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annhig Mar 3rd, 2015 03:46 AM

Bordeaux - how many nights? and what else in a week in that area?
Hi all,

DH and I have decided to spend about a week in Bordeaux in May, flying into and out of Bordeaux airport [the flights there are extremely cheap for that time of year and we can fly from our local airport at convenient times so it's a no-brainer for somewhere to go].

We went to the area many years ago [30 ish] on our way to Spain, and have spent a week or so near Sarlat with the kids more recently, but never spent any time in Bordeaux.

Our provisional itinerary is to fly into Bordeaux on Saturday [we arrive late afternoon] stay 2 nights, then pick up a car from the station, returning to Bordeaux airport the following Saturday morning for the flight home.

Is a day [Sunday] and 2 nights long enough to see the main sights of Bordeaux? My sort of plan thereafter is to spend a couple of nights in/near Bourg but I don't have much idea after that.

any and all suggestions gratefully received.

Michael Mar 3rd, 2015 08:50 AM

Bordeaux can be visited in a day and a half, perhaps a little crowded if visiting the regional museum.

annhig Mar 3rd, 2015 10:04 AM

thanks, Michael. I was beginning to think that my thread had sunk without trace!

We probably wouldn't worry about the regional museum, just the main sights.

bilboburgler Mar 3rd, 2015 12:53 PM

Hi Ann, have a look at my bike tour of last year to get some ideas for the north of the area. Bergerac and Montbasillac were exceptional

The Archechon bay is worth a one off day visit for the fish. St Emillion is another day's worth. I also like the whole line of sweet wine towns to the south Cadillac etc down to Yquem. Often walled and ancient

Little Bastides all over the place. Have a read up to chose the best

annhig Mar 3rd, 2015 01:05 PM

Hi Bilbo,

i was hoping that you would chime in - thanks!

I'll have a look and come back with any questions, if I may?

annhig Mar 3rd, 2015 01:14 PM>>

Found it - thanks. a great read and most useful.

I'm not surprised about what you say about St Emilion - we visited for an afternoon on our trip 30 years ago and it was busy then, though I don't remember many chinese!

what do you think about Bergerac as a possible base? 2 nights or 3?

Michael Mar 3rd, 2015 02:37 PM

Bergerac makes it more difficult to get to the Atlantic coast, in part because the direct route to the Atlantic on the southern side of the Gironde includes the autoroute around Bordeaux. That road has horrendous traffic that often slows to a crawl. Keep in mind that Bergerac is closer to Sarlat than to Bordeaux.

annhig Mar 3rd, 2015 02:59 PM

Thanks, Michael - i obviously need to spend some time with a map.

Where would you suggest as a good base then, as you are clearly familiar with the area?

Michael Mar 3rd, 2015 03:10 PM

A couple of nights in Bordeaux; a couple of nights in the Médoc area, with a day trip to the Bassin d'Arcachon; a couple of nights in Cognac to visit the Romanesque chapels of the Charente area. Do the Médoc area last which makes it easy to return to the airport.

Browsing through these pictures might give you some ideas of what to visit:

bilboburgler Mar 4th, 2015 03:10 AM

Michael's right about the road around Bordeaux, esp. the north side.

We found a number of chambre d'hote south of Bordeaux a few years back in the middle of nowhere which let us visit the Bassin, the sweet wines along the valley below the Cote de Bordeaux and the odd vinyard in the south of the city.

I imagine there is something similar to the north (like your Bourg base) which opens up access to the Medoc (I think there is a ferry half way down the river between Bordeaux city and the mouth) and St Emilion and the right bank wineries.

Bergerac is another good base but well away from the main Bordeaux tourist area.

On a bike you tend to look out for little roads and trains but in a car you tend to just look at the GPS and how to get there, I recommend sitting down with Google maps for a bit to find the ferry I mention above, check it is still running as it opens up possibilities. I understand the one at the river mouth gets very busy in high season but May should be all right.

annhig Mar 4th, 2015 03:55 AM

Hi bilbo,

acting on your suggestion, I googled the Gironde ferries and you're right - there are two, one right at the top and one half way down:

The one from Blaye looks as if it might be useful if we were staying at Bourg. I don't remember how we got there but I have a memory of being at an outdoor restaurant half-way up that spit of land to the west of the Gironde on a previous visit, but being unable to enjoy it because of alimentary considerations. Perhaps we could find it again! [I hope that in the last 30 years, the loos have improved]

I've also been looking at Arachon as a last base as it's the right side of Bordeaux for the flight home as Michael suggests. [thanks for the photos, Michael - they were lovely and gave me quite a few ideas].

Jeff801 Mar 4th, 2015 05:16 AM

If you want to get out of the larger cities for a few days, consider Monpazier, a very nice bastide village in easy driving distance of several interesting villages and castles. Before you make any certain plans, you might want to check out, and do a map search around the areas you are thinking of visiting.

annhig Mar 4th, 2015 05:32 AM

thanks, Jeff - good idea.

unfortunately, looking at the map, there aren't any in the immediate area around Bordeaux but if we decide to venture further afield it will doubtless prove useful.

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