The Southern France region of Gascony is a landscape of valleys and rolling hills, and from the southern hills you can enjoy views of the Pyrénées. To the extreme south, straddling the French-Spanish border is the Basque region, an area of tremendous character where the people have proudly retained their rich culture, cuisine and folklore.
The coasts of Gascony are characterised by huge dunes, magnificent sandy beaches and plenty of surf. South of the elegant and cultural city of Bordeaux, at the heart of the region renowned world-wide for its wine, lies the pine forest of Les Landes and the Dune du Pilat, the highest sand dune in Europe.
Once an area of sand and marshland, Les Landes was planted more than a century ago to create Europe’s greatest forest and has become a wonderful haven for wildlife. Originally tapped for their resin, the pines of the Landes are today managed largely for their timber.
Both Gascony and neighbouring Royan are famous for shellfish and ‘magrets’ (grilled duck breast), as well as confits of duck. While the gentle climate makes this area ideal for producing Armagnac. Almost every village has a market and these provide some of the best places for purchasing fresh bread as well as delicious local produce.
At 374 feet tall, Dune du Pilat is the highest sand dune in Europe. Stretching for two miles, the dune grows in length by around 15 feet each year. From the top of the Dune du Pilat you will enjoy magnificent views of the Arcachon Basin and the pine forests of the Les Landes region. If you can, take a pair of binoculars.
Capital of the Aquitaine region, and best known as the wine producing centre of France, Bordeaux is an elegant riverside city with pedestrianised streets and wonderful architecture. In addition to its global acclaim as the centre of fine wine production, this university city is also the place for stylish shopping and antiques. The locally produced oysters are considered something of a delicacy and can be enjoyed in numerous bars and restaurants.
A favoured destination of wealthy holidaymakers during the 1800s, this elegant resort is once again the place to holiday on France’s west coast. Biarritz combines old-world grandeur with smart hotels and a stylish casino, while its glorious beaches attract surfing enthusiasts from all over the world. There is a pleasant walk along the beach from the lighthouse at Cap St-Martin to the rugged point of Rocher de la Vierge.
With its sandy beach, this exceptionally picturesque fishing town is a lovely place to spend a day of your holiday. Plus if you arrive early enough, you may just see the local fishing boats returning with the day’s catch of sardines and tuna. Throughout the summer the streets come alive with colourful folk festivals.
Sitting alongside the Adour River, Dax has a lovely old centre where you can see the remains of the town walls as well as the bubbling waters of the Fontaine Chaude.
Sitting alongside the Ardour River, Bayonne is one of the loveliest towns you’ll visit during your holiday in Gascony. A fortified settlement in Roman times, and now the lively capital of the Basque region, Bayonne has colourful old buildings, an exquisitely decorated cathedral and quaint old streets.
Planted over 150 years ago to stabilise a vast region of shifting sand dunes, this lovely forest is ideal for long country rambles, picnics and cycle rides. Part of the Les Landes forest is a nature park, and another area shows how life was before the forest was planted.
Sitting alongside the Hutchet River, the pretty Landes village of Léon holds colourful markets daily throughout the summer months. There is a lake which is good for swimming and fishing. You can also take a river trip on a flat-bottomed boat from here in the summer.
Spain’s so close, it would be a pity not to venture over the border. Head for the grand old seaside resort of San Sebastian where you will find lovely narrow streets, some excellent restaurants and the chance to relax over a cerveza.
This spectacular glacial valley runs into the very heart of the Pyrénées. Take your camera and those binoculars, for here you will find lovely wild flowers and rare birds. Valle de Pineta is also an excellent starting point for alpine walks with fabulous views.
Superb adventure park with a range of activities suitable for children and adults.
Stretching over more than 600 square miles, the vineyards around Bordeaux produce some of France’s finest wines. This is a land of hearty reds, refreshing rosès, exceptional whites and numerous sparkling appellations. Visit the famous châteaux and vineyards, notably Château Margaux and Mouton Rothschild
Looking over mile after mile of well-tended vineyards that are renowned for producing some of the world’s finest reds, ancient St Emilion is the most attractive of all the Bordeaux wine villages. This historic hillside town, with its quaint cobbled streets is surrounded by ramparts and vines. There are countless wine cellars to explore, pretty town squares and fortified gateways.
Overlooked by the Pyrénées, and having three impressive peaks of its own, Lourdes is a major place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage and attracts in the region of 5 million pilgrims and tourists each year. Following the apparitions of the 19th Century, Lourdes became an important venue for Christians from all over the world. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a particularly important destination for pilgrims; with many believing the spring waters from the grotto contain healing properties.
Home to therapeutic mud baths and hot water fountains of France’s leading - and possibly oldest - thermal spa.
Interlude is a lovely peaceful parc, and is the ideal base from which to explore beautiful Ile de Ré, especially using the many cycle routes.
This friendly, laid-back parc is in a peaceful, unique location with lots of cycle paths close by to explore the island.
This small and friendly parc enjoys a lovely setting close to the beach with miles and miles of cycle paths nearby allowing you to explore the beautiful Ile de Ré.
This lively Splash Parc lies on the shores of the Biscarrosse lake, with its own mooring facilities, and just four miles from the small town of Biscarrosse.
An ideal choice for a family beach holiday, this fun parc has a fantastic waterpark and tempting spa complex.
This lively Spash Parc offers entertainment and facilities for the whole family, as well as an enviable position in the lovely Les Landes forest.
Situated beside a small lake, this Castels parc is four miles from the elegant town of Biarritz and offers stunning views of the Pyrénées.
Côte d'Argent is found in a superb location close to France's largest fresh water lake, with an excellent pool complex and easy access to a lovely sandy beach.
Located 2km from the town of Lacanau with it's fine, golden sandy beach, lake and forest offering plenty pf outdoor pursuits.
This holiday village at Moliets has to be one of your first choices if you're looking for an active family holiday set in tranquil surroundings.
This charming resort is perfectly located in Bordaberry, one of the Bay of Biscay's best placed destinations.
A peaceful and tranquil residence, built in traditional style around an inviting pool.
Superb apartments laid out around the golf course, many with attractive open views of the green, swimming pool or pine forest.
The perfect opportunity to have a second Keycamp holiday!
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