The 10 must-see places in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is one of those cities that you fall in love with at first sight. Its historic center has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco and among its narrow streets we discover the true essence of the French city. It is also the perfect city to do a free tour or discover the french wine and gastronomy. These are the 10 must-see places in Bordeaux.
Quinconces Square and the Girondins Monument
This square is the largest esplanade in Europe with 126,000 m2. It used to be the site of the Trompette castle, but over time it deteriorated. Finally it was destroyed during the French revolution because the people did not want to invest public money in restoring a monarchical symbol.
In the end it was decided that the square would be a space of the people for the people. That is why throughout the year it hosts different events: concerts, the Christmas market, the circus, the fair, etc.
At one end of the square is the Monument to the Girondins, built to commemorate the politicians opposed to Robespierre’s Reign of Terror who were executed during the French Revolution.
This is one of the most famous and busiest squares in the city. It is home to one of the city’s most emblematic monuments: the Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux. The architect Victor Louis designed this neoclassical jewel at the end of the 18th century, home to the National Opera.
In front of the Grand Théâtre is the luxurious Intercontinental Grand Hotel, also built by Victor Louis. Both buildings are illuminated at sunset, creating a magical place in the heart of the city.
Church of Notre Dame
The church of Notre Dame is one of the last remaining baroque examples of the city. Inside is a huge organ with incredible acoustics, which is why concerts are often held here throughout the year.
Next to the church is the Passage Sarget, a 19th century shopping gallery with luxury stores inside. Its architecture and decoration are dedicated to Mercury, symbol of commerce.
Saint Andrew’s Cathedral
The city’s cathedral was built at the end of the 11th century and is Gothic in style. It is one of the most important monuments in the city and is the site of two important royal weddings: that of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII in 1137, and that of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria in 1615.
A few meters from the cathedral is its bell tower called Pey Berland. This 66-meter tower offers perfect views of the city, although to do so you have to climb the 231 steps of the spiral staircase that leads to the top.
This beautiful tower is one of the two surviving gates of the old medieval wall that surrounded the city. Cailhau Gate was built at the end of the 15th century and functioned as a defensive gate and also as a triumphal arch. However, today it only connects the banks of the Garonne river to the Place du Palais with many beautiful terraces.
Saint Pierre square
This quarter is the historic heart of the city, full of picturesque streets with bars and restaurants. In fact, many trades flourished around this area over the centuries. This is why the names of the streets still evoke trades of the past, such as the street of the trunks merchants or the street of the goldsmiths.
The church of Saint Pierre, built in the 15th century, is also located here and is part of the St. James’ Way which passes through the city.
This historic square was built in honor of the Parliament of Bordeaux, established in 1462. The facades of the surrounding buildings are richly decorated and in the center is a beautiful fountain built by the architect Louis Garros. Moreover it is a lively square full of terraces where you can have a drink or sit down for dinner.
Place de la Bourse and the Water Mirror
This square is the emblem of the city. It is located right next to the Garonne River that flows through the city and right in his center you can find the Fountain of the Three Graces. It was built in the 18th century because it was decided to destroy the medieval wall surrounding the city in order to welcome commerce in the modern era.
Just in front of the square is one of the city’s main attractions: the water mirror. It is a gigantic slab of granite covered with a thin layer of water, creating a kind of pool in which the impressive square is reflected.
La Grosse Cloche (The great bell)
This imposing bell tower is one of the oldest in France, built in the 13th century. It is the other surviving medieval gate of the ancient wall that surrounded the city. It is located in one of the most charming neighborhoods of the old town of Bordeaux, full of bohemian cafes and alternative venues.
Pont de Pierre
This beautiful bridge allows us to cross the Garonne River and visit the other part of the city known as the Right Bank. From here you can admire the city in the distance and appreciate the facades of the buildings.
This bridge was ordered to be built in 1822 by Napoleon and is in fact the oldest bridge in the city. Napoleon ordered 17 arches, the same number of letters as his name Napoleon Bonaparte.
Take a tour with us
And don’t forget to do some of our tours! In Free Walking Tours we have a wide variety of tours to do in the city of Bordeaux, from discovering the city center on foot with one of our guides to knowing the history of Bordeaux and tasting the best wines and cheeses of the region.
These are some of our tours:
In conclusion, what are you waiting for to visit Bordeaux?