Posted on 10 August 2010 by Dan Johnson
In a nutshell
Aquitaine is a sprawling region that accommodates most tastes. There is the city of Bordeaux, which is one of the most chic in France. Explore further and you’ll find a rugged region made up of medieval towns, vineyards, huge pine forests, and long beaches.
Lake Biscarosse and its lakeside beach are gorgeous and there’s a good selection of children’s parks and cycle routes [TripAdvisor member, Kent]
I thought it was brochure speak about the lake and it’s beach, but it really was excellent especially for young children. A large beach with golden sand that gently shelves into the sea, staying shallow for at least a hundred metres [TripAdvisor member, Essex].
We were blown away by the ‘lake beach’. [TripAdvisor member, Kent]
There is mile after mile of uncrowded, silver sand beaches washed by the lively Atlantic, pine forests which seemingly go on for ever. [TripAdvisor member, Plymouth]
There are fantastic surfing beaches at Biscarosse and Mimizan. Both are small but lively resorts on the Cote d’Argent and decent waves are pretty much guaranteed. There is also Hossegor, slightly further south, which is known as a fine surfing beach and which has even hosted world tour events – one siblu customer travelled all the way from Australia to take part!
Attractions and Adventure
Hiring bikes and cycling round Lake Biscarosse was really safe, easy and enjoyable, even with a 5 year old [TripAdvisor member, Languedoc]
La Reserve is a super site if you want to take in the area, we managed to get down to Spain for lunch! [TripAdvisor member, Cambridgeshire]
Dune du Pilat, near to Arcachon, is the largest sand dune in Europe. At 150m high, half a mile wide and almost two miles long, it has swallowed hotels and roads. Climb to the top of the dune to see incredible views of the sea on one side and rolling pine forest on the other.
Cities and towns
Bordeaux is filled with historic buildings, wide squares, a modern and swift tram system, and street after street of swish shops. [TripAdvisor member, Plymouth]
The Roman spa town of Dax has great shops sitting alongside the historic Roman ramparts and the bubbling spa waters. The steaming water which constantly pours from the underground spa is supposed to be a cure for a whole host of ailments [TripAdvisor member, Plymouth].
Sexy, stylish Biarritz was a magnet for the Swinging Sixties jet set and still retains its aura of elegance and elan. This is the place to see and be seen [TripAdvisor member, Plymouth].
Arcachon is a classy seaside town with good beaches and good, if pricey, restaurants, cafes and bars.
St Emilion is a heart-warming ‘ugly duckling grows up and becomes glamorous swan’ tale. In the 8th century a hermit called, Emilion dug out a cave for himself in the rock. A monastery followed. Then it blossomed into a gorgeous medieval hilltop village, surrounded by endless vineyards that produce full-bodied deep red wines.
What to eat, where to find it
The Arcachon Basin is France’s most important oyster producing region, and so you will find delicious, fresh oysters on every menu in the small villages and towns on the edge of the bay. Much of Aquitaine cuisine is based on goosefat, and foie gras, a goose-liver pate is a speciality.
Keep an eye out for meals containing ‘Périgord’, which will indicate a dish containing truffles. Any meal is best rounded off with a smooth coffee served with a small Canele, a delicious French pastry with custard centre and caramelized crust.
Bordeaux is famous for its wines, and if you have a fine palette and a few quid, go in search of a bottle of Bordeaux 2009. According to French experts, this year’s red will be the first great vintage of the 21st century, because of incredible growing conditions not seen since the 1940s.
Stumbling upon the fiesta in Parentis and seeing the running of the bulls was an unexpected treat. [TripAdvisor member, Essex]
Where to stay
La Réserve, on the banks of Lac Biscarosse, has the twin benefits of a beautiful lakeside beach with golden sand and shallow waters, and its own refreshing pool complex. The parc is set among miles of pine forest, with many great cycle routes for explorers. The kids’ playgrounds are popular, and there is more than enough to keep teens busy, including a range of watersports on the lake.