Beautiful beaches, pre-historic caves and medieval cities
Although the west of France has its share of legendary beaches – those in the Vendee, Charente-Maritime and the Pays Basque being the most popular with sunseekers – there are plenty of other things it is equally recognised for. The westernmost tip of Brittany ventures bravely out into the Celtic Sea, its rugged coast shaped by the thrashing waves, and the southern Pays de la Loire lays claim to the famous châteaux of Angers and Saumur.
Brittany’s Celtic past resonates with that of Cornwall, making it an attractive destination for British visitors. It also boasts fine local seafood and some enchanting medieval villages and port towns with brightly painted, half timbered houses and elegant churches. To the south, the extensive beaches of the Vendee and Poitou-Charente line the Atlantic coast, ribbons of white sand that draw in holiday makers and water sports enthusiasts from all over Europe.
Aquitaine is home to the historic Dordogne, as well as some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world – those of Bordeaux. The latter provides a great cultural experience, with its châteaux set splendidly among the vines and the impressive city of Bordeaux poised at the heart of it all. It is in the Dordogne that some of the most intriguing historical sites can be found. Caves with ancient paintings and mighty stalagmites weave beneath a picturesque countryside, where medieval cities such as Sarlat perch.
An exploration of western France is a unique opportunity to taste world famous wines, stroll along endless coastline, discover delightful towns and enjoy freshly caught seafood.
Bonjour Kate - Our Western France expert
Kate’s passion for France started many years ago when she was a student in Paris, studying for her degree. Since living and working in France for several years, she has returned many times over the years to visit, both on holiday and on work research trips.
A keen naturalist and Francophone, she likes to combine both interests when visiting France. Her favourite area is the Aquitaine and she is very excited about Belle France’s holidays along the Velodyssey, one of Europe’s longest cycle tracks, which runs along the Atlantic coast.
13 Matching Holidays
Périgord Prestige à Pied
Along the Valley of the Dronne
Walk through beautiful undulating countryside and past pretty medieval villages as you follow the clear waters of the little River Dronne from Bourdeilles to Champagnac. Two nights staying in the “Venice of Périgord”, Brantôme, allows visits to the...
Nantes to La Rochelle: La Vélodyssée
Cycle along the Atlantic Coast past stunning beaches,wetlands, pine forests and pretty villages
Enjoy the sea breeze as you cycle along this section of the Velodyssée, taking in the scent of the pine forests, the Breton wetlands, colourful ports and fishing villages, ending up in the historic harbour town of La Rochelle.
La Rochelle to Bordeaux: La Vélodyssée
Cycle from La Rochelle along the Atlantic Coast, through wetlands, pretty seaside villages and pine forests through to the Médoc Vineyards
Need a breath of sea air? This cycle trip has all you are looking for: adventure, the open sea, and a sense of exhilaration. Starting in the historic harbour town of La Rochelle, you will follow the Vélodyssée cycle route along the Atlantic...
Bordeaux to Biarritz: La Vélodyssée
Explore changing landscapes along the longest cycling track in Europe
Enjoy the wonderful tranquillity of the Atlantic Coast as you cycle on this section of the longest cycling track in Europe, from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bordeaux to the glittering seaside town of Biarritz. Travel through vast...
Ride in the valley of the River Dronne
Cycle from the Charente to the Dordogne
Easy cycling along river valleys, two nights in each location and longer routes available. Start at one of the ‘Plus beaux villages de France’ Aubeterre-sur-Dronne; famous for its subterranean monolithic church. This stunning route runs...
Coast & Basque Mountains
From glitzy Biarritz to the vast Pyrenées, discover a flavour of Spain in France
Explore the cultural richness and dynamism of the Basque Country, with its coastal scenery, historical villages and excellent cuisine. Discovering Hondarribia is a real pleasure, with its walled old town packed with stately buildings and...
Dordogne Prestige à Pied
Spectacular Dordogne combined with special hotels
Admire the spectacular views as this moderate walk takes you through the splendid scenery of the Quercy Natural Park, past rocky overhanging cliffs with wonderful views across the Dordogne river. Relax in luxurious hotels at the end of each day...
Dordogne Prestige en Vélo
Grand scenery and grand hotels to match
Cycle through an undulating landscape of forested hills and dramatic gorges, taking in the fairytale feel of this beautiful region. You’ll stay in château hotels and enjoy sumptuous cuisine at the end of each day. A great ride for cycling...
Grands Vins de Bordeaux
A must for wine lovers
A leisurely walk through the prestigious vineyards acquaints you with the reds of St Emilion, the dry whites of Entre-Deux-Mers and the sweet Sauternes. Plenty of tasting opportunities are available en route and there’s even a chance...
Luxury Grand Cru Tour
Cycle through Bordeaux’s most prestigious vineyards
This prestige cycle tour is for those who appreciate Bordeaux’s supremacy as the wine cellar of France. The route takes you through some of the most famous towns such as Pauillac, St Emilion and Margaux, with a chance to taste wines. Your stay...
Classic Cognac Cycling
Fine brandy and easy cycling
Follow the meandering River Charente and cycle through prestigious Cognac vineyards with opportunities to taste the finest brands, including a visit to the famous Hennessy Cognac house. Gentle hills provide scenic views, and there's an...
Moulin du Chemin
Explore the idyllic countryside of the Pays de Gâtine
A single-centre holiday based at le Moulin du Chemin, a wonderful little Maison d’Hôte hidden in a leafy valley in deepest rural France. Established by the present proprietors in 1993,the restored mill house dating from before 1650 is remote,...
Agen to Sarlat through the Lot Valley
The Lot Valley: Castles and medieval cities
Discover the diverse landscapes of the South West of France on bike between the Lot-et-Garonne and the Dordogne. Cycle through Bastide towns, past fortified châteaux and through some of the prettiest villages in France such as Monpazier...