A Bit of Bordeaux Background:
Bordeaux is situated on what looks like a river but is actually an estuary, and because of the moon shape that the water takes while flowing through the city, Bordeaux is often called Port de la Lune! This also means that no matter where you are on the boardwalk, you can always see the beautiful architecture of the waterfront row of buildings and structures, like Place de la Bourse, Basilica of St. Michael’s bell tower, and Pont de Pierre. But that’s enough spoilers, let’s dive in!
20 Things to SEE in Bordeaux:
1. Place de la Bourse
Designed by the Royal architect Jacques Ange Gabriel, this is the place you will always be looking at while walking around the Port of the Moon!
2. Miroir d’eau
Fronting Place de la Bourse, and dutifully reflecting it at all times of the day- though most beautifully at night- this is THE WORLD’S LARGEST REFLECTING POOL! Woah. Plus, kick off your shoes and jump in! Everyone will be during the summer! Every 15 minutes it will cycle with fog, sprays, and filling up.
3. Pont De Pierre
This is my favorite bridge in all of France because of its history, the mood it casts over the city, its stunning architecture, and the beautiful views it offers! I even named my cat after it!
4. Porte Cailhau
A medieval gate of the old city walls. Leads to some amazing shops! (like the cute little unique ones that have the stuff you didn’t know you needed).
5. La Grosse Cloche (The Great Bell)
The second remaining part of the medieval wall of Bordeaux. It is from the 15th century, and houses a bell weighing 7,800 kilograms (17,200 lb).
6. Column of the Girondins on the Esplanade des Quinconces
The most stunningly intricate fountain in Bordeaux situated in the largest square in Europe.
7. Basilica of St. Michael
It’s bell tower is actually built beside the church rather than on top of it, and on an ancient burial ground. You can tour the tower and catacombs every day of the week!
8. Jardin Public
Jardin botanique are inside! Absolutely beautiful for a picnic, a bottle of wine, and some friends- or make friends while you are visiting!
9. Grand Théâtre
In a beautiful square, you can sit on its steps and enjoy a macaroon, the live music, the people, and the sights!
10. Place du Parlement
Personally a favorite area of mine, great for all times of the day-and definitely one of the best places to be found on a Friday night! Gelato, music, and wine bars galore!
11. The View of Bordeaux From the Top of La Cité du Vin
Plus, taste some local wines while you’re taking it all in!
12. Rue Sainte-Catherine
The longest pedestrian street in Europe, starting at the Grand Théâtre and running until Place de la Victoire.
13. The city at night!
Without compromising safety, Bordeaux turns into the most gorgeous oil painting, but everywhere you look, at night!
14. An Outdoor Movie
Speaking of the city at night, did you know that you could see an outdoor movie surrounded by all of the beauty of the city?! Well, yes you can!! The location varies, so just check out the city’s website to see when the next one is!
15. The City from Across the Water
Across the water from the main side of Bordeaux is a park which extends nearly the entire length of the city. I recommend renting bikes and riding along it!
16. A Chateau
Bordeaux is surrounded by beautiful chateaux and you must visit at least one! There are buses and trains that will take you about anywhere! Or, you can drive along the Route of the Chateau, I will have post about it coming soon! Check out this post to learn more about French train travel!
17. Dune of Pilat
Only about a 20 minute train ride from the city, in the Arcachon Bay area is Europe’s largest sand dune. And you know what comes with that, a beach!
18. How Cannelés de Bordeaux are made
There is a very special treat that is only from the Bordeuax region called a cannelé that you must try during your visit! One of the most convenient places to see them made is just inside Centre Commercial Les Grands Hommes!
19. Église Notre-Dame
On your way to Les Grands Hommes, you will pass Church of Notre Dame! It is beautifully situated down a small alleyway just off the main square of the city, where the merry go round is!
20. The Entire City
I’m sorry to end this list on such a general note, but there is so much more to Bordeaux than 20 things!
Still there is Bordeaux Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux, consecrated in 1096!), Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas (Europe’s longest lifting bridge, which lifts to 53 meters to let ships through!), Jardin botanique de la Bastide (the botanical garden that is Jardin Public’s garden’s twin sister from across the river), Pont de Pierre from underneath (learn how to do this in my post here!), and so much more!
Soon, Bordeaux will be even more accessible than it already is- with a 2 hour train route being built between it and Paris! In addition to this, the amazing boardwalk which already spans the entire length of the city is being extended 5 kilometers! Great things are in store for Bordeaux, so if you want to be the travel hipster who “saw it first”, take my advice and go to Bordeaux!