What to see in Bordeaux
What can I see in Bordeaux in 1,2 or 3 days? What sights in and around the city should you pay attention to? Learn more about the places to see and do in Bordeaux in this Eurotraveler.com trip!
If a trip to Paris means serious choice problems when making a list of sights to see, it is easier with Bordeaux. In this city in the south of France, on the contrary, there are not many important places. Therefore, if you have the time and money, you can design a truly comprehensive self-guided trip.
Do not fixate only on the capital of Aquitaine, and take into account the near and distant surroundings. Because the region in question is extremely interesting and unusual. Both historically and architecturally, as well as from the natural and gastronomic point of view.
Attractions in Bordeaux
The Stock Exchange Square, facing the Garonne, is an elegant monument of early classicism, created by the genius of father and son Gabriel. The latter was also responsible for the Place de la Concorde in Paris as well as the Versailles Opera House. In the center of the square in 2006 an unusual swimming pool “Water Mirror”, Le Miroir d’eau, was built.
Its main purpose is not to refresh, but to reflect! 2 cm of water poured on concrete plates copes with this task perfectly.
St. Andre’s Cathedral, designed in Gothic style, belongs to the most important architectural monuments of France. And deserves a visit no less than the capital’s Notre Dame.
The bell tower of Bordeaux’s cathedral, known as the Pey-Berlan Tower, stands alone. In this way it was decided to protect the cathedral from the possible resonance effects of bell ringing.
- You can climb to the bell tower for a fee: 5 €. There is no elevator, there is only a narrow spiral staircase. The height of the observation deck at the spire – 50 meters
Bordeaux Art Museum (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux) is located a few steps from the cathedral – just past the City Hall, occupying the luxurious palace of the Dukes de Rogan. And if you are no stranger to art – the size and quality of the collection is second only to the Parisian museums – do not hesitate to go inside.
- Entrance ticket costs only 5 €. And 7 if you decide to see the temporary exhibitions as well: www.musba-bordeaux.fr
The pedestrian street St. Catherine in Bordeaux is supposed to be the longest in Europe. Whether this is true or not is not known for sure. But shopaholics definitely find a lot of interesting things here. And citizens inclined to informative walking tours will not be disappointed. Although the promenade is usually crowded, and it is not so easy to pass on it.
The Cayo Gate on the Promenade de Richelieu is a notable architectural monument of Bordeaux. It is definitely worth seeing for those interested in history. And medieval in particular!
The 15th century, 35 meters high, is where travelers arriving by sea and river once entered the city.
Another famous attraction: the Great Bell Gate. It is located on a street with a distinctly English name: Rue Saint-James, 45. And in “times of oune” it was from here that the pilgrims who set out on the road of Saint James (Sant-Jago) to the Pyrenees and the Spanish Santiago de Compostela left.
The over-the-gate bell was used as the city’s alarm bell. Since the bells on the cathedral’s Pey Berlan were not installed until the middle of the nineteenth century.
The most noteworthy of the latter is the Cité du Vin, the Cité du Vin. The modern building was erected on Esplanade de Pontac, and it costs a disproportionate amount for a visit and a tasting: 20 €.
Where to stay
For those who don’t mind saving money and staying away from the center, but with almost no loss of quality, we recommend Eklo Bordeaux Centre Bastide. The rooms are small and it takes 5 minutes by streetcar to get to the old town. But it’s clean and the staff welcomes guests like family!
Not far from the station is the considerably more expensive Golden Tulip Bordeaux Euratlantique about 4 stars. In which the traveler will also feel welcome.
Also within walking distance of Gare Saint-Jean (you’re coming to Bordeaux by train, right?) is an entire complex of clean All Suites Bordeaux Marne – Gare Saint-Jean apartments. Supermarket is nearby, the city center is about 15-20 minutes walk.
How to get there
We definitely recommend the train from Paris. The TGV is not some crazy 94-111 € but a normal, moderately fast one. The journey will take you about 50 minutes longer but the price is decisive: from 31 € one way.
The local train station Saint-Jean is not located in the city center. And so it’s worth taking public transport. The local streetcars are particularly recommended: they look nice and run fast!
A ticket for 10 hours (including ferries, BAT3) costs only 13 €, a single ticket costs 1.7 €: www.infotbm.com/fr/titres-et-tarifs/ticket-1-2-10-voyages
What to see around Bordeaux
Bordeaux is like a gateway to the Landes! A still little-explored and pine-scented area on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.
And the Perigord, a real French province with medieval castles and villages, where everyone wants to stay forever. It’s worth daring to rent a car right next to the station (from 41 € per day) and you’ll see for yourself!
We strongly recommend a trip to the seaside town of Arcachon. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze from the bay, and lying on the beautiful sandy beaches. And also taste fresh oysters and drink white Bordeaux.
The train ride from St. John Station (hello, England!) is less than 1 hour. It’s even more convenient to travel by car. As the Aquitaine coast is literally an ideal place to relax by the sea.
Note that 5 km south of Arcachon is the famous Pila Dune. The largest sand dune of natural origin in Europe. It is 110 meters high – no kidding, a real mountain!
We recommend a visit to St. Emilion, the birthplace of world famous wines and an incredibly cozy old town. Where the buildings of XII-XIII centuries have been preserved!
You can get there from Bordeaux by train in just 40 minutes. And the experience will last a lifetime!
If you have the time, you can go on a more thorough tour of the Perigord.
The towns of Perigueux and Bergerac, ancient streets and colombage houses. The aura of antiquity and great local wine in literally every tavern, the castles of Beynac and Castelnau.
The village of La Roque-Gajac is the emblem of the region, the cave of Lascaux – France! In the failure itself is not allowed, a complete picture of the artistry of prehistoric people are formed with the help of the nearby museum.
If you go on a trip by car, visit Rocamadour (~255 km). Extremely picturesque town in Kersey, nestled in a limestone cliff. Along with Lourdes, it is one of the centers of religious pilgrimage in France.
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Itinerary of Bordeaux in 3 days, France
Itinerary of Bordeaux: sights of UNESCO in Bordeaux
Since 2007, almost the entire center of Bordeaux has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, the “Moonport” is an exceptional urban and architectural ensemble: a true gem of the Enlightenment, the famous Lumière. Did you know that Bordeaux is, after Paris, the French city with the most protected buildings? The Tourist Office offers a route through the heart of this extraordinary area (1,810 hectares) so that you can explore the city and UNESCO attractions in Bordeaux in all its splendor at your own pace.
UNESCO sights in Bordeaux on a map:
UNESCO sights in Bordeaux
On the itinerary you can see:
1 MONUMENT TO THE GIRONDINS.
In honor of the Girondeans who died during the French Revolution, “Freedom Breaks the Chains” proudly stands atop a 43-meter column (1895-1901).
2 MAISON GOBINEAU
Bordeaux’s version of the Flatiron Building, which houses the headquarters of the CIVB (Bordeaux Multi-Purpose Wine Board) as well as a wine bar, which has been a drinking establishment since 1788.
A masterpiece of European architecture whose staircase inspired the architect of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. In front of it is a columned portico with twelve stone statues (9 muses and 3 goddesses (Minerva, Venus, Juno).
4 ÉGLISE NOTRE-DAME.
This church, built by the Dominicans, is a typical example of Baroque counter-Reformation buildings. Many period dramas were filmed on its premises.
5 PORTE DIJEAUX
A gateway to the city from the west since Roman times. They were rebuilt by Michel Voisin between 1748 and 1753. Under Louis XV they were called the Dauphin Gate in honor of the French Dauphin, the future King Louis XVI.
6 PALAIS ROHAN
This building was originally the archbishop’s palace in 1784, but in 1800 it became the prefecture of Gironde, then the imperial palace and the royal residence, until it finally became the town hall in 1837.
7 CATHÉDRALE SAINT-ANDRÉ & TOUR PEY-BERLAND
Two royal weddings took place in this Gothic-style cathedral. The first was between Eleanor of Aquitaine and the future Louis VII, and the second between Anne of Austria and Louis XIII. The Pey Berland Tower, a bell tower built in the 15th century separate from the cathedral, offers a unique view of the city (50 meters).
8 MUSÉE D’AQUITAINE
A museum dedicated to the history of Aquitaine and Bordeaux from prehistoric times to the present day.
9 GROSSE CLOCHE
The historic city bell tower and the only remnants of the old 13th century defense gate. The weathervane at the top depicts a golden lion, the symbol of the kings of England. The bell, cast in 1775, weighs 7,800 kg.
10 PLACE FERNAND-LAFARGUE
A former “old market” (1155) where a pillar of shame was once erected. Today it is, along with Rue Saint James, one of the most fashionable places in Bordeaux.
11 PORTE CAILHAU.
This defensive structure, built between 1493 and 1496 on the site of an old gatehouse, was for nearly two centuries the main entrance to the city from the river.
12 ÉGLISE SAINT-PIERRE
The church was built between the 14th and 15th centuries on the site of an old Gallo-Roman port. The square and branching cobbled streets make up the old town of Bordeaux.
13 PLACE DU PARLEMENT
The most Italian square of the city, created in 1754 by decree of the bailiff Tourni. In the center is the fountain of Louis Garros (1865).
14 PLACE DE LA BOURSE.
This work of the Enlightenment is the town square most comparable to Versailles. Formerly called the Royal Square, along with the building of the stock market, it became the place where trade prices were set in the 18th century. On the left wing is the Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial, a center of discovery that invites the public to discover the city’s history through the centuries. In the center of the square is the Fountain of the Three Graces.
15 MIROIR D’EAU
A key element of the renovation of the riverbank that took place in 2006. It is the largest water mirror in the world (3450 m² plus an underground tank of 800 m²) and has become a symbol of the city where locals and tourists alike love to congregate.