I haven’t written a Monday Dreaming post in a while, and since I’m in the throes of trip planning (which is a good thing, since we leave for Europe next week) today I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far about Bordeaux, France.
Biking around Bordeaux. By all accounts, Bordeaux is a beautiful city and our friends who live there told me that one of the best ways to see it is on a bike. There are numerous companies that offer tours, but I’m looking at this one, which has a great variety of options including one designed just for kids. I also want to make sure that we climb to the top of the medieval Pey-Berland Tower, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the city.
Tasting the wine at Saint-Émilion. I’ve been told that you really can’t get bad wine anywhere in this region (a matter of opinion I’m sure, but I’m a huge fan of French wine so I’m guessing that I’ll find this to be true). The reason Saint-Émilion appeals as a place to sample some, in addition to the fact that its Grand Cru winery is famous, is that the charming medieval town offers a 13th-century keep to explore.
Climbing the Dune du Pilat. The highest sand dune in Europe is about an hour’s drive from Bordeaux. I know that the boys will love to climb to the top and survey the Atlantic from a height of over 300 feet. There are many options for outdoor activities in this region, including visiting a nature preserve to see birds and butterflies and renting bicycles and touring the town of Arcachon and its environs.
Arcachon is also home to a small aquarium that contains many sea animals from the nearby bay. And you can catch a boat to Cap Ferret, which is across the bay. This just sounds impossibly chic and dreamy to me, although were we to do so I’m sure one of the things we’d end up doing is riding the small-gage railroad there rather than watching the sun set and eating oysters, as I’ve seen recommended.
Checking out the cave paintings in Lascaux. About two hours from Bordeaux you can visit caves with paintings that are 15,000 years old, as well as the National Museum of Prehistory. The countryside between Lascaux and Bordeaux is spectacular and I’ve heard tell of more than one medieval castle to see as well, including the spectacular Château de Castelnau-Bretenoux.
And in all of these places the cuisine is said to be fantastic, thanks not only to the fact that it’s France, but because of the proximity to the ocean, the Basque region, and Spain.
I’m lucky that this Monday dream will soon be a reality! I’m so looking forward to seeing a new part of France and sharing what we find there with you.
You might also enjoy checking out the Pinterest board I’m creating for our European trip – I’ll be sharing many of my ideas, inspiration, and resources there.
Photo of view from Pey-Berland Tower courtesy of Jonathan D via Flickr.
Photo of Saint-Émilion vineyard courtesy of Rufino Lasaosa via Flickr.
Photo of Dune du Pilat courtesy of sanfanmedia via Flickr
Photo of Lascaux painting courtesy of William Cromar via Flickr.