Bordeaux - In the City or Outside It?

Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:02 PM
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Bordeaux - In the City or Outside It?

Coming down the Atlantic Coast after 2-3 nights in Saintes, we plan to explore the region all around Bordeaux. Should we stay in the city, or in one of the apparently lovely villages outside it? We've read some travel guides, and places like St Emilion, Langon and several others sound good. As a guide to what kind of places we like, when we tripped around France in 2008 we really enjoyed Sarlat, St-Remy-de-Provence & Menton. But we didn't mind Nice either, and I guess Bordeaux might be of a similar size to that?

Any particular hotel or good B&B recommendations for Bordeaux or surrounding villages would also be welcome. As a guide to our budget, in 2008 we paid 84 euros a night for 2 people in Menton in late September. Slightly more than that in Sarlat, and slightly less in St-Remy. We'll be around Bordeaux late August/early September so are prepared for prices being a little higher because of it being the high season.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:21 PM
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In my opinion, there really aren't any lovely villages outside Bordeaux, so I would stay in the city and enjoy its somewhat limited but interesting offerings: great parks, great restaurants, good cathedral, decent pedestrian shopping area, good Musée des Beaux Arts. And take day trips to Arcachon, Cap Ferret, and the Dune du Pylat.

I know St-Emilion is a huge magnet for many, but I think it's boring, self-important, and overpriced. Unless you have a legitimate connection to the real wine trade there, go, have a macaron, see the monolithich church, and get out.

In Bordeaux, I like both the Hôtel Etche-Ona and the Hôtel Bayonne, the former very old-school Basque in feeling and the latter more modern, both owned by the same family, both a block or two from the pedestrian rue Ste-Catherine shopping area/heart of town.

Have you considered going to La Rochelle and the Ile de Ré instead? Much, much more interesting than Bordeaux and surrounds, IMO.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 11:57 PM
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Near the opera house there are wine purveyors who offer wine tasting, which means that they offer wines from the entire Bordeaux area. You might want to take a look at my June 2011 trip report which starts with our stay in Bordeaux; click on my name to find it.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 09:02 AM
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I would have said something like StCirq's first sentence, but s/he knows the area a great deal better than I and beat me to it. The environs of Bordeaux were not prepossessing.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 07:57 PM
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Thanks everyone. Bordeaux & St Emilion sound less exciting than I expected. Thanks for the hotel suggestions. Regarding the la Rochelle/Ile de Re suggestion, here is my itinerary (draft only at this stage):

Pick-up car Paris St-Cloud. Drive to St-Ceneri-le-Gerei, Ste-Suzanne. Overnight Mayenne or Vitre.

Via Rochefort-en-Terre to Vannes. A few nights in the Vannes or Carnac area.

Via Gueronde, St-Nazaire to Marais-Pontevin. Overnight Arcais or Coulon (or nearby).

To La Rochelle for a few nights. Explore Ile de Re from there.

To Saintes for a few nights. Include a daytrip from here to Brouage, Ile d'Oleron, Talmont-sur-Gironde & Cozes.

Drive Cognac, Barbezeux, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne to...

This is the point at which I am seeking advice. Places that sound interesting are St Emilion, Blaye, Lanton, Arcachon, Villandraut, Langon, La Reole, Cadillac & Sauveterre-de-Guyenne. But where best to base ourselves?

From the Bordeaux region we're heading south to Basque country. (We've explored the area further east of Bordeaux in a previous trip based around Sarlat).

Grateful for any further opinions!
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 10:02 PM
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The area around Arcachon is known for its oysters. It has nice maritime scenery.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...63616289/show/
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