If you want to discover the Medoc area, one of France’s most famous wine routes, this is an excellent time for a visit. On June 5-6, the Medoc wine region will celebrate its open doors at chateaux weekend. This famous event hosted by the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac usually takes place around April but had to be postponed due to COVID 19. It’s an incredible event that allows you to visit many of the wineries of the Médoc region and taste a lot of wine.
If you want to discover this beautiful region beyond the wine, you can also read my article about a weekend in the Medoc region where I talk about beaches, beautiful villages, wineries, and all the other wonders of this part of Gironde.
Le Week-end Portes Ouvertes (open doors weekend) in Médoc is an annual event that officially starts the tourist season in the wine region of southwest France. The first time that vineyards have collectively decided to open their doors to the public was in 1991 and it was an immediate success. The Week-end Portes Ouvertes has seen tens of thousands of visitors and the open house tradition was copied to other chateaux in France. This tradition has grown so much that it became a challenge to pick the best chateaux to visit during this weekend.
Around 80 wine châteaux from eight different AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) usually participate in the Portes Ouvertes weekend: MEDOC, HAUT MEDOC, PAUILLAC, SAINT ESTEPHE, SAINT JULIEN, LISTRAC, MOULIS and MARGAUX. The AOC is the French certification for geographical indications of agricultural products such as wine and cheeses. Click here to see which châteaux are participating in the event.
While wine is still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional activities such as music, workshops, food, art expos, and games for kids. If you don’t have a specific winery (château) in mind you can choose one according to the proposed activities. I gathered a list of activities to help you choose one:
Wines are not the only product the Médoc region does well, it is also famous for its gastronomic specialties, such as: l’agneau de Pauillac (Pauillac lamb), l’entrecôte cuite aux sarments (entrecote cooked with wine shoots), les chocolats de Mademoiselle de Margaux and more. In addition to in-house restaurants, some of the chateaux offer gourmet markets, food trucks, and bars. So, besides tasting great wine you are guaranteed to have a great culinary experience. Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the ones offering dining options.
Art in the Châteaux
Some of the châteaux will host exhibitions of paintings, sculptures, and photographs of both local and international artists. Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the exhibitions displayed in every château.
Visiting with kids
Some châteaux try to make it a family-friendly event by proposing activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting wine. Choose one of these châteaux from the menu in this link to see the activities they propose.
Some of the châteaux require a prior reservation for the wine tastings and cellar tours, so if you found a château you would like to discover this weekend, hurry up and make a reservation by email or phone.
If you’re coming to Bordeaux especially for this occasion, be sure to check up my list of recommended hotels in Bordeaux center. If you want to get updates about the portes ouvertes, join my email list here and I’ll send up-to-date info closer to the event.
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:
The most beautiful event this weekend will surely be the flying balloons festival in Saint-Emilion. But with this amazing fall season outside, there’s no lack of great outdoor activities such as collecting mushrooms in the forest, the Bordeaux Fair and an Autumn festival in the Médoc. If you loved the open doors weekend in the Châteaux of Médoc, this weekend you can enjoy a similar event in the Graves wine area. Besides all of these, there are fun events like the swing festival, the ancient books salon and plenty of music and exhibitions. Here is the list of things to do in and around Bordeaux this weekend (October 19-21):
Montgolfiades de Saint-Emilion
Montgolfiades is an annual festival of balloon flights organized by Le Ciel est à Toi association. The flights will take place on October 19-21 above Saint-Emilion and the vineyards around it, so the sight is promised to be breathtaking. For more info click here.
When: October 19-21 Where: Bordeaux, Merignac, Talence, Pessac and more – check out the full program
Bordeaux Swing Festival
The international festival of Lindy hop (part of the Swing family) will take place on October 19-21 in the Bordeaux region and this year they have invited a special guest, one of biggest stars in the the New York swing scene – Gordon Webster. Two swing parties will take place at the beautiful le Rocher de Palmer in Cenon, with a battle between the Gordon Webster Hot Swing Sextet bands. The program of the festival also includes 7 hours of classes with 11 international teachers. For more details check out the website of the festival.
When: October 19-21 Where: Different locations in Bordeaux – check out the full program
Open doors in the Chateaux of Graves wines
Graves, one of the wine regions in the Bordeaux wine area (appellation d’origine contrôlée) invites you to an open door weekend, allowing you to discover its wines and châteaux. During the weekend (October 20-21) 69 châteaux will open their doors to visits, wine tastings, wine workshops and different activities for kids and adults. See the full program of the event and the list of the participating châteaux here.
When: October 20-21 Where: Graves area – chose your chateau from the program
The 4th edition of the Fest’O’Tone festival will take place this Saturday (October 20) in the Salle Socio Culturelle in Listrac Médoc. The festive evening will include a line up of concerts (JEKO, GOLDEN PARACHUTE, ALAM, TRIBALIZER), a sculpture exhibition, a bar and a wine tasting space. For more info and tickets click here.
When: October 20, 19:00 to 1:30 Where: Chemin du stade, 33480 Listrac-Médoc
FAB – International art festival
FAB is the annual International art festival of Bordeaux Metropole taking place this year on October 5-24. As one of Europe’s biggest art festivals it attracts some known names from the international contemporary art scene. During the three weeks of the festival more than 30 shows will take place in more than 20 different locations in Bordeaux, from the TnBA theater to the Opera of Bordeaux and the Base Sous Marine. Click here to see the full program of the festival.
When: October 5-24 Where: Different locations in Bordeaux – check out the program,
Foire aux Plaisirs
This is the fall edition of the traditional Bordelaise Fair that is taking place at Place des Quinconces from October 12 to November 4. It’s a perfect activity for kids and for those who are young in spirit as La Foire aux Plaisirs de Bordeaux has it all: a big wheel, a roller coasters, ghost trains, bumper cars, donuts, crèpes, barbes à papa and more. The fair is open daily from 14:00, you are not required to pay any entry fee, only for some of the attractions. See more info about the fair here.
When: October 12 – November 4 Where:Place des Quinconces , 33000 Bordeaux
Explore the city on the National Architecture days
The National Architecture days are a great opportunity so discover the city in a more profound way and learn about the buildings you see every day in Bordeaux. One association that offers guided tours in different areas in Bordeaux are Tout Art Faire. During this weekend (October 19-20) they will offer 3 different guided tours: around Pey Berland, a thematic tour about art deco in Bordeaux and one on Neoclassic Bordeaux. For more details about the tours click here.
When: October 19-21 Where: See locations in the program
Sunday Party – Bordeaux Swing
This event is basically the after party of the Swing festival taking place in Bordeaux this weekend. The I-BOAT invites you to a swing party that will end the events of the festival in Bordeaux on October 21. The program includes 2 DJ sets on both floors of the IBOAT, live music, vintage dressing and more. The tickets are included in the Bordeaux swing festival pass, or 10€ without the pass. The IBOAT is one of the coolest concert venues in Bordeaux so if you haven’t been there yet, it’s a good opportunity to check it out. For more details about the event click here.
When: October 21, at 19:00 Where: Quai Armand Lalande, 33300 Bordeaux,
Les Chantiers de la Garonne together with Darwin, two of the best places in Bordeaux to go to on weekends, invite you for the third edition of O’Vives. The event revolves around environmental sensitivity and will include music, talks, an exhibition, yoga, DIY workshops and more. For details and the full program click here. The event is free.
When: October 20, from 14:00 Where: 21 quai des queyries, 33100 Bordeaux
Take your kids to collect mushrooms in Pessac
This is the time of the year where you start seeing the little colorful mushroom heads in the forest. This Saturday (October 20) you and your family could join the mycologists of C.E.M.A. (Cercle d’Études Mycologiques en Aquitaine) in the field and explore the world of mushrooms. This fun activity will take place in Forêt du Bourgailh in Pessac and will of course include the collection of mushrooms, thus a basket and a knife are a must. The activity is open to kids over 8 years old, the prices are 8€ for adults and 3€ for kids. Reserve your place and buy tickets here.
When: October 20, at 14:00 Where: 160 Avenue de Beutre, 33600 Pessac (at the Jardins du Bourgailh)
Autumn in the Garden
As part of the “fête des jardins partagés” celebrations initiated by Bordeaux Métropole, the cultural center Saint-Exupéry organized a fun event called “Automne aux jardins” that will take place this Saturday (October 20). This colorful event will include culinary activities, a gardeners stand, flower plantation and more. The event is free. For more info click here.
When: October 20, from 14:00 to 18:00 Where: Impasse Yvon Mansencal, 33140 Villenave d’Ornon
The Salon of Ancient and Modern Books
The biggest book event in the South west of France will take place this weekend (October 20-21) in Halle des Chartrons. This salon of ancient and modern books proposes something for every genre lover from travelling guides, to kids literature, science books, comics and much more. This is a heaven for book worms as alongside the famous ancient and modern literature you can find rare editions, old newspapers, illustrations and plenty of other surprises. The entrance is free, for more details click here.
When: October 20-21, from 10:00 to 19:00 Where: Place du marché des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux
Jazz night in Cenac
Soirée Jazz360 is a music event that will take place this Saturday (October 20) in Cenac with a Jazz Quartet taking the stage of the Salle culturelle de Cénac. For more details click here.
When: October 20, at 19:00 Where: Salle culturelle de Cénac
d’Angélique de Chabot is a young artist who creates beautiful little monsters from a variety of materials and creatures, like crustaceans and feathered beasts. In the last few months she has been obsessively collecting branches fallen from trees, oyster shells and rare bird feathers to create this exhibition. The exhibition is presented in the beautiful Château Malromé in the entre-deux-mers area, which quite often hosts great art exhibitions. The exhibition will be presented untilDecember 16. See more info on the facebook page of the event or the website of the chateau.
When: October 6 – December 16 Where: Château Malromé, 33490 Saint-André-du-Bois
This is the 6th edition of Fête de la photo with more than 70 different photography exhibitions that will be presented this Saturday (October 20) at Galerie François Mitterrand and salle Raymond Bonnot in Saint-Seurin-sur-l’Isle. Besides the photos themselves, the event will include workshops and a photos sale. The event is free, for more details click here.
When: October 20, from 9:00 Where: Salle Bonnot et François Mitterrand. 33660 SAINT-SEURIN-SUR-L’ISLE
The Proxima exhibitions is one of the main events of the space month in Bordeaux and will be presented at the Médiathèque de Mérignac from October 5th to October 26. Throughout the exhibition you will discover how astronauts prepare for their missions in space, the effects of weightlessness on their body and how their daily life looks like while they’re on mission. For more details check out the facebook page of the exhibition. Click here to see what other events are part of the space month in Bordeaux.
When: October 5-26 Where: 19 Place Charles de Gaulle, 33700 Mérignac
La générosité de Dorcas – dance show
The TNBA theater will host 2 dance shows by the French creator, Jan Fabre and his dancer Matteo Sedda. The show la Générosité de Dorcas will take place on October 19-20. For more details and tickets click here.
If you are living in France or just passing by and you wish to discover one of its most important regions, now is an excellent time to be heading to Médoc, one of the most famous wine growing regions in the world, located in the Gironde department, north of Bordeaux. To celebrate the beginning of the spring the Maison du Tourisme et du Vin de Pauillac will hold an open doors weekend on April 7-8,where you will be able to visit all the chateaux of the Médoc region and do a lot of wine tasting.
Le Week-end Portes Ouvertes (open doors weekend) in Médoc is an annual event that officially starts the tourist season in the wine region of South west France. The first time that vineyards have collectively decided to open their doors to the public was in 1991 and it was an immediate success. Starting its third edition, the Week-end Portes Ouvertes has seen tens of thousands of visitors and the tradition of the open house was copied to other chateaux in France. This tradition has grown so much that it became a challenge to pickthe best chateaux to visit during that weekend.
Sixty three châteaux (Château Clarke will eventually not be participating in the open house weekend) from eight different AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) will participate in the Portes Ouvertes weekend: MEDOC, HAUT MEDOC NORD, PAUILLAC, SAINT ESTEPHE, SAINT JULIEN, LISTRAC, MOULIS, MARGAUX. The AOC is the French certification for geographical indications for agricultural products such as wine and cheeses. To see what châteaux are participating in the event, see the full list and the map below.
Although visiting the cellars and wine tastings are still at the heart of the event, today the various chateaux try to attract visitors with additional attractions such as the restaurant of the chateau, music, games, art expos and activities for kids. If you don’t have a specific chateaux in mind you can choose one according to the proposed activities . What follows is a listing of chateaux according to their proposed activities:
Wines are not the only product the Médoc region does well, it is also famous for some of its gastronomic specialties, such as: l’agneau de Pauillac (Pauillac lamb), l’entrecôte cuite aux sarments (entrecote cooked with vine shoots), les chocolats de Mademoiselle de Margaux and more. In addition to in house restaurants, some of the chateaux offer gourmet markets, food trucks and bars. So, besides tasting great wine you are guaranteed to have a great culinary experience.
Some of the châteaux will host exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and photography of both local and international artists.
in Châteaux Saint Hilaire, for example, two Medoc artists will present their aquarelle paintings and photographs. Châteaux Lanessan will give visitors the opportunity to see the family’s carriage collection, dated to the 19th century. And in Châteaux Castera, one of the most ancient chateaux of the region, you could see the permanent sculpture exposition “Les bouteilles de vincent libecq”. Follow the list of the participating chateaux to see the kind of art on display.
Many people take the chance to make the chateaux visit a family trip, and rightly so as kids can appreciate the charming chateaux and their gardens. Nonetheless, having to look after your little kids while wine tasting can definitely undermine the experience. That is why some of the chateaux propose activities to entertain your kids while you are tasting wine.
For example: Château Lamothe Bergeron will hold creative workshops as well as grape juice tasting for kids, Château Hourtin-Ducasse will entertain your kids with activities like coloring, ping pong and comics; and Château Ségur will hold an egg hunt and a mask coloring workshop.
The world of wine is a huge body of knowledge and many of the châteaux would like to see you experience more than just wine tasting. Some of them organize workshops and activities revolving around the production of wine. Those can come in the form of a demonstration of the different tractors they use (Château Maucamps), discovering your sensors in blind wine tasting (Château Ségur), a vines workshop (Château Chantelys) and more.
A Map of all the Châteaux participation in the Portes ouvertes weekend:
Most of the Chateaux require prior reservation to the wine tasting and cellar tours, so if you found a chateaux you would like to discover this weekend, hurry up and make a reservation by email or phone. All the details, including the address, the activities proposed, the hours and the contact details appear in the link of the participating chateaux above. For more info, go to the site of the event.
Enjoy your glass of wine and the official beginning of Spring in the region!