Within 45 minutes
The Gironde estuary is just a stone’s throw away: hidden islands, Vauban fortresses, and "carrelets" – fishing huts on stilts along the river banks – a unique, fascinating world, to explore by car or, for a more unusual view, by river cruise from Bordeaux.
Vineyards and châteaux as far as the eye can see: Médoc, Graves, Sauternes, Saint-Emilion, etc.
Within 1 hour
Arcachon Bay and town: Belle Epoque resort and listed villas, Pyla dune, picturesque oyster-farming ports, and Cap Ferret.
Are you looking for rolling ocean waves, open spaces, endless beaches, and aromatic pine forests? Head for the Landes coast and the largest forest in Europe, a paradise of greenways and cycling trails.
Within 1 hour 30 minutes
North of Bordeaux, the Charente is home to the famous Cognac producers. Royan, overlooking the Gironde estuary, offers a blend of modern Bauhaus architecture and typical 1920s villas. The sunshine reveals troglodyte dwellings in the white cliffs of Meschers and Cordouan lighthouse, 7 kilometres offshore, may be visited depending on the tide.
Within 2 hours
The old port of La Rochelle, with its three monumental towers, and extensive arcades in the historic city centre. The Aquarium, in the heart of the city, is one of the largest in Europe. Ile de Ré, Ile d’Aix, Ile Madame and Ile d’Oléron islands provide an unspoilt, natural setting for seaside getaways.
Within 2 hours 30 minutes
Head eastwards to the Périgord to discover a host of delights: proud castles, gourmet markets in Sarlat and Périgueux, Bergerac wines, and the famous Lascaux caves.
To the south, the Basque Country offers a complete change of scenery, with characterful villages and picturesque festivals, beautiful Biarritz and its surf beaches, and the port in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. In neighbouring Béarn, discover Pau, birthplace of Henri IV, with its British charm, unspoilt mountain valleys - a hiker’s paradise - and ski resorts. Spain? Take a short trip over the mountains to Bilbao and the famous Guggenheim museum and San Sebastian, internationally-renowned for its fine cuisine.