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 new holidays this year along the Velodyssey, one of Europe’s longest cycle tracks, which runs along the Atlantic coast.
20 Matching Holidays
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...
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...
Morbihan Islands Walk
A dreamy mélange of sea, sky and islands in South Brittany
The Gulf of Morbihan features a scattering of islands waiting to be discovered, the two largest being the Ile aux Moines and Ile d’Arz. The cross-shaped Ile aux Moines offers scenic walks around its 4-mile coastline, while Arz has...
Coast & Basque Mountains
Oceans, nature and mountains
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...
Compostela - Lectoure to Aire sur l'Adour - Stage 5
There's much to see in d'Artagnan country!
The landscape on this section is wide and open with views that stretch far ahead to your destination. Enjoy a detour to Eglise-hospital Sainte-Christie, for its peace and tranquillity.
Compostela - Aire sur l'Adour to the Pyrenees - Stage 6
Breathtaking views to conclude the journey
One of the most challenging stages because of the distances covered, but the most rewarding. An exhilarating walk through some amazing scenery, and in Hiribiria a monument marks the spot where the pilgrims' routes from Paris, Vezelay and Le Puy...
Sandy beaches and rocky inlets of the Coastline in Western Brittany
This south-western tip of Brittany stretches into the waters of the Atlantic, its sandy dunes and marshes giving way to dramatic cliffs as you approach the stunning Pointe du Raz. Follow the coastal paths and explore charming...
Moulin du Chemin
Explore the idyllic countryside of the Pays de Gatine
A single-centre holiday based at le Moulin du Chemin, a wonderful little Maison d’Hôte (guesthouse) hidden in a leafy valley in deepest rural France. The Maison d’Hôte was established by the present proprietors in 1993, in a restored mill house...
Gascony Canal Cruise
Tranquillity in the depths of Aquitaine
Your 8-berth floating hotel, the Rosa, played host to top chef Rick Stein in his TV Series, The French Odyssey and will take you from Toulouse to Agen through some of Gascony’s most beautiful countryside. Accompany the barge`s chef to...
Bordeaux Canal Cruise
Immerse yourself in the history and landscape of winemaking
The world-renowned fine wine region of Bordeaux has been producing exceptional vintages for over 2,000 years and we take a journey through natural landscapes, medieval bastide towns and iconic vineyards to discover the complex science of...
Canal du Midi Cruise
Enjoy your own gastronomic odyssey
Embark on a journey along sections of the Canal du Midi aboard the enchanting hotel barge, Anjodi, famous for taking Rick Stein on his 400 mile French food exploration in the TV series Rick Stein's French Odyssey. As well as indulging in the fabulous...
Loire Valley River Cruise
Cruise through spectacular scenery in the Valley of the Kings
Aboard the only hotel barge sailing through the Loire Valley, you'll be treated to a unique view of the valley's numerous châteaux, many with expansive river frontages and the odd one even crossing the river above the barge, such as the elegant...
Wines of Bordeaux Cruise
Indulge your palate in the gastronomic heart of Aquitaine
On board the hotel barge Mirabelle you will meander your way through the chateau-laden countryside of the historic Bordeaux wine region. Take a trip back in time as we visit all the finest wine-producing communities, passing orchards, meadows and...
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...
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...
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...
Châteaux of the Charente
Country lanes and a rolling landscape of rivers and lakes – a cyclist's paradise!
Local folklore has it that when God finished his work creating the magnificent châteaux in the Loire, he set to work sprinkling this region with many smaller castles. This moderate cycle explores a stunning countryside of vineyards, nodding...