Are you planning to visit Bordeaux during your next vacation? The traditional visit to the “sleeping beauty” (the city’s nickname) is a great experience, but imagine if you could live the typical “bordelaise” day. You might ask, what does that involve? In this article, I will take you through places to visit, the best locations taste the traditional dishes and the beautiful streets to stroll around with family or friends… Don’t hesitate to take notes!
1. Stroll in the Saint Pierre district
The “Saint Pierre” district is the historic heart of the “sleeping beauty”. Stroll around its quaint streets to find the different small squares filled with many restaurants and wine bars to have a gourmet break. We suggest you to go to Porte Cailhau and stop at La Ligne Rouge, a small charming wine bar where you can taste wines from Bordeaux, but also from all over the world, with beautiful plates of “charcuterie” (branch of French cooking devoted to prepared meat products).
2. Walk on the docks
After a beautiful day in the historic heart of Bordeaux, it’s time to walk on the docks. Take a VCub and discover the ‘Rive Droite’ (right bank of the river), going from the pont Chaban-Delmas to Pont de Pierre. To rest after this bike ride, take a break on the lawns of the docks like any self-respecting Bordelaise!
3. Relax in the Public Garden
This typical French garden classified as a “Remarkable Garden of France”, located in the Chartrons district, and it is a haven of rest. Covering 11 hectares, there is something to suit everyone. You can for example relax in the former botanical garden or in the lovely bar-restaurant l’Orangerie or just hang out on the many lawns in the park.
4. Walk on the Ponte de Pierre at night
After observing the Pont de Pierre (stone bridge) from the Bordeaux docks, stop in the middle of it to enjoy a breathtaking panorama of the illuminated docks. You will be able to spot the Place de la Bourse, Place des Quinconces, Porte Cailhau and the beautiful facades of the buildings that surround the Garonne. A moment of pure relaxation after a busy day.
5. Visit the Cathedral of Saint André
Come and gaze at the Cathedral of Saint André and it’s independent tower overlooking the Pey Berland square. Do not hesitate to go inside to admire the beautiful stained glass. It was declared a Historic Monument and it was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1998. Take the tour of the Cathedral to admire the town hall of Bordeaux from its bell tower: The Pey Berland Tower.
6. Take a picture at the Place de la Bourse and the water mirror
Which Bordeaux local has not photographed the Place de la Bourse and the water mirror? This is the picture of the day if you want to have a memory of “the city of wonders.” A small tip for the photo: take it when the water is evaporating, this will guarantee the success of the photo.
7. Walk through St. Catherine Street
Rue Sainte Catherine is, according to the locals, the longest shopping street in Europe. It connects two of the most important places of the city: the Place de la Comedie and the Victory Square which are filled with surprises. Wander through the main artery of Bordeaux between shops, wine bars and restaurants. Your shopping day must begin here…
8. Enjoy the sun and eat quality seafood, Sundays on the Marché des Quais
The Marché des Quais is a must for every Sunday Bordeaux resident. Stroll among the market stalls to discover the fresh local products. If hungry, we recommend oysters, or the famous fish-skewers (at 5€ per skewer, you will not be disappointed!). Remember, the food market closes at 13h …
9. Cross Quinconces
Quinconces, located in the center of Bordeaux holds the honorary title of the largest square in France and even Europe with a total of 12 hectares. The square has organized many events such as a carnival or the Fête aux Jambons (a festival for ham). But you can also admire the monument to the Girondins or statues in honor of Montaigne and Montesqieu.
10. Admire the beauty of the vineyards in the Bordeaux region
Saint Emilion, Saint Estephe, Margaux, Pomerol, you have already heard of these names several times during a dinner or conversation. Now it’s time for you to visit, preferably by bike, these major areas of Bordeaux and admire the beauty of small villages and vineyards around. Notify castles advance of your arrival and you may have the right to a tasting and tour!
11. A little trip on the seafront
By car or train, Arcachon is just a few kilometers away. Come and enjoy the sun on a beautiful Atlantic coast sandy beach with the oyster menu, bread, butter and of course white wine to accompany it. Do not immediately return to Bordeaux, enjoy a sunset at the top of the Dune du Pyla, breathtaking views and impressive colors await you.
12.Climb to the top of the Tour Pey Berland and watch “The Pearl of Aquitaine” at dusk
Is one of your desires to see an aerial view of Bordeaux to enjoy the breathtaking views of the monuments and roofs at nightfall? Climb to the top of the Pey Berland Tower right next to the Cathedral of Saint André to marvel at the surprise that awaits you… We will not tell you more 😉
13. The Bordeaux wine festival
The largest city of wine without a wine festival would be a crime. Every year in June, Bordeaux celebrates great wine. In the heart of the city, a road of 2km filled with winemakers and traders eager to meet with you and discuss thir wines. Make sure you have as Pass Dégustations (A Tasting Pass), and you can enjoy a few good glasses of wine!
14. Taste the famous Bordeaux Canelés
One of the specialties is the Bordeaux Canelé. This small pastry flavored with rum and vanilla, caramelized on the outside and chewy on the inside will make your taste buds tremble after a walk in the historic center of Bordeaux. For the best canelés, go to the many Baillardan stores.
15. Taste the cuisine of the Bordeaux region.
Bordeaux is known worldwide for its wine, but do not forget its gastronomy, which will fill you with joy! You can easily find the restaurants serving traditional cuisine such as seared foie gras with figs, duck breast, the lamprey, beef steak, caudéranaise snails, Pauillac milk-fed lamb, ceps, and many more…
This small list is just a glimpse of the beauty of the city of Bordeaux and the surprises that await you. We do not call it “the city of wonders” for nothing … Have fun, lose yourself and discover a large number of charming squares and streets.
It only remains for you to sign in with GuestToGuest to find a home exchange. The Bordeaux region awaits you! Stay for free with GuestToGuest and use the housing budget to enjoy the many activities they offer or others you find wandering in the city.
Have you visited Bordeaux? Tell us your Landmarks and your little secrets by commenting on this article! 😉
TristanHead of the French community at GuestToGuest. I studied in a business school in Bordeaux. I currently live in Paris and I love meeting new people and discovering new cultures.