Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

France: 5 Things To Do In Bordeaux (and The Surrounding Area)


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Marris Ormsby



When it comes to exploring the beauty and charm of France, the city of Bordeaux and its surrounding area should not be missed. Located in the southwest part of the country, Bordeaux is celebrated for its rich history, exceptional wine, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene.


Bordeaux, often referred to as the “Pearl of Aquitaine,” boasts a captivating combination of elegant architecture, cobbled streets, and a stunning riverside setting. As the capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, it offers an array of experiences for visitors, from immersing themselves in history and culture to indulging in world-class cuisine and wine tasting.


With its strategic location near the Atlantic coast, Bordeaux serves as the gateway to some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in France. From charming coastal towns to towering sand dunes, the surrounding area offers a diverse range of attractions.


In this article, we will explore five must-do activities in Bordeaux and its neighboring region. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a wine aficionado, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing beach getaway, Bordeaux has something to offer everyone.


Explore the Historic City of Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a treasure trove of history and culture, with its well-preserved architectural masterpieces and charming old town. Start your exploration by taking a stroll along the picturesque quays of the Garonne River, where you’ll be greeted by elegant 18th-century buildings lining the riverbanks.


One of the must-visit sites in Bordeaux is the Place de la Bourse, an iconic square that showcases stunning neoclassical architecture. The square is home to the Water Mirror, a unique reflecting pool that creates a mesmerizing visual effect. Don’t miss the chance to snap some amazing photos here.


Continue your journey by visiting the magnificent Bordeaux Cathedral, also known as Saint André Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece is a highlight of the city, with its majestic bell towers and intricate stone carvings. Step inside to admire the stunning stained glass windows and the tranquil ambiance of this spiritual sanctuary.


No visit to Bordeaux would be complete without exploring the vibrant heart of the city, known as the Place de la Comédie. This grand square is home to the Grand Théâtre, a stunning opera house built in the 18th century. Marvel at its impressive façade adorned with Corinthian columns and statues of muses.


Take some time to wander through the narrow streets of the historic district known as the Chartrons. This former wine merchant quarter is now a trendy neighborhood filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Explore the quaint squares and admire the beautifully restored buildings that reflect Bordeaux’s rich heritage.


For art enthusiasts, the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-visit. Housed in a former warehouse, the museum showcases a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art. From thought-provoking installations to avant-garde sculptures, this museum offers a unique cultural experience.


Before leaving the historic city, indulge in some retail therapy and explore the bustling Rue Sainte-Catherine, one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets. Here, you’ll find a wide range of shops, from popular brands to local boutiques, as well as charming cafés and restaurants to satisfy your cravings.


Exploring the historic city of Bordeaux is like stepping back in time, with its well-preserved architectural gems, charming squares, and vibrant atmosphere. So take your time, get lost in the winding streets, and soak up the rich history and cultural heritage that this enchanting city has to offer.


Visit the Wine Châteaux of the Médoc Region

When it comes to wine, Bordeaux is renowned worldwide for producing some of the finest vintages. And the Médoc region, located just northwest of Bordeaux, is a paradise for wine enthusiasts. Here, you’ll find sprawling vineyards, picturesque châteaux, and the opportunity to taste exceptional wines.


The Médoc region is famous for its red wines, particularly those made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes. With over 1,500 vineyards to choose from, you’ll have plenty of options to experience wine tasting and learn about the winemaking process.


Embark on a wine tour and discover the prestigious wine châteaux that have made the Médoc region internationally acclaimed. Château Margaux, Château Lafite Rothschild, and Château Latour are just a few of the renowned estates that produce exceptional wines coveted by wine collectors and connoisseurs.


During your visit, you’ll have the chance to explore the vineyards, learn about the different grape varietals, and witness the winemaking process firsthand. Stroll through the scenic vineyards, breathe in the fragrant aromas, and appreciate the meticulous labor that goes into producing each bottle of wine.


At the châteaux, you can partake in wine tastings where knowledgeable sommeliers will guide you through the complex flavors and characteristics of each wine. Learn how to swirl, sniff, and savor the wines like a true connoisseur, and gain a deeper appreciation for the art of winemaking.


Don’t forget to indulge in some food and wine pairing experiences, as the Médoc region is also known for its exceptional cuisine. Many of the châteaux offer gourmet lunches or dinners that perfectly complement their wines, allowing you to savor the flavors of the region in a truly unforgettable way.


Visiting the wine châteaux of the Médoc region is not just about wine tasting; it’s a journey into the rich history and tradition of winemaking in Bordeaux. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into every bottle, and to create lasting memories while immersed in the beauty of the vineyards.


Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint-Émilion

Located just a short drive east of Bordeaux, the charming town of Saint-Émilion is not only famous for its exceptional wines but also for its rich history and captivating beauty. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saint-Émilion is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and wine lovers alike.


Step into Saint-Émilion and you’ll be transported to a medieval wonderland. The town’s cobblestone streets, ancient ramparts, and well-preserved buildings evoke a sense of old-world charm and intrigue. Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow alleys and discover hidden gems around every corner.


Start your exploration at the main square, the Place du Marché, where you’ll find the tourist office and an array of inviting cafes and shops. From there, make your way to the iconic Monolithic Church, a unique underground church carved out of a single limestone rock. Don’t miss the chance to climb the bell tower for breathtaking views of the town and surrounding vineyards.


Saint-Émilion is renowned for its exceptional wines, particularly its robust red wines. Wine lovers will be delighted to visit the various châteaux in the area and experience wine tastings in their cellars. The region’s distinct terroir produces wines with a rich complexity and depth of flavors that are truly remarkable.


One of the highlights of Saint-Émilion is the underground catacombs, known as the Les Cordeliers. This ancient network of tunnels and caves was originally used as quarries and later became a burial site for monks. Today, you can explore these fascinating catacombs and learn about their historical significance.


As you wander through the town, you’ll come across charming boutique shops selling local products, art galleries showcasing the works of talented artists, and exquisite restaurants offering delicious regional cuisine. Don’t forget to try the macarons de Saint-Émilion, a delightful local specialty that will satisfy your sweet tooth.


For those seeking outdoor activities, the surrounding countryside offers picturesque landscapes perfect for hiking or cycling. Explore the vineyards, soak in the breathtaking views of the rolling hills, and breathe in the fresh country air.


Visiting Saint-Émilion is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in history and wine culture. Its enchanting medieval architecture, world-class wines, and warm hospitality make it a destination that should not be missed when exploring the Bordeaux region.


Relax on the Beautiful Beaches of Arcachon

If you’re seeking a beach getaway during your visit to Bordeaux, look no further than the stunning coastal town of Arcachon. Located about an hour’s drive west of Bordeaux, Arcachon is known for its pristine sandy beaches, azure waters, and captivating natural beauty.


Arcachon bay, with its calm and shallow waters, is the perfect destination for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. The bay is divided into four main beaches: Plage d’Aiguillon, Plage de l’Aiguille, Plage de la Salie, and Plage Pereire. Each beach has its own distinct charm and offers a variety of facilities, including cafes, restaurants, and water sports rentals.


For panoramic views of Arcachon bay and the surrounding area, head to the iconic Dune du Pilat. As the tallest sand dune in Europe, the Dune du Pilat offers breathtaking vistas and an unforgettable experience. Take a leisurely hike up the dune’s sandy slopes or simply sit back, relax, and soak in the awe-inspiring scenery.


Arcachon is not just about beaches and dunes. The town’s vibrant waterfront promenade, known as La Jetée Thiers, is lined with charming cafés, shops, and seafood restaurants. Indulge in fresh oysters, mussels, and other delights from the sea while enjoying the picturesque views of the bay.


If you’re up for an adventure, take a boat trip to the nearby Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island) and discover the diverse array of bird species that thrive in this natural habitat. Alternatively, you can explore the Banc d’Arguin, a sandbank that stretches across the bay and offers a unique ecosystem with rich biodiversity.


For a taste of history and heritage, visit the Ville d’Hiver (Winter Town), a neighborhood known for its elegant late 19th-century villas. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-manicured streets and marvel at the architectural splendor of these grand residences, which were once the summer retreats of the bourgeoisie.


Arcachon provides the perfect blend of relaxation, natural beauty, and seaside charm. Whether you prefer lounging on the beach, exploring the dunes, or indulging in delicious seafood, this coastal gem offers a rejuvenating escape from the bustling city life of Bordeaux.


Immerse Yourself in the Natural Beauty of the Dune du Pilat

The Dune du Pilat is a natural wonder that must be experienced when visiting Bordeaux. Located on the Atlantic coast, just a short distance from Arcachon, this majestic sand dune is the tallest in Europe and offers a breathtaking display of natural beauty.


Rising approximately 110 meters above sea level, the Dune du Pilat provides a magnificent panoramic view of the surrounding area. As you make your way to the top, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, the Arcachon Bay, and the stunning forested landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see.


Walking across the soft sand and feeling it beneath your feet is a truly unique experience. The dune’s changing shape and shifting patterns create a mesmerizing landscape that is constantly evolving with the wind and tides. Be prepared for an exhilarating climb as you make your way to the summit, where you can witness an unforgettable sunset or sunrise.


For those seeking adventure, sandboarding on the Dune du Pilat is a must-try activity. Rent a board at the base of the dune and glide down the slopes, feeling the rush of adrenaline as you slide through the sand. It’s a thrilling and memorable experience that will surely make your visit to the dune even more unforgettable.


Surrounded by lush pine forests, the Dune du Pilat is also a great place for nature lovers. Take a leisurely hike along the marked trails that meander through the forest and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that call this area home. Keep an eye out for unique bird species and other wildlife that inhabit the dune and its surroundings.


After exploring the dune, head to the nearby beaches for some relaxation and rejuvenation. The Dune du Pilat extends all the way to the shoreline, providing a serene and natural setting for sunbathing or taking a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is also a great spot for picnics, beach volleyball, or simply enjoying a leisurely walk along the shore.


The Dune du Pilat is a natural marvel that allows you to connect with nature and appreciate the wonders of the earth. Whether you’re seeking adventure, solace, or simply want to admire the breathtaking views, a visit to the Dune du Pilat is an absolute must when exploring the Bordeaux region.



Bordeaux and its surrounding region offer a wealth of experiences that will captivate and delight every visitor. From exploring the historic city’s architectural wonders to indulging in wine tastings at the prestigious châteaux of the Médoc region, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saint-Émilion offers a glimpse into the region’s rich history, with its medieval charm and exceptional wines. And for those looking to unwind, the beautiful beaches of Arcachon provide the perfect setting for relaxation and seaside fun.


Last but certainly not least, the Dune du Pilat stands as a testament to the incredible beauty of nature. Its towering sand dunes and stunning panoramic views leave a lasting impression on all who visit.


Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a food lover, an adventure seeker, or simply someone who appreciates breathtaking landscapes, Bordeaux and its surroundings will not disappoint. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, indulge in the finest wines, and soak in the natural beauty that this region has to offer.


So, pack your bags, embark on a journey to Bordeaux, and discover the wonders that await you. Let the history, the wine, the seaside allure, and the magnificent dunes of the region leave an unforgettable mark on your travel memories.


Bordeaux and its surrounding area offer an experience like no other, where history, culture, gastronomy, and natural beauty converge to create an enchanting and memorable destination.