Bordeaux

Things to do in Bordeaux

More than just a winery, Château Smith Haut Lafitte is a family home, a hotel with a natural mineral springs spa, and one of the most praised winemakers in Bordeaux.

The former 17th-century church has been transformed into a bar/cinema/art complex. On sunny days in the late afternoon, the outdoor terrace is bathed in sunlight, and the crowds descend to bask in the warmth.

La Musée National des Douanes is France’s National Customs Museum. Located along the waterfront in an 18th-century palace at Place de la Bourse, the museum explores the wide-ranging arm of the customs service.

The best way to buy wine is to visit the small vineyards in the area. But if you just want to hit a shop with a varied inventory, try this huge warehouse, which carries nearly 1,000 selections from all over the region.

The city-sponsored program offers wine-country weekend tours and onsite two-hour tasting courses at a posh-looking but bargain-priced wine bar.

A group of 49 merchants stock everything from Renaissance art to mid-20th-century treasures. Don't expect to find a great bargain; for that, hunters will have better luck at the weekly flea market outside the neighboring Saint Michel Church.

Château Grand Callamand is both a winery and a bed-and-breakfast. Located near the town of Pertuis in Luberon National Park, the château is owned by the Souzan-Delagrave family, who tend to both the vines and the inn.

You'll get an eyeful of decorative objects and other furnishings by cutting-edge designers such as Christophe Pillet, Jurgen Bey, and Karim Rashid. Loup's owner, Sylvain Labrosse, also curates seasonal art exhibitions.

Set in a former warehouse, the museum shows a rotating collection of art from the 1960's to the present.

This confectioner churns out whimsy by the boxful, such as mountains of buttery fleur de sel caramels, and paves de Bordeaux ("Bordeaux cobblestones"), cubes of praline and wine-soaked raisins dipped in chocolate and rolled in cinnamon sugar.

Bordeaux fussy and overpriced? Not at this bar run by the region’s wine council. Architect Françoise Bousquet has appointed the soaring Neoclassical space with whimsical pebble-shaped chairs and original artwork, including a grape-themed Aubusson tapestry.

The boutique for urban clothes horses carries women's fashions from Martin Margiela, Maria Calderara, and Ann Demeulemeester, as well as international labels, such as Yohji Yamamoto.

It wouldn't be a trip to Bordeaux without, well, a bottle of Bordeaux. Oenophiles and amateur tasters alike will find something to love at the Maison du Vin de Bordeaux.

The former archbishop's residence houses a vast collection that includes two wings full of paintings from 17th-century masters, another wing with 19th-century French painters, as well as 20th-century luminaries, such as Matisse, Kokoschka, and Picasso.

Just off the D2 highway—known as the Route des Châteaux—this 128-acre winery is easily recognizable by its two conical turrets rising behind a wrought-iron railing.