Review: Aquitaine, the French Secret

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Review: Aquitaine, the French Secret

Postby kit » 15:09:10 09.06.09

Bordeaux and surrounding land is little French secret in the Europe.
While in season are French Riviera and Mediteranean beaches of Spain and France head on head full of tourists, in Aquitaine are resting Africa-like beaches almost empty. Out of mainstream tourist routes (except few traveling wine enthusiasts) those beaches are used almost exclusively by local French people. It almost feels like they dont want
to turn this place to second Riviera and keep the best european beaches for them self.

:) dream beaches, not many insects
:) reasonable prices
:) easy to reach with car

:? weather more unstable then in africa
:? Population speaks only french. Even many hotels service and shop crew cannot speak other language.
:? lack of good hotels
:? lack of holiday related services
Posts: 4
Joined: 15:09:15 09.06.09

Re: Review: Aquitaine, the French Secret

Postby kit » 15:09:39 09.06.09

Why to love it
European Mediterranean beaches are full of pebbles, stones and in the season, also very very full of people. They are small, nice ones usually expensive. Air is stuff, weather very hot and not really comfortable unless you are from head down in the water.
On other side, beaches around Bordeaux on Atlantic side, gives you impression you left Europe and came to Morocco or Canary Islands. Weather is much more oceanic fresh.

Very long deserted beaches with almost no stones, white small grained sand, shallow sea with blue water. Sea is in may to September very warm and swimming is comfortable even for small kids. You need a car to go to the beach, since bus connection is not very good. There are many places where parking, toilets, bars and even security services are provided free of charge for visitors. Those beaches get a bit crowdy on afternoons with good weather, but walking few hundred meters along endless beaches will find you spot with enough privacy.

How to get there
For European travelers, car, plane or railroad are easy options. Best it is to come with own car because renting one is complicated and bus connections are not very good.
Many highways on France are paid per kilometer driven. It costs about 60Eur to get to Bordeaux from Germany on highway costs.

Negative side of being out of mainstream holiday location is lack of good hotel network. There is probably more camping places then hotels so if you are with tent or caravan/RV, you can travel on blind holiday easily. Those few hotels available are better to be booked with advance, because they are (especially in season) full (except for one-two night stands - there one usually finds place after missed reservation).
Camping's are about 30-40Eur per place. Hotels are 80Eur for *** and up. There are almost none private apartment renters.

Population and life
Even in season almost everybody here is French. Rare are even tourists from Germany and Holland. You enter the real French country life. Nothing here screams "holiday location" to you, shops with equipments for bathing are rare, hard to find, car or boat rentals even more rare. Hotels are small, often deep inside small cities.

Points of interests
Bordeaux have long history and was always important place for Europeans. If you love exploring architecture, very nice nature, history and mainly wine history, you will be in paradise. There is also many entertainment parks, water parks and fairs to please any children heart once tired from playing on the beach.

:idea: If it is first time you visiting region with own car, start in city of Rochefort and travel south, sleeping every night in different place. It will allow you to see and experience many interesting places along the way. Long bridges, ferries to other islands, rich entertainment places, many interesting cities and history objects. End your tour at Bayonne or Arcachon and enjoy awesome beaches and (in Europe unique) big sand dunes.
:idea: You can find buffet and "all you can eat" dinner actions nearby big supermarkets or shopping centers. Hotels or restaurants are usually more expensive then comparable restaurants in Germany.
:idea: Fast food here need not to be avoided, French people are living very healthy and local fast food is usually toasts and bread filled with tasty meat, mayonnaise and vegetables which varies so much that you can feed your curiosity for weeks.
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