Boutique Travel Experts

Atlantic Coast of France

This 14-day road trip will take you along the Atlantic Coast of France, from Nantes down to Biarritz (or the other way around). Explore the hidden gems you never knew about, but also discover the famous vineyards and distilleries you always wanted to visit. Start the trip in the charming port town of Pornic, then head inland, to the fairy-tale swamps of Marais Poitevin, and next visit the historic towns of La Rochelle and Rochefort. Ile de Re will take your breath away with its beautiful views and Cognac will bring you in the world of culinary delights. In Medoc try red and white wines at beautiful chateaux and let Bordeaux raise your curiosity (you might even want to move here !). At Dune du Pilat you will be embraced by sheer nature and Saint-Emilion will be another cherry on the cake for any wine enthusiast. Then go down to the Basque Country, with its red and green shutters, distinct gastronomy and wild beaches. This is the perfect place to try yourself at surfing. Don’t miss out a few more picturesque villages such as Bidard, Guethary and Hendaye and then you can even take a boat to Spain and enjoy delightful tapas in Hondarribia. This itinerary can be changed and adapted to your liking. It is a great choice for families traveling with children, for couples seeking a romantic escape and for all nature lovers, wine lovers, and gourmets out there. 

14 Days – From £2,380 per person 

*equivalent in USD, EUR accepted

Itinerary: Pornic, Marais Poitevin, La Rochelle, Ile de Re, Cognac, Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion, Bayonne, Biarritz, Hendaye

  • Price is per person, based on two people sharing in a double/twin room
  • Accommodation with breakfast (upgrades to superior hotels and chateaux possible)
  • 10-day car-hire: vintage car with manual transmission (full tank at pick-up, insurance, technical assistance) 
  • App with GPS
  • Car delivery to the door of your hotel 
  • Entrance fees to all mentioned sites
  • All mandatory local taxes
  • 24/7 assistance in English during your trip
  • Visa, where applicable
  • International & Domestic Flights / Train Ticket 
  • Personal Expenses
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the description
  • Additional kms
  • Photographer, Guide, Driver (can be arranged on request)

International flights are not included in the package price. We give you the freedom to book the flights yourself, use miles and choose your preferred airline, and if you are stuck we can help you find the right connections. The starting point is Nantes Airport (NTE) which has several direct connections to major European cities. The departure airport is Biarritz (BIQ).

Alternatively, travel by train from Paris to one of the coastal hub cities, like Biarrit, Bordeaux or La Rochelle.

Send us a message on WhatsApp (+44 7 308 449 233) or email us at explore@boutiquetravelexperts.com to check availability, discuss your preferences and get a quote.

This is a sample itinerary and prices are correct at the time of writing. We can tailor it to suit your plans by changing the length of the trip or the order of activities. More days can be added. 

The best time to visit the Atlantic Coast of France is from April to November, however the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds in spring and autumn. July and August can be quite hot and it is very crowded in Biarritz and Bordeaux area.

Day 1 - Nantes to Pornic

Today you will arrive at Airport of Nantes (NTE). Pick up your car and drive to Pornic (50 min), a charming coastal town with a picturesque harbor, a historic old town, and beautiful beaches. Explore the old town with narrow cobblestone streets and traditional Breton houses. Grab a coffee with a croissant at one of the local cafes. Visit the 13-century castle of Château de Pornic, located right on the waterfront. Enjoy a delicious seafood platter or mussels lunch in the harbor. After lunch, head to the beach to relax and soak up the sun. If you’re feeling active, take a scenic coastal walk along the Sentier des Douaniers. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. Overnight at La Fontaine Aux Bretons.

Pornic

Day 2 - Marais Poitevin

Today drive to the beautiful marshes of Marais Poitevin, the “green Venice” of France (2 hours). Explore the picturesque canals, wetlands and charming villages, starting with Coulon, the gateway to marshes. Take a guided boat tour through the canals in a traditional flat-bottomed punt. Return for a delicious lunch in the village. In the afternoon, visit the charming village of Arçais, which has pretty canals and picturesque settings, melting in a green scenery. Take a walk around the village, and stop for a drink in a local café. In the evening, drive to La Rochelle (45 min). Overnight at Hôtel La Monnaie.

Marais Poitevin

Day 3 - La Rochelle & Rochefort

In the morning, explore the old town of La Rochelle with its charming narrow streets and a vibrant atmosphere. Stroll along the quays and admire the three medieval towers. Climb to the top of Tour de la Lanterne for panoramic views. In the afternoon, drive to Rochefort (40 min). Visit Corderie Royale, a historic rope-making factory, and explore the Hermione, a full-scale replica of an 18th-century frigate. Continue to Rochefort’s historic center to Place Colbert where you can enjoy a coffee at the many cafes and restaurants. In the afternoon, return to La Rochelle. Enjoy a seafood dinner. Overnight at Hôtel La Monnaie.

La Rochelle

Day 4 - Ile de Re

Today drive across the bridge to Île de Ré (35 min). Explore the charming village of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, strolling through the narrow streets and the picturesque harbor. Later, head to the beach for relaxation. In the afternoon, explore Île de Ré by bike. Pedal along the coastline, between charming villages and through salty marshes. Explore the villages of La Flotte, Ars-en-Ré, or Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré. Each village has its own unique charm, with colorful houses and local markets. Take a guided tour to learn about the salt production and enjoy the natural beauty of the salty marshes. Overnight at Les Bois Flottais.

Ile de Re

Day 5 - Cognac

Today drive to Cognac (1,5 hours), the region of high-quality brandy. Visit the distilleries such as Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Courvoisier and Martell. Learn about the distillation process, see the aging cellars and taste various cognacs. Take a guided tour of Château de Cognac and the Otard Cognac distillery which is located in the castle. In addition to cognac, the region has excellent red wines and a delicious cuisine. After lunch, take a scenic boat tour along the Charente River to enjoy picturesque views of the city and the surrounding vineyards. Spend the evening at leisure. Overnight at Chais Monnet & Spa.

Cognac

Day 6 - Red Wines of Medoc

Today discover the lovely vineyards of Médoc, in the north of Bordeaux (1,5 hours). Take a guided tour to learn more about the specifics of local wine-making at several castles which produce elegant red wines. Learn about ecology and agroforestry, a key approach of adapting to climate change where planting trees between rows of vines helps to increase moisture in the soil and air and protect the vines from extreme weather events. Have lunch at a traditional French restaurant serving local specialties. In the evening head to Bordeaux (30 min). Overnight at Golf du Médoc Resort.

Vineyard

Day 7 - Bordeaux

In the morning, visit Place de la Bourse, the iconic square of Bordeaux. Admire the stunning architecture, including the famous water mirror, and take a leisurely walk along the Garonne River. La Cité du Vin is a must-visit for all wine enthusiasts. This wine-themed cultural center offers interactive exhibits, wine-tasting and panoramic views from its observation deck. For lunch, try a traditional French bistro or restaurant, savouring regional specialties such as duck confit, Bordeaux-style fish, or a plate of local cheeses. In the afternoon, take a stroll through the historic heart of the city, wander through narrow streets, visit charming squares, and admire the architecture of the old town of Bordeaux. Overnight at Mondrian Bordeaux Les Carmes.

Bordeaux

Day 8 - White Wines of Bordeaux

Today visit several wineries located in the south of Bordeaux. Take a guided tour and tastings, explore the beautiful vineyards and cellars. Visit Château d’Yquem, renowned for its sweet white wines, particularly the Sauternes. Continue to Château Suduiraut, another top-notch producer of sweet white wines. Next, visit Château de Rayne Vigneau, known for its sweet white wines. Finish at Château Guiraud, renowned for its sweet white wines. Tours and tastings are offered, and the estate has a strong commitment to sustainable and organic wine-making. Overnight at Château Malromé.

White Wine

Day 9 - Dune du Pilat

Today enjoy the breathtaking views of the largest sand dunes in Europe, Dune du Pilat (1 hour drive). Set off in the morning to arrive before it gets too crowded. Climb to the summit for panoramic vistas of the surrounding forest, Arcachon Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the top is stunning. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal with a scenic backdrop. Alternatively, head to Arcachon for lunch. Relax on the sandy shores, swim in the ocean, or take a leisurely walk along the coastline. Later, explore the town of Arcachon and try some local oysters. Head back to Bordeaux in the late afternoon. Overnight at Hotel Ha(a)ïtza.

Dune du Pilat in France

Day 10 - Saint-Émilion

After breakfast, take a trip to Saint-Émilion, a charming medieval town surrounded by vineyards (45 min). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site with picturesque winding streets and underground catacombs. Take a walk, visit the wine cellars or a nearby vineyard, each with its own unique charm and special wine-making practices. If you have a special interest in Bordeaux wines, visit the prestigious Château Ausone or Château Cheval Blanc. As the day comes to a close, enjoy local wine stories with a glass. Overnight at Château de Lussac.

Saint Emilion in France

Day 11 - Bayonne & Biarritz

Today continue to the historic town of Bayonne, in the French Basque Country (2,5 hours). Here you will experience a blend of culture, history, coastal beauty, and excellent cuisine. Stroll through the charming narrow streets of the old town, admire the traditional Basque architecture and picturesque squares. For lunch try Basque dishes like piperade, axoa or Bayonne ham, and Bayonne chocolate for dessert. After lunch, make your way to the chilled beach town of Biarritz (15 min). Relax, swim or surf, and enjoy the breathtaking views of the coastline.  Head to the hotel for the evening. Overnight at Beaumanoir Small Luxury Boutique Hotel.

Bayonne in France

Day 12 - Bidart & Guethary

Today visit Bidart and Guéthary, two picturesque coastal towns with a relaxed atmosphere. Explore beautiful beaches, charming villages, and enjoy some delightful Basque cuisine. Head to beautiful and less crowded beach of Plage d’Ilbarritz for a morning swim or surf, and relax on the beach. After lunch, discover the port of Guéthary with its traditional Basque houses and watch the surfers on the beach. There are stunning coastal paths along the cliffs. Take a walk and enjoy panoramic views of the Bay of Biscay. Return to Biarritz in the evening. Overnight at La Villa L’arche.

Pays Basque, France

Day 13 - Hendaye & Hondarribia

Today take a day trip to Hendaye and Hondarribia, two charming towns located on the border with Spain. Hendaye has long sandy beach and beautiful coastline. Spend the morning at leisure on the beach. In the afternoon, take a short boat transfer to the neighboring town of Hondarribia in Spain. Explore the charming old town with its cobbled streets and colorful houses. Climb up to the Castle of Charles V for panoramic views of the bay. Try some traditional Basque pintxos at one of the many bars and restaurants. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and scenic views at the marina or the beachfront. Return to Bidart. Overnight at La Villa L’arche.

Boat in Pays Basque

Day 14 - Departure

After breakfast, drop the car off at the airport and take your onward flight. Extend your stay and discover the inland gems of Basque Country. Or, if you want to discover the Mediterranean Coast of France, we propose to fly to Marseille or Nice and explore Provence. Here you will find a detailed program. Alternatively, fly to Toulouse and make your way to Perpignan, then discover the beautiful places all along the coast, all the way till Marseille, or even further, till Nice. Here is the second proposed itinerary to follow. Both can be done the other way around and adjusted according to your available time.

Pays Basque Gateau

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