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What to See in Bordeaux

Discover the top Bordeaux 'must see' sights & attractions

About the Sights in Bordeaux & the Gironde

There are a wealth of places to visit in Bordeaux, from top class art museums to the remains of ancient chapels and of course the famous vineyards. Many of the highlights are in City of Bordeaux, but to see the best that Bordeaux has to offer, a car is recommended.

Thanks to the varied history of Bordeaux, you will find reminders of the pre-historic times, Romans and of course the English throughout the region, from cave painting to castles and ruins to churches. Much of this history is documented in a number of museums

But it is not just man-made artefacts that are worth seeking out. Bordeaux is blessed with fabulous scenery, from the rows of vineyards of the Medoc, to the white sands and Atlantic swells of the Cote d'Argent and the rolling hills of the Gironde in the east. A number of Natural Parks have been created, which provide not only protection to the land but informative guides and trails to follow, a popular place for walking and biking.

Bordeaux is home to a vibrant arts scene as evidenced by the number of excellent art galleries and museums found throughout. Historical art collections as well as contemporary can be seen across the region, and not forgetting of course those artists who were resident in the area such as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Francisco Goya.

Of course, one of the popular things for visitors to do whilst on holiday in Bordeaux is to visit the many vineyards and chateaux. The collection includes some of the most famous and most expensive wines in the world.

Castles & ruins

As may be expected for an area that endured continuous invasion and conquering during the Middle Ages and up until more recent times, the coastline is dotted with stone bunkers, fortified towns and watch towers. A visit to some of these or one of the many restored castles,or chateuax, is essential when you are the Gironde.

One of the most famous is perhaps the Chateau de Roquetaillade is Mazeres, to the south east of Bordeaux. It has a particularly 'castle' look about it, with not one but two fortresses inside the castle walls and comes complete with troglodyte caves beneath it.

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Caves & rocks

Underground cave systems are dotted throughout Bordeaux thanks to the limestone bedrock. Some of the best are the Grotte Celestine to the of Bordeaux in Rauzan. Kitted out with torches, waterproofs and a helmet you can take a tour through the caves and learn about the impressive rock formations. 

In neighbouring Dordogne is perhaps one of the best known examples of prehistoric cave painting in France at the caves of Lascaux. If you are interested in this period in history then the drive through the countryside of the Gironde and Dordogne to these caves is a must!

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Churches & cathedrals

The highlight has to be Bordeaux's cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedrale Saint-Andre, where Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Louis VII. But equally as interesting is the elaborate Notre-Dame church which offers a fine example of Baroque architecture from the 17th century.

Each town or village has its own church and most commonly these are in a Gothic or Neo-Roman style, however there are a few surprises with some Greek and even Moorish influences. Amongst the most unusual is the Chapelle de la Villa Algerienne in L'Herbe, with its bold striped exterior.

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Museums & galleries

There is a superb range of public art galleries in the Bordeaux region. Of particular note are the Musee des Beaux-Arts and Musee des Arts Decoratifs, both in the city of Bordeaux. The best known museum in the region is by far the Musee des Douanes, not only a museum but a spectacular example of architecture in the heart of Bordeaux.

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Nature reserves & parks

There are several Natural Parks in Bordeaux, offering a very diverse range of geology, flora & fauna. The National Park of Landes and Gascogne offers a multitude of activities in a stunning setting that comprises not only coastal areas but forest and rolling hills.. A popular area to visit for bird watching as well you can see the flocks of migrant birds as they take a quick rest on their migration route.

Also see: Nature Parks in Bordeaux

Vineyards & estates

What better reason to visit Bordeaux than to sample the fine wines of the region, known throughout the world. 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. Two of the most noteable estate and wine producers are the Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and Chateau Margaux, both known for their exquisite, and rather expensive, wines!

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Location: Bordeaux Region (Gironde)

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