When one thinks about Southwest France, one generally thinks about Bordeaux. We adore this elegant city with its brilliant architecture, amazing food, and museums. But there is much more to visit in Southwest France. The coast is fantastic and offers charming and discrete luxury retreats. The mountains are easily accessible, just 2 hours from Bordeaux by car. If you enjoy slow time and to visit places at a relaxed pace, you will fall in love with Southwest France. Here are our 3 favourite reasons to book a holiday there next!
The Atlantic Ocean
Are you bored of the overcrowded Mediterranean Sea during Summer? If you have been stuck once in the legendary traffic jams around St Tropez, you will know what I mean. The Atlantic coast is definitely less crowded and offers a unique experience. Except Biarritz, Bayonne and Arcachon, there are no big cities by the coast. You will rather find smaller towns like Seignosse, Hossegor, Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains. These are very charming and welcoming. Arriving in these towns will immediately make you feel in holidays. Indeed, the sheer size of them make them quickly familiar and “homely”. You can do everything via bicycle, and you immediately relax, surrounded by pine trees and sand dunes. The Southwest coast is eco-friendly: you will want to leave your car at home during your holidays. Indeed, there are cycle lanes everywhere and it is enjoyable to discover the region on a bicycle!
If you land in Bordeaux, you will be only 2 hours from the Pyrenees. However, if you land in Pau or Biarritz, you will be only 45 minutes to the mountains. The Pyrenees are the beautiful mountains that separate France and Spain. If you like skiing, there are a few discrete and charming ski resorts like Saint-Lary-Soulan that offer a very interesting alternative to the Alps. The prices are more reasonable too and the slopes less crowded. However, please do not expect the same luxury experience. The Pyrenees are not as posh as the French Alps, but this fuss-free experience is what tourists are looking for here!
Southwest France is home to some of the most famous chefs in the world: Michel Guerard, Alain Ducasse, Helene Darroze. The 3 of them have shaped the French gastronomy of the last 30 years. Michel Guerard will welcome you in his palatial Les Pres d’Eugenie in Eugenie-les-Bains. To date, this 3 stars Michelin restaurant remains my best culinary experience!
The influence of these superstar chefs (Helene Darroze is Top Chef’s host, and manages the Connaught’s restaurant in London, Alain Ducasse operates the kitchens of some of the best hotels in the world: The Dorchester, the Plaza Athenee, Le Meurice) is visible in every restaurant in Southwest France. You will be amazed by the quality of the food here. The prices are very attractive too.
We hope you will enjoy your time in Southwest France. It certainly has a lot to offer, and represents a great alternative to the busier Mediterranean coast. Please remember to pack your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and a private travel insurance company. To apply for your EHIC, click here > This way you can start relaxing even before the holiday starts!
Latest posts by Richard Howard (see all)
- 10 things you did not know about Lisbon - September 5, 2019
- 15 things you didn’t know about Turkey - August 13, 2019
- Is my EHIC valid in Spain, Balearic and Canary Islands? - July 27, 2019