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Garonne : the top activities

Athletic, family-friendly, cultural, scientific, or even bizarre… activities to do on and around the river are numerous. Here is an overview of how to spend your free time around Bordeaux’s Garonne river

Canoe and kayak outings for a different view of the city 

Based in Chantiers de la Garonne (across the road from Darwin), on Bordeaux’s right bank, the Les Marins de la Lune nautical club brings together lovers of stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, surfing, and canoeing. The club offers canoe-kayak outings on the Garonne (age 6 and up, anyone can participate) from April to the end of summer. Two professionally guided activities are available: a nautical loop within Bordeaux’s historic interior (approximately 1.5 hours) and a descent of the river (2.5 hours) between the small port of Bègles and Chantiers de la Garonne. “We can see developed Bordeaux on the left bank, and its wilder side on the right bank. The banks of the Garonne are exceptionally beautiful. We also make guests aware of pollution and have the good fortune to have a welcome spot for participants to have a drink at the end of the tour,” explains Christophe Mora, the club’s president. 

Canoë sur la Garonne
©Pierre Planchenault

Les Marins de la Lune :


Terre and Océan for learning about the environment 

Based in Bègles, the Terre et Océan (Land and Sea) association offers many cultural and learning activities for all sorts of audiences, from preschool aged children to adults. As such, visitors can participate in scientific and observational workshops on the color and quality of water, different aquatic insects, the amphibian life cycle, and the history of ancient maritime activities along the rivers and coastlines. Depending on the session, plan on spending a half day to a day with the association. Note that they also organize guided cultural cruises, particularly on “Bordeaux and it’s rivers, the Garonne and Estuary, the foundations of the region, its water quality, islands, ecosystem…” 

Terre et Océan: 

  • 1 rue Louis Blériot, 33130 Bègles 
  • Bus line 11, stop “Rives d’Arcin” 


Unmissable events

Bordeaux and its locals love their river, the Garonne, and do not miss an occasion to celebrate it. For this reason, several festive events take place once the weather turns warm. Of these, ‘Bordeaux celebrates the river’, an alternative to ‘Bordeaux celebrates wine’ (in June), and ‘Swimming Across Bordeaux’, bringing together several hundred swimmers each year as they attempt to reach Bordeaux’s opposite bank from the Pontoon of Honor (mid-June). There are also ways to take advantage of the Garonne each day thanks to activities like jogging, dancing on the quays as part of Dansons events from July to August, strolling along the riverbank, or taking a refreshing and musical break at one of Bordeaux’s many guinguettes. 

Bordeaux Fête le Vin
©Jean Bernard Nadeau

River cruises departing from Bordeaux 

Bordeaux River Cruise, Burdigala Cruises, Marco Polo Cruises, Bordeaux Yacht, Bordeaux Be Boat, Bordeaux on the water… There are a multitude of Bordeaux boat companies that offer cruises along the Garonne and the Gironde’s estuary to tourists. In addition to daytime and nighttime excursions offered within the Port de la Lune, many cruises depart from Bordeaux for other destinations. These include Patiras Island, whose lighthouse guided sailors for more than 100 years, the New and Margaux Islands, known for their vineyards, as well as Cadillac, Bourg-sur-Gironde, and Blaye, famous home to the citadel built by Vauban and designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Located at Lormont’s boat launch, the Arawak Vieux Gréement Association offers a weekend getaway for discovering the estuary and familiarizing oneself with traditional navigation aboard an old sailing rig dating back to 1954. A real journey back in time! 

Croisière fluviale
©David Remazeilles



Bordeaux cruises

The Greater Bordeaux area reserves some wonderful surprises and numerous amazing experiences for you, thanks to its cultural and recreational offerings: gastronomical tours to feast your eyes and palate, or tasting workshops to tempt you into overindulgence!

Boat tours
Wine tasting cruise Cité du Vin

Starting at 21.00€ / pers.

(82 avis)