With its winemaking heritage, thriving art scene, exquisite architecture, and phenomenal food, Bordeaux – the largest urban UNESCO World Heritage Site on the planet – is full of French culture. And the good news is it gets even better when you explore the wider Gironde area. To truly experience it, travelers need to get outside of the city and visit Bordeaux’s nearby vineyards and picture-perfect towns. If you’re looking for more places to roam during your stay, here are the seven best day trips from Bordeaux you should consider checking out.
The 120-mile drive to coastal Biarritz is a road trip to savor – a feast of country landscapes where you’ll find fields full of flowers, village markets, and plenty of fresh air. The area is packed with fantastic coastal gems, a thriving surf culture, and some of the best Basque cuisine in Europe.
Biarritz has been drawing in visitors for well over a century, and its allure continues today. On its beach-filled coast line you’ll find museums like the glass-walled Cité de l'Océan et du Surf, along with cafes, restaurants, and stores. Hungry travelers should grab a spot at laidback beach shack Casa Juan Pedro. The views here are blissful and the seafood is dialed up to 11.
Around a 90-minute drive from Bordeaux, Bergerac is surrounded by rolling hills and lush vineyards. Famed for its half-timbered buildings and chateaux, it’s a place where you can enjoy old-school French serenity at its finest – mixed with intriguing museums, one-off stores, and galleries. As you might expect, wine is a recurring theme. Allow plenty of time for nearby Château de Monbazillac, just south of the town, where you can learn about its Renaissance history and proud winemaking tradition.
A handsome hamlet perched on a hilltop overlooking perfectly manicured vineyards, Saint-Emilion is named after a medieval monk who fled here from Brittany and turned it into a religious center.
The village is well worth a day trip from Bordeaux and is just a 50-minute drive away. It’s worth being here in the evening, when you can watch the sunset over the valley and the honey-hued limestone glow with life. If you fancy something darker, venture below the village and head out on a tour of the spooky catacombs beneath.
Pessac is actually part of Bordeaux’s metropolitan area, but if you find yourself sticking to the city center, it’s well worth dedicating some time to this area. It’s a magnificent place to go for a Bordeaux chateau stay.
The area is blessed with romantic hideaways and one of the most prestigious vineyards in Bordeaux: Château Pape Clément. But that’s not all it has to offer – Pessac is a nature lover’s paradise with a zoo and plenty of green spaces to cycle, hike, or spend a few hours enjoying the beautiful sunshine.
Okay, we admit this spot isn’t really a day trip, but it’s a hugely popular route, and for good reason. The 370-mile journey to Paris takes just under six hours – and then you’re in the heart of France’s capital. Paris bewitches with romance and you’ll be seduced by its art, architecture, poetry, and cuisine. Squeezing in a trip from Bordeaux to Paris is what French adventures are made of. Dedicate a couple of days to the city to see the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower. Once that’s done, soak up the soul of Montmartre, where the hit movie Amelie was filmed.
Find out more travel tips in our guide to Paris’s top attractions.
Just like Bordeaux, the gorgeous medieval town of Sarlat has undergone extensive restoration. Its idyllic streets and courtyards have been restored to their original glory.
You’ll want plenty of snaps of Maison de la Boétie, a Renaissance house, before indulging in dinner at La Couleuvrine for a superb French culinary experience. It’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive to get here, so set off early to make the most of the town. If you’re here in January, get a flavor for the local life with the annual truffe et fois gras fair, which brings foodies to the area in their droves.
Just 40 miles south-west from Bordeaux along the A63 and A660, Arcachon is a history-rich port that’s been charming visitors for well over a century. Its long-standing reputation for oyster-catching still holds true today. Head to La Cabane de L'Aiguillon to try the local delicacy under the dappled shade on an outside terrace, or Le Pitt for enormous, succulent platters.
The town’s beaches are popular for swimming, while inland you’ll find four districts – named after the seasons of the year – filled with elegant villas built in the local style. It’s charming, beautiful, and barely more than an hour’s drive from Bordeaux.
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