Attractions in Bordeaux
Discover the top reasons to visit Bordeaux
There is so much to see and do in and around the wonderful city of Bordeaux that we decided to narrow it down to just a few 'must see' things for you! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we certainly don't want you to miss out on the best that the beautiful region of the Gironde has to offer.
City of Bordeaux
In the heart of the Gironde sits the city of Bordeaux. A beautiful and elegant city with some of the most famous 18th-century buildings and architecture in the region. As the second largest Atlantic port in France a visit here is a must and it acts as a great base to explore much of the region and specifically the vineyards that Bordeaux is famous for.
The options to visit Chateaux throughout the region is endless...many of then you will see on hilltops as you drive through the landscape or pass by on a train. It is in fact hard to pick out a favourite castle but certainly the one that looks the most 'castley' is the Chateau de Roquetaillade in Mazeres to the south-east of Bordeaux. Dating back to the 14th century the real treat here is not only the historical nature of it but the fact that it is also a working vineyard!
Cycling through the vineyards, stopping to sample the wine and probably buying a crate to take home...what better way to spend a day!
Head towards the coast and the Arcachon basin and you will find a wealth of cycle paths that lead you from one town to the next, beach to beach and attraction to attraction. All safely off the main roads and in fact mostly hidden in thick pine forest these trails are perfect for cyclists of all abilities and all ages.
Wine events are top of every calendar in every town across the region. Whether it be harvest time, bottling time, tasting time or just celebrating delicious wine time, there is bound to be some kind of grape-themed event on during your holiday.
Regardless of where you are staying in Bordeaux, there is sure to be a local town market. A visit to the market gives you a flavour of the real France, from fresh fruit and vegetables to the old men sipping Pastis in the corner and the odd game of petanque. This is an experience that you MUST have!
Possibly the most international event to take place in the area is the Sooruz Lacanau Pro surfing competition. Bringing the biggest stars in the sport to the Atlantic coast of France.
Food & drink
With no shortage of restaurants, cafes and French patisseries across Bordeaux, dining on delicious food is not a problem. The problem may arise however as you have to make your choice on which restaurant to visit! We've selected some of the best for you to try, including some wonderful Michelin starred, but you can always ask the locals for a recommendation.
Nature & Wildlife
The countryside in Bordeaux and the Gironde is incredibly varied and second to none. The rolling hills, rivers, rows of vines and some of the best sea views and largest sand dunes in Europe! A walk or cycle through the countryside gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy the wild flowers, colours and smells of the region.
Sea & beach
The Cote d'Argent, Europe's longest beach, forms the coastline to the west of the Gironde region and attracts many surfers to places such as Lacanau and the coastal resorts of Arcachon, Pyla and Cap Ferret. It is also known as a sort of 'Hamptons' of the French west coast and is home some glorious villas and a favourite spot for the rich and famous, as well as families.
All across the Bordeaux area and particularly in the city you will find the usual selection of high street shops, designer labels and local boutiques. But to be honest, most people come to Bordeaux for the farmers markets full of fresh local produce, infamous local wines and truffles, and the brocantes with their mixture of antiques and curiosities.
Many towns in the area have sprung up around vineyards and the wine industry and they are beautiful, idyllic and in some cases, otherworldly. It is hard to believe that people actually live in them. The best way to experience them is to hire a car and take your time to drive around and fully appreciate them. Alternatively, if you prefer a more energetic approach then cycling between can be particularly rewarding.
Wine & vineyards
This region has been producing wine for centuries but its real development was led by the English during the rule of King Henry II who encouraged the planting of more vineyards. Its soils are perfectly suited to the growing of grapes. Bordeaux wine today has worldwide renown and the region produces nearly a billion bottles appellation-controlled (AOC) wine each year. There are over 50 different appellations within the wider Bordeaux region, produced by over 8,000 growers or châteaux. The vast majority of wine produced is red, and it is known in Britain as 'claret'.
Need we say more...? Make sure you visit as many of these wonderful vineyards as you can and experience (taste!) the true Bordeaux!