Around November, the southwest of France starts its winter sleep with many places shutting down for the low season. Bordeaux, however, is different! It’s a very lively city where you can always find interesting stuff to do, even on the coldest days. In this article, I’m going to give you a few fun ideas of things to do in Bordeaux in the winter.
I start my article with 10 ideas of places to go to in Bordeaux as well as Cognac and Saint Emilion. The second part of my article is dedicated to fun events taking place in the winter in Bordeaux. If you’re visiting Bordeaux in December, check out my December list.
If it’s cold and raining at any other time of the year, you should read my article about the best things to do when it’s raining in Bordeaux and things to do with kids when it’s raining in Bordeaux.
If it’s your first time in Bordeaux, you’d also enjoy my article about the 50 best things to do in Bordeaux.
Best things to do in winter in Bordeaux and the region
Visit Bordeaux wineries
You’d be surprised to know that many wineries are open for visits during January- February, however in a slightly limited version. Many are closed on weekends during the winter season as well as during the week of Christmas and New Year’s.
Saint Emilion, which is the most visited wine area in the Bordeaux region has many chateaux accepting visitors during the winter. If you need some recommendations, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion.
If you don’t have a car, your options are a bit more limited, but there are still a few nice chateaux you can visit by public transport. One of my favorite ones is Chateau Pape Clement, and it happens to be open during the winter too – book your visit here
Go to the Opera
The Grand Theatre de Bordeaux is one of Bordeaux’s most emblematic historic buildings and should not be missed when in Bordeaux. During the winter months, The Opera of Bordeaux offers a long program of classical music concerts for kids and adults. See the full program here.
Visit a distillery in Cognac
Winter is a great time to take a trip to the Cognac region and witness the traditional distillation process. That’s when the Cognac producers transform the wine into eau-de-vie and what will eventually become the famous brandy.
Many distilleries run tours during the winter and include a detailed explanation of the distillation process. I highly recommend visiting family-owned producers in the winter as you’re more likely to be taken through the whole process.
Here’s my article about the best distilleries to visit in the Cognac region.
Eat a Raclette
Raclette is quite popular in Bordeaux in the winter, even though it’s far from being a traditional Southwest cuisine. There are a few restaurants where you can find this wintery treat. One of the best ones is La Petite Savoie, a local institution that now has two restaurants in the center. One on the riverfront and the other one on rue des Argentiers in the Saint Pierre district.
Go to a Spa
Nothing better than a Spa on a freezing winter day! There are several small and big Spa facilities in Bordeaux. The biggest one is called Caliceo Center and it’s open daily, without any reservation. It has a few pools, saunas, and different types of massages.
If you’re more into a romantic Spa weekend, here are my recommendations for the best Spa hotels in Bordeaux.
Go Ice Skating
Ice Skating is one of the most popular winter activities and luckily there’s a great place for that in Bordeaux. La Patinoire de Mériadeck is a sports complex with a huge ice skating arena open to the public for a few days a week.
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.
Check out the covered markets in Bordeaux
Bordeaux has a few covered markets in Bordeaux, which are perfect for cold days. You can use it as an opportunity to discover local delicacies but also have lunch or a drink in a very local environment.
Two other, more modern markets I highly recommend belong to the Biltoki group and are located in the Talence and the Bacalan neighborhoods. These two markets are perfect for an evening drink and tapas.
Discover all the best markets in Bordeaux in my article.
Discover the foodie streets of Bordeaux
Staying in a foodie mood, you can also explore some of the foodie streets in Bordeaux. These are the places where you can find the best bakeries, coffee shops, cheese shops, and more. They are not always on the tourist trail and not always easy to find and that’s why I decided to write an article about the foodie streets of Bordeaux.
Go to one of Bordeaux’s museums
Last but not least, if it’s too cold outside, going to a museum is always a good idea! Bordeaux has a great variety of museums, from street art to science and history, just choose one from my list of museums in Bordeaux.
Events taking place this winter in the Bordeaux region (2024)
Disney on ice
One of the most popular events for kids in Bordeaux is happening again! All the popular Disney characters reunite for an ice skating spectacle. Disney Sur Glace will take place on January 5-7 at the Arkea Arena. For tickets and more details click here.
Le lac des Cygnes
Théâtre Fémina is hosting the Ukrainian National Ballet of Odessa which will perform the famous Swan Lake ballet. The spectacle will take place on January 6, See all the info and tickets here.
Who cares if it’s raining and cold? January is the winter sales month!! Soldes d’hiver are several weeks in the winter during which you can find really good deals on clothes, shoes, appliances, toys, and more. This year Les Soldes d’Hiver will take place from January 10 to February 6.
Trente Trente – Emerging Arts Festival
Trente Trente is an annual festival, created to promote emerging artists in Bordeaux and Nouvelle Aquitaine in general. The festival includes more than twenty performances by artists from all genres, with some experimenting with interdisciplinary arts.
Check out the full program that includes dance, music, theater, circus, and more. The festival takes place on January 16- February 2 in different theaters and cultural spaces across the Metropole.
International magic festival
The international magic festival will take place in Théâtre Fémina on January 20-21. This year ten world-class artists (magicians and illusionists) will offer you breathtaking spectacles that you wouldn’t want to miss. For more info and tickets click here.
The festival also offers workshops and spectacles for little kids. All the kids’ events will take place at Théâtre Molière. See more info here.
Fête de la truffe in Sarlat
A big truffles market will take place this weekend (January 20-21) in Sarlat. I know that’s a bit far from Bordeaux but it’s one of the biggest truffles markets in the region so worth checking out. For more info click here.
Here are more things to do and see in Sarlat, the capital of Black Perigord.
Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême
The famous International Comics Festival of Angouleme will take place on January 25-28. Angouleme is the comics capital of France and is famous for its amazing street art. If you decide to go there, prepare yourself with my article about Angouleme so you won’t miss the most beautiful murals in the city.
Jumping International de Bordeaux
Jumping International de Bordeaux is a big riding equestrian event that includes competitions, spectacles, and a fun fair. The event will take place February 1 -4 in Parc des Expositions de Bordeaux. For more details click here.
Ratatam – kids festival
The Ratatam Kids Festival is taking place at the Entrepôt du Haillan until February 13-18. The program includes concerts, animated movies, a painting contest, video games, meetings with cartoonists, a comics workshop, and more. Check out the full program here.
Fête des Bœufs Gras
Bazas in the Southern part of Gironde is a beautiful town that attracts many people with its weekly market. But what Bazas is mostly known for is its Beef.
Since 1283, the Thursday before Mardi Gras, the city of Bazas has been hosting the famous “Fête des Bœufs Gras” that celebrates the Bazas Beef. An Oxen parade takes place on the central streets of the town which will be judged by a jury of experts.
The day ends with a banquet where you can taste the famous meat. The event will take place on February 8. See more details here.
Bordeaux Electronic Week-end
Bordeaux Electronic Week-end 2024 is a fun music festival taking place on Feb 23-25. The long lineup of DJS will perform in many places in Bordeaux such as the IBOAT, Les Vivres de l’art, the Warehouse, and more. You can find the program and tickets here.
Festival des Lanternes in Montauban
This year Montauban (about 50 km from Toulouse) is hosting yet another lanterns festival. The event called le Jardin Fantastique will host 40 artists from China that will present their monumental sculptures. This event will take place on Cours Foucault from December 15 to February 11, 2024. See all the info here.
La Flamme de l’Armagnac
Armagnac is one of the best products in the Southwest of France! Its production spreads over three departments in this region: Les Landes, Lot et Garonne, and Gers, all located within a 1-2 hour drive from Bordeaux. From the end of October to the beginning of January, the producers of Armagnac celebrate the distillery period with fun events at the chateaux and in small towns in the regions. see more details here.
Go to Truffles markets in Dordogne
December is the start of the winter truffles season with many truffles markets in the region taking place between December and February. The Dordogne is known as the capital of truffles in the Southwest of France and starting mid-December it hosts several truffles markets in its different villages. You can see the full list of truffle markets taking place from December to the end of January here.
Looking for accommodation in Bordeaux?
These few articles should help you find the best place to stay in the Bordeaux region:
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 🙂