Visit time : 3 days.
It is impossible to talk about Bordeaux without mentioning the Garonne River and the port that welcomes it. For more than 2000 years their history has been linked, Bordeaux owing everything to the river that crosses the city. The Garonne brought the city prosperity and wealth, exchange and mixed cultures, from the Romans to the English, from Antiquity to the Enlightenment. Today, Bordeaux and the Port of the Moon reflect its intimate history with the river. Abandoned for some time, the city is once again open to the Garonne, in tribute. The city now proudly displays its monumental 18th century architecture and has made improvements on the waterfront in recent years. Bordeaux and its remarkable architectural harmony are like a play where eras collide without distorting the story of its history. The legacy of this ancient story is revealed through the streets and squares that its visitors discover on foot, looking up to admire the many artistic details of the façades and monuments. At night the city gleams with thousands of lights – a magnificent spectacle!
The Port of the Moon in Bordeaux is an outstanding example of the exchange of human cultures over more than two thousand years, due to its role as the capital city of a world-famous wine production region and the importance of its port in commerce at regional and international levels. The urban form and architecture of the city are the result of continuous extensions and renovations since Roman times up to the 20th century. Urban plans and architectural ensembles stemming from the early 18th century onward place the city as an outstanding example of classical and neo-classical trends and give it an exceptional urban and architectural unity and coherence.
Criteria for selection
Criterion (ii) : Bordeaux, Port of the Moon, constitutes an exceptional testimony to the exchange of human cultures over more than two thousand years. These exchanges provided this cosmopolitan town an unparalleled prosperity in the Age of Enlightenment that provided for an exceptional urban and architectural transformation that continued through 19th century up to present time. The different stages of construction and development of the harbour town are legible in its urban plan, especially the big transformations carried out from the early 18th century onward.
Criterion (iv) : Bordeaux, Port of the Moon, represents an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble, created in the Age of Enlightenment, whose values have continued up to the first half of the 20th century. Bordeaux is exceptional in the unity of its urban and architectural classical and neo-classical expression, which has not undergone any stylistic rupture for more than two centuries. Its urban form represents the success of philosophers who wanted to make towns into melting pots of humanism, universality and culture.
Source : UNESCO / ICOMOS
The first traces of the city of Burdigala date back to the 5th century BC, but there are few archaeological remains of this period. The Romans developed the city and the port, which became a trading center (emporium) that controlled the exchange of tin and lead between the North and the South, between Gaul and the Roman Empire. Burdigala prospered and equipped itself with temples, a forum and an amphitheater: the Palais Gallien. It became one of the most important cities in Gaul.
The Middle Ages
From the 5th to the 11th century, successive invasions of the Vandals, Visigoths, Franks or the Normans led to political, economic and social instability. However, Charlemagne recognized its importance and the city became the capital of the Kingdom of Aquitaine.
From the 12th century onward the history of Bordeaux changed course. Through alliances, including the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II (future King of England) in 1154, the region was then linked to England. For three centuries under the English crown, Bordeaux would experience a new golden age thanks to the wine trade with the British Isles. New monuments were built: Saint André Cathedral, the Grosse Cloche (the Great Bell) ... The city even grew outside the ramparts, and the town of Saint-Seurin and the Chartrons convent emerged at that time. In addition, the Archbishop Bertrand de Got became pope in 1305 under the name Clement V (see also "Avignon"). In the 14th century, Bordeaux was an important political center and the capital of a vast territory with an important independence.
In 1453, at the end of the war against the English, Bordeaux came under French rule. But the prosperity that the city had known under the English was not duplicated by France, and King Charles VII and his administration were much too present for the population. Faced with this anglophile city, the king built several fortresses in order to assert the authority of the Kingdom of France. The fears of the inhabitants were well founded, and the wine trade with the English dried up, marking the end of prosperity for the city.
In 1585, Montaigne was elected mayor of Bordeaux by the aldermen and the emergence of a new trade business, that of pastel, economically revitalized the city. But it was from the late 17th century until the Revolution that Bordeaux would reach its peak. Through the port’s accessibility, the city developed trade in sugar, wine and slaves. In total, 500 vessels deported 150,000 Africans to the West Indies in the triangular trade (Bordeaux-Africa-Caribbean). Bordeaux was then the first port of France, and the second in Europe after London. The prosperous city was home to many institutions (parliament, military government, university administration). The Chamber of Commerce was established there in 1705 and the Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts in 1712, promoting economic recovery and intellectual renewal. Bordeaux, with Paris, was the symbol of the Enlightenment.
Apart from a few traces of success during the 16th and 17th centuries, it wasn’t really until the mid-18th century that Bordeaux crowned itself the city of wine trade. Effigies of Bacchus and decorations of grapes flourished throughout the city. Every step along the streets and squares confirmed its connection to the vineyards.
The ramparts were gradually demolished and the city was built up and embellished. It was adorned with an urban plan and architectural ensembles in classical and neo-classical styles that enhanced its urban coherence. Large triumphal arches replaced the medieval military gates (Porte d'Aquitaine, Porte Dijeaux), an opera house was born, and the architect Jacques Ange Gabriel, under the orders of Louis Aubert Urban De Tourny (Louis XV’s architect) created a public garden and landscaped the current Place de la Bourse. Bordeaux’s homogenous architectural ensemble had become even more so.
In the following century, great architectural and artistic developments continued. The vast Esplanade des Quinconces (1818-1827) and the Stone Bridge (1809-1821) were created. The boulevards were drawn, and the city expanded and incorporated the right bank of the river, creating a new district, the Bastide. The warehouses of the port in the Chartrons district, especially l’Entrepôt Lainé (1824), are a perfect example of the port architecture of the 19th century.
Two thousand years of history, and three economic booms in particular, marked the urban landscape of Bordeaux. Alternately renovated, remodeled, enlarged and embellished, it has preserved an architectural and urban unity now recognized by UNESCO.
A large-scale urban project was begun in the 1990s to beautify the city (including the cleaning of the building façades), to redesign and rethink its connection to the river and to modernize its urban transport system (tramway, pedestrianization of the city center) ... and today, mission accomplished. These new developments have allowed the city to regain its former luster, and to reconnect with its history and its river.
Bordeaux has more than 350 buildings classified or listed as Historic Monuments, including 3 religious buildings listed on the World Heritage List since 1998 as part of the Pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostela: Saint André Cathedral, Saint-Seurin Basilica and the Saint Michel Basilica.
12 Cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux
Tram lines B and C, station : Quinconces.
Website - tel : 05 56 00 66 00.
November through April: Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday: 9:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ;
May, June, September and October: Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday and holidays: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ;
July and August: Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sunday and holidays: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The Bordeaux Tourist Office offers many different tours of the city (see “Tours and activities for children”), including guided and all-inclusive tours. An inexhaustible source of information, visitors should stop here first when arriving in Bordeaux. A list of free parking lots and a transport guide are available upon request. Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.
Tourist Office (Saint Jean Train Station Branch)
Rue Domercq (Esplanade arrivée), 33800 Bordeaux
Tram line C, station : Gare Saint-Jean.
Website - tel : 05 56 00 66 00.
Opening times: November through April, Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
May through October, Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday and holidays: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. / 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Tourist Office (Airport Branch)
In front of Hall B, entrance B5, 33700 Bordeaux-Merignac Airport
Website - tel : 05 56 34 58 07.
Open from mid-June to mid-September, Monday to Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sundays.
Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial (World Heritage)
2-8 Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel: 05 56 48 04 24.
Opening time :
November through March: Monday to Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., on Sundays until 5 p.m.
April through October, daily : 9 a.m. to 1 p.m./ 2p.m. to 6:30 p.m., on Sundays until 5 p.m.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.
This ongoing showcase of the Tourist Office focuses on Bordeaux's heritage, and offers many family street tours (see "Tours and activities for children"). Permanent exhibition focusing on the architectural heritage of the city, recommended for ages 7 and up. Multimedia activities. A very good introduction to the history of Bordeaux before discovering the city center.
Examples of guided tours organized by the tourist office in English:
Bordeaux Gourmand: discover the awakening of Bordeaux.
Walk in medieval Bordeaux.
Visit of Bordeaux on foot, by e-bike ...
Discover Bordeaux in augmented reality with the App IMAYANA
Price: €10 the rental.
On tablet, to rent from Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial desk.
To visit Bordeaux on foot, from Place Tourny to the Water Mirror. A unique cultural and recreational spectacle to dive into the past, give life back to monuments and discover Bordeaux during the 18th century.
Bordeaux and Saint Emilion Excursion, Grands Crus UNESCO
Price: €89 day rate.
Every Friday from May through September.
This guided tour includes a visit of two classified sites (Bordeaux and Saint Emilion) in one day. Information available at the Tourist Office. Excursion in French and English.
Tours and activities for children
Association Histoire de Voir (in French)
Website - tel : 05 56 00 66 24.
For children 7 to 12 years old. All thematic family visits are listed on the website. Departure from Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial.
Rallys tours offered by Tourist Office (in French):
Rallye Saint Jacques, dans les pas de James
Saint Jacques Scavenger Hunt: In the footsteps of James : Cartoon character James invites children to visit the streets and monuments of Bordeaux tied to the pilgrimage of Saint Jacques de Compostela, or Saint James’ Way. The hunt includes 13 steps punctuated by questions, coloring, riddles and crosswords. €1 scavenger hunt kit (includes a hunt and pilgrimage guide). Departure from Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial.
La Chasse au Trésor
The Treasure Hunt : Follow Burdigalo the pirate to discover the history and monuments of the old town of Bordeaux. For children 7 years and up, and the whole family. Departure from Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial.
Rallye "Sur les pistes de Robin"
Scavenger Hunt: "Exploring with Robin" : Discover the old Bordeaux with the help of Robin. Free booklet available at Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial. For children between 7 and 12 years old.
Rallye "Dans les secrets des remparts"
Scavenger Hunt: "The secrets of the ramparts" : A fun way to discover the city (for adolescents and adults). Departure from Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial. Price: €5.
Tips for visitors
Bordeaux City Pass:
Pass 1/ 2/ 3 days : €29/ €39/ €46.
The Bordeaux City Pass offers many advantages for visitors: admission to over 30 museums and monuments, unlimited access to public transportation systems, city tour and sightseeing tour included.
Tips for Visitors: Greeters
The Greeters are residents who are passionate about their city, and volunteer to help tourists discover the area, sharing their favorite places and anecdotes during these friendly and free walking tours that are sure to be "off the beaten path." Information at the Tourist Office or online, at : www.bordeaux-greeters.fr
La Cité du Vin
134-150 Quai de Bacalan, 33000 Bordeaux
Tramway B : stop "Cité du Vin"
Website - Tel: 05 56 16 20 20.
Full price / reduced price : €20/ €16. Children 6-17 years old: €9. Free for those under 6.
January to March: 10 a.m to 6 p.m.,
April to June: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
July and August: 9:30 a.m. to 17:30 p.m.,
September to December: 10 a.m. to 7p.m.
Visit document in 8 languages delivered at the entrance, a tasting glass offered.
Services: Guided tours, temporary expositons, rich and varied cultural program, workshops, shops, restaurants.
The City of Wine Museum is a unique concept which opened in June 2016. The wine is approached as cultural heritage, universal and alive.
Beautiful modern architectural achievement, the Cité du Vin welcomes you for a journey through time and the world. The Cité du Vin is a place to see, to live and to visit.
Visit with booklet-game "the enigma of the bottle of the sea!" then olfactory workshop. Starting from 7 years old.
20 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 01 51 00
Permanent collections and temporary exhibitions: Full price / reduced: €5 / €3. Free - 18 years.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Located in the premises of the former Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Aquitaine Museum presents the history of Bordeaux. 700,000 pieces make up the collections of the museum, including a magnificent bronze sculpture of Hercules and Gallic treasures. Three main themes are explored throughout the museum: archeology, history and ethnography. The section of African and Oceanic art reflects the important cultural mixing the city experienced through its port activity.
For children: workshops, activities and games booklet for visiting the permanent collections.
Musée National des Douanes
1 Place de la Bourse , 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 09 70 27 57 66.
Full price / reduced price : €3 / €1.50. Free for those under 18 years old.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Audio-guide (French, English, Chinese): €2. Also available for free by downloading the app on the AppStore or GooglePlay.
Accommodation for families available.
The only museum covering the history of customs in France. Located in the magnificent building of the former Hôtel des Fermes, the museum traces the history of France through one of its oldest administrations. The museum’s collection discusses the issues, organization and functioning of the customs department. A thematic tour offers visitors a look at the daily life of customs officials and the waves of fraud throughout the years.
For children 7 years old and up: "Hello, little customs officer" game available at the ticket counter to discover the museum as a family.
Musée d’Art Contemporain CAPC (Contemporary Visual Arts Centre)
7 Rue Ferrère , 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 00 81 50.
Permanent collections and temporary exhibitions: Full price / reduced: €7 / €4. Free - 18 years old.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays until 8 p.m.
Guided tour (€3) on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m.
This museum is housed in the former colonial merchandise warehouse, the customs warehouse Entrepôt Laine, a superb example of pre-industrial construction of the 19th century. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux offers a program of temporary exhibitions and thematic journey through the history of art, music and contemporary creation. The museum offers visitors an internationally renowned collection of 1,300 works by 189 artists.
For children: children can discover contemporary art and develop their creativity through workshops. Every Wednesday and every day during school holidays from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reservation necessary.
Musée des Beaux Arts
20 Cours d’Albert, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 10 20 56.
Opening times: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Tuesdays.
Permanent collections: Full price / reduced: €5 / €3. Temporary exhibitions and permanent collections: Full price / reduced: €7 / €4. Free - 18 years old.
Guided tour: €3.
Situated on the grounds of the Hôtel de Ville. The museum displays beautiful works (French, Dutch and Italian) from the Renaissance, as well as more contemporary paintings. The Hall of Fine Arts, which presents the temporary exhibitions, stands opposite the museum.
Workshops on Wednesdays and during school holidays.
Treasure hunt: "Lead the investigation at the Museum"
Several thematic booklets handed at the museum reception.
Musée du vin et du négoce
41 Rue Borie, Chartrons District, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 90 19 13.
Full price: €10 / reduced price : €5. Wine tasting included. Free for children.
Open daily: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Museum of Wine and Trade in Bordeaux celebrates 20 centuries of wine culture and international trade. Since 2009, behind a beautiful 18th façade, the semi-underground vaulted cellars house the museum after having stocked the barrels for aging wines. The museum has a collection of historical artifacts and archival documents on themes such as the organization of the wine trade and export, the history of the great merchant families, wine rankings ...
Centre National Jean Moulin
Place Jean Moulin, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 10 19 90.
Open daily: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays.
Museum and documentation center focusing on the Second World War. Its three levels of collections are dedicated to the Resistance and the Forces Françaises Libres (military units of the Resistance).
Carnaval des deux rives (march)
Weekend of Grands Crus (May)
Quai des Chartrons. A must-see for fans of the great wines of Bodeaux.
Bordeaux fête le fleuve - the River Celebration (end of May)
Every odd year. The show takes place on the water, large and small boats can be admired and fireworks over the Garonne River.
Bordeaux fête le vin - The Wine Celebration (end of June)
Every even year. Bordeaux Wine Festival is the meeting place for all wine and food lover.
Quai des sports (July and August)
Sports facilities and facilitators are available to all, on the waterfront.
Medoc Marathon (September)
International Arts Festival (October)
Creative arts, visual arts, circus, dance, contemporary music, street theater ... 30 shows in more than 20 places in the heart of the city.
Bordeaux S.O. Good (November)
Festival of gastronomy and the art of living.
Getting to Bordeaux
From the east and Toulouse: Highway A62, then the outer beltway of Bordeaux, toward Paris. Exit 21: Gare Saint-Jean and city center.
From the north and Paris: Highway A10, then follow signs to Bordeaux-centre.
From Saint Emilion: Highway N89 to Bordeaux-centre.
From the south: Highway N10, then the outer beltway, toward Toulouse-Lormont. Exit 21: Gare Saint-Jean and city center.
Liaison with other classified sites:
Toulouse (Canal du Midi): 245 km (152 mi), time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Gavarnie: 300 km (186 mi), time: 4 hours
Saint Emilion : 40 km (25 mi), time: 45 minutes
Vézère Valley: 180 km (112 mi), time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Bordeaux Merignac Airport
Avenue Cassin, 33700 Mérignac
Website - tel : 05 56 34 50 50.
Low cost airlines
Bordeaux Airport, Terminal Billi
Tel : 05 56 34 50 50
City center connections
From the airport to the train station (30 minutes) Price around €8
By city bus
From the airport, take the bus "liane 1+" to Saint Jean railway station. Price : €1.50
Gare SNCF Saint Jean
St. Charles Domercq, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel: 36 35.
There is a lot of automobile traffic in the city. Visitors are strongly recommended to use public transport or the many other means of transportation to get around town (on foot or by bike, boat, bus or tourist train, ...).
There are many parking lots around the city center. Follow the signs ; they are well-marked.
TBC, urban public transport (Bus and tram)
Website - tel : 05 57 57 88 88
Ticket price: €1.50, one way. Day pass: €4.60. Evening Pass (7 p.m. to 5 a.m.): €2.
The network has three tram lines (A, B and C). The fastest and most convenient means of transportation.
Commented cruises, focusing on the famous façades of Bordeaux, organized by the Tourist Office.
Price: €15 / 4 to 12 years old: €5. Free for children under 4 years old. Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. Contact the Tourist Office to purchase tickets.Visitors may also contact the boat companies directly:
7 Wharf Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux
Tram line A, station : Stalingrad, in the Bastide district.
Website - tel : 05 56 49 36 88.
Accommodation available for visitors with disabilities.
Bordeaux River Cruise
2 Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Te : 05 56 39 27 66.
Association le guidon futé
4 rue Maubec, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 06 08 72 01 95
Architectural and historical guided tour. Guide, bicycle included.
Happymoov' Bicycle taxi
Website - tel : 06 66 72 67 35
Reserved like a taxi, the bicycle taxi arrives at the time and place of your choice.
Self-service bicycles Vcub
Website - tel: 09 69 39 03 03
Price from €1.50
Many stations scattered around the city center (map available at the Tourist Office).
77 Quai des Chartrons, 33300 Bordeaux
Website – tel: 05 33 48 13 86
Other means of transport
Petit Train (Mini Train)
Full price / reduced price: €8 / €7 / children 5 to 12 years old: €4.50. Free for children under 5 years old.
A ride through the heart of historic Bordeaux. Time: 45 minutes. Information at the Tourist Office. Departure from Allées de Tourny.
Website - tel: 05 56 02 11 50
Full price/ reduced price: €13.50/ €11.50. 5-12 years old: €4. Free for children under 5 years old.
Discover Bordeaux aboard a double-decker bus. Time: 70 minutes. Departure from the Place des Quinconces. Information available at the Tourist Office.
Sleeping / Eating
The selection of accommodation proposed below consists of establishments that offer quality services at competitive rates, they are considered as references in their respective categories. These addresses are inside or very close from the classified area. The prices shown are for the off season, on the basis of 2 people.
B&B "L'Hôtel Particulier"
44 Rue Vital Carles, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 88 28 80.
Room from €194.
Le Boutique Hotel ****
3 Rue Lafaurie Monbadon, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 48 80 40.
Room from €248.
Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel *****
Place de la Comedie, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 57 30 44 44.
Room from €367.
The selection of restaurants proposed below consists of restaurants that offer a good price/quality value. These addresses are inside the classified area. “Formule” corresponds to a lunch special with a starter and a main course, or a main course and a dessert. The “menus” usually consist of a starter, a main course and a dessert," for lunch or dinner.
Miles - Refined cuisine
33 Rue du Cancera, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 81 18 24.
"Lunch menu" €27. "Dinner menu" €49.
Le Bouchon Bordelais - Bistrot cuisine
2 Rue Courbin, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel: 05 56 44 33 00.
Main course for lunch around €12. "Dinner menu" €39.
Le Petit Commerce - seafood
22 Rue Parlement Saint Pierre, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 79 76 58.
"Lunch formule" during the week : €14. Reservation recommended.
Racines - Refined cuisine
59 Rue Georges Bonnac, 33000 Bordeaux
Tel : 05 56 98 43 08.
"Lunch menu" €19. "Dinner menu" €29.
Chez Dupont - cuisine with seasonal produce
45 Rue Notre Dame, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 81 49 59.
Main course around €22.
Le Chapon fin - Gourmet cuisine
5 Rue Montesquieu, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tél : 05 56 79 10 10.
"Lunch menu" €35. "Dinner menu" from €69.
La Boîte à Huitres - seafood
38 Cours du Chapeau Rouge
Tel : 05 56 81 64 97
"Formule" around €20.
Restaurant Baud et millet - Cheese and wine
19 Rue Huguerie, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 79 05 77.
"Menu" around €30.
Une Cuisine en Ville - Bistrot cuisine
77 Rue du Palais Gallien, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 44 70 93.
"Lunch formule" €17. "Menu" from €36.
C'Yusha - modern cuisine
12 Rue Ausone, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 69 89 70.
"Lunch formule" €19. "Menu" €34.
Gravelier - Bistrot cuisine
114 Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 48 17 15.
"Lunch formule" from €15. "Menu" from €26.90.
Kuzina - Fish
22 Rue Porte de la Monnaie, 33000 Bordeaux
Website - Tel: 05 56 74 32 92.
"Lunch menu" €18. "Dinner menu" from €21.
La Tupina - local gourmet cuisine
6 Rue Porte de la Monnaie, 33800 Bordeaux
Website - tel : 05 56 91 56 37.
"Lunch menu" during the week : €18. "Dinner menu" from €39.