During the Middle Ages, South West France was the scene of conflicts like the Albigensian Crusade and the Hundred Years War. Chateaux and fortified clifftop villages from that period have survived to this day. The Romans were the first to turn South West France into a wine region, and land owners around Bordeaux started planting their own vines in the late 1800s. Today, Bordeaux is the wine capital of South West France.
Forming a natural border between France and Spain, The Pyrenees consists of stunning snow-capped mountains, gorgeous valleys, streams and over 2000 lakes. The National Park of the Pyrenees in the centre of the range is home to some of its most stunning cliffs and gorges. There are ski resorts for winter and it’s a great place for a hike in summer. You can also catch the Little Yellow Train of the Pyrenees, which takes you on quite a terrific scenic tour.
As well as mountains, the South West also has brilliant beaches. La Cote des Basques in Biarritz is a surf beach and celebrity playground with rugged cliffs, and the Dune of Pilat on La-teste-de-Buch is Europe’s tallest sand dune at about 100 metres high.
Come on down to Bordeaux, the city that’s a World Heritage site. It’s full of historic attractions like Bordeaux Cathedral, the Grand Theatre and the Museum of Aquitaine.
Known as "the pink city" thanks to the colour of its bricks, Toulouse will make your stay peachy when you swing by the Basilica of St. Sernin or the City of Space, a space exploration themed amusement park.
The "Bastide" towns of the Southwest are smaller towns where the heavily fortified streets haven’t changed since the 13th and 14th centuries. Check out their market squares and medieval chateaux.
And if you want to sip wine in the countryside (and who doesn’t?), take a wine tour or hire a car and embark on your own.
Bordeaux’s Grand Hommes area, also called "The Triangle", has both malls and boutique stores. Toulouse is a fashion hotspot and the birth of many famous French brands, and you can find excellent designer and vintage shops there. Both cities have fine dining in the very best French style, including brasseries and wine bars. In Toulouse you can enjoy a meal pared with some of the region’s fabulous local wine.
Book one of our cheap flights to Bordeaux or cheap flights to Toulouse to go with your South West France accommodation. A hire car is the best way to see the more remote parts of this huge region, but you can also get to cities like Bordeaux and Toulouse by train pretty easily. From the vineyards to the mountains, the cities to the beach, you’ll love this corner of France. Come here and see what grows out of it!
Hotels in Bordeaux Wine Region start at AU$65 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.