Is Bordeaux Worth Visiting? Read this Before Traveling to Bordeaux

Wondering whether the trip to Bordeaux is worth the money? Read this article to find out. This article is here to help you decide on whether you should visit the French city of Bordeaux or set your eyes somewhere else.

Bordeaux is a city in France known for its contribution to the most delicious wine in the world. It is home to about 10,000 estates that produce wine and even has a museum dedicated to wine-  Citè du Vin.

It is also known for its famous gothic architecture, evident in most of its monuments and landmarks. One building that perfectly portrays such a design is the Basilica of Saint Michael, a Cathedral with the famous bell “La Fleche,” measuring over 114 meters tall.

Another thing Bordeaux is known and loved for is its countless boutiques to shop from. Let us not forget that Bordeaux is in France, a country highly revered in the fashion world. It is home to Rue Sainte-Catherine – a 1.2km long pedestrian-only street filled with boutiques. 

Of course, the weather in Bordeaux is lovely no matter what time of the year you visit. However, it rains a lot in Bordeaux, especially during the spring. So be sure to keep an umbrella with you.

In this article, we will go further to discuss:

  • Facts about Bordeaux
  • Landmarks worth visiting in Bordeaux
  • Things to do in Bordeaux
  • Bordeaux weather in detail
  • Best restaurants in Bordeaux
  • Places to stay and hotels in Bordeaux

Keep another tab with a French dictionary open and grab a notepad as we take you on a tour of Europe’s wine capital – Bordeaux.

About Bordeaux

In this section, we will educate you briefly on the city of Bordeaux. To make the story more interesting, we will tell you about  Bordeaux in the form of facts. Not only that, but we will also educate you on some of the landmarks found in Bordeaux.

Facts About Bordeaux

  1. Inhere is a saying, “tough times don dey last” This was Bordeaux’s story in historical times. It was raided by Vandals in 267BC and again in 409BC. Later in 414BC, the Visigoths also attacked Bordeaux.
  1. The  Romans introduced wine to Bordeaux during their rule in 60BC. Bordeaux has about 287,000 acres of vineyards and 10,000 estates that produce wine.
  1. Place de la Bourse was built in the 18th century and took 45 years to assemble completely.
  1. Bordeaux is home to the largest estuary in all of Europe- the Gironde estuary. The merging of the river Garonne and Dordogne forms the Gironde estuary. 
  1. Bordeaux is the 2nd city in France with the most historical monuments. The city with the most in Paris. Bordeaux is home to 362 monuments.
  1. Many people describe Bordeaux as the capital of wine. One of the world’s largest wine exhibitions- Vinexpo, is held there every other year.
  1. Due to the weak soil of the city, there are no skyscrapers in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Landmarks Worth Visiting

Grand Thèatre de Bordeaux

Blue, white, and gold- these are the colors of royalty dotted on the architectural masterpiece known as the Grand Thèatre de Bordeaux.

The building, which has hosted famous artists, from Monteverdi to Mozart, was designed by Victor Louis.

Basilica of Saint Michael

If you are a fan of gothic architecture, then you will love the Basilica of St. Michael (Basilique St. Michael). It is one of Bordeaux’s most recognized landmarks. Fun fact about the Basilica- it took more than 200 years to be completed. The Basilica also has a belfry known as the arrow (la fleche) measuring 114 meters tall.

Pont de Pierre

Pont de Pierre was the first stone bridge ever built in Bordeaux. Napoleon inaugurated it in 1822. Boats were the only means of crossing the river before the construction of the bridge. Here is a fun fact about the bridge- it has 17 spans…  which is the same number of letters in the name Napoleon Bonaparte.

Citè du Vin

Are you the wine lover you claim to be if you don’t plan to visit Citè du Vin while in Bordeaux? We highly recommend you visit the museums and watch wine come to life through a sensory approach and modern architecture.

The Big Bell of Bordeaux

The Big Bell of Bordeaux

France is home to a lot of belfries. You may know of a few of them.

The Grosse cloche is one of the oldest belfries in France, and it was cast in 1775, weighing more than 7750 kilograms. It was christened Armande-Louise and rang six times a year for significant celebrations.

Things to do in Bordeaux

Now you are in Bordeaux, what is next? In the section, we listed seven things to do in Bordeaux:

Visit Bordeaux Museums

Bordeaux has a plethora of museums, and each one has a different theme. The most famous Museum in Bordeaux is the La Citè du Vin; an interactive wine museum kicked off in 2016.

Other museums you can visit are the Natural History Museum, Maritime Museum, Contemporary Art Museum, etc.

Take a Bike Tour

Bordeaux is the 4th most bike-friendly city in the world. We recommend skipping the bus and taking a bike tour around the city instead.

Ice Karting

The concept behind ice karting is not so complicated if you already have an idea of go-karting. Replace the usual setting with an ice rink, and voila, you are ready to ice kart.

The rink, found at Mèrideck, rotates from being a public ice rink and Bordeaux Boxers home games venue.

Picnic in Jardin Public

Jardin Public is a garden built in France’s usual style by Ange Gabriel and was inaugurated in 1746. Remarkably, Ange Gabriel built the park in an area deemed unfit to grow quality grapes.

In 1856 the park was redesigned to a more English fashion, which is what we see today. You can enjoy a nice picnic while you are there or read a book. The garden also has facilities for children as well as a dog park.

Visit Dawrin

Dawrin is a project carried out by more than 100 companies and 30 associations. Their goal is to reduce its environmental footprint and promote a more eco-friendly environment.

At Dawrin, you can find an organic grocery store, a garden, a skatepark, roller derby, and more.

Visit Escape Hunt Bordeaux

Are you a fan of mystery novels or movies? If you answered yes, then there is no reason you shouldn’t visit Escape Hunt Bordeaux.

You are in a locked room with 2-3 other people, and they could be friends or family. You all have one mission, to escape the room by solving the mystery using a series of clues.

Shop till You Drop

Have you ever heard of Rue Sainte Catherine? It is the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe. It has been entirely pedestrian-only since the year 1984 and runs from Grand Thèatre to the Thermier Column.

Bordeaux Weather

For some people, it is essential what time of the year they visit a country. This is because the weather condition is highly dependent on what time of year it is.

To paint you an accurate picture of the weather in Bordeaux, we will describe the different seasons in Bordeaux.

Spring (March-May)

Spring weather is similar to Autumn in Bordeaux; the only difference is the amount of rainfall each season experiences. Spring has a significantly higher amount of rain that lasts throughout the season.

We will only advise you to travel down here this period if you do not have many outdoor activities planned. Or at least you do not mind having them disrupted.

Summer (June – August)

This is the ideal time to visit Bordeaux, France because The weather is at its warmest. However, this is also the busiest time in the city.

The weather is generally sunny, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as walking, biking, and picnicking. We wouldn’t recommend you travel to the city at this time if you are on a budget, since this is a kind of rush hour, rates are substantially higher than usual.

Autumn (September – October)

If you want to avoid the crowds and high rates that come with the summer months’ rush in summer, it is best to go during the fall.

An advantage of this is you still get to enjoy the warm weather of the summer before it begins to dip in November. However, one downside is you will not enjoy tours from many wineries since this is their grape harvest period.

Winter (December – February)

Some people may not mind the chilly weather that accompanies winter. The temperature in Bordeaux during winter hovers around 3° at night and 10° during the day.

The city is very festive during this period, and the Christmas market is a delight. Let’s not forget that it rains during the winter so try to have an umbrella on you as often as possible.

Places to Stay/Hotels in Bordeaux

After a long day of biking, picnicking, and ice karting, you will need to rest your head and rebuild your energy. Except you have relatives in Bordeaux, you will have to stay in a hotel. Take a look at our list of the finest hotels in Bordeaux.

Villa Reale – Place du Parlement

Place du Parlement is one of the most beautiful squares in Bordeaux, France. Its design is predominantly Italian, with a fountain placed in its center. If you view the city buildings from the rush, you will notice the thousands of macarons (sculpted stone heads) on the buildings, like the fountain, dating back to the 18th century when architecture was very gothic.

If you plan on staying in Place du Parlement, a hotel we would recommend is La Villa Reale. It comprises three apartments built in the 70s that overlook the Place du Parlement. The location of the hotel boasts of elaborately carved façades, cafes, and a fountain. Close to the hotel is St. Pierre, which is filled with boutiques and wine bars. Not to mention the famous river Garonne is just a walk away.

Other nearby places for sightseeing including

  • Place St. Pierre – St. Pierre, often referred to as Bordeaux’s old town, is situated behind Place de la Bourse. It is one of the most picturesque locations in the city with many restaurants and bars. The site is more ambient than people would expect, making it a perfect spot to eat out.
  • Place de la Bourse – this building is an epitome of French architecture. Just over the road from it is Miroir d’Eau- a large shallow water pool where people cool off their feet in the summer heat.
  • Musèe National des Douanes – the English translation of this museum’s name is the National Customs Museum. Understandably, the idea of a customs museum isn’t sending any adrenaline through your body. Don’t be so quick to judge. Being a pory city, there has always been a need for Bordeaux to document what comes through it.

This habit birthed the National Customs Museum as it possesses several historical documents that shed light on some of the confiscated everyday items that link to the past.

  • Rue Ste. Catherine – the famous 1.2km pedestrian-only street in all of Europe. It is filled with boutiques from start to end and runs from the Grand Thèatre to Thermier Column. Could this be where the phrase “shop till you drop”  originated from? Cause with a shopping center with such distance; chances are you won’t be on your feet for long.

Hôtel de Sèze – Allèes de Tourny

Have you ever heard of Bordeaux’s Golden Triangle? Well, Allèes de Tourny is one of the three streets that make up the Golden Triangle. It was laid out in the year 1974 by Marquis de Tourny. Tourny is dotted with beautiful façades, cafes, and brasseries that follow dating back to the late 18th century.

Tourny is best known as the hotspot for its boutiques, where you can find luxury items and international brands with ease. Spending your Bordeaux stay in Allèes de Tourny? Then we have just the hotel for you- Hôtel de Sèze.

In our opinion, Hôtel de Sèze deserves more credit than it gets. The hotel’s design is urban and stylish. Its facilities include a spa, fine dining, fitness center, and a golf course.

Not to mention sites such as The Grand Theater and Place des Grands Hommes are just a walk away.

Le Saint-James – Camille Hostein

Camile Holstein is in the peaceful village of Bouliac, away from the hustle and bustle life of the city. Bouliac nicknamed the “balcony of Bordeaux,” is known as a popular destination for a peaceful retreat in the countryside.

In 1989 it became home to the building we know today as Le Saint-James hotel.

Situated high on a hill, Le Saint-James promises you the most fantastic view of Bordeaux. Jean Nouvel, a famous architect known to play with cozy opulence and edgy, designed the hotel. Unlike the other hotels mentioned, there aren’t many landmarks surrounding this Saint James; instead, its location offers a quiet retreat from the rest of the city. The hotel has facilities such as a Michelin-Starred restaurant, spa, pool, laundry,  bar, sauna, and more.

Seeko’o Hotel – Quai de Bacalan

Bacalan is in the northern district of Bordeaux and up until recently was avoided by tourists. The view of Bacalan and its distance from the bubbling city were nothing to compare to the gothic architectural masterpieces that could be found in the center of Bordeaux.

However, over the years, the Bacalan has undergone many changes, and more tourists are beginning to find interest in the area. Thanks to spot on regional planning, the once grungy seaport is slowly being transformed into an emerging hotspot for art, food, and leisure.

There are many sites to visit while in Balacan, such as the famous wine museum La Citè du Vin, Les Halles des Balacan- a fancy food market, Le Garage Moderne- a social garage.

We know you are already considering visiting Balacan and sleeping over, and we have the perfect hotel for you- Seeko’o hotel.

If you are a fan of futuristic architecture, then you are in luck. This hotel is known for its futuristic architectural design, which follows a glacial theme. The system is fresh and the furniture minimalist. Its facilities include a bar, room service, laundry, sauna, spa, a steam room, and more.

Best Restaurants in Bordeaux

Best Restaurants in Bordeaux

Take a break from the regular food you are used to and try some of France’s cuisines with the best restaurants in Bordeaux.

Mona

The best way to describe Mona is the chic tearoom. The restaurant is flooded for its bright and modern design, as well as its delicious treats.

Regula treats at Mona include cupcakes, tarts, cakes, and pastries. Their extensive selection of sweets is so vast that even vegetarians can find something they like.

Miles

Miles is cradled in the historic center of Bordeaux. It gained its popularity for its creative twist to regional cuisine.

Three friends from different backgrounds own the restaurant. This is evident in the food served at Miles as it encompasses French, Asian, and Middle-Eastern delicacies.

L’Estacade

If you happen to be in Bordeaux for a honeymoon or an anniversary, then this is the restaurant to be. It offers breathtaking views of the Garonne River and other monuments across the water.

The restaurant is perched on the river bank, with windows that wrap around the restaurant, leaving you with a nice view.

Massa Falafel

Bordeaux’s cuisine is meat-centric, and being a vegetarian in such an environment can be very challenging. This is especially true for seasoned vegetarians who have had their fair share of vegetarian food.

Fortunately, Massa Falafel is a Mediterranean-style restaurant dedicated to creating delicious meals for vegetarians and vegans.

Le Bistro du Musèe

For families traveling with children, it would be nice to enjoy a nice meal without having to worry about what the kids would eat.

Le Bistro is a restaurant that has a dedicated kids menu and a variety of desserts they can enjoy. So while the adults enjoy their meals with some wine, the children are settled with a feast of their own.

La Quatrième Mur

If you are the kind that enjoys luxury and is looking for the best of the best, then we suggest taking a trip down to La Quatrième Mur- the biggest name in gourmet cuisine.

The restaurant is within the Grand Thèatre and is adjacent to a lush garden that provides a perfect view of your meals. Although this is a gourmet restaurant, it is easily accessible and falls well within our category of budget-friendly restaurants.

Conclusion

There you have it, a detailed tour of the city of Bordeaux. In this article, we discussed the length and breadth of the city in an attempt to help you decide whether visiting it was worth your money or not.

After learning about some of Bordeaux’s rich history along with some interesting facts, there is no doubt that your interest in the city is piqued. What wine lover wouldn’t want to visit a museum dedicated to wine? It is the wine center of Europe, after all.

Of course, there are the never-ending landmarks to visit- La Glosse Cloche, the Basilica, the Grand Thèatre, and so much more. It’s difficult to fathom how many films one might need for their camera to ensure they capture every detail of each monument.

And no matter the weather, there is always something to do at Bordeaux- biking, ice karting, shopping, you name it. There is never a dull moment in the city.

Finally, relax in one of Bordeaux’s finest hotels. Each one is located in an area that offers something different, from panoramic views of River Garrone to the peaceful lull of Bouliac’s gourmands. Bordeaux is a city that has something for everyone.

Art, food, culture, Bordeaux has it all!!!!!

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