Recently voted the best city in France to live in, Bordeaux and the surrounding region has plenty to offer. From the world-famous wine and beautiful Châteaux to over 100 kilometers of pristine white sandy beaches, this corner of Southwestern France is considered by many to be a small slice of heaven.
The region’s history dates back thousands of years, to approximately the 6th century BC. The Romans planted grapes there almost 2,000 years ago and since then, the Bordelais as they’re known in French, have mastered the art of wine making. The beautiful vineyards stretch across rolling hills to create breath taking views no matter where you look.
Bordeaux has also become a foodie’s paradise in recent years and boasts numerous Michelin-star restaurants. Local dishes include entrecote bordelaise (a juicy steak in a shallot and red wine sauce), eclade (fresh mussels cooked on the beach) and of course the famous canelé cakes.
We’ve come up with a list of must-stop places and activities for a three-day itinerary in Bordeaux and the surrounding area.
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What you should not miss if you spend 3 days in the Bordeaux area
Bordeaux truly is one of France’s most beautiful cities and should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Check out one of the 15 museums to learn about the region’s culture and history. Stroll through the Historical Center and the Golden Triangle to see most of the main sights and monuments. The Garonne River cuts through the city’s honey-coloured facades giving Bordeaux a bucolic feel to it.
The Medoc region and Châteaux
The Medoc Region is also known for the fine wine produced there, including Margaux, Pauillac and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. It’s home to hundreds of kilometers of sandy beaches and great waves, a surfer’s paradise! Visit the villages of Talais, Valeyrac and Vertheuil and be transported back to medieval times. This diverse province has something for everyone!
The village of Saint Emilion is known around the globe for the full-bodied, red wine produced there. However, the medieval town is also a UNESCO world heritage site with an almost perfectly preserved old town. Tour one of the nearby wineries and makes sure to see the Cordeliers Cloisters, the Roy Tower and the Monolithic Church that all day back to the 13th century.
Day one in the Bordeaux area
Recommended things to do and see on your first day in the Bordeaux area
The first day of your whirlwind three-day tout of the region will be spent in Bordeaux. Once called the “Sleeping Beauty” of the south, now, the city is anything but sleepy. Start your day off at the Cité du Vin to learn all about Bordeaux’s famous wine and see the latest exhibit. After, walk along the Garonne river back towards the center of town.
Grab lunch in the Historical Center, there are tons of great restaurants including Côté Rue and Nama. After lunch, walk down the pedestrian street rue Saint Catherine. It’s lined with shops and is the longest shopping street in Europe. Stop off at La Toque Cuivrée to taste one of Bordeaux’s famous canelés. Head to the Musée des Beaux Arts, created in 1801 and one of the largest galleries in France.
Continue your tour of the historical center and make sure you see the Water Mirror, Stone Gate, Saint Andrew’s Cathedral and impressive Quinconces Square. Dine in one of the bistros of the “Golden Triangle” for a taste of the local cuisine. After dinner, head to the St. Pierre district and hit one of the neighborhood’s numerous bars.
Where to stay for your first night in the Bordeaux area
Recommended tours & activities for your first day in the Bordeaux area
Day two in the Bordeaux area
Recommended things to do and see on your second day in the Bordeaux area
After a relaxing breakfast in Bordeaux, hit the road for the 45-minute drive to Saint Emilion. This lovely medieval village is a UNESCO world heritage site. Walk around the town and make sure to see the 14th-century Franciscan monastery. The monolithic church features a tower that is over 53 meters tall and can be seen from just about anywhere in town.
Visit one of the nearby Châteaux in the afternoon for a tour of the vineyards and wine tasting. It’s the perfect opportunity to see more of the countryside and learn about the region’s claim to fame. Even if you’re not a fan of wine, touring one of the Châteaux is a fun way to see the region’s rich history and beautiful architecture.
Head back to Saint Emilion for the evening and night. Check out the impressive Tour du Roy, constructed in the 13th century. It’s even more imposing when it’s lit up after dark. It’s quite a walk up the tower but the views of the city are more than worth it. Dine in one of the town’s delicious restaurants including Le Bouchon or Le Tertre.
Where to stay for your second night in the Bordeaux area
Recommended tours & activities for your second day in the Bordeaux area
Day three in the Bordeaux area
Recommended things to do and see on your third day in the Bordeaux area
Head north from Saint Emilion to the Chateau Lynch-Bages, the drive take approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Spend the morning touring this lovely domain; it’s one of the most well known in the entire Medoc region. Tasting classes are also available. Enjoy lunch in the nearby city of Bages, Café Lavinal is one of our favorite spots in town.
Spend the afternoon at the beach, the Medoc region has over 100 kilometers of pristine coastline with picturesque white sand beaches. Lacanau beach is famous for its waves and a favorite sport for local and international surfers. Soulac-Sur-Mer, Vendays Montalivet and Hourtin are also great spots for a relaxing afternoon by the sea.
Head to the town of Margaux for the evening, home to the famous Château Margaux winery. This small village is a great place to grab dinner and enjoy a walk around the village streets. It’s rather laid-back and ideal for a relaxing evening after a busy day exploring all that the Medoc region has to offer.
Recommended tours & activities for your third day in the Bordeaux area