The South West of France is an incredibly diverse area, full of beaches, nature and culture. It is also home to four amazing Siblu holiday villages: Le Domaine de Soulac, La Réserve, Les Dunes de Contis and Les Viviers. The South West boasts a huge range of things to see and do, so we’ve put together a quick guide to a few of our favourites.
It may be most famous for its raucous summer ‘fêtes’, but the winding streets of Bayonne are great for exploring at any time of year. If you’re not in too much of a hurry it’s a perfect place for letting yourself get lost on purpose and seeing what you stumble across. The impressive Gothic cathedral is well worth a visit too. Firmly anchored in Basque culture, Bayonne is an ideal place to learn about the unique heritage of the region (the town’s Basque museum includes exhibits on agriculture, architecture, language and more).
- Top Tip! Bayonne is famous for its chocolate: for a real local flavour, dare to taste the spicy chocolate made with ‘Piment d’Espelette’ (from chillies grown in the mountains of the Pays Basque).
- +Nearest Siblu Village: Les Dunes de Contis
Given the beauty of its coastline, it’s no surprise that in decades past Biarritz made a name for itself as a luxury destination for Europe’s rich and famous. The town has maintained its chic, stylish feel, but more recently it’s the waves that have captured the world’s imagination. The birthplace of French surfing, Biarritz continues to be a hotspot for professional and amateur water sports fanatics.
! Top Tip: “There’s nothing like watching the sunset over the ocean from the cliff above the Côte de Basques beach with the mountains stretching away into Spain to your left and the lights of the jetty twinkling to your right.” Joanna from Siblu’s marketing team.
+ Nearest Siblu Villages: Les Dunes de Contis
Le Bassin d'Arcachon
Less than an hours’ drive from Bordeaux is Arcachon Bay. The sheltered stretch of sea is perfect for swimming and water sports and the series of seaside towns scattered along the coast each have something unique to offer, from sandy beaches for sunbathing to protected forest areas for hiking. If you are a fan of seafood you might want to visit one of the ‘Cabane d’huîtres’- the bay is famous for its oyster farming.
! Top Tip: Siblu’s French Marketing Assistant Marine suggests avoiding the traffic and heading to Cap Ferret by boat. “A beautiful journey followed by the world’s best oysters…”
Famous world-wide for its wine, the beautiful city of Bordeaux is also a cultural hub bursting with art, music and history. The city centre has a vibrant, buzzing feel, especially on summer nights when the bars and restaurants along the Garonne River come alive and the stunning architecture is beautifully floodlit. Overlooking the river is the impressive glass façade of Le Cité du Vin, where you’ll find a number of exhibitions on all things wine related.
! Top Tip: Tim from Siblu’s Bordeaux office suggests packing a picnic and heading over the bridge to the ‘rive droite’ for an incredible sunset view over Bordeaux and the Garonne.
The Dune du Pilat
This massive sand dune has to be seen to be believed. If you’re up for a short (but steep) hike, climbing to the top is an unmissable experience. The stunning view (Arcachon bay in one direction and the green of the forests in the other) is well worth the cardiovascular effort. If you’re not too tired you could even race to the bottom and cool off with a dip in the ocean.
! Top Tip: If you want to really treat yourself, Marie from our Pessac office recommends splashing out on a drink at the dune’s swanky La Co(o)rniche restaurant “It’s a bit pricy but worth it for the view and the atmosphere.”
Saint Emilion is a wine lover’s haven. It’s only a short train ride from Bordeaux but it feels like stepping into another world. The quaint, winding streets are surrounded by vineyards and overlooked by the picturesque bell tower of the church and the medieval King’s keep.
! Top Tip: For a chance to find out more about the wine making process (and, of course, to do some tasting) Caroline from our Bordeaux office suggests signing up for one of the many wine tours on offer around Saint Emilion and its vineyards.
Biscarrosse and Sanguinet Lakes
The Lac de Biscarrosse and the Lac de Sanguinet are two huge freshwater lakes surrounded by pine forests, sandy beaches and shaded cycle paths. The warm, shallow waters never get particularly choppy which makes for a nice change from the nearby Atlantic Ocean and means it’s an ideal place to have a go at water sports such as sailing or kitesurfing. If you’re a fan of Total Wipeout the Biscarosse Aquapark might be your idea of a dream day out. It is a massive watery obstacle course which includes inflatable structures, a giant climbing wall, slides, zip wires, trampolines and much more!
! Top Tip: Emilie from Siblu recommends paddle boarding as a fun and relaxing way of exploring the the lake. It’s great exercise too!