All About The Famous Bordeaux Wine Museum: Cité du Vin

“Bordeaux” is a name with dual significance—it’s both a major French city and a renowned wine. It makes perfect sense, then, that Bordeaux should be home to one of the biggest and best wine museums in the world: the Cité du Vin, or City of Wine. If you have a passion for wine, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this Bordeaux wine museum during your trip.

Here are a few things to know about the Cité du Vin to best plan your visit to this excellent museum.

wine from Bordeaux
The Cité du Vin celebrates wine from Bordeaux, and also from around the world. Photo credit: Pxhere

The famous Bordeaux wine museum: A brief history

The Cité du Vin opened in 2016, the culmination of an effort begun in 2009 by the Bordeaux-based Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilizations. They wanted to create a “cultural tourist center for wine.”

This museum is certainly a must-see for oenophiles and beginner wine enthusiasts who are visiting the area, especially if you aren’t able to go on a wine tour of the Bordeaux region. And even if you’re not much of a wine drinker, the interactive exhibits are fun and interesting (and you may end up learning something, too).


wine museum bordeaux

A “city of wine” in a wine city

Since Bordeaux is among the most famous winemaking regions in the world, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the Cité du Vin is a museum about Bordeaux’s wines specifically. It’s a museum about wine from all around the world, including the history, culture, production, and consumption aspects of wine (though there is one section dedicated to Bordeaux’s famous wines).

But the first thing you’ll notice about the Cité du Vin is the building itself. It’s distinctly modern, all curved lines and reflective surfaces, in stark contrast to Bordeaux’s nearby historic center. According to the museum’s official website, the swirling structure calls to mind “gnarled vine stock, wine swirling in a glass, eddies on the Garonne,” and is evocative of “wine’s soul and liquid nature.”

If all of that sounds a little pretentious, and you’re afraid it’s a sign the museum is, too, you don’t need to worry. The museum is inviting and interactive—which makes learning about wine something that anyone can enjoy, regardless of how much (or how little) wine knowledge you bring with you.

facade of museum
The museums curved lines and reflective surfaces contrast greatly with Bordeaux’s historic center. Photo credit: Gwenaël A.

Exhibitions in the Cité du Vin

The permanent exhibition at Cité du Vin features 18 sections showcasing stunning aerial imagery, informative videos on winemaking terroirs, and insights into food and wine pairings. Additionally, the museum offers temporary exhibitions, interactive touch screens with free audio guides, and engaging video components.

Explore the museum’s diverse attractions, including tasting rooms, restaurants, a gift shop, and a well-stocked wine shop. Don’t miss the opportunity to receive expert wine advice, take a personality quiz to find your perfect wine match, or test your knowledge with food and wine pairing quizzes.

wine being poured
Bordeaux has a long history of winemaking, and a museum that honors it.

Tasting wine with all five senses: An interactive experience

One particularly interesting area of the museum is “The Buffet of the Five Senses,” an interactive experience demonstrating the sensory aspects of wine tasting. Explore scent exploration stations with bell jars containing various scents, accessed by squeezing rubber balloons attached to brass trumpets. Another feature showcases colored glass gradients representing wine hues, from pale gold to deep red. The only thing missing in this “buffet” is an actual glass of wine to sip—but don’t worry, that’s next.

comparing white wine
Sip, sip, hooray.

A toast to tasting

After learning all you can about wine, it’s finally time to fill your own glass.

After your visit, head up to the 8th floor of the Cité du Vin to the spacious tasting room, called the Belvedere, with gorgeous 360-degree views over Bordeaux. You can choose from a rotating selection of 20 wines (hang onto your museum ticket; you’ll need it to enter the tasting room and get your free glass), which represent the many wine regions featured in the museum.

Insider’s Tip: The museum also offers small-group wine tasting workshops, which may be presented in French, English, or Spanish (the French workshops typically offer an audio guide for other languages so people can follow along). These are separate from your museum visit, with a separate fee that includes the wines discussed in the workshop.

white wine being poured into two glasses
Checking out the wine museum Bordeaux is a must if you’re a wine fanatic.

Purchasing wine at the museum

If a small sample leaves you wanting more, stop in the museum’s own wine cellar (which is actually on the ground floor and not a cellar): Latitude20. There are more than 800 different wines representing 70 countries available for purchase—including budget-friendly bottles. Latitude20 also operates a wine bar in the museum.

For a memorable dining experience, head to Restaurant Le 7 on the museum’s 7th floor. With panoramic views of Bordeaux, the seasonal menu highlights local ingredients, complemented by a wine list featuring 500 bottles from around the world, with over 30 by-the-glass options.

No museum tour required for Restaurant Le 7 reservations. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, snag a window seat at sunset for a breathtaking view.

sharing white wine
If you’re looking for great wine, you’ll find a selection of 800+ different wines representing 70 countries available for purchase at the Bordeaux wine museum.

Want even more? Join us on our Bordeaux Ultimate Food Tour where you’ll explore famous historical sites and learn about centuries of global trade that have shaped the city’s unique cuisine, while visiting small, local businesses to delve into its vibrant food scene and winemaking traditions. See you there!

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