Planning a trip to Bordeaux? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
The sun rises over Place de la Bourse. Begin your stay in Bordeaux by visiting this square, which is integral to the city and beloved by locals. Then, stroll around the famous Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool, which reflects the classic and stylish façades of Palais de la Bourse and its townhouses. Ever since the 19th century, the early morning light has illuminated the Fountain of Three Graces, which beautifully combines grandeur and French elegance.
Next, turn your back on the Garonne River and walk the streets of old Bordeaux, which are made from sculpted yellow stone, until you reach the Saint-Pierre district. Now you are in the centre of historic Bordeaux, where you’ll find the ancient roots of the city. Here, at the city’s birthplace, you can contemplate the period architecture, with Saint-Pierre Church being the centrepiece. Stroll down streets named after long-lost trades such as Rue des Bahutiers (Chest Makers’ Street) or Rue du Chai-des-Farines (Flour Millers’ Street), and get closer to the icon of medieval Bordeaux: the Porte Cailhau. This local arc de triomphe is a must see during your weekend in Bordeaux, and sitting at its foot is the ideal place for a lunch break, perhaps even a basket of oysters from the neighbouring Cap Ferret.
In the afternoon, walk along the Garonne’s banks to digest your lunch, following the quays which eventually lead you to the Quai de la Grave. Afterwards, head into old Bordeaux once again to visit another unmissable city landmark: The Basilica of Saint Michael. It is easy to spot thanks to its 114-metre high bell tower. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this flamboyant Gothic style building is renowned for the 74 mummies in its crypt.
bold;Finally, enjoy a glass of wine in front of the bell tower and enjoy the sunset.
As the first rays illuminate the roofs of Bordeaux, head towards the Golden Triangle district to start your second day in this entrancing city. Down the Allées Tourny, your weekend in Bordeaux continues with exploration of the most sophisticated part of the city. Over 65 metres wide, this thoroughfare is the ideal walking spot to enjoy the morning light and the way that it illuminates the façades of the 18th century buildings. Very quickly, your eyes will be drawn to the majestic Gobineau Hotel, the central hub of Bordeaux wine. Around midday is the perfect time to enter the hotel’s wine bar and enjoy a delicious glass of Pomerol, or whichever wine tickles your fancy. As you will soon discover during your weekend in Bordeaux, Bordeaux aperitifs are often accompanied by wine.
To continue the sophisticated theme, head down the road that leads to the famous Place des Quinconces. This is the largest square in Europe, with 12 hectares of lush greenery, including trees planted in staggered rows. Very quickly, you will find yourself facing the Monument aux Girondins, another emblem of the city. This comprises a 43-metre high column, which is surrounded by a fountain decorated with sculpted allegories and symbols. Take the time to closely study this monument and note the subtle beauty of intricate details like the spirited horses pulling the chariot of the Republic.
During this weekend in Bordeaux, more Gironde symbols await you on the other side of the Allées Tourny, where the star attraction is attending the opera at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. Behind this building’s twelve Corinthian columns topped with muses and goddesses, some of the world’s greatest masterpieces are performed, passionately directed by Marc Minkowski, the theatre’s director. When you exit the theatre, take a detour via Place de la Bourse to once again contemplate the magic of the Miroir d’Eau and its night-time light show.
The following day, it’s finally time to really check out the region’s wine by leaving the centre of Bordeaux to explore the picturesque countryside paths and pretty villages that surround the city. First, head towards the village of Saint-Emilion. The most famous Bordeaux village, it stands on a rocky promontory, which is illuminated by the morning light. Here, in the narrow streets, some of which are 2,000 years old, the history of Bordeaux’s cherished designation of origin protected status is written. While here, make sure to visit the subterranean limestone tunnels, which are home to surprising landmarks such as Trinity Chapel and Emilion Cave.
Having explored the village, head westwards to join the Médoc wine route which will lead you through the Gironde marshes via the D2 minor road. On these gentle slopes, thousands of vines cover picturesque bucolic landscapes, which are regularly punctuated by the most famous estates and their wine-growing châteaux. Visit Château Giscours and its cour d’honneur, a place where winemaking feels woven into the fabric of the building. Afterwards, head to Château d’Agassac. Standing before this moated castle, you’ll quickly realise why this wine route is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
To finish off your weekend in Bordeaux and your exploration of the region’s wines, heading out on a cruise over the Garonne estuary and the Gironde is a must. Once aboard the boat, you’ll have a great view of the vines of Châteaux Margaux and Blayais which are planted in the silt on the Gironde’s banks. Of course, this trip must be accompanied by a wine tasting session and a few appetisers, and some of the more festive cruise companies will even play music to complete the experience.
After Paris, Bordeaux has the greatest number of historical monuments in France. However, the appeal of this Gironde city goes far beyond its architectural heritage. Whether you’re exploring historic districts or rejuvenated areas that combine tradition with cutting-edge cool, the city shines from dawn until dusk. A city in the midst of a new golden age, Bordeaux is the perfect destination for foodies, wine lovers and anyone looking for a sophisticated city break.