Best attractions in Bordeaux: Top 20

Bordeaux’s cultural achievements and attractions are not the only things that can surprise this region. The glory of the local wines is the strongest argument for many people when choosing a place to stay. And believe me, everyone will find something to see in Bordeaux, regardless of the purpose of the trip. The city owes its second name “the little Paris” to a huge number of monuments of ancient architecture. Explore pictures, descriptions and attractions of Bordeaux and plan a well-rounded program to see all the highlights.

What to see first in Bordeaux

The view of Bordeaux in summer and in winter is very different. But no matter what season you choose, the sights of Bordeaux are invariably magnificent.

1. Exchange Square

Fountain "Water Mirror" and Exchange Square in Classical style (18th century)

The view of this square will be perhaps the best impression you get from your trip. It is a highlight of Bordeaux, its calling card. Thanks to the huge number of fountains and water pouring around, it seems to mirror. By the imagination of the craftsmen who created this architectural ensemble, two long buildings are curved so that they repeat the smooth curves of the river. In the warm season the whole palace is reflected in the thin layer of water, which makes an indelible impression.

2. Parliament Square

Fountain of Parliament in the central part of the Parliament Square in Bordeaux Marc Ryckaert (MJJR)

Start your trip to Bordeaux by visiting its main squares. The mansions with imposing, lavishly stuccoed facades bordering the Place de la Parlement were built in the 18th century. There is a fountain with nymphs in the center, and restaurants and outdoor cafes of about the same price range are located all over the square. In the evenings you can hear live music here.

3. Kincons Square

43-meter column with a swimming pool in Kincons Square

Depending on the time of year, there may be a lunapark with large-scale rides, and sometimes beach competitions are held here. The centerpiece of the square is a monument with huge horses and fountains. It is the place that serves as a landmark for tourists for appointments and meetings.

4. Port of the Moon

Port of the Moon is the name of the bend of the Garonne River that divides the city into two banks Oliwan

The port is on the list of UNESCO sites. It owes its name to the shape of the bend of the river Garonne that runs through the city. In reality it is not a port, but a stunning architectural ensemble with buildings in classical style. Among them are the best attractions of Bordeaux.Through the area passes the pedestrian street St. Catherine, the longest in Europe. This street is a historic shopping place with more than 250 stores.

5. Bolshoi Theater

Modern illumination of the Grand Theatre on the Place de la Comedie

A beautiful building with a facade adorned with 12 powerful columns. Special tourist recommendations are for performances worth going to. Tickets are sold without indication of seats, and the auditorium is randomly seated. Note the roof of the facade, where the statues of the goddesses and muses are placed. On the square in front of the theater stands a sculpture depicting a woman’s head. You can appreciate its full beauty by walking around from all sides. The building is considered the headquarters of the National Opera and was built in the neoclassical style.

Be sure to check out this beautiful video about Bordeaux!

6. Rogan Palace

The English-style landscape park around Rogan Palace

This is the seat of the city’s mayor’s office. The palace consists of a large main building and two smaller wings. The grandeur of the building is emphasized by the columns and the two porticoes, crowning the facade. The interior of the palace is richly decorated: monumental staircase, salons on the first floor with an elegant wooden furnishing, a magnificent dining room. On the territory around the palace the beautiful park is laid out.

7. The church of St. Michael

View of the western facade of the Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel on Menard Square Jean-Christophe BENOIST

Advice on what to visit in Bordeaux from holy relics. The grandeur of the building is a little out of keeping with its location in the Arab quarter. This temple is not always open. If you’re lucky, you can get free concerts and organ music festivals here. The bell tower, which is separated from the main building, serves as an excellent observation deck with a wonderful view of the city. The interior decoration is interesting with many colorful stained glass windows.

8. St. Andre’s Cathedral

The Cathedral of Saint Andre on Pius Berlan Square

The imposing Gothic-style structure is visible from afar. Located in the historic center, it evokes solemn awe with its grandeur. Reviews mention the unrestored part, which reminds us of antiquity and takes us back half a century. The interior of the cathedral is also grandiose and decorated with statues and paintings.

9. Pe-Berlan Tower

View of the Pe-Berlan Tower in the early morning

There are many places in Bordeaux with beautiful views from above where you can take stunning photos. So, what to see in Bordeaux for fans of selfies and fans of professional photography? For them, this tower, part of the Cathedral of Saint Andre, although a little distant from it, is ideal. At almost 70 meters high, it is adorned with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary with Child. The spire is surrounded by a terrace, which can be accessed by stairs. Whoever climbs the 200 stairs is rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city. You can also see the city from the second-floor balcony, but the picture is incomplete.

Official website:

10. Church of Notre Dame in Bordeaux

Interior of the Church of Notre Dame in Bordeaux

The structure of Baroque architecture is probably the most spectacular in the city. The church’s high rating is provided by its magnificent façade, lavishly decorated with sculptures and relief elements. In the center between the columns is a stained glass window depicting the Virgin Mary. The inside of the cathedral is well illuminated. The altar, for the construction of which several kinds of marble were used, and the organ, made of oak and walnut, are very beautiful. On the walls may be seen pictures by a Dominican friar.

11. Wine City Museum

La Cité du Vin cultural center building in Bordeaux Oli Lynch

All guides in Bordeaux advise visiting this place, which opened recently. Unique in its architecture, the building is made of aluminum and glass. It looks very unusual and its outline resembles a twisted grapevine or a splash of wine pouring into a glass. The basis of the museum exhibition are interactive exhibits that tell a story of wine. The stand offering to appreciate the flavors of this drink looks amusing.

Official website: https://www.laciteduvin

12. Aquitaine Museum

Facade of the Aquitaine Museum in Bordeaux Own work

What to see in Bordeaux in 1 day for those interested in the history of the city? Come here and admire a vast collection of exhibits telling the history of the region, the periods of its development, the varied activities of Bordeaux and its role in world history. There are sculptures and everyday objects, and many exhibits are devoted to maritime subjects, including model ships. The use, albeit in small numbers, of interactive technology brings the exhibition to life and makes the information easier to digest.

Official site: http://www.musee-aquitaine

13. Cayo Gate

View of Cayo Gate from the side of the town square Blaue Max

They once served as the main entrance to the city and the road from them led to the palace. Their ancient defensive function is reminded by the battlements, loopholes and dormer windows. But the elegant roof towers, arched windows and canopy over niches make for a peaceful atmosphere. Tourist reviews mention the beautiful coat of arms on the facade on the city side. It depicts lilies, the coat of arms itself supported by two angels.

14. The Grosse-Klosch tower

The old city gate with the dial of an astronomical clock is the Grosse-Cloche Tower

The tower is part of the city’s system of fortifications. It was once the bell tower of the old town hall, today it is a landmark of France with an astronomical clock installed in the central part in the mid-18th century. At the same time the side towers were fitted with cone-shaped roofs. On the north, the façade is decorated with figures of fairy gargoyles. The image of the tower is on the field of the city coat of arms.

15. St. Catherine Street

The famous shopping street Saint-Catherine in Bordeaux Superbass

There are interesting places in Bordeaux just worth walking through for an excursion into the city’s architectural past. This longest (by European standards) pedestrian street has many monuments of antiquity. Developed as a bustling shopping area, today it is known for a huge number of stores, including well-known brands. More than 250 stores in one kilometer - a record for Europe!

Bordeaux sights: what else is there to see in Bordeaux?

Is it possible to list the main attractions of Bordeaux in brief, if for taste and color, as they say … We recommend a few more noteworthy sites.

16. The Pont de Pierre Bridge

At nighttime, the Stone Bridge over the Garonne is illuminated by many spotlights

The bridge replaced the ferry that ran between the banks of the Garonne. At the beginning of this century it was declared a historic monument, its image was even put on a French postage stamp. The piers of the bridge are decorated with the profile of Napoleon, because it is believed that he was involved in its construction. The bridge serves as a good backdrop for photos, at night time beautifully illuminated by spotlights.

17. Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge

The passage of large ships under the Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge on the Garonne River

Europe’s longest lifting bridge, equipped with a vertical elevator, rises 77 meters in height. Its weight is supported by four independent support towers, which also ensure its smooth movement. Not far from the bridge there are hotels in Bordeaux, offering a taste of exquisite French service.

18. Submarine base

The former submarine bunker in Bordeaux P. Charpiat

The base is in an abandoned port, not far from the center. A narrow canal leads here, one can only guess how the submarines passed through it. Many excursions to Bordeaux include routes here, because both the site and its history are interesting. The order to build the base was given by Hitler, and the project was carried out using prisoner of war labor. There is a monument to them at the entrance. The capacity of the base was 11 units. Today it is an exhibition.

19. The Garonne River

View of the Garonne River and the docks of Bordeaux

The river with its swift current divides the city into two parts. Where to go in Bordeaux after a busy day full of emotions and impressions? On the banks of the river you’ll feel peaceful, looking at its choppy waters. The total length of the river from the Pyrenees to the Bay of Biscay, where it flows into, is 647 km. Sometimes it overflows its banks because of floods.

20. Bordeaux is the wine-producing region of France.

Vineyards of Saint-Emilion, one of the main red wine producing areas of the Bordeaux region

The area of land given over to vineyards is staggering. Covering around 120 hectares, they produce enough grapes to export over 700 million bottles annually, and how many more remain in the country! And it’s not just thanks to the province’s mild oceanic climate, calcium-rich soil and proximity to rivers. Much of the success of the local wine business also depends on the hands of the artisans, who put a piece of their heart into the production of the product.

Official website:

It is worth a visit. And not only to pay tribute to the beautiful drink. Strolling along the Garonne embankments, seeing the ancient buildings, great shopping will stay in your memory for a long time. Read also about sights of Lyon and be inspired for your future journey to France.

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