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In the heart of France‘s wine country and just under a three-hour train journey from Paris, Bordeaux is a hub of amazing architecture, history, and culture that should be on everyone’s must-visit list. I tried out the Bordeaux City Pass to see if it’s really the best way to sample everything the city has to offer.

Turns out, it’s the perfect way to pack in a ton of activities for a great price. So here are some of the top things I did for free with my Bordeaux City Pass.


What is the Bordeaux City Pass?


This card is an all-in-one access pass to all sorts of awesome Bordeaux attractions, not just in the city but across the whole Bordeaux region. It comes in 24 to 72-hour increments, which is perfect for customizing it to your trip and travel style – and there’s even a junior card if you’re traveling with kids.

The City Pass gets you free entry to any of 20 different Bordeaux museums and attractions around the city, from contemporary art galleries to botanical gardens and, of course, wine tastings. There’s a huge range in the types of activities included, which means there’s really something for everyone.

And, on top of all the free admission tickets, you also get unlimited access to Bordeaux’s public transit system for the duration of the pass – I found this to be a huge help for getting between attractions.


Visit La Cité du Vin
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A visit to Cité du Vin visit is included with the Bordeaux City Pass (Photo: Aureli Serrat / Unsplash)


This brand-new interactive museum is the crown jewel of Bordeaux and uses the latest technology to create a truly unique experience. These exhibits engage all of your senses as you touch, taste, and even smell your way through a global tour of winemaking… and wine drinking. The complimentary audio guide automatically engages with the exhibits as you approach them, creating an immersive experience while still letting you browse and explore the hours of content available.

I was excited to find that La Cité du Vin doesn’t just cover the wines of the Bordeaux region; instead, its exhibits cover everything to do with wine, all over the world. I was able to learn about the different environments wine is grown in, the history and culture of winemaking, and even learned how to pick out different notes in the bouquet, which was perfect for a wine newbie like me.

No visit to La Cité du Vin is complete without a stop at the Belvédère. This spectacular rooftop tasting venue boasts a 360° view of Bordeaux where you can grab a complimentary wine tasting to finish off your tour.

Learn more at


Tour the Wine and Trade Museum
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Explore vintages from around the world at the Wine & Trade Museum (Photo: Charlie Wagner-Chazalon)


After La Cité du Vin, I wanted to learn more about the local wines. Luckily, the Wine and Trade Museum (Musée du Vin et du Négoce de Bordeaux) is the perfect place to do that. This intimate museum is inside an old wine storehouse in the heart of historic Bordeaux and is full of information about the history of the area and the development of its chateaux system in the 1800s, with lots of cool artifacts from the time.

The highlight for me was the guided tasting that finished off the visit. We tried three different wines and learned about the subregions they came from, and how to pick out the unique flavours created by the microclimates. I left with a whole new understanding of Bordeaux wines.


Experience les Bassin des Lumières
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Take in an unforgettable art experience at les Bassin des Lumières (Photo: Charlie Wagner-Chazalon)


This is another must-see attraction in Bordeaux, so I was very excited that it was included in the City Pass. Step inside the WWII submarine bunker that has been transformed into an amazing art venue.

Bassin des Lumières exhibits a rotating lineup of immersive projection displays showcasing works by celebrated artists like Salvador Dalí and Antoni Gaudi. The venue is dark, with massive, animated projections playing on both the walls and the huge pools, all beautifully set to music. The Dalí exhibit is set to some of Pink Floyd’s greatest hits… as if the display could get any cooler.

There are two projection spaces in Bassin des Lumières: the large main cistern, and a smaller space called the cube, which shows 360° projections by contemporary artists. The cube even has beanbag chairs for you to take a load off and enjoy the show – just remember to bring a sweater, because it gets chilly in the bunker!

Find out more at


Take a Ride on Bordeaux Transit
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Bordeaux’s transit system is a treat after a night out on the town (Photo: Clovis Wood Photography / Unsplash)


The Bordeaux City Pass includes unlimited access to the city’s entire public transit system, which is perfect for getting to all the amazing attractions.

The city has four tram lines that service the entire city, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods with over 40 miles of track, making it super convenient if you want to stay outside of the city center and commute in (although there’s no shortage of great places to stay in Bordeaux). Not only do they go everywhere, but they also run super frequently, which any transit user knows is a huge bonus.

Bordeaux’s transit system also includes over 80 bus lines, which are clean and punctual (although I would recommend keeping an eye out for detours around construction). Best of all, the city’s transit runs until 1 am on weekends, so no need to worry about getting stranded after a late night out.


Take a Tour of the City
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Self-guided and guided tour options are available (Photo: pony / Unsplash)


One of my favourite ways to explore a new city is with a guided tour, and the Bordeaux City Pass includes some unique tour options to try out. From a traditional walking tour to an electric train, open bus, or even boat tour, there’s really an option for everyone.

I went with the boat tour, partially because it included a free glass of wine and cannelé (a crunchy, custardy, rum-flavoured pastry that is a Bordeaux delicacy). And, of course, for the chance to see the city from the water.

The boat left from a downtown jetty on the river, with tour guides giving an overview of the city’s history and pointing out landmarks in French and English. This was a super cool and unique way to tour Bordeaux for free with the Bordeaux City Pass – just make sure to book the tour at the tourism office downtown beforehand, and line up at the jetty early to get the seats you want.


Tips & Tactics

To find out more about the Bordeaux City Pass, including rates and where to purchase, click here.

Planning on staying in beautiful Bordeaux? Check out these suggestions for the best places to stay in Bordeaux.




Contributor Charlie Wagner-Chazalon is a travel enthusiast who splits his time between Muskoka and Toronto, Ontario.