Bordeaux is known worldwide for producing fabulous wines. The city of Bordeaux is one of the largest in Southwest France, yet it is filled with charm thanks to its architecture. Visitors would be remiss not to partake in some of the incredible wine tasting and education experiences as well as gourmet tours. One should also not miss out on the opportunity venture towards the coast to climb to the top of the Dune du Pilat. The climb is best followed by a delicious fresh seafood meal in the picturesque coastal town of Arcachon. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of what to do in Bordeaux in 2023.
What to Do in Bordeaux in 2023
Visit the Region’s Renowned Wine Appellations
One of the preeminent wine regions in the world, Bordeaux boasts approximately 285,000 acres of vineyards. The thousands of small wine producers produce a diverse array of wines from deep reds to sparkling whites. The particularly noteworthy subregions include Saint-Émilion, Médoc, Sauterne, Entre-deux-Mers, and Graves.
Saint-Émilion, surrounded by prestigious Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The winding cobblestone streets and Medieval architecture undoubtedly impress. Multiple of the town’s châteaux have achieved the prestigious status of Grand Cru.
Coastal Médoc’s Route des Châteaux is sublime. Brimming with Grand Cru wineries and decadent châteaux, it features eight appellations of controlled origin wines and some of France’s elite wine producers.
Private Picnic, Visit and Wine Tasting at a Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Château
Enjoy a personalized tour of a beautiful estate owned by the same family for eight generations.
Learn about organic viticulture and the year-round work of growing grapes. You’ll visit the cellars and vat room to learn about winemaking and barrel aging. The visit includes a tasting of Saint-Émilion Grands Crus.
At the end of the tour, you will enjoy a picnic including local products and a bottle of wine from the domain.
Stay in Fabulous Hotels
Whether you’d like to make your home-base the city of Bordeaux or stay in the countryside, there are incredible hotel options in this region.
This 5-star hotel faces the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in an 18th-century neoclassical-inspired building. The location simply could not be better: it is in the city’s historic center with the Place de Quinconces and the Saint André Cathedral just a short stroll away.
Chic rooms feature ornate furnishings and rich palettes, all with top-notch modern touches.
Within the hotel you’ll find two restaurants, including Le Pressoir d’Argent by Gordon Ramsay with two Michelin stars. There are two bars including a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city, and an indoor courtyard serving afternoon tea. After a full day exploring, unwind in the indoor pool, the fitness center, the spa, or the outdoor hot tub.
By booking a stay at the Intercontinental Bordeaux with French Side Travel, guests will receive a guaranteed late check-out, daily breakfast for two, a $100 hotel amenity credit, an upgrade to the next room category (subject to availability on arrival), in-room snacks and beverages upon arrival, as well as VIP service. Contact us today to learn more.
Hotel Chais Monnet
This ancestral cellar built in 1838 is now a newly renovated high-end 5-star hotel. It is located at the heart of Cognac, a town rich in history and heritage.
The series of buildings, luminosity and a unique latticework in the background hints at the craft of the area. Inside, things only get better with the main lobby and its sand-colored oak floor, beige furniture and a glass-walled lift in a clear tube. This light design also extends to the rooms and suites, carved out of former warehouses with oak beams and more light furniture.
Enjoy a total relaxing break at the spa which offers personalized body and facial treatments according to your specific needs.
When booking at the hotel with French Side Travel, you will enjoy the following amenities: Room upgrade upon booking, early check-in and late check out upon availability, drink voucher per person for a cocktail or a glass of Champagne at the hotel’s bar.
Les Sources de Caudalie
Located between vineyards and forests, just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, this 5-star hotel was designed using recycled local materials to create a collection of state-of-the-art buildings that are perfectly in tune with the idyllic surroundings.
The five cottages also revolve around the region’s rich, varied culture as reflected in paintings, antiques, and warm-colored fabrics. Each of the 40 rooms boasts a unique decor, featuring antiques, collectible furniture, and fine draperies. Most of them have a terrace or a balcony with a beautiful view on the vineyards or on the lake. The Village des Pêcheurs, a suite on stilts, and l’île aux Oiseaux, in the middle of the lake are the perfect places for a romantic celebration.
Set in a former orangery the two Michelin-starred restaurant invites you to savor the chef’s brilliant, well-grounded cuisine. On pretty days, enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunshine, on the terrace overlooking the lake and the vine-covered slopes.
The spa offers unique treatments which combine the virtues of natural hot spring water drawn from 540 meters below ground. The water is rich in minerals and oligo-elements. Learn about the most recent scientific discoveries of the benefits of the grape and the grapevine.
The tranquil Arcachon Bay emerged as a luxury retreat for Bordeaux’s upper class in the 19th century. The elegant Belle Époque villas, rejuvenating spas, and expansive golden sandy beaches make it a favorite of the French, although it is still very under the radar for foreigners.
The main attractions in Arcachon are the miles of sandy beaches, the vibrant town center and its markets, and the architecture of the Ville d’Hiver that boasts rows of Belle Époque mansions. There’s an eccentric mix of Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, Colonial, and Swiss Chalet styles of architecture.
Arcachon’s beaches are inside the Arcachon Bay, which shelters them from the violent Atlantic waves. This makes it a wonderful area for families with children. Rent a bike and head south through beaches and seaside towns towards Biscarrosse for waves, surfing, and body-boarding. Just behind the beach is the Landes des Gascogne Regional Natural Park, an expansive pine tree forest and wetland area.
The seafood restaurants in Arcachon are of course particularly popular. You’ll find everything from classic bistrot fare like moules frites (mussels with fries) along the beach to fine dining restaurants a few blocks into town. Don’t miss the oysters, they’re regarded among the best in the world.
What to Do in Bordeaux in 2023: A Unique Experience in Arcachon
Traditional Pinasse Boat Tour of Bird Island and the Lège-Cap Ferret
Enjoy the highlights of the breathtaking Arcachon Bay on a traditional pinasse boat. Your captain will sail through the small channels past oyster beds, picture-perfect beaches, l’Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island), and Lège-Cap Ferret’s charming villages.
Enjoy a seafood platter while aboard. It includes six local oysters, langoustines, bulots, shellfish and prawns, accompanied by bread, butter, lemon, and mayonnaise.
Guests can also partake in an oyster-picking experience with an oyster farmer. The oyster farmer will welcome you and show you how the oysters are bred. You will then have the opportunity to bring back some oysters to shore for an exciting tasting experience with the farmer.
Climb the Dune du Pilat
The Dune du Pilat is the largest sand dune in Europe. Once you climb roughly 360 feet and reach the top, you’ll be treated to a fabulous look at the sea. The 360 degree panorama includes the Bay of Arcachon and the Cap Ferret Peninsula, with the Banc d’Arguin to the west and the Landes des Gascogne Regional Natural Park to the east. The sunset is particularly spectacular.
Take a Gourmet City Tour of Bordeaux
What better way to see the highlights of Bordeaux than with food and wine? One of French Side Travel’s favorite experiences is a private three-hour tour of Bordeaux’s highlights and wines with an oenology expert.
This tour serves as an introduction to wine tasting while taking you through the Place de Quinconces, the Chartrons District, the Place Pey Berland, the Place de la Bourse and its massive reflection pool, and the docks. You’ll taste four wines at traditional wine shops. Before the tour ends, you’ll get an opportunity to try the canelé, a local favorite pastry.
We hope this list of what to do in Bordeaux in 2023 will help inspire future travel to both the city and region. We would love to help you plan a dream trip to France in the coming year with a custom itinerary. Some of our other favorite destinations in France include Normandy, Paris, the South of France, and the Loire Valley. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!