Before I visited Bordeaux, I associated the city with sprawling hills replete with vines, magnificent chateaux, and an ever-flowing supply of wine. While Bordeaux certainly does have all that, there is so much more to see! Here are my personal favorites:
Place des Quinconces & the Monument aux Girondins
The Place des Quinconces is one of the largest city squares in Europe, originally created to prevent an attack against the city. The main monument in the square, the Monument aux Girondins, was built to honor the Girondins who fell during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. While the square is quite beautiful, it is also a hub for many tram lines, buses, and shuttles.
St. Michel Bell Tower (La Fleche Saint-Michel)
Standing alone next to the Basilique St. Michel, this 15th century bell tower is the 2nd largest in the south of France, and offers panoramic views of the city and river. The spire consists of 282 steps of hard work, but it is worth the view!
Pont de Pierre
Walk along this beautiful bridge that connects the right and left bank of the Garonne River!
This public garden has been an oasis in the city’s center since 1746, complete with 11 hectares of greenery, a children’s puppet show, and a Natural History Museum!
Place de la Bourse & Miroir d’eau
Another square in Bordeaux, it is one of the most beautiful works of classical French architectural art from the 18th century. In front of the Place de la Bourse, a beautiful water display looks out towards the Garonne River. The water mirror, or Miroir d’eau, is the largest reflecting pool in the world. (I would suggest visiting at 10 in the morning to experience the pool without many people around!)
Built in 1494, this structure was once the gate to the city. It was erected to commemorate the French victory in the battle Fornovo in Italy.
La Grosse Cloche
This 18thcentury bell sits above a former dungeon for young people, and is now rung on special occasions. Go in to see a tour of the dungeons, or walk on by and marvel at the beautiful structure!
Les Chartrons neighborhood
If you are on the hunt for gorgeous antique finds, walk over to Les Chartrons neighborhood. La Rue Notre-Dame has many little shops that are filled with gems. Be mindful that not only many antique shops, but also many stores in general, are closed on Sundays.
Le Grand Theatre
Designed by Victor Louis in the 18thcentury, this neo-classical theatre is home to a permanent team of artists, mainly putting on lyrical and choreographic performances. If you do not wish to see a performance, at least walk in and marvel at the grand staircase. If you would like to see more of the theatre, book a tour (note, the tour is solely given in French!)
Tour Pey Berland
Similarly to the St. Michel Bell Tower, this 15thcentury bell tower is also separate from its cathedral, the Cathedrale Sainte-Andre, so as not to affect the structure when the bells are rung. Climb the 233 steps of the Tour Pey Berland to get a panoramic view of the city! There are only 19 people allowed up at a time, so get there early in the day.