What to do in Bordeaux, the city of wine: Places to visit and events to experience07-02-2020
Bordeaux, the capital of the Gironde department, is known worldwide for the quality of its vines and wines. It is one of the largest and most beautiful cities in France. Located in the southwest of the country, it constantly allures tourists from all over the world but also coming from all over France, eager to discover its heritage, its cuisine and its generous climate.
Bordered by the Garonne River, this charming city continues to surprise. Bordeaux is a wonderful place to live and where there is always something to do or discover. This city combines modernity and classic architecture, all embellished by numerous green spaces. Let yourself be seduced and carried away by the city of wine and its terroir. By browsing this blog, you will know everything about what to see, what to visit, and where to go out!
What to see in Bordeaux: the must-sees:
The Place de la Bourse and its water mirror
In the heart of the city stands the majestic Place de la Bourse. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007, it was built in the eighteenth century under the reign of Louis XV. Bordered by the Garonne river, the place is characterised by a series of huge identical buildings of unparalleled elegance. Inaugurated in 1749, the former royal square has been decorated with the Fountain of the Three Graces, representing the three daughters of Zeus at its centre since 1869.
This square, magnificent by day, reveals all its grace at night when it is adorned with its hundreds of lights reflecting in the water mirror. Designed by landscape architect Michel Corajoud, the water mirror is composed of a set of Granite slabs on which a layer of water rests. Its 3,450m2 of surface area, which makes it the largest water mirror in the world. Its incredible reflective mirror effect sometimes gives way to a magical fog effect created by the Jean-Max Llorca. This will definitely make you dream.
A little tip if you arrive by car: it is much more pleasant to park your car and visit the city by foot and ride the public transport!
The Bridges in the City Centre
If you have the opportunity to admire the Place de la Bourse and its water mirror, sit for a moment on the shores of the Garonne River to contemplate the river and the two magnificent bridges facing each other.
The Stone Bridge/Le Pont de Pierre
Inaugurated in 1822, the Pont de Pierre is actually the first stone bridge ever built in Bordeaux. Composed of seventeen spans, its purpose is to link the left to the right riverside of the city. For nearly 150 years, it was the only way to link the historic center of the city on the left bank with the Bastide district on the right bank. The bridge is now a no-vehicle zone. Tram line A operates on this bridge, while two large pedestrian areas are also vacant. Perhaps you could take a short walk over the river and contemplate the view.
The Jacques Chaban Delmas Bridge/Le pont Jacques Chaban Delmas
Completed in 2012, the Jacques Chaban Delmas Bridge bears the name of one of its former mayors. It also connects the left to the right bank of the city. However, it is not a bridge like any other. To allow huge cruise ships to pass, the bridge would extend its height instead of splitting open in half. A real show that you may have the chance to see!
The Place des Quinconces
In the heart of Bordeaux, on the banks of the Garonne River, is the vast Place des Quinconces. Its twelve-hectare open space makes it the largest square in Europe. Overlooking this immense esplanade, the Girondins column rises to a height of 43 meters. The Monument aux Girondins pays tribute to the Girondins executed during the Terror of the French Revolution. Built-in 1845, it is surmounted by the angel of Liberty breaking his irons. At its feet, it is surrounded by magnificent fountains, and the Republic exudes the values of Work, Security, and Strength.
The perfect spot to take a few pictures!
Source: Visiter Bordeaux
The Public Garden/Le Jardin Public
Looking for a little picnic in a green space while staying at the city center? The public garden is the ideal place! This vast area of more than ten hectares was created in 1746. It is the first French garden to have been designed with the primary purpose of welcoming the public. With its colorful flowers, its basins where ducks and geese lounge, its statues and monuments scattered here and there, the public garden with its bucolic landscape is sometimes the scene of dance classes, activities, and puppet shows for children.
What to do in Bordeaux, what to visit?
Now, if you think you have seen everything, prepare yourselves to be amazed by visiting the city's various wine castles and museums!
Visit wine castles
Your stay in Bordeaux would not be complete without a visit to the region's wine estates! Renowned all over the world for the quality of its vines, the Bordeaux region is full of castles and vineyards that can be visited! Enjoy a total immersion in the world of wine producers! You will be able to discover magnificent properties of remarkable architecture and taste the wines from their vineyards in an idyllic setting. This is the case of the Saint-Emilion vineyard, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for 20 years.
The Wine Museum / La Cité du Vin
How to get to Bordeaux without visiting La Cité du Vin? If you do not have the opportunity to visit the region's castles, a visit to the city of wine is a must. Built-in 2014, La Cité du Vin is a unique museum! Indeed, it is both a museum and a place for exhibitions, shows, film screenings, and academic seminars on the theme of wine. This unique place with its evocative architecture immerses its visitors in an adventure that stimulates each of their senses, for their greatest pleasure.
One can discover wine from every angle! You will learn and, above all, taste the best wines produced in the Bordeaux region. In short, an experience that you cannot miss.
Cruise and Tastings
Between land and river, embark on a pleasant river trip in the heart of the city! You will have the pleasure of tasting the good wines of Bordeaux and its region. You will be accompanied by a professional who will give you his precious advice!
The Aquitaine Museum
If you want to know more about Bordeaux and its history, take a look at the Musée d’Aquitaine. Opened in 1963, the Musée d'Aquitaine has many collections of precious objects and documents retracing the history of Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region from prehistory to the Contemporary period. The museum houses both permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.
The Capucins Market/Le Marché des Capucins
Just a seven-minute walk from the flea market of Saint Michel, discover the Capuchin Market. It is by far the largest and most lively of Bordeaux's markets. Its name comes from the Congregation of Religious Beggars (founded in 1525) clothed in a pointed hood dress called the "capuce". You will find fresh fruits and vegetables, meats of exceptional quality, but also restaurants, wine, homemade jams... In short, a multitude of products that will delight your taste buds.
After travelling around the city from one end to the other, it is now time to treat your taste buds!
Where to eat?
The Grand Hôtel of Bordeaux - Intercontinental Bordeaux
Facing the Grand Theatre is the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux. If its facade reminds you of something, that is certainly a point to keep in mind as you gaze at the view. Both buildings were created by architect Victor Louis in the 18th century. With 130 rooms and 45 suites, it is an exceptional luxury establishment whose services are not only intended for the hotel's guests.
Looking for a good gourmet meal? Le Pressoir d'Argent, a two-star Michelin Guide restaurant, is established by world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. It has refined dishes that will enchant your taste buds.
On the seventh floor of the Intercontinental Bordeaux, discover the spectacular rooftop Night Beach and its breathtaking view. The perfect place to sip a cocktail with friends or enjoy a good local wine!
For burger lovers, the Kokomo is a must-go! With its tasty meat burgers, homemade bread, and fries, this restaurant is literally irresistible. And what can we say about their "loaded chips"..... these homemade fries covered with melted cheddar cheese are undoubtedly yummy! Salad lovers will not be left out. Feel free to try their generous Caesar Salad. A pure delight
Le Flacon/The Flacon
Stop by the wine bar: Cave Le Flacon. In the heart of the city, the place will seduce you with its intimate ambiance. In a relaxed atmosphere, the establishment offers daily tastings of local wines accompanied by delicious tapas. From small producers to large estates, there is something for everyone.
The 7 - Panoramic Restaurant
And since you will already have visited the Cité du Vin, why not have lunch on the seventh floor of the museum? This panoramic restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the city. You will be able to admire all of Bordeaux and its Port de la Lune. You can eat both regional dishes and flavors from around the world.
Source: Bordeaux Tourism
Bordeaux is both a land of culture and festivals. Discover the festivities that you cannot - and should not - miss!
Cool events in Bordeaux!
The river festival or the wine festival
Every year in June Bordeaux is celebrating! The even-numbered years showcase the famous wine festivals, while odd-numbered years show homage to the river festival.
The River Festival
On this occasion, the world's tallest sailboats and boats stop over to partake in the event. Water activities, river walks, and free concerts fill the four-day festivity. The celebration usually ends with a magnificent fireworks display.
The wine festival (from 18 to 21 June 2020)
In even-numbered years, Bordeaux celebrates wine. Tall sailing ships also parade in the river. By purchasing the Tasting Pass (12 tastings for €20), you can enjoy the diversity of wines produced in the region. Regional chefs, producers and winemakers will have the pleasure of introducing you to the flavors of the country. All in all, eleven booths are present, where you can explore, discover, and enjoy from the stone bridge to Hangar 14 along the quays.
Source: Un air de Bordeaux
Where to go out? - Bordeaux by night!
Night walk along the quays
Start your evening with a short walk on the quays, along the hangars. On foot or by bike, rollerblading or skateboarding, any means is good to take in the fresh air. A four-and-a-half kilometer of pure happiness. In fact, along the quays, you can admire many of the above-mentioned places. The stone bridge, the Place de la Bourse and its water mirror, the Place des Quinconces, but also the Chaban Delmas bridge, not to mention the Garonne river.
The quays also house the Skatepark de Bordeaux, located at Quai des Chartrons, much appreciated by young and old alike. Also, during the day, you can stroll around the shops of the Quai des Marques, (even on Sundays!) or make a small culinary detour towards one of the many restaurants.
Source: Bordeaux Tourism
The Place de la Victoire/Victory Square
In the center of Place de la Victoire stands a sixteen-meter-high red marble column that pays homage to the vine and viticulture. Next to it are two turtles that also symbolize the culture of wine.
Located in the heart of the city, this square is reputed to be lively when the evening comes. With its many bars and terraces, it is one of Bordeaux's favorite meeting places for people to meet up with friends and get some drinks.
Source: Lieux Publics Lieux Prives
Former military barracks of more than 20,000m2 located on the right bank, the Darwin ecosystem is characterized by its great originality. It is a green economy center that consists of an urban farm, an XXL skatepark, spaces for free artistic expression for graffiti artists, an organic grocery store, a restaurant called Le Magasin Général (the largest vegetarian restaurant in France), co-working areas, a cycle-polo field and a wellness center (Le Bivouac), with a charming "recovered" decor. In short, a place that will surprise you with its uniqueness!
Source: Bordeaux Tourism
The Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux
Inaugurated in 1780, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is located at Place de la Comédie - a few steps away from Place des Quinconces and Place de la Bourse. This neoclassical-style building culminates at a height of 88 meters. It accommodates, among other things, a room that can hold 1,000 spectators. It also hosts the Bordeaux National Opera and its Ballets as well as symphonic concerts. All in all, a multitude of performances are not to be missed!
Source: Bordeaux Tourism
Another piece of advice for your stay in Bordeaux: traveling is better when it is a shared experience! Whether with family or friends, enjoy your trip and be happy!
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