If you’re traveling to the Olympics this year, carve out some time to explore France before or after the games. Paris is incredible, but there’s so much more to France. I recommend visiting Bordeaux, the stunning capital of the southwest of France. If you decide to make it a road trip, here are a few charming places to stop between Paris and Bordeaux. Each destination offers a unique experience with delightful activities, great restaurants, and cozy hotels for a restful night. Enjoy the journey through these picturesque stops between two bustling cities.

Where to stop between Paris and Bordeaux – plan your road trip

Blois and Château de Chambord

Located just 2 hours from Paris and easily accessible by train, Blois is a key town in the Loire Valley. This city is steeped in history, showcased at the Royal Château de Blois and its captivating sound and light show, held from April to September. Blois also boasts other cultural treasures like the House of Magic, the Foundation of Doubt, and the ever-changing art on the Denis-Papin staircase. A short drive from Blois takes you to the iconic Renaissance Château de Chambord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest castle in the Loire Valley.”

I recommend sleeping in La Maison du Carroir, which is a lovely B&B located in central Blois.

Amboise 

Amboise is a captivating town along the Loire River, ideally positioned between Paris and Bordeaux. Its charm lies in its rich history and stunning landscapes. The Royal Château of Amboise is a must-visit, housing the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci. Nearby, the Château du Clos Lucé, where da Vinci spent his final years, now serves as a museum showcasing his life and inventions. You can book your tickets here.

The town is known for its picturesque streets, vibrant cafes, and local markets. Don’t miss the Château Gaillard, a lesser-known gem with beautiful Renaissance gardens. For wine enthusiasts, Amboise offers delightful wine-tasting experiences, especially at Caves Ambacia. Amboise is a perfect stop for exploring historical landmarks and enjoying the serene beauty of the Loire Valley​. From Amboise, you can also take a fun guided day trip to the surrounding chateaux.

There are many great hotels in Ambois near the city center, like the B&B Le Clos de la Commanderie or Chambres D’hôtes Les Ambaciales

Chinon

Chinon, located in the Indre-et-Loire department of Centre-Val de Loire, is a charming and historically significant town on the banks of the Vienne River. Renowned for its rich history, Chinon features notable Renaissance châteaux, including the Royal Fortress of Chinon, a prominent historical landmark offering insights into the region’s royal past. Visitors can explore Chinon’s old town, enjoy scenic bike rides along the river, and indulge in the town’s vibrant cultural life, including local markets and cozy cafés. 

Chinon is also famed for its wine region, producing some of the finest wines in the Loire Valley. Notable wineries such as Cave Monplaisir offer a chance to sample the region’s celebrated wines. Another recommended winery in Chinon is Pierre & Bertrand Couly. With its blend of history, culture, and viticulture, Chinon is one of the best places to stop between Paris and Bordeaux.

You can stay at the lovely B&B Domaine de Givré situated on a 15th-century estate, The highly recommended Au Relais Saint Maurice, or at the cute Hôtel Rive Sud. 

Angles-sur-l’Anglin

Angles-sur-l’Anglin is a picturesque village nestled along the river Anglin, making it a serene stop between Paris and Bordeaux. Known for its medieval charm and well-preserved architecture, this village is labeled as one of the most beautiful villages in France

Angles sur l'Anglin one of the best places to stop between Paris and Bordeaux
The castle of Angles sur l’Anglin – by Lost in Bordeaux

Its most impressive landmark is the 12th-century Angles-sur-l’Anglin Castle (or its ruins to be precise), a rocky outcrop overlooking the village. Visitors can wander through narrow cobblestone streets lined with timber-framed houses, visit art galleries showcasing local talent, or simply relax by the tranquil river banks. Angles-sur-l’Anglin promises a delightful blend of history, art, and natural beauty.

You can sleep in La Ligne, a great B&B t with its great breakfast, or the fabulous Montenaut guest house that sits in a 12th-century castle. 

Valencay

Located in the Indre department at the heart of the Loire Valley, Valençay is famous for the magnificent Château de Valencay. Once a residence of French royalty, including Napoleon’s foreign minister, the château boasts beautifully furnished rooms, expansive gardens, and a fascinating museum. The Château is open for visitors all year round, offering an exciting tour, punctuated with fun activities for children inside and in the gardens, such as the small farm and animal park with deer in the wild. During the summer season, you can take a candlelit tour of the castle, led by costumed actors.

The city has some other attractions you can visit, such as The Musee de l’Automobile, which showcases a remarkable collection of vintage cars, and of course, be sure to enjoy the local wine and Valencay’s well-known goat cheese (called Le Valencay)! 

For the night, stay over at the B&B Aux Portes du Château, or Villa Esperanza, both Situated just near the Château de Valencay.

Poitiers

Located halfway between Paris and Bordeaux, Poitiers, which is known as the “Ville aux cent clochers” (City of Hundred Bell Towers), is a perfect place to visit. The city’s historic center is full of ancient ruins, medieval palaces, and museums, such as the Poitiers Cathedral and the iconic Notre-Dame-la-Grande church. 

Poitiers, Église Notre-Dame la Grande
Église Notre-Dame la Grande in Poitriers. Credit: PMRMaeyaert

I recommend visiting Îlot Tison, the city’s renewed park, located on the banks of the Clain. It is the green lung of the city that offers lots of cultural events and activities. When the weather is good, you can swim at the natural swimming pool, try canoeing or paddling, and visit la Guinguette Pictave. You can read more about the water activities here

One of Poitiers’ main attractions is the Futuroscope theme park, located about a 20-minute drive from Poitiers, and there’s a direct train from! The park is open daily from February to October, on weekends during November and December. See all your ticket options here.  For more info about the park and accommodations near it, you can check my article “The best theme and amusement parks in Southwest France”.

For accommodation near the city center, I recommend Logis Hôtel de l’Europe or Hôtel Mercure Poitiers Centre. If you prefer a more luxurious experience, a bit far from the center, there is the 4-star hotel Chateau du Clos de la Ribaudiere

Saint Benoît du Sault

Located in the heart of the Val-de-Loire region atop a granite outcrop overlooking the Portefeuille River, Saint-Benoît-du-Sault enchants visitors as one of France’s designated Most Beautiful Villages. Its winding cobbled streets invite leisurely exploration, revealing the village’s timeless charm. Dominating the skyline is the Romanesque Saint-Jean-Baptiste church, a testament to its medieval heritage. Nearby, the ruins of the Château de Brosse monastery add to the area’s historical allure. Saint-Benoît-du-Sault is a great place to an interesting and easy stop between Paris and Bordeaux. captivating destination for history and culture enthusiasts alike.

For accommodation, I recommend Les chambres Fleuries, a cozy and quiet B&B. 

Coulon – Marais Poitevin

Nestled on the northern edge of the Marais Poitevin, famously dubbed ‘the Green Venice’ for its network of serene canals and waterways, Coulon stands as the bustling capital of this unique region. Originally a Gallo-Roman estate that evolved into a thriving rural town by the 11th century, Coulon today beckons visitors to explore its tranquil marshlands by renting a boat or canoe. Navigating the intricate maze of waterways is made accessible with maps provided at the docks, though guided tours offer an alternative for those seeking expert insight into this 

Coulon - Marais Poitevin - a great place on the road from Paris to Bordeaux
Coulon – Marais Poitevin – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you want to stay the night in the region, Hotel au Marais, is a cute place located alongside the Sèvre Niortaise Canal. Another lovely opinion in the center of Coulon is Logis Le Central

Saintes 

Nestled on the serene banks of the Charente River, Saintes is a charming ancient town renowned for its rich Roman heritage. Visitors can explore remarkable archaeological sites such as the iconic Arch of Germanicus, a testament to Roman engineering, and the well-preserved Gallo-Roman amphitheater. Another highlight is the Abbaye-aux-Dames, founded in 1047, which now serves as a cultural hub known as the Cité de la Musique. This impressive monument hosts a variety of musical activities for both children and adults, including guided tours and educational programs starting in March. Annually, the Abbaye hosts a classical music festival, attracting renowned artists for a weekend of enchanting performances.

Abbaye-aux-Dames in Saintes
Abbay aux Dames in Saintes – by Lost in Bordeaux

Hôtel Des Messagerie is a good hotel in the city center.  Another great option is to take a room at the Abbaye itself (Les Chambres de l’Abbaye).

Cognac

Located in the South West of France, not far from Saintes, Cognac is a great place to visit if you are traveling between Bordeaux and Paris. Cognac is, of course, known for its luxurious spirit but beyond its renowned distilleries, the city offers lots of other things to see and do. The charming Old City has impressive architecture, great local cuisine, and warm hospitality. You can discover the art of cognac-making, tasting, and blending with tours at esteemed distilleries like Hennessy, Meukow, and Camus. Check out my article “Top 10 things to do in Cognac” in case you decide to stop there. 

There are many recommended hotels in the center of Cognac, such as Logis des Tourelles, Hôtel Chais Monnet & Spa or the more simple Hôtel Quai des Pontis.

That’s it for my list of the best places to stop between Paris in Bordeaux! Enjoy the Olympic season and I hope that you get the chance to discover at least a few sports along this beautiful road trip!

Author

Write A Comment