The entire city of Bordeaux has been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 – and it’s not hard to see why. The city is filled with exquisitely designed buildings, elegant monuments and impressive historical sites. Often called the “Port of the Moon” for its romantic location on the bend of the Garonne River, Bordeaux is the perfect destination for wine lovers, history buffs and all who enjoy the finer things in life. Below, find the best things to do in Bordeaux:
1. Discover the Triangle d’Or
India is not the only one with a Golden Triangle. Bordeaux has its very own in the heart of the city. Bounded by three regal boulevards, one of the best things to do in Bordeaux is to discover this elegant part of the city. Along the way you’ll find elegant houses and buildings and a wealth of little shops and cafés to discover. At the heart of it all (well, figuratively at least) is Place de la Comédie where you’ll find the neo-classical Grand Théâtre. And don’t miss Esplanade des Quinconces, a massive 30-acre square with an interesting fountain you’ll want to check out.
2. Photograph the Place de la Bourse and Mirroir d’Eau
You can’t visit Bordeaux and miss out on taking the iconic photo of Place de la Bourse (Stock Exchange Square) with the Mirroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) right in front of it. The Place, which epitomizes the elegance of neoclassical architecture in Bordeaux, opens up onto the river and features two magnificent buildings: the Bourse (Stock Exchange) and the Musée des Douanes (Customs Museum). Complementing the extravagant architecture, the Mirroir d’Eau – a vast expanse of shallow water – is the world’s largest reflecting pool. Visit at night for a mesmerizing view of the lights reflected on the water.
3. Lounge on the riverfront
Strolling along the serene Garonne River is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux. The entire riverfront area has been given a much needed facelift in the last 15 years. Today, the place is shining with tailored open spaces and gardens, hip shops and trendy cafés for you to discover. It’s not hard to see why this is arguably Europe’s finest city riverscape.
4. Explore La Cité des Civilisations du Vin
Bordeaux is the French capital of wine so one of the best things to do in Bordeaux is to learn about the history of wine in civilizations throughout the ages. At La Cité des Civilisations du Vin, you will be taken on a journey through time. Discover how wine has reinvented itself from a mythological and sacred element in Egyptian rites to taking center stage in the Catholic Church. The museum features digital guides that will take you through 20 different themed sections covering everything a wine enthusiast would love to learn about.
5. Stroll along the Saint Pierre District
The charming Saint Pierre district is in the heart of the city’s old town. And walking along its quaint streets is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux. Discover little squares with restaurants and bars perfect for a gourmet break. Lose yourself in the narrow cobbled streets and shop for funky souvenirs in the boutique shops around. This is your chance to experience Bordeaux like a local!
6. Check out Musée d’Aquitaine
Visiting Musée d’Aquitaine (Museum of Aquitaine) is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux. The archaeology and history museum tells the story of the region of Aquitaine from prehistoric times to the present day. Highlights here include Gallic coins from the 2nd century BC, a 3rd century statue of Hercules and the 16th century Montaigne’s tomb.
7. Take the tram
There’s a new tram system in town – and it’s the perfect way for you to tour Bordeaux. For about €4, you can purchase a ticket that gives you unlimited travel until 1am. The moden«rn tram will take you along much of the riverbank, past the front of the opera house and all around Bordeaux’s most historic quarters. Especially if you’re not up for much walking, this is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux!
8. Visit the Cathédral de Saint André
As a typical French city, Bordeaux has its lovely collection of churches and cathedrals. Cathédral de Saint André, however, steals the show and is a must on your itinerary even if you’re short on time. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, the cathedral is easily Bordeaux’s most beautiful religious building. Its grandeur is comparable to the Notre-Dame in Paris and its separate bell tower is the fourth largest in France. If you’re up for more religious heritage sites, check out Basilique Saint Michel and Basilique Saint Seurin.
9. Cross the Pont de Pierre
Pont de Pierre (also known as Stone Bridge) is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks so crossing it is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux. Originally constructed in the early 19th century, this was the first bridge to cross the Garonne River. Today, the structure is an undeniable architectural feat with 17 elegant arches stretching from one bank to another. Come here at night to experience the city’s true magic.
10. Shop at Rue Sainte Catherine
Shooting arrow-straight across Bordeaux’s old quarter, Rue Sainte Catherine is a shopaholic’s paradise. On this quaint pedestrian street (which is thought to be the longest shopping street in Europe) you’ll find every store you could need. Plus, charming cafés and wine bars pop up occasionally to give you a much needed rest from your shopping spree.
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