With nearby vineyards, wine châteaux, chic restaurants and impressive historical architecture, it’s easy to think that Bordeaux should be reserved for a grown-ups only trip, but having visited with kids many times I can assure you that this is not the case! Read on for some great ideas for a weekend in Bordeaux with kids.
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.
With high speed TGV trains from Paris, flights into it’s international airport, or even the possibility to drive from the UK, Bordeaux is a super accessible city to visit as a family.
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!
If you’re interested in visiting other French cities with kids then definitely check out my post on Reims with Kids, and head over to We Blog Travel for tips on visiting Marseille, or Globetotting for ideas of things to see and do in Paris with kids.
Some great tips here, we have family in Provence so will definitely try and visit Bordeaux when we are next in France. Love the idea of Splash and Play in the Water Mirror Fountain. My boys would love it there too!
How amazing that Bordeaux is the number one travel destination. It’s great that your kids got to see it too. I love the idea of visiting a wine Château.
I don’t really know much about Bordeaux besides the wine region but it looks like a really fun and laid back place to visit! I love that you did a wine tasting with the kids!
Iwent to Bordeaux a couple of years ago for my birthday and it was a different experience lots of wine and a wine tour. I always enjoy reading stories of others going to the same spot and having a different experience. I love Château Richelieu the place you stayed at it looks so beautiful and I would be keen to stay there next time.
I love that spot for wine tasting! It looks super cool and I love that the kids were busy playing while you got to drink! That mirror pool is just beautiful
I adore France, and Bordeaux looks lovely for wine tasting and architecture. That Chateau looks fabulous!
Looks like a great place to visit with kids, they looks like they had so much fun. We have a fountain in Bristol which kids love paying in but sometimes party reveller but bubble bath in it and theres a mass of bubbles running through the city lol
Aww looks like you had a fab time! I have visited Paris but never Bordeaux! Would love to visit though, it is great you could explore it with the kids!
Looks like a wonderful place to visit with children. I love the photos of the grapes and castles. Minus the kids and this is my kind of trip!
Ah Bordeaux is on my bucket-list! Looks amazing!
It’s great! with kids or without!
I hope you make it one day soon.
Thanks for reading. x
I want to go! I have that fab little book from Lonely Planet too and I was intrigued to know more about Bordeaux and what it was like for families so I couldn’t have read this at a better time. No wonder you keep returning! #MondayEscapes
Oh do go if you get the chance! There are lots of fab places to stay within an easy drive of Bordeaux too if you didn’t want a full on city break. Thanks for reading. x
I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Bordeaux and your posts confirms them too:) #citytripping
I can imagine my daughter wanting to spend the whole time in the fountain – I keep reading about Bordeaux and it always sounds so tempting as an adult so even better to know how much there is to do with kids. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
It is definitely a city where you you can have an amazing time with or without kids. We all love it and seem to end up back there again and again! Thanks for reading. x
What a cute family trip! Loving the look of cooling down in that Mirror fountain! #CityTripping
Yep, it is such a fun place to cool down! Thanks for reading. x
How I would love to stay in a chateau and go wine tasting! I agree – more and more wineries are becoming more kid-friendly. We’ve visited some in Italy and the kids are now used to it. We’ve talked about visiting Bordeux so will be saving this post, thanks! #citytripping
Ooh, I’d love to go wine tasting in Italy too. In fact there are lots of places i’d like to go wine tasting!! I hope yo make it to Bordeaux one day soon. Thanks for reading. x
So many good ideas for a visit to the city! I have been to Basque Country and was very close from Bordeaux. So sad we were short on time. Like the architecture and the chateau.
I agree completely with you about Bordeux. It’s such a lovely city, especially in summer, and so walkable with kids. Once they are older they also might enjoy the opera and the markets. Plus there are the grown-up refreshments (cough) of wine and strong cheese… 🙂 #citytripping
I went to Bordeaux when I was four – I can still remember it now, so it must have made an impression! I really want to take my own children, and it sounds as though the place is lots of fun. Those fountains look just the thing, on a hot day!
It really is lots of fun – for old and young alike! I hope yo make it one day. Thanks so much for reading. x
Family-friendly wine tasting! What a find. We love Bordeaux too, and with these new tips we’ll look forward to another visit soon. #citytripping