Synonymous with world-class viticulture, the beautiful French city of Bordeaux offers so much more than just being the home of some of the world’s best red wines. Situated on the banks of the Garonne River in southwestern France, the port city is a hub of the famed wine-growing region and is surrounded by pristine vineyards and magnificent châteaux. The cultural and historical significance of the UNESCO-listed city is highlighted in beautiful buildings such as the Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, a myriad of 18th and 19th-century mansions, and museums like the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Other notable attractions in and around the city include the grand Place de la Bourse overlooking the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool, the breathtaking Three Graces fountain, and the many public gardens lining the river and offering tranquil places to relax.
1.Basilique Saint-Michel (Basilica of St. Michael)
The Basilique Saint-Michel (Basilica of St. Michael) is a magnificent Gothic cathedral built between the end of the 14th century and the 16th century. Located in the heart of the old quarter of Saint-Michel, the church is a listed historical monument and features several striking architectural elements such as a 375-foot bell tower dating back to the 15th century and beautiful stained-glass detailing. The church has a Gallo-Roman cemetery and catacombs housing several naturally mummified bodies beneath the bell tower, which were exhibited in the crypt until 1979. The pulpit inside the church represents Saint Michael slaying the dragon.
33800 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-94-30-50
Cathédrale St-André is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Saint Andrew and the most majestic of Bordeaux's churches. Located near the Town Hall in the heart of the city, the beautiful religious monument was constructed in the 11th century and features several striking architectural elements, including a freestanding bell tower and giant flying buttresses. It also has a magnificent 13th century French Gothic Royal Door with polychrome statues in the north wall of the nave, and a delicate Renaissance organ inside. Today, the Roman Catholic church is the seat of the Archbishop of Bordeaux.
Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-52-68-10
3.Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial (Bordeaux World Heritage)
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The Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial is an interpretation center for the architecture and heritage of the city of Bordeaux. The center takes visitors on a journey through an interactive architectural and heritage animation experience that winds its way through the city on a series on urban walks. Visitors can trace the development of the city and the factors that influenced its growth and imagine the future of the town as envisaged by architects and urban planners. Exhibits and displays include a video projection comparing archival documents, graphic reconstructions, architectural models, a digital table, and other visual experiences. Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial also features an education area for schools and younger visitors and a gift shop with a selection of books and objects about architecture and heritage.
2-8 Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-00-66-00
© Cap Sciences
Cap Sciences is a center for scientific, technical, and industrial culture that focuses on discovering and understanding the nature of scientific, professional, and technological applications. Founded in 1995 and based in an old warehouse in Bordeaux, the center features permanent, traveling and online exhibitions, educational workshops, interactive and immerse experiences, and more. The center has a ‘living lab’ for demonstrations and a café selling refreshments.
Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-01-07-07
5.CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux
Originally known as the Centre of Contemporary Plastic Arts, the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux is a museum of modern art with one of the richest collections of modern and contemporary art in France. Established in 1973, the museum is a leading cultural venue in the national and international arena with a rich and diverse program of temporary exhibitions, cultural and educational events, and performances throughout the year. Located between the banks of the Garonne and the Jardin Public in the district of Les Chartrons, the museum is housed in the Entrepôt Lainé, a former colonial goods warehouse dating back to 1824 that was redesigned and renovated by architects Jean Pistre and Denis Valode.
CAPC, 7 Rue Ferrere, Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-00-81-50
6.Cite du Vin
La Cité du Vin is a cultural center dedicated to the living heritage of wine with an array of immersive and interactive permanent exhibitions documenting the history of wine. The center is based in a beautifully designed building with organic elements and features over 13,000 square meters of space split over ten levels. Visitors are taken on a journey through the world of wine while exploring some of the center’s signature features such as immersive multi-sensory spaces, and various tasting areas, including the 35-meter-high belvedere where wines can be sampled against a backdrop of spectacular views. Other features include a 250-seater auditorium for performances and conferences, a 250m² boutique concept selling wine-related merchandise, a reading room, and three restaurants.
134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-16-20-20
7.Le Miroir d'eau
The Miroir d'eau is the world's largest reflecting pool. Located on the quay of the Garonne in front of the Place de la Bourse, the 37,100 square foot reflecting pool was designed by landscape artist Michel Corajoud in 2006 and built by fountain-maker Jean-Max Llorca. The pool is made of granite slabs, which are covered by just two centimeters of water with a system that creates mist every 15 minutes, creating a reflection. The Miroir d'eau works in the summer months between April and October.
Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France
© Musée d'Aquitaine
The Musée d’Aquitaine is a regional history museum and one of the largest in France. The museum houses a collection of objects documenting the history of Bordeaux and Aquitaine from 1715 to the present day. Permanent exhibitions include the tomb of the famous author and philosopher Michel de Montaigne; the Gironde vineyards and the wine they produce; Bordeaux Atlantic trade and slavery; and Bordeaux during the 19th century and the interwar period. Signature pieces in the collection include the Laussal Venus, a lifelike stone carving of a woman that is 27,000 years old, Gallic treasure unearthed in Tayac such as gold coins, metals, and a solid gold torc.
20 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-01-51-00
9.Musee du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux
© Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux
The Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux is dedicated to the history of Bordeaux wines and their international reputation. Located in the heart of the historic wine merchants’ quarter, the museum occupies three beautiful vaulted cellars and features a wide range of winemaking equipment, historical objects, and new technologies used in over 2000 years of wine production in the region. The museum offers guided tours that delve into the history of the leading wine dynasties, the production process of wine, wine classification, and the vital role Bordeaux plays in the trade. Visitors can also sample some of the region’s finest wines.
41 Rue Borie, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-90-19-13
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10.Musee National des Douanes (National Customs Museum)
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The Musée National des Douanes (National Customs Museum) is dedicated to the history of French customs. Located in the beautiful Hôtel des Fermes du Roi at Place de la Bourse, the building was built for the Ferme Générale, tax collectors for the king, and later became the customs house. It is a stunning example of 18th century Bordeaux architecture and boasts beautiful architectural features like arches, pillars, and cabinets filled with historical items, objects and memorabilia from the 18th century, ranging from significant works of art by renowned artists and handmade opium pipes to musical instruments, maps, and furnishings.
1 Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-9-70-27-57-66
11.Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux
Housed in the magnificent Hôtel de Lalande, the Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux boasts a collection of French ceramics, glassware, and other decorative arts. Surrounded by a beautiful courtyard and manicured gardens and grounds, the museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts the atmosphere of an 18th-century Bordeaux aristocratic mansion. The historical monument has several rooms with parquet floors, wood paneling, period décor and furnishings, marble fireplaces, collections of Bordeaux ceramics, Barye bronzes and porcelain pieces.
39 Rue Bouffard, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-10-14-00
12.Musee des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts)
© Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts)
The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux is a fine arts museum and one of the largest art galleries in France. Established by the painter Pierre Lacour in 1801, the museum is housed in a dependency of the Palais Rohan and displays works by renowned European and Bordelaise painters from various periods. The museum has two wings – the south wing, which highlights art from the 16th to the 18th century, and the north wing that houses 19th and 20th-century art. The museum features masterpieces by artists such as Picasso, Rubens, Matisse, Delacroix, Van Dyck, and Brueghel, and major Bordeaux artists such as Odilon Redon, Albert Marquet, and André Lhote.
20 Cours d'Albret, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-10-20-56
Parc Bordelais is a 69-acre park and historical green space in the heart of the city that offers a charming space to relax. Built on 28 hectares of land that were once fields, forests, and vineyards, the park was landscaped by landscape architect Eugène Bühler, who drew inspiration from the great Parisian parks of the Second Empire. Today, the park is the oldest green space in Bordeaux and features a large lake with a small bridge, three thousand mature trees, including more than a thousand centenarians, vast grassy expanses for picnicking, play areas for children, and local-breed farm animals to pet.
Rue du Bocage, 33000 Bordeaux, France
14.Pey Berland Tower
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The Pey Berland Tower is a 15th-century bell tower situated to the south-east of the chevet of the Cathedral of Saint-André at Bordeaux. Named for its patron Pey Berland, the free-standing tower was built away from the church to prevent the vibration of the ringing bells from damaging the church structure. Once one of the tallest buildings in the city, the Pey Berland Tower is open every day of the week except Monday and boasts breathtaking views of Bordeaux.
Place Pey Berland, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-81-26-25
15.Place de la Bourse
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Resting on the banks of the Garonne River, the Place de la Bourse is the symbol of Bordeaux and one of the city's most recognizable sights. Built between 1730 and 1775, the elegant square and multi-building development was designed by architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel and has played a significant role in the development of the city. The Place de la Bourse is home to Miroir d’eau, the world's largest reflecting pool in which the square’s impressive symmetry and classical French architecture is reflected in the water. The magnificent buildings surrounding the square include the Hôtel de la Bourse, the Hôtel des Fermes, and the isolated central pavilion.
Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France
16.Place de la Comedie
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Located where the main streets of Bordeaux converge, the Place de la Comédie is an impressive square that is lined by magnificent buildings, including the iconic Grand Théâtre and the luxurious Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux. Tree-lined avenues extend radially from the square and are lined with major brand stores, haute couture boutiques, and designer shops. The spectacular Grand Théâtre was designed by architect Victor Louis and built between 1773 and 1780 is home to the Opéra National de Bordeaux. The exquisite Grand Hotel de Bordeaux boasts an opulent rooftop bar with breathtaking views over the square and the city.
Place de la Comédie, 33000 Bordeaux, France
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17.Place des Quinconces
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One of the largest city squares in Europe, the Place des Quinconces, is a 12-hectare open public space that was designed to celebrate the actions of the Gironde political group during the French Revolution. Laid out in 1820 on the site of Château Trompette, the space is home to the Monument aux Girondins with its rampaging bronze horses, fountains and statue of liberty. The square also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from concerts, performances, rallies, and festivals.
18.Place du Marche Chartrons
The Place du Marché Chartrons is a public square in the district of Chartrons on the banks of the Garonne River that hosts a covered market selling all sorts of bric-a-brac. Located in the heart of the city, Chartrons is characterized by its many vintage boutiques and quirky antique shops selling various items, and the market adds a pleasant touch to the already vibrant atmosphere.
Place du Marché, Chartrons, Bordeaux, France
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19.Pont de Pierre
The Pont de Pierre, also known as the ‘Stone Bridge,’ is a 1600-foot-long and 62-foot-wide bridge that connects the left bank of the Garonne River to Quartier de la Bastide on the right side. Designed under Napoleon I, the bridge was inaugurated in 1822 and features 17 arches, one for each letter in Napoleon Bonaparte's name. The bridge was the only connection between the left and right banks for over 150 years in the 18th-century, and today stands as a border between the river and maritime domains in the port of Bordeaux.
49 Quai Richelieu, 33000 Bordeaux, France
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20.Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas
The Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas is the longest vertical-lift bridge in Europe. Located between the Pont d’Aquitaine and the Pont de Pierre, the elegant and modern bridge is 1890-foot-long and 252-foot-wide in size and an architectural feat with a graceful shape that seamlessly blends into its surroundings. Boasting an impressive combination of aesthetics technological prowess, the Pont Jacques Chaban-Del is the fifth bridge over the Garonne and adds a stylish touch to the city's urban development.
Pont Jacques Chaban Delmas, 33300 Bordeaux, France
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21.Puerta de Cailhau (Cailhau Gate Bordeaux)
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Built in 1495, Puerta de Cailhau or the Cailhau Gate has a castle-like exterior that was once the main gate to the city and offers magnificent views of Bordeaux. The impressive 115-foot tall monument has a rich history dating back to 1494 and was built to commemorate Charles VIII's victory against the League of Venice at the Battle of Fornovo in Italy. Integrated into the city walls, the monument features an exhibition of the equipment and tools used to construct the gate, along with an audio-visual presentation of old film clips that takes visitors into the world of stone masonry.
Place du Palais, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-00-66-00
22.The Grosse Cloche
Built in the 15th century, La Grosse Cloche is a 7.75-ton 18th-century bell in Bordeaux’ town hall. One of the best-known landmarks in Bordeaux, the clock has several distinguishing features, including two conical bell towers, a gold-plated copper weathervane in the shape of a large feline, the massive Great Bell, and the clock with its unusual semi-circular dial. La Grosse Cloche is one of the few remaining fragments from the city’s medieval period and is prominently displayed on the city’s coat of arms. La Grosse Cloche comes alive during big public celebrations like Bastille Day.
45 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-00-66-00
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23.Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux
Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux is a magnificent English-style garden with grassy lawns, ancient towering trees, flowering blooms, and a serpentine pond, as well as botanical features like statues, fountains, and wrought iron bridges across the pond. The historical municipal botanical garden is bordered on all sides by 18th-century townhouses and offers a pretty place for people to relax in beautiful surroundings. There is also a restaurant in the old orangery, and the gardens are open daily without charge.
Espl. Linné, 33100 Bordeaux, France, Phone: +33-5-56-52-18-77
23 Best Things to Do in Bordeaux, France
- Basilique Saint-Michel (Basilica of St. Michael), Photo: borisb17/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedrale St-Andre, Photo: babble/stock.adobe.com
- Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial (Bordeaux World Heritage), Photo: Laurent (Pictarena)/stock.adobe.com
- Cap Sciences, Photo: Cap Sciences
- CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, Photo: schankz/stock.adobe.com
- Cite du Vin, Photo: JackF/stock.adobe.com
- Le Miroir d'eau, Photo: chromoprisme/stock.adobe.com
- Musee d'Aquitaine, Photo: Musée d'Aquitaine
- Musee du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux, Photo: Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux
- Musee National des Douanes (National Customs Museum), Photo: Alexander Demyanenko/stock.adobe.com
- Museum of Decorative Arts of Bordeaux, Photo: dbrnjhrj/stock.adobe.com
- Musee des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts), Photo: Musée des Beaux-Arts (Museum of Fine Arts)
- Parc Bordelais, Photo: mattcardinal/stock.adobe.com
- Pey Berland Tower, Photo: Anibal Trejo/stock.adobe.com
- Place de la Bourse, Photo: Jean-Paul Bounine/stock.adobe.com
- Place de la Comedie, Photo: Marc Rigaud/stock.adobe.com
- Place des Quinconces, Photo: Leonid Andronov/stock.adobe.com
- Place du Marche Chartrons, Photo: janifest/stock.adobe.com
- Pont de Pierre, Photo: IMAREVA/stock.adobe.com
- Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Photo: harshavardhan/stock.adobe.com
- Puerta de Cailhau (Cailhau Gate Bordeaux), Photo: Sergii Figurnyi/stock.adobe.com
- The Grosse Cloche, Photo: alexandre/stock.adobe.com
- Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux, Photo: choupi33/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: ivoderooij/stock.adobe.com