Things to do in Bordeaux & The Dordogne
Chateaux And Wines
Bordeaux, the oldest and largest wine region in the world, is home to thousands of elegant chateaux and impressive vineyards. Discover the wonderful array of wines and learn about the long history of winemaking. Visit the small village of Saint Emilion to wander the small cobbled streets and take in the views of the vineyards and embark on a tour to see the old cellars and taste plenty of wines.
The Arcachon Bay
Nestled on the southwestern coast of France is the charming and diverse Arcachon Bay. Climb the Dune of Pilat (Europe's highest sand dune), admire the scenery from Cap Ferret's lighthouse and stroll around the small villages to see the Belle Epoque buildings. Learn about the history of oyster farming and indulge in these fresh delicacies either with bread and butter or with a squeeze of lemon.
Walking Tour Of Bordeaux
The city of Bordeaux - a classified ""City of Art and History"" - is a perfect representation of French culture, lifestyle and wine. On a stroll around the city, see the beautiful buildings of the historic Saint Pierre District, enjoy panoramic views from the tower of Saint Michel church and learn about the long history of wine in the magnificently modern Cite du Vin museum.
Things to do in Corsica
Discover Old Towns
There are oodles of old towns to discover on the island of Corsica. Begin your tour in Calvi, where you can laze on the floury beach and then delve into its lively old town. Next, head south to the cliff-topped town of Bonifacio to admire its stunning sea views before hopping across to Porto Vechio to wander the narrow, winding streets lined with quaint restaurants and charming boutiques.
The Lavezzi Archipelago - a protected nature reserve made up of a series of small granite islands and reefs - is a pretty little paradise of sandy creeks and crystal-clear waters, with giant granite boulders reminiscent of mythological beasts. From the port of Bonifacio, you can embark on a boat trip to explore this scenic island and discover its quiet beaches, turquoise waters and diverse fauna and flora.
An Aromatic Adventure
'The Scented Isle' - as Corsica is also called - gets its aromas and perfumes from the rich and fragrant maquis (Mediterranean shrubbery) that blankets more than half of the island. The bounty of aromatic flowers and herbs are used in numerous ways from extracting essential oils, to creating perfumes and adding flavour to the local cuisine. On leisurely hiking trails, embark on an aromatic adventure among the sensationally scented maquis.
The Best of France
The Haute Route
The most rewarding way to explore the Mont-Blanc massif is by ski-mountaineering, an exhilarating combination of ascent right into the heart of the Alps, followed by a liberating descent in totally untouched powder.
Using special heel-release bindings and 'skins' for the ascent, you can experience this high-altitude tour, enhanced by incredible views and untouched snow. Ski-mountaineers pass by the famed peaks of Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn in some of the most impressive Alpine scenery around and Original Travel offers the opportunity to enjoy a privately guided tour along the ""Classic"" Haute Route, closely following the original line taken by Marcel Kurz and Professor Roget in 1911.
The six-day tour starts in Chamonix on the French side of Mont Blanc and finishes in Zermatt at the foot of the renowned pyramid peak of the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Skiing the Haute Route involves climbing over 15,000 vertical feet. Whilst the ascent is gruelling the reward is well worth it with over 21,000 feet of descent, often in wonderful powder conditions.
The Haute Route is only suitable for experienced skiers who are fit, comfortable in tough conditions and prepared for less than five-star accommodation while en route. The hotels used by Original Travel in Chamonix and Zermatt should make up for any shortfall in comfort during the ski-tour itself. In Chamonix, choose from the Hotel Mont Blanc or the Hameau Albert 1er, offering four and five-star accommodation respectively.
Any reasonably able skier can enjoy ski-mountaineering, and while the Haute Route may be the most demanding, experienced mountain guides lead a diverse range of shorter tours around the mountain peaks from December to the end of April.
Cycle Provence and the Cote D'Azur
What better way to enjoy the Mediterranean climate of the stunning French Riviera and Provence than by cycling through its picturesque landscapes and historic villages. The region has something to offer for every type of cyclist, whether you prefer to take casual day trips or hit the more challenging routes.
Chic cities scattered along the Cote D'Azur and gorgeous villages nestled in Provence connected by deserted mountain roads are well worth exploring on two wheels.
If it's the view you're after, Nice is one of the most beautiful cycles, located where the Alps meet the Mediterranean Sea. It doesn't take long to cycle from the sea through mountainous car-free streets to gorgeous mountain villages. Pedal your way along some of the most varied terrain, including dense forests, spectacular waterfalls, plateaus, the Mediterranean coastline and impressive mountain climbs. Cycle-friendly roads along the coast provide you with scenic views - not forgetting stunning beaches for a refreshing swim and local restaurants for a much-needed refuel! If you are seeking a challenge, the Mont Ventoux is waiting for the more experienced cyclist, being one of the more feared great climbs of the Tour de France since 1951.
Provence is perfect to enjoy fantastic scenery, incredible local food and cycling for miles without seeing a car. Luberon is particularly idyllic: avoid the main roads and you will cycle past sunflower beds, vineyards and orchards to small villages, vineyards, castles and lavender trails.
Southern France is known as a mountain biker's paradise: the cool alpine air around the mountain resorts offers a fresh respite for summer cyclists where as the lower sea-facing trails are preferred throughout the winter season. If you're planning a trip to the French Riviera, June is best for green vegetation while late August and September brings still warm seas.
Why We Love It
Often considered the toughest of all of the classic Hors Catégorie climbs that regularly haunts the dreams and nightmares of Tour de France aspirants, Mont Ventoux has to be top of the list of any true cycling fanatic (or MAMiL).
Ski The Three Valleys
Ski enthusiast or not - don't miss out on the Three Valleys, home to eight internationally renowned ski resorts and the world's largest ski area. 600 kilometres of interconnected slopes and 180 ski lifts await you here for the ultimate skiing experience.
Nestled high in the magnificent French Alps, this extensive ski area offers something for everyone from beginners and children right through to the most experienced of skiers with its well kept, mixed-ability pistes.
The Three Valleys are compromised of the Saint- Bon valley, with the largest number of ski resorts; Les Allues valley, situated in the heart of the Three Valleys; and Belleville valley, featuring three resorts including Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe. Although each resort is unique, all of them boast wide pistes and amazing snow records. Our favourite is world- famous ski resort Courcheval, with three of our hotels located in its region.
If you are a non-skier or simply need a break, there is still a great choice of things to do in the region besides skiing, surrounded by stunning winter wonderland-like scenery! Enjoy fabulous views, walks between villages, ice climbing, dog sledding, ice skating and much more. And of course there is always good cuisine with ten Michelin-starred ski-in ski- out restaurants nestled in the heart of The Three Valleys.
Wine Tour in Bordeaux & the Dordogne
If there's one thing that can't be missed while visiting the beautiful Bordeaux & Dordogne area, it's - you guessed it - the wine it's famous for. Bordeaux wine is a synonym to quality for sommeliers and the Dordogne hosts some of the world's most famous vineyards, a must for vino-philiacs who want to experience true variety and authenticity.
The Bordeaux wine region is the world's largest and oldest of its kind, stretching over an impressive 112,000 hectares, providing 7,000 winegrowers, 300 wine merchants and 93 brokers. An awe-inspiring five million hectolitres are produced here annually, 89% of which are red. The Medoc wine region north of the city of Bordeaux is known for its Margaux, Pauillac and Saint Julien reds, whilst the southern Graves region is home to the premiere Cotes de Bordeaux, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec reds. Reds from the Gironde are some of the best of Bordeaux, including Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grape varieties. Head east to Pomerol and UNESCO World Heritage village St Emillion to find fantastic cellars and celebrated aged Petrus wines.
The Dordogne region includes some of the most famous vineyards such as the Bergerac situated on the northern banks of the Dordogne River, renowned for its Bergerac, Pecharmant, Monbazillac, Saussignac, Rosette and Montravel. Local wines can be tasted in numerous cellars throughout the region, with 'Chateaux at Monbazillac' as a popular choice. Additionally, many of the beautifully historic wine-producing châteaux scattered along the Dordogne River have been turned into fabulous hotels that are well worth a visit.
But don't just take our word for it - get a taste of Bordeaux and the Dordogne for yourself.