Our5 essentials

As mythical as Route 66

Crossing the Médoc, the châteaux trail takes you to visit the area’s most beautiful estates, with wine-producing appellations which are amongst the most prestigious in the world. This route of 80 kilometres extends between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde Estuary. You will pass, on your way magnificent châteaux with out-of-the-ordinary architecture but also several grands crus (fine wines), in this case red wines, of international renown.

Leaving from Bordeaux, head for the famous Château Margaux. This magnificent building, surrounded by 85 hectares of vineyards, is alone worth the detour. Stop in Pauillac, the capital of the Médoc to contemplate the most remarkable buildings there: from Latour to Lafite Rothschild including Mouton Rothschild - each of these glorious estates is worth the detour. In addition to magnificent wineries, the latter also houses a collection of artworks linked to wine-growing and wine. Visits to these exceptional locations are mainly by appointment, so don’t forget to ring them in advance of your visit.

Sun, sea and surf

In additional to welcoming a stage of the surfing world championship (known as Lacanau Pro) each year, the 16 kilometres of Lacanau beaches are also the playground for enthusiasts and beginners partial to the sport, as well as professional surfers. Each level has its own beach here! A word of advice: favour La Barrière if you are a beginner on the waves. Surrounded by the dunes and the umbrella pines, each summer the temperature of the water oscillates between 19°C and 21°C. This is perfect for having fun without freezing to death!

If you wish to progress or are simply a beginner, you are spoilt for choice as a multitude of surf schools may be found in the vicinity of the beaches and offer courses or half-days to discover the sport. We have a particular preference for the Magic Surf School and Adrien Valéro, an instructor who is always in good humour, and not really mean in dispensing good advice!

Can you hack it?

Lovers of excellent wine will hurry to the gates of the Winery. This 26 hectare park with avant-gardist architecture is located in Arsac en Médoc. This vast wine cellar, unique in Europe, brings together no less than 1,200 French and foreign wines. A multitude of activities are offered within the building: an exclusive tasting of forgotten wines, the discovery of your personal wine sign, the open-air cinema for lovely days, a number of concerts and even the theatre…

Come lunchtime, have a gourmet stop at the Bar à Vins by enjoying locally grown produce accompanied by a glass of wine. Alternatively have a bistro-style fine-dining port of call at the WY restaurant. Being a must-see attraction of the Winery, climb aboard a Land Rover and don’t miss the road trip in the vineyards of the Château d’Arsac (one of the oldest in the Médoc). On the menu: a guided tour of the vineyards and the wine cellar, ending with a wine tasting.

Trip out to sea

This giant lighthouse 68 metres high stands proudly right in the middle of the sea, 9 kilometres from the Pointe de Grave. Dubbed “The Versailles of the Sea”, the oldest lighthouse in Europe is open to those curious to see it from April to All Saints’ Day (on 1 November each year). Erected in 1611, following a multitude of ship wrecks in the vicinity of the Landes coastline, its construction took 27 years.

The courageous who will climb 311 steps to reach the summit, will have the chance to discover a spectacular panorama over the Gironde Estuary and the Médoc beaches. The imposing building also shelters the “King’s Apartments” and a small chapel with mosaics, panelling and even some magnificent stained-glass windows. To go there, all you have to do is buy a return ticket on the water shuttle. Watch out though, as the timetables change daily with the tides.

Best European destination

There is so much to see in Bordeaux that one day is not enough! Amongst the must-sees of the Gironde city are the Place des Quinconces and its picturesque fountains, the Rue Sainte Catherine and its 230 boutiques, the Place Pey Berland and its imposing cathedral, from the top of which you will have a 360° view over the city, and lastly the various Quais (roads running alongside the river) and their gentle pace of life…

To reinvigorate yourself after a stroll through the city, what better than the Miroir d’Eau (a reflecting pool). Located on the Place de la Bourse, children delight in splashing whilst adults will contemplate, with admiration, the reflections on the water. Do not forget to take some souvenir photos in front of the Grand-Théâtre theatre. Guided tours are organised every Wednesday and Saturday to discover the wings of this exceptional building. Before leaving, stop in one of the city’s small boulangeries (a bakery) only to leave with some cannelés. This pastry made with rum and vanilla is a delicacy emblematic of the city.

The small +

Everyone to the water

If you don’t like salty water or if you dread the vast waves of the Atlantic, don’t delay in swimming in one of the Grands Lacs (large lakes) of the Médoc: Whether on Hourtin-Carcans or Lacanau, the water temperature will be better!

The Landes du Médoc it’s:

120kilometresof ocean coast
278exceptionalwine-producing châteaux

And if this were your nextBest holiday memory?