As the city lights up with festive cheer, Bourdeaux Christmas Market comes alive, brimming with artisanal goods, mulled wine and local delicacies that engage your senses and leave a warm and cosy feeling.
Throughout this guide, I’ll be providing all you need to know about visiting the Christmas market in 2023, including the dates, locations and opening times, and what you can expect to find at the Christmas stalls and regional specialties.
If you’ve never been to Bordeaux at Christmas, it’s quite an experience as one of France’s most beautiful cities. You’ll be surrounded by the sparkling warmth of the holiday spirit echoing through its charming, cobbled streets.
Historic landmarks are covered in decorations and lights, and on rare occasions, you might even find the city turning into a winter wonderland.
Bordeaux Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Bordeaux welcomes you with a rich variety of Christmas stalls and wooden chalets, each laden with local treasures.
French and international artisans showcase their crafts here, from handcrafted trinkets to festive ornaments, perfect for keepsakes or gifts.
The air fills with enticing aromas of regional delicacies, traditional French yule log cakes – Bûche de Noël, spicy gingerbread and heartwarming mulled wine that are essential to your festive celebrations.
Dates and Location
Bordeaux Christmas Market dates: 24th November to 25th December 2023.
Location: Allées de Tourny.
Opening times: 10:30am to 9pm.
Christmas Day: Open, 10:30am to 9pm.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 24th November.
Ice skating: Yes, at Place Pey-Berland.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Handcrafted artisan treasures; regional delicacies unique to Bordeaux, a truly festive, city-wide celebration.
Recommended tour: This highlights of Bordeaux tour is very popular and has a perfect rating.
Specialities: Traditional French yule log cakes; spicy Bordeaux-style gingerbread; heartwarming local mulled Bordeaux wine.
Where to stay: Villas Foch is an excellent hotel 7-minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Bordeaux Christmas Market
For convenient access to Bordeaux’s Christmas market, look to stay in the historic city centre near the Monument aux Girondins.
It’s a lively area, teeming with local cafes, shops and historic charm. I recommend staying at Villas Foch in this area as it’s a highly-rated hotel near Bordeaux Christmas Market and many of the city’s sights and attractions.
Location of Bordeaux Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Bordeaux gives you an opportunity to get a great overview of the city’s history and culture.
With its enchanting old town, vibrant facades and stunning architecture, Bordeaux is well worth a visit, even in winter.
I highly suggest taking this city tour of Bordeaux, as it shows several city highlights through the lens of a local guide at a reasonable cost. It’s particularly suitable if you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time.
During a city tour, you’ll explore Bordeaux’s most iconic landmarks and attractions, like the historic Place de la Bourse, the beautiful Monument aux Girondins and the imposing Bordeaux Cathedral.
You won’t want to miss Bordeaux’s incredible local wine and food. This highly-rated cheese and wine tasting is a great place to start.
For a look at more Christmas destinations like this one in Bordeaux, my guide to the best Christmas markets in France can help in planning your winter travels.
Christmas in Bordeaux
Christmas Specialties in Bordeaux
- Bûche de Noël: An iconic French Christmas dessert, Bûche de Noël mimics the appearance of a Yule log. Traditionally, it’s a sponge cake, rolled and filled with cream, then coated with chocolate to resemble the bark of a log. The cake is often adorned with festive decorations like meringue mushrooms or holly leaves made from icing.
- Oysters: Especially popular in coastal regions like Bordeaux, oysters are a classic start to the French Christmas meal. They are typically served raw on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar.
- Potatoes au gratin dauphinoise: A quintessential French side dish, gratin dauphinoise is a deliciously creamy, comforting potato dish. Thinly sliced potatoes are layered in a dish, covered with garlic-infused cream and baked until golden and bubbly.
- Raclette: Although originating from the mountainous regions of France, raclette has become a popular vegetarian-friendly festive food throughout the country. Traditionally, a wheel of raclette cheese is melted, and the gooey cheese is scraped onto boiled potatoes, pickles and onions.
- Ratatouille: Another vegetarian-friendly dish, ratatouille is a stew made from various vegetables like aubergine, courgette, bell peppers and tomatoes. This Provençal dish, despite its humble roots, has become a holiday favourite, often served as a side to the main course.
- Pain d’épices: Literally translating to “spice bread”, this loaf is more akin to a cake, rich with honey and warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Pain d’épices is typically baked in loaf form and is a seasonal treat often enjoyed around Christmas.
Food at the Christmas Market
- Canelés: A signature sweet treat of Bordeaux, canelés are small pastries with a caramelised crust and a tender custard centre. Infused with rum and vanilla, these bite-sized delights are a favourite at Christmas markets.
- Roasted Chestnuts: No Christmas market in France is complete without the comforting aroma of roasted chestnuts wafting through the air. These are often sold in paper cones, providing a warming, nutty treat as you navigate the market stalls.
- Mulled Wine: Typically called “vin chaud” in France, mulled wine is a staple at Christmas markets. This festive drink will keep you warm as you explore the market. It’s made by heating red wine with a mix of spices like cinnamon and cloves, along with orange peel slices and sometimes a splash of brandy. Here’s a recipe if you want to make it yourself at home.
- Crêpes and Galettes: Crêpes are thin pancakes that come with a variety of sweet fillings, such as Nutella, sugar, or jam, while galettes are their savoury counterparts, usually filled with cheese, ham and egg. This is a street food classic that you’ll readily find at the Bordeaux Christmas markets.
- Aligot: A hearty dish from the Auvergne region of France, aligot is a decadently cheesy mashed potato dish. Made by blending mashed potatoes with garlic and generous amounts of melted cheese, aligot is a comforting, warming dish perfect for a chilly winter’s evening at the market.
- Gingerbread: Known as “pain d’épices” gingerbread is a common sight at French Christmas markets, but various regions have their unique versions. The gingerbread you’ll find in Bordeaux is likely to be made following traditional recipes, featuring a rich blend of spices and honey.
- Pretzels: While not a local specialty, pretzels have become a common sight at Christmas markets around Europe. These twisted bread, often topped with coarse salt, make for a satisfying snack as you browse through the market.
- Sausages and Sautéed Potatoes: Many stalls serve a range of grilled sausages accompanied by sautéed potatoes. This combination is a popular street food item, providing a hearty meal to fuel your market exploration.
What to Buy
- Bordeaux Wines: Known worldwide for its vineyards, Bordeaux offers a wide selection of local wines that make for perfect gifts. Ranging from robust reds to crisp whites and sweet dessert wines, there’s something to suit every palate.
- Artisanal Chocolates: Many Christmas market stalls in Bordeaux showcase local chocolatiers’ work. These rich treats often come in decorative boxes, making them an ideal festive gift.
- Local Art: You can often find unique pieces from local artists at the Christmas market. From sketches and paintings capturing the Bordeaux charm to handcrafted jewellery, such pieces add a personal touch to your gift-giving.
- Handcrafted Ceramics: Traditional French ceramics, often with intricate designs, can be found at several market stalls. Whether you’re looking for a decorative vase or a unique dishware set, these make for beautiful, lasting gifts.
- French Linens: Known for their quality, French linens, including tablecloths, napkins and hand towels, are popular gifts. These often feature festive or traditional French designs.
- Gourmet Food Products: Apart from the fresh food at the market, you’ll also find stalls selling packaged local products. These could range from confit to local honey, jams and mustards.
- Soap from Marseille: While not native to Bordeaux, Marseille soap is a traditional French product often found at Christmas markets. Made from natural ingredients, these soaps come in a range of fragrances and are gentle on the skin. They’re great if you’re looking to go zero-waste or at least reduce your waste at home.
- Canelé Moulds: As canelés are a speciality of Bordeaux, moulds for making these treats at home are a unique gift idea. Typically made from copper, these moulds come with instructions for you to recreate this Bordeaux favourite.
You might also find Bordeaux Tourisme to be an excellent trip-planning resource. It’s packed with travel tips and practical information for your visit to Bordeaux.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Bordeaux at Christmas.
- Choose a Hotel Powered by Renewable Energy: Bordeaux has a growing number of eco-friendly hotels that are powered by renewable energy sources.
- Reduce Food Waste: While enjoying the local specialties at Bordeaux’s Christmas market, be mindful of portion sizes to avoid food waste. Many stalls serve generous portions, so consider sharing dishes to avoid throwing food away.
- Ethical Consumption: Look for stalls selling ethically-produced items at the Christmas market. Many local artisans in Bordeaux use sustainable methods to create their products, thus supporting them promotes ethical consumption.
- Sustainable Diets: Embrace the plant-based options available at the market. Bordeaux is known for its rich gastronomy but also has a growing vegan scene. Opting for vegetarian or vegan food choices, even part of the time, reduces your environmental footprint.
- Sustainable Transport: Make use of Bordeaux’s excellent public transport system to get around. The city has an extensive tram network that is an eco-friendlier alternative to using a car. Consider hiring a bike or simply exploring the city on foot for shorter distances.
Bordeaux Christmas Market takes place from the 24th November until the 25th December 2023.
The Bordeaux Christmas Market is located in the heart of the city, on Allées de Tourny.
The Bordeaux Christmas Market typically opens in the morning, around 10:30am and stays open until late in the evening, around 9pm, even on Christmas Day.
Winters in Bordeaux are usually mild, with average temperatures ranging from 4 to 10C. It often rains, so it’s wise to pack an umbrella or waterproof clothing.
Given the chilly weather, wearing warm layers, a winter coat and comfortable waterproof footwear is best. Don’t forget your gloves and a hat for those particularly cold evenings.
At the Bordeaux Christmas Market, you can indulge in a variety of local and international festive treats. Traditional French dishes, street food, and sweets, including vin chaud, tartiflette and canelés, are popular choices.
You’ll find a wide range of unique items at the Bordeaux Christmas Market. These include locally produced wines, artisanal chocolates, local art, handcrafted ceramics, French linens, gourmet food products, Marseille soap and canelé moulds.
Bordeaux has an efficient public transport system comprising trams and buses. Consider hiring a bike or walking to take in the sights at your own pace for short distances. Plenty of people in Bordeaux ride their bikes to get around, even in winter, but be sure to take bike lanes to be safe.
Yes, Bordeaux is generally safe to visit during Christmas. As with any destination, it’s important to stay vigilant, particularly in crowded areas such as the Christmas market.
Bordeaux in winter is a charming destination with its glittering Christmas market and heartwarming food. As you stroll through the city’s historic streets, the blend of old-world charm and lively holiday activities will make your visit a worthwhile experience.
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Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Bordeaux, France. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.