Paris, Marseille and plenty of other French cities have a dazzling amount of charm and attractions, but those looking for a more sedate, rustic and authentic getaway in France can find it on a weekend’s driving holiday in the Bordeaux triangle.
A number of low-cost airlines offer regular flights to Bordeaux, and cheap car hire can be found online. Book both. Grab your passport and within a couple of hours you could be on the road to Clermont-Ferrand. Here’s what you could do in just a few days.
Friday: Bordeaux to Clermont-Ferrand
Your first port of call should be Périgueux. This quaint town has elements of the fairy-tale about its architecture. Take a gentle boat ride on the river, a walk around the historic building and parks and just breathe it all in. You are now officially on holiday, but before you get too comfortable, jump back in the rental car and make the short drive to Limeuil.
Listed as one of the most picturesque towns in France, this medieval village makes a very peaceful and romantic spot to spend the first night of your holiday. You’ll find a choice of family-run campsites or bed and breakfasts which all offer guests a warm welcome and a personal service.
Saturday: Clermont-Ferrand to Narbonne
In the morning, you can spend the day wandering around this beautiful village, or hit the road and make the three hour scenic drive to Clermont-Ferrand, the next stop in the Bordeaux triangle. Take a stroll around the botanic gardens, the impressive cathedral, check into your next accommodation and dress for dinner. The Michelin star Fleur de Sel is highly recommended, but La Regalade is equally popular.
Once you’ve had your fill of town life, take the two hour drive south to the Millau National Park, across the Millau viaduct which is the tallest bridge in the world and you could turn off and spend a night at one of the campsites of the River Tarn. Here, you could kayak, canoe or swim under one of the region’s waterfalls, or you could continue straight on to Narbonne.
Sunday: Narbonne to Bordeaux
When in Narbonne, pay a visit to the popular market to stock up on locally made preserves, cheeses and souvenirs to take home, or simply gather enough supplies to last you a day at the beach; you’ve driven a fair few miles by now, you’ve earned it.
This last leg of the Bordeaux triangle can take you all the way back to your starting point in Bordeaux, or if you’ve lingered too long in any of the towns, parks or beaches so far, then you can drive as far as Toulouse, catch a flight and return your car hire at Toulouse airport and sit on the plane wondering why you didn’t just book up for a week.