Lac de Lacanau
St. Andrew's Cathedral
Lacanau (French Atlantic Coast), central beach
BORDEAUX, FRANCE - APRIL 4, 2011: French people walking on Grand Theatre square
view of Cordouan lighthouse at low tide, Gironde estuary, France
A week in Aquitaine from Bordeaux to Pauillac
This is a beautiful week-long tour to share with family or friends and discover the wonders of the Atlantic coast. Head off by car from Bordeaux for a journey through some of the most beautiful spots of the coast and Médoc.
On the agenda: bike rides, magnificent views of the coast, tasting the grands crus of Bordeaux and discovering the local wildlife. At the end of your tour, you arrive in Pauillac where beautiful chateaux await your visit.
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Your tour in Aquitaine starts in Bordeaux. The schedule for this tour doesn’t allow you to spend several days in Bordeaux, so we recommend the absolute musts to go and see before taking to the road. Don’t miss the Grand Théâtre, the Place de la Comédie, St-André Cathedral and its royal door, the view from the Pey-Berland Tower or from the St-Michel spire, the Aquitaine museum, the Place de la Bourse, the quays and the Miroir d’Eau before going to taste some grand crus (in moderation!).
If you’re with the children, you can enjoy the events at Bordeaux World Heritage, visit the Museum of Aquitaine and Planète Bordeaux (in Beychac), enjoy a visit of the city by horse-drawn carriage, have fun on the Miroir d’Eau and its fog effect fountain or finally visit Cap Sciences or the Museum of Tour de France Champions.
At the end of the day, it’s time to leave Bordeaux to head for Andernos-les-Bains where you can spend the night.
MyTripTailor Tip: On the 1st Sunday of the month, the city centre is closed to cars. To park in the city, you have the choice of 27 parking car parks (15,000 places).
You wake up on day two in Andernos. Sheltered at the bottom of the bay, the site has been inhabited since prehistoric times. With 4.6km of beaches and its casino, it’s a major seaside resort and extremely lively in season.
In the city centre, the Maison Louis-David (19th century villa), which houses a small museum (objects discovered on the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa) and temporary art exhibitions, is worth a glance.
In front of the beach and next to the small St-Éloi church (11th century apse), are the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa of the 4th century. From the pier (the longest in France at 232m!), are beautiful views of the Arcachon bay, the oyster harbour, the marina and all the beaches.
You leave this beautiful seaside resort to reach Lacanau by the end of the day.
MyTripTailor Tip: Different tours allow you to admire the old villas, various attractions of the resort and the natural site of Quinconces. You can even get acquainted with mud skates, used to cross the muddy shores or to raise the silted shells. Details are available at the tourist office.
A landscape of pines, dunes and a long ribbon of fine sandy beachesis what awaits when you wake in Lacanau.
Facing the ocean, the resort was developed at the foot of dunes covered with maritime pines. There is no excuse not to walk the « lèdes » (sandy valleys covered with high forests) and Lacanau’s 14km of beaches. For the more sporty, there is 120km of cycle paths along the coastal pine forest. There are several well-known surf spots: Central, North, South and Super South beaches (to be chosen according to the movements of sandbanks).
Next head for the lake where you can cover the northern end on foot or by bike (between Lacanau and Les Nerps).
You will reach Lège-Cap-Ferret at the end of the day.
MyTripTailor Tip: Ask at the tourist offices for “Tout P’tit Carnet” and “Les aventures du P’tit explorer”, every Thursday of the summer (€5) for family
You wake up on this 4th day at Cap Ferret, a seaside resort located on the narrow strip of land between the sea and bay.
The course runs for about twenty kilometers. On the program: bike rides in the pine forest (there are bike paths in the Lège forest), calm bathing in the bay or the more stormy ocean side (the beaches of the Horizon and Truc Vert in Cap-Ferret, the Grand Crohot at Lege-Océan are monitored in season).
If all this sport has built up your appetite, go and sample oysters in the small open-air restaurants (near the Belisaire pier) … a real holiday program!
You will then take the course towards Saint-Estèphe.
MyTripTailor Tip: an educational trail has been set up between Horizon Beach and pointe du Cap-Ferret. The dune is a protected natural area, you can follow naturalistic visits to discover the site.
Upon waking at Saint-Estèphe, you can visit the village dominated by a singule church of Romanesque origin and Baroque interior.
The village is located on a hillock in the centre of a sea of vines. Photography lovers will be well catered for. The prot offers views of the Gironde, the marsh and the coasts of Blaye.
Make the most of your visit the Chateau Loudenne. This charming 17th century charterhouse belonged to two Britons for 125 years, until its purchase in 2000. The terrace opens onto English gardens (including a rose garden-conservatory) which gently roll down to the estuary, where you’ll find a small private port of the property. The Victorian cellars house a museum that reconstructs the art of winemaking (tools and old objects) and the vine (an interesting “four seasons” mural).
There’s the option to sample the wines of Chateau Loudenne (Cru Bourgeois of Médoc) as well as those from the Lafragette family’s other properties (Château de l’Hospital, in the heart of Graves, and Château de Rouillac in the pessac-léognan appellation). All in moderation of course as you will be taking to the road at the end of the day in the direction of Soulac!
MyTripTailor Tip: From the port of St-Estèphe, don’t miss the views of the Gironde, the marsh and the coasts of Blaye.
At the end of the 19th century, the huge rise in sea bathing prompted the development of hundreds of little houses that give the resort its incredible charm. The sea is just a few steps away, as well as the forest: offering the contrast of lazing on the beach and walks under the pine trees.
You can visit the Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres basilica before visiting the old village. The Rue de la Plage, between the basilica and the seafront is the centre point: in this pedestrianised area, you will find shops, including the covered central market, and the tourist office. From the waterfront, you can reach the Museum of Art and Archeology (near the casino) to the west and the Mémorial de la Forteresse (near the pool) to the east.
After lunch, head towards the Pointe de Grave and the Cordouan lighthouse which definitely warrants a visit.
Next, drive to Le Teich for the night.
MyTripTailor Tip: Allow half a day for the visit toi Soulac and the same for the recommended tour between the sea and estuary.
The Teich is best known for its bird sanctuary. Here, they help to save endangered wild bird species and preserve their natural environment. You can discover European birdlife by crossing the four theme parks: Parc des Artigues, Parc de la Moulette, Parc de Causseyre and Parc Claude-Quancard.
You can choose from several pedestrian routes, the longest reaching 6km; all are signposted and marked with observation posts to gaze at the Arcachon Bay. Binoculars recommended!
The last stage of your tour: Pauillac. This city is best known as an important winemaking centre, famous for its illustrious Crus such as the lafite-rothschild, latour and mouton-rothschild castles, as well as a cooperative, La Rose Pauillac, the oldest in the Médoc. Leave the car at the car park and go and enjoy some great wines!
MyTripTailor Advice: guided tours of the chateaux can be booked.
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