Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation
Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Kid-Friendly Wineries for Little Oenophiles
If your kids show an interest in the finer details of winemaking, Bordeaux has some excellent wineries where they can learn the process hands-on. Many châteaux in Bordeaux now cater to families, offering special tours and activities tailored for children. This gives kids a chance to explore the world of winemaking in an engaging, non-intimidating way.
At Château Guiraud in Sauternes, kids can participate in a treasure hunt to find the tools of the winemaking trade. They'll hunt high and low through cellars and vineyards to locate items like secateurs for pruning and vats for fermenting grapes. Not only is it fun for kids, they'll gain an understanding of how wine is produced. The château also has grape juice on offer so children can taste as they learn.
Château Couhins-Lurton in Pessac-Léognan runs a workshop where kids can blend their own custom cuvee. Using real wine samples, they'll experiment mixing different grape varieties and percentages to create their ideal blend. The staff help guide them through the process, explaining techniques like assemblage. Kids get to name and label their custom cuvee, with a bottle to take home. It's a memorable way for budding oenophiles to gain hands-on blending experience.
If your kids are artistic, Château Pape Clément near Bordeaux does workshops where children can design their own wine labels. Using pens, pencils, paints and collage materials, they can let their creativity run wild designing artwork for their dream wine brand. It's a fun activity for those with an artistic bent, and they'll have custom wine labels as a souvenir. The château also has a kids' cooking class using grape-based recipes.
Over in Saint-Émilion, La Grappe d’Or wine shop has regular wine tasting workshops tailored specifically for children. Kids will be talked through the winemaking process in an informative yet lighthearted way. They'll learn how to distinguish different flavors and aromas. Everyone also gets to create their own "wine" using grape juice and herbs, which kids can taste. It's an interactive, educational experience, without any alcohol for the little ones.
What else is in this post?
- Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Kid-Friendly Wineries for Little Oenophiles
- Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Château Hopping by Bike Through Médoc Vineyards
- Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Hands-On Fun at La Cité du Vin Museum
- Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Picnicking & Playing at Bordeaux Riverfront Parks
- Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Toddler-Perfect Day Trips to Saint-Émilion & Blaye
Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Château Hopping by Bike Through Médoc Vineyards
Biking among the prestigious châteaux and rolling vineyards of Médoc is a memorable way for families to explore this renowned wine region together. Known as the Médoc Wine Route, a dedicated cycling path wends its way past many of the most famous wine estates of Margaux, Pauillac, St Julien and St Estèphe. It provides a fun active option for kids and adults to take in the beautiful scenery and architecture of the châteaux at a leisurely pace.
Riding the Médoc Bike Route allows you to experience the sheer expanse of vineyard land that spreads across the Médoc peninsula. As you pedal along quiet backroads, seemingly endless rows of vines extend in all directions. It gives a sense of scale to the massive wine production here. The varied architecture of the châteaux makes for fascinating viewing along the way. From the medieval turrets of Château Pichon Longueville to the sleek modern lines of Château Lafite Rothschild, no two properties are the same. Kids will enjoy picking out their favorite châteaux as you cycle past.
Several bike rental companies operate from the town of Pauillac, right in the heart of Médoc wine country. They offer rental bikes suitable for all ages, including multi-person family bikes. Helmets and child seats are also available. Helpful area maps and appropriate route recommendations based on your family’s cycling abilities make it easy to tailor the experience.
Many find a leisurely half-day of biking makes for an ideal first foray along the Route des Châteaux. Pedal along at a relaxed pace, stopping for photos or snacks whenever you please. Pull over and enjoy an impromptu picnic amid the vines at Château Pichon Baron. Let the kids run around in the yard of Château Lascombes. Have a family selfie contest on the grand entrance staircase of Château Léoville Barton. The flexibility of going by bike allows you to set your own schedule.
Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Hands-On Fun at La Cité du Vin Museum
La Cité du Vin is an ultra-modern museum in Bordeaux dedicated to the history, culture and appreciation of wine around the world. With a sleek architectural design evocative of wine swirling in a glass, it has quickly become a must-visit attraction for families travelling to Bordeaux. The interactive exhibits and hands-on activities make learning about wine experiential and engaging for kids of all ages.
Once inside, children can embark on a virtual world tour and sample wine from different countries using special scent dispensing machines. They can smell wine aromas from France, Argentina, Australia and more, developing their olfactory senses. In the ‘Wine Civilizations’ section, kids enter immersive rooms reminiscent of ancient winemaking traditions, from Mesopotamia to Ancient Greece. They’ll gain an understanding of wine’s integral role in cultures worldwide.
One of the highlights for children is acting as ‘captain’ of a virtual ship cruising down the Garonne River. They role play navigating the river just as real 18th century captains did, learning how wine commerce shaped the region. The 4D cinema provides an exhilaratingmulti-sensory viewing experience, with in-seat effects like wind and scents transporting them into the world of wine. There are even video games where kids can virtually compete harvesting grapes or serving restaurant guests.
La Cité du Vin also runs regular kids’ workshops focused on the five senses. Children touch, smell, observe and listen as they discover what gives wine its color, aroma, flavor and texture. Tasting juice (not wine) helps them grasp concepts like fruitiness and tannins. Workshops teach how to distinguish different grape varieties, or explore wine barrel-making and cork harvesting. Led by knowledgeable guides, kids gain a well-rounded multi-sensory understanding of wine.
Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Picnicking & Playing at Bordeaux Riverfront Parks
With its expansive paved quays lining the Garonne River, Bordeaux offers families miles of scenic riverfront parkland perfect for picnicking, playing, and taking in views of the city. Grab a baguette, some cheese, fruit and cookies from a nearby bakery or market, and head to one of Bordeaux’s idyllic green spaces along the river’s edge. Spread out a blanket, uncork your lemonade, and soak up some sunny family time with a picnic by the water.
Sprawling Esplanade des Quinconces is one of the most popular gathering spots, with its giant fountain and rows of towering trees offering shady respite on hot days. Let the kids run free and expend some energy in the wide open expanses. They can join groups of local kids kicking a football around while parents relax under the trees. In summertime, free outdoor entertainment like concerts, theatre performances and dance classes bring added liveliness.
Further north, the scruffy green lawns of Place des Quinconces beg for picnicking and lounging. It has become a hub for Bordelaise families, with play structures to delight the little ones just steps from spacious picnic grounds. Kids can monkey around on the climbing frames and zip down the slides while parents unpack the grub. The massive tidal pool-like Miroir d’Eau is also right next to Place des Quinconces, providing hours of waterplay fun when the fountains are flowing.
Another popular picnic and play zone is the sprawling lawns of the Jardin Public just north of the city centre. Paths wend through tranquil gardens, leading to a duck-filled pond that’s a top spot for family snaps. Kids seem to get endless amusement spotting ducks and turtles in the water. Beyond the pond are grassy fields tailor-made for frisbee, soccer, or just romping around.Grab a shady seat under a tree to keep an eye on the action as the kids scamper about.
On the Left Bank, families flock to the playgrounds and open parkland of Place Stalingrad. Kids can burn off energy on the colorful play structures and refresh in the interactive fountains. Grab a shaded bench and some ice cream from nearby kiosks to enjoy the scene. Further south around Place de la Bourse, stone steps leading down to the river’s edge are ideal for waterside picnics. Watch boats cruise by as you munch your baguette sandwiches and sip Orangina.
Le Petit Voyage: How to Keep the Whole Family Happy on a Bordeaux Vacation - Toddler-Perfect Day Trips to Saint-Émilion & Blaye
Beyond the city, two charming wine towns just a short drive from Bordeaux make for toddler-perfect day trips. The medieval village of Saint-Émilion and the port town of Blaye both offer enough sights and activities to keep the littlest travelers entertained for a day out.
Saint-Émilion's storybook streets lined with honey-hued stone buildings are straight out of a fairytale. Let kids get lost wandering the cobblestone lanes and winding alleyways. They can peer into artisan shops showcasing macarons and handcrafted toys, or pop into hidden gardens tucked amidst the nooks and crannies. At Place du Clocher in the center, children can run freely around the church square, play with the water pumps, and enjoy carousel rides.
For fantastic views over the tiled rooftops, head up the steep steps to the ruins of the medieval Monolithic Church carved directly into a limestone cliff. Kids can let their imaginations run wild playing knights and dragons amidst the castle-like ruins. The church tower offers panoramic outlooks over surrounding vineyards where kids can spot real-life horses and cows grazing below.
At La Grappe d’Or wine shop, kids can cook up special grape juice cocktails with syrups and herbs, or design their own wine labels. Just down the road, L’Atelier de Léo lets children craft their own stuffed animals or wooden toys to take home. Reward everyone's efforts with lunch al fresco at one of the cafés lining the main square.
In Blaye, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated where the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers meet, a day of family fun awaits. Start at the cliffside Citadelle of Blaye, where 17th century ramparts and tunnels overlooking the water provide a readymade playground. Kids can scamper atop the walls, explore dank cavernous passageways, and take in views clear across the Gironde Estuary from the heights.
Afterward, wander the lively Saturday market along the waterfront, sampling crepes and picking up picnic supplies. Head down to the little beach beside the Citadelle and enjoy lunch au naturel before the kids splash about in the river shallows hunting for shells and stones.