Things to see and do in Aquitaine and the Basque Country
Here are some recommendations of towns or places to visit.
La Rochelle – Easily recognisable by the iconic towers that guard the harbour, La Rochelle is a historical maritime town. Stroll through the cobbled streets, dine on freshly caught oysters, or hop on a boat to discover Fort Boyard or the Ile de Ré.
Angoulême – Situated on a rocky headland overlooking the Charente river, the historic centre of Angoulême is hallmarked by ornate white-stone buildings including a Romanesque cathedral, its city walls, and winding streets. It also celebrates comic strips; it’s home to a comic museum and hosts an annual festival in January.
Bordeaux – Home of sunshine and wine, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Bordeaux! Whether you’re a fully-fledged wine buff or an absolute beginner, La Cité du Vin is well worth a visit. The water mirror opposite Place de la Bourse is a contemporary UNESCO site that combines refreshing mists with stunning photo opportunities.
Arcachon – The Bay of Arcachon boasts sheltered sandy beaches, elegant Belle Epoque architecture, and Europe’s tallest sand dune, the Dune de Pilat. Pack a picnic and take a boat trip on a beautiful wooden pinasse, which is a type of boat typical to the area.
Ile d’Oléron – the largest of France’s Atlantic islands, Oléron sits in the Bay of Biscay. Think fishing boats, picture-perfect villages and sandy beaches where you can while away those long sun-drenched summer days. It has a citadel, a lighthouse and two forests that offer a welcome respite from the midday sun and the bustling crowds.
Bayonne and Biarritz – Biarritz has a reputation for sun, surf and sophistication. Surfers can don their wetsuit and hit the swell, while strollers can explore the quaint mediaeval streets, visit the cathedral and settle in at a pavement café to people watch. Just a few minutes down the road, off the coast but on the river, is Bayonne. Another picturesque historical town that’s famous for its chocolate and cured ham – what’s not to like?