Here are money-saving tips in Bordeaux and how you can make the most of your time in Bordeaux with a small budget. This charming and welcoming city is a delight to discover with its pedestrianised streets, cycle paths and tram routes. At no cost, you can stroll through the streets of Bordeaux and discover the city's UNESCO world heritage sites and or visit Bordeaux's many museums at a reduced price.

    Wander along the quayside, take a walk in the Jardin Public gardens, sample some good wine that won't break the bank and buy a few bargain items from the market for a taste of Bordeaux life. In summer, head over to the lakeside beach to cool off. To round off the day, join the fun at the Place de la Victoire.

    1

    Grosse Cloche

    The Big Bell of Bordeaux

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Grosse Cloche or The Big Bell of Bordeaux hangs from 2 round towers connected by a central building on Rue Saint-James. Both towers top the Porte Saint-Éloy which is one of the defensive gates that marked the entrance to old Bordeaux, found between Cours Victor-Hugo and Rue Saint-James. In the past, this bell was of paramount importance to the lives of the people of Bordeaux, since it was used to announce the beginning of the harvest and to alert the population if there was a fire.

    Today, it is one of the Bordeaux’s icons and appears on the coat of arms of the Gironde capital. To hear it ring, you'll have to be there at noon on the first Sunday of the month. As it weighs almost 8 tonnes, there's a significant risk that the vibrations of the bell ringing will crack the building, which is why it now chimes only once a month.

    Location: 45 Rue Saint-James, 33000 Bordeaux, France

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    2

    Banks of the Garonne

    Take a Sunday riverside walk in Bordeaux

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Shoppers
    • Photo

    Bordeaux was built on the banks of the Garonne and a stroll along the river banks promises you pleasant views of the city. Go for a peaceful stroll, crossing from one bank to the other via the stone bridge or the Jacques Chaban-Delmas vertical-lift bridge. On the left bank, admire the beautiful 18th-century facades. On the right bank, enjoy the wilder aspect of the riverbank with the beautiful vegetation of the Botanic Gardens.

    This is the Sunday stroll many Bordeaux residents take – you can walk, cycle or rollerblade with your family, and go shopping at the Quai des Marques with its 30-or-so boutiques featuring ready-to-wear fashion items. Time for a little break? The terraces of the cafés and restaurants await you. Younger children can take a ride on the merry-go-round and the older ones can let off steam at the skate-park or the Saint-Michel sports park.

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    3

    Jardin Public

    A garden in the heart of Bordeaux

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Couples

    Jardin Public or the Public Garden of Bordeaux offers a pleasant break in a green space covering 10 hectares in the heart of the city. The main entrance is located on the Cours de Verdun, behind the "CAPC", the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux. As you enter, admire the photos that are displayed on the wrought iron gates between April and November.

    Classified as an "Outstanding Garden", this well-maintained park is perfect for relaxing after a day in the town. With its hundred-year-old trees, lake, wrought-iron bridges, statues and its old carousel, you have the opportunity to get lost in thought. It's the ideal setting for a romantic stroll. If you have children, it's also a fun outing. The vast lawns and playgrounds will allow them to let off steam in the fresh air.

    Location: Jardin Public, Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux, France

    Open: Hours vary by season

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    4

    Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Centre

    Bordeaux from yesterday to today

    • Budget
    • History

    Bordeaux's Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Centre, CIAP, also known as Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial, is a mine of information about the city, its history and events. Located in a beautiful, typically Bordeaux-style building on the emblematic Place de la Bourse, the centre was created following the inclusion of the Gironde capital in UNESCO's World Heritage List. 

    If you live in Bordeaux or its surrounding area and want to know more about the city's past and its future, this is the place to be. If you are in Bordeaux for the first time, it is a good idea to start there first to better appreciate the different monuments and historical buildings of Bordeaux. Admission is free and you will find archive documents, maps and models, as well as interactive exhibitions to discover or rediscover Bordeaux in a new way.

    Location: 4 place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6.30 pm, Sundays from 9.30 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm

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    5

    Place de la Victoire

    Live music and the meeting point for Bordeaux's youth

    • Food
    • Budget
    • Nightlife

    Place de la Victoire is an unmissable place to go out in the evening and enjoy a Bordeaux nightlife scene. Located at the crossroads of several major thoroughfares, including the Sainte-Catherine shopping street, the cours Aristide-Briand, the cours de l'Argonne, the cours de la Somme and the cours de la Marne, this square is characterised by its obelisk and an imposing ancient gate, the Porte d'Aquitaine.

    Served by tram line B and several bus stops, it's a place for students to get together. Numerous events take place there throughout the year, especially in the evenings, with musicians who come to perform on the terraces of the many bars and restaurants. A lively atmosphere is guaranteed during the music festival and on football match nights.

    Location: 4 place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France

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    6

    Marché des Capucins

    Get to know the Bordeaux region at this colourful market

    • Food
    • Budget
    • Shoppers

    Marché des Capucins is the largest food and flower market in Bordeaux. This huge covered market is often referred to as “the belly of Bordeaux", where the local population come to meet market gardeners, poultry farmers, butchers, oyster farmers and local wine merchants. Affectionately known as the "Capu" by the people of Bordeaux, this place has a life of its own, where you can fill your basket with good local produce, have a coffee or taste some oysters.

    Located on the Place des Capucins, between the Place de la Victoire and the Sainte-Croix church, Marché des Capucins a 10-minute walk from Saint-Jean train station or several bus routes serve this very famous historic market. If you come by car, park in the car park on the upper level.

    Location: Place des Capucins, 33800 Bordeaux, France

    Open: Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday–Sunday from 6 am to 2 pm (closed on Mondays)

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    7

    Plage de Bordeaux Lac

    A refreshing break a few tram stops from the centre of town

    • Families
    • Budget

    Bordeaux-Lac offers that holiday feeling with its pleasant sandy beach and water sports. Located in Bruges, north of Bordeaux, on Boulevard Chaban-Delmas on the left bank of the Garonne, Lake Beach (Plage de Bordeaux Lac) is a place of relaxation and leisure only 15 minutes via tram line C from Bordeaux's very centre.

    In the summer, picnic in the shade of the pine trees and splash around in the supervised bathing areas. This space allows the inhabitants to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy summer pleasures without wasting time driving. In addition to lazing around and beach games, many free activities are available in the summer: mini-golf, climbing wall and table tennis, enough to have a nice day without spending anything.

    Location: Boulevard Jacques Chaban-Delmas, 33520 Bruges, France

    Open: Daily from noon to 8 pm

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    8

    Visit Bordeaux museums for free

    Check them out on the 1st Sunday of the month

    • Budget
    • History

    Several museums in Bordeaux offer free admission every 1st Sunday of the month. If you’re an art lover, you'll appreciate the collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, locally known as Centre d'arts plastiques contemporains or "CAPC" for short. Closer to the centre, visit the Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts as well as the MADD, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design.

    Within the same neighbourhood, the Centre Jean Moulin is dedicated to the Second World War. To discover these collections and other municipal museums at reduced prices throughout the year, you can buy a "Pass Musées Bordeaux" at the ticket office that allows you to enjoy unlimited and completely free access for a year.

    9

    Maison du Vin de Bordeaux

    Deepen your knowledge at Bordeaux's 'House of Wine'

    • Food
    • Budget

    Maison du Vin de Bordeaux is not to be missed on your visit to Bordeaux, where you can learn a lot about Bordeaux's grape varieties and grand crus. This wine centre is great for either beginners or the most enlightened wine enthusiast. Come and have a drink at the wine bar, which offers excellent vintages at affordable prices. You'll be advised and guided according to your tastes.

    If you want to deepen your experience and knowledge, sign up for a course at the Wine School: from discovery sessions starting at around thirty euros to workshops reserved for connoisseurs. You'll be spoilt for choice to find something that suits you depending on the time and budget you have available. In the summer, small starter sessions at even lower prices are regularly available. Find the wine house in a magnificent 18th-century building not far from the Place des Quinconces.

    Location: 1-3 Cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux, France

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm (closed on Sundays)

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    10

    Orchestre d'harmonie de Bordeaux

    Enjoy free symphonic concerts in Bordeaux

    • Budget
    • Unusual

    The Orchestre d'harmonie de Bordeaux is an initiative that aims to bring musical works to as many people as possible. Free concerts are performed at various events throughout the year like European Heritage Days, the Fête de la Musique and the commemoration ceremonies on 11 November and 18 June.

    It offers open-air events at the Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux or various theatres, notably at the Théâtre Femina behind the Place du Parlement. Featuring 50 or so musicians, the concerts present symphonies, opera arias, film music, and musicals to the delight of a varied audience. Without prior booking, you can arrive early for indoor concerts to get a free ticket to attend the orchestras.

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