Free walking tours Bordeaux

Bordeaux in August: a perfect destination for a summer holiday

The summer holidays are finally upon us and it’s time to start planning your next getaway. Bordeaux in August is a wonderful option to consider.

This charming city, full of monuments, is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities, taking advantage of the good temperatures. Moreover, as it is the holiday season, you will be able to meet tourists from all over the world while you take a free tour of Bordeaux and live new experiences.

Why should you visit Bordeaux in August?

Although its sights and incredible history make this a city with tourist appeal, here are a few reasons why visiting Bordeaux in August will enhance your experience.

  • Hot season: if you enjoy the heat, sun and generally high temperatures, Bordeaux offers plenty of outdoor activities. From picnics in any of its stunning parks and squares, to tours of its beautiful vineyards.
  • The French get out of town: as in many other places, this is the month of holidays in France. At this time of year, the people of Bordeaux tend to leave the city and head for the nearby beaches, with less crowds on the streets. You can even do it yourself.
  • Touring the main monuments: as it is the holiday season, the presence of tourists increases considerably. Most of the city’s tourist attractions are open every day with extended opening hours.
  • Open-air drinking: The city’s nightlife scene is quite lively and fun, especially for young people. During the summer, a wonderful plan in the evenings is to visit the bars along the riverside promenades of the Garonne.
  • Cultural activities: Bordeaux is a cultural city. During the summer season, many museums and galleries host open-air activities, including theatre plays, puppet shows, dances and more.

Discover Bordeaux on foot

As charming as it is historic, Bordeaux is a city worth discovering on foot, especially its historic centre. In August, as long as you don’t abuse the central hours and bring something to hydrate yourself, this is a solution that is as accessible as it is healthy.

It’s true that public transport is quite efficient and gives you options on how to get around Bordeaux ranging from buses, trams and even bike rentals. However, there’s nothing better than wandering the history-laden streets on foot.

In the city centre you’ll find buildings that are hundreds of years old, many of them listed. For example, the Palais de la Bourse, the Place des Quinconces and the Monument to the Girondins, the Cathedral and the medieval city gates.

Visiting the six medieval gates of Bordeaux

This city has more than two thousand years of history. Like many other major European cities, it was fortified during the medieval period.

According to historians, its walls had nine gates that gave access to locals and visitors, as well as to pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. With the passing of time, some of them were destroyed, although today there are still six that you must include in your Bordeaux travel guide:

  • Cailhau Gate. It is located on the banks of the River Garonne, just between the Place de la Bourse and the Porte de Bourgogne. It is 35 metres high and has a conical end which makes it quite famous. It was built between 1493 and 1496 to commemorate the victory of King Charles VIII in the battle of Fornovo.
  • Burgundy Gate. Built between 1750 and 1753, it is also known as the Arc de Triomphe or the Porte de Salinières. It owes its name to the fact that it is close to the port, where salt, one of the main products of the time, was traded.ç
  • Gate of the Great Bell. For some, this is the most beautiful gate of all. Its construction dates back to medieval times and, together with the Cailhau gate, it is one of the few remaining monuments from that period.
  • Aquitaine Gate. It was built in 1753 and so named to pay homage to the Duke of Aquitaine, who had just been born at that time. It is located next to the old Saint Julien square and has a similar appearance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
  • Mint Gate. Next to the Mint, hence its name, right between the Stone Bridge and St John’s Bridge. It was built between 1752 and 1758.
  • Dijeaux Gate. This gate has many similarities with the Aquitaine Gate, which is why some consider it to be a sister gate. It was built in 1748 and is located behind the Place de Gambetta, just at the end of Rue Bouffard.

Beach getaway

Although the city has no beaches as such, it does have some good options in the surrounding area, should you want to take a dip in Bordeaux in August. Here is a small selection of the 10 best beaches near Bordeaux:

  • Bordeaux-Lac beach. It’s one of the closest to the city, in case you don’t want to go too far away. Unlike the rest, it is on a lake and not in the ocean like the others. It is open during the summer and is known for its calm, wave-free waters, making it perfect for young children.
  • Grand Crohot Beach. At 25 kilometres long, this is one of the locals’ favourite beaches. It runs north from the tip of the Cap Ferret peninsula. It is rather inhospitable, with no large developments and a rather wild air, although during the summer season, lifeguards are present every day.
  • Pereire Arcachon beach. This beach is located on the eastern side of the mouth of the Arcachon bay, so it is usually quite calm in terms of waves. It has fairly white sands and crystal clear waters. It also has a wide variety of shops and beach bars to make you more comfortable.

Excursion to Saint-Émilion

Of the most famous excursions from Bordeaux that you can do, Saint-Émilion must surely be at the top of the list.

This is a small but charming village 45 km away from Bordeaux, whose origins date back to medieval times. Indeed, this picturesque village seems to have been trapped in time, with narrow streets, some cobbled in a labyrinthine style.

Saint – Émilion was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historical importance and architectural beauty. It is also a valuable wine producer, with around 900 winegrowers concentrated right here.

Enjoying its museums

As we have already said, this is a cultural city from any point of view. If you are looking for museums in Bordeaux, there are many options to choose from, depending on your interests. Remember that although it is the summer season, all the options we suggest are open, taking advantage of the presence of tourists.

Among the most popular museums that you should not miss for any reason are:

The Cité du Vin

It’s a must-see and at the top of any list of Bordeaux museums. Some call it the beacon of Bordeaux wine tourism or the totem of Bordeaux.

It is a huge complex entirely dedicated to wine, its history and industry. It covers an area of 13,350 m², spread over 10 floors. Here you can enjoy sensory experiences, talks, videoconferences and, of course, wine tastings.

Les Bassins des Lumières

Developed on the site of a former U-boat base built by the Germans during World War II, it covers 42,000 m2.

It is a digital art centre where lights and sound combine to offer an immersive experience. Images are projected onto the old bomb walls, but are also reflected on the water where the U-boats were stationed.

The exhibitions change from time to time, although some of the world’s most famous artists are on permanent display.

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