When you think of Bordeaux, you think of wine, but this French city is so much more than just good wine. Lying in the southern French region of Aquitaine, Bordeaux has been award with many different prestigious prizes. Last year winning best European destination of 2015. Yet, Bordeaux is only one of many places in this region which one will fall in love with. Explore the Medieval towns of Saint-Emilion and Bergerac, take a jumping photo on Europe’s largest sand dune and overindulge with french culture in cuisine in the village of Benevent L’Abbaye. Where does one start? We have collected the best tips from beloved travel bloggers to keep you under control.
Bordeaux – it leaves you changed
Written by Carol Cain, www.girlgonetravel.com
My first true exploration of France, outside of Paris, was through the Aquitaine region. It remains one of my favorite destinations to visit. A short train ride from Paris, Bordeaux feels like a world away and it stole my heart. It’s historic sites and cobblestone streets. The food, the people, the sunsets, the streets after a sudden rainfall at night – it leaves you changed.
Cool off by the river on a hot summer day, visit the market on an early Thursday morning. Immerse yourself in the history of its local wine at the École du vin de Bordeaux, then travel out to the countryside to taste it all.
Stop in Medieval towns such as Saint Emilion and Bergerac and take a walk back in time.
There are many, many beautiful destinations in France, all unique in their own way, all of which should be explored. But for me, there’s nothing like starting that journey in Aquitaine.
It’s one of the most beautiful regions in France. Don’t miss it!
Written by Matt, www.Nomadicmatt.com
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble” of the 18th century. Bordeaux has some amazing food and tons of traditional restaurants. When opting for one of these restaurants, you should budget between 27-50 EUR, depending what you get and how much wine you drink. My two favorite restaurants are La Tupina and Le Petit Commerce.
Cuisine tip: Grab a cheap bottle of Bordeaux from one of their numerous wine shops on the street and have a glass while walking around to see monuments and historic buildings. Walking around Bordeaux is a great way to experience the architecture and people watch. Bordeaux is small enough to walk around.
A day trip to Dune de Pyla – This sand dune is located an hour outside Bordeaux in Pyla Sur Mer, a resort town where many of France’s well to do “summer.” The Dune de Pyla is the largest sand dune in Europe and is the result of winds eroding one shore of the bay and blowing the sand over the other. The dune provides great views. It’s a pain to walk up, though really fun to run down!
It’s one of the most beautiful cities and regions in France. Don’t miss it – especially if you love wine!
I spent 2 and a half days wining, dining, walking and wining (again)
Written by Kamila Zawadzka, www.londonnewgirl.com
I stayed in Chartrons, a very charming area of the Old Town known for its great antique shops, which was perfect for being close to everything yet being away from the crowds.
Bordeaux is well connected with trams and buses to get you most places, but I’d highly recommend walking to soak up as much of the beautiful streets as possible. You can hire a Vcub bicycle for around €1.50 p/day too, the system is just like London’s Boris Bikes, and regional trains will take you to nearby towns including the popular Saint Emilion, as well as cross-country.
Saint-Émilion is one of the most famous winery areas of Bordeaux, located 35km’s to the north-east, it’s a listed UNESCO World Heritage site.
There are some half-day and full-day Wine tasting tours which leave from Bordeaux that can take you there. I spent 2 and a half days wining, dining, walking and wining (again). We decided that the only way to taste all the wine was to go wine bar hopping through the Old Town, on a mission to try as many as we possibly could! Some of my favourites included:Le Wine Bar, Chez Fred, Cambridge pub. Bordeaux has so much good food that I had a huge case of FOMO, wanting to try everything that was recommended to me by the locals. Three delicious and affordable restaurants are: Chez Karl, Le Petit Bois, La Cagette.
Bennevent L’Abbaye – where the simplest of things still yield the greatest of pleasures
Written by Shikha, www.whywasteanannualleave.com
The drive from the airport saw us enveloped in undulating, rolling, lime green landscapes. About five cars fell into the periphery of our vision on the journey, deeming it a “busy” day by local standards. Locals greet you as you walk down the street and with charming village post offices, doctor’s clinics and quintessentially French boulangeries, charcuteries and patisseries.
The village name, Benevent L’Abbaye, translates literally to the “Good Wind” and it is an important location along the Pilgrim route in Europe by virtue of its abbey. Unlike so many other Catholic churches and abbeys I had seen before, this one is simple, understated and earthy, the cool ashen stone giving us some light relief from the midday heat.
Forget corporate fizzy drinks, here we sipped on al fresco violet cordial at Le Colimacon Bleu Salon du The, a tea room with one of the most eclectic collections of loose leaf teas that I’ve seen anywhere in the world, including Lassi, Rose and Masala and a cocoa nibs flavour (which I first tried at a gourmet chocolate afternoon tea).
La Creuse is a predominantly agricultural area. It is an easy-going, rural life, where the simplest of things still yield the greatest of pleasures – the family Sunday lunches, the fruit trees in the orchards, a coffee and a cake in the village. The vibe here is as casual as the dress sense.
A nearby town is Gueret, a larger town than Benevent L’Abbaye but retaining the narrow cobbled roads, a municipal hall and a large central fountain. A selection of boutique clothes and shoe shops line the streets as does a charming little chocolate cafe. We enjoyed a lazy and sun-soaked stroll but it would be worth visiting on a Saturday or weekday to see the town come into its own.
I sampled a few French delicacies including a goats cheese fougasse, éclairs and macarons and Mum tried a slice of Tropezienne cake. It’s the abundance of light but delicious fresh cream in cakes that I think truly distinguishes British cakes from French pastries.
Later that evening, we were treated to homemade cherry Clafoutis, which I learned is a delicacy from the Limousin district itself. At the small family run La Pailotte restaurant, the waterside views at dusk were seductive but the vibe inside the bar bustling, the perfect combination for us.
I tried duck gizzard for the first time in a salad that was one of the best I’ve ever tried. The dishes rarely change but the loyal customer-base they have earned love them just the way they are.