Bordeaux is the main getaways: 1 hour flight from Paris or 3 hours by train with direct connexion from Roissy CDG train station.
The city has been rewarded this year as the “European Best Destination”. It is often compared to a little Paris with its 18th century architecture, pedestrian streets, art galleries and boutiques… Bordeaux is also a wine capital, and next year will open the Cité des Civilisations du Vin, a great place along the Garonne River dedicated to the wines from all around the world.
Suggested accommodation in the city center: 4* Boutique Hotel, 4*Hotel de Sèze or 5* Hotel Burdigala and La Grande Maison, a brand new boutique hotel with its Joël Robuchon restaurant.
Bordeaux is also an ideal starting point for visiting the vineyard as they are just next door to the city.
MEDOC WINE AREA
To discover the Medoc wine area, you have to take the “route des chateaux”, a panoramic road that goes through the most prestigious wine estates. Make a stop in Pauillac where you can stay at Relais & Chateau Cordeillan Bages
The village of Saint Emilion, UNESCO classified, is a very easy day out. There you have to visit the underground monuments: the catacombs and the 13th century monolithic church, unique in Europe! Many wine estates are open to visitors around Saint Emilion, the Tourist Office can help you to book a tour.
Suggested accommodation: Relais & Chateaux Hostellerie de Plaisance, in the village; 4* Hotel Grand Barrail, in the vineyard.
THE DORDOGNE REGION
The Dordogne region, also known as Périgord, takes you back in history with the prehistorical caves such as Lascaux and the medieval castles and villages. Do not miss Sarlat, a beautiful 13th century city considered as the jewel of the Périgord. Périgueux is also worth a visit with its gallo-roman and renaissance heritage. Wednesday and Saturday morning outdoor market is a very nice way to meet local people.
Suggested accommodation : Castel Peyssard, Relais & Chateaux Le Vieux Logis, Château des Vigiers
THE BASQUE COUNTRY
And I would finish with the Basque country at the Spanish border. Biarritz is obviously a must seen. From a small whales fishing harbour, it became a fashionable and glamorous destination in the 19th century, thanks the Empress Eugénie and Napoleon the 3rd, the French Emperor. Today it is an international seaside resort ideal for sunbathing, with golf courses, and one of the best surfing spots in Europe.
Suggested accommodation: 5*Hotel du Palais, 5*Regina Biarritz & spa