I was delighted to read that Lonely Planet have declared Bordeaux as the Number 1 city to visit in their Best in Travel 2017 guide. We love Bordeaux and couldn’t agree more with their verdict.
Mr DaisLikeThese spent a year in Bordeaux on a university placement and so for him it holds a special place in his heart. And I don’t blame him! Apart from Paris, Bordeaux has more preserved historical buildings than any other French city, it is a real treat to glance upwards when walking along the streets and alleyways to be greeted with some of the most beautiful and ornate buildings. That along with a big regeneration of the river frontage over the last say 20 years means that Bordeaux is a truly wonderful classic French city.
We have visited many times over the years with the kids and they always have a wonderful time, so I have compiled a selection of some of our favourite things to do:
Splash and Play in the Water Mirror Fountain (opposite Place de la Bourse)
When our kids think of Bordeaux, they instantly think of this fountain. They have literally spent hours splashing, playing and having so much fun here!
This vast, interactive, landscape artist designed, ‘fountain’ was part of the river frontage regeneration and is the worlds largest reflective pool. It alternates between the water creating a mirror effect (when water is released to create a pool 2cm deep), and a water mist being emitted all across the fountain. Who would have though that two very simple functions could create such excitement and entertainment?!
Many kids happily strip to their underwear to enjoy the fountain, but if you’re more prepared – pack a pair of trucks or a costume for the little ones.
Take a walk in the Botanical Gardens
These botanical gardens are a little haven away from the busy shopping streets of Bordeaux. Unlike in some other cities, the gardens are public and there is no entry fee.
After a stroll around the beautiful gardens, we always head straight for the kids playground and let the children run and play. It is lovely to sit and watch and interact with local families.
There is also a small traditional carousel within the playground, which leads on nicely to one of our other favourite things to do…
Take a Ride on a Traditional Carousel
I may have mentioned in other posts, but my kids LOVE a carousel! If we’re visiting a French town or city, they will seek one out. Luckily for them, in Bordeaux we found two!
Our favourite is the smaller traditional carousel in the playground of the botanical gardens. There are benches for the parents to sit and watch and the kids can run back to the playground afterwards.
There is also a spectacular double decker traditional carousel on the Place de la Comedie which is well worth checking out.
Ride the Tram
Tram tracks weave in and out of the streets of Bordeaux and, as I have mentioned in previous posts, my boys love a ride on the tram! I guess it is a novelty as we don’t have any near us at home. Generally we don’t actually need to go anywhere, but we always squeeze in a small tram ride to keep them happy, and it is also a nice way to see the city.
Have Lunch on a Beautiful Square
If the weather is playing ball, it is a real treat to have lunch outside a restaurant over looking a pretty, traditional, French square. There are so many to choose from! But we always head to Place du Parlement, a stones throw from the water mirror fountain. When the kids have finished eating, we let them play around the fountain while we enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Visit a Bordeaux Wine Château
Wine tasting might not seem like a very child friendly activity, but more and more vineyards are catering for the family market with activities to keep kids entertained whilst parents wine taste.
There are many to chose from but we loved Château D’Agassac, which is 15minutes by car from bordeaux. The setting is like something out of a fairytale, with the 13th Century château surrounded by rolling vines and sunflower fields.
The tour here gets all “vin-teractif” with iPad tours for kids where they have to rescue a princess from the towers of the virtual castle. The tasting takes place in the beautifully restored pigeonry, while the kids run and play on the lawns outside. Perfect!
Stay in a Château
If you want to escape the hustle of the town of Bordeaux, and take in the wonderful surrounding countryside full of vineyard after vineyard, then staying in a château is a real treat.
Many offer accommodation on a B&B, hotel or chambre d’hôtes basis. We stayed at Château Richelieu in Fronsac, which is a chambre d’hôtes offering a selection of rooms, swimming pool and an evening meal (cooked by the host) in the grand dining room. The grounds are perfect for an evening stroll. Although not openly advertised as having family rooms, we were welcomed in one of their larger rooms.
Have you visited Bordeaux with kids? What have I missed? I’d love to hear from you!