Traditionally, December is not a very busy month in Bordeaux. Many people leave the city heading for their Christmas vacations, among them the organizers of many of Bordeaux’s events, they too need to rest 🙂 On the other hand, the city dresses up for Christmas becoming even more charming than usual. So take some time to discover Bordeaux when it’s decorated with beautiful Christmas lights and sip a glass of hot wine at the main Christmas market. Don’t worry, there are still interesting events in December that are not Christmas related. Arcachon hosts the annual Geek festival, the Chateaux of Pessac Leognan will open their doors to the public and the city of Pessac is hosting a fantastic kids festival, so there’s a lot to wait for.Here’s the list of things to do in December 2019 in Bordeaux.
The Christmas season in Bordeaux has plenty of great markets to attend and buy presents! The official Marché de Noël de Bordeaux with all the traditional stands and a lot of vin chaud (hot wine) will open its gates on November 27. If it’s your first Christmas in France, the traditional Christmas market is a must! However, if you feel that you’ve seen it too many times try one of the smaller markets where all the local artists and craftsmen present their original creations. I have made a whole list of Christmas markets in Bordeaux so check it out.
Open Doors in the Chateaux of Pessac-Léognan
There are plenty of open doors weekends in the wineries of Bordeaux in December. This wine region is really close to Bordeaux and offers some great wines so I had to put it on my list. On December 7-8 the Pessac-Léognan appellation is holding an open doors weekend with 34 chateaux hosting you for wine tastings, tours, gourmet food and plenty of activities for kids. Some of the participating chateaux are Château de Léognan, Château Pape Clément and Château Haut-Lagrange , for the full list of Chateaux and more info about the open doors weekend click here and here.
When: December 7- 8 / Where: Bordeaux metropole (Check out the link above for the full list of events)
Cabanes en fête
This is one of the most anticipated events in Bassins d’Arcachon. Cabanes en fête is the oysters and wine celebration taking place in Andernos-les-Bains on December 7. Come to the Bassins to discover its oysters and celebrate Christmas with concerts and plenty of activities. The program also includes a music concert, a flash-mob dance, exhibitions, fireworks and more. For more info click here and for the full program here.
When: December 7 / Where: Port Ostreicole, 33510 Andernos-les-Bains
International Animated Films Festival
Les Nuits Magiques is an annual international festival of animated movies taking place at “Le Festival” cinema in Begles on December 4-15. This is the 29th edition of the festival, which over the years gained a reputation in the animation and special effects world. The rich program includes plenty of events and activities for both kids and adults: premiers of new movies, workshops, meetings with film creators and more. Check out the full program here and all other details you might need here.
When: December 4-15 Where: 151 Boulevard ALBERT 1er, 33130 Bègles
Bassin Geek Festival
If you enjoyed the Bordeaux Geek Festival a few months ago, it’s time for the winter edition with the Bassin Geek Festival. The program includes all the things the geek community loves: comics, sci-fi, web culture, video games, parallel worlds, creative industries and more. The festival will take place at the Parc des Expositions de La Teste De Buch on December 7-8. Check out the full program and all the details here and ticket prices here.
When: December 7- 8 / Where: 940 Avenue de l’Europe. 33260 La Teste-de-Buch
Search for beautiful antiques at the Brocante
The big brocante of Bordeaux is hosted twice a year at place des Quinconces with 200 antique dealers, horticulturists, restaurants and craftsmen. It’s the biggest brocante event in the area and the selection is huge, from vintage home decor, to paintings, antique furniture, garden accessories and more. While some items can be pricey, you can still find plenty of affordable pieces at this antiques market. The merchants are very nice and are open to negotiations. The brocante is taking place until December 8. For more info and the list of exhibitors click here.
When: Until December 8 /Where: Place des Quinconces
Christmas Market in Saint Emilion
The traditional marché de Noël (Christmas market) of Saint Emilion is about to take place on the weekend of December 7-8. So if you plan to visit Saint Emilion anytime soon, this would be the perfect weekend for that. For more details click here.
When: December 7-8 / Where: Center of Saint Emilion
Les lumières de la ville
Les lumières de la ville is a great chance to discover how Bordeaux’s monuments look at night. It’s an hour and a half biking tour that will start at Place Pey-Berland and will finish with Christmas drinks. On the way you will get to see the most important monuments and all the beautifully decorated little streets of Bordeaux. The event will take place on December 13 at 19:00, it’s free and open to all. For more details click here.
When: December 13, at 19:00 / Where: Place Pey-Berland, 33000 Bordeaux
Taste the best French wines
This month you have a chance to taste some of the best French wines in one place at an event called “Bordeaux Tasting”. During two days (December 14-15) more than a hundred wine houses from Bordeaux and other regions in France like Bourgogne, Rhône, Alsace and Loire will be there to present their best wines. The tasting will take place at different sites around Place de la Bourse. For more details click here.
When: December 14-15 / Where: Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux
Casse-Noisette – Opéra National Russe
The Russain National Opera is arriving once again to Bordeaux with the classic Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker, or Casse-Noisette in French. Don’t miss the masterpiece of Tchaikovsky performed by one of the best ballets in the world. The show will take place on December 15 at the Arkea Arena in Floirac. For more details and tickets click here.
When: December 15/ Where: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac
Festival « Sur Un Petit Nuage » de Pessac
The city of Pessac invites you to a fantastic kids festival with plenty of live shows. The festival Sur un Petit Nuage will take place on December 17-22 in different locations in Pessac. You can download the full program here, for tickets go here.
When: December 17-22 / Where: different places in Pessac
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 of the Southwest of France and starting mid December it hosts several truffles markets in its different villages. You can see the full list of truffles markets taking place from December to the end of January here.
MIKA in Bordeaux
Mika, one of the most popular singers in France will give one concert in Bordeaux on December 19th. The concert is taking place at the Arkea Arena in Floirac. For more details and tickets click here.
When: December 19 /Where: 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac
Lormont Fête l’Hiver
The town of Lormont, located just a few minutes drive from Bordeaux, invites you to its annual winter celebration. The program includes plenty of workshops, creative activities for Christmas, escape games, video games, trampolines, Afro battle, a big Christmas market and more. The event will take place on December 21-23 at Pôle Brassens Camus. For more info click here.
When: December 21-23 / Where: Rue Henri Dunant, 33310 Lormont
IBOAT • Super marché de noël
IBOAT, invites you to its annual Christmas market that will take place on the weekend of December 21-22. IBOAT’s Christmas market is always a super fun and chic event, with plenty of stylish stands, activities for kids and alcohol :). For more details click here.
When: December 21-22 / Where: Bassin à Flot n°1, Cours Henri Brunet, 33300 Bordeaux
Drôle de Noël in Talence
This year Talence celebrates the 10th edition of their Drôle de Noël, a big Christmas celebration taking place every year at the Peixotto Parc. Drôle de Noël will start with a Christmas market on December 20-22 and will continue until December 29 with different activities for kids. For more info click here.
When: December 20-29 / Where: Parc Peixotto, 33400 Talence
Go to the Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux
Finding things to do in Bordeaux on Christmas day is not a simple task. Most places, including shops, restaurants and museums will be closed. But there’s one museum that is open even on Christmas and it’s a great opportunity to discover it. Musée du Vin et du Négoce is a small museum, located in what used to be the house of an Irish négociant (wine merchant) in the 18th century. During that time Chartons was the neighborhood of Flemish, Irish and German wine merchants who settled close to the Garonne river in order to export wine to their home countries. Throughout your visit, you will learn about the evolution of winemaking in Bordeaux during the last three centuries. You will discover old techniques and equipment that was used at the time and the way wine was stored and shipped. It goes into interesting details like the first use of bottles to age wine, the first wine etiquettes and more. Check out their site for more info.
The museum is located in the northern part of rue Notre Dame, one of the most interesting streets in Bordeaux. If you want to know what else you can do on that street and generally in the posh Chartrons neighborhood, go to my article about the Chartrons district. Also, check out my article about Museums in Bordeaux to discover other museums that are worth a visit.
Address: The entrance is from 41 Rue Borie, Bordeaux
Go to a Christmas Mass
If you’re staying in Bordeaux on Christmas night (December 24) why not enjoy a mass and a choir concert at the most beautiful church of Bordeaux, the Saint André Cathedral. Two choirs (Le Choeur de Filles de Bordeaux and Les Petits Chanteurs de Bordeaux) will take the stage on this festive night. For more details click here.
When: December 24, from 6pm to 9pm / Where: Place Pey-Berland, 33000 Bordeaux
A traditional marionette theater
Guignol Guérin is the oldest family-run marionette theater in France. While their well-known show runs in the summer, the theater’s winter edition is only two years old and plays at the center of Bordeaux. Their traditional spectacle takes place in Théâtre l’Inox between December 26 and January 5. For more details click here.
When: December 26 to January 5 / Where: 13 Rue Fernand Philippart, 33000 Bordeaux
Cinderella at the Opera
The ballet of Bordeaux will perform a special version of Cinderella for kids, with the choreography of the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The show will take place on Friday, December 27 at 15:00. You can purchase the tickets here.
When: December 27 / Where: Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux
Icones, Spectacle Musical & Réveillon Saint Sylvestre
If you’re looking for something fun to do on New Year’s eve, Casino Théâtre Barrière is hosting an evening dedicated to pop music, with a lot of glamour, dancers and music. For more info and tickets click here.
When: December 31 / Where: Casino Théâtre Barrière, avenue Jean Gabriel Doumergue , 33300 BORDEAUX LAC
Escape the rain
If it’s cold and raining and you’re not in a mood for an event you can always choose one of the cool places on my list of things to do when it’s raining in 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.
Is it your first time in Bordeaux? If it is you should definitely 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 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 AirBnB location.
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