In summer 2016 we drive to France, more precisely to Bordeaux. From there we explore not only the city, but also the vineyards in the area and the Atlantic coast.
The first day we start with a walk along the Garonne, Café au lait and a crispy croissant (which, incidentally, taste superfine everywhere, from the smallest coffee shop at the corner to fine restaurants). It’s Sunday and near the market hall, an antique market takes place. We stroll through the Old Town and get a first overview.
Along the wine road, we go to Saint Émilion next day. The village and the surrounding vineyards are among the most famous in the south-west of France and have been Unesco world cultural heritage since 1999. Along the route, beautiful chateaus invite to wine-tastings. We are on the road very early, so we can walk through the still quiet historic streets of the village, take a look at the galleries and artisan shops and, of course, taste some wine. From noon - when the tourist buses arrive - it gets very crowded here. But then we are already driving back through the vineyards and enjoy the great landscape.
We decide to explore Bordeaux by Bus. The Miroir d'Eau at Place de la Bourse, where the children and adults play in the shallow waters, the Grand Théatre, the Monument aux Girondins, the Porte Cailhau or the Ponte de Pierre are just some of the stations we visit. We are surprised how much the city, which is also world cultural heritage, has to offer. We finish this day on board of a sightseeing boat driving towards the sunset and enjoying fine drinks and food.
As you walk along the Quay Marquess, you can see the Pont Jacques Chaban-Delmas bridge and the futuristic Cité du Vin experience museum. The shape of the building is reminiscent of the movement of the wine in a glass. The entrance fee of 20, - Euro also includes a lift to the top floor and a glass of wine. When booking, day and time must be specified to avoid long waiting times. The many interactive stations bring you closer to the history of wine - absolutely worth seeing!
In the evening we take a walk through Jardin Public making plans for the next day.
La Rochelle, a lively harbour town on the Atlantic, is on our agenda. Even from the distance, you can see the two towers, which guard the harbour and the lighthouses, one red, the other green. In the arcades, small shops and cafes invite you to stroll through. We appreciate the cool shade of the narrow streets because we have chosen a particularly hot week for our trip with temperatures above 35 degrees.
Same weather we have next day as we drive to the Dune du Pilat, the highest dune in Europe. The ascent is quite exhausting, but the view on top makes it worth. With a trip to Arcachon, which unfortunately is overrun on this day (it’s a bank holiday), we end the day.
Next morning we go to Biscarosse Plage. Usually, the surfers are buzzing here, but on this day there are hardly any waves so we can only watch the beginners in the surfing schools. Suddenly a fogbank comes in and finishes our beach day.
Next stop is Bergerac, which we visit after a short stopover in Libourne. The medieval town is really charming. We cool down with a boat trip on the calmly flowing Dordogne.
Once again we drive to Biscarosse. We discover that there is not only the beach but also a nice town and a lake. AND - quite unexpectedly, we find a French restaurant with homemade food. No usual tourist menus are offered. It’s the first time that we really feel like eating locally. Simply good, down-to-earth cuisine!
We end our holidays with fine drinks in the "Night Beach", the rooftop bar at Grand Hotel Bordeaux.
We are absolutely positively surprised. Bordeaux is a great city, which not only has a lot to offer culturally and in which you find many opportunities for shopping, the location is also an ideal starting point for excursions in the surroundings. Vineyards, medieval towns and the nearby Atlantic ocean give you a lot of variety. As there is also a large university in Bordeaux a lot of young people live here. The prejudice of having to speak French in France has not been true. Everywhere one tried to help us in German or English, as soon as our bad French did not reach anymore.
Our top ten tips:
- Cité du Vin, www.laciteduvin.com
- Night Beach at the Grand Hotel, Night Beach
- Saint Emilion and wine tasting, www.saint-emilion-tourisme.com
- Boat trips on the Garonne and/or Dordogne. If you do not want to go on an excursion boat, you can also rent a kayak. Book here
- The Market Hall Marché des Capucins
- Biscarosse Plage for surfing, the Atlantic Ocean has only 16 degrees in the summer - so it is only suitable for swimming if you like it very fresh, www.biscarrosse.com
- Wave Surf Café for indoor surfing - you just have to try it out
- Sundowner at IBAÏA Café
- Fresh canelés, the sweet speciality from Bordeaux