decided to gather a list of the best exhibitions being presented in Bordeaux this summer. The exhibitions are very diverse, from street art to design and contemporary art. I must say that this summer the cultural institutions in Bordeaux have done a great job bringing interesting and diverse exhibitions to the city. So here we go with the list of the best art exhibitions in Bordeaux this summer (2019).
Institut Bernard Magrez – Two street art exhibitions
May 28 – September 1st and July 5 – October 6
Two amazing street art exhibitions are going to be presented at the Institut Bernard Magrez throughout the summer. The first one (from May 28 to September 1st) is called Instincts, an exhibition by Mika which is one of Bordeaux’s most prominent street artists. The other one (July 5 – October 6) is an exhibition by one of the most famous street artists in the world, Seth (Julien Mallard) who also happens to be French. For more details click here.
Address: 16 Rue de Tivoli, 33000 Bordeaux
Galerie des beaux arts – La passion de la liberté. Des Lumières au romantisme
June 20 – October 13
For those looking for classic arts in Bordeaux, there are some exciting news this summer. Le Musée des Beaux-Arts and le musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design are presenting a collection from le Musée du Louvre. This exhibition is marking an unprecedented partnership between Bordeaux and the prestigious art institution. ‘La passion de la liberté – Des Lumières au romantisme’ exhibitions hosting works of art from different departments in the Louvre museum, bringing together more than one hundred works – paintings, sculptures and graphic works – created mainly during the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition revolves around the concept of Freedom (liberté) which is the theme of all the cultural events in Bordeaux this summer. The idea is to make the public reflect on philosophical, political, ideological, social and economic aspects of freedom through famous works of art. The exhibition will be presented at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts. For more details click here.
Address: Place du Colonel Raynal – 33000 Bordeaux
Muséum de Bordeaux – Rire!
June 24 – January 26, 2020
According to scientific research, we laugh 18 times a day on average. Laughter, however, is not unique to us human beings, different animal species also have different expressions of laughter is their language. The new and super fun exhibition at the natural history museum in Bordeaux offers different activities that provoke laughter. It’s a very interactive and kids friendly exhibition that includes videos, sounds, games, and painting. If you haven’t visited this museum yet, you definitely should! For more details click here.
Address: 5 Place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux (in Jadin public)
Musée d’Aquitaine– La déferlante surf
June 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020
The Atlantique coasts of the south-west of France are a popular destination for surfers these days and it looks like this sport has always been here. But did you know that surfing was actually introduced to Europe through our region in the 50s? Thus it only makes sense that Musée d’Aquitaine, which explores the history of the region, will also explore the surfing culture in Aquitaine. The new exhibition, La déferlante surf, deals with different aspects of surfing from the sport itself to its economic and environmental influences. Among others, the items presented include videos, sounds, different traditional objects, images from different beaches and more. For more details click here.
Address: 20 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux
Musée des Arts décoratifs et du Design (Madd) – Memphis – Plastic Field
June 22 – January 5, 2020
Memphis is a movement founded in 1981 by Ettore Sottsass, an Italian architect and designer, which united many young artists who dreamed of shattering the codes of modernism and rationalism. The works of this movement had a great effect on the European design landscape in the past three decades. It has radically changed the language of shapes and colors, focusing on the presence of the object rather than its functionality. This summer the geometric shapes and bright colors of the movement are being hosted by the Madd museum in Bordeaux. For more details click here.
Address: 39 Rue Bouffard, 33000 Bordeaux
le Musée Mer Marine – Sempé en liberté
May 29 – October 6
For its second exhibition, le Musée Mer Marine is hosting about 300 works of the famous cartoonist, Jean-Jacques Sempé who was born in Pessac. Sempé is mostly known for its illustrations in Frech classical kids book series Petit Nicolas and from publications in big magazines like the New Yorker and Paris Match. The sea museum finally opened its doors on June 21, so now you can go see the permanent exhibition as well. See more details here.
Address: 89 Rue des Étrangers, 33300 Bordeaux
Rivages et Vertigo Sea – a new exhibition
June 20 – September 22
The Base sous-marine is hosting a new and intriguing exhibition this summer. It is, in fact, a combination of two exhibitions addressing the themes of sea and shore. Rivages is a photography exhibition by the artist Harry Gruyaert and Vertigo Sea is a video installation by the director John Akomfrah. For more information about the exhibition click here.
Address: Boulevard Alfred Daney, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Frac – Il est une fois dans l’Ouest
June 29 – November 9
Frac is a cultural institution with a mission to promote contemporary art in Nouvelle Aquitaine. After almost two years of hiatus, it finally opened its doors to the public in the new MECA building. The new exhibition ‘Il est une fois dans l’Ouest’ hosts 15 artistic projects of artists and art curators who are originally from or operate in Nouvelle Aquitaine. I didn’t find all the art installations very interesting but many of them were very good and it was great to discover the artists of the region and the new exhibition space. For more details click here.
Address: 54 Quai de Paludate, 33800 Bordeaux
That’s it my art-loving friends! I’m still exploring the art in the region so with time I’ll add more exhibitions to the list. Meanwhile, you can also check out the list of events taking place in July in Bordeaux. Also if you’re here during the weekend check out my weekend list.
Just to remind you that I often update about events and exhibition on my facebook/Instagram accounts so be sure to follow! Also, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.
Arcachon is the biggest town of Bassin d’Arcachon, a bay on the Atlantic coast and one of the highlights of visiting the Bordeaux region. As someone who goes there at least once a month, I felt I had to write down all my favorite parts for you. So 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.
Less than 60 km separates Bordeaux from Arcachon and its beautiful villas, clear blue beaches, and delicious seafood. This is also one of the centers of French osticulture (oyster farming) so eating oysters is a “must” when coming to the area. But don’t worry, you’ll fall in love with Arcachon even if you hate oysters.
This guide will help you discover the best-hidden gems of Arcachon. However, if you’re short in time and struggling to plan the trip without missing all the highlights there are tours you can take from Bordeaux to Arcachon. One of the best ones is offered by Bordovino company, check out all the details here.
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. You can read about all the other places I love on Arcachon Bay in my article about day trips to Arcachon.
Arcachon is divided into 4 regions. The summer city is the city center with walkways and restaurants. The winter city is the most beautiful part of Arcahcon, adorned with stunning 19th-century villas. The autumn city is the port and the fishing area of Arcachon. 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 tourist 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). If you’re on a family vacation in Arcachon, this is one of the safest beaches for kids on the Atlantic coast.
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).
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 market is open daily from mid-June to mid-September and Tue- Sun 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 takes place The night market takes place from Tuesday to Friday from 19:00 to 23:00. Check out all the details about the markets of Arcachon here. And all the info about other night markets in the region here.
La Ville d’Hiver – Beautiful villas and the main park of Arcachon
The Architecture of La Ville d’Hiver
While it’s not the city center, 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.
The neighborhood is home to more than 300 villas, each designed with different elements, giving it an elegant yet eclectic style. Get lost in the clam-green streets of the winter town to discover its architectural gems. There are a few however that shouldn’t 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.
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 the 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 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. In the summer, don’t miss the beach cafe, Club Plage Pereire, where you can have a nice meal or just a drink on the beach.
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
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 3 (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
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 ferry that takes you from le Moulleau to Cap Ferret in just 20 minutes (leaving from Jetée du Moulleau).
You can also take the ferry from the center of Arcachon, which takes 30 minutes to reach Cap Ferret. For the schedule and ticket reservation click here.
A boat trip to Iles aux Oiseaux and the Cabanes Tchanquées
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 the outside. L’Ile aux Oiseaux, the birds’ island, owes its name to the many birds that reside on 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 or on this website.
Dune du Pilat – the amazing sand dune
If there’s one thing in this list I consider a “must” it’s definitely Dune du Pilat. 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.
Once you reach the top, a stunning panoramic view will be revealed in front of you. 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 3 (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. Beach Bikes is a great place to rent bikes from.
Have a drink at la Co(o)rniche
La Co(o)rniche is a 5-star hotel designed by Philippe Starck with the most amazing view of the Bassin d’Arcachon. The hotel is luxurious and expensive so obviously not affordable to many people traveling to the region. However, you can still enjoy the stunning view with a cocktail at their terrace bar. The Co(o)rnice is located just a few minutes by car from the Dune du Pilat but is also reachable by bike.
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 clickhere.
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 are 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.
When to visit Arcachon?
Arcachon is one of the most popular sea resorts in France. In the summer, it’s flooded with tourists and locals alike and the traffic is so bad that it can sometimes take two hours to get there. The best time to go there is either May-June or September If you have the choice of course!
To avoid the crowded places you can visit one of the other charming villages on the Bassin d’Arcachon, such as la Teste de Buche and Gujan Mestras.
In recent years, the town has gone through an important renovation and a lot of new cafes and boutiques have opened up in its center. That made it an even bigger attraction for locals leaving in Bordeaux. This means that even in the winter months it can feel lively and fun. So if you’re visiting in the off-season you might don’t get to bath in the ocean but you will enjoy Arcachon anyway.
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.
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 for 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.
I usually find the best deals on this website whenever I need to rent a car for myself or when my family’s coming to visit.
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.
You can also use the help of a private driver to get from the airport to your hotel in Arcachon.
Parking in Arcachon
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. In 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. The access to the parking is through the Grands Chênes roundabout.
Some other parking places in the city include the Parking du center ville, Parking de la Gare, Parking Place de Verdun, Parking Place Peyneau and Parking Place Carnot. You can find more details about parking in Arcachon here.
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. I always include information about these and other events in Arcachon in my monthly lists.
Andernos Jazz Festival at the end of July – a jazz festival in one of 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, the 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.
Are you convinced now that you must visit Arcachon?
As you can see, there’s quite a lot to do in Arcachon, and you might need at least a few days to properly cover this stunning part of the Southwest of France. If you’re lucky enough to have a few days in Arcachon, here are a few other articles you might find useful:
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂
Saint Emilion, one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world, is home to more than 800 wineries. Choosing which wineries to visit when traveling to Saint Emilion is not an easy task. So to help you out, I gathered a list of all the wineries I enjoyed visiting the most.
The Saint Emilion wine region consists of nine villages/towns: 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.
My criteria when including chateaux in my list where
Great wine (obviously)
Welcoming chateaux owners and interesting tours
Other than that, I featured both small family-run properties and bigger châteaux which are labeled as a Grand grand cru classé. I highly recommend combining both types of chateaux on your visit.
If you’re traveling with kids, here’s my article about the most kid-friendly wineries in the Bordeaux region (including Saint Emilion). Also at the end of the article, there’s a great recommendation for discovering Saint Emilion with the little ones.
For those of you coming to Bordeaux in September, you should know that it’s the grapes harvest season. To learn more about what to expect during that period go to my article about the harvest season in Bordeaux and Saint Emilion. Also if you’re interested in discovering other regions of the Bordeaux wine area, check out my article about the Medoc wine route. Now let’s dig in!
Best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion
Chateau de Pressac
Château de Pressac was probably one of my favorite winery visits thanks to its welcoming service and stunning view.
The Chateau dates back to the middle ages and over the years has changed many hands and architectural styles. Since 1997 it belongs to the Quenin family who has done extensive work to rebuild the winery.
The chateau has probably one of the most beautiful views in Saint Emilion. Standing there on the top of the cliff with a glass of wine was one of the highlights of my visits to Saint Emilion over these few years.
The winery offers different experiences from wine tasting to a discovery of their property. The wine of Château de Pressac is fantastic, but as it’s Grand cru classé the prices are quite high.
The chateau is open daily but you need to book the visit in advance.
Click here to book a tour online. Where: 66 Château de Pressac, 33330 Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse
Château Bernateau is 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.
On the tour, you’ll discover a variety of old (60 yo) vines together with baby ones. You also get to visit their beautiful gravity vat house and taste wine from different years and styles.
It’s a beautiful property with a green and charming garden and a small playhouse for kids. A perfect place for a relaxed visit which you can also end with a picnic in the garden.
They are open daily and offer tours in English and French. Tour prices range from 6 to 25 euros. Click here to book a tour online. Address: Château Bernateau, 33330 Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse
This elegant château is located about 20 minutes walk from the center of Saint-Émilion. The property has been handed down from generation to generation since the 17th century leading to a rich history of 400 years.
Today, the family’s 14th generation lives on the property and runs the winemaking business. The David-Beaulieu family is very welcoming and they guide the tours themselves giving a very personal feel to it.
One of the features that won me over is their amazing garden with its own pond and ducks. This picturesque scenery combined with the excellent wine made it one of the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.
There are two tours to choose from: The “Tradition” ( 14€) includes the history of the estate, a visit to the winery and the family cellar, and wine tasting. And the “Prestige” visit (40€), which is for 8 people max, also includes a tour through the vineyards and an exploration of Coutet’s treasures.
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 is offered daily and includes modern cellars and tastings.
Address: lieu-dit Baladoz, 33330 Saint-Laurent des Combes (Saint-Emilion)
The Beaurang winery is located in the southern part of Saint-Émilion, about 5 km from the center. This isn’t a fancy château, but if you’re looking for a warm family welcome and great wine this is the right place for you.
Claude Puyol and his daughter Delphine represent the third and fourth generations in this artisanal wine-making family. A family with a beautiful history they love sharing with their guests.
Claude’s grandparents immigrated to France from Spain in the early 20th century. For many years they worked as simple workers in the vineyards of Saint Emilion. But eventually, we were able to save enough to buy their own château and produce wine.
The visit will teach you quite a lot about the wine in the region and about the life of a winemaker. During the tour, Claude elaborated on the beauty and struggles of wine growers in a conservative region like Saint Emilion.
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. Email them to book a tour: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: https://www.chateau-beaurang.com/ Address: Château Beaurang, 1, Beaurang, 33330 Saint-Emilion
Chateau Cadet Bon
Château Cadet Bon is one of the hilly vineyards surrounding Saint Emilion. It’s a relatively small winery, occupying 7 hectares and producing classic Saint Emilion wine since 1867.
Since 2001, the chateau is owned by Michele and Guy Richard who completely renovated the property.
The wine they produce is labeled as Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé, which means they follow tighter production restrictions. In 2017, the owners have started the transformation to creating only organic wines.
At a mere 10-minute 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 one of your best options.
Since 2006, its owned by La Mondiale company, so it lacks the cozy family feel that other wineries on this list offer. 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 English starts at 15h every day from April to October. If you speak French, you can take a French tour at 11:30 and 16:30 daily. The tour includes a visit to their vineyards and cellars and tastings of their renowned Grand Cru Classé wines. No reservation is required but it’s highly recommended, you can reserve by email: email@example.com.
Château Cantenac is a charming family-run winery built in 1870. The estate is located about 3.5 km from 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 rich with knowledge about the winemaking process.
The tours are guided by a family member, who is really passionate about their heritage and wine. What I loved most about this tour was the tasting part, which was a great comparative and educational experience.
The winery offers two tours: The one-hour classic tour (10 € / per person) and the Prestige tour ( 30 € / per person ) which also includes some snacks and more wine. You can visit the château from Monday to Friday upon reservation. Click here to book the tour directly through their site.
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 which 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 its 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 15 and 35 euros depending on the number of glasses you’re going to taste. Click here to book a visit. Address: Château de Ferrand, Saint-Hippolyte, 33330 Saint Emilion
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 at the end. Click here to book the tour online. Address: 23 Villemaurine-Sud, Saint-Émilion
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 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 want to learn more about wine (from Bordeaux and other regions) you can also visit the Cite du Vin, the amazing wine museum of Bordeaux. I wrote a whole article about it and you can read it here.
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.
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂
Bordeaux is one of the favorite destinations for anyone who loves wine and food. Many tourists choose other destinations in the region when traveling with kids because they are unaware of how friendly Bordeaux is for families. There are so many amazing things to do in Bordeaux with kids! With beautiful parks, kids-friendly biking paths, stunning beaches, and attraction parts, Bordeaux has it all!
In this list, I gathered 30 things you can do with your kids in Bordeaux and the region. I included both outdoor and indoor activities and even kids-friendly wineries you should visit. I hope it’ll give you plenty of ideas to plan a perfect family trip to Bordeaux. If you’re also looking for a kids-friendly hotel in Bordeaux, I’ve got you covered in this article.
If Bordeaux is not the only destination on your list, check out my other guides for kids-friendly destinations:
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 the kids are tired just spread a blanket in the little garden nearby and have a picnic.
The water mirror operates daily from 10 am to 10 pm and is closed in the winter for maintenance.
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 it’s important to choose a kids-friendly restaurant when traveling here. While there are quite a few restaurants now that offer a kid’s menu, there aren’t many where kids can actually occupy themselves so you can eat.
Here’s a partial list of the places of the restaurants in the center of Bordeaux that I like taking my kids to: Max a Table, for their hamburgers and touchscreen tables, Monzu is a great Italian restaurant where your kids can color while they wait for the food. La Douce Parenthèse is a very sweet Salon de The with great tarts and a small coloring table for the kids. And if you’re not too hungry you can also take them to the games cafe Atelier B and order a charcuterie board and wine while you play.
Cap Sciences – kids science museum
Cap Sciences is a kids’ science museum and one of the more 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.
One of the main accomplishments of Bordeaux’s makeover in the two last decades is the beautiful riverfront on the left side of the Garonne. A pedestrian-only 4.5 km promenade 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. The bridge-to-bridge trail is one of the most popular routes to discover the Garonne area. It allows you to enjoy the stunning view on the more wild part of the right side as well as the preserved houses on the riverfront.
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 stations in Bordeaux here. That option will be great for you if you’re traveling with teenagers.
If you need bikes for smaller kids, you can use the services of Bike Hire, who will deliver them to your hotel. Another great option is taking a biking tour of Bordeaux, it’s an amazing opportunity to discover the city in a fun way.
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.
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 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. The museum also hosts many temporary exhibitions that kids usually love! See if they have any special events when you’re in Bordeaux.
Entry to this museum is free every first Sunday of the month (except July and August) and if you have the Bordeaux city pass.
Where: 5 Place Bardineau, 33000 BordeauxSee other cool museums to visit in Bordeaux here.
Go to the beach at Bordeaux Lac
If you’re vacationing in Bordeaux but have no time to go to the ocean, there’s actually a beach in Bordeaux itself. So if you’re kids are desprate to go to the beach and play in the sand, the beach in Bordeaux Lac is your solution.
The cute beach of Bordeaux Lac (Plage duLac ) 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 Mid September. 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.
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 :). If you’re kids love big waves but you don’t have the time to get to the ocean, this is a great experience for you!
The Wave surf cafe is open daily, reservation is required. For more details click here. Where: 174 Cours du Médoc, 33300 Bordeaux
Puppet show at the Park
Le Guignol Guérin, founded in 1853, is the oldest puppetry show in France. Every summer (July and August) the theatre company is hosting daily spectacles for kids in Jardin Public and Parc Bordelais. Read more about the theater here.
The show usually starts at 16:00 but can be canceled or postponed when it’s raining or getting too hot. In December there are a few spectacles taking place at the Inox theatre in Bordeaux. The shows are in French.
Go to the pool
There are several kids-friendly pools in the Bordeaux metropole, with one of them being very close to the city center.
Next to the Meriadeck, you’ll find the Piscine Judaique located in a beautiful art deco building. That’s where most people living in the city center take their kids to swim. It’s a very kids-friendly pool with a kids pool, water slides, floats, and more. The pool is closed on Mondays and bank holidays.
If you have a car there are many other great kids-friendly pools in Bordeaux like the one in the Stade Nautique Pessac, the Pinsan pool in Eysins, and the Ucpa Aqua Stadium in Merignac.
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, its 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
Discover Bordeaux and the region through a game – Terra Aventura
Our region, Nouvelle Aquitaine, has come up with a perfect way to discover the region with kids. It offers a free a geocaching game called Terra Aventura, an immersive activity that will help you get your kids engaged when discovering a new destination. Be it a natural reserve or a historic landmark, the game makes them discover the place playfully through a series of questions and clues.
Terra Aventura is a free app, all you need to do is download it on your phone. The games are offered in French and English. The app offers four games in the suburbs of Bordeaux and many other in different parts of Gironde. See all the details about the games in Ile de Ré following this link.
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.
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 Quai des Chartrons, 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. You can also rent a skateboard there.
Where: 87 Quai des Queyries, 33100 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 a 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. On the first floor of the library you’ll find a kids room with games and books for the the little one. It’s a really great option for rainy days. The opening hours of the Meriadeck library vary throughout the year, see schedule here.
Where: 85 Cours Maréchal Juin, 33000 Bordeaux
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: Youpi Parc and Royal kids in Pessac and Kidooland in Bordeaux Lac which is actually my favorite one. In Kidooland parents have comfortable sits and even and outdoor bar to enjoy while they wait for their kids.
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. On 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.
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’ and Climb up. Block’out Roc is located very close to the center in the Chartrons neighborhood and the other ones will require to take a tram or a car from the city center.
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
Adventure park in Merignac
Tepacap is a new amazing adventure part in Merignac, one of Bordeaux’s suburbs. The park is located in the Decathlon sports village, and offers a variety of activities such as treetop walking, a labyrinth, and a treasure hunt group games.
It’s very popular in the summer so be sure to book in advance. The park is open from April to the beginning of November. You can see the opening hours and prices here.
Where: 10 Rue Archimède Entrée à Décathlon, 33700 Mérignac
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. The Zoo is open daily all year long, except on Devember 25 and January 1st. For more details click here.
Where: 3 Rue du Transvaal, 33600 Pessac
Take your kids to a classical music concert
Every first Sunday of the month the National Orchestra of Bordeaux (ONBA) hosts a classical music concert either at the Grand Theatre or the Auditorium of Bordeaux. The concerts are usually around 45 to 60 minutes long and the ticket price is €10 for adults and €1 for kids, so it’s a great opportunity to introduce your kids to classical music. You can see this Sunday’s concert on the Opera website.
Throught the year the Grand Theathe offers special activities to the little ones and event for babies. Follow their program here.
A bit farther – things to do around Bordeaux (Gironde)
Route du vin with kids – visit family friendly wineries
Traveling to Bordeaux with kids doesn’t mean you can’t discover this incredible wine region.
I have been visiting many wine estates (wine chateaux) with my kids since moving here and the owners were very welcoming most of the time. However in recent couple of years (since my kids became very hard to travel with 🙂) I discovered a few super kids friendly wineries that offer different activities to keep kids busy and parents happy.
You can read all my recommendations for kid-friendly chateaux in the Bordeaux wine region in my article. I have included wineries in Saint Emilion, Pessac Leognan, Medoc and other appelations so you should find at least one that fits your route.
Kayaking on one of Bordeaux’s rivers
If you’re looking for a thrilling outdoor activity, kayaking/ canoeing on the river is perfect for that. Bordeaux is surrounded be several both wide and narrow rivers which all offer kayaking/ experiences.
The closest one to Bordeaux is the L’Eyre, a coastal river that flows through the Gascogne forest into the Bassin d’Arcachon. There are plenty of places to rent a kayak/ canoe on the l’Eyre. The closest town to Bordeaux would be Mios where you can rent all the equipment from T en Leyre.
Recently I went with my girl on a canoe trip in the more sauvage part of the river and it was amazing. We rented the Canoe from Alokanoe and were very happy with it. Other kayaking options are on the Cerons in the south of Gironde or traveling a bit farther to the wider Dordogne river. Here are all my recommendations for Kayaking on the Dordogne river.
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 30 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 Ferme Exotique
La Ferme Exotique is a charming animal farm located in Cadaujac, about 20 minutes from Bordeaux. There are almost 1000 animals on 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.
The park is open daily from April to October and mostly on weekends and Wednsays the rest of the year. 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. In the summer, the park have special slots for kids from 4 to 10 yo, so they can enjoy it in a calmer environment. The Aquakids is open on July – August on Wednsday, Friday and Sunday from 9:00 to 11:30. Kids must be accompanies by an adult. 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.
This park is perfect with little ones, however if you’re kids are a bit older they will probably enjoy Kid Parc, located in the same area in Gujan Mestras. If you need more ideas on what to do with kids when going to Arcachon, check out my post about the best things to do with kids in Arcachon.
Where: Parc de loisirs, La Hume, 33470 Gujan-Mestras
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 monthly in Bordeaux. 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.
You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂
This article was very fun to make. I, together with the 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 tonguewhen ordering a coffee. So let’s start discovering the best coffee places in Bordeaux!
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 been 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 Cafe shop 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 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 every day.
What else? They offer 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.
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.
After a year he was joined by Yohan Caunegre, another cafe 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 from the idea of transformation – the fact that the product starts from fruit and transforms into 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).
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.
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 world, 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 it’s 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.
We are moving from the historic center of Bordeaux to the northern chic neighborhood of Chartrons. A charming street like Notredame deserves a beautiful place like La Pelle Cafe. The founders of the place are Carlos Pereira and his wife Paula.
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.
At the end of 2015, he and his wife Paula 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 coming from10 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.
Cofete B – This coffee shop closed its doors in 2022
Note– Cofete B was a coffee place when I wrote the article and since then it became a place where you can eat lunch and buy a lot of local products. However, the coffee and the service are still great! The place is now called Pacha Mama.
Here’s what I originally wrote about Cofete B
Coming back to the heart of the historic center we are heading to Pacha Mama 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.
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 in Bordeaux with no prior knowledge of French and had to find work and reinvent herself. During her student years in London, she worked as a Barista in 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.
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.
La Rochelle, a vibrant port city on the Atlantic coast, has an amazing culinary scene with many seafood restaurants in its old port as well as great classic ones in the old city. In fact, there are so many great restaurants and cool bars in La Rochelle that it was hard to do anything but eat and drink during my last visit there. In this list, I chose some of my favorite restaurants and bars in La Rochelle that are quite affordable for most people. If you are looking for something fancy, try the 3-star Michelin Restaurant Christopher Coutanceau, which I haven’t tried yet but which many people have recommended to me. Let’s go and discover the best places to eat and drink in La Rochelle on your next trip there!
I will soon publish my article about the best things to do in La Rochelle, meanwhile, you can join my travel in the southwest of France Facebook group where you can find plenty of tips about La Rochelle and its surroundings.
Where to eat the best seafood in La Rochelle?
La Gerbe de Blé – for market lovers
If you follow my blog you know that I love market restaurants and that’s why La Gerbe de Ble was one of my favorite places to eat in La Rochelle. The main market of La Rochelle is an absolute must when visiting the city and its seafood section was one of the highlights of my visit. The restaurant gives you the option to buy seafood at the market stalls and eat it at the restaurant, you just have to pay for bread and wine 🙂 This is one of the best ways to enjoy the market!
Address: Marché Central, Rue Thiers, 17000 La Rochelle
Le Panier de Crabe – A proper seafood restaurant in La Rochelle
If you want a proper seafood restaurant with big trays full of crabs, oysters, huge shrimps, and many other creatures from the bottom of the ocean this is the place for you. Le Panier de Crabe in the historic center of La Rochelle is one of the most popular restaurants among locals, especially in the summer so be sure to book in advance (phone for reservations 09 53 56 59 97).
Address: 9 Rue de la Fourche, 17000 La Rochelle
Le P’tit Bleu – a fun place at the port of La Rochelle
Le P’tit Bleu was one of my favorite seafood restaurants in La Rochelle because it has a food truck vibe (which I love) but in a boat. The blue boat is located on one of the docks of the old port of la Rochelle, close to la Tour de la Chaine with its tables spread on the quai next to the docking boats. The place has a delicious seafood menu where you can find amazing oysters, sardines, and mussels besides other delicacies.
Address: Cours des Dames, 17000 La Rochelle
Le Comptoir Saoufé – oysters in the evening
If you’re looking for a place for an apero with a plate of oysters this is your place in La Rochelle. Le Comptoir Saoufé, located on one of the narrow streets in the hyper center of La Rochelle, has a small menu of seafood and tapas and is a perfect place for a night out or a pre-dinner apero.
Address: 12 Rue du Port, 17000 La Rochelle
Other places to eat in La Rochelle
Chez Albert – light lunch or a coffee break
Chez Albert is a very chic cafe in the market neighborhood with plenty of comfy and inviting sofas to sip your coffee on. If you need a light lunch munching a salad/quiche or a coffee break this is definitely the place. Their coffee is great and they have a wonderful menu for a more healthy lunch.
Address: 3 Rue Gargoulleau, 17000 La Rochelle
Cafe de la Paix – The beautiful one
The classic Cafe de la Paix was created in 1793 under the name Cafe Militaire and changed to its current name in 1990. The beautiful cafe with its art deco design is classified as a historic monument in France and is worth a visit even just for a drink.
Address: 54 Rue Chaudrier, 17000 La Rochelle
Heading now to the chic Saint Nicolas district, to the very cool Prao restaurant. Prau is focused on very fresh cuisine and local producers and has a very fun and young design to complement the menu. It is also an art place with exhibitions changing every month.
Address: 10 Rue Saint-Nicolas, 17000 La Rochelle
Bars not to miss in La Rochelle
La Guignette, located in the Saint Nicola districts is a real La Rochelle institution. Every evening, groups of friends of all ages gather around barrel tables to drink the specialty of the place, the red drink called La Guignette Rouge. It is a locals’ favorite so be sure to be early to find a table.
Address: 8 Rue Saint-Nicolas, 17000 La Rochelle
Terrasse de la Chaîne
This cute bar, owned by the Prao group of restaurants is one of the best locations for a drink with a view. The bar is located in one of the famous La Rochelle towers, Tour de la Chaine, and its terrasse view covers both the ocean and the port of La Rochelle.
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.
I gathered the top places where you can join other Bordolaise for a picnic with family, friends or maybe even solo with your book and a bottle of wine. I also added the location of nearby places to get some snacks and drinks, in case you didn’t bring your picnic from home. For those with kids I also added the locations of the nearest playgrounds.
So here is my list of places to picnic in Bordeaux (see the full map at the end of the article):
Center of Bordeaux
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-see 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’s recommended to get there in the morning before it gets too hot and busy.
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.
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 road. Also, the view of the Garonne is quite impressive so try to find a spot closer to the river. For more things to do in this neighborhood check out my article about Saint Michel.
Where to buy snacks: A new Carfour city have just opened up on 12 Rue des Allamandiers, just next to the Saint Michel Basilica. There’s also a big food market taking place next to the Basilica every Saturday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
le Jardin de ta Soeur
The garden with a cute name and a very communal and cozy feeling is a hidden spot in Chartrons, usually frequented by the local neighbors. 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.
Quai des Chartrons
You can also get a picnic in style and get a little tipsy on a cozy wooden deck with a view on the river. Every Thursday and Sunday a great market takes place on Quai des Chartrons and you can have a tasty picnic with oysters, wine and local cheese.
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.
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 kidsis 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.
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
The big Parks
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.
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 three 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.
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. Or just go-ahead to the fancy market at the Forum.
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 🙂
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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, at first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the spirit itself, drinking it mostly on special occasions. So prior to my first visit there, I was wondering what’s there to do in Cognac beyond the cellar tours. Luckily there are 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.
Also, don’t miss a visit to one of the most beautiful villages in France – Aubeterre sur Dronne, check out my article about it.
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.
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 (book a tour), Martell (book a tour), Rémy Martin (book a tour), and Courvoisier. These four produce most of the Cognac exported to the world. Other known brands include Otard, Camus, Meukov (book a tour), 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 as those by Otard where you get to visit the old Chateau de Cognac (the place of birth of King François I).
I have a full article dedicated to the best distilleries to visit in Cognac, so there’s a lot to choose from. You should know, however, that many distilleries are closing for winter so consult their tour 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 20 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.
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
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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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂