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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 ( 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.

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!