Park Life, The Lungs of the City
While many European cities have found their green areas shrinking with urban expansion in recent years, Bordeaux still embraces a cultural identity that marries the historic city centre with the urban parks
A SIGNIFICANT PART OF WHAT GIVES BORDEAUX ITS UNIQUE APPEAL AS A HOLIDAY DESTINATION is the way the city has evolved to complement its green spaces and tree lined avenues. Nature has very much been incorporated into the urban landscape and this has been the case in Bordeaux going back as far the years of haussmannisation. Indeed, when Baron Haussmann was asked by Napoleon III to reimagine a magnificent, new Paris in the 18th century, much of the inspiration for the work was taken from Haussmann’s previous experience as Prefect in Bordeaux. At the time both men agreed that no city dweller should ever be more than ten minutes walk from a park or public space. Today across the many parks, lawns and green spaces of the city, tourists can enjoy outdoor events, activities and scenery to suit any taste and every season. Bordeaux’s green spaces continue to welcome and delight tourists from around the world.
One of the most beautiful inner-city parks to be found in the whole South West, the Public Garden is a hugely popular outdoor location for both the local community in central Bordeaux and visitors. An ideal spot for lounging in the grass, picnics, jogging, sports and outdoor music events, the garden is flanked by fountains, a lake and a terraced restaurant L’orangerie.
Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux
Open Summer 8am - 8pm, Winter 8am - 6pm
Outside the main city but easily accessible by public transport, Parc Palmer is located about twenty minutes drive from town in the neighbourhood of Cenon. A park which boasts wide open green spaces, perfect for sports and picnics, it is also popular due to its large sculptures and public art works as well as being an ideal spot for family fun on long summer days.
1, rue Aristide-briand, 33150 Cenon Open daily
Easily accessible by foot, bus or bike, this park is located in the upmarket neighbourhood of Caudéran and is estimated to be the largest enclosed green space in the region. With lush forests, playgrounds, water features and plenty of open green spaces the park is a hugely popular weekend spot for relaxing as well as sports, among those living in the city centre but also tourists stepping outside the confines of the city centre.
Rue du Bocage, 33000 Bordeaux Open daily from 7am
For those tourists passionate about ecology in an urban setting Bordeaux has a beautiful Botanic Garden on the Rive Droite, across from the historic quayside vista of the old centre. The Gardens have been designed so visitors can learn all about biodiversity and sustainable ecology and are also in proximity to tram and bus access or can be easily reached on foot from via the Pont de Pierre.
Esplanade Linné, 33100 Bordeaux
Open Summers 8am - 8pm, Winter 8am - 6pm
Parc Rivière Parc de Majolan
Parc de Majolan, though outside the ring road of the city, is still worth exploring and can be reached via bus 29 or 78 or easily by car. It is a perfect hidden treasure for those eager to escape the tourist crowds a little bit and is a park full of unique personality! Ideal for romantic strolls or playful adventures with the family the park has been influenced in design by its relationship to water and the surrounding area. Discover its caves, decorative faux ruins, fountains and water features all year round.
Avenue du Général-de-gaulle, 33290 Blanquefort
Open every day 8am - 8.30pm Parc Rivière is a beautiful and tranquil spot to laze and watch the world go by. Flanked by the ruins of a former castle the park is also neighbour to the beautiful Bernard Magrez cultural institute, well worth exploring if time allows.
Rue de Mandron, 33000 Bordeaux Open daily from 7am
Down river a few minutes from the heart of Bordeaux this park is a perfect spot for those who enjoy a more rugged, natural walk and is a popular hiking and picnic spot. In addition, it is home to a recreational area for children, and is close to a large shopping centre in the neighbourhood of Bègles. ‘Rives d’arcins’ and ‘Les Guetteurs’ are owl shaped wooden chalets designed by Bruit du Frigo and the artists from Zebra3 including Candice Petrillo, as part of their mission to bring urban art to Bordeaux. The chalets are free to stay in, with beds, but are off-grid, so there’s no electricity or running water.
15, rue Louis-blériot, 33130 Bègles Free from March to November by reservation only via website
Jardin des Lumières
Jump off the tram at Place de la Bourse to discover the famous water mirror interactive sculpture and The Garden of Lights, and to see tall bull rushes, beds blooming with wild flowers and manicured verges for half a mile down river.
Quai du Maréchal-lyautey, 33000 Bordeaux Open all year round
Parc de l’ermitage - Iris Parc
Situated just outside the city centre on the Rive Droite and overlooking the Garonne, the Parc de l’ermitage offers rustic forest walks, fabulous views of the winding river and of the Aquitaine Bridge and Chaban Delmas bridge up stream. Easy to reach via bus, public transport (boat bus) or car, Lormont feels more like a charming port side village somewhere far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But in fact this village-like neighbourhood on a hill is a mere ten minutes from the city centre, making Parc de L’ermitage a wonderfully convenient natural escape for tourists eager for fresh air and a new perspective on the Garonne.
Chemin du Rouquey, 33310 Lormont Free parking, bus 91 or 92, stop: Quai Dupeyron, Bateaux CUB