Bordeaux City Guide

Wine lover or no, you’ll savour the opportunity to walk the ancient streets of Bordeaux.

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Combining rousing 18th-century architecture with the world’s largest urban World Heritage Site, Bordeaux stands out as an illustrious jewel in France’s crown

Couple this elegant architecture with a viticultural heritage that matches anywhere on Earth, and the city is revealed as one of Europe’s finest and best city break destinations.

Art, architecture and dimly-lit wine bars; they’re all here in Bordeaux. Tucked away on the Garonne River to the extreme west of France, Bordeaux enjoys a unique feel that sets it apart from other French cities – offering wonderful opportunities for sightseeing and culinary discovery.

Architectural Highlights

Bordeaux is widely considered to be France’s most culturally significant city after Paris, with over 1,810 hectares of its urban area belonging to designated World Heritage Sites. This acclaim is reflected in the city’s illustrious architecture, of which we showcase a few of our highlights below.

Triangle d'Or

Bordeaux is widely considered to be France’s most culturally significant city after Paris, with over 1,810 hectares of its urban area belonging to designated World Heritage Sites. This acclaim is reflected in the city’s illustrious architecture, of which we showcase a few of our highlights below.

Palais de la Bourse

Palais de la Bourse
Rich in Rococo style and boasting a lavish Neo-Gothic exterior, Bordeaux’s Palais de la Bourse is an essential stop-off during your visit to the city. Seated at one side of the world-famous Place de la Bourse, this exquisite 18th century mansion house has undergone extensive renovations to return it to its former glory, and now hosts a selection of concerts, exhibitions and events throughout the year.

Grosse Cloche

Bordeaux Grosse Cloche
The imposing Grosse Cloche in the heart of Bordeaux is one of the oldest belfries in France. Literally translating from Latin as ‘Big Bell’, the belfry holds the largest and oldest bell in the city, affectionately nicknamed Armande-Louise. Cast in 1775, Armande rings six times a year to mark special occasions, including Bastille Day, VE Day and Remembrance Day, and also on the first Sunday of every month. You can enjoy a guided tour of the belfry in the company of an experienced local guide, who will also show you its rather spooky subterranean dungeons.

Cultural Features

As you’d expect from a city with such a depth of history and heritage, Bordeaux is home to some truly extraordinary cultural highlights — from imposing historic châteaux to dozens of museums, galleries and exhibition spaces. Here, we take a closer look at the best cultural hotspots to visit during your sojourn up the waters of the Garonne.

Musée d'Aquitaine

Statue close-up

For those keen to chip away at Bordeaux’s illustrious history, the ideal place to start is at the Musée d’Aquitaine. Documenting the city’s progression from the Roman-era onward, Musée d’Aquitaine provides a timeline of Bordeaux’s development as it was continuously transformed by countless invading forces. If you must visit only one museum during your trip to the city, we’d recommend opting for this one.

Musée du Vin de du Négoce

Sampling Bordeaux’s wine is all well and good, but why not learn about it at the Musée du Vin et du Négoce? For French wine lovers, this in-depth visitor centre offers a comprehensive insight into the success and history of Bordeaux’s wine trade, as well as the production and consumption of wine more generally. The centre also features its own designated wine tasting area, where it’s possible to sample a handpicked selection of some of the region’s favourite vintages.

St Pierre District

Church of St Pierre
Labelled the ‘historic heart of Bordeaux’ by the city’s tourist board, the St Pierre District is certainly not without its ancient monuments and pockets of timeless heritage. Many of the buildings in this charming quarter date back to the medieval period, and sit close together overlooking quaint cobbled byways. Despite the antiquity of its architecture, St Pierre is one of the busiest and most popular areas of the city, with no end of cafés, restaurants and bars gracing its age-old streets.