For the last few days of September, I took a trip to Bordeaux and was blessed with weather reminiscent of mid-summer. It was the perfect pick me up for my post-holiday blues after returning home from two weeks to Croatia at the end of August. The new high-speed TGV train line from Paris to Bordeaux means it now takes around 4 hours in total from St Pancras to Bordeaux, with some added time to change stations and grab a croissant in Paris.
Places to shop
Librairie Mollat, the largest independently owned book shop in France, is filled with every book from every genre, making it a compulsory stop on a wander through the city. There’s a huge Hay store, Cos, and of course many of wine and cake shops.
Where to eat in Bordeaux
Just a few years ago, asking for a dish without seafood, meat and dairy in France was near impossible. Times are starting to change and even Michelin star restaurants are beginning to cater more to animal free eating. I was blown away by Le Gabriel, both for the fantastic food and romantic atmosphere.
Taking a day trip to Arachon
Home to the tallest sand dunes in Europe, Arcachon is a 50 minute train ride from Bordeaux. This time of year it’s free of swoops of tourists, and is still bathed in warm sunshine. I completely fell in love with the chic seaside town and have vowed to revisit sometime.
Boat trips that take you on a tour of the bay go out from the pier regularly, or there’s private cruises on traditional Pinasse boats if you want to make it more special.
Arcachon is home to the Dune of Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before in my life and deserves a firm place on everyone’s travel bucket list. Running down the steep side, barefoot, just as sun is setting is a glorious experience.
Fares from London to Bordeaux with Voyages-sncf.com start from £111 standard class return, which is incredibly good value and makes the trip well worth considering for a midweek or long weekend break.