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Bordeaux in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

If you plan to spend 3 days in the beautiful French city of Bordeaux, here is an itinerary to get the most out of your trip

Nicolas Reffray

Nicolas Reffray

9 min read

Bordeaux in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Personas en el parque |©Emilio del Prado

Bordeaux offers a perfect combination of culture, gastronomy, architecture and leisure. However, three days are enough to enjoy its main attractions. From the imposing Place de la Bourse, its museums and countless bars and restaurants, to the Port of the Moon. In addition, this French city has an important wine-growing activity, so a tour of the vineyards and wineries is an excellent idea. Read on!

Day 1: Get to know the historic center of Bordeaux

Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux|©Francisco Esteve
Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux|©Francisco Esteve

Start your first day in this fascinating city by booking an exploration game through Bordeaux's old town. There you will discover why Bordeaux has the reputation of being one of the most picturesque French cities. You'll find that it's very easy to get here, since it's the core of the city, so there are plenty of bus and streetcar lines. It's also a great place to stay, as you can walk almost everywhere from here.

Book an exploration game through the old town

Start the tour at Place de la Bourse

Visit the impressive Place de la Bourse, one of Bordeaux's most iconic landmarks. It is located in the heart of the historic center and will be one of your stops if you book the guided tour of Bordeaux. Around it you will see buildings dating from the eighteenth century, whose architecture is among the most beautiful in the city. You will see the majestic Palais de la Bourse, built in the eighteenth century to house the Chamber of Commerce of the city.

There you will see the Fountain of the Three Graces, located in the center of the square. An impressive sculpture representing three Greek goddesses of ancient mythology: Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia. The fountain is surrounded by a large mirror of water, which creates a magical atmosphere and makes it a perfect place to take pictures.

Book a guided tour of Bordeaux

Discover Saint-André Cathedral and Pey Berland Tower

Just a 10-minute walk from there, you should not miss the Saint-André Cathedral and the Pey Berland Tower. Book the Bordeaux City Pass and visit the interior for free. The cathedral boasts numerous works of art, a huge 18th century organ and a Gothic structure that will take your breath away. Many architecture lovers come to Bordeaux to admire this jewel.

The Pey Berland Tower is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Saint-André, which is separated from it because the great weight of its bells would not have been supported by the structure of the Cathedral. If you are brave enough to climb its 225 steps, you can enjoy panoramic views of Bordeaux and the Garonne River.

Book the Bordeaux City Pass

Immerse yourself in the Saint-Pierre and Saint-Michel Quarters

After visiting the Cathedral and the Pey Berland Tower, stroll through the picturesque pedestrian streets of the Saint-Pierre and Saint-Michel neighborhoods, which are lined with bars, restaurants and stores. Here you can stop for lunch. You will see that the whole area invites you to enjoy.

From there you can easily spot another of the religious buildings that are among the jewels of Bordeaux, I mean the Basilica of Saint-Michel, known for its gothic tower of about 114 meters high.

Book a guided tour of Bordeaux

Visit the Porte de Bourgogne

Without leaving the neighborhood, visit the Porte de Bourgogne, located almost attached to one end of the Pont de Pierre. It is a historical monument and one of the main entrance gates to the old city of Bordeaux. It was built in the 17th century by order of King Louis XIV. Its design was inspired by Italian architecture and, in particular, the Porta Pia in Rome.

It has a large central gate flanked by two octagonal towers. At the top there is a relief depicting Louis XIV and at the bottom two sculptures representing Mars and Hercules.

Book a private tour

Dinner on the banks of the Garonne River

Finish this first day with a dinner on the banks of the Garonne River. One of the most recommended places to do so is undoubtedly La Taupiniere. You will be able to taste the best flavors with an absolutely gourmet level without losing the local touch. Another option is to book a gastronomic tour in which you will delve into French gastronomy.

Book a gastronomic tour

Day 2: Discover the vineyards, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Grand Théâtre and much more

Grand Theater of Bordeus|©SBA73
Grand Theater of Bordeus|©SBA73

I suggest you start this second day exploring the best vineyards of the region. Afterwards, enjoy some art at the CAPC, visit the imposing Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux and stroll through the Port, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Take the Bordeaux wine route

The region is famous for its wines, so you can't miss visiting the vineyards and tasting the local wines. There are many options for vineyard tours around Bordeaux. One of my favorite options is the excursion to Margaux from Bordeaux. Some of its most famous wineries are Château Margaux, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château d'Yquem. You will have the opportunity to taste the best wines in the world and accompany them with some local delicacies.

This type of visit, although focused on tasting, will also allow you to learn in detail all about the** production process, the different nuances of each wine variety** and much more. An incomparable experience for wine lovers.

Book an excursion to Margaux

Delve into the best of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art

In the afternoon, return to the city and visit the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, which houses an impressive collection.

The CAPC also has temporary exhibitions that are always attractive, so if you're interested in art and you're passing through Bordeaux, sign up for a visit. The museum is located on the border between the city center and the Chartrons district, very close to the Place de la Bourse.

About 300 meters from there, you can stroll through the Jardin Public, a beautiful park where you will find ponds, fountains and botanical gardens. Admission is free and it is absolutely worth it, as the charm and peace of the place are unique. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Bordeaux with children, as they will be able to run around and enjoy nature without leaving the city.

Book the Bordeaux City Pass

Be dazzled by the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

A five-minute walk from the Public Garden is one of the most important buildings in the city, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. A colossal building dating from the 18th century. It inspired Charles Garnier to design the Paris Opera House.

Declared Historical Monument of France, the Grand Theater has a length of 88 meters, 12 Corinthian columns and is of neoclassical style. It is one of the oldest theaters in Europe. At the top there is a sculpture representing Apollo and the muses, and at the entrance of the theater there are two sculptures representing music and poetry. Its interior is just as impressive.

Today, the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux remains one of the city's most important venues for culture and entertainment. If you want to delve into its history and architecture, guided tours are organized. In addition, you can attend a wide variety of shows, from operas and classical music concerts to plays and dance performances. It is home to the Bordeaux National Opera.

Book the Bordeaux City Pass

Stroll through the Port of Bordeaux

End the day with dinner at one of the many restaurants in the port area, overlooking the Garonne River. Thanks to its beauty, the port has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, as has the historic center. Visit it at night and you will see why. An ideal place for a bike tour.

Book a guided tour of Bordeaux

Day 3: Don't miss Porte Cailhau, the Rohan Palace and the City of Wine Museum

Porte Cailhau|©Iñigo González M
Porte Cailhau|©Iñigo González M

On this third and last day, spend the morning discovering Bordeaux's historic monuments. From the Porte Cailhau and the Rohan Palace, to the Museum of Fine Arts. Afterwards, cross to the other side of the Garonne River to stroll through the Bastide district, where you can enjoy the many bars and restaurants of the Place Stalingrad. Finally, end the day with a fine dining experience in the Chartrons district.

Tour Porte Cailhau and the Rohan Palace

Located a few meters from the Place de la Bourse, you will come across the Porte de Cailhau (Cailhau Gate), the former main entrance to the city. It was designated a French Historical Monument in 1886 and is one of the points of interest that you can see if you book a sidecar tour of Bordeaux. It is late Gothic and Renaissance in style and is an impressive example of the architecture of the time. You absolutely must have your picture taken, as it is one of the classic postcards of Bordeaux.

Across the street is the Rohan Palace, an impressive historic building built in the 18th century as the residence of the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Ferdinand Maximilien Mériadec de Rohan. It is an excellent example of French neoclassical architecture and its design is impressive, with a white stone facade and Corinthian columns. The interior features a grand marble staircase and a series of halls and rooms decorated with period furniture, tapestries and works of art.

Book a sidecar tour of Bordeaux

Enter the Museum of Fine Arts

Inside the Rohan Palace you will also find the Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts, one of the most important in France, with works by artists such as Rubens, Renoir, Van Dyck, Delacroix and Monet. The museum has a permanent collection of more than 4,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints by some of Europe's most famous artists.

The museum also has several thematic rooms dedicated to painting and sculpture from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque and the 18th century. In addition, the museum also organizes temporary exhibitions of contemporary and modern art, as well as local and international artists, so it is always a good idea to visit. If you are an art enthusiast, you should definitely check it out.

Book the Bordeaux City Pass

Stroll through the Bastide Quarter and Place Stalingrad

In the afternoon I suggest you to cross the Garonne River through the Pont de Pierre. There you will find the Place Stalingrad, one of the most important places in the city and one of the stops of the bike tour of Bordeaux. Around it there are numerous stores and cafes. In the center is a fountain with a bronze sculpture by artist Jean-Bernard Métais, depicting a silhouette of a man and a woman dancing together.

Afterwards, I invite you to explore the Bastide district, where you can experience the local atmosphere. One of the neighborhood's attractions is the Sunday market, which offers a wide variety of local products. So, if one of your three days in Bordeaux is a Sunday, I recommend you to go there.

Book a bike tour

Visit the Chartrons district

Finally, cross the Garonne River again via the Pont de Pierre or Pont Jacques-Chaban-Delmas and visit the Chartrons district, one of the oldest and most picturesque in Bordeaux known for its bohemian atmosphere and rich historical and cultural heritage. Originally a wine trading center, today it is one of the trendiest areas, a center of art and design with numerous art galleries, furniture stores and clothing stores.

One of the highlights of the Chartrons district is its flea market, held every Sunday on Quinconces Square. There you can find antiques, vintage clothing and other curious objects. It is one of the best things to do in Bordeaux in May, since, being outdoors, the warm temperatures are ideal.

Book a guided tour of Bordeaux

Marvel at the Cité du Vin Museum

As you have seen, Bordeaux has a lot to see and do. To end this itinerary, visit the imposing Museum of Wine and Commerce, dedicated to wine culture. Its modern structure contrasts with the rest of Bordeaux. However, this museum, located on the banks of the Garonne River, has quickly become a must-see where you can discover all the secrets of the world and culture of wine.

Finally, head to rue Latour, a few meters before reaching the Garonne River and end your last day with a dinner at the Restaurant Casa GAÏA, a unique place, with an excellent atmosphere, that will leave you in love with the flavors of France. Here ends this three-day trip through charming Bordeaux. I hope you liked the itinerary and that you enjoy your stay in the city to the fullest, see you next time!

Book your ticket for the Museum of Wine and Commerce