Great trip to the south of France

Great trip to the south of France

What do you know about the southwest of France? It is here that vineyards coexist with orchards, the ocean coexists with mountain ranges, and in picturesque villages you can see medieval churches and abbeys at every turn.

Traveling to this region can be an incredible experience and will reveal to you a France that is not like Paris or the Cote d’Azur, but is not without its provincial charm. In this material we will talk about New Aquitaine – a region that is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and borders Spain.

How to get there

There are two international airports in the region: Bordeaux-Merignac and Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne. There are no direct flights from Russia; you can fly with a transfer in Istanbul. There are also express trains from Paris to Bordeaux: the journey takes only two hours.

Historic cities


Great trip to the south of France

The capital of the region and a city with a long history, museums, wine bars and ancient cathedrals. There is even an exhibition center set up in the bunkers of the BETASOM base, which was formerly used to park submarines. A significant part of the historical center is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a “unique urban and architectural ensemble of the Age of Enlightenment” (under the name “Port of the Moon”).

Wine lovers will especially like it here – they will tell you about it at the La Cité du Vin museum, and for a tasting, go to the art deco bar with the simple name Le Bar à Vin, famous for its stained glass windows and mosaics. There are many wine chateaus around the city, where you can not only try the drink, but also watch the process of its production. And next to one of these chateaus called Smith Haut-Lafitte, the Les Sources de Caudalie wine spa was opened.

Where to stay in Bordeaux

In the apartments LA Sainte Catherine — Place de Parking (rating 9.7) — from 14,300 rubles per day*.

In the guest house La Maison Manège Bordeaux Center (rating 10) — from 15,500 rubles per night*.

In a five-star hotel InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel (rating 10) – from 36,800 rubles per day*.


Great trip to the south of France

A place once loved by kings. In the quiet tiny town, which rather resembles a village, time seems to have stood still: there are no modern buildings here (in the villages of Aquitaine, many live in houses of past centuries, and some buildings can be more than 400 years old). You can cross the Baize River via an arched bridge from the 16th century, and then go for a walk through the shady La Garenne park with preserved ancient sculptural fountains. There is also a small elegant castle, Chateau d’Henri IV, in the courtyard of which there are the ruins of a Roman villa.

Where to stay in Neraka

At the bed and breakfast Les Terrasses du petit Nérac (rating 8.3) — from 7 800 rubles per night*.

In the three-star hotel Hôtel Henri IV (rating 9.3) — from 9,600 rubles per night*.

Glamping with glass spheres Chrysalide Saint Martin (rating 8.6) – from 21,500 rubles per day*.


Great trip to the south of France

As you might guess, this is where the alcoholic drink of the same name comes from. In the historical part of the town there are many unusual buildings built in the 15th–18th centuries: the medieval Valois castle, the churches of Saint-Léger and Saint-Martin and simply residential buildings. They stand on narrow cobbled streets and are richly decorated, including images of salamanders and gargoyles. This is where the production of such famous cognac houses is based.

Where to stay nearby

At the camping les roulottes de dilou Cerise in Mata (score 10) — from 6,800 rubles per night*.

In the guest house Villa-A in Ruillac (rating 9.8) – from 15,000 rubles per night*.

In the holiday home Le Moulin de Mansle in Mansle (rating 9.8) – from 17,300 rubles per night*.


Great trip to the south of France

The city has been known since ancient times, but reached its peak in the Middle Ages thanks to the Abbey of St. Martial, which in that historical era was the most important spiritual center where literary, poetic, artistic and musical works of the Middle Latin world were created. It was here that the famous Gregorian liturgical chant originated. The city also produced famous porcelain and ceramics.

Where to stay in Limoges

At The Originals City, Hôtel le Saint-Martial (rating 8.9) — from 9 800 rubles per night*.

At the Best Western Plus Richelieu (rating 9.0) – from 11,100 rubles per night*.


Great trip to the south of France

A small commune in the Dordogne department. It is worth finding several interesting buildings here: the Salgurd Hotel, the Mataguerre Tower and the “house on a leg”, the original name of which is Eschif, although locals often call it the “old mill”. The cathedral, named Saint-Front, is more similar to Byzantine churches rather than to French ones. They say that the architect of the famous Parisian church, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, was inspired by this very building when he created his masterpiece. If you happen to be in Périgueux, don’t be lazy and visit the Lascaux cave, which is called the Sistine Chapel of primitive painting.

Where to stay in Périgueux

In the holiday home Charmante maison de ville (rating 8.9) — from 6,600 rubles per night*.

In the five-star hotel Mercure Périgueux Center (rating 8.8) – from 10,300 rubles per day*.

Relax by the ocean

In the west of New Aquitaine, where France meets the Atlantic Ocean, there are resorts that were the favorite vacation spot of the European nobility. Now in many cities on the coastline there are villas of high-ranking officials and celebrities. The water in the ocean is expectedly cool, so swimming here is comfortable only a few months a year from June to September; the rest of the time, surfers rule the coastline.


Great trip to the south of France

The city is located in a bay, the water in which is much warmer than in the ocean. If you watched the popular French comedy melodrama “Little Secrets” with Marion Cotillard, then you will definitely remember the wonderful places where the main characters go on vacation. Stroll around the elegant villas of the 19th-century “winter town” or rent a bike (there are about 220 km of bike paths along the bay). You can watch birds in the ornithological park or explore the Landes forest – the largest green area in Western Europe.

Taste mussels in restaurants or try scraping them off the coastal rocks yourself (they say that almost the entire French elite does this on vacation, so you won’t feel stupid in this situation). You can conquer the snow-white Dune du Pilat (the largest in Europe), climb the Cap Ferret lighthouse, relax in balneotherapy centers and get acquainted with the life of fishermen by visiting a sea village with huts on stilts.

Where to stay in Arcachon

In apartments Joli T2 proche de la mer (rating 9.2) — from 8 000 rubles per night*.

In the four-star hotel Hôtel Ville d’Hiver (rating 9.0) – from 16,200 rubles per day*.

In Apartment Boulevard de la Plage (score 10) —from 73,600 rubles per day*.


Great trip to the south of France

Moving further south, you will find yourself in the commune of Biscarrosse, where there are air bases not far from the pristine beaches. This is your choice if you have always wanted to jump with a parachute or simply fly in a small plane over incredible landscapes. And they are truly amazing here: a dense green forest, similar to the tropics, is unexpectedly interrupted by a white strip of sand, which, in turn, ends with the azure infinity of the ocean.


Great trip to the south of France

The resort has long and firmly been associated with Russian travelers: Chekhov, Nabokov, Blok, Aksyonov vacationed here, and the singer Fyodor Chaliapin even had a dacha here. Winters are mild and summers are generally cool due to Atlantic winds. Worth visiting are the cliff of the Holy Virgin (Napoleon’s port of refuge), the lighthouse on Cape Saint-Martin, lakes Marion and Muriscot and the Lawes garden, as well as the Miremont confectionery, which has been operating since 1872 and once hosted the rulers of Spain and Portugal.

Where to stay in Biarritz

In the holiday home Le Doolie’s Biarritz (rating 10) — from 12,000 rubles per night*.

In the five-star hotel Hôtel du Palais (rating 9.1) – from 36,000 rubles per day*.


Great trip to the south of France

A charming port town, famous for its sandy beaches and the Hélianthal thalassotherapy center. You can come here from Biarritz on foot: it will be an excellent hike along the shore of the Bay of Biscay. Historical buildings (the Château d’Hourtubier and the Church of St. John the Baptist) are adjacent to a magnificent botanical garden, a busy port with fishermen selling seafood, elegant villas and expensive terraced restaurants.

Where to stay in Saint-Jean-de-Luz

In the three-star hotel Les Almadies (rating 9.6) — from 12,600 rubles per night*.

In the holiday home Villa Belharra (rating 10) – from 87,000 rubles per night*.


Great trip to the south of France

The French lands end with the picturesque Basque town of Hendaye. There is a port for pleasure boats where you can rent a yacht and go on a boat excursion along the Biscay coast, and several popular golf clubs are located near the sea on natural terrain. It is in Hendaye that novice surfers come to learn how to stand on the board “on the foam.”

Where to stay in Hendaye

In a three-star hotel Hotel Restaurant Santiago (rating 9.3) —from 7,400 rubles per night*.

In the guest house Villa Enara (rating 9.5) – from 14,600 rubles per day*.

La Rochelle

Great trip to the south of France

North of Arcachon there is another remarkable settlement – La Rochelle, where many medieval sights and buildings have been preserved. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was an important city in the network of the Knights Templar, who built a large port here (trade was mainly in wine and salt). The city is famous thanks to Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers, whose heroes take part in the siege of La Rochelle in 1627. In addition to the attractions, the town has several thalassotherapy centers founded in the 18th century, the pools of which are filled with sea water.

Where to stay in La Rochelle

At the hotel NUIT SUR UN BATEAU VIEUX PORT (score 10) — from 17,700 rubles per night*.

In the five-star hotel Hôtel Chais Monnet (rating 9.5) – from 19,400 rubles per night*.

*Prices are current at the time of publication.

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