Bordeaux is a magical area that incorporates the city itself and its surrounding
vineyards, where many of the best French wineries
ply their trade. As with nearly all cities in France, there are plenty of things
to do in Bordeaux, with the high culture of museums
and the theater taking center stage in terms of Bordeaux attractions. However,
the subtle red wine that has been Bordeaux’s specialty for centuries inevitably
dominates the average vacationer’s itinerary while in the area. There are many
wine-related Bordeaux attractions—aside from the obvious option of drinking
in a bar—while activities in Bordeaux also center on wine tours and the like.
Bordeaux produces more than 700 million bottles on an annual basis, which makes it the world’s second-largest wine growing region. Many of the best wineries in Bordeaux are located to the north of the city; they make for great day trips, whether you’re part of a tour group or simply exploring the area on your own. Medon, Saint-Emilon, and Cognac are all worth seeking out. A great way to see these wineries is to rent a bike and explore the French countryside while you’re at it. However, this example of one of the more physical activities in Bordeaux does probably mean spitting instead of swallowing when it comes to tasting sessions, as riding while under the influence is not a clever idea at all.
Learn about Wine
One of the great things to do in Bordeaux is to brush up on your knowledge of wine. The Ecole du Vin offers intensive three-day courses designed for the novice or intermediate wine taster. Located on the river, the school provides a great way to get to know Bordeaux, its people, and its most important produce. Another, less-cerebral way to learn about wine is to take a red-wine bath at the famous Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa. The Spa says the baths do wonders for the skin and general health.
Bordeaux boasts some of the best French museums to be found anywhere in the country. Visiting museums is one of the top Bordeaux attractions, with the Musee des Beaux Arts and the Musee d’Art Contemporain leading the way. The former, founded at the turn of the nineteenth century, includes pieces by Van Dyck and Rubens, among others, while the latter boasts more than 700 works by more-contemporary masters. Away from the art world, and just to prove that wine is never far away during a vacation to Bordeaux, the Musee des Chartrons tells of the history of the wine trade.
The magnificent Grande Theatre is a neoclassical edifice that is sure to impress sightseers. Once of the best things to do in Bordeaux is to catch a play, ballet performance, or opera here. In the case that seeing a show isn’t possible during your stay in the city, visiting the Grande Theatre is still one of the top activities in Bordeaux—its impressive Corinthian pillars alone justify a visit.
Place de la Victoire
Place de la Victoire is the vibrant core of Bordeaux’s nightlife. Dining options are varied here, and there are plenty of cafes, bars and clubs in which to while away time following a truly French feast. Given Bordeaux’s large student populace, you can pretty much guarantee Place de la Victoire will be lively even on weekdays.