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Bordeaux What to visit

Bordeaux – What to Visit: 2 days itinerary (map included)

Bordeaux – What to Visit: 2 days itinerary (map included)

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To be totally honest, my visit to Bordeaux was by chance. The city was not on my list of cities to visit and was merely chosen as it was the perfect weekend getaway (both in terms of money and in terms of flights). But I came back from Bordeaux certain of one thing: Bordeaux is well worth a visit 😊

Bordeaux was a pleasant surprise! With a number of sights perfect for a 1-2 day visit, I found Bordeaux to be a lively urban centre. The streets and terraces full of locals and tourists enjoying their weekend was one of my favourite parts of this visit.

Bordeaux What to Visit Pey Berland Tower
View from Pey Berland Tower

What is the best time of year to visit Bordeaux?

Being located relatively close to the sea, Bordeaux has a very mild climate, never too cold or too hot. However, it is a somewhat rainy region and, even in summer, we can be surprised by rain.

Bordeaux What to visit
Bordeaux Harbour

However, to ensure you catch the city in its full splendour, it is recommended to visit Bordeaux between April and October! These are undoubtedly the months with the highest temperatures and the least chance of rain.

How many days do you need to visit Bordeaux?

The city of Bordeaux is relatively compact and the main points of interest are not far from each other. With a few exceptions, you can easily get around the city on foot.

Also, and although it’s always subjective, you can actually visit the main points of interest in 1 day to 1 and a half days, making Bordeaux the perfect weekend getaway 😉

How to get to Bordeaux?

Although it depends on your departing point, Bordeaux has an airport, where direct flights arrive from some of the main European cities, such as:

  • Portugal (Porto, Lisbon, Faro)
  • Spain (Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Ibiza, Alicante, Málaga, …)
  • United Kingdom (London, Manchester, Birmingham,…)
  • Ireland (Cork, Dublin)
  • Italy (Milan, Bologna, Palermo, Venice, Roma, Naples, …)

Bordeaux really does have a lot of options available so it is best to research if your destination has flights available to this French city.

What are the transports to/from the airport?

Apart from the taxi option, the easiest way to get to the centre of Bordeaux is by bus, of which there are 2 options:

  • Option 1: direct 30-minute shuttle bus stopping at the Gare de Bordeaux St Jean (price : 8€)
  • Option 2: bus n° 1 with an average journey time of 40 minutes (price: 1,7€)

In both situations (going to the centre and returning to the airport), I chose option 2. Besides being cheaper, the journey is not that much longer. The bus station is located right outside the airport, where we also find the machines to buy the tickets.

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Accommodation in Bordeaux

As I was going to walk around the city of Bordeaux, I opted for a well-located accommodation. So I chose Staycity Aparthotels Bordeaux City Centre. Located just a few meters from the Grosse Cloche, this accommodation is good value for money.

This is an aparthotel where the access to the rooms is through a courtyard inside the hotel. The facilities are quite new and modern and the service is very friendly.

Although the size of the rooms is not huge, they are very well equipped. The room I stayed in, besides a small balcony, had a kitchenette!

Finally, the hotel had two entrances (a main and a rear one), and the second entrance came in quite handy in getting us to some places in the city more quickly.

However, there are also other interesting accommodation options in Bordeaux:

  • Hotel Majestic: 4 star hotel located a few meters from the Bordeaux Opera House. It is a more classic hotel, but with all the amenities for a night well spent.
  • Quality Hotel Bordeaux Centre: Located on one of the main streets of the city, this hotel is of excellent quality and is set in a renovated 19th century mansion.
  • Le Boutique Hotel Bordeaux Centre: perfect for those seeking a more luxurious experience. The rooms are carefully decorated and some of them have a bathtub or even a jacuzzi on the balcony.
  • Hotel Bleu de Mer: Located next to the river, but still very central, this is a more affordable option, but still with high quality.
  • Hôtel de Tourny: boutique hotel with a simple but trendy decor! A little less central than the others, but still perfect for walking around the city.

What to visit in Bordeaux?

Before we start the itinerary, I leave here a map with the main points of interest you can visit in Bordeaux.

Day 1: What to visit in Bordeaux

» Capucins Market

We begin our tour in one of the most important markets in Bordeaux. From restaurants to fresh produce, you can find a bit of everything here.

Bordeaux What to visit Capucins Market

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The market is open from early morning until 2 pm (during the week) and 2:30 pm (during the weekend). So even if you don’t fully follow the order of this itinerary, I suggest making this one of the first points on your list to ensure you can visit inside 😊

» La Grosse Cloche and Saint James Street

Grosse Cloche literally translates to “Big Bell”! And there’s no better way to describe what is one of the city’s main landmarks 😊

Bordeaux What to visit La Grosse Cloche

Although the bell rings only a few times a year during major celebrations, thousands of people pass through the door where it is located. This door once served as a prison, which can be visited.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The visit costs 5€ and opening hours vary depending on the time of year. If you are planning to visit inside, I strongly suggest you confirm if this is possible in advance.

Bordeaux What to visit La Grosse Cloche

The Grosse Cloche is located on the street of Saint James, so a visit to this street is a must. At every step we take we find a new cafe, a small shop with quirky products. Window shopping is the absolute best here 😉

» Fernand Lafargue Square

Despite its small size, Fernand Lafargue Square is a lively space in the city. What was once a square where a market used to be held, now welcomes the people of Bordeaux in their free time.

Bordeus O que visitar Place Fernand Lafargue

» Aquitaine Museum

We continue the itinerary with one of the most famous museums in the city – Museum of Aquitaine. Here we can learn more about the history of Bordeaux as well as the French region where the city is located.

Bordeaux What to visit Musée d’Aquitaine

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The entrance ticket costs 5€ and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm. For the most up-to-date information, click here.

» Saint-Projet Square

It’s time to head to Saint-Projet Square, one of the oldest squares in Bordeaux. On warmer and sunny days, this is one of the squares that comes alive with locals enjoying the terraces 😊

» Sainte-Catherine Street and Galerie Bordelaise

Almost every European city has a long street and of course, Bordeaux is no exception. At around 1.2km long this is the main street where locals do their shopping and cars are not allowed. Some even consider it one of the longest shopping streets in Europe.

Bordeaux What to visit Sainte-Catherine Street
Sainte-Catherine Street

Down the street, it will be hard to miss Galerie Bordelaise 😊 This is an old shopping gallery (its construction dates back to the 19th century) where there are currently only a few shops.

Bordeaux What to visit Galerie Bordelaise
Galerie Bordelaise

» Pey Berland Square

A visit to Bordeaux wouldn’t be complete without going to Pey Berland Square. Although it is a slightly different style of square to the others we will visit in the city, this is where one of the city’s main monuments – the Cathedral of Saint-André – is located.

Bordeaux What to visit Cathedral
Bordeaux Cathedral and Bell Tower

The entrance to the Cathedral is free so there is no excuse not to visit. The interior, while not one of the most majestic I’ve ever witnessed, is still interesting. Also, the stained glass windows inside are quite beautiful 🥰

But those who think that the visit to this square ends here are mistaken. Right next to the Cathedral, we can find its bell tower (Pey Berland tower). I know it may seem strange that the tower is not in the cathedral itself, but in Bordeaux this phenomenon actually happens twice.

Bordeaux What to Visit Pey Berland Tower
View from the bell tower

While the visit to the Cathedral is free, you have to pay (6€) to climb up to the top of the Pey Berland tower and, most importantly, you have to book in advance. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday and tickets can be purchased here.

Bordeaux What to Visit Pey Berland Tower
View from the bell tower

I know it’s over 220 steps up one of the narrowest staircases I’ve ever climbed, but I assure you it’s worth it. From the top of the tower, we are treated to one of the best views of Bordeaux! I’m sure it will be worth all the effort.

💡 EXTRA TIP: While you’re here, I suggest a hop over to the former Rohan Palace, which has housed Bordeaux City Hall since the 19th century.

Bordeaux What to visit Hotel de Ville
Bordeaux Town Hall

» Camille Jullian Square

The proof that the city is full of life is that it has plenty of squares and the Camille Jullian Square is another good example 😊 Open since 1934, in addition to the various terraces, you will also find here the cinema Utopia, located inside the old church of Saint Siméon, which is also a very popular bar in the city.

ordeaux What to Visit Camille Julian Square

» Parlement Square

Before heading to the next destination on the itinerary, I suggest you also stop by the Place du Parlement – another pleasant square in the city!

Bordeaux What to visit Place du Parlement

» Bordeaux Grand Théatre

It’s time to walk to Place de la Comédie, where all eyes will be on the Bordeaux Grand Théatre building. Opened in 1780, this is considered one of the most beautiful event halls in the world..

Bordeaux What to visit Grand Theatre

After housing the National Assembly of the French parliament for some time, it is now home to the Bordeaux National Opera.

» Bourse Square and Water Mirror

We continue our itinerary to one of the places that is a must-visit in Bordeaux. Built by the Garonne river in the 18th century, we can find in the Place de la Bourse some of the most important buildings of the city, such as:

  • Bourse Palace (now Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
  • National Museum of Customs
Bordeaux What to visit Place de la Bourse

When it was built it was a symbol of the liberation of the city, which was no longer surrounded by its walls.

Bordeaux What to visit Place de la Bourse
Location of the water mirror

Despite having visited it during the maintenance period, this is also where you will find Bordeaux’s famous water mirror. It is a kind of shallow pool that gives some amazing photos (especially at night) due to the reflection of the buildings in the water.

💡 EXTRA TIP: If the weather is good, I recommend you to take the opportunity to rest a bit by the Garonne river bank (Quais de Bordeaux). If you’re visiting during a weekend, chances are you’ll come across thousands of locals and tourists doing the same 😉 I promise it’s one of the best experiences in the city!

» Saint-Pierre Square

We head for Saint-Pierre Square, whose history is very old in the city as it was the gateway to the port of Bordeaux. In addition to the various terraces there, the church of the same name stands out, which can be visited free of charge.

» Cailhau Gate

Another must-see in the city is the 35-metre-high Cailhau Gate. Dating back to the 15th century, it was part of the old city wall of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux What to visit Cailhau Gate

It is possible to visit a small exhibition inside, and from there we also have one of the most panoramic views of the Pierre Bridge (which we will still visit on this first day).

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The ticket to visit the interior of Cailhau Gate costs 5€. It is open from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm. The ticket can be purchased in advance here.

» Pierre Bridge

We then arrive at what was the first bridge to link the two banks of the Garonne River. Today it is only possible to get around on the bridge on foot, by bike or by tram!

Bordeaux What to visit Pierre Bridge

As well as walking across the bridge, look out for the 17 reddish arches that make up the bridge and also its white medallions.

Bordeaux What to visit Pierre Bridge

» Victor Hugo Street and Bourgogne Gate

Right in front of Pierre bridge, we can admire Bourgogne Gate which marks the beginning of one of the city’s main arteries – Victor Hugo Street. It is certainly not one of the most interesting spots on the itinerary, but it is on the way to the next destination!

Bordeaux What to visit Victor Hugo Street

» Saint Michel Basilica and Bell Tower

Considered a World Heritage Site since 1998, the Basilica of Saint Michel is one of the religious sites worth visiting in Bordeaux. I especially recommend visiting during the afternoon as the coloured stained glass windows make an incredible effect inside the basilica. The visit is free of charge.

Bordeaux What to visit Saint Michel Basilica

Just like Bordeaux Cathedral, the basilica’s bell tower (La Flèche) is separate from the main building. It is 114 metres high and was built in the 15th century on top of a former cemetery.

In addition, right next to the Basilica, there is Marché Royal – an open-air fresh produce market that runs on Saturdays. On Mondays, there is also another market (Marché Neuf), but it sells other products.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: It is possible to visit its interior, which costs 5€. However, currently (April 2022) this is not possible, as the bell tower will be under renovation until 2026.

» Victoire Square

And we end the day in one of the most important squares in the city. In its centre, we can find a marble column that aims to pay tribute to viticulture and winemaking. It is here that you will also find another gate of the city – Aquitaine Gate.

Bordeaux What to visit Place de la Victoire

Day 2: What to visit in Bordeaux

If you choose to visit Bordeaux on a weekend, you will probably have less time available on the second day and therefore this second part of the itinerary is less ambitious.

» Saint-Seurin Basilica

Built in the 11th century, the Saint-Seurin Basilica has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, along with the city’s other two most important religious monuments.

Bordeaux What to visit Saint-Seurin Basilica

» Gallien Palace

Leaving Bordeaux’s city centre, we arrive at the Gallien Palace. In fact, this is the ruin of an ancient amphitheatre of the ancient Burdigala (Roman name of Bordeaux). Although the visit is pretty quick, I found it quite interesting!

Bordeaux What to visit Palais Gallien

» Public Garden

Bordeaux also has some green spaces and I suggest you visit the Public Garden as it is one of the most central ones. On sunny days, the garden fills up with locals enjoying the good weather and it can be a very pleasant space 😉

Take the opportunity to take a walk or to rest a bit, or even, who knows, to visit the Natural History Museum, located inside the Garden.

» Quinconces Square

Don’t think that the city’s most important sights were only included on the first day of this itinerary. The Quincones Square is probably one of the most photographed in the city, with the imposing Monument aux Girondin at its centre.

Bordeaux What to visit Esplanade des Quinconces

In fact, this is one of the largest squares in Europe. Due to its large size, the square is often used for popular fairs, circuses and other types of large events.

» La Cité du Vin

Given the high importance that wine has in this French region, La Cité du Vin is an interesting addition to any Bordeaux itinerary. The visit is a whole experience that goes beyond the wine and also has an incredible viewpoint over the city.

Bordeaux What to visit La Cité du Vin

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: La Cité du Vin offers several types of tickets, but the most common is the one that gives access to the permanent exhibition and a wine tasting in the viewpoint over the city. The price to visit is 21€ and tickets can be purchased here.

» Bacalan Market (Les Halles Bacalan)

And we end on a high note with a very local experience. The Bacalan Market is a market with various food offers (even though it doesn’t sell only food!). It is a popular meeting place for Bordeaux people, especially during weekends.

I ended up having lunch here at the Poulettes stall and joined the hundreds of French people enjoying the terraces on that early Sunday afternoon. It was well worth it!

Bordeaux What to visit Bacalan Market

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The market is open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (8am-2.30pm; 4.30pm-9pm), Thursday to Saturday (8am-11pm) and Sundays (8am-4pm).

What to visit in Bordeaux (or nearby) if you have extra time?

If you are going to be in Bordeaux for more than two days, then you will certainly have some additional time available to explore some extra spots in the city as well as near Bordeaux. Here are some additional suggestions for things to visit in Bordeaux:

  • Darwin Ecosystem: military base transformed into an urban space, with the presence of a few cafés/restaurants
  • Bordelais Park
  • Chaban Delmas Bridge
  • Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts
  • Bordeaux Museum of Contemporary Art
  • [DAYTRIP] Saint-Émilion and its vineyards (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • [DAYTRIP] Dune du Pilat: Europe’s highest sand dune

How to save money in Bordeaux?

The Bordeaux City Pass offers many discounts on entry to some of the city’s most emblematic sites. It gives access, for example, to the Aquitaine Museum, the Cité du Vin (before 12pm), the Pey Berland Tower and even the Caihau Gate. In addition, it allows free transport in the city at no extra cost. There are 3 versions: 24h (29€), 48h (39€) or 72h (43€). Check all the detailed information here.

Restaurants in Bordeaux

Truth be told, apart from one or another pastry cake (we’ll get to that in a second), I didn’t taste any great Bordeaux delicacies. However, I enjoyed all my (few) gastronomic experiences in the city. And so I want to tell you all about it!

For breakfast/brunch:

  • Books & Coffee (€): A very modern and pleasant space, with a varied breakfast menu. I tried the continental breakfast (8€) which included a hot drink, orange juice, bread with butter and jam and also a piece of pastry.
  • La Collation (€€): There are two places in the city and the ex-libris are the pancakes. We ended up trying the brunch (1 brunch for two people, 24€) because on Sunday they only have that option. The brunch includes a hot drink, a cold drink, sweet pancakes, savoury pancakes and yoghurt with granola.

For lunch/dinner:

  • Monzù (€€): a pizzeria with affordable prices (for France, of course) and lots of options available. It also has a very nice terrace!
  • Petit Mignon (€€): Very small burger restaurant and family business, but the burgers were well served and tasty.
  • Bacalan Market (€): a market with several food stalls and perfect for those who want to experience Bordeaux like the locals. I tried the Poulettes fried chicken stall and it was great. Plus, the price was very affordable.

For pastries:

  • Cassonade (€): If you’re planning your trip to Bordeaux, make sure you include in your itinerary a stop to try the famous cannelé pastries, which are typical of Bordeaux. Made from rum and vanilla, they taste a little different to what we’re used to, but I liked them 😊 And the ones served at this tiny place on rue Saint-James are pretty good.
  • Dunes Blanches Chez Pascal (€): French pastries are a dream and this place is proof of that! They only serve two types of dumplings and I only tried the dunes blanches – a kind of crispy éclair with whipped cream filling. So yummy 🥰

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy something through my links. This doesn’t represent any additional cost to you and you’ll be supporting my work here on the blog😊

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about me

A Ticket To Take Off About Me

I am Mariana from Porto, Portugal. I am truly passionate about traveling and all things travel related. And that’s exactly what led me to create this page: so I can inspire others to travel and help plan all those trips with my tips and itineraries.





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