10 Awesome Things to Do for Free in Bordeaux

View from the Pont de Pierre
View from the Pont de Pierre | © Jennifer Migan
Jennifer Migan

When you arrive in Bordeaux, the amazing array of restaurants, cool stores and tempting activities might make you wonder whether you can afford to do it all. But it is possible to enjoy the city and still stay on budget. Here are the top 10 things to do for free during your time in Bordeaux.

Ride the city

One of the best ways to see Bordeaux is by renting a bicycle. Bordeaux was one of 2017’s most bicycle-friendly cities in Europe, so don’t hesitate to rent a bicycle to explore this beautiful town. The city’s VCub has many stations around the city where you can rent a bike for as long as you want on a pay-as-you-go basis. The first 30 minutes are free, so it can be a great option for short trips across town. If your ride is longer than 30 minutes and you don’t want to pay, simply change bikes every 30 minutes!

One of Bordeaux’s many cyclists

Show off your moves and learn some new ones

The Monument aux Girondins at Les Quinconces

Crash a music festival

What’s a summer vacation without a music festival and a range of talented musicians? The great thing about visiting Bordeaux in the summer is that regardless what kind of music you fancy, you will be sure to find a concert to attend. The Relâche Festival, organised by the Allez Les Filles association, features a diverse line-up of talented artists each year. If you’re into electro, try Bordeaux Open Air. Le Caillou du Jardin Botanique is another great option if you like jazz.

The Excitements at the Eysines Goes Soul Festival

Check out Bordeaux’s art scene

The first good news is that you can visit the city’s museums for free every first Sunday of the month (except for July and August) and discover the plethora of collections and exhibitions that are available around town. If you’d rather be outside, there are a lot of open-air venues offering cool events, too. For instance, if you are a fan of geek art, you should definitively check out the Bad Guys Win exhibition at Les Vivres de l’Art, a very unusual place in the Bordeaux Bacalan.

Les Vivres de l’Art, 4 Rue Achard, Bordeaux, France, +33 9 67 26 80 94

Adama Nangbele and Kassoum Coulibaly’s ‘Statuettes’ exhibition at the Musée d’Aquitaine

Keep yourself busy at the beach

A holiday is a great opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Swimming and relaxing on the sand are great things to do at the beach, but why not experience something different? The Plage du Lac offers a bunch of free activities such as sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding, savate (French boxing), capoeira and giant board games. These daily activities are open to everyone and take place from 2 pm to 6 pm from June 1 to August 31. Get to Plage du Lac on the C tram line (head in the direction of Parc des Expositions and stop at Les Aubiers); the beach is about a 10-minute walk.

Plage du Lac, Boulevard Jacques Chaban-Delmas, Bruges, France, +33 5 56 69 98 58

Sleep in an owl cabin

Have you ever thought about sleeping in an owl-shaped cabin? Probably not, but these atypical refuges, located in Bègles, near Bordeaux, are a great way to spend a truly original night during your stay.

The owls overlooking the sea

Les Guetteurs – Refuge Périurbain, 15 Rue Louis Blériot, Bègles, France

Get a shot of oxytocin

Oxytocin (also known as the cuddle hormone) is not the name of a new recreational drug, but the hormone that is produced by our brains when we bond socially or snuggle up. If you feel oxytocin-deprived when visiting Bordeaux or want to spread some love, go to Place de la Bourse and get your shot of oxytocin! The association Free Hugs Bordeaux organises an event every second Tuesday of the month from 5 pm to 7 pm. Don’t be shy – it’s good for your health!

The team of Free Hugs Bordeaux

Free Hugs Bordeaux, Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux, France

Pick up some surfing skills

Although Bordeaux is not the most famous spot for surfing in France, there are a bunch of cool beaches nearby where you can ride some decent waves. Don’t know how to surf? Just show up in the morning with a packed lunch. The association Surf Insertion will provide all the equipment you need – along with your afternoon snack.

Parc des Sports Saint-Michel, Bordeaux, France, +33 6 20 33 61 84

Get your mind and body in shape

The mutual insurance company AG2R La Mondiale is partnering with Bordeaux Quai des Sports to sponsor daily morning practices from 10 am to 12 pm. Included are tai chi, gymnastics and pilates that will give you the energy boost you need, along with yoga, relaxation and qigong sessions to help you chill. Once you’re done, have a refreshing drink and read a book at the outdoor library.

Morning yoga class

Parc des Sports Saint-Michel, Bordeaux, France, +33 6 20 33 61 84

Get the win with your clique

If you are travelling with your kids, or in a big group, team up with your crew and join a fun sports tournament. From Monday to Friday, you can join beach rugby, basketball, beach volleyball or football competitions. There are two categories (under and above 14 years old) and you just need to sign up a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the tournament. There are small prizes for the winners.

Beach volleyball game

Parc des Sports Saint-Michel, Bordeaux, France, +33 6 20 33 61 84

landscape with balloons floating in the air

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