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advice on traveling to Bordeaux and whereabouts in late July

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advice on traveling to Bordeaux and whereabouts in late July

Old Mar 7th, 2018, 02:33 PM
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advice on traveling to Bordeaux and whereabouts in late July

Thinking of traveling to Bourdeaux in late July about 5 days. Our ideal scenario would be to stay in Bordeaux or Archachon and take road trips - Blaye, Cap Ferrett, Landes forest, Hourtin, etc. Based on other posts, we are concerned about traffic in Bordeaux and also traffic elsewhere given the time of year. The question is - how bad is it going to be? Can handle some traffic of course, but concerned about spending hours in traffic and not moving for long stretches. Is our plan feasible and realistic given the traffic and time of year?
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Old Mar 7th, 2018, 02:41 PM
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Archachon is a really sweet place for a base vs Bordeaux (nice rehabbed city but lots of traffic folks here say) - be sure to climb or descend Dun de Pyla right next to Archachon - western Europe's highest sand dune!

As I drove around there about 15 years ago, not able to comment on current driving situation though at that time we took back roads along coast and had a breeze.

Hopefully StCirq who lives near there (Dordogne) will see this and be able to give you a local perspective.

Late July and August is the high season - too bad you could not come earlier.
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Old Mar 7th, 2018, 02:52 PM
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I answered you in detail on Lonely Planet, so you know my thoughts (and personal knowledge) about traffic, but I will add here that Blaye and Saint-Foy-la-Grande,and les Landes are big bores. When so much of glorious France is within reach. I have to wonder what drew you to those places as tourists (if you have family or other ties, that's something else, of course). You are missing the best of the area. There is, of course, one of the most magnificent spectacles in all of France at the end of July/beginning of August in Castillon, not far from Sainte-Foy: La Recréation de la Bataille de Castillion, with a cast of 500 actors and actresses and 200 animals and amazing sound and light and narration. It celebrates the final battle of the Guerre de Cent Ans, when France was finally returned to France. You can buy tickets online. It is of course only in French, though I think in recent years the program has had some English translation. The most amazing show I've ever seen in my life. It would beat out a day in Blaye by 1000%.
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Old Mar 7th, 2018, 07:26 PM
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StCirq, thank you for responding again. The reason we were thinking of going to Bordeaux were: 1) we are spending the rest of our vacation in England so we also wanted to go somewhere more summery; 2) we have already been to Provence; and 3) we like how Bordeaux is so close to the beach, which is not the case of lets say Toulouse. So do you think the whole area around Bordeaux is not all that and there are better places to visit? We are still not 100% decided so we would greatly appreciate any suggestions!
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Old Mar 7th, 2018, 08:37 PM
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We spent 2 weeks on the Ile de Re in late Aug/Sept & thought it was very summery. Same with Collioure/Perpignan in early June for 2 weeks. Same with Biarritz/St Jean de Luz/San Sebastion/Pays Basque on 2 trips for 2 weeks each in early Sept and also in late June . We only spent a half-day in Arcachon & it seemed like a summery place - but it's difficult to determine that with only a half day of "witnessing".

We enjoyed all these places equally. Perpignan/Collioure probably has the most predictable "good summery" weather.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 8th, 2018, 03:34 AM
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It's a little over 1.5 hours driving, normally, from Toulouse to Narbonne. Given normal traffic conditions in summer, that's about 30 minutes longer than it will take you to drive from Bordeaux to Arcachon (distance isn't the only factor - traffic between Bordeaux and Arcachon is normally a lot worse than between Toulouse and Narbonne). From Narbonne, all the way south to Collioure there are lovely beaches and "summery" conditions (Perpignan gets the most sunny days of any city in France - more than 300 on average). There are also good train connections from Toulouse to all the major cities and towns along the Mediterranean.

Arcachon is a very nice summer resort town - it's where all the wealthy Bordeaux wine widows built their mansions. And Bordeaux is a fantastic city, but so is Toulouse. If what you're after, though, is a "summery" atmosphere, I think you'd enjoy going to the coast from Toulouse rather than going all the way to Bordeaux and then to the Atlantic. We just spent a week in Languedoc-Rousillon and thoroughly enjoyed Narbonne, Perpignan, and Collioure, even though it wasn't summer. Here's what Collioure looked like the last weekend in February:
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Old Mar 8th, 2018, 05:46 AM
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I was wondering why Bordeaux (especially if you are not into wine) rather than Biarritz/Bayonne.
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