To help you make the most of your time in Bordeaux, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux that you really can’t afford to miss, so this guide will ensure you get the most out of your time in Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is a city of culture and history, where every corner you turn is another door to a world of beauty and adventure. From the vibrant nightlife of the city center to the tranquil beauty of its surrounding vineyards. It is a place that needs to be seen to be believed. Visitors to the city will be spoilt for choice, with no shortage of attractions to explore.
Sit back, relax, and get ready to explore the best of Bordeaux!
1. Esplanade des Quinconces – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
This stunning place, situated in the heart of Bordeaux is a quiet retreat if you want to clear your mind. It was built between 18 and 1828, and the monumental fountain of the square honors the Girondins, the group of Republican politicians, who were deputies in the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. The original fountain was destroyed during World War II but was later restored. If you are around, feel free to visit this wonderful place.
2. The Old Town – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
Top of the list for any visitor to the city is The Old Town, a historic quarter with beautiful streets and buildings. The architecture and atmosphere make it a must-see destination. You can wander around at your leisure or head straight for its main attraction, the Basilica of Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe, which is said to be one of the oldest churches in Europe. There are also plenty of cafés, restaurants, and shops to explore while you’re there. If you’re feeling energetic, consider climbing up Mount Libération on foot or by bike – after taking in the magnificent views from up top you’ll see why it’s called that!
3. The Aquitaine Museum – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
Housed in a former 18th-century wine merchant’s house, this museum is the oldest of its kind. It offers an overview of Aquitaine’s history and contains one of the largest collections of prehistoric artifacts and fossils.
4. Saint-Michel Basilica – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
Saint-Michel Basilica is one of the top places to visit in Bordeaux. The church was first constructed in the 13th century and then renovated during the 17th century when it became a place of worship for Benedictine nuns. The three-aisled basilica still has a Latin cross-ground plan, with a transept crossing and an ambulatory that surrounds the choir. A Romanesque belfry stands at its western end. Stained glass windows depict scenes from the Bible and scenes from 12th-century life in Aquitaine, including a woman grinding flour, two oxen plowing fields, and hunting on horseback.
5. The Grand Theatre de Bordeaux – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
The Grand Theatre de Bordeaux is one of France’s most beautiful theaters. Not only is the building itself an architectural marvel, but it also houses a rich history and is home to some of the most prestigious operas and performances. The theatre has been around since 1780, making it one of the oldest theatres still running today. It was inaugurated with The Marriage of Figaro by Beethoven and Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni. In 1864, Louis-Napoleon III gave the theater his name. With such an illustrious past, this is a definite must-see for any visitor to Bordeaux.
6. The CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
The CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art houses an extensive collection of contemporary art and design, as well as a variety of temporary exhibitions. It is located near the river Garonne and offers visitors a terrace overlooking the city. The museum’s architecture is a true testament to 21st-century design. Its lattice exterior walls are reminiscent of the cell structure found in nature. The building also has a retractable roof that can be opened or closed according to weather conditions.
7. Place de la Bourse – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
Named after the stock exchange it housed at one point, Place de la Bourse is a lively square that’s always buzzing with activity. The square was created by Baron Haussmann during his renovation of Paris, and it was meant to resemble an Italian Piazza. In the center of the square is an ornate fountain from which jets water into the air and then back down into the pool below.
8. La Cité du Vin – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
Although there are many impressive places to visit when visiting Bordeaux, one of the most famous attractions is La Cité du Vin. This wine museum offers a fascinating insight into the world of wine and includes interactive exhibits and tours. Visitors can also find out about the different grape varieties, how wine is made, and various other fun facts about this drink.
9. Jardin Public – 20 Unmissable Attractions in Bordeaux
The Jardin Public is an expansive garden home to numerous plants, a fountain, and a popular place for people to enjoy the sun. The garden was designed by Edouard André, who also designed the gardens at Versailles. For those who are unable to visit Versailles, this garden offers an idea of what you would see there.
10. Saint-Andre Cathedral
It was built between the 14th and 16th centuries, with major renovations taking place in the 18th century. The cathedral is known for its stained glass windows, which were designed by Marc Chagall and represent scenes from the Bible. Saint-Andre has been a place of worship since at least 1266 when it was consecrated by Pope Clement IV; however, its origins are likely much earlier.
11. The Port of the Moon
This is a must-see if you’re a history buff. It was one of the first ports used by the Romans and has been active since the Middle Ages. You can walk along the docks and see fishermen unloading their catches and watch ships come in and out, or take a boat ride on the Garonne River which runs right next to it.
12. The Great Dune of Pilat
Located at an altitude of nearly 700 meters and covering a distance of over 6 kilometers, the Great Dune of Pilat is the biggest sand-dune system in Europe. It is part of a 3,000-hectare nature reserve known for its varied flora and fauna. Visitors can enjoy this stunning natural wonder on foot or with a horse. The walk-up takes about two hours and those who want to cover more ground can rent a 4×4 vehicle.
13. The Bordeaux Wine Route
One of the great joys of visiting France is the wine. The region of Bordeaux, located on the West Coast, has been making wine for more than two thousand years. There are more than 600 vineyards that produce some of the most renowned wines in the world. The best way to explore them is by driving along the famous Route des Châteaux, which winds through lush countryside and past centuries-old chateaus.
14. Margaux Vineyards
A wine-lovers paradise, Margaux Vineyards is one of the most visited vineyards in the region. Now part of the famous French wine-making region of Bordeaux, Margaux Vineyards is home to a large variety of wines and has an extensive history dating back to 1657. Visitors can take a tour through the vineyard and try out some of their wines at the tasting room before stopping off for lunch or dinner at one of their restaurants.
15. St. Emilion
St. Emilion is one of the most famous wine-growing towns in the region and holds a deep heritage for wine production dating back as far as the 11th century. On top of its beautiful architecture and rich history, St. Emilion is also home to several world-famous producers such as Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and Chateau Mouton Rothschild.
16. The Bassin d’Arcachon
The Bassin d’Arcachon is a lagoon on the southwestern coast of France. The area is known for its wide, white-sand beaches and clear water, perfect for swimming. During the summer, boats sail around the lagoon and offer a breathtaking view of the pink sandstone cliffs.
17. The Arcachon Bay
Arcachon Bay is the largest in Europe. Its beaches are some of the most popular tourist destinations on the continent, and many people come here to watch dolphins and participate in water sports.
There are several ways you can visit this beautiful bay, including hiring a boat or taking a ferry from La Teste-de-Buch to Oléron Island.
18. The Gironde Estuary
The Gironde Estuary, located at the confluence of the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, is a marvelous natural habitat for migrating birds. The best time to visit is during the winter months when you’ll be able to see huge flocks of common cranes, great white pelicans, and other waterfowl taking advantage of its vast wetlands.
19. The Medoc Wine Route
The Medoc Wine Route stretches from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol in the south, up through the hillside vineyards of Fronsac and Lalande de Pomerol, then on towards Sauternes. Without a doubt, he best time to visit is between May and October for the grape harvests. On your way back north you can stop off at Haut-Brion and follow the impressive line of chateaux that lead up to Margaux.
20. The Bordeaux Botanical Gardens
The botanical garden is a must-see for any tourist visiting Bordeaux. Basically, the gardens have an extensive collection of plants and trees, with several sculptures and pieces of architecture that are worth exploring. There are also over 4,000 square meters of greenhouses where you can explore exotic species from around the world and take part in workshops to learn more about horticulture.
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