Well known for it’s wine and beautiful architecture, Bordeaux doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a place to take the kids. However, there is much to appeal to the little ones and on a quick trip to the largest urban World Heritage Site, Ida&Ernest had the chance to chat with Cecile at the Bordeaux Office de Tourisme, who gave us her top tips for fun things for all the family…
Kids and grown-ups will enjoy splashing around at the Miroir D’Eau, the world’s largest reflecting pool. A fun way to cool down on a sunny day in the city and a great place to enjoy the Garonne River promenade views.
While you are close by, pop in to the Bordeaux Patrimoine Mondial, The World Heritage Site interpretation centre, and pick up one of their city sightseeing scavenger hunts. An interactive (and educational but don’t tell them!) way to keep the kids entertained as you enjoy the city sights. At the time of I&E’s visit the hunt was only available in French but as it’s aimed at 7yr olds+ and has lots of pictures it’s not too tricky.
For information on current events for children, pop in to one of the Office De Tourisme (good plug Cecile!) and pick up one of the quarterly, free ‘Clubs & Comptines’ guides. With information on events and activities for 0-14 yr olds.
The gardens are beautiful and very popular with local families and visitors. Cecile advises that the Jardin Public offers more shade than Jardin Botanic, as well as a children’s playground and the Guignol Guérin puppet show. Guignol also appears at the Parc Bordelaise, further out of the city centre. This park also offers a playground, a small train and an animal park with local breeds.
Cap Sciences (the Bordeaux Science Museum) is worth a visit, particularly for children 8yrs+. Be sure to check out the current exhibitions they have for children, some require reservation. This summer’s exhibitions included archaeology, video games and the science of cooking.
Take a tour. The mini train is always popular with families but you might be swayed to try one of the cities two open top bus tours as they combine their commentary of the city with a wine tasting at the end of the trip! Kids under 5 are free and reduced rates for under 12s. Tickets for all tours can be booked at the Office De Tourisme where the trips depart from.
If you want to go wine tasting but are hesitant about taking the kids (check out I&E’s recent article: Dad’s Top Tips for Wine Tasting with the Kids) then the Chateau Saint Ahon, 20 minutes to the north of the city, is the vineyard for you. This family property makes sure that the children are not overlooked and offers them the chance to join in the tastings at the end of the guided tours, with locally produced juices! The Chateau also has beautiful gardens and woods next to the vines which are open to visitors. The mascot, Mirabel the donkey, appears on boards around the garden to challenge quiz the kids before they get to meet the real thing. There is a pram friendly route, as well as a children’s play area and picnic spots.
I&E TOP TIPS FOR BORDEAUX
There are no immediate facilities or shade at the Mirror D’Eau so on hot days early morning or late afternoon are the best times to visit … and don’t forget a towel!
While you are waiting for your mini train or open top tours to depart from Cours Du 30 Juillet take the chance to admire the amazing chocolate figurines in the window of Maison Georges Larnicol next to the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux. You are also welcome to pop in should temptation become too much!
Bear in mind that a number of the city centre streets are cobbled. Rue St Catherine, the main shopping street, offers a wide, smooth and shaded pedestrianised route through the centre.
RECOMMENDED CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Before you go and if your French isn’t too rusty here are a couple of delightful books for kids based in Bordeaux. Escapade au miroir d’eau by Julie Cardouat and Macaron et Canele a Bordeaux by Camille Piantanida.
BEST WEBSITES TO CHECK OUT BEFORE YOU GO
The Bordeaux Tourism website. Content is available in French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Chinese and Japanese.
The official website of the city of Bordeaux (which is translated by Google).
The American Mom in Bordeaux blog, written by … an American mum … about her life in Bordeaux with her kids since 2011.
We would love to hear from you if you have any other top tips or recommendations for a family trip to Bordeaux! firstname.lastname@example.org