La Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s wine museum, has become one of the city’s main touristic attractions.
Inaugurated in 2016, the wine museum was set to celebrate wine culture around the globe and educate visitors about winemaking and its history.
The shape of this spectacular building is inspired by the movement of wine when it’s swirling in a glass. It can be seen from afar and uplifts the grungy port of Bassin a Flot, where the museum is located.
If you’re visiting Bordeaux and wondering if La Cité du Vin is worth your time, the short answer is yes 🙂 However, if you want a real glimpse into the best wine museum in the world, keep reading the article. Here I’ll walk you through what to expect when visiting La Cite du Vin, how to do it with kids, and what not to miss there.
The museum has been recently renovated and many cool features were added to the permanent exhibition. This article was updated after my recent visit to the Cite du Vin in 2023 and includes all the new sections as well.
Now take a sip of Bordeaux wine and let’s dive in!
What to expect when visiting La Cité du Vin?
La Cité du Vin was best described by my friend July who called it an amusement park for wine lovers. The museum offers an interactive journey into the wine world that includes videos, touch screens, sensory tables, interesting stories, music, and more.
The permanent exhibition takes place on the second floor of the museum. You’ll get an audio guide, that you absolutely must use to enjoy the experience. There’s very little to read and a lot to see and listen to in this museum.
Contrary to what many assume, the museum isn’t dedicated to the Bordeaux wine region. It’s actually a world wine museum. The exhibition takes you through many wine regions in the world. And on that journey, you learn about wine history, culture, different grapes and wines, and more.
What will you discover at La Cite du Vin?
The permanent exhibition includes 18 sections that are divided into six areas.
The first one introduces you to the vineyards of the world through beautiful images and stories from winemakers.
The second is the “know-how” area – here you will learn about varieties of grapes and the winemaking process. One of the cool features here is flat touch screens, surrounded by gigantic wooden bottle shape statues, which help explore the major wine types, from red to sweet white wines and sparkling ones.
The third area is about wine and civilization. Here you’ll dive deep into the history of wine and the latest trends in wine tourism, culture, design, and more.
The fourth area is called “Art of Living” and it’s my favorite part of the museum. Here you’ll find the “buffet of the five senses”. Plenty of different food items from fruits to honey and cookies are presented in front of you on two big tables, allowing you to explore different wine aromas.
Another part that was just recently added is the dinner table with a stunning visual art immersive experience.
The last two parts are a bit less interactive but are fascinating to those interested in the history of wine. The fifth area is dedicated to the part waters and wars played in the history of wine around the globe. And the last part of the exhibition is finally dedicated to the Bordeaux wine region.
It’s time for wine tasting with a view
Now to one of the best parts of this experience – wine tasting!
Go back to the ground floor and take the elevator to the 8th floor (you’ll need your ticket for that, so don’t lose it).
This floor is called the Belvedere and it offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Bordeaux. You can choose one wine from one of the regions that the exhibition is focusing on and take your glass to the balcony to see the view. A perfect ending to this enriching experience.
How to explore Bordeaux’s wine museum?
The permanent exhibition in La Cite du Vin is big and extremely rich in information. It can take about half a day to cover all of it. When the museum gets busy it can take even more time. Many visitors have either no time or patience to go through every piece of information offered by the museum.
If you have only two-three hours to visit the La Cite du Vin you can actually create a tour, that will be based on the areas of your interest and your time constraints.
Vising la Cité du Vin with kids?
Although kids are usually not very interested (or welcomed) in the wine world, La Cite du Vin can be a very kid-friendly experience. I wouldn’t recommend going through every section of the wine museum, however, there are quite a few interactive parts, they’ll be happy to discover.
When you start your tour, build your own kids-friendly guide in the audio guide. Choose a one-hour tour (or more if your kids handle museums well) and then choose. In the areas of Interest choose things like wine making and art, which have more interactive parts in them. Let them touch, smell and enjoy the beautiful visuals.
If you’re visiting Bordeaux with kids take don’t forget to read my article about the best 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux.
What else is there to do at the wine museum?
When you finish the permanent exhibition don’t be in a rush to leave the Cité du Vin, you still have a lot of things to do there.
The Museum regularly hosts great temporary exhibitions that focus on different cultural aspects related to the wine world. The temporary exhibition is located on the first floor and is included in the ticket to the Cite du Vin.
Don’t miss the beautiful library of wine-related books located on the first floor.
Additionally, La Cite du Vin daily hosts wine-tasting workshops in French, English and Spanish. These take place in stunning modern tasting rooms. The English workshop is mainly dedicated to Bordeaux wines while those in French are varied. You can choose workshops about specific wine regions or learn how to match wine with cheese or chocolate.
Another thing to miss is the beautiful wine shop located on the ground floor. The shop has about 800 bottles, with 600 of them being non-French wines. The seventh floor is the fancy Le 7 Restaurant with a stunning view of Bordeaux. I haven’t had the chance to eat there yet but heard some mixed reviews.
All you need to know before going to la Cité du Vin
Tickets and prices
The ticket is a bit pricey but definitely worth the one-time experience.
A ticket to the permanent exhibition (including a glass of wine) is 22€ for an adult and 9 € for kids over 6yo. A family pack is 54€ which is worth buying if you are two adults and two kids.
The museum is top-rated and sometimes the lines can be quite long. To avoid that you can purchase the tickets online in advance.
Click here to buy your tickets in advance.
In case you decided to purchase the Bordeaux city Pass, you’ll get a 20% discount on your tickets to the Cite du Vin and use public transport for free to get there.
The opening hours of Cité du Vin are Monday to Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday – Sunday and bank and school holidays from 10 am to 7 pm. Opening hours change in the high season so check them out on the website of the museum before going.
How to get to the wine museum
The easiest way to get to Cité du Vin is by tram B. The “Cité du Vin” station is located just two minute’s walk from the museum.
If you are located on the other side of the Garonne river you can also take the boat (BAT 3). It’s the same ticket as the tram but you can get there in a more stylish way 🙂
For more information about the hours and the other stations of the BAT3 -click here.
Another option is taking the city bikes from one of the V3 stations that are spread all over the city. The ride from the city center to the wine museum is one of the best things to do when visiting Bordeaux. I’ve even included it in my article about the best things to do in Bordeaux in one day.
What else is there to do next to the wine museum?
If you don’t have anything planned after your visit to the museum don’t rush to leave this cool neighborhood. This is an opportunity to discover the Bassin a flot district, which as you’ll see has a more hipster and industrial vibe to it.
It’s one of the rising districts of Bordeaux with plenty of street art, bars, music venues, and a chic-covered market. If you want to learn more about the Bassin a flot (Bacalan) district check out my article about the north of Bordeaux.
If it’s your first time in Bordeaux check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in the city. To help you choose a place to stay 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.
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:
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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 🙂