The city itself is filled with historical and architectural treasures which attest to its rich heritage. Over half of the city is listed as a Unesco world heritage monument. This areas stretches from the Pont de Pierre, with its seventeen arches, one for each letter of Napoleon Bonaparte’s name, to the Place des Quinconces. It includes the area known as the Port de la Lune, the old dockland area named for its location on the crescent-shaped meander of the river.
In the heart of the city, the Pey-Beyland Tower is the bell-tower attached to the Saint-André cathedral. If you’re brave enough to tackle the 231 steps of the tower you’ll be rewarded with a view over the city however, unless you have a baby carrier or take it in turns to go up (if there is more than one adult), as the climb is difficult with a baby or toddler in tow. Bordeaux also has a number of parks which will allow toddlers to run around and stretch their legs including the Botanical Gardens, the Public Park and Park Riviere. For a list of parks and gardens in Bordeaux click here. There are also a number of museums in the city and many of these will be stroller accessible.
Visiting the interactive Planète Bordeaux will enlighten you about all aspects of this ancient tradition of winemaking which is so key to French culture. You might also to drive the route des vins, a road which will take you via some of the legendary wine areas, such as Médoc, Pauillac, Pessac, Sauternes, Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Fronsac, Côtes de Bourg, Vins de Bordeaux, Château Lafite, and Château Latour. Or let the wine come to you in Bordeaux itself at the festival Bordeaux fête le vin, a key event for this city which takes place every second year. Alternatively, seafood is the focus of attention during the festival entitled Bordeaux Fête le fleuve (this takes place on the years when the wine festival is not taking place). The popular and traditional market fair Grand Marché du Bon Goût d’Aquitaine which takes place in Bordeaux is an unmissable opportunity to taste all sorts of delicious regional produce.
The Médoc region north of Bordeaux is best known for its wine châteaux, but canny parents will find this is a great area for unspoilt Atlantic beaches where you can surf, windsurf, sail and fish – this is a good place to bring kids to learn to surf, with Montalivet, Lacanau-Océan, Soulac and Carcans-Plage making good bases. It’s also a good flat area for walking and cycling, and you can make boat-trips 7km out to sea to see France’s oldest lighthouse, Cordouan.
Older toddlers will love the Great Dune of Pyla, the largest sand dune in Europe and will have lots of fun climbing up and sliding down. There are fantastic views from the top over the Atlantic ocean on one side and dense green forest on the other. A few miles on, the sandy beaches of Arcachon are a magnet for surfers and sun-worshippers. There are plenty of other activities for toddlers to enjoy in the region including:
The Bordeaux Fairy Fair
If you’re a thrill-seeker, there are plenty of rides to try. Younger children can enjoy gentle activities such as carousels, bumper cars and funhouses. Older children and adults, meanwhile, will love the adrenaline-fuelled roller coasters. Tokens for these rides can be purchased at dedicated token booths.For something more sedate, take a seat on the observation wheel for a flight 40m above Bordeaux, offering stunning views of the city’s skyline.
Zoo de Bordeaux
Zoo de Bordeaux has animals from the African bush to Asia via South America. Meet lions, tigers, lemurs, red pandas, tapirs, giraffes, fishing cats, asian otters… as well as dinosaurs! Its open from April to November, is stroller accessible and offers a host of services from a snack bar, picnic areas, playgrounds to inflatables for little ones.
Ferme de Cadaujac
The Cadaujac exotic farm, located 15 km South of Bordeaux, is one of the finest and most varied wildlife parks in the region with over 1,000 animals of all kinds and origins. Free attractions include the little train, donkey carriage, circus show, carousel,horse riding and there is also a picnic area with trees.
The Little Tourist Train Around Bordeaux
The little train we remember from our childhood still exists in Bordeaux. It takes visitors on a one-hour tour of the city’s historic centre. Leaving from the Allées de Tourny, it goes through the city’s oldest districts at its own rhythm so visitors can admire the most famous sites and monuments close up. Another option is to take the hop on hop off bus tour or the open air coach tour. These buses allow you to jump on and off at all the major sights while avoiding the need for public transport.