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In the last few weeks I’ve been writing a lot about places in Gironde, rather than Bordeaux itself and that’s because I really want to encourage you to discover the amazing area we live in. Gironde is the biggest department in France and one of the most varied ones in terms of what you can see and do. In my previous articles I’ve written about the beautiful beaches surrounding Bordeaux, the best parks around Bordeaux and on some great hiking trails in Gironde. Now that you know all about the magnificent nature we’re surrounded by, it’s time to explore some of the most charming villages in France! So today, I am taking a short break from nature to invite you on a journey to discover Gironde’s beautiful architecture and heritage. In this article I gathered some of the most beautiful villages in Gironde. If you follow my articles, you know that I really like variety and that’s why I included towns and villages from all over the department. Beach towns on the Atlantic coast, beautiful villages in the middle of Bordeaux’s wine routes and plenty of medieval towns in the South of Gironde. 

Castelmoron d'Albret

If you take my advice and visit these beautiful villages, I’d love it if you could use the hashtag #lostinbordeaux so I can share your photos on my stories on my Instagram page Lost_in_bordeaux. Also, come and share your experiences and get plenty of new ideas for day trips in Nouvelle Aquitaine in my Facebook group – Travel in the southwest of France

*Before we start I have an important announcement! I am upgrading my newsletter and from now on I will send a weekly email with suggestions of things to do every weekend. The email will be sent on Friday! So if you want to recieve cool plans for the weekend (especially during this period without obvious events taking place in Bordeaux) be sure to subscribe to my newsletter here

Now let’s hit the road and discover the most beautiful villages in Gironde. 

Entre deux mers and South Gironde 

I decided to start my list with the Entre deux mers region and the South of Gironde as they’re usually my go to places when I’m in a mood for beautiful medieval towns. This is one of the most beautiful parts in the southwest of France, embodying the historic and cultural richness of this region. Most of the villages on my list are located close to one another so you can visit them all in one weekend. Public transport is not extremely developed in this part of Gironde so it’s better to travel by car or bike if you like cycling a lot. I did, however, add public transport routes to  these places just for completeness.

Saint Macaire 

First on my list is Saint Macaire, a little medieval town located on the banks of the Garonne river, about 50km from Bordeaux. Saint Macaire is a very attractive destination for those interested in history and beautiful architecture. What today seems like a sleepy town in the Entre deux mers wine appellation was once an important city under British rule and was declared the “ville royale d’Angleterre” (An English royal city) in 1341. During the 13th and 14th centuries it was one of the most prosperous cities in Aquitaine due to its significant agricultural and trade activities. 

Saint Macaire - one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux

Visiting Saint Macaire can be a great half-day trip if you take the time to discover its rich heritage, the narrow streets, and beautiful old houses and monuments. Place Mercadiou, surrounded by beautiful medieval houses is the main square of the village, where the market takes place every Thursday morning. Another monument not to miss is Porte de la Benauge, the main gate to the old city whose historic center is surrounded by ramparts. Probably the most important monument of Saint Macaire is its Eglise de Saint Sauveur et Saint-Martin. The big church, built in the 12th and 15th centuries has impressive murals that are really worth seeing. Every year at the end of August, Saint Macaire hosts one of the best medieval festivals in the region. 

How to get there:
It’s a bit complicated to get to Saint Macaire without a car as there’s no regular direct public transportation going there from Bordeaux (there’s one train a day to Saint Macaire). However, you can take a train to Langon and then cross the Garonne to the other side and bike or even go for a nice hike along the river until you reach Saint Macaire. 

Cadillac

Cadillac is a little town located on the right bank of the Garonne river at the Entre Deux Mers wine region. It’s quite a popular destination attracting many tourists, especially during summer.  Cadillac is hard to miss when driving the D10 route to the south of Gironde. You will be greeted by a big defensive wall and the main gate into the old medieval center built in the 13th century. However, it’s undeniably most famous monument is the Château des Ducs d’Épernon, built by the Duke of Épernon in the 17th century. The chateau is very impressive and is best known for being a women’s prison starting from the French revolution and up until 1950. It now serves as a museum that mostly displays the life of the royals who were occupying the estate before it became a prison. However, on the last floor, you can actually still see the cells and a small exhibition about the prison. 

Cadillac - medieval village inGironde, France

The town is also known for its wine, the Cadillac Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. You can visit the maison des vins of Cadillac in order to learn about the wine of this region and taste it of course 🙂

How to get there:
You can get there by bus number 501 from the Bastide neighborhood in Bordeaux, see the schedule here.   

Rions

About 5km from Cadillac you will find Rions, a small medieval town located on the banks of the Garonne river. Like other towns in this region, Rions is also characterized by cute narrow streets and medieval houses. During medieval times it was an important town which was greatly affected by the Hundred years war between France and England. In 1295, Rions, which was at the time under British rule, was conquered by the French Charles of Valois who took down its defensive walls. In 1313, England was able to take the city back and surround it with ramparts, making it one of the Fortified English cities of British ruled southwest of France (Guyenne). It went back into French hands right before the end of the long war and, despite all the turmoil, was left with its impressive architecture and charm, perfect for a few hours trip. If you want to make the best of your day trip to the region, you can go on a 5km hike and see the beautiful surroundings of this medieval town. Read more about the hiking trail from Rions, in my article about hiking around Bordeaux

Rions - a medieval town in the South of Gironde

How to get there:
You can take bus number 501 from the Bastide neighborhood in Bordeaux, see the schedule here.   

Castelmoron d’Albret

Castelmoron d’Albret is the smallest village in France and in my opinion one of the most charming ones in the southwest of France. This tiny medieval village is brimming with charm! Almost every house here is covered with colorful roses and other beautiful flowers spilling from eclectic pottery that is made here in the village. No house here looks the same, every window and door has its own particularity. There are almost no signs of modern life here, no cars, no sidewalks, just a beautiful village frozen in time. There are only about 50 people living here and only three businesses operating in the 3.5 hectares village so the atmosphere is incredibly relaxing. I think my kids were the loudest thing this village has experienced in a while.  

Castelmoron d'Albret - the smallest village in France

It will take you about an hour of a scenic drive over the hills and along the vineyards of Entre Deux Mers to reach the little town from Bordeaux. If you want to combine the visit with any other activity, I recommend visiting the impressive bastide town of Sauveterre-de-Guyenne, which is located just a few minutes drive from Castelmoron d’Albret. There are also several hiking and cycling routes you can do in this part of Entre deux Mers.  In this link you can find two great hiking trails that start from the village itself. 

How to get there:
Getting there by bus is fairly complicated and I would advise going only by car. The closest train station tho this village in La Reole but the bus from there to Castelmoron d’Albret is not very regular. 

La Réole

La Réole is a small hilly town situated on the banks of the Garonne river about 50 km from Bordeaux. Although the town developed around a monastery founded in the 7th or 8th century, it’s golden era was in medieval times when it became the second largest city in the region after Bordeaux. Still today, it’s one of the biggest towns in the south of the Gironde department with plenty of interesting events and a very lively weekly market on Saturdays. There are quite a few impressive houses and monuments to see in this little town, among them is the historic 12th century Town Hall, the Saint Pierre church and the Benedictine abbey, the old remparts of the city and more. Get lost in the narrow charming streets of the historic center of La Réole and let the beautiful architecture take you back in time. If you happen to arrive in La Reole when the tourist office is open, be sure to take a map of all the monuments in the city. 

La Reole a beautiful town around Bordeaux

How to get there:
This is a great destination for those who don’t own a car. You can get to La Réole in 40 minutes by train from Bordeaux. The train leaves from Gare Saint Jean every two hours.

If you want more ideas for trips by train from Bordeaux check out my full article about day trips from Bordeaux by public transport

Bazas

Bazas is one of my favorite towns in the south of Gironde not only because it’s a beautiful place but also due to its rich heritage embodying the Gascony culture. It’s located at the eastern edge of the Gascon Landes forest, about 65 km from Bordeaux. A stroll in the historic center will allow you to discover the impressive architecture of the city and its past role as an important bishopric. At the main square of the town you will find its famous gothic Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste which appears on the UNESCO world heritage list. When strolling the historic center don’t miss the charming old houses on the smaller streets as well as the gardens. 

Bazas - heritage and Gastronomy in the southwest of France

Architecture is not the only attraction of Bazas which is actually quite famous for its gastronomy, especially its meat. You can enjoy the Bazadaise meat in one of the restaurants located on the main square. True meat lovers could also buy meat in one of the many butcher shops in the center. If you’re looking for a full gastronomic experience to discover the cuisine of the region, there’s one tour you shouldn’t miss. Anne, an American living in Bazas is an expert on everything related to food in the region. She knows all the farmers and chefs around Bazas and her guided farm to table tours are an unforgettable experience. Check out her website.

How to get there
This is the most complicated place on my list to get to by public transport and I wouldn’t recommend doing it. If you still want to go there by public transport you can take a train from Bordeaux to Langon and then bus number 512 to Bazas. 

Before we continue to our next region I just wanted to remind you that I also share plenty of day trips ideas on my Facebook/Instagram pages, so if you’re not there yet, what are you waiting for? Like/follow me on social media and you will never be bored on a weekend again 🙂 

The right bank – Saint Emilion and Pays Blayais

Saint Emilion 

You can’t really do a list about villages around Bordeaux without including Saint Emilion in it, can you? This medieval village is known all around the world for its splendid wine but it’s also undoubtedly one of the most beautiful villages around Bordeaux. 

A day trip to Saint Emilion in the southwest of France

Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent attraction for tourists in the area. If you’re visiting Saint Emilion in the high season of July-August beware that you need to book everything in advance, it gets very busy!  

There are plenty of things to see in and around Saint Emilion, and it requires a full day trip to see all of it. I recommend reading my guide to Saint Emilion before heading there. Also, if you want to visit wineries in the Saint Emilion wine region, check out my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion

Blaye 

Blaye is one of the most interesting places in the Bordeaux area, located only about 50 km north to Bordeaux center. This little town has a long military and strategic history and is mostly known for its remarkable Citadel. The Citadel and city walls are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can easily spend half a day discovering them. The entrance to the Citadel is free and you can explore the streets and ramparts admiring the view of the Gironde estuary which can be seen from the top.

The citadel of Blaye

Blaye is also well known for its red wine which honestly is really excellent and very reasonably priced. You can visit the Maison du Vin on the main street (12 Cours Vauban), where they would gladly introduce you to the wines of the region and the chateaux you can visit around Blaye. 

How to get there?
The easiest way to get there is by car or by ferry if you’re coming from the other side of the Gironde estuary. The ferry is leaving from Lamarque, you can see all the details about the tariffs and hours in this link. Beware that masks are currently required onboard the ferry.  There are also several bus lines going to Blaye – check all the info here

Bourg

Bourg (Previously called Bourg sur Gironde) is a picturesque village at the heart of the wine appellation of Côtes de Bourg located at the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers. Bourg has played a key role in the region’s history, it was built in Roman times, fortified by the English and visited by several kings, such as Louis XIV in 1650. Just like its neighboring town of Blaye, Bourg too has a very impressive citadel called Château de la Citadelle. While it’s not one of the main tourist destinations in the Medoc area, those who do get to visit this beautiful place, quickly fall in love with it. Apart from the citadel, the historic part of the city also has a cute central square with restaurants and shops, the market takes place every Sunday.

Bourg - a beautiful day trip from Bordeaux

Bourg is however quite known for its great Côtes de Bourg wine! Don’t miss a visit to the Maison des Vins des Côtes de Bourg, a 19th century former residence with a warm atmosphere that acts as a venue for exhibitions, talks, receptions, tasting classes, meetings with winegrowers and more. You can also see the map of all the wineries here, it’s better to call them prior to your visit. 

How to get there:
Two bus lines of TransGironde (201, 202) from Lormont pass through Bourg. However, unless you live or stay on rive droite of the Garonne it will take you some time to get to Lormont from the center of Bordeaux. So here too, going by car is recommended. 

Arcachon and Medoc

L’herbe

L’herbe is a traditional oyster farming village located on the Cap Ferret Peninsula. Here you won’t find the characteristics of a typical French village, no central square with a bakery, no old houses or medieval gates. Nonetheless, it’s one of the most beautiful villages in the southwest of France, in my opinion at least. 

Arcachon bay - a day trip from Bordeaux

There’s something raw and authentic about L’herbe. You get to walk between the colorful cabins of oyster farmers and see them in action on their special workboats. If you like oysters, you’re going to love this place. Plenty of oyster restaurants are spread along the beach serving only the freshest oysters, pork paté and white wine. This is a perfect destination for a sunny half-day trip from Bordeaux, or a full day trip if you add a visit to the beach as well. 

How to get from Bordeaux to L’herbe: by car is the best way to get here as the bus is not a direct one and it takes almost two hours to get to L’herbe from Bordeaux. But if you have no choice take bus 601 (Trans Gironde) from Bordeaux center. 

If you want to discover all the other amazing places to visit around the Bassin d’Arcachon check out my article about a day trip to the bassin d’Arcachon

Cap Ferret 

Cap Ferret is a little town located on the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon and has been traditionally known as a summer getaway for the French upper class. Although it’s been recently gaining popularity among tourists visiting the south of France, it has yet to lose its relaxing beach village atmosphere, especially if compared to Arcachon city. 

Cap Ferret one of the most popular destinations near Bordeaux

Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic ocean and a view of the eastern side of the Bassin. Apart from its dreamy beaches it’s also known for its ostréiculture industry, which produces some of the best oysters in France. Dozens of oyster cabins and restaurants with a view on the Bassin give Cap-Ferret a unique character that’s worth a visit. If you want to really profit from the day, rent a bike and cycle along the beaches and through the pine forest that covers a large part of the Cap Ferret peninsula. There are plenty of bike rentals in Cap Ferret, one of them is Bike rental Cap Gyro (7 Boulevard de la Plage, 33970 Lège-Cap-Ferret).

How to get there:
Bus 601 will bring you to Cap Ferret but it’ll take you at least two hours to get there, so a car is definitely a better option here. You can also take a ferry from Arcachon or le Moulleau beach, you can see the schedule here

Soulac Sur Mer

This charming little town is one of the highlights of the Medoc region. It’s located on the very top of the Medoc Atlantique, about 90 km from Bordeaux.
If you ever had the chance to visit the town of Arcachon, you will find Soulac sur Mer a bit familiar, and many actually call it “little Arcachon”. Its city center resembles Ville d’été while the northern part of the town with its charming 18th-century villas is similar in style to the impressive villas of Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon. Soulac has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, attracting many French tourists to the area. There are plenty of cute little restaurants both in the center and on the promenade. Seafood is a very important part of the local cuisine and so many restaurants will serve oysters and large shrimps.

Soulac sur mer - a beautiful village in Medoc, France

Every year Soulac hosts one of my favorite events in Gironde, called Soulac 1900. A celebration of music, dance, ancient cars and costumes from the beginning of the 20th century. 

We came to the end of my list of the most beautiful villages in the Southwest of France, Gironde (at least until I find another treasure that has a place on this exclusive list :)). There are of course more charming villages around Bordeaux such as le Canon in the Cap Ferret Peninsula or Monsegur in Entre deux mers, but I narrowed down the list to the ones I find most special. 

If you’re interested in day trips in the region there are a few other articles you might like:
Best day trips from Bordeaux
10 day trips from Bordeaux by train 
Two days in the Medoc wine region

If you missed my announcement from the beginning of the post I will repeat it again because I think it’s so cool 🙂 I am upgrading my newsletter and from now on I will send a weekly email with suggestions of things to do every weekend. The email will be sent on Friday mornings! So if you want to recieve cool plans for the weekend (especially during this period without obvious events taking place in Bordeaux) be sure to subscribe to my newsletter here!

I started writing this article mostly for myself about a week before the end of confinement. I wanted to come up with a long enough list of places I could go to with my kids or even alone (if that’s ever possible) where we can enjoy the wonders of the region but still keep social distancing. (If you’re reading this in 2050, we were all locked in our houses for two months, just google COVID-19). Gironde is one of the most beautiful departments in France and actually the largest one as well, so within the permitted 100 km radius you can find an overwhelming amount of hiking options. You can discover the parks and lakes around Bordeaux metropole or combine your trips with some heritage in Entre Deux Mers, or the vineyards of Saint Emilion. There are long hiking trails for fit walkers and shorter ones for families with kids. I had so many ideas that I just had to come here and share them with you. I included hiking trails from every part of Gironde to give a big landscape variety. There are of course plenty of other options for hiking around Bordeaux and I will slowly update this list with more trails so bookmark this page and come back whenever you’re in a mood for a walk. I also publish quite a lot of my daily trips on social media so you are of course invited to follow me on Facebook/Instagram. Now let’s start! 

Hiking in Bordeaux Metropole

Let’s start with destinations closer to Bordeaux and its suburbs. There are dozens of big and small parks in the metropole that can be perfect for a nice and easy hike, so you don’t even need a car to be able to enjoy the green areas of Bordeaux. The ones I particularly love are Parc de l’Ermitage in Lormont, Parc Majolan in Blanquefort, and Parc Bordelais in Bordeaux. There are of course many more green and lush places in the city and I’m working on an article with the full list which will be published soon. But for now, I wanted to introduce you to a few great hiking trails in Bordeaux Metropole through which you can discover the towns and forests surrounding the city. 

Parc Majolan

Au fil de l’eau bourde – From Talence to Gradignan

I live in Talence so the first one on the list is close to my home, a 5km trail through some of the green areas of Talence and Gradigan. It’s important to mention though that while most of your hike is going to be accompanied by green scenery, this is not a classic nature trail, meaning that you will have to walk through some urban areas to get from one location to another. Having said that, it’s a beautiful path and you will be surprised by some of the parks and monuments located on the footsteps of Bordeaux.

 Parc du Moulineau in Gradignan

The starting point is Bois de Thouars, a forest located on the border of Talence and Gradignan (it’s recommended to enter the forest from Avenue de Thouars in Talence). Don’t be in a rush here, take your time strolling around the lake, it feels more unspoiled here than many of the other lakes in the area. From this point, you can follow the markup of GR® métropolitain throughout the entire route. But just to make sure you’re in the right direction, here are a few interesting points you should check on the way. From the forest cross the bridge of the rocade (highway) to get to Gradignan (you should reach rue de Bénédigues in Gradignan). After a few more minutes walking, you’ll be on rue Saint-François-Xavier and will enter a green area that follows the Eau Bourde, a little stream of the Garonne river. Your second destination on the trail is Parc de Pelissey in Gradignan. From there continue along the Eau Bourde to enter one of the biggest parks in this town – le Parc du Moulineau. This park is a gem for kids. Not only can they enjoy a big playground but it’s also home to the Maison de la Nature that inhabits nearly 50 different animal species from rabbits to the black and white goat of the Pyrénées. The animal park is unfortunately still closed due to Covid 19, but that should not bother you to enjoy the vast green Parc du Moulineau (or Le parc René Canivenc by its other name).

When you leave le Parc du Moulineau continue along the stream to get to Parc Mandavit. From here you will continue to the last destination of this trail – le Parc de Cayac, a historic monument on the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle pilgrimage road. From here you can take bus line number 10 to get back to the Thouars forest.
There’s also an option to continue to another 9 km hike through Gradignan. You can find more info about this and other hiking trails in the Metropole here

Réserve écologique des Barails

If you prefer to forget that cars exist for a couple of hours, this next trail is for you!  I’m happy to introduce you to the Réserve écologique des Barails, a beautiful natural reserve spreading over 156 hectares which also includes the beautiful Parc Floral of Bordeaux. Located in the North of Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Lac district), it’s actually the biggest green space in Bordeaux. The reserve consists of different parts each with their own characteristic: the forest, the park, the meadows, the wetlands, and the ecological corridors. It’s so rich with nature that most visitors don’t cover it in one visit. 

Réserve écologique des Barails

There are three entries to the park. If you enter through Entree bois you’ll have the pleasure to discover more than 6km of hiking trails in the beautiful green forest. Enter the entree roseraie (next to the Golf de Lac) and you can enjoy a beautiful flower park with more than 500 varieties of roses.  The reserve is also perfect for an easy stroll with kids and in fact, it was the first place I took mine after the deconfinement. Before heading there check out the information about the different entrances and parking on the official site of Bordeaux

Floirac – fil vert – the green path

Le Fil vert on the right side of the river has more than 25 km of hiking to offer, passing through Parc des coteaux, the green space that encompasses most of the parks of Floirac, Cenon, Lormont, and Bassens. There are numerous hiking trails you can do here, depending on what part of “rive droite” you want to discover. You can see some of the trails here.

Parc Castel in Floirac

In this article, I’ll focus on hiking in Floirac and Boulac, a trail called Boucle de Floirac – Bouliac, which starts at Parc Castel in Floirac. The park itself is very cute with an impressive chateau, which is the starting point of your walk. Before you start the green path you can climb to the heights of the park to see the “belvédère” for a nice view. Then go down again to find the green loop path (boucle vert) in the le Chemin de Montagne. After about  500m take a left on the main street (Chemin des plateaux) that you will have to follow to reach le Domaine de la Burthe, the biggest park of Floirac. Enter the park through Chemin de Beaufeu and follow the red and white markup in the park, this will lead you to Ruisseau de Jacotte (a little stream of water). You will then have to go down under the highway to cross to the next town – Bouliac. Continue following the markup until it leads you to the next destination –  le Bois de Loc Boué in Bouliac. The final destination on this route is the 12th-century church of Saint-Siméon. From here you can start your way back to Floirac. To avoid repeating the same path, you can take a different route through rue de Bourg. Before leaving rive droite you can also take a walk on Quai Deschamps and enjoy the beautiful view on the Garonne river. 

The Saint Emilion region 

Discover the lamprey capital of Gironde – Sainte Terre – 6.4 km

I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the beautiful Saint Emilion region. Even if you haven’t had the chance to do any hiking there, most of you living here had the chance to drive through the stunning vineyards of the famous wine region. This trail, however, is different from the usual view you see from Saint Emilion as it goes along the Dordogne river. This is a good opportunity to learn about another product the Saint Emilion region is famous for, the lamproie (lamprey in English).
The little village of Sainte Terre is the capital of Lamprey. Start your tour from Église Saint-Alexis, the church of Sainte Terre and walk on Rue du Parlement until you reach the river. Take a nice long stroll along the river until you reach the prohibited area sign, then turn left with the path. Follow the path until you reach the town again and then turn left on Rue du Parlement to reach the town center. On normal days you can also visit the Lamprey’s garden, a small park and the museum of lamprey, however, I believe that it’s still closed for visits. You can see the map of the trails with the points of interest here

Sainte Terre

The chateaux and restaurants are still closed, but once they’ll re-open I really recommend combining this hike with a visit to a winery or a nice meal in one of the villages around Saint Emilion. If you want more information on what to do in Saint Emilion, check out my article with everything you need to know about visiting this beautiful village. 

Entre Deux Mers

Boucle de Rions heritage and hillsides

Entre Deux Mers is one of the most beautiful parts of Gironde. An abundance of medieval villages scattered along the Gironde river, centuries-old historic monuments, wineries and a lot of nature makes it a perfect place for day trips from Bordeaux. And above all, it’s also a great region for hiking with several paths mixing heritage and nature. Today I want to focus on hiking around one of my favorite towns in the region – Rions.

Rions

Rions is a small medieval town on the hills on the banks of the Garonne river that played an important role in the Hundred Years War and was occupied by England during the 13th century. Even if you come here specifically for hiking, don’t be in a rush and take some time to admire the beautiful houses with old shatters and the colorful flower pots decorating the narrow streets of the village. After you got inspired by the beautiful architecture we can start the hike. Leave the city center following rue Lavidon, through Porte Lavidon, and enjoy a pleasant 4.5 km path with a stunning view of the Garonne hillsides and vineyards. You will enter back through the most impressive gate in Rions, Porte du l’Hyan, the only gate that was kept fully preserved to this day. Before you leave, visit the old ramparts of the city, built in the 14th century and restored in the 18th century. You can find the map and all the details here

The South of Gironde

Hostens 

Hostens is one of the highlights of the South Gironde region. Domaine des Lacs d’Hostens is located at the heart of the Landes de Gascogne forest (50 km from Bordeaux) and offers some of the best hiking trails you can find near Bordeaux. The Domain consists of five different lakes with plenty of water activities as well as hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and more. If you’re after a good hike, head to the second lake, Lac du Bousquey. On the way you can see horses, butterflies and other wonders of nature. There are three trails in the Domain of Hostens:  8, 11 et 16 km long so there is something for both fit walkers and people who just want to enjoy a relatively short walk in nature. 

Hostens

In Hostens you will also find one of the best beaches in Gironde, this one located on the shores of another lake, the lake of Lamothe. So if the weather is good this would be the best way to end your hike. 

Lac Vert and Lac Bleu

Lac Vert

I really love hiking around lakes! I think that water in combination with the greenery around it gives it a very meditational vibe 🙂 Luckily there are a few beautiful lakes around the area where you can have a lovely walk and admire the colors of the water. The first one is Lac Vert (the green lake) in Canejan and the second one is Lac Bleu (the blue lake) in Leognan, both located about 15/20 minutes’ drive from Bordeaux. Their names derive from the color of the water and they are both stunning. 

Saint Symphorian

Did you know that the largest man-made forest in Europe is located just an hour’s drive from Bordeaux? The huge Landes forest has a few hiking trails, one of them starting in Saint Symphorien, a village located about 50 km south of Bordeaux. The route starts from the center of Saint Symphorien, which by itself is not very interesting. But it’s nice to dedicate a few minutes to see the town hall, the gothic Saint Symphorien church, and the cute little Maison Cammunale, which was built during the great depression. To start the walk, leave the city center and walk about 5 minutes on Cours de Verdun until you reach Le Chalet Mauriac. In this house the famous novelist, Francois Mauriac used to spend his vacations as a child. The chateau itself is probably closed right now, but the nice park around it might be open.

Le Chalet Mauriac

Your next destination is Moulin de Marian, an old windmill standing close to the Hure river. This is a nice walk that should take you about 30 minutes. From here continue on the path until you reach the department route number D220. Don’t turn to D220, instead continue straight on D115 until you reach Landes de Lassus, turn left here. Then continue north until you get to l’Atelier des Chemins de fer économiques de la Gironde. The building, built in the 19th century is a testimony of what was one of the main economic activities of this village. The site was closed in 1978 but you can still see some of the machines they used back then. You are now almost back to the center of Saint Symphorien, where our tour ends.

Arcachon

Lanton

Lanton on the Arcachon Bay

One of my favorite hiking places in the region is Lanton on the Arcachon bay. There are of course many other great places for a promenade around the Bassin but I love the fact that you rarely see any people in Lanton and that the drive is not very long.  You can start your walk from Plage de Suzette, which is a little port with a few restaurants on it, from there just follow the trail surrounding the little port. If you’ve ever been to the Bassin d’Arcachon you know that the view changes a lot depending on the tide. This trail goes along the bay and that’s why, depending on the time you arrive, it may feel like walking along the beach or in an apocalyptic desert. The scenery and tranquility are just magical and it’s less than an hour from Bordeaux!
To discover more places in Bassin d’Arcachon go to my article about the best day trips to Arcachon Bay.

Ville d’Hiver in Arcachon 

Here’s an idea for those who like urban trails. The touristy city of Arcachon currently feels very different from its usual lively vibes. Tourists are yet to flood the region and the restaurants will stay closed until at least June. Why not use this opportunity to discover the beautiful architecture of ville d’Hiver in Arcachon city. The winter city of Arcachon was mainly built in the 19th century and among its 300 villas, you can find some architectural treasures. Here are a few villas you don’t want to miss: Teresa, Toledo, Brémontier, Trocadero, Alexandre Dumas, Bayard, and Athena. Before you go, don’t miss the beautiful Parc Mauresque which separates the winter city from the summer city. If you can read some French, here’s a site with a short history of the most famous villas in the winter city. For more info on what to do in Arcachon city check out my article about Arcachon.

Ville d'hiver Arcachon

There are of course many more hiking routes in the region. We are surrounded by forests, lakes, parks, old villages, and a lot of heritage, so there’s an endless amount of ideas for a walk. But I wanted to release this article as soon as possible so you can start enjoying the weather and the deconfinement. I will add more ideas for walks in this article in the next few weeks, so I invite you all to return to this page. If you enjoyed reading the article, you can always share it with friends and make them go on a hike instead of the crowded city center 🙂 

Before I go, I just wanted to let you know about all the other places you can get my information about traveling in Bordeaux and the Southwest of France. 

  1. My Travel in the Southwest of France Facebook group – where people from all over the Southwest of France share their favorite places to visit in the region.
  2. My Facebook/Instagram pages where I share almost all my travels and experiences in the region on a daily basis.
  3. Newsletter – I decided to go on a little break with my emails during the confinement being that most of the content there is about villages, restaurants, museums, and heritage sites, which is not content anyone currently needs. But I’m coming back with my weekly emails soon so you are all welcomed to join me there – subscribe here

The Arcachon bay is one of the most popular destinations in the southwest of France. Its beautiful beaches and cute resort towns attract many tourists and locals from the Bordeaux region. There is plenty of stuff to do there and I have already written two guides about visiting Arcachon: The guide to Arcachon city and the best places to visit on the Arcachon Bay. But I have yet to talk about the fact that it’s one of the best vacation destinations to do with kids. Plenty of family-friendly beaches, sports activities, parks and interactive tours are some of the things you can do with kids in Arcachon. In this article, I gathered a list of 15 fun things to do with kids around the Arcachon Bay, both in the southern part and the Cap Ferret Peninsula. If you’re also visiting Bordeaux on your trip, please read my article about 30 things to do with kids in Bordeaux

COVID 19 warning – although most sites in the region are now open to the public, please remember that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. It means that in all the places on this list you’ll need to keep a distance from other visitors, groups of over 10 people are not yet allowed and some sites recommend adults to wear masks (see info on their websites before going). And most importantly, as the situation is quite dynamic the information about the opening hours as well as the reservation requirements may change by the time you read this article. I strongly encourage you to contact Arcachon’s tourist office or the websites of the places you’re planning to visit when planning your trip to Arcachon Bay. 

Before we start, here are a few other articles you might want to read when you’re traveling around Bordeaux:
The best beaches around Bordeaux
Day trips around Bordeaux – wine, beaches and villages 
10 day trips from Bordeaux by Public transport
A weekend in Medoc – Bordeaux wine tours
What to do and eat in Saint Emilion

You can also join my Facebook group “Travel in the southwest of France” where many enthusiasts of the region share their recommendations for places to visit and things to do in the southwest of France.

Now let’s dive into the list of the most fun things to do with kids on Bassin d’Arcachon. 

Beaches and nature in the Arcachon Bay 

Go to one of the kids-friendly beaches in Arcachon 

My first item on the list is quite obvious, isn’t it? Which kid doesn’t love to splash in the water and build castles in the sand?  In that regard, Bassin d’Arcachon is heaven for families and that’s because the water in the bay is very calm due to its shape. Many of the beaches are also quite easily accessible and don’t require a long walk from the parking lot, which we all know can be a real hustle with little kids.

Plage de periere Arcachon

Here are just a few kids-friendly beaches around the Arcachon Bay:
Plage Pereire, which starts right after the pedestrian promenade (bordered by Jetée de la Chapelle). It’s a beautiful three km beach with white sand and a view of the Cap Ferret peninsula on the other side of the bay. You can also reach this beach by public transport from the center of Arcachon.
Petit Nice – one of my favorite beaches on the bay, located just in front of the Le banc d’Arguin which protects the beach from the ocean waves and creates a very calm and family-friendly beach. 
Plage de la Hume in Gujan Mestras is definitely one of the safest beaches on the bay. Its location on the bay makes the water very calm and easy to swim in. However, this beach is only fun when the tide is high so if you want to swim, you should check the tide hours first. They are changing daily and in some hours of the day, you can barely see any water. Click here for the daily tide hours.
Cap Ferret – You can also go to Lege Cap Ferret where many of the beaches turning towards the bay are kids friendly. Two of my favorite beaches on the peninsula are the Plage de la pres de la pointe and the little beach of L’herbe. 

Climb the dune du Pilat 

Dune du Pilat needs no introduction! If you’re planning to go to Arcachon, most chances are you have already heard about the dune before. Dune du Pilat is Europe’s tallest sand dune, rising to an impressive 110 m high. It’s also 500 meters wide and 2.7 km long so you’ll have plenty of room to wander. I had to include the dune on this list as kids absolutely love climbing it. It’s an amazing activity with the kids and more so gliding back down on the sand from the top of the dune. 

Dune du Pilat Arcachon

VIsiting dune du Pilat is a bit tough if your kids are very small. However, during the touristic season when the stairs are installed, you can easily get to the top of the dune and enjoy the incredible view from the top! There is a huge (paid) parking lot right next to the dune. 

Go to le Lac de Cazaux

While I love the ocean, I usually prefer taking my kids to the lake as it feels safer and it’s easier to handle them there. The Arcachon region is home to Lac de Cazaux, one of the biggest freshwater lakes in France. The big lake is wind-sheltered by the pine forest around it and is known for its tranquil and beautiful beaches. The most popular beach on the lake is the Plage de Cazaux Lac, with plenty of summer water activities and easy access for handicaps. My favorite beach on the lake is Plage de Laouga, it feels a bit wilder and very tranquil. 

A boat trip to Iles aux Oiseaux and the Cabanes Tchanquées

A great way to explore the landscapes and biodiversity of the Arcachon Bay is by boat. There are quite a few boat operators offering different boat tours across the Bassin. The best one to do with kids in my opinion is the “ Grand Tour d’Iles aux Oiseaux”. It’s a two hours boat tour that takes you to two of the most notorious places on the bay: Les Cabanes Tchanquées and L’Ile aux Oiseaux. Les Cabanes Tchanquées, the two wooden huts decorating almost every postcard in Arcachon, are one of the most emblematic symbols of the bay.  You can take the tour from Jetée Thiers, located on the main beach of Arcachon but also from other ports on the Arcachon bay such as Gujan Mestras, Cap Ferret, Le Canon, Le Moulleau and Andernos les Bains. 

You can choose the hours you’re interested in and the port you want to take the tour from on this site

Bird Watching at the Teich Ornithological Reserve

The Teich Ornithological Reserve is a protected nature reserve located some 50km from Bordeaux, where you can watch thousands of wild birds from up-close. 110 hectares of wooded areas, saltmarsh, reed beds and meadows stretch out between the mainland and the Bassin d’Arcachon coastline, offering a perfect habitat for many birds. Some stay here permanently and some just pass by. A visit to the reserve can be a fun and educative day for both kids and adults. If your family is in shape you can do the 6km tour of the whole reserve. If your kids are too small for 6km, the reserve also has a 2km path for families. In any case, the path is accessible with strollers in case your toddler doesn’t want to walk. The Teich Ornithological Reserve has a great website with a lot of info, even giving you the approximate bird’s arrival schedule so you can plan your visit according to that. Consult all the info here

Teich Ornithological Reserve

Amusement parks and sports activities 

Kayaking on the Leyre river

No list of activities for kids can be complete without kayaking or a canoeing experience (mine are too small so I’m really waiting for that). There are quite a few places for kayaking on the bay, one of the best is on the Leyre river. The tropical river, that got the nickname La Petite Amazone (little Amazon) flows through three towns on the Bassin d’Archachon:  Le Teich, Biganos, and Mios. There are many operators that offer kayaking and canoeing in that area, one of them is located on the colorful little port of Biganos. You can do this activity with kids older than 6yo and there are several routes to choose, among them, there are morning/afternoon tours or whole day excursions. You can see all the info here

Pay attention to the starting location as it changes depending on the tour you want to take. You should also know that the hours may change depending on the tide so always call a day in advance to know what hours are best to arrive. 
Where: Canoe-kayak Courant D Eyre Location de canoë sur Leyre, 88 Rue du Port, 33380 Biganos

Tree Climbing at Bassin Aventure

Another super fun sportive activity in Arcachon is accrobranche (tree climbing) that is offered by Bassin Aventure in Gujan Mestras. It’s one of the only sports activities that you can do with little kids (starting from 3 yo). The place has 22 different tree-climbing circuits and 250 different games on and around the trees. Reservations are recommended, you can see all the prices here. Please read carefully about all the restrictions related to COVID 19 on the website of Bassin Aventure.  
Where: Avenue des Loisirs, 33470 Gujan-Mestras

Parc de la Coccinelle

This cute amusement park in Gujan-Mestras is perfect for a day out with kids. It has everything from water slides, roller coasters, trampolines, and even an animal farm where you can feed baby goats. If you’re traveling with more than one kid it’s not always obvious to find a park that both little ones and bigger kids can enjoy. And that’s why the Parc de la Coccinelle is so fun!  See the time schedule and tariffs here
Where: Parc de loisirs, La Hume, 33470 Gujan-Mestras

Cycling along the Arcachon Bay

The Arcachon bay has some of the prettiest and easiest cycling paths in our region and this can be a great way to discover the bay with kids. With more than 220km of cycling lanes stretching from Cap Ferret to the south of Arcachon, you have plenty to discover. Start your circuit from the center of Arcachon and continue to Dune du Pilat, through le Moulleau and Pyla sur Mer. To follow the path see the map here. There are also several cycling routes in Cap Ferret, choose a circuit from this site or just follow the path that starts from the center of Cap Ferret.  

There are many bike rental places in Arcachon where you can rent a bike for a few hours or for the whole day, see their details here.

Your kids can learn surfing in Arcachon 

Arcachon is located on the famous Côte d’Argent known as a paradise for surfers. If your kids are over 8 yo they can go to a surfing school. The surfing school for kids is located on the Plage du Grand Crohot at the top of the Cap Ferret Peninsula.  They offer a five-day course for kids as well as a first-time discovery session. You have to reserve in advance. All the details, tariffs and registration forms are on the website of the school

Put the following coordinates in your GPS to arrive at the right location: Latitude: 44° 48′ 9,12” Nord, Longitude : 1° 13′ 33,60” Ouest

Educational activities and games 

The Oysters museum 

Arcachon is well known globally for its oyster farming. The capital of oyster farming in Arcachon is definitely Gujan-Mestras which is a very nice destination for a day trip. You can bike along the 7 oyster ports of Gujan, stop in one of the oyster cabanes for tastings, and go to the beach (la Hume which I mentioned earlier). But if you want to turn it into a nice and educational experience for kids take them to La Maison de l’Huitre. The oyster museum is an interactive museum where you’ll discover everything about oyster farming. See more details about their opening hours and tariffs here

La Maison de l'Huître arcachon


Where: La Maison de l’Huitre, Rue du Port de Larros, 33470 Gujan-Mestras

Go to the Zoo

The Arcachon zoo is located in the middle of the great pine forest, Forêt des Landes. The zoo is spread over 22 hectares and inhabits more than 800 animals from all over the world. The zoo is opening its doors this Saturday (June 6) and masks are obligatory from 11yo and up – please read all other instructions here before going to the zoo. The tariffs are 16 euros for kids aged 3-11 and 23 euros for everyone older than 12yo (it’s one euro less if you book the tickets online). See all the info here

Where: Boulevard de Cazaux, 33260 La Teste-de-Buch

Discover the winter city of Arcachon by train 

Ville d’hiver in Arcachon city is a beautiful neighborhood with extraordinary architecture that is well worth a visit. However, taking a walking tour there could be a bit dull for kids, instead, take the little train that goes through the most beautiful villas of Arcachon as well as to the Periere beach where you can see an amazing view of the Bassin. You can buy the tickets directly from the driver, see the tariffs and time schedule here.  

ville d'hiver Arcachon

Where: the train leaves from the tourist office-  MA.AT Esplanade Pompidou, 22 Boulevard du Général Leclerc, 33120 Arcachon.

Eat ice cream at Le Moulleau

Le Moulleau, located in the far west, is officially a part of the city of Arcachon. However, in reality, it feels like a completely separate little resort town with its own center, beaches and restaurants. Le Moulleau is built around the beautiful Notre Dame des Passes square and its pier. If you’re traveling with kids, this neighborhood is well worth a visit. It has one of the prettiest and most kid-friendly beaches on the bay and also several good ice cream shops on the main street 🙂  

Find the treasure with Terra Aventura

Terra Aventura is a fun activity you can do with your kids in many locations in Nouvelle Aquitaine. Terra Aventura organizes geocaching games in which children try to find characters well hidden around monuments and nature by answering different riddles. All you have to do is download the free app of Terra Aventura to start treasure hunting with your kids. 

The Bassin d’Arcachon offers five different games located in: Arès, Biganos , Andernos, Gujan-Mestras and Mios. You can find all the details about the starting points here

That’s it for today, but before we go let me ask you an important question!
Are you subscribed to my email list? Every Thursday/Friday I’m sending a weekly email with suggestions of things to do every weekend, everything from day trips,  hiking paths, markets, activities for kids and other secret gems in the region.  So if you want to receive cool plans for the weekend be sure to subscribe to my newsletter here!

Bordeaux is located in one of the most beautiful areas in France, surrounded by charming villages, impressive chateaux, vineyards and sandy beaches. When visiting the city, many are looking for day trips from Bordeaux that will allow them to discover the area without driving for hours. And you can indeed easily fill your visits here with amazing day trips from the city. However, many of these places are hidden secrets to most tourists and information is not easy to find online. That’s why I decided to make this list of places to visit around Bordeaux. I tried to make it as diverse as I could to help anyone find its perfect spot for a day trip. It’s important to notice that most of these locations are not very accessible by public transport, so renting a car is recommended. For those of you that prefer not to go by car, be sure to check up my article about the best day trips from Bordeaux by train.

Wine related day tips around Bordeaux

Saint Émilion

Saint Émilion is probably the most famous wine related day trip from Bordeaux. Its picturesque center, densely filled with wine shops and fancy restaurants, turns this little town into a prominent attraction for tourists in the area. Saint Émilion is mostly famous for its wines so a visit to one of the châteaux (wineries) is a must. The charming town, however, is worth a visit even if you’re not a wine lover. Important historical monuments can be found in abundance in this medieval town, some of which date back as far as the 11th and 12th centuries. One of the famous monuments is the 11th-century Monolithic church, carved from a limestone cliff, it’s the largest underground church in Europe.

best wineries in Saint Emilion

There is a direct train from Bordeaux to Saint Émilion however if you want to visit some of the distant chateaux in the region, coming by car is recommended. There is just one problem is Saint Émilion, there are just too many beautiful spots to visit and it’s really hard to choose just a few! In my article about the best wineries to visit in Saint Emilion, I cover both the most interesting chateaux and the most welcoming wine producing families in the area so check it out!

The Medoc Wine Route

The Medoc is one of the most famous wine regions in the world, attracting many wine enthusiasts to the Medoc wine route. The famous route is a never-ending road (the D2) leading from the northern part of Bordeaux Metropole (start in Blanquefort) to almost the northernmost point in Gironde. An infinite landscape of vineyards adorned with mesmerizing châteaux. A view that will leave you speechless even if you don’t like wine.

Chateau d'Arsac in the Medoc
Chateau d’Arsac by lost in Bordeaux

There are about 600 châteaux along the Medoc wine trail. You probably won’t have time to visit most of them, but luckily, some of the most beautiful ones can be seen from the road so all you have to do is stop for a quick photo. The most famous wine houses (like Château Margeaux and Château Mouton Rothschild) are open only to professionals but don’t worry, there are plenty of beautiful properties you can visit. Some of the prettiest and more interesting are Château d’Arsac, Château Siran, Château Beychevelle and Château Cos d’Estournelle. If you don’t mind going a little further to the north I highly recommend visiting the last chateau on the trail, Château Loudenne. This charming (it’s pink!) old château has a huge garden and its own port so apart from the wine visit, you can have a lovely picnic or take a boat tour. Make sure you book your visit to the wineries before going there as it can get quite busy in the summer.

Cognac

Tasting Cognac
Tasting Cognac – Lost in Bordeaux

Wine is not the only alcoholic drink the Southwest of France is known for! Bordeaux is located about 120 km (75 miles) from Cognac, an area that produces one of the most luxurious spirits in the world. The town of Cognac, located in the Charente department, is a charming and interesting place that’s worth a visit even if you’re not a big fan of Cognac. The old center of the city is characterized by narrow paved streets with houses dating from the 16th and 17th century. Some of the most famous Cognac houses are located right in the city center, among them, you’ll find Hennessy, Martell and Rémy Martin.  All of them offer tours which normally include a visit to the cellars and Cognac tastings. You can read more about Cognac in my post about the 10 best things to do in Cognac. While it’s possible to get to Cognac by train, it’s quite a long journey so going by car is recommended.

Discover the sandy beaches around Bordeaux

Arcachon

dune du Pilat - one day trips from Bordeaux
Dune du Pilat – Lost in Bordeaux

Arcachon is one of the most popular summer destinations in the southwest of France. A seaside resort town renowned for its beautiful beaches, impressive architecture and vibrant atmosphere. Within an hour drive from Bordeaux you get  to swim in the ocean, eat oysters and see beautiful villas. A day trip from Bordeaux to Arcachon can easily take a whole day but many tend to combine it with a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe and one of the most popular destinations in France.

I recently wrote a post about the best things to do and see in and around the town of Arcachon, which is one of the main tourist destinations on the Arcachon Bay. So take a look at it before you head to the area. You can reach Arcachon by train, however coming by car will allow you to easily access the dune and to visit other places on the bay, such as Gujan Mestas and the Teich bird reserve.

Soulac sur mer

This charming little town is one of the highlights of the Medoc region. It’s located on the very top of the Medoc Atlantique, about 90 km (55 miles) from Bordeaux. If this is too far for you, you can combine it with the wine trail in Medoc which I mentioned above.

Soulac sur Mer is a resort town that resembles Arcachon, with the city center looking like Ville d’été and the impressive 18th-century villas that look just like Ville d’Hiver. Soulac has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast, attracting many French tourists to the area. There are plenty of cute little restaurants both in the center and on the promenade. Seafood is a very important part of the local cuisine and so many restaurants will serve oysters and large shrimps.

Villas in Soulac sur Mer
Villas in Soulac sur Mer

When there, take a map in the tourist office and go on a discovery tour of the most interesting villas. I highly recommend coming here at the beginning of June during the festive weekend of Soulac 1900, a really fun Jazz festival.

Cap Ferret

oysters in Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret is a charming town located on the Western part of Bassin d’Arcachon (Arcachon Bay) and has been traditionally known as a summer getaway for the French upper class. Although it’s been recently gaining popularity among tourists visiting the south of France, it has yet to lose its relaxing, uncrowded beach village atmosphere.

Cap Ferret is shaped like a narrow tongue with a long string of beautiful sandy beaches on the Atlantic ocean and a view on the eastern side of the Bassin. It’s also one of the main producers of oysters in France due to its location on the bay that creates perfect conditions for the ostréiculture industry. Dozens of oyster cabins and restaurants with a view on the Bassin give Cap Ferret a unique character that’s worth a visit and a taste.

The Biscarrosse lake

Lac de Biscarrosse
Lac de Biscarrosse – lost in Bordeaux

This one is a great option for a day in nature. If you don’t mind driving a bit longer, the beautiful Biscarrosse lake is located about 70 km (45 miles) from Bordeaux. It is one of the biggest lakes in the area with plenty of amazing beaches and pine forest surrounding it. As it’s so big there are several beaches to choose from, some of which are Plage Navarrose and Plage de Caton. Aquapark, the biggest inflatable water park in France is located on Plage Maguide. If you’re into surfing, head to the beaches on the Atlantic coast. You can also start the day with a biking trail on the canal, connecting the big and little lakes.

A day trip to beautiful villages

Bazas

Bazas is a beautiful town with lovely people and a great heritage embodying the Gascony culture. It’s located at the eastern edge of the Gascon Landes forest, about 65 km (40 miles) from Bordeaux. A stroll in the historic center will allow you to discover the rich history of the city and its past role as an important bishopric. Its beautiful architecture includes the gothic cathedral (recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO), old mansions, gardens and historic monuments.

Bazas
Bazas by lost in Bordeaux

Heritage is not the only attraction of this charming town, it’s actually quite famous for its gastronomy, especially its meat. You can enjoy the Bazas meat in one of the restaurants that are perfectly located on the main square. True meat lovers could also buy meat in one of the many butcher shops in the center. If you’re looking for a full gastronomic experience to discover the cuisine of the region, there’s one tour you shouldn’t miss. Anne, an American living is Bazas is an expert on everything related to food in the region. She knows all the farmers and chefs around Bazas and a guided tour with her is an experience you don’t want to miss. Check out her website.

Blaye

Blaye
Blaye – by Lost in Bordeaux

Blaye is one of the most interesting places in the Bordeaux area, located only about 50 km (30 miles) from the center of Bordeaux. This little town has a long military and strategic history and today it’s mostly known for its remarkable Citadel and red wine. The Citadel and the city walls are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can easily spend half a day discovering the old city walls. The entrance to the Citadel is free and you can explore the streets and ramparts admiring the view of the Gironde estuary which can be seen from the top.

Blaye is also known for its red wine. You can visit the Maison du Vin on the main street (12 Cours Vauban), where they would gladly introduce you to the wines of the area and the chateaux you can visit around Blaye. The easiest way to get there is by car or by ferry if you’re coming from the other side of the Gironde estuary. The ferry is leaving from Lamarque.

Visit castles in the South of Gironde

South Gironde is a magical area with a landscape colored with history, tradition and character. It’s a rural area, abundant with beautiful medieval villages and ancient castles. One of the most impressive castles is Château de la Brede which is located only 30 minutes from Bordeaux. It is a 14th-century castle that was built in a Gothic style. The house has a historic importance as it was the residence of Montesquieu. The château is open for visits from April to November (consult their opening hours here).

Château de la Brede
Château de la Brede

Another interesting castle to visit is château de Cadillac located in a charming little town that goes by the same name. The chateau is very impressive and is best known for being a women’s prison starting from the French revolution until 1950. Now it serves as a museum that mostly displays the life of the royals who were occupying the estate before it became a prison. However, on the last floor, you can actually still see the cells and an exhibition about the prison.

Bergerac

Bergerac is one of the main cities in the Dordogne area, quite close to the eastern border of the Gironde department. While it’s not as appealing as some of the small beautiful villages in Dordogne, it’s a lively city with a lot of charm to it. In the city center, you will find plenty of restaurants, a great market and long shopping streets. Bergerac is seated on the banks of the Dordogne giving it a beautiful view of the river. You can take a tour on the traditional boats (les gabarres) and discover the history of the city as well as the natural reserve around it.

The area is also known for its wine and you can combine your trip there with a visit to a château. One of the most famous ones is the beautiful Château de Monbazillac, which is located only 15 minutes away. It’s known for its sweet white wine. If you’re going to Bergerac on a Saturday, don’t miss the great market in Saint Foy la Grande which is just on the way from Bordeaux.

Château de Monbazillac
Château de Monbazillac – lost in Bordeaux

If you’re visiting Bordeaux for the first time, be sure to check out my ultimate guide to Bordeaux to get familiar with all the must-see places in Bordeaux. To help you choose a hotel in Bordeaux I’ve gathered a list of the best hotels in the center of Bordeaux as well as a guide to the districts of Bordeaux to help you find your preferred location.

Finally, if you are looking for a fun and delicious activity in Bordeaux, check out my food tours in which I’ll take you through a three hours journey in the culinary scene of the Southwest of France.

Lost in Bordeaux helps you enjoy the city and region in many ways so be sure to follow us on facebook /Instagram for more daily updates on things to do and see. Or better yet, join my newsletter where I share a lot of exclusive info about Bordeaux and the region – sign up here.

My brocante loving readers will be very happy to know that the big brocante of Bordeaux (Brocante des Quinconces) starts this Friday. If antiques is not your thing, there’s a huge variety of other events such as the literature,  the history  and the zero waste festivals along with the open doors of the Bordeaux galleries, all happening this  weekend in and around Bordeaux. We start feeling the Christmas spirit with a few creators markets opening up allowing you to start looking for Christmas gifts. Keep an eye on the blog in the next few days as I am about to publish a little guide to Christmas markets in our region. If you need some lighter weekend plans in Bordeaux there are some wine, food and music related events as well :). This is the list of things to do this weekend in the Bordeaux area (November 23-25):

Brocante des Quinconces

The big brocante of Bordeaux is hosted twice a year at place des Quinconces with 200 antique dealers, horticulturists, restaurants and craftsmen. This fall edition of the brocante will take place from November 23 to December 9. Although it’s quite upscale, you can find some fine antiques and vintage pieces at a bargain price. For more info and the list of exhibitors check out the website of the event.

When: November 23- December 9
Where: Place des Quinconces

Festival Zéro Déchets Zéro Gaspi (ZZ)

Festival ZZ is a an event that aims to make you reflect on the changes you can make in your life to reduce your waste to the minimum level. Although the topic is serious, the event has a very fun and festive atmosphere: workshops, games, concerts, exhibitions, a fashion show, drones demonstrations, cooking competitions and more. This event is both fun and important for kids and adults. Festival ZZ will take place at at Hangar 14 (Quai des Chartrons) on November 23-24.

When: November 23-24
Where: 173 Quai des Chartrons, 33300 Bordeaux,

Bordeaux galleries weekend

This weekend (November 23-25), 13 galleries in Bordeaux will open their doors to the public and present the best contemporary art Bordeaux has to offer. The artists come from a variety of disciplines which will allow you to explore new forms of art.  You can see the map of all the participating galleries here.  For more info about the event, click here.

silicon art gallery Saint Michel

When: November 23-25, from 14:00 to 19:00
Where: see the map here.

International History films festival

The theme of the 29th edition of the Festival international du film d’histoire of Pessac, taking place November 19-26 is “1918-1939 La drôle de paix” (the funny peace).  The rich program of the festival includes debates and lectures with several historians as guests and screenings of more than a 100 movies, from classics to works of heritage, rare or unpublished films, previews, fiction and documentaries. For more info and the full program click here and for ticket prices click here.

When: November 19-26
Where: several venues in Pessac center – check out the end of the program

les Journées Gourmandes Loupiac & Foie Gras

In the last twenty years Loupiac has been hosting the Loupiac & Foie Gras  event that allows people to get familiar with the sweet wines of Loupaic and meet the farmers of the department and taste their gourmet production. On the 21st edition of the festival, that will take place on November 24-25, 18 chateaux will open their door to the public and will offer plenty of activities such as workshops, guided tours, tastings, exhibitions and more. On Saturday evening a big gourmet cocktail event will be hosted by two chefs, Christophe Girardot (a Michelin star chef) and Solenn Lemonnier,
for reservations contact: 0556626271/ [email protected] . For more details about the festival click here and here.

When: November 24-25
Where: Different chateaux in Loupiac-De-Cadilla

Lettres du monde

The literature festival, Lettres du monde, is taking place on November 16-25 with lectures and debates in different venues across Bordeaux Metropole. Events will take place in libraries, schools, book stores, cinemas  and others.
You can enjoy this festival even if you don’t speak French as most of the writers participating in the lectures are coming from all over the world, from Yemen, Syria, Spain, Haiti and more. For the full program click here and for more details here.

When: November 16-25
Where: Different places in Bordeaux – check the program

Emmaüs Salon in Darwin

This weekend (November 24-25) Darwin invites you to the 7th edition of the Emmaüs salon. Emmaüs is an international solidarity movement that has a big second hand store in Darwin. For more info click here.

When: November 24-25, from 10:00 to 18:00
Where: 87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux,

Kaléidoscope – Street art exhibition

One of my favorite art venues in Bordeaux, l’Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez has finally opened a new street art exhibition. The Kaléidoscope exhibition is all about feminine art, hosting nine female street artists to present their works in a genre that is usually considered more masculine. The exhibition will be presented until February 17. For more info click here .

kaleidoscope exhibition

When: until February 17
Where: 16 rue de Tivoli, 33000 Bordeaux

Geese Festival

Every winter more than 50,000 gees find refuge in the Arcachon area. The gees festival (Festival de la Bernache), taking place on November 17- 25, gives you a unique opportunity to discover this species in a festive atmosphere.  In the program: boat trips, guided tours, conferences, concerts, workshops on comics creation, photo exhibition and more. The activities of the festival will be held in different places on the Bassin, among them: Gujan-Mestras, Andernos-les-Bains, Arès, Lanton, Arcachon, La Teste-de-Buch and more. Don’t forget to reserve a spot for the different activities here. For more info click here.

When: November 25
Where: the center of Podensac

Marché des producteurs au Château Fombrauge

Château Fombrauge invites you to its first local products market that will take place this Saturday (November 24). The event includes meetings with local producers, tastings and a guided visit in the chateau. The event is free but registration is requited for the guided tour (05 57 26 38 34).  For more info about the participating stands click here.

When: November 23 (9:00-14:00)
Where: 1 Fombrauge, 33330 Saint-Christophe-des-Bardes

Jazz weekends at the Caillou

This is the last month of the Fall program at the Caillou Jazz bar in Jardin Botanique where different musicians and groups take the stage every weekend. This weekend Roger Biwandu  will perform on both Friday (November 23) and Saturday (November 24).

When:  Noevmber 23-24
Where: Le Caillou du Jardin Botanique, Esplanade Linné, 33000 Bordeaux

Swing Party

A swing concert and party will take place this Friday (November 23) at the Quartier Libre club in Saint Michel. It’ll start with a swing lesson at 20:00 and will continue with a concert of Confit de Swing. The entry is free and a chic outfit is obligatory :). For more info click here.

When: November 23, at 20:00
Where:30 rue des Vignes, 33800 Bordeaux

Perry Gordon au Café Brun

The American Jazz musician, Perry Gordon, accompanied by his group, will perform in Café Brun this Sunday (November 25) at 18:00. For more details click here.

When: November 25 at 18:00
Where: 45 Rue Saint-Rémi, 33000 Bordeaux,

That’s it for this week! Hope there’s enough events on this list to fill your weekend with plenty of interesting stuff! If you have other suggestions and events you know about, please write a comment below! And I’d really be happy if you share this post with your friends on social media 🙂

For those subscribed to my newsletter, I haven’t been very active there lately, but starting next week I will be sending some of my discoveries in Bordeaux directly by mail only to my email subscribers! So if you aren’t subscribed to my newsletter yet do it now, and get some great recommendations about places to visit in Bordeaux.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

This weekend Bordeaux hosts the big foodies festival, S.O. good. It’s also a good weekend to be heading to Bassin d’Archachon where two interesting festivals are about to take place: the Geek festival and the Gees Festival (they kind of sound the same, now that I think of it :)). Darwin is always a perfect solution for the weekend and this time they are hosting an organic wine market. Other events this weekend include a piano festival, Cirque du Soleil shows, a literature festival, concerts, exhibitions and more. The list is long so let’s get started on things to do this weekend in Bordeaux (November 16-18):

S.O. Good Festival

This is one of the biggest events to take place during fall in Bordeaux. The S.O Good festival is a gastronomic happening that aims to highlight the talent found in the Nouvelle Aquitaine gastronomic scene and to celebrate local products. The event will take place at Hangar 14 (Quai des Chartrons) on November 16-18. The festival’s program includes more than 100 local producers hosted by the Hangar, many chef workshops in the city center, a night feast on Saturday and a farmers’ brunch on Sunday. This festival is not exclusively French, the opening event in Palais de la Bourse will be dedicated to Italian cuisine. This is one of the most important culinary events in the region and many Michelin star chefs are taking part in it. The price of the festival pass is 12€ and 10€ on pre-sale. For tickets and the full program click here.

When: November 16-18
Where: 173 Quai des Chartrons, 33300 Bordeaux, France

Organic Wine Market in Darwin 

Les Barriquades is the biggest market of bio wines in the region, an event that will take place this weekend (November 17-18) in Darwin. On the menu, a huge selection of organic wines  from Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, Bergerac, Jurançon and other regions in France such as Alsace, Fitou, Minervois and more. The entry is free. For more info click here.

When: November 17-18
Where:  87 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux, France

Piano Festival

The 9th edition of the Festival L’esprit du Piano is currently taking place at the Auditorium of the Opera of Bordeaux (until November  26). This magnificent festival hosts some important pianists like Chick Corea, Yefim Bronfman, Deszo Ranki and Bertrand Chamayou and others, some of whom will collaborate with the National Orchestra of Bordeaux and the choir of the Opera of Bordeaux. One of the biggest names to take the stage of the Auditorium is the Jazz legend, Abdullah Ibrahim. See the program of the festival here and info about tickets here.

When: November 9-26
Where: Grand Théâtre, Place de la Comédie – 33 000 Bordeaux

Cirque du Soleil 

The magnificent Cirque du Soleil are coming to Bordeaux with the show, Ovo, a tale about insects with original music and beautiful new costumes. The circus will give six shows on November 14-18 at the Arkea Arena in Floriac. For tickets click here and for more info about the show look here.

When: November 14-18
Where:  Arkéa Arena, 48-50 Avenue Jean Alfonséa, 33270 Floirac.

Bassin Geek Festival

If you enjoyed the Bordeaux Geek Festival a few months ago, it’s time for the winter edition with the Bassin Geek Festival. The program includes all the things the geek community loves:  comics, sci-fi, web culture, video games, parallel worlds, creative industries and more. The festival will take place at the Parc des Expositions de La Teste De Buch on November 17-18. Check out the full program and all the details here  and ticket prices here.

When: November 17-18
Where: 940 Avenue de l’Europe. 33260 La Teste-de-Buch

Burdigame Games Festival 

Come share your passion for games at the annual Burdigame Games Festival taking place this weekend (November 17-18) in Lormont. Cooperative , construction, board and outdoor games, this festival has it all. It’s a chance for you to discover new games and to get nostalgic with old childhood games. Entry is 2 € and the family pass is 4 €.For more info click here.
When: November 17-18
Where: Pôle Brassens Camus, Rue des Gravières 33310 Lormont

Lettres du monde

The literature festival, Lettres du monde, will take place on November 16-25 with lectures and debates in different venues across Bordeaux Metropole. Events will take place in libraries, schools, book stores, cinemas and more.
You can enjoy this festival even if you don’t speak French as most of the writers participating in the lectures are coming from around the world, from Yemen to Syria, Spain and Haiti. For the full program click here and for more details here.

Mollat book store Bordeaux

When: November 16-25
Where: Different places in Bordeaux – check the program

Bordeaux Cata Raid 2018

The 6th edition of the the Catamaran race will take place this weekend (November 16-18) in the Garonne river, just next to the central quais. This beautiful event, organized by the les Marins de la Lune club include tens of crew members that will pass next to the quai to honor the city. The view is guaranteed to be spectacular. For more details click here.

When: November 16-18
Where: starts at 103 quai des Queyries, 33100 Bordeaux, France

Geese Festival

Every winter more than 50,000 gees find refuge in the Arcachon area. The gees festival (Festival de la Bernache), taking place on November 17- 25, gives you a unique opportunity to discover this species in a festive atmosphere.  In the program: boat trips, guided tours, conferences, concerts, workshops on comics creation, photo exhibition and more. The activities of the festival will be held in different places on the Bassin, among them: Gujan-Mestras, Andernos-les-Bains, Arès, Lanton, Arcachon, La Teste-de-Buch and more. Don’t forget to reserve a spot for the different activities here. For more info click here.

When: November 17-25
Where: Different places on the Bassin d’Arcachon

L’Arche de Noël – creators market

L’Arche de Noël is a creators market taking place in the Chartrons neighborhood every weekend until Christmas (December 22-23 is the last event). Each week a group of local talented craftsmen and artists will present their original creations. This weekend (November 17-18) the stands will include jewelry, kids toys and clothes, textiles, bags and more.

See more details here.

When: November 17-18
Where: 23 Rue Minvielle, 33000 Bordeaux

Second hand toys market

If you are planning to travel in the South of Gironde, stop by the charming village of  Villandraut, where a second hand market for toys will take place this Saturday (November 17). For more info click here.

When: November 17
Where: Salle Des Fetes, 1 Place Paul Dunesme, 33730 Villandraut

Kids books and comics festival 

The annual kids books and comics festival will take place this Saturday (November 18) at the Halles de Gascogne in Leognan. More than 3000 books will be presented at the event which  also includes spectacles, activities for kids, games and more. Many authors and editors will take part in the event and will sign books. See the full program here. For more details check out the facebook page of the event.

When: November 17
Where: Place Joane, 1 Rue Louise Michel, 33850 Léognan

Arrested Development at the Rocher de Palmer

Arrested Development, a hip hop group that gained world popularity in the 90th with its hit “People Everyday” will take the stage of Rocher Palmer this Sunday (November 18 at 20:30). Tickets range between 23 € and 28 € – click here for more info and tickets.

When: November 18 at 20:30
Where: 1 Rue Aristide Briand, 33152 Cenon

Open Stage at the Grande Poste

This Saturday (November 17) the Grande Poste will host professional and amateur musicians, comedians and dancers for an open stage evening. Come and enjoy an evening of music and fun around drinks and a piano. The event is free and open for all. For more info click here.

When: November 17 starting 21:00
Where: 7 Rue du Palais Gallien, 33000 Bordeaux

Kaléidoscope – Street art exhibition

One of my favorite art venues in Bordeaux, l’Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, is about to open a new art exhibition this month. The Kaléidoscope exhibition is all about feminine art, hosting nine female street artists to present their works in a genre that is usually considered more masculine. The exhibition will be presented until February 17. For more info click here and here

When: November 13- February 17
Where: 16 rue de Tivoli, 33000 Bordeaux

Exposition 3/1 – Espace Saint-Rémi

La Spirale association invites you to a collective exhibition by three local artists: Magalie Darsouze (visual artist), Benjamin Monteil (engraver) and Chris Pillot (painter). The exhibition will be presented at the beautiful Espace Saint-Rémi on November 7-17. The entrance is free. See more info here.

When: November 7-17
Where: 4 rue Jouannet à Bordeaux

 

If you want to plan ahead check out my general list of things to in Bordeaux in November 2018.

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Have a great weekend!