Dune du Pilat, Chateaux, Arcachon
Hi ladies and welcome back to my post series about the French road trip I made in August. In the last post, I shared with you my thoughts & tips on Normandy. Today, I will talk about Bordeaux and the areas around it, as it was our next destination. And so, cozy up with a glass of French wine, and enjoy this short story which includes dunes, forests, beaches, oysters, and plenty of wine.
Our route: Deauville – Bordeaux – Chateaux – Dunes du Pilat – Arcachon – Bordeaux
First stop: Bordeaux
I’m a big red wine lover and spending my vacation in France I could not miss Bordeaux and its famous Chateaux. We booked a lovely apartment through Airbnb in the heart of the city. It was extremely charming and modern yet located in an old French building. We decided to stay in Bordeaux for 2 nights, exploring the surrounding areas and the city itself. On our first night in the city we went out for a small walk, purchased some food to cook, grabbed a drink in a bar nearby, listening to our favorite songs. I treated my family with some seafood pasta, and we enjoyed some French wine together with it.
On our second day we woke up early to go for breakfast & a walk, and we did not have an idea of what that day would bring to us. We grabbed some pastry & coffee in Paul, took a short walk, and headed towards chateaux. Initially, I tried to find the Chateaux ratings online, however, there are dozens if not hundreds of wineries, so we decided to go with the flow. On the way our of the city you will most likely see chateaux every 2-3 kilometers. We stopped at Chateau Malescasse – an extremely beautiful and remote place. But, unfortunately, they were closed due to a wedding and we went to another one, based on their recommendations.
We ended up at Chateau Lamothe Bergeron with the castle and the beautiful territory around it. It was quite empty, and we enjoyed some free wine tasting on our own. The wine was extraordinary good, so I purchased one bottle for myself, which I now brought to Amsterdam.
Recommendation: stop by at different chateaux, try different wines, walk through vineyards, and enjoy every moment of it. Many of the tastings are either free or have a symbolic price of up to 10 euros (unless you want fancy dining with it).
Second stop: Dunes du Pilat
After sipping some wine at different wineries, we decided to go to a beach. As Bordeaux doesn’t have a seaside, our choice was Arcachon. On the highway however I noticed that the traffic is insane, so we decided to look for a more remote beach. On google maps, I noticed a piece of sand, called Dunes du Pilat. On google images, it looked like a regular dune you can find all around the Netherlands. It looked remote and empty and we change our route towards there. It did not bother us seeing a bunch of billboards with this dune on our way. We arrived and the parking looked massive and packed. We thought “hmm, maybe it’s a bit more popular than we thought”. Then we starting going in the direction of the dune. And suddenly… we see this massive piece of sand in front of us. This was completely unexpected, but so much worth it!
It took us 20 minutes to get over the dune. The top of it is a magical place – from one side you can see the endless sea, from another – endless forest. The beach is fascinating too – warm water, dunes surrounding you. A pleasant bonus: you get to exercise a lot ?
Recommendation: take a lot of food and water with you, make sure the weather is good, choose the time when it’s low tide, enjoy!
Third stop: Arcachon
After climbing this dune twice – towards the sea and back, we got insanely hungry. The traffic towards Arcachon has disappeared and we decided to give it a go. Especially, because we’ve heard the seafood there is one of the best in France (especially oysters and prawns). We arrived around 8-9, it was getting a little dark already. We walked around the coast with the desire to find a place with the Seaview. To our surprise, most of those places were extremely commercial, expensive, touristy, and full of those tourists. It was quite disappointing and did not feel French at all.
We were hungry but were also in search of something aesthetically pleasing. We decided to check the second line, one street up from the sea. It was emptier, we were walking for quite some time and almost lost hope when we found an amazing, cozy place called Le Pitt. We order a plate of oysters, 2 portions of prawns, some snacks and wine. It was the best dinner I’ve had in France!
That’s it from my side. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments! I would totally recommend this short trip to you if you’re in France. It’s beautiful, memorable, and delicious!
In the next article, I will talk about Biarritz and San Sebastian: where to eat, where to surf, and to sleep! Don’t miss it!
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