If you’re desperate to get out on the open road, you may dream of Route 62 in South Africa, the Ticlio Pass of Peru or a beautiful road trip in Mexico. Road trips don’t need to be so extravagant to fulfil your sense of adventure. The Aquitaine region in the southwest of France is as diverse as it is amazing. A road trip will take you through the wonder of nature, vibrant cities and incredible beaches.
What’s more, to whet your whistle along the way you can explore the stunning vineyards and their sumptuous wines. The Aquitaine region is home to a unique microclimate and soil composition that makes it a sommeliers dream. Journey through the region and oxygenate your soul. All that is left is for you to hire a car, why not chat to the friendly guys at Sunny Cars and hire some wine-bound wheels?
Blast Down To Biarritz
Start your trip in the heart of the Basque Country. Biarritz is the surfing capital of the area offering a chilled yet busy vibe to its visitors. Don’t let the laid-back atmosphere fool you though, the citizens of Biarritz take their gastronomy very seriously. The once small fishing village is now famous for its many bistros, restaurants and bars.
Biarritz is overflowing with every type of restaurant you could wish for, from small family-run establishments to Michelin starred masterpieces. Be sure to try some of the local delicacies including oysters, cheese, and foie gras. Not to mention the many wine bars offering tastes of the sun-soaked hills of the region.
Jaunt Along To Jurançon
In the southwest of Pau, at an hour’s drive east from Biarritz, you will find the vineyards of Jurançon lining the foot of the Pyrenees. The vines grow on steep mountain slopes, and the wine produced develops aromas of tropical fruit. To accompany a glass of sweet wine, there is nothing better than the local speciality Pyrenean cheese.
Take a tour of La Cave de Jurançon where a cooperative group of winemakers work 750 hectares of vines. The team are committed to respecting the beautiful terrain and, of course, making equally beautiful wines. Or visit Franck Lihour at Domaine Castera in the sleepy town of Monein. He has revived the vineyard with his father and has a fresh approach to winemaking. The vineyard is home to indigenous grape varieties which are being experimented on to create new clones.
Amble Through Armagnac
Driving north from Pau, within an hour you will find yourself in the Armagnac/Landes region. It offers stunning landscapes from the pine forest with its sandy trails in the north to the vineyards and oak groves in the south. The vineyards are brightened by the colours and scents of the centuries-old brandy they produce.
The Armagnac vineyards are abundant in local heritage with villages listed amongst the most beautiful in France. Discover the famous ancient fortified town of Larressingle, the circular-walled village of Fourcès or walk along the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle pilgrims’ trail. Along your way meet the friendly local winemakers and savour the famous local nectar.
Visit the exceptional estate of Domaine D’esperance on a hillside of Bas-Armagnac for a true wine tasting treat. There is a cottage on the estate as well as a cooking school. Stay overnight and give yourself chance to truly digest the splendour of Armagnac and the silky wines.
Bowl Over To Bordeaux
Heading west from Pau will lead you to Bordeaux, characterized by its exceptional architecture and world-renowned vineyards. Bordeaux is calm and majestic with its wide streets, pillared grand theatre and large parks. A true symbol of the French art of living, Bordeaux offers gastronomic feasts galore.
Home to the infamous Bordeaux Wine Festival, visitors to the city are spoilt for choice. You can sip wine on one of the lively terraces and watch the world go by or take a tasting cruise on the Garonne. Meanwhile, on Bordeaux’s doorstep, you will find routes leading you to the neighbouring vineyards of Saint-Emilion, Sauternes and Pessac-Léognan.