The perfect 2 day Bordeaux itinerary

Myself and Mister Lavin have just fallen in love with hidden gems all over Europe. If you are looking for Parisian vibes but without the crazy busy tourist thronged streets of Paris then may we suggest this other French gem, Bordeaux. We have the perfect Bordeaux itinerary for you which will also take in all of the best Instagram spots in Bordeaux , along with a map to help you along the way. So get planning your ideal Bordeaux city break! You won’t be sorry.

Man drinking coffee with a view of Gare St Jean train station on a 2 day Bordeaux itinerary

The Best Bordeaux itinerary for a two day break

Visit the fairytale architecture of the city during your Bordeaux itinerary

The first thing that you must do on your weekend in Bordeaux is pick up a city pass. Bordeaux isn’t huge by any stretch of the imagination and can be easily explored on foot. But, it isn’t small either, and some of the main attractions are just that little bit harder to reach. A Bordeaux city pass will help you make the most out of your time in the city. You will have unlimited access to trams, buses and river shuttles and also free entry into over twenty museums and monuments. You will also get one free guided tour of your choice. We decided on a river cruise and it was amazing!

Woman holding up two Bordeaux city passes perect for your Bordeaux itinerary when you are exploring Bordeaux

Where is Bordeaux?

When I told people that we would be spending a weekend in Bordeaux their first reaction was where is it? So let’s get the geography lesson out of the way first. Bordeaux is located in the south west of France, about 30 minutes from the Atlantic coast. Bordeaux is best known as being the capital of wine, with its castles and vineyards that stand on the hillsides of the Gironde. It is also home to the world’s main wine fair, Vinexpo.

Aerial view of Bordeaux city in France
Isn’t Bordeaux like an absolute fairytale?

In this itinerary we won’t be exploring the beautiful vineyards but instead concentrating on a city break. But don’t worry, there will be wine involved because believe it or not Bordeaux has its own wine museum. Bordeaux is an international tourist destination for its architectural and cultural heritage with more than 350 historic monuments, making it, after Paris, the city with the most listed or registered monuments in France. So you will certainly not be short of things to do on this Bordeaux itinerary.

Aerial view of Bordeaux France and how to plan your Bordeaux itinerary

How to get from Bordeaux airport to the city centre

Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport is the international airport and Ryanair fly directly there. We got return flights for about €50 return per person from Dublin and there are always bargains to be had. There is a bus directly outside the doors of the airport that will take you to Gare de Bordeaux St. Jean. It costs €1.70 and will take about 50 minutes to reach the city centre as it is the main bus route with numerous stops along the way.

Map of the best things to do in Bordeaux in 2 days

I have included a map for you of all of the spots that I mention in my Bordeaux itinerary. The good news is that all of these spots also double up as the best Instagram spots in Bordeaux so get your camera ready to bring some French chic to your gram. I haven’t designed my Bordeaux itinerary according to a timetable. Everything is within short distance of each other and with the city pass is extremely accessible so instead I am going to highlight the must see places in Bordeaux over 2 days and let you choose how you would like to visit them and in what order.

Explore the fairytale architecture of Bordeaux

The entire city of Bordeaux feels like a fairytale with its rustic stone walls, and high rise majestic buildings. It is easy to see why it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you honestly feel like you have stepped inside the pages of a story book there. I have to admit every time I imagined what Bordeaux would look like I pictured vast countryside with rolling green hills, crumbling chateaux and row after row of grapevines. I hadn’t envisioned such a bustling urban space, with high street chain shops and busy streets. Apart from all of the picturesque fairytale architecture, Bordeaux is a shopper’s paradise.

Places you must visit on your 2 day Bordeaux itinerary

Suggested Bordeaux itinerary, Day 1

Porte Cailhau

By far one of the most instagrammable and fairytale buildings you will come across in Bordeaux is Port Cailhau. One of the original gates of the city it gives off Disney Castle vibes. Despite its age (just imagine – it dates from 1494!) this large, beautiful monument remains practically unchanged. It was built to commemorate Charles VIII’s victory at Fornovo (Italy). You can simply admire it from the ground or pay a €5 entry fee (free with city pass) to climb the 23 metres to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the river.

Porte Cailhau one of the original gates to Bordeaux city
Woman standing in front of Porte Cailhau one of the best Instagram spots in Bordeaux
Why Porte Cailhau has to be on your Bordeaux itinerary

Pointe de Pierre

If you walk beneath Porte Cailhau towards the river, you’ll soon see Pont de Pierre, a bridge leading to the other side of the river. It’s the oldest bridge in Bordeaux, and was the only bridge to cross the river Garonne until 1965. Designed under Napoleon Bonaparte, Pont de Pierre has 17 arches—one for each letter in Napoleon’s full name.

Pointe de Pierre bridge crossing the river Garonne, photographed at sunset

Pont de Pierre is especially beautiful at sunset, and you can get some stunning Instagram photos of the bridge’s silhouette against the colorful evening sky. You’ll pass by the bridge anyways during the day or if you happen to take a river cruise, but definitely make another stop here at sunset. You won’t be sorry!

Woman in a floral dress crossing the Pointe de Pierre bridge in Bordeaux at sunset

Miroir d’eau / Place de la Bourse

Miroir d’eau is the world’s largest reflecting pool and it is totally ok to splash around in it! It sits just across the road from Place de la Bourse and when it is not thronged with kids splashing about in it you can get some pretty epic reflection shots. We didn’t quite master the shot we wanted of the beautiful Place de la Bourse because the lighting was wrong but we did capture this gorgeous church steeple.

Reflection of a church steeple in Miroir d'eau one of the best Instagram spots in Bordeaux

Place de la Bourse has symbolised the city of Bordeaux around the world for centuries and played a major role in the city’s development, trade and reputation. It is hugely popular with both the Bordelais and visitors alike adoring this elegant square. Place de la Bourse was originally separated from the river by railings, but these disappeared during the French Revolution. The equestrian statue of the king was briefly replaced by one of Napoleon, followed by the Fountain of the Three Graces in 1869. The latter has been much appreciated ever since and is photographed by tourists from all over the world. So, don’t hesitate to head here on day 1 of your Bordeaux itinerary to grab your Instagram worthy shot!

Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux France at sunset
Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux France one of the best instagram spots in Bordeaux

Jardin public

Jardin public is an idyllic spot in the city that isn’t too far from the main tourist hub in Bordeaux. You can walk there in fifteen minutes from Place de la Bourse. Since its creation in 1746 it has been a veritable “green lung” in the city centre. The 11 hectares of grass, trees, flowers, and plants also include a children’s playground and the famous Guignol Guérin puppet show.

Woman looking at the carousel in the Jardin Public in Bordeaux which is a must see place to put on your Bordeaux itinerary

The Jardin Public combines the famous honey-coloured stone of stately 18th century buildings with a relaxed setting in which a pond is surrounded by centuries-old trees. Framed by lovely townhouses, and including a Natural History Museum, a small botanical garden, and a bar-restaurant (L’Orangerie), the Jardin Public has been classified a Jardin Remarquable de France. It is a gorgeous place for those wanting to relax and step away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Lavender and a carousel in the jardin public in Bordeaux France
Woman in a floral dress at one of the best instagram spots in Bordeaux, jardin public

Cité du Vin

You will definitely need to use your city pass to visit the Cité du Vin, Bordeaux’s very own wine museum. It is the furthest located of all of the best Instagram spots in our Bordeaux itinerary but it is most certainly worth a visit. See I promised you there would be wine!

Aerial view of the cite du vin wine museum in Bordeaux France which must be on your Bordeaux itinerary
Aerial photo taken by Mister Lavin

You can learn all about the history of wine and see how wine is made in the world’s most renowned vineyards all around the world in an immersive exhibition at the Cité du Vin. You can take the tram line C or walk along the river (this will take about 1 hour) to reach the museum, and if you arrive before 12pm you will have free entry with your city pass, otherwise there is an additional charge. The best bit is getting to take the lift to Le Belvédère to choose a free glass of wine and enjoy 360° views of the city.

The exterior of the cite du vin wine museum in Bordeaux France
Aerial view of Cite du Vin one of the many things to see in Bordeaux France
Aerial photograph taken by Mister Lavin

Suggested Bordeaux itinerary, Day 2

Grosse cloche (Big Bell)

The Grosse Cloche is one of the oldest belfries in France. The Latin inscription on the inside of the Grosse Cloche (literally “Big Bell”) reads “I ring the hours and my voice is a call to arms, I sing for happy events and weep for the dead”. The bell was cast in 1775 and weighs no less than 7,750 kilos! Christened “Armande-Louise”, it rings 6 times a year for major celebrations such as Bastille Day, VE Day, and Remembrance Day and also the first Sunday of each month at noon.

Woman in a floral dress walking in front of the Grosse cloche in Bordeaux France

The gateway where the bell is hung also had a defensive purpose and served as a prison. Young people who misbehaved were confined there, shut in by a door 10 cm thick with enormous bolts. This gateway is open for visits. You have to book in advance but a guide can show you the strange dungeons still haunted by the memory of people who did not respect curfew or public order.

Cathédrale Saint-André (Bordeaux Cathedral)

Anyone that knows me knows that even though I am not religious I do love visiting churches in the cities that we visit. My mum died suddenly at my sister’s wedding. She was only 55 and, like me, loved to travel so I always light a candle for her. It is my way of bringing her along on my travels with me. She was a huge support to me when I couldn’t travel because of my Lyme disease and I would love to be exploring the world with her again.

Anyway I have gone off track but this cathedral is beautiful and is well worth a visit. If you are looking for the perfect Instagram spot in Bordeaux head to the Gambetta tram stop for a picture perfect view of the Cathedral.

Woman with her back to the camera looking at Bordeaux cathedral from the Gambetta tram stop

You can also climb the cathedral’s Pey Berland Tower for a bird’s eye view of the city or head to Rue du Loop to check out the thrift shops and capture another viewpoint of the tower.

View of the Pey Berland Tower from Rue Du Loop in Bordeaux France, Day 2 of Bordeaux itinerary

Promenade Sainte Catherine

Promenade Sainte Catherine is a two-tiered shopping plaza just off the main shopping street Rue Saint Catherine. It has cafes, a central courtyard and a vibrant atmosphere and is also home to one of the best Instagram spots in Bordeaux. I am a very visual person and I love hunting down the best Instagram spots in a city. You can find our best Instagram spots in Belfast, Warsaw and New York also on our site.

The best Instagram spots in Bordeaux can be found at Promenade Sainte Catherine

Galerie Bordelaise

Nearby you can dip into 19th century Bordeaux, in this old-world, covered shopping arcade that is considered to be one of the most beautiful shopping passages in France. The gallery is decorated with marble columns and elaborate gilt finishing and is closed at both ends by intricate wrought iron gates. It really feels like stepping back in time here.

Galerie Bordelaise in Bordeaux France should be on your Bordeaux itinerary

Rue des Palanques

You will find another hidden gem and perfect Instagram spot in Bordeaux at the end of the cobbled street Rue des Palanques just across the road from the cathedral. It’s a quiet pedestrian road leading to a small Protestant church at the end of the street. The blue door of the church and the white stone buildings make for a charming backdrop and will look really good on your Instagram feed.

Woman walking in front of a protestant church with a blue door at Rue des Palanques in Bordeaux France
There are hidden gems all over the city

InterContinental Bordeaux le Grand Hôtel

At the end of Rue Saint-Catherine, you’ll find Place de la Comédie, which is home to a couple of impressive buildings, including this 5-star hotel. 

The exterior of the Intercontinental Hotel Bordeaux France

Église Notre-Dame de Bordeaux

Take the first right just after the InterContinental Bordeaux le Grand Hôtel and you will stumble upon the picturesque spot of Église Notre-Dame de Bordeaux. It is the perfect photo opportunity…I just can’t guarantee the mint green Vespa!

The eglise Notre Dame in Bordeaux France

Notre Dame is the most baroque and Romanesque-style church in Bordeaux. The church and Cour Mably (Mably Courtyard) are the only vestiges of a Dominican monastery going back to the 13th century. The chapels feature numerous trompe-l’œil decors as well as a series of 10 religious paintings by Brother André (1662-1735). Dating from the 19th century, the beautiful stained glass windows are attributed to the master Bordeaux glassmakers Villiet and Hutrel. It is a must see on day 2 of your Bordeaux itinerary.

Cute Instagram Spots in Bordeaux

If you haven’t already gathered Bordeaux is full of cute Instagram spots and these places are some of my favourites.

On 4 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges you will find the charming crêperie La Fromentine.

Woman standing outside la fromentine creperie in Bordeaux france with a baguette in her hand

Another Insta-worthy spot is Mama Shelter, a trendy hotel and rooftop bar where you can enjoy a glass of that famous Bordeaux wine with the best views of the city. It is also a place that I recommend to stay in Bordeaux during your time there.

The bar at Mama Shelter a trendy hotel in Bordeaux

After exploring Porte Cailhau go to 20 Place du Palais where you will find a cute little Italian restaurant Chiocchio. The homey decor and ambiance makes visitors feel relaxed here and the food is equally as delicious.

Woman walking in front of a restaurant and fox mural in Bordeaux France

Another great spot to eat in Bordeaux that also doubles up for a cute Instagram photo is Le Michel’s located on 15 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges. I highly recommend this spot for lunch. On a warm summer day you can just sit out on the footpath dining area and people watch while enjoying great food and wine.

Cute French Restaurant in Bordeaux France that is perfect for Instagram

A two day Bordeaux itinerary isn’t a lot of time but it is more than enough to see the best of what Bordeaux has to offer. With limited time to travel, a weekend in Bordeaux can be just the right amount of time to fall in love with The World Capital of Wine. Hopefully I have inspired you to add Bordeaux to your travel bucket list.

Woman lying in a bed of her hotel room in Bordeaux with a view of Gare St Jean train station

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Until next time you crazy kids!

Break the mould. Create the life you love. Travel, lifestyle, design and all about RosaLilla. Read more on www.allaboutrosalilla.com

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Bordeaux the perfect 2 day itinerary with map
The perfect 2 day Bordeaux itinerary
Bordeaux the perfect 2 day itinerary with map
The perfect two day Bordeaux itinerary