A department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-west France, Gironde hugs the navigable estuary of the same name. Famed for its wine and for being home to the longest beach in Europe, Côte d'Argent, it is a region of contrasts which a holiday here will reveal.
Inland, the rich history of Gironde is evident in the many chateaux and religious monuments dotted throughout the region. Its vineyards make it a great destination for lovers of wine, including the famous Medoc and Bordeaux wine regions of Margaux and Saint-Emilion where there are tastings and tours aplenty.
The beautiful city of Bordeaux itself is brimming with shops, museums and galleries. The 6th largest city in France and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, it combines elegant architecture with strikingly modern additions such as the huge, shiny wine museum with a shop selling over 800 world wines. To top it off, Bordeaux’s gourmet food and lively night life make it a place not to miss.
On the coast, Arcachon Bay is a unique place to visit. Home to the famed highest sand dune in Europe, it curves around an inland sea encompassing 10 towns and villages and a variety of landscapes including sandy beaches, oyster ports and forests. With over 200km of cycle paths and opportunities for bird watching, oyster tasting and boat trips, it offers a vast contrast to the chateaux and vineyards inland.
To the south of Arcachon, the forest of Landes is the largest in Europe; bordering the Leyres River, it’s a peaceful spot for walking, cycling and canoeing.
To the east and south-east of Gironde are some less frequented areas off the main tourist route, including the historical town of Libourne, pretty Sainte-Foy-la-Grande and several castles and historic monuments.