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©Steve Le Clech Photos
© ©Steve Le Clech Photos

What to do during the Christmas holidays in Bordeaux

Now that you’ll soon be able to count on one hand the number of sleeps before you open your presents, it’s time to look at what you’ll be doing during the festive season this year. Bordeaux is all dressed up and ready to go, wearing her Christmas jumper, and she’s got plenty in store for you. There’s so much to see, eat and do!

Take a tour of Bordeaux this Christmas

This year, why not take a different kind of tour around Bordeaux? Feast your eyes on statues of angels, archangels, seraphs and some of the city’s most beautiful nativity scenes in the city’s churches. Or, if you fancy trying something different from a walking tour, why not take a trip on Le Sicambre, the elegant boat that you’ve seen sailing by on the Garonne. It’s an opportunity to see the city from a different perspective and admire the lights that run along the shore. It’s magical!

It’s also the time of year when it makes sense to pair wine with chocolate. Not far from Bordeaux, we’re taking you out to a wine and chocolate workshop at Château Larrivet Haut Brion. Then, it wouldn’t be Christmas without caviar, so what better time to learn about its history and its production before having a little taste? You’re spoilt for choice: try a champagne and caviar tasting in Bordeaux or a tour followed by a wine and caviar tasting, also at Château Larrivet Haut-Brion in Léognan.

Bordeaux croisière Noël
©Steve Le Clech Photos

What about a look around the Christmas Markets in Bordeaux?

The elves are back at work at the Christmas Markets. Take a look at their wares as you look up and down the rows of colourful stands. While the largest is at Allées de Tourny, with a ride and 150 wooden chalets, it is not the only place where you’ll smell mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

On the right bank, the Darwin Xmas Market is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. As usual, you can find socially and environmentally-conscious artisans there, but new this year is the organic chocolate stand, where they both make and sell chocolate! There’s also the floating Christmas market onboard the Iboat, the city’s most emblematic ship.

vacances de Noël à Bordeaux

Family Christmas Holidays: challenge yourselves!

Somewhere between an escape game and a guided tour, Les Secrets de la Belle Endormie (“The Secrets of Bordeaux”) takes you on a captivating journey, in the heart of the city. Whether you work as a team or take on other teams, your goal is to solve puzzles as quickly as possible using clues that you find in the street and on monuments. It’s a fun and cultural experience furnished with unusual, unexpected anecdotes about Bordeaux. You won’t even notice the time passing. Ready? Get set… go!

Place de la Comédie Bordeaux
Steve Le Clech Photos

Christmas shows in Bordeaux

  • Legendary Lights: Head to the Parc Bordelais where you’ll enter a fabulous world of illuminated flora and fauna, fairy-like sculptures, tableaus and decorations that pay homage to this ancestral art form from China.
  • Close by, a large Christmas circus is bringing international stars from the circus world to its tent in Le Bouscat. Illusions and dreams, award-winning trapeze artists, clowns and acrobats from the greatest circus festivals in the world and stars from the best cabarets on the planet, giving us the best present we could ask for.
  • Concert at L’Opéra: A not-to-be-missed event in the Christmas period is this ‘Classic Christmas Radio’ concert, switching from waltz to swing, travelling between Paris and the United States, thanks to a repertoire that has been reinvented by the pianist Jacky Terrasson and the conductor Bastien Stil. The show features interesting commentary from Jean-Michel Dhuez.
  • Candlelight at Palais de la Bourse: (not so) Silent Night, Holy Night… Do you fancy listening to some Christmas classics under candle light? If the response is yes, head to one of the most beautiful settings in Bordeaux, Palais de la Bourse. After having popped up in several cities such as Los Angeles and Madrid, musical concerts under candle light are back in Bordeaux, this time with their Santa hat on, celebrating the season in a special way.
  • Christmas will also be an opportunity to enjoy the exceptional Harry Potter cine-concert on 27th December.
Candlelight bordeaux
Candlelight Place de la Bourse à Bordeaux

Treat yourself this Christmas in Bordeaux!

  • Spa at L’Hôtel de la Zoologie
    A veritable curiosity shop, this hotel has been created in the former Bordeaux Zoology Institute. Tucked into the garden, an exotic spa takes you on a journey far away: no need for a ticket. This 300m² sanctuary contains a jacuzzi, a sauna, a steam room, an experiential shower, a relaxation space and rooms where guests receive high-quality care: exactly what’s needed at the end of the year.
  • Calicéo Bruges
    There’s nothing better to help you unwind between celebrations than bubble jets, waterfalls and jacuzzis. For a real fairytale this Christmas, make the most of the ‘Ocean of Lights’ night sessions during which hundreds of candles illuminate the pools. 
  • Naturaflo
    Visit Bordeaux and its surroundings or give your body some TLC? Let the team at the boat Naturaflo resolve this dilemma for you. Onboard a barge moored at Quai Deschamps, enjoy the jacuzzi, a yoga session, a reflexology session or a massage: relax and treat your tastebuds at the same time. Better than we could have imagined.
Caliceo Bordeaux
Calicéo Bordeaux

Tasty treats not to be missed during your stay in Bordeaux 

    First let’s go to the first place in France where they both make and sell organic chocolate, from bean to bar. Set up in Darwin’s Magasin Général, the chocolate factory and shop Origines makes its own organic chocolate, mixing laboratory, boutique and a chocolate bar (pun intended), where tasty treats are made under your very eyes. There are even whispers of a chocolate fountain where you can dip marshmallows, plus workshops where you can learn about cocoa beans and how chocolate is made. Keep tabs on their Instagram account for the opening date.

    While touring the city, stop off by some of the city’s chocolate makers, for example at the local chocolatier Cadiot Badie, or at the talented pâtissier Pierre Matthieu’s shop. A stop at the ice cream counter La Maison du Glacier will delight adults and children alike, not forgetting the institution that is La Maison Seguin: visit and try out their famous wares. For 5 generations this traditional business has delighted the taste buds of locals with the crunchy and soft texture of their unbeatable Puits d’Amour;
  • In France, the Christmas log, la bûche, is an ever-present every year. Esquimau XXL surprise us annually with their amazing creativity, and this year is no exception. Jérémie Runel and his team, the first to have elevated ice cream to a gastronomic level, proposing  a Christmas log… in the form of an XXL iced bar.
  • To discover some Basque specialties, we would definitely make a detour to go to La Maison Pariès, where you can taste some wonderful “mouchous” and macaroons, to say nothing of the definitive Gâteau Basque.
vacances de Noël à Bordeaux
© Maison Pariès

After a sweet treat, it’s time to turn your attention to gifts, so here is our list of places where you can shop for 100% local products.

La magie de Noël continue...