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6 replies
Driving through South West France
poppy_bee
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Hello there everyone.

I am planning a drive from Bordeaux to Aix en Provence late next week. I will be flying into Bordeaux from London before spending a few days in the area looking at some buildings (architecture research).

I am wondering if anyone can offer advice on a nice drive back to Aix en Provence. I was considering spending 2 or 3 days getting there, perhaps stopping in places like Carcassone – nice, quiet villages, (which are often hard to get to without a car). I will be doing the trip with my boyfriend who will have just arrived from Australia so we are hoping to spend some time seeing castles/nice little villages, staying in b&bs and eating nice food Smile

Also, if anyone has any advice on Bordeaux (or the surrounds) we will be staying there for a couple of days but I am happy to be a bit out of the center of town if it means that the area is nicer. I have read that St Emillion is nice..

Thanks in advance,

Poppy

poppy

Cil
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St Emilion is indeed supposed to be nice.
Some destinations to consider:
Toulouse is wonderful for someone who enjoys architecture and walkability.
Carcassonne is indeed charmingly restored but will be crowded with tourists during the daytime (unless you get there very early, we got there at 9am and had the old Cite to ourselves.)
This might not be your cup of tea, but for tragic history there is Oradour-sur-Glane.
Walking through the ruins is a haunting experience.
Cordes is also kind of touristy but the galleries there are interesting and the city is pretty.
If you want to get off the tourist trail, check out Angouleme. It is not far from Bordeaux. It is a medieval city which has embraced the world of cartooning. Photo below.
Feeling kind of fluey today, will try to write more later.

poppy_bee
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Goodness that cartoon is fabulous! I would love to go to a town full of those!

Thank you for your ideas and I look forward to hearing more when you hopefully start to feel better soon. I will look into all of the places you mentioned Smile

poppy

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I’m glad you asked about this area, it is so rich in beauty!
Biarritz/Bayonne for you nice rustic, but often touristy beach town.
Pau, a little out of your way, but at the food of the pyrenees, you will get some nice views from here, and the small city is a little gem.
Albi – Undiscovered old world france. Check out the wiki article and you will see what I mean!
Toulouse is nice, and architecture is a forte there as Cil mentioned. I have family there.
montpelier may seem a little bland, but it has a huge student population which really gives the city a kind of spiciness haha!?
Nimes and Avignon are both worth a visit as well (maybe more so than my above suggestions actually haha)

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $3000 for 36 days
Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Mostar, Sarajevo, Bol, Makarska, Florence, Málaga, Seville, Barcelona, Ibiza Town
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I loved Avignon but I guess some people find it less exciting.
Tigrou, I too like Montpelier and its student vibe, and I really wanted to get to Pau, but as you say, it is a bit out of the way.
A couple off-the-beaten path towns:
Rodez (larger) ~ with its pink Gothic cathedral and walkable center, also that vibrant student energy
Najac (smaller) ~ it doesn’t get much more atmospheric than this hilltop village
Situated on the Dordogne, there is the beautiful village of Carennac (since discovered by the Rick Steves crowd) and we enjoyed visiting the underground cave of Gouffre de Padirac.
Be sure to try the “black” Cahors wine. Deep, rich, velvety.
This one was a favorite. Clos Triguedina

tigrouflip
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Yea I’m lucky to have been to Pau considering its location! distant cousins live there, great base for skiing! Great suggestions, that area is full to the brink with little picturesque villages! Unfortunately i’ve never got the chance to fully explore it. You have a lot to work with now Poppy =)

I am leaving from Atlanta, GA with $3000 for 36 days
Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Mostar, Sarajevo, Bol, Makarska, Florence, Málaga, Seville, Barcelona, Ibiza Town
poppy_bee
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Thank you everyone this is really great info for me It is so much easier to know where to start when you get advice from clever travellers rather than books.

I really like the sound of all of these places, they seem like just the kind of thing I am looking for. I might save Montpellier for a later trip since I think it might be a bit too big for a day stopover… and perhaps like Marseille would take some wandering and time to get used to..

But I am certainly full of ideas now! I need to look into Pau to see if I can get it into the itinerary Smile

poppy