This loop from Bordeaux will take you on a journey to the South West of France: vineyards, mountains, cliff-hanging fortresses and rolling hills. You will enjoy all the diversity of this unique part of France.
based on double occupancy.
Step by step
The Bordeaux area, from the Medoc vineyards
- Start your journey with 4 nights in a comfortable B&B, located in the Médoc's worldwide famous vineyards. Your friendly hosts are wine aficionados and will be happy to share their love for the Bordeaux wines and their region with you.
- Built along the banks of the Garonne river the opulent merchants' homes are very specific to the city of Bordeaux. The rise of colonial trade together with the growth of the wine industry contributed to the amazing expansion of the Gironde region during the 18th century. You will find everything in this area: from villages nestled into the Medoc or Saint Emilion vineyards, to the bustling night life in Bordeaux. Also, bear in mind that Bordeaux's Sainte Catherine Street is the longest shopping street in Europe!
- Visit a Medoc wine estate with an English-speaking guide: from the vineyards near the castle to the wine storehouses. After the tour, you'll make your own blend with different varieties and end this 2hr tour with, but of course, a wine tasting!
- On the 5th day, you will drive South towards the Basque Country – about 2hr30.
The Basque Country, from its heart
- Stay for 6 nights in a gorgeous Basque Country villa. The B&B is located just 3 miles to the beach but in a very quiet landscaped garden.
- From here, you will discover the seaside from Saint Jean de Luz to Biarritz, and also explore the Spanish Basque Country, which is about a 1hr drive.
- We will craft your days so you get a feel of everything the Basque culture has to offer, and there is a lot: taste the local Bayonne ham after strolling a valley and discovering the traditional and still alive mountain pig farming, get acquainted with the Basque weaving tradition, try to make your own Basque cake or stroll one of the many farmers markets.
- You will enjoy following a local guide in Biarritz. He will give you the keys to his city and to the Basque culture so you will better understand the Basque language and the traditions and festivals such as Pelote or Basque Force. This tour ends at the covered market, where you will taste some Basque specialties: cheese, ham, wines, jams and much more.
- Several “most beautiful villages of France” will be on your scenic drives – and you may see some locals playing the Basque Pelote game at the town’s fronton. Nature and outdoors lovers will enjoy endless walks and hikes in the Pyrenees foothills, occasional walkers will relax on the walks along the beaches and enjoy a coffee on a terrace watching surfers.
- On the 11th day, you will drive East all along the Pyrenees chain to Carcassonne.
Carcassonne: Wines & History
- Carcassonne and the Cathar country are quite unknown but are well worth a visit. Carcassonne's medieval “Cité” will amaze you by its size and conservation. You will reside for 3 nights in charming B&B in the lively Bastide neighborhood, within walking distance to restaurants and to the medieval city.
- In the Cathar country, walkers/hikers will be rewarded with breathtaking landscapes and fortresses such as Quéribus or Perpeytuse. History lovers will be intrigued by the Cathar history. Wine lovers may be surprised by the quality of the “Minervois” wines which have improved a lot in the past 10 years. They are now on the wine lists of some of the most famous restaurants in the world.
- On the 14th day, you will drive about 3 hours North through Toulouse and the Lot to get to Dordogne.
- End your sightseeing journey in the Black Perigord where you will stay in an old stone Perigord style house for 6 nights. One afternoon, you will enjoy a convival cooking workshop with your hosts - followed by a mouth-watering dinner shared with Nat & her husband and fellow travelers.
- You are very close to Sarlat and the prehistoric caves and we will be happy to recommend some intimate visits for you, in 20,000 year old caves. If you are interested in history or if you are a JM Auel reader, these are a must!
- Visit the old city of Sarlat and feel the buzz of activity on market days. We'll also tell you where to find the most typical goat cheeses - and if you like outdoor activities, you'll be in paradise.
- Eventually, you will jump into medieval history with fortresses hanging on cliffs above the Dordogne river - one of the most famous castles of the area is only a 30-minute walk from your B&B. Also, four of the "most beautiful villages of France" are within a 4-mile drive.
On your last day, you can return the car in Brive airport, Bordeaux train station or airport, or drive to your next destination.
This is the best discovery tour of the South West of France !
Bordeaux Wine tasting & blending
Visit a Medoc wine estate with an English speaking guide: from the vineyards to the wine storehouses. After the tour, you'll make your own blend with different varieties.
A Private Guide to introduce you to the Basque culture
Follow a local guide in Biarritz, by the Ocean. He will give you the keys to his city and to the Basque culture. You will end this tour at the covered market, tasting some Basque produces: cheese, hams and wines.
Cooking Class & Dinner
Spend a late afternoon with your hosts preparing local dishes from the Dordogne region. Then you'll enjoy a convivial and savory dinner with your hosts.