Things To See Walking In Bordeaux

Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Many Things To See Walking In Bordeaux

We had two days at this port stop with Oceania Cruises so we spent our first day exploring the things to see walking in Bordeaux. There was much to see and do as we wandered during the day. And at night, we got a magical view. The second day in Bordeaux, we headed off for a tour of the Bordeaux wine region. A perfect mix of activities in this French region.

We got our first view of the Bordeaux region when we stopped in La Rochelle and did a cognac tasting tour. The ship then travelled down the French coast. The long journey along the muddy Garonne River took us to a dock right right in the centre of things in Bordeaux. From there it easy to wander in Bordeaux.

There was a tram stop right by where the ship was docked. We originally planned to get a tram day pass. But we decided there were many things to see walking right from the ship.

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Bordeaux Was Called The “Port Of The Moon”

Bordeaux was known for its architectural and cultural heritage with more than 350 historic monuments. We certainly only saw a small number of these on this visit. The whole city (1,810 hectares) was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the largest protected city in the world.

Bordeaux was called the “Port of the Moon” since the Middle Ages because of the shape of the Garonne River crossing the city. We were never far from the wander as we wandered.

After the French Revolution, Bordeaux was rebuilt by traders and shipowners and became a major industrial port. The city became dark and dirty from pollution. But in the 21st century, major work was done to re-vitalize the city centre. Everything we saw walking Bordeaux showed how successful that restoration was.

A Stop At The Explanades Des Quinconces

There were many tour options in Bordeaux. We considered the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus or a tuk-tuk tour. In the end we decided that walking in Bordeaux was the pace we wanted. The Bourse Maritime building was located right across the tram tracks from the ship. It was the first but not the last of the beautifully restored buildings we found in Bordeaux.

Bourse Maritime - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Our next stop was the Esplanade Des Quniconces. It was one of the largest squares in Europe. We wandered around and saw the major sculptures on both ends. There was a large fair being set up in the middle. This was not the first time we saw a ferris wheel on our travels along the west coast of France.

Commerce And Navigation Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Girondins Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

We started at the river end of Esplanade Des Quniconces with the two statues that represented commerce and navigation. The statues had interesting ship hull sculptures that stuck out midway up. At the top were two different statues highlighted against the piling clouds in the sky.

Commerce And Navigation Statue.jpg

Commerce And Navigation Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

We finished our view of the Esplanade Des Quniconces at the other end of the square. The awesome Girondins Monument was a tribute to the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. It was topped with a large column. The statue on top represented the spirit of liberty.

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Girondins Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Girondins Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

The large pedestal was framed with two water fountains and decorated with bronze horses and troops. The intricate detail in the water statue grabbed our attention. As we walked around we saw the different scenes on each side.

Girondins Statue.jpg

Girondins Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Girondins Statue - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

The Esplanade Des Quniconces was a great stop walking in Bordeaux.

A Variety Of Things To See Walking In Bordeaux

We wandered around and looked at more of the things to see walking in Bordeaux. The narrow pedestrian streets were lined with shops, restaurants and people. A busker was was decorated like a tree.

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Town Busker Tree Statue.jpg

The Grand Theatre was in the Place de Comedie Square. It was Europe’s oldest remaining wooden-framed theatre. The sun was out and people were everywhere. The merry-go-round was a big draw for families with their kids. Across from the Grand Theatre we found a relief plaque that showed the major buildings in Bordeaux.

Grand Theatre - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Place de la Comedie.jpg

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We wandered in town and found lots of things walking in Bordeaux.

Food And Wine In Bordeaux

We got drawn into the Amorino Gelato shop when a couple walked out holding two cones topped with gelato flowers. We wanted to create our own edible art.

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In Bordeaux we couldn’t resist stopping in a wine store. We were told not to ask for a “good wine” since the answer would be “there are no bad wines in Bordeaux”. The Grands Vins De Bordeaux store went up for several stories around a spiral staircase. We selected a bottle of wine for dinner and headed back out.

Grands Vins Wine Shop - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

There was one stop we had to make in Bordeaux. The ship served canelés pastries. But we wanted to try original ones from Canalés Baillardran. A canelé was shaped like a small cylinder with a depression at the top. It was typically flavoured with rum and vanilla and had custard in the center. The outside had a tasty caramelized crust. This shop had many different varieties but we had an original with our hot chocolate.

Caneles Baillardran - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Caneles Baillardran.jpg

We found lots of tasty food and drink when walking in Bordeaux.

Reflections At Place De La Bourse

A stroll along the waterfront provided more to see in Bordeaux. Our large ship was docked with the ferries and small watercraft. The muddy river water did not look in the least inviting. We would not have wanted to be part of the large group of people racing on SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) on the river. Even the jet skis would have been too close to this water.

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There were a number of bridges along the river. Small gardens still had some flowers in bloom on the first day of October.

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Across from the Place de la Bourse we came to a large polished stone surface that we first saw from the ship. The Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) was misted with water on a regular basis. People could not resist running through the mist. This created a very big mirror-like surface. We saw multiple views of Place de la Bourse in the reflecting surface.

Bourse Square Reflecting Pond Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror).jpg

Bourse Square Reflecting Pond Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Bourse Square Reflecting Pond Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

We crossed the tram tracks and got a closer look at the Place de la Bourse. This was once the city’s stock exchange but today it housed the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and exhibition space. The building was a great example of 18th century neoclassical architecture. In the centre of the square was the Fountain of the Three Graces.

Bourse Square Fontaine des Trois Graces.jpg

Bourse Square Fontaine des Trois Graces - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Bourse Square Fontaine des Trois Graces.jpg

We headed along the river to the Place de la Bourse and got great views walking in Bordeaux.

Bordeaux Twinkled At Night

It was exciting to be in Bordeaux for two days. We rarely got to see cities after dark when we cruised. From the ship, we got our first view of night in Bordeaux as the city started to twinkle.

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When we walked along the river after dark, we got a magical view from the reflecting pond to the Place de la Bourse. A closer look cast the building and the Fountain of the Three Graces in interesting shadows. This spot was great during the day. But at night it was quite magical!

Bourse Square Reflecting Pond Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Bourse Square Reflecting Pond Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror) - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Bourse Square Fontaine des Trois Graces - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

We were sure happy we headed out walking in Bordeaux after dark.

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An Interesting Transit Out Of Bordeaux Along The Garonne River

The ship transited into Bordeaux at 3am. We were not up to watch the long trip in.

Our departure from Bordeaux after two days was carefully timed. To get in and out of port we passed under the Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge. This was an interesting lift bridge. We were the biggest ship that could pass under this bridge. It required careful planning with tide charts to make sure we could make it.

Even in the rain, people were on deck and watched our exit from Bordeaux. People in the top lounge crowded the windows as we cleared the bridges out of town. We passed the Cité du Vin (Wine Museum) with its unusual shape. We were reminded of this when we visited the Guggenheim Museum next in Bilbao Spain.

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Skyline Buildings Oceania Cruises Marina - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Skyline Wine Museum Oceania Cruises Marina - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

Oceania Cruises Marina Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas - Things To See Walking In Bordeaux France.jpg

It was nice to leave when it was still daylight. We saw many things we missed on this visit. Great reasons to head back to Bordeaux one day.

We were sure the views would be stunning with sun and blue skies. We grabbed a seat on our balcony and watched as we left Bordeaux up the Garonne River. It reminded us of our transits in and out of Venice. And the amazing views we got as we left Seattle and cruised to Alaska.

Many Things To See Walking In Bordeaux

We enjoyed the day we spent in town. There were many things to see walking in Bordeaux. With the cruise ship parked right in the middle of things, it was an easy trip out to explore. If we didn’t want to walk, the tram was right there. It was great to stay overnight for another perspective on this city.

On our second day in Bordeaux, we explored the wine country of the Bordeaux region and visited the small town of St. Emilion. This showed us yet one more facet of this great part of France.

From Bordeaux we headed towards the Basque area of Spain. There were many more treats as we continued our cruise along the coast of Western Europe.

What was your favourite of the things to see walking in Bordeaux? Or did you leave town to tour the vineyards?

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About TravelAtWill 641 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

54 Comments

  1. I want to do the cognac tasting! I also find it amazing that so many cities have added giant ferris wheels now. Your trip looks like it was a great time.

  2. Bordeaux is beautiful and I would love to explore! Wouldn’t mind some of those tasty treats too, especially the Amorino Gelato.

  3. It’s great that you get to visit many places with Oceania Cruises. The Grands Vins De Bordeaux store is so cool with the spiral staircase, and I like your gelato art photo! The reflection of Place de la Bourse looks so magical, especially at night.

  4. Bordeaux as a city is totally underrated. I actually prefer it over Paris since it has a far more….French vibe to it. I enjoyed reading your post since I’ve been going to Bordeaux pretty regularly since I was 17…and that was not exactly last week. Maybe that’s why I still have a soft spot for the city. My favorite place is the Marche des Capucins – best seafood ever!

  5. Bordeaux looks beautiful! I love walking around new places, you discover so many hidden gems that way! Those gelato flowers look amazing! I hope I get to explore Bordeaux one day!

  6. We were meant to go to Bordeaux a couple of years ago at Christmas but had to cancel last minute, so I’m still looking to reschedule it at some point. There are definitely some great things to see on foot here which is awesome!

  7. I’ve always wanted to visit Bordeaux for the wine but wow it looks like a beautiful city! The architecture is spectacular and the Girondins Monument is incredible with all the intricate carvings. Eating the flower made of gelato looks pretty fun too!

  8. Sounds like a great fun! Bordeaux definitely is a city of good food and wine, and has so much history too. I didn’t know it is a Unesco Heritage site, interesting fact. As I have visited so many other cities in France, I can imagine how many beautiful buildings there is in Bordeaux. I would love to visit!

  9. It’s definitely interesting to read how the name port of the moon came into being. I have never been to Bordeaux but I would love to go there. And I will definitely consider walking around and seeing the beautiful statues and structures. The city looks amazing and has so much history.

  10. Bordeaux at night is surely amazing. I like how the lights turned the buildings into a sight that ones can’t miss when visiting the city.

  11. The buildings and structures are showstoppers. I’d literally stop and be in awe of this when I see them in person. No wonder it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. The sights are beautiful in the day and night!

  12. I have never heard of the city of Bordeaux before, but it looks lovely! The food and drinks there look so yummy, it would be a fun girls trip to take! Adding this to my travel list for sure!!

  13. Bordeaux sounds like a fantastic destination! The cognac tasting would be so fun. I would love to explore more of France (I’ve only been to Paris), and Bordeaux sounds like an awesome place to explore! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Bordeaux looks really lovely! Definitely a city I would like to visit, with great food and many historic sites worth exploring. But 350 monuments are probably more than I could remember, althoughI’m sure I’d love to walk around them. It seems you’ve got to do a lot of sightseeing during your stop in Bordeaux. I never took a European cruise. It must be really interesting to stop in a new city every day.

    • We were glad we got many new stops to visit on this cruise. We loved that our overnight stop in Bordeaux gave us time to both do a wine tasting day and walk the city.

  15. I never knew bordeaux had so many historical monuments. The artistic gelato and the huge wine store would be on my list for sure. The city also looks really beautiful at night, it looks like a great place to visit.

  16. I never knew Bordeaux was the largest protected city in the world! Thanks for sharing this fact. In one of your pictures of the street, the city looks so packed with people. Is that so during the holiday season? I always associate the city with wine.

    • I always associated Bordeaux with wine as well. So we were definitely pleased to find so much else to see and do when we visited. It was not a holiday when we visited. And most streets were not that busy.

  17. Nice post! I’ve never been to Bordeaux and it looks far different then I anticipated. Loved seeing you photos and a glimpse of the city life.

  18. What a great way to see Bordeaux. I love the idea of a Mediterranean cruise with stops alongs the way. The gelato in a cone looked amazing.

  19. I have long had Bordeaux on my list, and was scheduled to go this year. Another miss. I’ve wanted to go for the wine, but also it’s a mini Paris. I would love to wander the streets, try the little pastries with hot chocolate and admire the amazing architecture. It’s such a lovely city at nighttime with all the lights along the skyline.

  20. Wow! Over 350 historic monuments sounds amazing. I do remember your congac story—so fun! I need to head to this region of France. You’ve described it so beautifully in both words and pictures.

    • We were so glad we did not have to trade off a day in the city with other trips out to the wine regions. We loved just wandering in Bordeaux. And the overnight stay was perfect.

  21. I love the concept of cruise as it provides the opportunity to see many new cities one after the other. And when it is a night stay, that’s just fantastic. Would love to walk around town visiting the wonderful landmarks and experiencing history. Bordeaux looks beautiful in the night with all its lights. Lovely place to spend a day.

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