Holidays in Gascony & Gironde

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Gascony & Gironde Overview

Visiting Gascony & Gironde

Culture vultures, surfing dudes, beautiful people, outdoor types, foodies, sun worshippers, socialites and peace lovers are all guaranteed the perfect holiday in France’s beautiful south west.

Feel Gascony & Gironde

Get your heart pumping on golden beaches where the Atlantic waves break, wander through peaceful villages surrounded by vineyards and sunflower fields, tour historic towns and cities, stroll along the promenade of bustling seaside resorts, float along on rivers and inland lakes and drink in the local culture at some of the world’s finest wineries.

Explore Gascony & Gironde

Make your way to Gironde for sun and sea, with its miles of mysterious sand dunes, beaches and lakes. There’s also the quaint Île de Re, the perfect holiday island with its beaches, pretty ports and charming historical towns.  Further south is Gascony, where life progresses at a slower pace in sleepy villages, unspoilt countryside and on deserted beaches.  If you can tear yourself away, make sure you visit Bordeaux, home of the local wine trade and of some truly splendid architecture.

Places to visit - Sightseeing

With everything from the Atlantic surf to the High Pyrenees on your doorstep, these two neighbouring regions offer Eurocampers a massive choice of things to do and places that you simply must see:

Biarritz
Just a simple fishing village before it took the fancy of the Empress Eugenie, Biarritz offers wonderful beaches, great surfing, and a delightful town full of good but affordable restaurants and a wonderful lighthouse.

Bordeaux
A major port since Roman times, Bordeaux is one of Europe’s grandest cities, full of 18th century architecture such as the elegant Palais de la Bourse, the lovely Esplanade des Quinconces, and of course, a thousand opportunities to enjoy fine wine.

Lourdes
Best-known as a place of pilgrimage, Lourdes deserves to be visited; because besides the many tourist shops here, it offers the vast and beautiful Basilica of the Rosary, and of course, the famous Grotto.

Bayonne
Bayonne’s architecture is more Gothic than Romanesque, as illustrated by the lovely 13th century Cathedral of St Marie. Also look for the Musée Bonnat, where there are fine works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Goya and Rembrandt, to name just a few.

Ile d’Oleron
The second largest of the French islands, Ile d’Oleron is a picturesque and fascinating place in its own right, with a number of pretty towns and villages. It is also worth visiting the Le Marais bird sanctuary and the Chateau d’Oleron while you are here.

La Rochelle
With its lovely old harbour, arcaded streets and attractive 18th century Cathedral, La Rochelle is a delightful place for simply wandering around. Though if you tire of the sometimes crowded streets, the Natural History Museum is an absolute gem.

Ile de Ré
Adjoining La Rochelle, Ile de Ré is an island of chalky cliffs and sand dunes that attracts a host of birdlife. Its main village of St Martin de Ré is also rich in history, not to mention being a great place to sample the island’s famous oysters.

St Jean de Luz
With its natural harbour, St Jean de Luz is one of the finest swimming beaches on the Atlantic coast. While it can be busy, it is also worth the trip if only to see the Eglise St Jean Baptiste, where Louis XIV, the Sun King, was married.

Great for younger kids

La Palmyre Zoo
Located in Les Mathes, the zoo here features more than 130 species, many of which are quite rare. So in addition to enjoying the animals, including a sea lion display, young visitors can learn all about conservation.

Musée de la Mer, Biarritz
Overlooking the sea, this fine aquarium is home to more than 120 species of sealife that are native to the Bay of Biscay. Captivating for young children, the open-air sea lion show up on the roof is particularly enjoyable.

Great for older kids

Kart Indoor
This 400m long indoor kart track close to Biarritz offers high performance karts as well as big screens to display lap times and race positions. Open every day from 4pm till midnight, it’s a big favourite with teenagers.

Atlantic Seignosse
As if the sea wasn’t exciting enough here, this large aqua park at Seignosse offers a host of pools, slides, tubes and toboggans, including the fearsome 9m high Super Kamikaze. A restaurant and bar are also available here.

Places to visit - Activities & events

Watersports
The entire Atlantic coast is a surfer’s paradise, with schools and hire shops in most resorts. For the best choice of beaches that can accommodate all standards, head for Biarritz, or if you want big waves guaranteed, try Hossegor.

Walking & Cycling
This is great hiking and cycling country, though a particular favourite is the area around Biscarrosse, where there are 120 km of hiking paths and 20km of cycling tracks that go from the Atlantic to the Landes de Gascon Nature Park.

Golf
While the whole, wild Atlantic coast is dotted with golf courses, Biarritz is a favourite destination, with no less then eight high quality golf courses, four of which are in the top 100 European courses. Bring a waterproof though, as it can rain here.

Fishing
Surf-casting is practised along all 250km of the Atlantic coastline, often with excellent results. Or you can also head for ports such as Capbreton or Arachon to join a fishing boat for the day, or try your luck at the lakes of Biscarrosse and Soustons.

Unmissable events in Gascony and Gironde

Big Festival, Biarritz - Mid-July
From humble beginnings a few years ago, the Big Festival is now attracting headline acts like Moby and Iggy Pop to its intimate village alongside the fabulous Cote des Basques surfing beach.

Bordeaux River Festival
Every June, the city’s splendid waterfront is brought to life by a host of visiting ships, floating parades, light shows and concerts, creating even more reasons to visit this beautiful city.

Bayonne Festival
The capital of the French Basque country has held a five-day party at the end of June every year since 1932, where locals and visitors alike are expected to wear white with a red scarf, traditional Basque costume, in order to join the festivities.

Surfing World Championships, Hossegor
As the undisputed surf capital of France, Hossegor hosts a number of surfing competitions, most notably the Rip Curl pro world championships, usually at the end of August.

Places to visit - Eating out

As you might expect in such a large area, there are different cuisines to be enjoyed here; Basque in the South and more traditional French to the North:

  • Chevre Chaud – A round of warm goat’s cheese on a thin bread base, served on a green salad with warm green beans.
  • Piperade – Served as a main or side dish, this typical Basque recipe features onions, green peppers and tomatoes, all flavoured with a spicy, red Espelette pepper sauce.
  • Entrecote a la Bordelaise – a hearty steak served in a rich sauce made with red Bordeaux wine, shallots, herbs and bone marrow.
  • Wine – A red Bordeaux is unbeatable across the region, but when in Basque country, try a chilled rosé such as a Jurancon or Irouléguy.

Campsites in region

Interlude, Ile de Ré, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Interlude | Ile de Ré

Experience island life, Atlantic-style, at Ile de Ré - one of the small islands just off the French Atlantic coast. Drive over the toll bridge from the mainland and you’re in this pretty, beach-edged holiday spot.

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Domaine d'Oléron, Ile de Oléron, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Domaine d'Oléron | Ile de Oléron

Cycle through the wildflower-edged lanes of Ile d’Oléron and you’ll soon slip into the pace of this enchanting island, cast just off the French Atlantic coast.

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Camping Les Ilates, Ile de Ré, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Camping Les Ilates | Ile de Ré

Looking for your slice of island life, with bundles of wonderful towns and villages to explore close by? Then Camping Les Ilates is the parc for you.

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La Rive Pool
La Rive | Biscarrosse

Love water sports? Then you’ll fall for Domaine de la Rive, a lakeside parc with direct access to one of the best beaches - and lakes - in the south west of France.

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Le Vieux Port, Messanges, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Le Vieux Port | Messanges

Head to the Atlantic coast and you’ll find the award-winning Le Vieux Port, set in an immense pine forest and offering direct access to a long, sandy beach, which shelves steeply into the lively waves.

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Sylvamar, Labenne Ocean, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Sylvamar | Labenne Ocean

Imagine the dilemma: is it going to be one of your parc’s five pools today, or a five-minute drive to an equally impressive water park?

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Le Ruisseau, Biarritz, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Le Ruisseau | Biarritz

If you’re looking for a comfortable base from which to explore one of France’s most engaging locations, then Le Ruisseau is the parc for you.

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Sequoia Parc pools
Sequoia Parc | Marennes

Sequoia Parc is an impressive parc with its old stone buildings and château, plus fantastic facilties including a fun waterpark.

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Cote D'Argent, Hourtin Plage, Gascony, Gironde & Royan
Cote D'Argent | Hourtin Plage

Between Bordeaux’s historic town centre and the area’s vineyards you’ll discover Côte D’Argent.

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La Palmyre pool area
Atlantique Parc | La Palmyre

Camping Atlantique Parc is surrounded by natural beauty and is within easy reach of a superb sandy beach and the gorgeous pool complex will keep the whole family entertained.

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Apartments in region

Bordaberry Pool
Bordaberry | Urrugne

The Basque Corniche coast road is an ocean drive that you'll never forget. Wide, blue skies, sparkling waters and whitewashed villages combine to create a commute that no one would complain about!

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Ciboure Pool
Ciboure | Ciboure

Close enough to Spain you can almost smell the chorizo, Ciboure enjoys that rare privilege of enjoying two cultures for the price of one. Actually, make that three - for you’re deep in Basque country here, a region with a vibrant cuisine, and culture, all its own.

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Lacanau Pool
Lacanau | Lacanau Ocean

Where Bordeaux meets the sea, you’ll find yourself in Aquitaine. Here, close to the wide beaches and sizzling Atlantic surf, you’ll enjoy watersports, cycling through maritime forests or sun bathing.

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Moliets Pool
Moliets | Moliets et Maa

Moliets is to French golf what St Andrews is to Scottish – an internationally renowned course that offers a sea-splashed round or two for the golfer who loves a challenge.

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Domaine de Gascogne Pool
Le Domaine de Gascogne | Biscarrosse

Picture the scene. You’re close to the bustling seaside resort of Biscarrosse, with its fine restaurants and boutiques, but you’re taking in the view from your traditionally styled apartment and all you see are meadows, trees and the sunlight glinting off the swimming pool.

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Location reviews

Gascony & Gironde reviews collected by Reevoo

Overall rating
8.5
Scores 8.5 out of 10 based on 444 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
8 out of 10

Lindsey

Tunbridge Wells
Beautiful beaches and forests. Fantastic for a outdoorsy holiday. Weather was not brilliant but when the sun did come out is was hot!
Confirmed stay: 22 September 2013
7 out of 10

Jane

LYMINGTON
Interesting area but little in the way of natural scenery - very flat and lots of scrub pine trees. La Rochelle s a must and Bordeaux if you can
Confirmed stay: 21 September 2013
7 out of 10

Richard

Trip on funicular up La Rhune was wonderful. We also visited St Jean de Luz, Bayonne and Biarritz, local churches and museums so felt we got a better understanding of Basque culture.
Confirmed stay: 19 September 2013
9 out of 10

Ken

London
The ocean, beaches towns, restaurants
Confirmed stay: 18 September 2013
2 out of 10

Will

Manchester
Pretentious and rude... I have never met more unfriendly people in my life.
Their attidtudes towards kids was damn right rude.
Confirmed stay: 15 September 2013
9 out of 10

Richard

Kettering
lovely area, beautiful scenery.
Confirmed stay: 15 September 2013
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