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If you love wine, food and beautiful architecture you simply cannot miss a visit to Bordeaux when visiting the region. One day in this vibrant city may not be enough to discover all the attractions and gastronomic experiences it has to offer, but with the right plan, you’ll be able to explore the main sites and to appreciate its tranquil atmosphere. So for those of you wondering how to spend only one day in Bordeaux, in this article, I offer a plan to help you taste most of the amazing things this city has to offer. You will discover the remarkable architecture in the city center, visit the main market, taste Bordelais cuisine, ride a bike on the riverfront, eat delicious chocolate and taste amazing wine. By the end of this day, you’ll be exhausted and totally in love with Bordeaux!

If you’re coming for a weekend, you should check out my Ultimate Guide to a weekend in Bordeaux. Also, don’t miss my articles about the best neighborhoods to stay in Bordeaux and the best hotels in the city center if you’re looking for accommodation in Bordeaux.

Now let’s start discovering the beautiful capital of the Southwest of France.

Marché des Capucins – Visit the main market of Bordeaux

If you’re a foodie or just like discovering new markets, I highly recommend starting your one day in Bordeaux in Marché des Capucins. This is the biggest daily market in Bordeaux and has everything from stands of fruits, vegetables, sweets and spices to a bunch of lively cafés and restaurants. It’s a covered market so you can enjoy it on the city’s numerous rainy days. Most cafes and restaurants also have tables outside where you can have a coffee or an early lunch. While the market is pretty calm during the week it becomes very busy on the weekend when the Bordelaise rush to the market for their weekly shopping and a glass of wine.  

Marche des capucins
Marche des Capucins – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you like oysters there’s one restaurant in the market you simply cannot miss! Chez Jean-Mi has become an institution in Bordeaux, attracting many locals for a plate of oysters with white dry wine. Before you go, be sure to check out my article about the best places to eat at the Marché des Capucins. The market is open from Tuesday to Sunday, however, be aware that not all the restaurants and stands are open on Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you need help in discovering the market, I offer a market tour where you will taste and get familiar with the flavors of the southwest of France. So if you’re into starting your day with a foodie experience check out my food tours page

Stroll the narrow streets of old Bordeaux

I have yet met one person who was not stunned by the beauty of the “Vieux Bordeaux”, the historic part of the city. You can spend hours getting lost among the16th and 17th-century houses on the narrow paved streets of old Bordeaux. The historic center is also home to some of the city’s most emblematic monuments, which you shouldn’t miss on your one day in Bordeaux. The southwest capital has 362 preserved buildings labeled as historic monuments, second only to Paris. The historic part of the city (and several streets around it) is recognized by UNESCO as an “outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of 18th-century architecture. Let yourself get lost for a few hours in the narrow streets of Bordeaux, that will give you the best introduction to the city. 

The center of Bordeaux
The center of Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

Here’s a shortlist of the sites you should not miss on your visit:

Main sites in the city center

Grosse Cloche – the 15th-century gate to the old city. This stunning bell tower is part of a whole structure that was previously a part of the city hall of Bordeaux and at some point served as a prison to misbehaved juveniles (!). It’s one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic monuments and appears on the coat of arms of Bordeaux. The Gross Cloche is located on one end of rue Saint James, one of the liveliest streets of Bordeaux, with stylish boutiques and wine bars. 

Porte Cailhau
Porte Cailhau by Lost in Bordeaux

Porte Cailhau – another magnificent 15th-century gate to the historic center of Bordeaux. This glamourous monument was built to commemorate the glory of king Charles VIII and opens up to one of Bordeaux’s nicest squares, Place du Palais. 

Two other important monuments are located on the border between the historic part and the fancy triangle d’Or neighborhood. 

The Grand Theatre -The beautiful 18th-century building on Place de la Comedie will be hard to miss. This is one of the most impressive buildings in the city and is home to the National Opera and the national ballet of Bordeaux. If you have the chance, try to book tickets to one of the concerts of the Opera or the national ballet. Continue from there to Place des Quinconces, the largest city square in France and one of the biggest in Europe. On one of the sides of this enormous square, you will find the beautiful monument dedicated to the Girondins (members of a political faction) who were killed during the French Revolution. Throughout the year the square hosts many different events, festivals and fairs such as the Brocante de Quinconces. Check out the weekend [psts on this blog to see what’s currently on at Quinconces.

one day in Bordeaux - discover the monuments
Discover the monuments of Bordeaux

Have a drink on the lively squares of Bordeaux

There’s a very special atmosphere in Bordeaux. It’s a very touristy and lively city that somehow is able to maintain its tranquility (except on the shopping street, Sainte Catherine). What contributes to that are the lively squares in the city center, linked by pleasant pedestrian streets. On every square, you can find terrasse restaurants and coffee places with someone sipping a glass of Bordelais wine anytime during the day. Some of the liveliest squares in the city center include the Place du Palais with a magnificent view of Porte Cailhau, Place Pierre with the Saint Pierre church right in the middle of it and Camille Julian with the nice Utopia bistrot (an old church converted into an independent cinema and restaurant). The biggest square in the old center is Place du Parlement, which was built in the 18th century in an Italian style. Its facades are very richly decorated and resemble the facades of the buildings on the riverfront of Bordeaux and the magnificent Place de la Bourse. 

place du parlement bordeaux

Lift your eyes to see the mascarons

Mascaron in Bordeaux
Mascaron in Place de la Bourse

If you’re following my advice and on your way to Place du Parlement don’t miss the beautiful little sculptures that decorate the buildings. Just lift your eyes and look at the buildings of this beautiful square as well as Place de la Bourse and most of the buildings on the riverfront of Bordeaux. The sculpted faces between the ground and first floor are called mascarons, a variation on the word masks in Italian. There are more than 3000 mascarons decorating the buildings and the monuments of Bordeaux, taking inspiration from Greek mythology, wild animals, religion and the economical development of Bordeaux. Some examples are Neptune who represents the importance of the river and African faces, a memory of the slave trade Bordeaux was part of.  

You can read in more detail about all the main monuments in Bordeaux in my ultimate guide to a weekend in Bordeaux

Dine in one of Bordeaux’s delicious restaurants

After the long walk, a proper lunch is in order! In recent years Bordeaux is gaining popularity as a gastronomic city and even holds the record for the number of restaurants per person in France. If you have only one day in the city, trying one of Bordeaux’s restaurants should be on your list. There are a lot of excellent restaurants in the city center and choosing one won’t be easy, but let me suggest just a few. 

If you want to enjoy an elegant lunch by one of France’s celebrity chefs, Philippe Etchebest, go to Le Quatrieme Mur, a beautiful restaurant located inside the Opera building. To taste the specialties of the area go to Les Noailles or le Mably. These are not cheap restaurants but they offer a traditional Bordelais cuisine which is not as easy to find as you might think. For meat lovers, Le bar du Boucher and Le Grill Bordelais are great restaurants. You also have L’entrecote with its famous steak sauce, however, prepare yourself for a long queue if you decide to go there. Other great restaurants include Le Bouchon Bordelais, Le M restaurant, Miles and Frida. For a great view, you can also pass the river to the other side and enjoy lunch at L’Estacade. The list can go on and on but I won’t confuse you with too many options. 

Le quatrieme mur
Le Quatrieme mur – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s important to notice that restaurants in Bordeaux tend to be closed on Sundays or Mondays (or both) so check out their websites when planning your trip. Also, it’s always recommended to book a table ahead of time, even if you do it on the same day. 

Have a picnic in Jardin Public, Bordeaux’s main park

Jardin Public in Bordeaux
Jardin Public in Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you prefer leaving the dining experience for the evening you can replace a fancy lunch with a picnic in the beautiful park of Bordeaux, Jardin Public. Make yourself a basket of regional products and join the other Bordelais on the vast green planes. Don’t forget to add a bottle of Bordeaux wine you can get in most supermarkets or in dedicated wine shops. One of the most interesting wine shops is called l’Intendant, which holds the nickname “the wine library” due to its 15,000 bottle collection. 

Jardin public is beautiful and by far one of the most kid-friendly places in the city. However, it’s not the only good spot for a picnic or a little break. Bordeaux has many gardens and parks that you can enjoy on a sunny day. To discover them check out my post about the best places for a picnic in Bordeaux.

Shop on the Longest street in France

Sainte Catherine is the longest pedestrian street in France, full of clothing boutiques and one of the only places in the center where you can find all the main fashion retail stores. If you prefer smaller boutiques, you won’t find them on the main streets but rather on the small narrow streets of Saint Paul and Saint Pier districts, as well as on rue Notre Dame in Chartrons. 

Shopping in Bordeaux
Shopping in Bordeaux – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re into second-hand clothing be sure to check my guide to second hand and vintage shops in the center of Bordeaux

Visit the main church in Bordeaux -Saint-André 

cathédrale saint-andré de bordeaux
Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux

The big Cathedral on the main square of Pey Berland is a Roman Catholic church and the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux. This cathedral has an important part in the history of Bordeaux. Here, the 13 years old Eleanor d’Aquitaine, married the future king of France Louis VII, therefore making her the queen of France (for a very short period of time). Like many other churches and basilicas in Bordeaux, Saint-André is classified as a national monument of France. In the evening the Cathedral often hosts concerts of classical music, choirs and an organ festival during the summer. You can check out more info about the concerts here

Eat chocolate in the fancy district of Bordeaux 

It’s time for a little dessert and there’s no better place for it than the Triangle d’Or neighborhood, the fancy district of Bordeaux. You will immediately notice that the architecture and landscape of this district are different from the narrow streets of the historic center of Bordeaux. The wide boulevards and decorated 18th-century houses reflect the economic boom that the city was undergoing at the time. Today it’s considered as the gourmet district with plenty of wine and cheese boutiques. 

Like every French city, Bordeaux too has its chocolatiers and many of them are located in and around Triangle d’Or. On rue Michel Montaigne you will discover the most famous local patissier and chocolatier, David Capy. On Allée de Tourny you will visit the oldest chocolatier in Bordeaux, Cadiot Badie. It’s a very prestigious place that feels more like a jewelry shop than a chocolate boutique. Other amazing chocolate shops are la Maison Darricau and Hasnaa Chocolat grand cru.

David Capy- chocolat in Bordeaux
Taste chocolate and delicious pastry at David Capy

If you also want to take the opportunity to stop for a coffee. Bordeaux has some amazing coffee shops. You can read about my favorite ones in my article about the five coffee places in Bordeaux you don’t want to miss

Chill at the Miroir d’eau

Now it’s time to visit Bordeaux’s most famous attraction and one you have probably seen in any guide or video about Bordeaux – Le Miroir d’eau. This modern monument, built in 2006, is the world’s largest reflecting pool. The surface is made from blue granite covered in water, reflecting the 18th century Place de la Bourse. It’s a perfect place to chill on a hot sunny day in Bordeaux. If you’re coming with kids you can easily spend more than an hour here as it’s going to be quite hard to get them out of it. Kids seem to really love it! (don’t forget to bring replacement clothes for the kids, they tend to get soaked!)

miroir d'eau in Bordeaux

Take a bike ride on the banks of the Garonne

The promenade on the left bank of the Garonne river is one of Bordeaux’s highlights. Since the massive overhaul project in the early 2000s the quais (docks) of Bordeaux have become one of Bordeaux’s most popular spots, hosting many events and festivals during the summer. The 4.5 km promenade is also perfect for a walk or a bicycle tour. The most interesting part of it is between the two bridges of Bordeaux – Pont Saint Pierre in the center and Pont Chaban Delmas in the north of the city, which includes the Miroir d’eau as well as playgrounds for kids and restaurants with a view on the river.

the riverfront of Bordeaux
take a ride on the riverfront of Bordeaux

You can use city bikes that are spread all over the city. The price is only 1.7 euros for 24 hours if you return them to the station every 30 minutes (you can take another bike right away). If you rather not spend your time looking for a station in the middle of your trip you can return them after you finish your ride and pay 2 euros for every additional hour. 

Discover the hipster side of Bordeaux

After spending several hours in the classic left side of the river, it’s time to discover the more hipster right bank of the Garonne. If you take my advice and go on a ride on the riverfront you can continue with the bike to the other side, there are V3 stations (the Bordeaux city bikes) there as well. When you cross Pont de Pierre to the Bastide neighborhood you’ll discover a very pleasant park along the riverbank. There are a few great restaurants with a great view of the old part of Bordeaux that operate from May to October. 

The Bastide district
The Bastide district by Lost in Bordeaux

But the main attraction of the Bastide neighborhood is Darwin. An old military base turned into an urban space with a workspace/incubator for startups, a skate park for all ages, a restaurant and many other surprises, all with an agenda of ecological awareness. One of the buildings hosts the restaurant and the Darwin products store with a huge selection of different organic products from pastries to beer and even soap. Darwin is one of the most extraordinary places for street art and includes some amazing works by a lot of talented regional artists on every one of its buildings. 

Darwin in Bordeaux
Darwin by Lost in Bordeaux

If you visit the Bastide district on the weekend (during the summer) don’t miss one of Bordeaux’s hidden gems, La Guinguette chez Alriq. The Guinguette is a tavern on the banks of the river hosting plenty of open-air concerts from May to the end of September. The performing bands and artists are coming from all over the world and create an atmosphere of a laid back world music party. 

Have a drink in one of Bordeaux’s wine bars 

Wine bars are springing up like mushrooms in the center of Bordeaux. It’s not a big surprise considering it’s the capital of the biggest wine area in France. A great way to finish your one day in Bordeaux is by tasting some of the best wines of the region in one of Bordeaux’s wine bars. There are plenty of bars to choose from in the city center, here are some of my favorite ones: Un Chateau en Ville for a cozy family feeling, Wine more time for their huge selection, and le Bar a Vin for the beautiful decor and professional waiters. Other great bars with knowledgeable staff include Le wine bar, La ligne rouge, Le Flacon and Vins Urbains

un chateau en ville Bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

Some bars offer wine tasting experiences that allow you to better understand the wines of the region. To discover the best places for wine tasting check out my article about wine tasting in Bordeaux

If you’re interested in wine don’t miss a trip to Saint Emilion where you can visit some of the best wineries in the region. You can easily plan the trip by yourself using my post about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion. Not less interesting and beautiful is the Medoc wine area where you can see some of the most impressive chateaux in the region. Follow my post about the Medoc wine route when planning your trip there. 

I hope you enjoyed this beautiful city and if you have a few more days in the area don’t forget to check out my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux.

If you want more tips on restaurants, concerts and exhibitions follow me on facebook/Instagram. Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

In Bordeaux, you don’t really have to leave the city in order to taste some of the best wines in the world. Several bars and wine shops offer wine tasting experiences that will allow you to discover different wine appellations and learn about the growing and production processes. In this article, I gathered several bars and wine shops in Bordeaux that offer great wine tasting experiences. They vary in the reputation of the wines served, the depth of the explanations and the prices of course, and yes, you can enjoy a wine tasting experience even on a budget! All the places on my list offer guidance in English and some also offer other languages such as Spanish. Let’s dive into the world of wine tastings in Bordeaux!

Best bars for wine tastings in Bordeaux

Un Château en Ville 

Château Lestrille was the first wine producer in the Bordeaux area to come up with the brilliant idea to open a bar in the city center and offer their wine directly to the public. The winery is located in the Entre Deux Mers wine region, producing white, red and special rosé that you can only taste here in Bordeaux. If you want to feel like you’ve visited a wine château without actually leaving the city this is a great option. The bar offers wine tastings that include 3 glasses of wine (white, red and rosé) all from Château Lestrille.

un chateau en ville Bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

The super friendly and knowledgeable staff accompany you during the tastings with interesting explanations about the production process, the soil, the Entre Deux Mers wine region and more. They also have a great food menu that is perfectly paired with their wine, such as cheese, tapas, duck sausages, oysters on weekends and more. The price is 6 euros per person. Un Chateau en Ville is open Wednesday to Sunday. This is one of my favorite bars in Bordeaux and I often stop there during my afternoon food tours so it’s a warm personal recommendation 🙂 
Contact for reservations: [email protected]  +33 9 53 04 48 93
Address:  25 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux

Wine more time

On the same lovely street, you have another great wine bar carrying the amusing name, Wine more time :). While the first bar on our list focuses exclusively on wine produced in one château, this one is the opposite. The idea is to offer a huge selection of wines and let the customer decide on the theme. The themes can be varied, you can choose to taste only red or white wines from different areas in Bordeaux, focus on certain years, taste wines only from Medoc, or from Saint Emilion, or try only wines made from a certain grape type. You get the picture. They have a selection of 400 bottles so there’s an endless amount of combinations you can think of.

wine more time Bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

The only downside is that you can’t do that if you’re alone or a couple. As they are opening the bottles especially for the occasion, the wine tastings in Wine More Time are open to groups of at least 5 people. The price is 20 euros per person which includes on average 3-4 bottles, the exact number varying according to the wines you choose. During the evening you will get a detailed explanation of the wines and winemaking process, which will be adapted to the customer’s knowledge level. So if you’re a newbie wine taster, you’ll get the “wine for dummies” session:). It is recommended to book at least a week in advance. 
Contact for reservations: [email protected]  +33 5 56 52 85 61
Address:  8 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux

Bar à Vin

wine tastings in Bordeaux
photo by lost in Bordeaux

Bar à Vin is one of Bordeaux’s wine institutions, located in the 18th-century residence of the Bordeaux Wine Council. This place is quite surprising I must say. The fancy decor can be a bit intimidating if you’re on a tight budget and want to be able to taste more than one glass of wine. But in reality, it is the cheapest place in the center of Bordeaux for wine tastings! Bar à Vin offers two half glasses of Bordeaux wine for only 3 euros! The tastings are not accompanied by extended explanations, like in other bars on this list, but as all the people working there are sommeliers, you can freely ask them as many questions as you want and get thorough explanations to anything you ever wanted to know about wine. This is one of my favorite stops in Bordeaux due to the chic decor and friendly atmosphere. Bar a Vin is open daily except for Sundays. 
Contact for reservations: https://baravin.bordeaux.com/en/  +33 5 56 00 43 47 
Address:  3 Cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux

Le Boutique Hotel Bordeaux wine bar

Hotel boutique bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

The Boutique Hotel is a popular 4-star luxury hotel with a very nice wine bar on its ground floor. The bar offers daily wine tastings taking place from 17:15 to 18:15. The tastings include five different Bordeaux wines (usually reds) and a cheese and charcuterie plate for 35 euros per person. During the tastings, you will learn about the different Bordeaux appellations, wine production, tasting techniques and more. After the workshop, you can take your wine glass and move to their beautiful terrace to enjoy the rest of the evening. The tastings must be booked in advance. 
Contact for reservations: www.hotelbordeauxcentre.com +33 5 56 48 80 40
Address:  3 Rue Lafaurie de Monbadon, 33000 Bordeaux

La Conserverie

La conserverie bordeaux
photo by lost in Bordeaux

La Conserverie is one of those places you pass by unaware of the magical world hiding behind the door. It’s a wine and gourmet food store but also a restaurant with a cozy design and a cute little courtyard that is perfect for sunny days. If you want to discover local food they are a great place for lunch. The service is amazing and they love interacting with the clients, happily giving you detailed explanations about any wine you drink. For the tasting part, they offer a deal of four glasses and a charcuterie plate for 15 euros per person. The place is open from Tuesday to Saturday. 
Contact for reservations: [email protected]  +33 5 56 81 49 17
Address: 18 Rue Notre Dame, 33000 Bordeaux

Wine shops that offer wine tastings in Bordeaux

Cousin et Compagnie

Cousin et Compagnie is a beautiful wine shop located just next to Place du Parlement offering a large selection of Bordeaux wines. They offer three different wine tasting experiences. The basic tour can be done daily and includes three to five glasses of wine (from 10 to 15 euros per person). The tasting lasts about 20 minutes and includes an explanation of the wines and tasting techniques. On Saturdays you can enjoy a more fancy experience (79 euros per person), tasting four Grands crus wines, accompanied by a professional from one of the châteaux. Here, you get a 1.5-hour training on wine classification, the Bordeaux vineyards and more.

cousin & companie bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

Last but not least is their wine tasting on a boat experience that you can do during the summer season on Mondays and Tuesdays. This experience, priced at 49 euros per person, includes 3 glasses of wine with a plate of cheese and charcuterie and a romantic scenery of the Garonne river. It’s limited to 12 people so book in advance to be sure to have a spot. 
Contact for reservations: the two more expensive tastings require prior registrations:  [email protected] +33 5 56 01 20 23
Address:  2 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges, 33000 Bordeaux

Max Bordeaux 

Max Bordeaux wine tastings
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

Max Bordeaux is a wine shop with a neat concept allowing you to taste a lot of prestigious Bordeaux wines without paying for the whole bottle. Entering the bar you’ll discover huge wine columns with built-in wine machines containing many different Bordeaux wines. There are 3 different sizes (25, 50 and 75 ml) you can choose from ranging in price from 1 euro (for the cheaper 25ml servings) to 10 euros for the more luxurious wines. While this is not a guided tasting experience it does allow you to discover the Bordeaux wine area at your own pace and budget.
The other option proposed by Max Bordeaux is their wine tasting atelier, a more traditional experience where you taste three Grands crus wines for 35 euros. The tastings are guided by a wine professional and last about an hour. The guided tastings must be reserved in advance. Max Bordeaux is open from Monday to Saturday. 
Contact for reservations: [email protected] +33 5 57 29 23 81
Address:  14 Cours de l’Intendance, 33000 Bordeaux

Emile & Marguerite

Emile & Marguerite Bordeaux
photo by Lost in Bordeaux

This article is about wine tastings in Bordeaux but I had to add one place where you can taste other spirits that this region is famous for. Emile & Marguerite is a charming shop in the heart of the center of Bordeaux specializing in made in France alcohol. They have everything from Whisky to Gin, vodka and a huge selection of local beers. But what’s more interesting is their large selection of Cognac and Armagnac brandies originating from the Southwest of France. The shop offers spirit tastings that include 3 different spirits (10 euros) and if you buy a bottle (for more than 40 euros) the tastings are on the house. If you don’t have an extra day to go to Cognac or Armagnac this can be a very nice way to taste and gain more knowledge about these two exceptional French spirits. You don’t have to make reservations, just pass by and you’ll be welcomed anytime. The shop is open daily, check out their facebook page for more info. 
Address:  13 Rue Parlement Saint-Pierre, 33000 Bordeaux

That’s it for today!  Hope it gave you plenty of ideas for wine tastings in Bordeaux!

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

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

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