Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? An honest review

As with all major cities in Europe, Bordeaux also offers her visitors a city pass. During your selected time frame, you have access to public transport and included museums. But is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? And should you get the Bordeaux Pass when you visit this city in the south of France? Here is my honest review about the pass and how to make best use of it.

Recently, I visited Bordeaux on a 4-day weekend trip. Besides copious amounts of wine tasting, I also wanted to see something of the city itself. Luckily, I had the Bordeaux City Pass, which made visiting the top sights and attractions of Bordeaux, a whole lot easier for me.

The Bordeaux Tourist office offered me a 72-hour Bordeaux City Pass to use. All my opinions are my own.

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Note: Prices of the Bordeaux City Pass, and the entrance fee for other attractions are accurate at the time of research. Prices can vary during the seasons. Always check prices yourself too.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
Pick up of the Bordeaux City Pass at the Bordeaux Tourist Office

Bordeaux Métropole City Pass

If you’re in Bordeaux for a longer period or you don’t want to visit any of the museums of Bordeaux, you don’t need the Bordeaux City Pass.

But as other first-time visitors of Bordeaux, I wanted to explore the city, see the highlights and experience Bordeaux in a short amount of time. I was happy to have the Bordeaux Tourist Pass, as I didn’t have to worry about ticket prices and could visit as much of the top attractions as possible.

But what is the Bordeaux City Pass?

It is a tourist pass that you purchase that offers free or discounted entrance to many major attractions in Bordeaux. It is offered by the Bordeaux Tourist Office and can be purchased both in the city and online.

You can buy your Bordeaux Tourist Pass via this link.

What is included in the Bordeaux City Pass?

To summerise, the following attractions are included in the Bordeaux CityPass:

  • Visit to La Cité du Vin and Les Bassins des Lumières
  • Free public transport in Bordeaux by bus, tram and river shuttle
  • 20 other museums and monuments
  • 1 guided tour of Bordeaux offered by the Bordeaux Tourist office

What is the validity of the Bordeaux Pass?

The Bordeaux City Pass comes in different formats. It is valid for an continious amount of hours, after its first use.

  • 24 hours – 1 day
  • 48 hours – 2 days
  • 72 hours – 3 days

There are different passes for adults and for youths (ages 6 till 17 years old).

If you arrive in Bordeaux on a Friday afternoon, and leave on Sunday evening, you can easily manage with the 48-hour pass.

If you want to save some money, you could choose the 24-hour pass and visit all the sights and attractions in 1 day. It will be a cramped and busy day, but it is possible.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
A glass of wine is included at Cité du Vin

What is the cost of the Bordeaux City Pass?

At the moment of research, the prices for the different Bordeaux City Passes are as following:

Bordeaux City Pass 24- hours€34.00
Bordeaux City Pass 48- hours€44.00
Bordeaux City Pass 72- hours€50.00
Bordeaux City Pass 24- hours (youth 6-17 years)€19.00
Bordeaux City Pass 48- hours (youth 6-17 years)€26.00
Bordeaux City Pass 72- hours (youth 6-17 years)€31.00

Prices included VAT and the Tourist Pass needs to be paid in Euros.

Which sights can I visit with the Bordeaux Tourist card?

You’ve come to Bordeaux to experience the city and maybe learn a thing or two about wine and the Aquitaine culture of Bordeaux. There is a whole list of museums and attractions that are included in the Bordeaux City Pass. These might change over time, so always check before setting out.

La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux

The famous museum of wine in Bordeaux is THE top attraction of the city if you want to learn about wine, about Bordeaux wines and have some wine tastings.

The catch to the free entrance to La Cité du Vin museums, is that you have to enter the museum before noon.

The museums opens most days at 10 am, so you have 2 hours to enter the place. Once inside, you can stay as long as you like. The museum closes at 7 pm each day.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
Early morning arrival at La Cité du Vin

Les Bassins des Lumières in Bordeaux

If you’re looking for something fun and immersive to do in Bordeaux, then head to the Bassins des Lumières. Located in old submarine bunkers, this is an art- and light show, displayed on the walls of the bunkers.

At the time of my visit, they displayed art from Salvador Dali, the famous Spanish artist, and Gaudi, another Spanish favorite.

There is no time restraint to enter and it is fairly close to the wine museum, so you can easily combine these two Bordeaux attractions in one go.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
Spectacular sound and light show at the Basins des Lumières in Bordeaux

Free public transport on busses, trams and the river shuttle

Another major advantage of the Bordeaux City pass, is that you get free public transport in and around Bordeaux. It is valid during your chosen timeframe on buses, tramlines and even the river shuttle.

As single tickets for the trams and buses are fairly cheap, €1,70 at the moment and are valid for 1-hours. But if your feet are hurting from all the sight seeing, or you want to visit some attractions further afield, the buses and trams in Bordeaux are super easy, convenient and they go everywhere!

I made good use of the free transport in Bordeaux and went all over town by bus, tram and ever the river shuttle! A super nice and relaxed way to cross the Garonne river, and land on the other bank in no-time.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
Crossing the river by free river shuttle

1 free city tour organized by the Bordeaux Tourist office

To my surprise, the Bordeaux Tourist Pass also includes 1 free city tour, organized by the Bordeaux Tourist Office.

The tours can only be booked at the Bordeaux Tourist office and are subject to availability, but example of tours to choose from are:

  • Tour of Bordeaux by Electric Tourist Train
  • Guided Walking Tour of Bordeaux’s old town
  • Open Bus Tour – Hop on Hop off Bordeaux
  • Boat Tour on the Garonne River

Besides these city tours, the Bordeaux City Pass also offers other tours and discounts for tours in the area of Bordeaux. These chance depending on the season, but some examples:

  • Guided Tour of Saint-Emilion
  • Guided Tour of the Citadel of Blaye
  • Arcachon Bunker Tour
  • Discounts on guided wine tours and discounts on other river cruises

If you add any of these tours to your list of things to do in Bordeaux, you really get a great sense of the city, and make very good use of your CityPass.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
Discounted wine tour at the Chateau Pape Clement

Over 20 museums and attractions in Bordeaux and surrounding

Are you done visiting the two top attractions in Bordeaux, traveling around town by public transport and joining the free city tour?And you still have time left? Then you might want to see the other museums and attractions that are included in the Bordeaux City pass.

  • Bordeaux Wine and Trade Museum
  • The Bordeaux Museum
  • Aquitaine Museum
  • Museum of fine arts
  • CAPC Contemporary Art Museum

and many more.

Although the entrance is only a few Euros, with the Bordeaux City pass, you’ll also get free entrance to the

  • Cailhau Gate – Porte Cailhau (one of Bordeaux’s city gates with a small museum)
  • Pey-Berland Tower (the tower next to the Cathedral – reservation is mandatory)

Besides free access to these 2 Bordeaux landmarks, the CityPass also offers discounts on other attractions in the city and surrounding area. Whenever you visit something, always check if you can save a few euros with your Bordeaux City pass.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
The tower next to the cathedral offers amazing views of Bordeaux

How to use the City Card in Bordeaux

I found the pass very easy to use. It is a small plastic card, the size of a bank card and can easily be scanned on public transport.

At the different museums and sights, you just hand over the Bordeaux City Card and they scan it for validity. You do get a ticket to enter the museums, but you don’t have the pay for it.

Do keep in mind that the pass is valid for the number of hours that you choose. The clock starts ticking the moment you use it for the first time. You can only visit each attraction once.

Calculations to see if the Bordeaux City Pass is worth it

Ok, now that we know how the Bordeaux city pass works, what is included and how to get it. Let’s see if it is really worth it.

Please keep in mind that you should always check accurate entrance prices and make your own calculations, do decide if the Bordeaux Pass is worth it to you.

This is what I did with my pass, during the 72-hours.

Name of the attractionCosts of the attraction
Bordeaux City Pass 72-hours€50.00
Transport in Bordeaux: 10x– €17.00
La Cité du Vin– €22.00
Bassins des Lumières– €15.00
20% discount Tour & Tasting at Château Pape Clément– €4.00
Free entrance at Cailhau Gate– €5.00

As you can see, with just the transport and the 2 major attractions of Cité du Vin and Bassins des Lumières, I already would have broken even.

Unfortunately, the schedules for the free walking tour (€12) or the hop on hop off bus (€12.50) didn’t work for me. I also wanted to visit the Aquitaine Museum (€8.00) but it was closed when I had time to visit.

I think you can see, you can save some money with the Bordeaux City Pass, if you plan on visiting these sights and make use of the public transport in Bordeaux.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
The lovely Cailhau gate that houses a small museum and view of the Garonne river

Advantages of the Bordeaux Pass

The thing I always like about these city passes is, that you don’t have to worry about money or paying for tickets during your visit.

You just pay for the pass once, and all other things are worry free. And of course, if you do it right, you save some money. And as so many museums and attractions are included, you might visit a sight or museum that you’d normally skip.

Things to note about the Bordeaux City Pass

Although I was happy to have the Bordeaux City pass and was glad to use it as much as possible, there are some things to keep in mind. And things about the pass that are open for improvement.

Physical pass from the tourist office

You buy a voucher for the pass and you need to physically pick up your pass at the Bordeaux Tourist Office. If is not possible to get the pass at the airport or any of the museums.

This means you first need to buy a transport ticket to get into town and you can only get your pass during the opening hours of the tourist office. The Bordeaux Tourist Office is located at 12 Cr du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux, France.

I found the Tourist office quite busy and chaotic and it took valuable time to wait to pick up the card. You do get a whole booklet and nice tips about sights to see and use of the card. But I much rather have a digital pass on my smartphone and use it the moment you land at the airport or arrive at the train station.

Is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? Read my honest review with practical tips for best use of your Bordeaux Pass during your first visit to the French city of Bordeaux.
I traveled all over Bordeaux by bus and tram

Make reservations for the free city tours at the tourist office

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Bordeaux, was pick up my Bordeaux City Pass. But I had no idea which tours they had during my stay and I didn’t see how to incorporate it into my busy itinerary.

There are only a limited number of tours, and the tours vary, depending on the days of the weeks and the seasons. You really need to check at the tourist office and make your reservations there.

Also, reservations for the Pey-Berland Tower are mandatory and the spots are reserved very quickly. I couldn’t make a reservation and unfortunately, didn’t climb the tower because of this.

You still need to get tickets at the museums

I entered the Cite du Vin museum and followed the signs for the exhibition. When I arrived at the digital turnstile, my CityPass card was declined. It turned out, I still had to go wait in line and get a ticket at the ticket booth.

Just a minor inconvenience, but in my opinion, an easy fix for quick fast-track access.

All in all, these things are not major deal breakers to buy the City Pass of Bordeaux, but some things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Bordeaux.

General conclusion: is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it?

So, is the Bordeaux City Pass worth it? I’d say: yes! If you visit Bordeaux for the first time and want to see and explore as much of the city and her museums as possible, then I recommend getting the City card of Bordeaux.

You pay only once for all included attractions, and save money for your trip. You also don’t have to worry about tickets for public transport and can explore the city without buying any more tickets.

Although the pass can do with some upgrades, like the location of pick-up points or even going to a fully digital-only pass, I do recommend anyone visiting Bordeaux to get the Bordeaux City Pass.

Get your Bordeaux City Pass via this link.

Are you planning to visit Bordeaux soon? Besides drinking wines, what are you plans? Would you or would you not buy the Bordeaux city pass? Let me know in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you.

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