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Walking Tour of Bordeaux, France

Walking Tour of Bordeaux, France

by mccownJuly 18, 2013
This entry is part [part not set] of 10 in the series France/Italy

Bordeaux was our first stop in our France trip. Roughly three hours away by train, we only had to wait a short while once we arrived at CDG (in first class style!) to board our train straight from the airport.

Jeffrey studied abroad here in the spring of 2009, so he knows this port city like the back of his hand. It was my first time here, and it was so fun for me to explore where he lived. We even got to have dinner at his host family’s restaurant! How cool!

On the Garonne River, the water plays a large part in Bordeaux’s history. And, as the fifth largest city in France (with a population of 1.1 million), Bordeaux is the world’s wine industry center, with the wine economy taking in 14.5 billion Euros per year! Interesting fact: most large cities in Europe have a river, which was once used as the main transportation to get goods to and from town.

In early March, we found the weather to be perfectly warm and sunny – great for walking all around the city and exploring.

Check out our self-guided walking tour below. If you want to hit all of the major sights in just a day or two, this is the best way to start:

View Bordeaux Walking Tour in a larger map

Total distance: appx 3.9 miles
Time: You could power walk it at about 2 hours, but I’d say a minimum of 4-5 hours would be good and even better if you try to use all day.
Day of the week: Avoid Mondays as the following are closed: Marché des Capucins, Tour Pey-Berland, Musée d’Aquitaine

  1. START: Place de la Victoire — Walk down Rue Sainte-Catherine, a 1.2 km pedistrian shopping zone
  2. Arriving at Place de la Comedie, you’ll see see the Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux and Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux (take the guided visit–fills up quickly, so book in advance!), home to the Opera National de Bordeaux
  3. Walk along Les Quais de Bordeaux–the old piers and wharfs
  4. Cruise the Chartrons neighborhood, stopping by Eglise Saint-Louis des Chartrons & CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain
  5. Visit Place des Quinconces and see Le monument aux Girondins
  6. Walk to tram “Station Grand Théâtre” and board the B line tram–an icon of Bordeaux
  7. Debark at “Hotel de Ville” to see Cathédrale Saint-André de Bordeaux and climb the “Tour Pey-Berland
  8. Back on the tram to “Victoire” and then a short walk to “Marché des Capucins”–try to budget a short stop at any of the dozen Kabob vendors along Cours de la Marne. You can also head to Place de la Victoire on foot and stop by “Musée d’Aquitaine” on the way.
  9. Walk to Basilica of St. Michael/Quartier St-Michel–> this is the Moroccan/immigrant area and one of the major perks is the Moroccan mint tea, don’t miss it!
  10. Walk under “Porte de Bourgogne” built between 1750 & 1755
  11. Crossing back over to “Les Quais,” it’s worth a stop at “La Porte Cailhau” (built in appx 1495) before continuing on to “Place de la Bourse” and the reflecting pond.
  12. You’ll then wind around the surrounding neighborhood, passing by many street corner cafes, Cafe Utopia (a cinema), Cafe Karl and, finally, Place du Parlement
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