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Bordeaux in the Winter | Top 14 Things to Do in 2024

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by April Nicole

A tranquil winter morning on Pont de Pierre with locals commuting by bicycle, overlooking the frost-touched skyline of Bordeaux, capturing the city’s calm elegance in the winter.
Psst! This blog post about Bordeaux in the winter contains affiliate links in it which sends me a bit of extra money if you use them… at no extra cost to you. For more info, see the Disclosure Policy. Merci!
Are you looking for the best things to do in Bordeaux in the winter?

This guide has you covered – keep reading for more!

As someone who cherishes the experience of travel, I’ve always found a special allure in Bordeaux, but it’s the winter season that truly captivates me.

Nestled in the southwest of France, Bordeaux transforms into a quieter, more introspective version of itself during these colder months.

The region, known for its world-renowned vineyards and historical architecture, dons a serene, almost introspective charm in winter.

Here, I’ll take you through the less-trodden paths and the cozy corners of Bordeaux that come alive in winter.

Expect to uncover hidden cafés, local festivities, and scenic vineyards resting under a soft winter light.

If you’re not a fan of the cold, Bordeaux offers an abundance of indoor activities and attractions to keep you occupied for several months.

🍇 Bordeaux in the Winter: Quick Info Box 🍇

Best Time to Visit: Spring (April to June) or Fall (September to November) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

TOP EXPERIENCES & TOURS IN BORDEAUX

BEST HOTELS IN BORDEAUX

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR BORDEAUX, FRANCE

If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of what to do in Bordeaux in winter 2024:

Bordeaux in the Winter Weather

Bordeaux, known for its illustrious wine and rich history, experiences a mild yet distinctive winter season. The chilly but generally temperate climate marks a quieter, serene period in this vibrant city. bordeaux in the winter temperature

  • November: Average high 13°C (55°F), Average low 6°C (43°F) bordeaux in november weather
  • December: Average high 10°C (50°F), Average low 4°C (39°F) bordeaux in december weather
  • January: Average high 10°C (50°F), Average low 3°C (37°F) bordeaux in january weather
  • February: Average high 12°C (54°F), Average low 3°C (37°F) bordeaux february weather
  • March: Average high 15°C (59°F), Average low 5°C (41°F) bordeaux winter weather

Snowfall in Bordeaux is a rare occurrence, adding a layer of enchantment on the rare instances it blankets the city’s historic streets and vineyards. The gentle dusting of snow, when it happens, transforms the landscape into a picturesque winter scene, albeit briefly, as the snow seldom settles for long. bordeaux winter temperatures

Fun Things to Do in Bordeaux in Winter

Enjoy a Christmas Market in Bordeaux in Winter

Visitors gather around a festive Santa Claus photo booth adorned with bright decorations at the Bordeaux Christmas market, showcasing the city's enchanting ambiance in the winter.

Bordeaux has a lot of Christmas events to enjoy throughout the holiday season, making it a great place to be.

Of all of them, the Marché de Noël is undoubtedly the most well-liked.

Every year at the end of November, the Allées de Tourny host the Christmas Market.

This magnificent esplanade in the city center of Bordeaux is situated directly across from the Grand Théâtre, the well-known opera house.

The biggest of the region’s Christmas markets, it draws shoppers from all over southwest France and beyond with its selection of handmade goods, local specialties, and ideas for Christmas gifts.

More than 150 vendors, arranged in traditional wooden chalets along the esplanade, offer their wares to both locals and visitors.

The marché’s atmosphere is especially lovely at night, when the festive fairy lights are turned on, hot mulled wine and gingerbread pastries are served, and the holiday spirit is definitely present.

For dates and times for Bordeaux Christmas market 2024, visit the Bordeaux Tourism website.

Get Warm in One of the City’s Best Cafes

Bordeaux provides a great coffee experience and is home to many charming coffee shops!

Since its opening in 2017, Café Piha has experienced a steady influx of patrons.

In addition to serving delectable food options like avocado toast, pancakes, and other pastries, they are well-known for their strong beer.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to work or a great place to meet friends for a cappuccino in the middle of the city, Café Piha offers the perfect setting.

Books & Coffee is an excellent location to visit as well. This cafe is adept at satisfying the demands of a coffee enthusiast.

Explore the Largest Square in France During the Twice-Yearly Brocante

Shoppers browse through a bustling brocante market on the streets of Bordeaux in the Winter, with the historic spire of Saint-Michel standing tall against a clear sky.

The greatest brocante (flea market) in Bordeaux is the Great Autumn Fair, which takes place in the Place des Quinconces every November and into early December (as well as in the spring).

Due to its size, this city square is among the largest in Europe, providing ample room for rows upon rows of exhibitors’ stands to be explored while looking for unique antiques and other flea market finds.

When you’re at the Fair, stop by one of the many food trucks to grab a delicious local snack, then relax on the steps of the fountain to take in the beauty of the square and your surroundings.

Visit la Cité du Vin, a Renowned Wine Museum

La Cité du Vin is a must see in Bordeaux France, a cutting-edge museum devoted to the history of wine, regardless of the season.

Since its opening in 2016, it has grown to be one of Bordeaux’s most popular tourist destinations.

With a personalized digital tour guide that is available in eight languages, it covers eighteen thematic modules.

It provides an incredibly immersive wine experience that highlights wines from all around the world in addition to local vintages!

The visit, which lasts roughly three hours, includes stops at three tasting areas featuring an amazing multisensory area, kid-friendly educational workshops, and a reading room filled with a wealth of information about the world of wine.

There are three dining areas at La Cité du Vin, one of which is the restaurant with panoramic views on the seventh floor.

Once the tour is over, you’ll have the chance to enjoy views of Bordeaux and the surrounding area from the eighth-floor belvedere.

🍇 Book skip-the-line entry to La Cite du Vin here!

Indulge in Additional Wine Tastings

Spiral staircase at L'Intendant, a renowned wine shop in Bordeaux, with walls adorned with an extensive selection of fine wines, inviting connoisseurs to discover local flavors during the winter season.

A two-day Bordeaux Tasting event is held in December at the magnificent Palais de La Bourse, which was once a royal palace dating back to the 18th century.

Winemakers of the most prestigious Bordeaux wines, known as grands vins, are gathered for this wine tasting event so that amateurs can join in and sample.

You can purchase tickets online or by calling the tourism office.

Another option is to take the Urban Wine Trail, which offers an app that allows you to download a list of 20 of the greatest wine bars in the city.

Follow the route shown on the map, visiting as many or as few of the cozy little bars as you like, and savoring delicious local cuisine paired with excellent wines.

Or Visit a Few of the Wineries That Aren’t in Bordeaux

A picturesque view of the golden vineyards of Saint-Émilion under a clear winter sky, embodying the serene beauty of Bordeaux in the Winter.

You can go on a guided wine tasting tour if you want to see the local vineyards or if you can’t make it during the Bordeaux Tasting event!

Winter is the best time to visit Bordeaux vineyards in my humble opinion.

If you want to compare your options and get down to the details, I’ve put together a list of the top 12 Bordeaux wine tours here.

To keep things simple, though, I enjoy this full-day tour of Bordeaux’s most well-known (and delicious) wine appellations, Médoc and St. Émilion.

Explore Bordeaux’s Ice Skating

Go ice skating to embrace the Christmas spirit on chilly winter’s days. Take a frozen adventure at one of the best ice skating rinks in the region.

The Patinoire de Mériadeck sports complex was established in 1981.

The facility hosts ice games, concerts, and exhibitions and lets guests skate on Olympic-sized tracks.

With a seating capacity of between 4800 and 7250, the Mériadeck rink is the biggest in the city.

The tram serves the complex, which is situated in the downtown area. It provides opportunities that are specifically tailored for both young and old, under the “family plus” label.

It’s critical to make reservations in advance to beat the line and ensure you have all the information you need regarding skating, performances, and concerts.

There’s information in English, French, and Spanish on this website. Wheelchairs are welcome at the rink.

Stay Warm in the Art Museums and Galleries of the City

In the heart of Bordeaux, the art scene flourishes with a diverse array of museums, among which the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux stands out.

This esteemed museum, nestled near the Hôtel de Ville, is a treasure trove of European art, spanning from the Renaissance era to the 20th century.

Its extensive collection of paintings and sculptures offers a journey through the history of art, while the tranquil gardens surrounding the museum provide a peaceful retreat for contemplation and relaxation.

Not far from there is the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, housed in a magnificent 18th-century mansion.

This museum is dedicated to the decorative arts and design, showcasing a variety of objects including furniture, ceramics, and glasswork.

The collections here give a glimpse into the artistic heritage and craftsmanship of Bordeaux.

The museum also engages visitors with temporary exhibitions and interactive workshops, making it a dynamic destination for art enthusiasts.

⭐️Tip: For those who wish to visit several museums, the Bordeaux Metropole City Pass is a great deal! It includes a guided walking tour of Bordeaux, all public transportation, and fifteen museums (including La Cité du Vin).

👉 Purchase a Metropole City Pass right here!

Savor at One of Bordeaux’s Finest Restaurants

Bordeaux in the winter

One of France’s greatest dining scenes is found in Bordeaux. Let’s look at a few of the best choices in the city!

Symbiose is a cocktail bar and restaurant that captivates with its charming terrace, stone walls, and wooden beams.

A menu featuring traditional fare and house speciality drinks will be presented to you, along with dishes prepared using ingredients gathered from Symbiose’s on-site garden.

Le 7, which is located on the seventh floor of the Cité du Vin, features large windows that provide breathtaking views of the Garonne River and the city.

Highlights of the menu like the smoked mozzarella, truffle and pistachio mortadella, and a selection of French wines from the restaurant’s cave inventory will astound you.

Enjoy a Breathtaking River Cruise

Bordeaux has the River Garonne, just as Paris has the Seine, which Parisian life revolves around.

A river cruise on a vintage yacht is among the greatest ways to take in this river’s beauty.

It’s still a great thing to do in Bordeaux during the winter, don’t worry, because the inside is heated.

Take pleasure in a sumptuous hour-and-a-half cruise through the center of Bordeaux while sipping a hot beverage or a glass of wine and a canelé, a beloved dessert in the area.

🛳️This winter cruise leaves at 3 PM and returns at 4:30 PM, so you can take advantage of the late afternoon light (the sun sets in Bordeaux around 5:30 PM!).

Explore the Squares and Streets of the Medieval Old Town

Bordeaux in the winter

Wandering around Bordeaux’s medieval neighborhoods and getting lost in their maze of streets and squares is one of the most enjoyable things to do.

The best way to explore this walkable city is to take your time and explore it at your own pace.

Place de la Bourse, the city’s magnificent riverfront square, is to the left of the old town, which is mostly located inland from the Garonne River.

Make your way through the most beautiful locations, such as Place du Parlement, Place St Pierre, Place Camille Jullian, Place du Palais, and Place Fernand Lafargue, with brief stops to take in the views of the Porte Cailhau and Grosse Cloche, two examples of the medieval city gates.

Then make your way back via the numerous rues that radiate from Place Pey Berland, the main cathedral square.

Take a Day Trip From Bordeaux

The serene Arcachon beach near Bordeaux in the Winter, with its sandy shores lightly populated by beachgoers, framed by green pines against a backdrop of calm blue waters and moored boats.

Bordeaux’s Christmas celebrations also extend to the surrounding areas, many of which are reachable by train from Bordeaux.

Yes, it is true that Bordeaux is merely a short distance from the Atlantic Ocean.

Seasonally or otherwise, many Bordelais (the Bordeaux locals) make their weekend getaway to the posh seaside resort of Arcachon, which is just under an hour’s journey by train.

This charming little town, which is situated on the southern shore of Arcachon Bay, also celebrates Christmas in style.

Christmas market, live music, Christmas tourist train, and much more are all part of the full month-long celebrations that take place in December.

The arrival of Santa Claus by boat into town from across the bay is the most unique aspect.

A group of swimmers brave the winter waves to greet him (yikes!) and he’s then fervently carried ashore for a joyous promenade en ville.

Check out the Arcachon town website for their annual festive program for a taste of Christmas by the sea, where you can enjoy the fresh air and salty smell of the Atlantic.

Discover the majestic Dune of Pyla and savor fresh oysters at a local market with this exclusive Private Morning Trip to the Dune of Pyla – an experience that blends breathtaking scenery with culinary delight.

Enjoy the Last Days of Winter in True Carnival Fashion

The Carnaval des Deux Rives, held annually in Bordeaux, is a vibrant celebration that lights up the city with color and creativity.

This unique event, typically taking place in late February or early March, symbolizes the unity between the two sides of the Garonne River, hence its name which translates to ‘Carnival of Two Banks.’

This carnival stands out for its lively street parades, featuring an array of artistic performances, elaborate costumes, and lively music that reflects the diverse cultural tapestry of Bordeaux.

The atmosphere is electric, with both locals and visitors joining in the festivities.

One of the highlights is the grand parade, where imaginative floats created by local artists and communities make their way through the city streets.

For the best experience, find a spot along the parade route early, as it tends to get crowded.

Getting Around Bordeaux: Transportation Options

Bordeaux offers efficient and convenient public transportation options, making it easy for travelers to navigate the city. Here are some key points about the bus and tramway services:

  • Bordeaux Tramway System:
    • Comprises three lines (A, B, and C) covering major areas of the city.
    • Line C is particularly useful for tourists, connecting the Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station with popular destinations like Place des Quinconces and the exhibition center.
    • Trams run frequently, usually every 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Tickets can be purchased at tram stops and must be validated inside the tram.
  • Bordeaux Bus Service:
    • Complements the tramway, serving areas not covered by trams.
    • Line 1+ provides a direct link from Bordeaux Airport to the train station and city center.
    • Bus schedules vary, with less frequent service in the evenings and on Sundays.
    • Tickets are interchangeable with the tram system and can be purchased from the driver or at tram stops.
  • General Tips:
    • Consider purchasing a Bordeaux CityPass for unlimited travel on trams and buses, plus free or discounted entry to various attractions.
    • Night buses, known as “lianes de nuit,” provide service on main routes after regular service hours.
    • For up-to-date schedules and routes, check the official Bordeaux public transportation website or use a transportation app.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux This Winter

Bordeaux offers a variety of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs, whether you’re on a budget, seeking something mid-range, or indulging in luxury. Here are my top picks for each category:

⭐️ Read my hotel review of InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel

If, like me, you would prefer to spend your money on experiences and adventures rather than travel, be sure to check out the more reasonably priced lodging options in areas like Bordeaux Lac district or Bastide, which is located across the Garonne River. Below, I’ve included a few fantastic but slightly more distant options:

Final Thoughts About Bordeaux in the Winter

Winter in Bordeaux offers a unique and enchanting experience.

As you discover Bordeaux during this serene season, you’ll be mesmerized by its majestic vineyards resting under a soft blanket of frost, and the city’s historical architecture, illuminated by festive lights, creating a magical ambiance.

The cooler months invite you to indulge in the region’s renowned wines and local cuisine, providing warmth and comfort.

Winter events, from Christmas markets to wine festivals, add to the charm, making Bordeaux a winter wonderland worth exploring.

Did I miss any of the best things to do in Bordeaux in the winter? How would you spend winter in Bordeaux?

Let me know in the comments below!

France Travel Planning 🇫🇷

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These are only a few of my favorites; for more, see my comprehensive guide to the top travel booking websites for France.

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