Bordeaux's Wine Scene: A Guide to Wine Bars, Restaurants, and Sightseeing
Step into Bordeaux, and you'll find yourself in a place that echoes the grandeur of the French capital, exuding a similar sense of elegance and sophistication. Just like Paris, Bordeaux showcases stunning architecture and a vivid cultural scene.
It also shares the love for art, fashion, and gastronomy that Paris is renowned for, making it a hub of cultural experiences. Yet Bordeaux remains delightfully unburdened by overwhelming crowds. Offering a warmer climate, friendlier interactions with locals, and an authentic atmosphere, this city invites you to embrace its slower pace of life. And just as joie de vivre fills the air, the glasses are filled with exquisite wines, embodying the essence of the region.
In this guide:
La Cité du Vin
A Wine's Lover Adventure
Bordeaux City Landmarks
Live Like a True Bordelais
Bordeaux Art Scene
Where to Eat in Bordeaux
Where to Shop in Bordeaux
How to get around Bordeaux?
To ensure you don't miss any of the captivating sights in this wine haven, kickstart your journey by acquiring a Bordeaux City Pass.
It gives you access to all the city’s main museums, some excursions, and a number of interesting activities such as the cruise along the Garonne River. The city also has a great public transport system including tram, bus, and boat.
The city has great mobility with numerous scooter and bicycle rental stations available, acquiring your own two-wheeled companion is a breeze.
The Wine Capital of the World
Bordeaux has rightfully earned the title of "the wine capital of the world." With the vineyards cultivating some of the highest quality wines known to connoisseurs, this place has been the epicenter of wine production and exportation through the centuries, since Roman empire. The city of Bordeaux is an access point for visiting some of the world's most famous vineyards. The region possesses around 115,100 hectares of vines and produces over 6.5 million hectolitres of wine annually.
La Cité du Vin
To discover the city from the wine perspective, firstly head to its modern symbol of excellence, the esteemed Cité du Vin. This magnificent institution reflects Bordeaux’s unrivaled passion for wine, offering a sensory journey through the fascinating world of viticulture.
Within the walls of this architectural marvel, wine enthusiasts and curious minds can explore the nuances of grape varieties, terroir, and winemaking techniques from all over the globe. Here you can check the interactive exhibits, enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the city, and sip some wine in a bar featuring wines from 80 countries.
A Wine-Lover's Adventures
As wine adventures await, take a leisurely cruise on the Garonne River, listening to the history of winemaking in the region. To taste some of Claret's wine and learn about the main wine appellations, pay a visit to the Wine & Trade Museum in the historical area of Chartron, where the wine warehouses were once located.
Next, embark on an extraordinary adventure as you join the excursion (included in your city Pass) to explore the depths of the Monument aux Girondins, delving into its underground realm. Uncover the intriguing features of this architectural marvel, decorated with such elements as grapes, grape leaves, vines, and barrels, each having its own fascinating narrative.
Head for a well deserved relaxing break at one of the finest wine bars of Bordeaux:
Point Rouge: make sure to book
Wine More Time: cosy place, 450 labels from local producers
Wine Moments by Bu et Approuvé: recently opened, this venu offers degustation workshops and blind tastings.
Tchin Tchin wine bar: joyful and easygoing setting, focusing mostly on organic and biodynamic wines. They exclusively use seasonal and local foods for their cuisine.
Must do when visiting Bordeaux
Bordeaux city landmarks
Discover the emblematic monuments of Bordeaux where centuries of heritage come to life. You will see architectural marvels that make this city a must-see destination.
1. Place des Quinconces and monument des Girondins (same location);
2. Pont de Pierre;
3. Porte Cailhau;
4. Place du Parlement;
5. Miroir d'eau;
6. Saint-André Cathedral and the separate bell tower Tour Pey-Beland;
8. Grand théâtre;
9. Place de la Bourse.
Live Like a True Bordelais
Let's reveal a few insider tips on how to truly embrace the spirit of a Bordelais (i.e. citizen of Bordeaux). When the weather permits, the best way to uncover the city's treasures is by bicycle.
Start your day indulging in a fluffy chocolatine (a term unique to the South East of France), and savoring the aroma of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. With your energy replenished, set off on foot along the promenade of the Garonne riverbanks, eventually reaching the main square, where at times a bustling farmers market takes place.
Take advantage of this opportunity to stock some freshly baked bread, local cheese, divine foie gras, and naturally a bottle of wine, for a leisurely picnic at Jardin Public.
Bordeaux Art scene
In the afternoon, make your way to the captivating Bassins des Lumières, a former World War II submarine base transformed into a mesmerizing digital art museum. Cherished by locals for its immersive experiences, this unique attraction promises to leave an indelible mark on your memories.
If you’re an art lover make sure to visit venues such as the Bernard Magrez Institut for regular exhibition, and Darwin ecosystem for outside-the box projects and events. Bordeaux is also bursting with a vibrant theatres scene and a world class opera.
Where to eat in Bordeaux?
Breakfast spot: Lola's Bar offers luxurious brunch from 8am to 12pm. Also great for lunch with food platters plus the place offers a prime view of the Basilic Saint-Michel.
Open for lunch only: If you like the bustling setting of French markets, you'll find this Bistrot à Huîtres to be a good fit: "Chez Jean-Mi" - for fresh oysters and seafood, set in the Marché des Cappucins.
Of course, leasury evenings are to be spent at one of the city’s stylish restaurants and bistros. Here are a few places to eat like a local:
Le Michel's - for a classic French onion soup, duck confit, and foie gras;
Gustave - for the creative street food and classic French tastes in modern interpretations;
L'Entrecôte - for great steaks, very popular so be ready to a long waiting lines;
BIG Bistrot Girondin - sharing style , Art Deco look, friendly service, a good ambiance, and an impressive wine list.
Where to Shop in Bordeaux?
>Rue Sainte catherine is the main shopping street in Bordeaux and actually the longest pedestrian street in France.
>The Chartron's area features charming antique shops, and vintage boutiques, giving it an animated and fashionable ambiance.
>Darwin Ecosystem, a multi-concept venu with multiple businesses, shops, and regularly hosting events.
>Twice a year (in spring and autumn) a giant Flea Market takes place on Place des Quinconces (the largest square in Europe).
Escapades Beyond the City Limits
The citizens of Bordeaux like escaping the city and seeking the simple pleasures of nature. Follow their example and take a weekend getaway to the oceanic paradise of Arcachon, a picturesque town that can be easily reached by a short train ride. Enjoy its sandy beaches, breathe in the invigorating sea air, and indulge in fresh seafood delicacies while gazing at the waves.
Alternatively, you can take a trip to the charming Saint-Émilion immersing visitors in an atmosphere of timeless beauty, with its cobblestone streets, ancient architecture, and vineyard-covered hills.
And of course, your journey wouldn’t be complete without the discovery of the renowned châteaux, where the allure of prestigious wines awaits. From horse riding adventures, exquisite picnics, and hands-on cooking classes, to the delectable chocolate and wine pairings -immerse yourself in a world of new diversities at one of the world’s most remarkable wine destinations!
A few day tours departure from bordeaux: