Bordeaux France is a wonderful place to visit. It is a beautiful city with so much history and culture to enjoy. It is the perfect destination for anyone looking to spend some time exploring the French culture and way of life.
It offers a great selection of things to do, restaurants, shopping and activities. The city is also well known for its wine and there are numerous great wineries in the region which are a must visit if you are a wine enthusiast.
The city is also a great visit if you are a fan of architecture. Back in 2007, Bordeaux was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status due to its classical and neoclassical architecture and 18th century heritage.
The city of Bordeaux has so much to offer and is an ideal holiday destination for couples, families and solo travellers alike. You will find that there are many things to do in Bordeaux and this guide will help you plan some of the best activities while visiting the French city.
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The Miroir d’eau
The Miroir d’eau is the largest reflecting pool in the world and is located in the city centre of Bordeaux, in front of the grand Place de la Bourse.
Also named the Water Mirror, the beautiful reflecting pool measures an impressive 3,450 square metres and is a lovely place to go for a walk. It was built back in 2006 and has since become one of the most photographed spots in Bordeaux.
The remarkable reflection from the water mirrors the surrounding buildings, area and sky creating a wonderful vision and optical illusion.
The mirror effect is created by a thin layer of water on the large granite surface that lies beneath. There are many fountains throughout the reflecting pool that add to the beauty of its reflection.
You can walk around the edge to see all of its different angles and reflections. The Miroir d’eau is an important part of Bordeaux’s history and landscape and is especially beautiful on a sunny day when the sky appears clear and bright.
The Natural History Museum
If you are looking for things to do in Bordeaux with family, then the Natural History Museum is it! First created back in 1791, the museum now has over 1 million artefacts, specimens and objects on display.
The museum has had several renovation projects since it first opened, with the most recent one being completed in March 2019.
The museum has a lot of interactive exhibits that are perfect for kids and families. Current exhibitions include Aquitain Coast, an exhibit all about the coastline.
The Natural History Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and is 8 euros per adult to enter, or 3.5 euros per child.
Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge
The Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas is a bridge that connects the city to its bank on the east side, crossing the Garonne River. This modern bridge is made of steel and is the biggest vertical lift bridge in the whole of Europe.
It measures 110 metres long and 77 meters high. Named after prime minister Jacques Chaban-Delmas, the bridge was opened in 2013 and is now an iconic structure of the Bordeaux landscape.
The bridge is designed to allow ships to pass beneath it. In order to accommodate the larger boats, the bridge can be raised in just 11 minutes, then allowing them to pass underneath and on their way down the river. When dark falls, the bridge is also illuminated making it a fantastic photo opportunity!
The bridge itself is a beautiful example of modern architecture and the views from it are stunning. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in Bordeaux and is a must see on your list of things to do in Bordeaux.
Pey Berland Tower
If you are looking for things to see in the city, make sure to visit Pey Berland Tower, the Bell Tower of Bordeaux. It is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a UNESCO world heritage site, therefore making it a huge tourist attraction.
The history of this bell tower starts with Saint-André cathedral, the old structure could not hold the large weight of the tenor bell. Therefore, the Pey Berland Tower was constructed in 1440 as a separate building in order to have the bell repositioned.
The bell that sits inside the bell tower is the fourth largest in France and weighs a whopping 11 tonnes.
If you wish to go inside the bell tower, there is an entry fee of 6 euros per person and in order to get to the top there are 229 steps to conquer! However, once you are at the top, the views are well worth the climb as the Pey Berland Tower is one of the tallest buildings in the city.
The Grosse Cloche or ‘Big Bell’ is situated inside the town hall of Bordeaux. The bell is only rung on a select amount of days per year, some on special occasions such as Remembrance Sunday or VE Day. The bell was made in 1775 and weighs around 7.7 tonnes.
The building in which the bell is hung also used to be a prison many years ago, where juveniles were held after committing crimes.
You can take a tour of the popular monument where you can see the old dungeons still inside. The 30 minute guided tour costs just 6 euros per person.
Place des Quinconces
The Place des Quinconces is a famous public square in Bordeaux. It is located on the banks of the Garonne River and features several fountains, including the Monument aux Girondins.
This monument features fountains and a towering column that has been built in honour of the Girondin revolutionaries.
The vast piazza was constructed in 1820 and is now a popular place for tourists and locals to gather. The Place des Quinconces is a great place to relax on a hot summer day or even just for a stroll.
The piazza is surrounded by beautiful buildings and has plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby if you want to grab lunch after exploring the area.
Dune du Pilat
If you are looking for something a bit different, then consider making a trip to the highest sand dune in Europe, Dune du Pilat. It is located only 37 miles southwest of Bordeaux and in La Teste-de-Buch.
It is a natural phenomenon which means it has become a popular tourist destination with over 2 million visitors a year. This giant mound of sand is 110 metres high and over 2.7 kilometres long.
The most rewarding thing about seeing this natural wonder is that it is completely unstructured and not made by humans (apart from the stairs to help you get to the top). It really is a breathtaking sight and you will not be disappointed by the view if you manage to climb to the top.
The sand dune is growing every year and is slowly eating up the pine trees positioned behind it! There are many tour guides who will take you on a day trip to the Bay of Arcachon, where you can experience the region with a local and have added benefits such as oyster tasting.
If you are visiting Bordeaux, a fun activity to do is wine tasting or a wine tour around a vineyard. There are many different types of wine to try and the region has lots of tours available.
There are 8500 wineries around Bordeaux so there is a great chance that you will come across a vineyard on your travels without even trying.
This wine tasting class is only two hours long so great if you are on a tight schedule but still want to experience the French wine culture. The wine tasting class helps to educate you on the different types of Bordeaux wine and the difference between the classic tastes.
During the wine tasting, you get to sample the different wines accompanied by an appetizer that pairs well with the wines. An exciting end to the workshop includes blending your own wine!
If you are wondering where are the best places to visit in the wider Bordeaux region are, then Saint Emilion is a wonderful town to see.
It is a small commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and only has a population of around 2000 people. This medieval village is in the main wine region of Bordeaux and has a lot of history.
It is a great place to take a wine tour and visit the many vineyards in the area or just stroll around the streets of the village and see all the beautiful buildings that date back to the Middle Ages.
There are also many day trips to Saint Emilion meaning you can get a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site with ease with added bonuses of lunch and wine tasting included.
Boat Tour on the Garonne River
The Garonne River is one of the most beautiful rivers in France and it runs through Bordeaux city centre. Taking a guided boat tour down the river is a great way to see the city from a different perspective and learn more about its history.
The tour is approx one and a half hours long and takes you on a trip down the Garonne River on a Riviera yacht.
An alcoholic drink is included in the ticket price and the tour guide will provide you with interesting information about the city.
You will get to pass by Bordeaux attractions such as La Cite du Vin, Place des Quinconces and Pont d’Aquitaine. A boat tour is great if you do not have a long amount of time in the city and you wish to see lots of sights in quick succession.
French food is delicious and you should try it while you are in Bordeaux, France. If you want to learn more about French cuisine and sample some of the best dishes in Bordeaux, then a food tour is the perfect way to do so. A food tour will take you around the city and show you where different types of foods are made.
This fun food tour lasts three and a half hours and all the food is included in your ticket price. You will get to sample fresh oysters, burgers, cannelés, focaccia and of course, some wine!
The city park of Bordeaux is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is located in the centre of town and it is free to enter.
You can go here to relax, read a book or just enjoy the view! The park contains many attractions including flowerbeds and fountains such as the Statue de Fernand Lafargue.
It also has a playground for children so if you have kids in tow then they will have fun as well. There is a small lake in the middle of the park, which is lovely to walk around and there is a small boat rental named Le Petit Mousse where you can take a short boat ride.
Opéra National de Bordeaux
Opéra National de Bordeaux is a beautiful building that is located in the centre of Bordeaux. It was built in 1780 and is a stunning example of neoclassical architecture, designed by the architect named Victor Louis.
On the outside of the building, you will find three goddesses that arise from ancient mythology as well as nine muses.
The inside is equally as inspiring and is adorned with gilded decorations and a huge chandelier that weighs 1.2 tonnes with 400 lights. Throughout the year, the opera house hosts many performances including ballet, classical music concerts and plays.
Place Camille Jullian
A beautiful square in the heart of Bordeaux, Place Camille Jullian is surrounded by many stunning buildings, as well as shops and restaurants. In the centre of the square, there is a statue that dates back to 1930 in honour of a local historian.
The square is a pleasant area of the city where people can relax and enjoy the scenery in one of the French cafes that surround it.
Bordeaux is a great place to explore and immerse yourself in French culture. The region is known for its wine, but it also has lots of other things to offer. From beautiful architecture to delicious food and drink, Bordeaux is definitely worth a visit.
The city is easy to get around and there are plenty of attractions that you can see during your stay. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or just want to relax and unwind on the banks of the Garonne River, Bordeaux has something for everyone.
Recommended tours in Bordeaux
- Bordeaux City Pass
- Saint Emilion Day Trip with Sightseeing Tour & Wine Tastings from Bordeaux
- Medoc or St-Emilion Small-Group Wine Tasting and Chateaux Tour from Bordeaux
- Bordeaux tourist excursion by bike “Burdigala over time”
- The Most Complete Tour of Bordeaux. Center, medieval area and Barrio San Miguel
- Bordeaux Historic and Gourmet Food Walking Tour
- Prestige Commented Cruise with Glass of Wine and Canelé in Bordeaux
- Bordeaux Cheese & Wine Tasting Experience
- Bordeaux Super Saver: Small-Group Trip to Arcachon with Oyster Tasting and Lunch plus Médoc Wine Tour