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The 10 Best Museums in Bordeaux for 2023

Bordeaux is one of those wonderful places full of things to do, whatever the weather. Maybe you want to escape the heat or find something to do when it’s raining, either way, there are plenty of museums in Bordeaux to keep you occupied.

The question is, which ones should you visit?

Well, it really depends on your taste and what you enjoy learning about. For me, I love a bit of history mixed in with understanding more about the wine from this region.

But my hubby prefers art museums, so we usually try a few, hopefully keeping us both happy.

I hope you’re ready to discover the cultured side of this wonderful city as we explore the best museums in Bordeaux.

Free Museums in Bordeaux

A night sky with a glassy building - museums in Bordeaux
©Loïc Graniczny Bordeaux Tourisme

Before we get started on our list of museums in Bordeaux, I have a couple of tips to help your wallet.

Firstly, on the first Sunday of every month, apart from July and August, a few of Bordeaux’s museums are completely free to visit.

It’s a great initiative of the city and one many people take advantage of. The museums included are:

    • CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art
    • Aquitaine Museum
    • Museum of Fine Arts
    • Bordeaux Museum of Science and Nature

Then there is the Bordeaux City Pass, another great initiative. Choose your pass duration, 24, 48 or 72 hours, and you’ll enjoy free admission to a whole host of museums within the cost of your pass.

Included within the pass is access to:

    • Les Bassins de Lumieres
    • Musee d’Aquitaine
    • La Cite du Vin
    • Museum de Bordeaux
    • Musee des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux
    • CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain
    • Musee national des douanes


Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it?

It all depends on how you intend to spend your time in Bordeaux, but personally, I’d say yes.

Apart from the 15 museums and monuments included, you also have unlimited use of the trams, buses and river shuttle.

And there is a junior option available for ages 6-17 with all the same benefits included.


Table of Contents

History Museums in Bordeaux

©Mélanie Tammeveski Bordeaux Tourisme

It’s no great secret that I absolutely love history. Reading about the people, places and stories of bygone eras simply fascinates me.

Luckily Bordeaux doesn’t disappoint on the history front.

Musée d'Aquitaine

The inside of a museum in Bordeaux
©Mélanie Tammeveski Bordeaux Tourisme

The Musée d’Aquitaine is one of the most important history museums in France covering the history of the Aquitaine region, as well as Bordeaux, from prehistoric times to the present day.

The museum is built upon Feuillant Convent where philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, was buried in 1592. One of the biggest pieces in the museum is the cenotaph of the man himself.

The collections exhibited have been built up by the city since the sixteenth century. It’s the combination of many pieces from other museums brought together to be displayed.

Inside, the museum is divided into several sections, each focusing on a different period in the region’s history showcasing archaeological artefacts, works of art, and historical documents.

There are now 1.3 million pieces giving a fascinating insight into the region’s rich and diverse past.

There is a large collection of objects from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, including tools, weapons, and pottery. 

Mosaics, sculptures, and other artefacts from the Roman era to the French Revolution and then the two World Wars.

You could spend an entire day reliving the history of Bordeaux and all who sailed in her.

Address: 20 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays and public holidays

Don’t forget, entry is FREE with a Bordeaux City Pass.

Musée National des Douanes

A display of maritime ships and boats in a museum in Bordeaux

The museum is actually inside the “Hôtel des Fermes du Roi”, an 18th-century building overlooking Place de la Bourse, just in front of the water mirror. 

The building was originally built for the “Ferme Générale,” the predecessor to the customs department that collected taxes for the king. For more than two centuries, the French customs headquarters has been stationed here.

It’s only a small museum but they have 600 exhibits on display in a former customs hall featuring 16 pretty impressive pillars and arches. They have over 13,000 items in total that they’re holding.

A treasure trove of curiosities, you’ll find uniforms, furniture, maps, scale models, musical instruments, and an assortment of seized items. Plus some rather wonderful collections including a Claude Monet painting.

If you want to delve deeper into French history then add this one to your list.

Address: 1, Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Don’t forget, entry is FREE with a Bordeaux City Pass.

Musée de l'Histoire Maritime de Bordeaux

This museum is all about preserving the maritime origins and trade of Bordeaux, as well as remembering those families that helped to put the city on the map.

Being on the Atlantic seaboard meant that Bordeaux was connected to the Mediterranean world, and because of this was able to amass quite a fortune.

The city’s history has been shaped by many prominent individuals and family lines who contributed to its growth and development. From philosophers and poets to kings merchants and industrialists, they’ve all played their part.

You’ll be able to view a collection of old maps, documents and pictures to help you relieve the 2000 years of history of Port de la Lune.

Address: 31 rue Borie, 33000 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Every day from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

You can get a reduced rate with a City Pass. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR PASS >>>

Art Museums in Bordeaux

©Sophie Duboscq Bordeaux Tourisme

Bordeaux is home to several world-class art museums that are worth visiting. I have four I’d recommend adding to your list.

Musée des Beaux-Arts

A big painting sat between two big columns inside a museum in Bordeaux

Boasting 8200 works, including paintings, sculptures, and graphic art, the Beaux-Arts Museum’s collection is the largest in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and one of France’s most significant public collections. The museum isn’t massive so not all the artwork is on display for the public.

They have a diverse exhibit of European art from the 15th to the 20th centuries. You’ll find works by notable artists such as Tiziano, Veronese, Rubens, Van Dyck, Chardin, Delacroix, Corot, Picasso, and Matisse. 

Additionally, the museum boasts an extensive collection from the Dutch school of the 17th century.

If you’re interested in local art then there is also a collection from three Bordeaux artists: Redon, Marquet, and Lhote.

There are four audio tours available for you to choose from with one just featuring music for you to enjoy as you wander around.

Address: 20, cours d’Albret, F-33 000 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Every day from 11:00 to 18:00, except Tuesdays

Don’t forget, entry is FREE with a Bordeaux City Pass.

CAPC musée d'art contemporain

The inside of a building with lots of big arches and art with a shiny floo in a museum in Bordeaux

For the more dedicated art enthusiast then a visit to CAPC musée d’art contemporain is a must. Housed in a former 19th-century warehouse in the Chartrons district, the building played its part in the maritime trade of Bordeaux, so is fascinating to see. The building is protected by law as it has historic value.

The collection itself has around 300 pieces of artwork, but you’ll also find temporary exhibits throughout the year that keeps it interesting. You never know what you might find.

But that isn’t all. You’ll also find the Arc en rêve, the architecture centre, here too up on the first floor. They host a myriad of different exhibitions around planning and design. To find out what’s on you’re best to visit their website.

Address: 7 Rue Ferrere, 33000 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday and closed on public holidays

Les Bassins des Lumières

A water basin with reflected images and people standing looking in a museum in Bordeaux
©David Remazeilles Gironde Tourisme

The Bassin des Lumières is located in a Second World War German submarine base and is the world’s largest digital art museum. It is unbelievably cool.

The works of art are projected in 360° so you literally walk in the art.

The base is structured into 11 cells, separated by sturdy concrete walls and connected by an interior walkway. You journey into the centre of the paintings accompanied by music so it’s a fully immersive experience.

It’s hard to explain as you have to really experience it for yourself. But imagine listening to Pink Floyd whilst seeing masterpieces by the surrealist painter Dali. That’s the type of thing you experience.

Not to mention strolling along the canals in Venice – seriously.

Some of the artwork is reflected on the water of four of the basins, it’s magical and has to be seen to be believed.

Address: Impasse Brown de Colstoun, 33300 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: 7 Days a week from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Wine Museums in Bordeaux

©Teddy Verneuil Bordeaux Tourisme

One of the things Bordeaux is known for is wine, so it stands to reason it would also be home to at least one wine museum.

There are many great wine tours and wine-tasting trips you can take in and around Bordeaux but top of our list is Cité du Vin.

Cité du Vin

©Teddy Verneuil Bordeaux Tourisme

Although it’s the new kid on the block having only opened in 2016, Cité du Vin is a state-of-the-art wine museum. 

Its iconic structure stands tall and the design is supposed to represent the flow of wine into a wine glass.

It covers over 13,000 square metres and boasts 19 themed spaces that explore the history, culture, and science of wine. 

The exhibitions are interactive and immersive, incorporating multimedia installations, 3D animations, and various sensory experiences.

One of the highlights is the Belvedere, an observation deck located on the 8th floor that offers a panoramic view of Bordeaux and its vineyards. And with over 800 different wines on offer, the wine bar is a must.

It’s also received numerous awards for its innovative design and approach to wine education, including the European Museum of the Year Award in 2017. 

So whether you’re a wine aficionado or simply curious about the world of wine, I can highly recommend a visit.

Address: Esplanade de Pontac, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: From 4 February to 7 April 2023 open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed at 7 p.m. on Saturdays in March.

From 8 April to 3 September 2023 open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Get your ticket for Cité du Vin >>>

Musée du Vin et du Négoce

A wine cave with lots of bottles underground in a museum in Bordeaux
©Clément Pamelard Bordeaux Tourisme

If you fancy a trip back in time to the 18th century when the wine trade was booming in the Chartons district of the Port de la Lune, then you’ll love Musée du Vin et du Négoce.

It’s housed in what was the home of an Irish wine merchant (négociant) when the area was mainly filled with German, Flemish and Irish. 

Being close to the Garonne River, it gave easy access to transport the wine back to their home countries.

As part of the tour, you’ll experience the daily life of a négociant, how wine was made over the last three centuries and enjoy a tasting or two.

The ground floor is where the wine was stored and where trade was done. Upstairs were the residential quarters for the family.

Although it’s not the interactive experience of Cité du Vin, it’s a historic one that gives you a sneak peek into the wine history of Bordeaux.

Address: 41 rue Borie, 33000 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Museums in Bordeaux the Kids will enjoy

Finding something the kids will love isn’t always easy in a city, but Bordeaux has some great options to keep them amused and entertained.

Muséum de Bordeaux

A glass cabinet with a stuffed animal in a museum in Bordeaux

If you’re coming to Bordeaux with little ones under the age of six then the Muséum de Bordeaux is one to put on the list.

Located on the ground floor of the museum the Early Years section is packed full of activities suitable for this age group.

Of course, there is plenty for the adults too so it’s a great place for the whole family.

Address: 5 Place Bardineau, 33000 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Open 10.30 a.m. – 17:30 p.m. Closed Mondays and public holidays

Website: www.museum-bordeaux.fr

Cap Science

A museum completely dedicated to kids it brings science alive for the young. Covering lots of different topics including space, time, and light, it’s all presented in an immersive way that keeps their attention. 

The really young ones are usually catered for two with specific exhibitions for the under-sixes.

You’ll find a great selection of hands-on workshops for the kids to take part in as well. 

Address: Hangar 20, Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux

Opening Hours: Open from Tuesday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is subject to change during the school holidays.

Website: www.cap-sciences.net

Street Art Tour of Bordeaux

A museum completely dedicated to kids it brings science alive for the young. Covering lots of different topics including space, time, and light, it’s all presented in an immersive way that keeps their attention. 

©Mélanie Tammeveski Bordeaux Tourisme

Conclusion: Best Museums in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a city in France that just keeps getting better. With great restaurants, wine and history, it has everything you could need. 

And if you want a little culture you now have a list of ten great museums to choose from.


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About Me

I’m Kylie….

And I live in the beautiful Charente region of France having made the move back in 2016, and I’ve never looked back.

Now, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about living in rural France. From visiting wineries & chateaux to negotiating French admin and learning the language.


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