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11 Things to Do in Bordeaux France

Bordeaux is reasonably often referred to as a mini Paris. It is just as beautiful, easier to navigate and the locals are definitely friendlier. It is home to 362 historic monuments and after Paris, it has the largest number of protected buildings in France.

Since 2007, almost all of Bordeaux’s beautiful city center has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This city is best explored on foot – and by using the city’s fantastic tram system.

1. Enjoy Cite du Vin

cite du vin
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I’ve visited many museums in my time as a travel blogger so it takes quite a bit to get me excited about one. And I got very excited about the Cite du Vin. Yes, it is all about one of my favourite things in the world, wine, but it is also an extremely engaging museum housed in a jaw-dropping modern building.

2. Visit Bordeaux Cathedral

bordeaux cathedral
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Bordeaux Cathedrals’ official name is Cathedrale Saint-Andre. This gothic-style cathedral was consecrated in 1096 by the Pope. It hosted two royal marriages. The first was between local girl Eleanor of Aquitaine and the future Louis VII. Eleanor and Louis’ marriage didn’t last and she went on to marry Henry, the future King of England.

3. Watch the sunset over the Garonne River

Gina Bar
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As the day winds to a close, head to the Gina Bar at the Hotel Renaissance. This relatively new hotel in Bordeaux features a great mix of old Bordeaux (grain silos have been incorporated into the design) and modern interior design.

4. Shop like a local on Rue des Remparts

l'autre salon de the
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Rue des Remparts has to be one of the nicest in a city filled with charming streets. This is the street where locals go to shop and it is filled with some of the best stores in the city.

5. Enjoy the Street Art

darwin street art
darwin street art

Street art is everywhere these days and Bordeaux is no exception. Local street artist Amo specialises in animals such as the toucan and his work can be seen around the city. But if you really like your street art then head to the popular Darwin area across the river (more on the Darwin later in this article)

6. Explore around Place Fernand-Lafargue

bordeaux shopping
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This former market place was first established in 1155. Today this is the hippest area in Bordeaux with the lovely Rue Saint James at its heart. This is a great area for exploring, particularly the charming cafes and boutiques along Rue Saint James.

7. Place du Parlement

place du parlement
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This Italian-style square was created in 1754. A fountain by Louis Garros sits at its centre. Like many of the lovely squares in Bordeaux, it is lined with grand buildings from the 18th century. It is lined with restaurants with terraces and this is a wonderful place to eat, drink or just sit and soak up the atmosphere of Bordeaux.

8. Sample the Chocolate Shops

Le Maison Darricau
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Bordeaux is also famous for its outstanding chocolate shops. Try Le Maison Darricau which was established in 1915 or La Guinette. But don’t miss Saunion which is famous for its amazing chocolate-covered cherries that have been bathed in booze. They are unforgettable.

9. Try a Dunes Blanches

dunes blanches
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The largest sand dune in the world, Dune du Pilat, is a one-hour drive from Bordeaux. Dune du Pilat is 106 metres high and runs along the Atlantic for 2.7 kilometres. As Bordeaux does, this dune is paid tribute to through food and the Dunes Blanches.

The Dune Blanches is a puff pastry that is made with two types of cream in honour of Dune du Pilat. Head to Chez Pascal Dunes Blanches to get the best version of this frothy treat.

10. Walk the longest pedestrian street in France.

rue st catherine
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Rue Sainte Catherine is the longest pedestrian street in France at nearly one mile long. It was pedestrianized in 1984 and ran through the city from north to south. It is home to some of the most well-known boutiques in Bordeaux, both local and global, including Galeries Lafayette.

11. Visit Les Halles de Bacalan

Marche des Bacalan
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Bordeaux is also home to a second market, Les Halles de Bacalan. Les Halles de Bacalan is located across the road from the Cite du Vin. This is a modern market, meaning that whilst it sells some products, it is mostly interesting restaurant-style concepts in a modern building.

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beuvron en auge
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