Bordeaux is a very diverse city that offers a wealth of plans and activities throughout the year to its visitors. Likewise, some of the best things to do in Bordeaux have to do with exploring the historical heritage seen in those buildings and parks that remain open and available throughout the year, keeping the city's social agenda alive.
So I have taken it upon myself to organize an itinerary in which you can visit a large part of the tourist center of the city so that at the end of your visit you can say that you know the main attractions of Bordeaux, which are characterized by their beauty as well as their cultural importance.
1. Start your day at the Parc Aux Angeliques and the Bordeaux Botanical Garden
Bordeaux is a city that extends mainly on the western bank of the Garonne River, although it also has a good part of its urban center on the other side of the river. In this other part is the famous Parc Aux Angeliques, which is distinguished by being a public space full of trees and extending along a good part of the river bank.
Therefore, it offers a very privileged view of the historic center, which is just opposite and from this idea I advise you to start your urban tour in this corner of Bordeaux.
You should also note that the Botanical Garden of the city is located next to this park. As both sites are open from early morning hours, they become an ideal corner to start your sightseeing day, especially during the spring.
Admission to both sites is completely free and you should not miss them even if your trip is in a cold season, as they are certainly one of the best things to do in October in Bordeaux or in other autumn months for the opportunity to enjoy the falling leaves of the trees over the cityscape.
2. Cross the Pont de Pierre and go to the Place de La Bourse
From that point in Bordeaux you would have to cross a bridge to continue with the rest of the itinerary I have prepared for you and the closest of all is the famous Pont de Pierre. It is a structure over 150 years old that was commissioned directly by Napoleon. Today a railway line crosses it as well as different vehicular and pedestrian lanes, which allow traffic in both directions. Therefore, I advise you to cross it by bike if you find the idea interesting.
One of the most convenient aspects is that this site is less than a 10-minute walk away that will take you to the Place de la Bourse, which has a name that translates as Place de la Bourse and is known as the most representative space of the city.
On the way that will take you from this bridge to the square you will find different tourist attractions of the city as the famous Burgundy Gate which was built in 1750 as a symbolic entrance to the city. To this is added the Porte de Cailhau, which is a monument built hundreds of years ago that has a facade very similar to that of a castle.
Note that the Place de la Bourse is a landmark within the city and, in fact, is often the meeting place from where some of the best Bordeaux day trips depart, which are a good opportunity for those who have a long visit to the city and want to see the surrounding area.
Take the opportunity to visit the Miroir d'Eau
When you are at the Place de la Bourse you have to take the opportunity to capture photographic memories at the Miroir d'Eau. It is a large reflecting pool that refreshes tourists during the high summer temperatures and entertains them during the rest of the year.
And the visual effect generated by this site makes it a much-loved tourist destination in this city. You should also know that the Bordeaux National Customs Museum is located in this site and could be an interesting activity if you do not want to follow the rest of the itinerary.
3. Then go to the Opera National de Bordeaux and have lunch if you haven't done it so far
Near this square heading north is the National Opera of Bordeaux. The building stands out as a large theater with an impressive structure dating from 1780 and today is the venue for major entertainment events in the city. Especially those having to do with classical music and opera.
At the same time, there is the fact that the surroundings of this building are full of restaurants and commercial establishments. Therefore, it is highly recommended the idea of having breakfast or lunch depending on what you feel like. Especially, because depending on the time you have started your itinerary, it may already be noon.
However, I advise you not to go too far from this building because the next stop on the itinerary is just around the corner and a trip of less than 24 hours should be taken advantage of every available minute.
4. Arrive at Quinconces Square and be amazed by its size
The famous and impressive Quinconces Square is a public space in the city of Bordeaux located less than 200 meters from the National Opera. This square was built in the year 1820 and the inclusion of different commemorative monuments and its great extension have made it one of the tourist wonders of this community.
In fact, its extension is so significant that the 12 hectares of its structure make it the largest continuous square in all of Europe. Its history has a lot to do with the French Revolution in Bordeaux and today it is a popular space that attracts both tourists and event organizers who hold fairs and concerts in this place.
The Monument aux Girondins and its respective fountain is another of the characteristic elements of this square and you have to know that this site is one of the best things to see or do in Bordeaux during the month of July. This is due to the fact that there is usually a famous open-air market selling antiques that attracts all kinds of collectors.
5. Take a break in the beautiful Jardin Public
By the time you've walked the long Quinconces Square, you're probably feeling a little tired and, for your convenience, the city's most famous park is less than two blocks away. I'm talking about the Jardin Public, a perfectly designed public park with a lake, a history museum and a puppet theater.
Access is completely free and it may be a good place to recover your strength and rest your legs before continuing your sightseeing exploration, because the truth is that Bordeaux still has a lot to offer and there are other areas of the city just as interesting that you will have already visited.
6. From there you could take a cab to the Cite Du Vin
When you finish your break, it will probably be two or three o'clock in the afternoon and that means you still have many hours of sunshine. For this reason, my recommendation is to take a cab as soon as you can and head straight to the Cité Du Vin, a museum located a couple of kilometers north in the Quartier des Chartrons neighborhood.
This site that I recommend you visit is an institution dedicated to exploring the history of wine and its cultural importance through interactive exhibits and tastings that are included in the entrance fee. Its structure is also something worth mentioning, as it is an extremely modern building that stands out in the landscape for its size and curvature.
The place is definitely part of some of the best wine tours in Bordeaux, which usually focus on visiting wineries on the outskirts of the city, as well as museums dedicated to this drink within the city center.
Right next door is the Cap Sciences and it is a very family friendly plan
If you cross the bridge next to the Cité Du Vin and walk south, you will also find another of Bordeaux's great attractions. I'm talking about Cap Sciences, a science museum located in a former warehouse that was renovated to contain permanent and temporary exhibitions oriented to the didactic learning of science and nature.
The place has a very appropriate approach for the youngest of the house and for teenagers. It is therefore part of the best things to do with kids in Bordeaux. You should also know that one of the most emblematic bridges of the city's modern architecture is right next to it and, if you manage to see how its platform rises, you will be witnessing one of the great wonders of modern engineering.
7. Take the opportunity to tour a bit of the eclectic Bacalan neighborhood
When you've finished touring either of these two museums, you'll still have a few hours left before dusk sets in, or at least before it's dark enough to be tired. For this reason, I advise you to take advantage of your presence in the north of the city to visit the Bacalan neighborhood.
This area is known for having been an industrial center of the river port, but today it has been modernized and has the best fashion, gastronomic and art establishments. All while functioning as Bordeaux's most diverse community neighborhood.
It is an excellent place where you could enjoy both a good dinner of French gastronomy and any other culinary style. This considering that food from all over the world is present in this peculiar residential area.
In fact, it is a part of the city that you should visit with more enthusiasm and willingness if you have a three-day visit to Bordeaux, as it is part of the three favorite areas for tourism and nightlife entertainment in this town.
8. Go back to the center to appreciate the Cathédrale Saint-André at night
When you feel you are ready to end your sightseeing exploration of Bordeaux, it is appropriate that you return to the city center. Especially since you will still have one attraction left that deserves to be known during the night.
This is the city's cathedral and it is a building of Romanesque architecture that dates back to the 11th century and is characterized by a bell tower that stands apart from the rest of the structure.
It is a nighttime attraction for the simple fact that it is illuminated from the outside in such a special way that it attracts the attention of locals and tourists alike. In fact, the beauty that characterizes this cathedral at night makes it one of the best things to do in Bordeaux during the month of May, since at that time of the year a series of free concerts are usually held inside.
At this point of your visit you will only have to return directly to the area of your accommodation or go to the city's airport or the famous and impressive train station. That is in case you need to leave the metropolis to go to your next destination in France or the rest of Europe.
Tips to make the most of your 1-day visit to Bordeaux
It is also likely that there is the possibility that throughout your one-day visit to Bordeaux you may want to skip some of the recommendations I have made, which would imply a mismatch in logistics. So to help you not to feel out of place, I will give you some recommendations that can help you organize your own walks by including some of the alternatives I have given you
Walk a lot
Bordeaux is a big city, but it is also very walkable. Therefore, many agree that the best way to appreciate its beauty is to walk its streets outside of a vehicle. This means that if for some reason you get tired, it is preferable to go into a restaurant and recover your energy.
If you don't, you will be missing out on buildings of significant beauty, which are the corners that really mark the essence of this city.
Don't waste time on food
If you will be in the city for less than 24 hours and you are really interested in getting to know it, then it is appropriate that you do not waste time on food alternatives that require too many minutes of waiting. Fortunately for you, most of the places I have mentioned have several dining options around them. Therefore, you will always have the alternative of eating a hearty meal when you really feel like it.
The Centre-Ville neighborhood has it all if you are tired of a lot of activities.
If the idea of taking a cab to Bacalan is not something that convinces you because you are traveling with too many companions, then you should know that the Centre-Ville neighborhood also has other important tourist attractions. Among them is the city cemetery or the Mériadeck shopping center.
In fact, it is a very appropriate area to stay even if you decide to follow the itinerary I have given you to the letter. Especially because it has bars and nightclubs that can keep you entertained as well as very quiet areas that resemble the financial districts that are present in most city centers.
So if doing too many activities in one day is something you find challenging, you can spend your 24 hours touring this area on your own and you will still be doing a great tour.