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Nicoals Duffaure
© Nicoals Duffaure

What to do during the Christmas holidays in Bordeaux

With the Christmas holidays fast-approaching, how about getting into the festive spirit for a weekend, on an outing or a shopping trip in Bordeaux? There are surprises galore in store for you to enjoy with family, friends or your partner, including thematic visits, illuminations, shows, and concerts, as well as shops for stocking up on treats and restaurants for savouring good food. You’ll see, Christmas is a truly magical and unforgettable time of year to experience Bordeaux, with the dazzling Port of the Moon and the heavenly aromas of mulled wine and grilled chestnuts wafting through our streets.

Sightseeing ideas during the Christmas holidays in Bordeaux

Experience the magic of Christmas in Bordeaux this year! Immerse yourself in the sumptuous decor of some of Bordeaux's most beautiful monuments, and try your hand at some unusual and gourmet activities

Undoubtedly one of Bordeaux's most spectacular monuments, the Grand-Théâtre, designed at the end of the 18th century by architect Victor Louis, is one of the few to retain an auditorium built entirely of wood. Come and discover its façade, vestibule, grand staircase and auditorium, all visible from a glassed-in dressing room. 

And when you think of Christmas, you think of treats! Immerse yourself in the history of Bordeaux's architectural jewels, while sampling delicious local specialities. And what better way to admire Bordeaux's beautiful façades from the river? Come aboard the Sicambre for a lunch cruise, cruise the Port de la lune aboard the Yacht de Bordeaux or take a guided cruise aboard the Burdigala.

Bordeaux croisière Noël
©Steve Le Clech Photos

Decorations and illuminations

Once again this year, the city of Bordeaux has come up with sets that transform the city into a veritable open-air stage, inviting young and old alike to marvel at the lights as soon as night falls. From December 8 to January 7, the city's streets will be illuminated by magnificent backdrops inspired by theatrical chandeliers. Particular attention has been paid to the environmental impact of the lighting, notably through the use of 100% low-consumption LEDs and programming modules. The illuminations will be switched off between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Two highlights are planned for the inauguration of Bordeaux's Christmas festivities on Friday, December 8, 2023: a concert by the Opéra National de Bordeaux choir on Place de la Comédie, followed by the illumination of the 11-metre-high glass and steel Christmas tree, created by designer Arnaud Lapierre, on Place Pey-Berland.

Glass Christmas Tree
Glass Christmas Tree  

What about popping into Bordeaux’ Christmas markets?

The elves are back in action at the Christmas markets. We'll be strolling through a maze of colorful stalls. While the most central is of course the Allées de Tourny (from Friday November 24 to Monday December 27, 2023) with its merry-go-round and 150 wooden chalets, it's not the only place to smell the mulled wine and chestnuts!

If you're in the mood for local creativity and originality, don't miss these unusual Christmas markets! While the IBOAT / Blonde Venus Christmas supermarket (2 and 3/12) and Darwin's X-mas market (8 to 15/12) need no introduction, a number of initiatives on either side of the Garonne are well worth a visit. Fill your tote bag with works of art, original prints and pretty cards at POLA's big Christmas superstore on December 9 and 10. On the same days and just a stone's throw away, head for ChiffoneRit: recycling and young artisans on the program! If you're looking for "handmade gifts from the heart, accessible to all budgets", thanks to Garage Moderne, you'll find it at Cité Bleue! (16 and 17/12) And right next door, the Vivres de l'Art Green Market (17/12) promises a 100% ethical, 100% plant-based Christmas!

Le marché de Noël de Darwin

Bordeaux’ Christmas shows

  • Le Grand Cirque Gruss from December 22 to January 28: with its extravagant theme, this year's edition will be packed with international stars who will dazzle us under the big top at Place des Quinconces. Between illusions and dreams, trapeze artists, clowns and acrobats will present us with their finest acts.
  • The Opéra National de Bordeaux: the symphony concert will take us on a journey from December 14 to 17 at the auditorium. And since Christmas is also the perfect time to immerse yourself in the magic of a ballet, the Opéra will be reviving the famous romantic ballet Giselle from December 6 to 31. Designed by Matali Crasset, one of the most singular figures in contemporary design, Giselle promises a great moment of beauty between tradition and modernity. 
  • The Akéa Aréna will be staging several magical Christmas concerts/shows for the whole family: The Nutcracker, a fairytale ballet in two acts on December 16, followed by the Harry Potter Ciné Concert on December 29, and Disney on Ice from January 5 to 7, enchanting fans of Vaiana, Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa.

Vacances de Noël à Bordeaux

Festive treats to get your teeth into during your stay in Bordeaux 

Bordeaux's chocolatiers are bursting with talent and creativity! Origines, France's first visitable organic chocolate factory, has taken up residence in Darwin and immerses you in a magical Christmas atmosphere. Between visits or shopping sprees, push open the doors of historic Bordeaux houses such as Cadiot Badie, Saunion and Darricau. Creativity and expertise are the watchwords of the younger houses: the Ganache chocolate factory in a restaurant on rue Saint-Rémi, Thierry Lalère's two workshops (rue Fondaudège and rue Bouffard) and the Hasnaâ chocolate factory, with two stores on rue Fondaudège and rue de la Vieille Tour.

And don't forget to make a detour to the home of talented pastry chef Pierre Matthieu, not forgetting Maison Seguin for a taste of their chocolate Puits d'Amour. And if you're tempted, you can sample the specialties of the new Mots Doux pastry house, which has opened its own tearoom on rue Fondaudège. 

choclats Bordeaux Noël

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