The city of Bordeaux is one of the most vibrant and dynamic cities in France. Located in the Southwest, there is plenty to do in one day! The city is buzzing with trendy coffee shops, amazing architecture and of course, great wine.
Bordeaux, long known as la belle endormie, now successfully combines old with new after the restoration of magnificent 18th century buildings. With its pedestrian walkways and efficient tramway lines, one day in Bordeaux is enough time to see many of the great attractions the city has to offer.
Whether you’re just pulling in on the train, or waking to a new day in the city, grab your morning coffee and get ready: here’s our guide to making the most of one day in Bordeaux.
La Cité du Vin: what’s a day in Bordeaux without great French wine?
Bordeaux is the world’s major wine industry capital. So if you have one day in Bordeaux, it’s worthwhile discovering Bordeaux’s wine scene.
Start your day at La Cité du Vin, a recently opened wine museum devoted to the cultures of wine.
The museum will teach you everything you need to know about the history, production, and culture of wine in France and throughout the world. Even the architecture of the museum is impressive, making a statement with its bold curves and shape. The building is designed to evoke “wine’s soul and liquid nature”.
The best is saved until last: you can finish your self-guided tour by taking the elevator up to the belvedere for a wine tasting with a 360 degree view of the city.
Discover the squares of Bordeaux
After your visit to the wine museum take the tram to Place des Quinconces, one of the largest city squares in Europe. The square’s centre piece, the Girondist monument honours the Girondists of the French Revolution and the French Republic.
If you have only one day in Bordeaux, you cannot miss the Place de la Bourse. Only a ten minute walk from the Place des Quinconces, Place de la Bourse is one of the most beautiful squares in Bordeaux. Renowned for its historic architecture, it also faces the world’s largest reflecting pool, the Miroir d’eau.
Follow the river Garonne for another five minutes, and you’ll find the striking Porte Cailhau which was once the main gate to the city.
Wander the streets and grab a bite to eat
A day in Bordeaux wouldn’t be complete without a bit of retail therapy and a typical bordelais meal. Head to rue Sainte-Catherine where you will find 1.2 kilometres of great shopping without having to worry about cars.
Rue Sainte-Catherine is part of the pedestrianised zone of the old town of Bordeaux. It also has many great Bouchons Bordelais restaurants where you can try the regional cuisine and wines.
One last view of the city
Now that you’ve recharged, head to Place Pey-Berland where you’ll find Saint André’s Cathedral, one of the best examples of the medieval gothic architecture in France. Behind it stands Le Tour Pey-Berland, a 15th century bell tower that was constructed to provide the cathedral with a bell without disturbing the gothic structure.
Discover the beautiful interior of the cathedral then climb the spiral staircase of the tower to see more magnificent views of Bordeaux.
And if you have more than one day…
- Wines tours run in the main Bordeaux wine region and some deals include visits to famous Chateaux.
- La Dune du Pilat is the biggest sand dune in Europe. Located 60 kilometres from the city, if you have the time this is a natural beauty not to be missed.
- After all the excitement, escape the city and relax with a book in the beautiful Jardin Public.
Have you ever visited Bordeaux? What would you do if you had just one day there? Share your advice with us in the comments box below.
All images © Simone Allen