One Day Bordeaux Itinerary with the best things to do
October 3, 2023
Welcome to Bordeaux, a beautiful city in southwestern France, well known for its wines, history, and architecture. I recently visited Bordeaux and would love to share my itinerary with you. If you find yourself with just one day to explore the city, fear not—I’ve crafted the perfect itinerary to ensure you make the most of your time. Enjoy!
Introduction to Bordeaux: Culture and Wine
Bordeaux, nestled along the Garonne River, is like the cool kid of French cities. In Bordeaux you can find history, culture, UNESCO-listed architecture and, of course, incredible wine. The streets? They’re not just streets; they’re lively, vibrant playgrounds with cafes and shops, blending tradition with modern vibes. Venture beyond the city and you can find yourself in postcard-perfect landscapes. Rolling vineyards stretch out, producing delicious wines. I didn’t experience Bordeaux just like a city; it was a whole vibe – a mix of history, culture, and wine. So, whether you’re into exploring cool streets, sipping divine wines, or just soaking up good vibes, Bordeaux is the place to be.
How to travel to Bordeaux?
The Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport is a convenient option if you are flying in and the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station serves as a major hub for trains. The city can also be reached by car. I drove to Bordeaux and parked my car in the Indigo garage. This garage was conveniently nestled in the city center and was the ideal starting point for my Bordeaux exploration.
How to get around in Bordeaux?
Once in Bordeaux, you can use public transportation or a bicycle to get around. I personally walked to every sight in Bordeaux. Riding a bicycle seems to be a smart option too. You can either rent a bike or join a bike tour to explore the city.
I always use 12GoAsia when traveling in other countries, even when traveling in Europe. With just a few taps, you can easily book a ride ensuring a seamless and budget-friendly travel experience. Most of the time, you will receive a digital transportation ticket, so you don’t have to worry about printing.
One Day Bordeaux Itinerary
Below you can find a short overview of my one day Bordeaux itinerary. Right below the list, you can find more information about each step.
08.30-09.00: Visit Place de la Bourse and Miroir d’eau
09.00-13.30: Discover Cité du Vin and have lunch Optional: make a river cruise if you don’t like wine
13.30-14.15: Walk along the Garonne River and Les jardins des lumières
14.15-14.30: Discover Porte Cailhau
14.30-16.00: Explore Rue Sainte-Catherine and do some shoppings Optional: visit Musée d’Aquitaine
16.00-17.00: Visit Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux
17.00-17.30: See Porte Dijeaux
17.30-19.30: Have traditional dinner at La Saint Georges Bordeaux
19.30-22.00: Watch a show at National Opera of Bordeaux
1. 08.30-09.00: La Place de la Bourse and Miroir d’eau
I kicked off my day in Bordeaux at the iconic Place de la Bourse, a stunning square that’s located next to the Indigo garage. The Miroir d’eau, world’s largest reflecting pool, offered a play of light and water. Many children were playing among the water on this sunny morning. I highly recommend starting your day at Place de la Bourse. The grandeur of the square, coupled with the mesmerizing Miroir d’eau, sets the tone for a nice day ahead.
2. 09.00-13.30: Cité du Vin
Next, I took a ferry to Cité du Vin, a spectacular wine museum that offers wine tastings and panoramic views of the city. The ferry departed from Quinconces (Jean Jaurès) and went in the direction of Lormont Bas (Lormont) to La Cité du Vin. The ride took about 20 minutes and was a great way to see the Garonne River. Plan your journey here.
Once I arrived at the wine museum at 10.00AM, I discovered all about wine in the permanent exhibition. This visit took me around 2 hours. It was one of the most interactive museums I’ve ever been! After the exhibition, I visited the panoramic restaurant called ‘Le 7’ on the seventh floor of La Cité du Vin. Here, I got a complimentary glass of wine (part of the entrance ticket) and I enjoyed some lunch. The food was delicious and I had another wine to match. Besides the food, it was nice to see the view.
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Tip: if you’re not into wine, you can also decide to make a river cruise on the Garonne River. The first cruise departs at 11.00AM. After exploring the river, I recommend to have lunch at La Saint Georges Bordeaux. This restaurant not only offers a traditional French dining experience, but is also renowned for its delectable crepes (a perfect introduction to Bordeaux’s gastronomic scene). I tried one and it was delicious! They have all kinds of crepes available; sweet, savory, with meat, with fish, vegetarian, you name it.
3. 13.30-14.15: Garonne River and Les Jardins des Lumières
Between 13:30 and 13:00, I hopped on a bus to head back to La Place de la Bourse. From there, I enjoyed a 10-minutes stroll along the Garonne River and through Les Jardins des Lumières, a tranquil garden.
4. 14.15-14.30: Porte Cailhau
Around 14.15 I arrived at Porte Cailhau, a medieval gate that once served as part of the city’s defensive fortifications.
5. 14.30-16.00: Rue Sainte-Catherine and Shopping Delights
From Porte Cailhau it was a 10-minutes walk to Rue Sainte-Catherine, one of Europe’s longest shopping streets. Here, I visited some boutiques and bought some souvenirs and ice-cream.
Tip: if time allows, consider a visit to the Musée d’Aquitaine for a deeper dive into the region’s history.
6. 16.00-17.00: Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux
Having spent about 1.5 hours in Rue Sainte-Catherine, I decided to take a slow walk towards Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux.
The journey to the cathedral was a nice transition from the busy Rue Sainte-Catherine to the more quiet atmosphere surrounding the church. Upon reaching Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux, I couldn’t help but marvel at its grandeur. The Gothic style and size of the church was impressive to see. Inside the church, centuries of history came to life. Stained glass windows filtered sunlight that created colors that danced across the ancient stones. It was beautiful!
For anyone planning a visit to Bordeaux, I highly recommend exploring the Cathédrale Saint-André. It’s more than a historical landmark. Take a moment to absorb the tranquility within and appreciate the architecture.
7. 17.00-17.30: Porte Dijeaux
After visiting Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux, I took a stroll towards National Opera of Bordeaux via Porte Dijeaux, another medieval gate and shopping district.
8. 17.30-19.30 Traditional Dining at La Saint Georges Bordeaux
I had dinner at Le Quatrième Mur, a very exclusive restaurant right next to the opera building. In terms of the meal, it was a delight, refined and delicate cuisine with incredible flavors. While this was a great experience, I don’t necessarily recommend this restaurant for everyone. It was quite pricey and there are more good and cheaper restaurants around the opera building. Opt for locally owned and operated restaurants and cafes to support the community and experience an authentic taste of Bordeaux.
9. 19.30-22.00: Opera Show at National Opera of Bordeaux
I capped off my day with a nice show at the opera, making my one day in Bordeaux unforgettable. Most shows started at 20:00 PM. I had taken a look at the official website of the National Opera of Bordeaux to see the actual shows, ensuring I caught a performance that piqued my interest. It’s worth noting that most shows take around 2 hours.
Tip: buy some cheese flavored chips (like camembert or blue cheese) and orangina to taste some typical French products.
Some additional tips for visiting Bordeaux
Here are some additional tip for visiting Bordeaux:
Weather: Bordeaux experiences varying weather, so be prepared for rain or sunshine depending on the season.
Language Considerations: Not many French speak English, so making an effort to learn a few basic French phrases can enhance your experience and interactions. Make use of the Google Translate Lens to translate menu cards and street signs.
Wear Comfortable Shoes: Bordeaux’s charming streets and cobblestone alleys are best explored on foot, so wear comfortable shoes to make your explorations enjoyable.
Seasonal Festivals: Check the local events calendar for any festivals or cultural events happening during your visit, adding an extra layer of vibrancy to your Bordeaux experience.
Museum and Attraction Hours: Verify the opening and closing hours of museums and attractions to plan your itinerary efficiently and avoid disappointments due to closures.
Tipping Etiquette: Understand the tipping culture in Bordeaux, where service charges are often included; however, leaving a small tip for exceptional service is appreciated.
Sun Protection: If visiting during warmer months, bring sun protection like sunscreen and a hat to shield yourself while exploring outdoor attractions.
Accommodation: if you decide to stay overnight in Bordeaux, make sure to book your accommodation in advance. I can recommend a bed in a dormitory room at Central Hostel Bordeaux Centre or a double room at Hôtel Life Bordeaux Gare – BG if you prefer more privacy. Both accommodations provide affordable rooms and are located close to the city centre.
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My one-day visit to Bordeaux was a great experience that I can recommend to everyone. From the iconic Place de la Bourse to the tranquil Les Jardins des Lumières and the beautiful Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux, each moment was great to experience. Navigating Bordeaux was effortless, thanks to its pedestrian-friendly streets and efficient public transportation. Capping off the day with a show at the National Opera of Bordeaux added a touch of cultural sophistication. I hope you get the chance to experience this Bordeaux itinerary yourself.
If you have any questions about the above mentioned information, please let me know in the comment section below. I’m happy to help you. Safe travels!
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