A city that the Queen once described as “The very essence of elegance”, astonishing architecture, wonderful food, a simultaneously serene and eclectic nightlife & some of the best wine in the world. Far enough south that it’s still pretty balmy in October, yet a world away from the tourist thronged beaches of the French Riviera. But what are the best things to do in Bordeaux?
The Best Things to do in Bordeaux
The beating heart of Bordeaux, this small section of the city is as idyllic and quintessentially French as it gets. White stone facades look down on streets lined by trees and abundant with bars, restaurants and cafes. There is a definite energy about the place at any time of day, be it lunchtime as tourists mingle with office and retail workers, sipping at citron presses at small shaded tables, or early evening as elegantly dressed socialites share a bite to eat before attending a show at the magnificent Grand Théâtre.
La Cité du Vin – The World’s Best Wine Museum
It’s difficult to ascertain where to start with this one. Opened in 2016, architecturally it is mind blowing, a great structure of steel and glass all lit up and golden in the sun – the complete antithesis to the 17th century architecture of the Place de la Bourse or the 11th century Bordeaux Cathedral. Everything you ever wanted to know about wine can be found here, history, production processes, types of bottles, types of grapes, how to pour, how to taste. There are immersive experiences to excite all of the senses, a “gourmet” cinema and of course The Belvedere – a glass walled tasting room that has a 360 degree view of the city. Quite the place for a tipple, this is certainly one of the best things to do in Bordeaux.
Le Château de Duras
Although this is around an hour’s drive from Bordeaux, it is an unforgettable visit. Built high on a towering hilltop in the 12th century, it was an extremely important military fort during the hundred year’s war and a symbol of both financial and political power. Delight in the countryside views from the castle’s ramparts or head underground to the archaeological and ethnographic museum to discover what 20th century life was like in this beautiful corner of the country. The Château de Duras is also one of our many exciting insider experiences aboard Hotel Barge Rosa, a barge cruise in of itself being one of the best things to do in Bordeaux.
One of the first things that visitors learn about the Saint-Émilion appellation on a Wine Appreciation Cruise aboard Rosa is the huge range of Bordeaux wines that are produced in this region. The terroir varies from château to château, largely as a result of the soil on which each one sits and there is an incredible variety, to suit all tastes! To visit this town is truly to take a step back in time, the terracotta roofs and shuttered houses frame narrow cobbled streets and a large amount of this UNESCO heritage location is to be found in the ancient catacombs underneath the town. If the dark isn’t your thing though, the view from the bell tower will make you feel as though you’re in a Sebastian Faulks novel.