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Posted by
21086 posts

From notes I compiled prior to my 2019 trip, probably more in order of geography than priority:

  • The tourist office runs (or used to) a bilingual walking tour every day except Wed. at 10 AM. The T.O. is at 12 cours du 30-Juillet.
  • 90-minute boat trip from quai Louis XVIII every weekday afternoon gives feel for historic port. Two best companies are Crosieres Burdigala (quai Richelieu, 90 min., 15€) and Bordeaux River Cruise (quai des Chartrons, 2 hr. with wine, 18€).
  • Passenger ferry funs along Garonne between quai Richelieu and Pont d’Aquitaine in summer.
  • I missed the Resistance Museum (https://www.bordeaux.fr/p63906/centre-jean-moulin) because it has been closed for several years. The website vaguely says it will reopen this year. I'm not holding my breath. Porte Cailhau: 15the-century defensive gate
  • Palais de Rohan
  • Riverfront architecture was designed in 18th century by Versailles experts and is still lovely. The Left Bank is grand. Esplanade de Quinconces is a good starting point.
  • Musée d’Aquitaine, 2 bl S of Cath St-Andre at 20 cours Pasteur. Excellent museum covering Bordeaux history.
  • Chartrons Quarter to the north is a hot spot for creative youth.
  • Contemporary Art Museum (CAPC), 7 rue Fererre.
  • Cours Xavier Arnozan: great family house with wrought-iron balconies
  • Musée de Beaux Arts, Hotel de Ville, 20 Cours d’Albret: Excellent art collection from the Renaissance to present.
  • Musée des Arte Decoratifs, 39 rue Bouffard: Exceptional collection of period furniture, porcelain, glass, wrought iron in stunning 1779 mansion.
  • Gallery of Fine Arts.
  • Cathedral St-Andre: Flamboyant Gothic choir, but not one of France’s finer Gothic cathedrals.
  • Basilique St-Michel, Place Canteloup et Meynard: Gothic belfry; terrace halfway up has view. Church (not tower) free.
  • Saint-Michel Quarter: lively working-class area with immigrants and bohemians.
  • Grand Theatre, place de la Comedie is beautiful. Tours Wed and Sat at 1430, 1600 and 1730. 3€. Or pop in and see staircase.
  • Place St-Pierre: transitional neighborhood in S. part of old city; charming. Quartier St-Pierre home of many cafes.
  • Eglise St-Pierre: small Gothic gem
  • Pont de Pierre gives good view of picturesque quayside.
  • Place du Parlement area has many restaurants, but it's very touristy and doesn't have ethe best restaurants. Small streets and pretty squares extend from the square to place St-Pierre, place du Palais, and place Camille-Jullien. The farther from place du Parlement, the less touristy and the better the restaurants.
  • Grand Theatre, Pl de la Comedie: neoclassical masterpiece.
  • Cite du Vin: A modern complex with, I think, exhibits related to wine-making. I've read some negative comments (overpriced?) but can't comment because I skipped it. There's a rather good food hall quite nearby if you are in that part of town and get hungry. Bouliac: Supposedly charming village across the river (which I didn't see).

I think St-Emilion is the best-known day-trip destination from Bordeaux. It's a UNESCO-listed medieval walled town very popular with folks interested in wine (which I am not). The lower part of town is full of restaurants and was equally full of tourists, but there were few other visitors at the top of the town. I took the little tourist train (really a motorized vehicle) from the train station (a mile away along a road without sidewalks) to the top of St-Emilion, walked around up there and then slowly walked downhill. At 4 euros, that little train was a good deal.

From my notes:
- Market on Sunday (so probably even busier then).
- Place de l’Eglise Monolithe, medieval heart of town. Cafes.
- Eglise Monolithe carved out of limestone hill. 45-minute 7.50€ tour reqd. Includes entry to Chapelle de la Trinite and its grotto.
- The cafes on place du Marche are said to charge inflated prices.

Posted by
9736 posts

Excellent list!

I'll just add that the Cathedral Saint-Andre is where in 1137 Alienor d'Aquitaine married her first husband who 2 weeks later ascended the throne as Louis VII. There is just one wall of the Nave that is from the cathedral of that era.

I loved the Museum of Aquitaine! I thought they did a good job of acknowledging that Bordeaux prosperity came on the back of the slave trade.

There is also a very interesting (to me) statue of Modeste Testas who was a slave, captured in Ethiopia, transported to Bordeaux, then Haiti. One of her grandsons became one of the presidents of Haiti. It's located on the promenade beside the Gironde River.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modeste_Testas

Posted by
3845 posts

Just to confirm, you mean Bordeaux, right? Bourdeaux is a village in a beautiful region just north of Provence - many things to see and do in that area as well, but nothing to do with Bordeaux!