- Road trip on the west coast, along the Atlantic
- Intimate guest houses and waterfront hotels: all in excellent locations
- Private surfing lessons, a day-long boat excursion in the Arcachon basin, Bordeaux tasting: it's all in the itinerary
- Includes all our additional services, such as fast-track airport services, access to airport lounges and our local Concierge services
Contact one of our France specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
OPEN SPACES AND LIFESTYLE
The south-west of France is a land of wild and singular beauty. The landscapes are shaped here by rare natural contrasts: the peaks of the Pyrenees face the ocean, pine forests and sandy beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, oyster farms and the Pilat dune share the Arcachon basin. The cuisine of these regions also reflects a mix of influences. Enjoy the Basque flavours - Espelette pepper, sheep's milk cheese, and ham complement the Landes recipes and Bordeaux wines.
Your journey begins on the Basque Coast, a region with a strong identity. Hendaye, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Bidart, Biarritz - the cliffside towns follow one another. You'll be staying in Guethary. The white houses in this village are so lovely it's as if they came out of a film.
You'll stay at incredibly charming hotels along the way. Away from the crowds, the guest houses and intimate hotels we have selected offer simple comfort. They'll make you feel like you're a world away. We have added some memorable excursions to your itinerary - a surfing lesson in the Basque Country, a boat ride along the Courant d'Huchet, a day of boating around Cap Ferret and the Arcachon basin and, to deepen your knowledge of the local region, a wine tasting in Bordeaux. If something unexpected happens or you have a special request during your trip, our local Concierge will be available to help you promptly. The unexpected is their speciality.
TRANSFER TO BIARRITZ
Car pickup upon arrival and drive to Guethary. Stay two nights in a five-room hotel, just steps from the beach. The Cafe de Madrid, where sailors and train workers used to rub shoulders, stood here before it became a neo-Lapurdian-style house in 1930, although the soul of the place still lives on today. The restaurant offers seasonal home-cooking and can be enjoyed looking out to sea.
BIARRITZ & GUETHARY
Included in the itinerary - A private surfing lesson. The birthplace of surfing in Europe, internationally-renowned surfers still visit the Basque coast. You'll have a chance to learn about this sport with your private instructor, surrounded by the most beautiful waves of the French coastline.
Optional - Free visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
BIARRITZ - BAYONNE - THE LANDES
On the road to the Landes Natural Park, you'll stop in Bayonne, the largest city in the French Basque Country. The Adour and Nive rivers divide the city into three districts, two of which are protected by the fortifications of Vauban. With its network of pedestrian streets, Grand Bayonne encircles the Cathedral of Sainte-Marie, its cloister, and its 15th-century door-knocker. On the other side of the river, Petit Bayonne is home to the Basque Museum.
You'll stay for two nights in Vieille-Saint-Girons, at the entrance to the Landes Natural Park. At the end of a path, a small chapel, a large colonial-style house, and two wooden dwellings stand in the middle of a wilderness. Dating back to 1858, the premises have been restored to preserve their original feel. In the kitchen, Chef Michel Guerard's delicious cuisine is prepared with products from local markets in the surrounding area.
Included in the itinerary - Private cruise down the Courant d'Huchet with a boatman. North of Vieux-Boucau, the waters of Leon Pond feed into the Atlantic through the Courant d'Huchet. It crosses a maze of plants that look like a primal forest, before following a two mile route to the sea. Nature has reclaimed its rights and the human presence is limited to a few remaining dams, used to set out fish traps and capture eels.
Optional - Fly over Lake Biscarrosse by seaplane.
THE LANDES ( MOORS) - CAP FERRET
Head to Cap Ferret and stay overnight in a forestry worker's home. Located in the fishing district, the building has been beautifully restored and turned into a charming hotel. Rooms offer exotic decor - mahogany furniture, rattan chairs, vintage finds from India, while the restaurant serves refined and beautifully presented dishes.
Included in the itinerary - Day-long boat excursion along Arcachon Bay. You'll enjoy a beautiful day on board a pinasse, the traditional boat in this area. Along the way, enjoy a picnic of oysters and dry white wine, as you float past huts built on stilts, Birds' Island, and the sandbar of Arguin, a nature reserve between the bay and the ocean, opposite the largest dune in Europe.
Optional - An oyster farming experience.
CAP FERRET - BORDEAUX (BURGUNDY)
Drive to Bordeaux for a two-night stay in the Chartrons neighbourhood. The owners of this 18th-century house decided to use only environmentally friendly materials at the time of its restoration. The bedrooms have no television but many books, meant to be devoured on the shady patio. The soft, personal atmosphere of this house will have you wanting to return.
The quays of the Garonne are the pride of Bordeaux, as are its UNESCO World Heritage-listed districts. A great French port since the 18th century and a prominent centre known for its excellence in wine-making, the capital of Aquitaine shines.
Included in the itinerary - An oenology course followed by a wine tasting. Bordeaux is home to the premier AOC vineyard in France. Beyond its wealth of land resources and grape varieties, it is also the only region with so many important brands and wines classified as grand crus. The designations (known as appellations ) - Medoc, Saint-Emilion, Graves, Sauternes and Pomerol - are internationally renowned. After learning the tasting method with the oenologist, you will taste three wines classified as grand cru wines.
BORDEAUX - RETURN
Hire car drop-off and return home.
A la carte
HYDROPLANE TRIP OVER THE LAKE OF BISCARROSSE
At sunset, it's time to board a hydroplane with a pilot to discover Biscarrosse from above, the beautiful coast of Landes, its forests, and great lakes. Adrenaline rush guaranteed.
MEET AN OYSTER FARMER
You'll learn all about oyster aquaculture alongside oyster farmers in the Arcachon Bay. Oysters are grown in several stages. The process changes seasonally (turning oyster bags, collecting bottom-grown oysters, cleaning racks, laying or raising collectors...). You'll watch some of the work at the oyster beds and learn about fishing for wild oysters, which you can sample on the spot.
If you have a few extra days - explore the Spanish Basque Country
If you're not pressed for time, venture into the area. The biggest cities include: Bilbao and the futuristic curves of its Guggenheim Museum, and San Sebastian, where you can stop at the beaches, and Concha Bay, a meeting place for surfers. Stroll the bustling alleyways and try local cuisine - choices include pintxo counters, tapas on a slice of bread, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Given its unique cultural and architectural richness, the area is also home to spots renowned for their festive atmosphere, such as Hondarribia. It's an area worth exploring for people of all ages.
CUT THE LINE WITH ADVANCE TICKETS FOR THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM IN BILBAO
A magnificent example of 20th-century avant-garde architecture, the Guggenheim Museum is home to works of modern and contemporary art. The permanent collection includes works by David Salle, Chillida, Jeff Koons, Louis Bourgeois and Robert Rauschenberg.
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