Side Trips from Bordeaux


Although Bordeaux is a popular destination, for many travelers it can seem just so darn far from everything (“everything” = Paris and Provence). And, although people do know about the city and oenophiles make the pilgrimage to the region’s yummiest vineyards, there’s a lot of “but what else is there to do there?” when it comes to planning a trip there.

Well, the truth is, there is a LOT to do not only in Bordeaux, but in the surrounding area as well. To whet your traveling appetite, let’s take a look at some delicious places to visit during a trip to Bordeaux. And to get you started on trip planning, here are some helpful links:

Clermont-Ferrand


Clermont-Ferrand is one of the few places where it’s easier to drive from Bordeaux than take the train. To wit: it takes over 8 hours by train, with a change in Limoges; by car, it’s a little under 4 hours. But it’s very much something to consider if you’re in the southwest – although Clermont-Ferrand is in the center of France, it’s one of those “hidden-in-plain-sight” gems that deserves a lot more attention. Why? Well, let’s start with the (dormant) volcano chain. Then there are the Roman ruins. And hiking, paragliding, a great city center, and so much more.

You can read more about visiting Clermont-Ferrand here.

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Biarritz


Biarritz, just a little over two hours from Bordeaux by train, is the surfing capital of Europe and a hip town with a decent old town, a fun beach vibe, and delicious Basque-influenced food. It’s also a hop, skip and jump away from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, perhaps the cutest little town you ever did see. If you’re visiting Bordeaux during the summer months, then a side trip to Biarritz is practically mandatory.

Limoges


You may know Limoges because of its world-famous porcelain, and you can certainly find your fair share it there. (Gifts to be bring back home? Done. I recommend the tiny pill boxes.) But Limoges wears its history proudly. In fact, almost every century since the 10th is represented in the city – from that century’s Crypt of Saint Martial to the Gothic Limoges Cathedral Saint-Étienne de Limoges to the Bishops’ Palace. Limoges is about three hours from Bordeaux.

Arcachon

Need a reason to go to Archachon? Look no further than this video, which accurately shows all of its jaw-dropping awesomeness:

Right?? You could spend a week there. But even an overnight trip means you can experience the astonishing beauty of this coastal area. If you only take one side trip from Bordeaux, this is definitely it.

Photo by: Marie-Hélène CingalJDAMIBill Baroud