What to see in Bordeaux in three days?
It is no secret that France is a popular tourist destination. In recent years, Bordeaux has been emerging as one of the main options, especially because of the importance that this city represents in terms of wine.
After a series of renovations and improvements to the city centre, Bordeaux has seen a remarkable growth in tourism. It offers more and more options and amenities for travellers attracted by its history.
What to see in Bordeaux in 3 days
With each visit you will always discover something new and you will continue to plan your next trip almost immediately because of the cosiness of the area and its beautiful landscapes. If you want to see Bordeaux in 3 days, we show you what, for us, are the best alternatives.
City of wine
Known by many as the beacon of Bordeaux wine tourism or the totem of Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin, is one of the main attractions of this city. It is, of course, a tribute to the wine industry. In case you didn’t know, this is where some of the best and most famous wines in the world are produced.
Opened in 2006, it is the first wine theme park in the world. Covering an area of 13,350 m², it has 10 levels between the two buildings which are the bull and the tower.
The design of this building is undoubtedly one of its main attractions, as it is shaped like a large wine decanter. It is located on the banks of the River Garonne, making it a simply beautiful postcard.
Through different fun activities you can learn about the history of wine both in this region and around the world. It includes guided tours, wine tastings, audiovisual productions, restaurants, terraces and more.
Also known as St. Andrew’s Cathedral, it is one of the most important buildings in the city. Its beauty and great historical value justify it. Firstly, the fact that the bell tower is separate from the main building, something that is not common.
It was built at the end of the 11th century. Although the project was initially conceived with four towers, in the end only two were built, with their spires. It is Gothic in style, although only the interior walls of the main nave remain from the original construction.
It has undergone major changes throughout history, the most important being in the 12th and 16th centuries, when it was practically rebuilt. In 1998 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Although it originates in Spain, most of the Garonne River’s course is in France. Bordeaux is also known as the Port of the Moon because of the curious shape of the river as it passes through the city.
It is one of the few in the world to have a tidal wave. This means that it is perfectly suitable for water sports. For many years, this river was one of Bordeaux’s main sources of income and economy thanks to the transport of goods.
Museum of Fine Arts
If you love art, the Museum of Fine Arts is a must on your itinerary of what to see in Bordeaux in three days. First of all, you should know that it is the oldest museum in the city and is built on both sides of the garden of the Rohan palace.
Its origins date back to 1801, when Paris took the initiative to divide what was once the Central Museum among the 15 main cities of the country. Today, it is considered one of the most important galleries in France and one of the largest collections of European art.
It is divided into two main areas within the building. Towards the south wing are the oldest collections, ranging from the 16th to the 18th century. In the north wing you will find those from the 19th century to the present day.
Place Quinconces and Fountain of the Girondins
This is one of the largest squares on the continent, with a surface area of 126,000 m2. It stands on the site where the famous Château Trompette once stood. The square also has two large rostral columns, 21 metres high. They symbolise trade and navigation.
The centrepiece of the square is the Monument des Girondins. It is an impressive statue representing liberty and is flanked by two impressive fountains, decorated with bronze horses and troops. It was erected in memory of those who fell during the French Revolution.
Place de la Comèdie and Opera
Another of Bordeaux’s must-see places to visit in 3 days. The Place de la Comèdie is located in the heart of the city centre. It is a purely pedestrian area, except for the tramway that crosses it. After a devastating fire in 1756, the old theatre was razed to the ground and the area was reorganised to give way to the current square.
It is dominated by the beautiful Grand Theatre, inaugurated in 1780. This work was designed by the architect Victor Louis in a neoclassical style, with 12 columns and 12 statues with nine muses and three goddesses: Venus, Juno and Minerva. It has been declared a historical monument of France.
In the heart of Bordeaux, this is one of the oldest bell towers in the whole country whose name translates as Great Bell. It rings during important celebrations for the city and the country, as well as on the first Sunday of every month.
The bell was cast in 1775 and weighs an average of 7,750 kilos. The gate where it stands was one of the old entrances to the city. In the past, a prison functioned here where the 10cm thick door and its huge locks were the main source of security.
Another important religious building in Bordeaux, the Basilica of Saint-Michel was built between the 14th and 16th centuries in the flamboyant Gothic style. Like the cathedral, its bell tower is separate from the main building. It is 114 metres high and was added in the 15th century on top of a former mass grave.
For a long time, the remains of about 70 mummies that had been found during the construction phase were housed here. In 1990 they were removed, hence the place is still known as the crypt of Saint-Michel.
Standing 35 metres high, this was one of the old defensive gates of the city, dating back to medieval times. It was built between 1493 and 1496 on the site of another, rather worn-out gate. It served as a tribute to celebrate the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples by King Charles VIII.
It is equipped with a gate, as well as machicolations, oak frames and mullioned windows. From here you can enjoy beautiful views of the Bordeaux Stone Bridge and the quayside area.
The Water Mirror and the Place de la Bourse
This is perhaps one of the most photographed and famous places in the whole city. The Place de la Bourse is surrounded by some of Bordeaux’s oldest and most important buildings. It was inaugurated in 1749, although it was not given its present name until 1848.
The water mirror is an esplanade designed by the landscape designer Michel Corajoud. It is 130 metres long, making it the largest in the world and one of the most popular in Europe. Here, visitors can play and wade through puddles of water.
Inaugurated in 2006, it is part of the renovations that gave a new face to the centre of Bordeaux. It has different jets or water jets arranged on the ground which release water every so often to occupy a certain number of millimetres. At the end, they give way to the most precious mirror of water.
The Aquitaine Gate
It is one of the six medieval gates of Bordeaux. It served as the entrance to the city and was built between 1754 and 1755. It is dedicated to the newborn Duke of Aquitaine. It is crowned by the coat of arms of France in the pediment area, held by two sea gods.
The Public Garden
Created in the mid-18th century, although its uses varied over time. Here you can find the Museum of Natural History and a large library, as well as a large botanical and aquatic garden covering more than four hectares. It is a place to relax and enjoy close contact with nature.
What to see near Bordeaux
If you have some extra time in your itinerary to visit Bordeaux in 3 days, there are also other worthwhile attractions in the surroundings of the city:
Saint Émilion: Beautiful medieval village that you can reach by bike.
Vineyards, lots of vineyards: For wine lovers with hundreds of options to choose from.
Dune de Pilat: The largest sand dune in Europe, only 70 km away from Bordeaux.
Discovering Bordeaux on a free tour
There are many places to see and enjoy in this city, so having a free tour in Bordeaux can be a great help. Besides being led by professional guides, it will allow you to learn more about Bordeaux’s rich history and special charm.
However, if you’d like to enjoy the magical city of Bordeaux on your own alonside a private guide, check out our private tours.
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