Did you know that Aquitaine is now better known as French California ?
Unspoilt landscapes, unparalleled beautiful beaches, strong surf culture since the 1960’s, Slow Food and organic farming, wide and wild national parks … are the pillars of this southern “Art de Vivre”, along with hospitality and an enormous appetite for celebration.
From Bordeaux – the world famous UNESCO city and hipster’s lair – to the lush and sandy Basque Country, we are eager to recommand our “Road to Happiness”, to discover this wonderful region in the way we love it. Local insiders provided us with their best spots (hip and casual, party hideouts, foodie secrets, family friendly …). Here are a selection of our favourite.
You can book this route through Relais & Châteaux Central Reservations.
From Bordeaux to the Basque Country : city, surf and sun
Culture-vultures, nature lovers and urbanistas will all love this itinerary, which includes Bordeaux (the Port de la Lune, as it is known locally), the long golden beaches of the Atlantic coast and the enchanting forests of the Landes. In Bordeaux, you can take an ‘alternative’ stroll through the newest trendy spots, before setting sail for Cap Ferret and a picnic on the Banc d’Arguin nature reserve, as the famous pinnace boats sail by. A detour to the Landes de Gascogne national park, peppered with pastoral scenes, will lead you to the lively holiday spots of Hossegor, Capbreton and their Basque Country counterparts. Welcome to the ‘Surfin’ way of life’. Learn how to ride the waves on a stand-up paddle board and drift off to find dolphins and porpoises before heading back to shore and meeting friends over a glass of Xiacoli. Paradise lies at the end of the sandy track, behind the dunes…
DAY 1 AND 2 : BORDEAUX
Ambulant Brunch, into the « Bordeaux’s Belly »
Where : Capucins Market
What : from Tuesday to Sunday, start your discovery tour of Bordeaux walking through the food stations of the Market. Night owls meet early birds at Jean-Mi’s stall for a bunch of Arcachon oysters and a glass of white wine.
More info : http://marchedescapucins.com/
Where : Pessac
What : After a visit of the Grand Cru, Château Pape Clément, it’s high time you launch your winemaking carreer and concoct your own elixir. B-Winmaker 2-hour workshop allows visitors to create their wine blend and bottle it as a souvenir.
More info : www.b-winemaker.com/
Sons of Caudalies (Harley Davidson Private Tour of Bordeaux region)
Where : Left bank or right bank, wherever you wish
What : Maybe the most exciting way to wander throught the region !
Comfortably seated behind a graded pilot, let a gleaming HD 1700 cc Road King Classic drive you across the vineyards.
Various tours are offered, and kids are welcome.
More info : http://www.tourochateaux.com/index.php
DAY 3 AND 4 : EUGENIE
Sleep and dream at Les Prés d’Eugénie
Gourmet Picnic and Heritage Bike Tour
Where : Eugénie-les-Bains neighbourhood
What : After breakfast in bed, collect your wicker basket at the Reception … the Chef cooked a rustic and healthy mezze lunch. Borrow two bikes from our fleet and let’s ride the green hills of Gascony. Call first at Larivière (7 km) and visit the quirky “Notre Dame du Rugby”, a small chapel dedicated to the eponymous sport. Then, pedal to the nice village of Montgaillard, and savour your picnic by the charming old washing place. It is time to bike back and enjoy these beautiful lush country road and small hamlets : Buanes, Montsoué, Bahus.
Hot Air Balloon ride over the Bearn Region
Experience an intimate and romantic journey. You’ll discover unprecedented views of vineyards, rivers, forests and on the sumptuous Pyrénées skyline. If we fly over the forest, you can see and photograph the wildlife.
The pilot is an expert on the region and can describe the history of the neighbourhood.
A must-have experience: tasting a great local Jurançon wine after being lulled by the wind.
DAY 5-6-7 : BEACH HOUSE ON THE ATLANTIC
Sleep, dream, sunbathe and enjoy BBQ at Huchet Beach House
Surf Camp on the Shore
Where : down on the beach, 400 m from the House
What : if you always wanted to master the swell, entrust yourself to our english speaking surf pro. After one or two lessons, you will boast about your perfect “take off”.
Cafts Beer under the Pine Trees and Stand Up Paddle
Where : Hossegor
What : A few years ago, a bunch of young nd hip locals decided to brew their own beach beer. You may visit and enjoy a few specials at their beautiful place, just after an afternoon of Stand Up Paddling on the Hossegor Lake. At lunch, taste the delicious bowls of the two lovely ladies of Le Mango Tree. Groovy and healthy !
More info : http://watermansport-surfschool.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/HossegorBeer
DAY 8-9 : BASQUE COAST
Itsas Arima, the Soul of the Sea …
Where : Bayonne
What : No need to rejoin the freezing water of St Laurent – Canada to watch cetaceans. The Aquitaine coastline is plenty with whales, dolphins and rorquals. Boat in Bayonne and sail to the Gouf de Capbreton – an ocean trench a few miles away – where these peaceful mammals abound.
More info : http://itsasarima.com/
Skate forever !
Where : Saint Jean de Luz
What : Quicksilver, the well known apparel brand, shelters in their European headquarters the 162 Skate Park & Skate School : group or individual courses, initiation and much more …
More info : http://162skate.org/
Party and Tapas Garage
Where : Saint Jean de Luz
What : 10 years ago, this 600 m² Renault garage closed, deserting 600 m² in the very heart of the city. The new owners reconverted it in a welcoming tapas and cocktail court, where all generations meet and enjoy life and dj sets at night.
More info : facebook.com/chezrenauld/