Summer Holiday Escape

Escape on holiday – literally

escape on holiday grab a sale price
Image credit – Dan Burton Unsplash.com

Like most people, once Christmas is over then it’s sale time. Travel agents, ferry companies and budget airlines – you can grab some great deals for your favourite holiday destination if you act fast. And if you are staying at Bel-Air Gites you can literally plan to escape on holiday at The Escape Place. It’s only 10 minutes from our family gites complex and has been getting really good reviews.

Enter the heart of an enclosed, mysterious space and try to escape by finding the key to the puzzles.

The Escape Place is accessible to all, although it could be difficult for anyone with restricted mobility. With teams of 3 to 6 people (children and adults allowed) you have an hour to escape. Test your thinking skills and your team spirit in two unique indoor historical adventures! They also have quad bikes if you prefer an outdoor adventure, and these are available all-year round. The quad route takes you between vineyards and the estuary so the whole family can make some great memories.

Walk through the door, and live a unique historical experience in total immersion!

The Escape Place, Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde
escape on holiday on quad bikes
Escape on holiday on a quad bike!

Wonderful memories

You will need to check out the T&Cs on their website because there are some restrictions. But if you want to make some wonderful memories what better way to do it than with team work. There are three different adventures to choose from to test your thinking skills to solve all the clues. Will you be able to find the secret documents?

enigma machine

Relax and Unwind

After a hectic day solving puzzles or exploring the countryside, what better way to unwind than in the pool? Our large swimming pool at Bel-Air Gites is the perfect place to chill out. Grab a book, sit back and watch the kids playing in the water. Or join in the fun, and make the most of all the toys and games we provide. Everything is included so you can enjoy your holiday, and not have to bring it all with you.

We are confident that we have thought of everything, but if there is something you need, just get in touch. We will try and ensure that whatever you need is available exclusively for you for the length of your stay.

Escape on holiday to Bel-Air Gites this summer

Talmont-sur-Gironde

One of the most beautiful villages in France

Talmont-sur-Gironde is recognised as one of France’s most beautiful villages. It is 15 km south of Royan, and situated on a rocky cliff overlooking the Gironde estuary. Less than 30 minutes drive from Bel-Air Gites, this pretty little village is one of our guests’ favourites.

Les plus Beaux Villages de France

White-painted houses with blue shutters and gardens filled with scented roses and multi-coloured hollyhocks. It is a photographer’s dream location. But it also has an incredible history and some of the most wonderful views of the Atlantic Coast.

Fishing huts on stilts

Along the cliffs you will also see the ‘carrelets’. These are fishing nets suspended from the fishermen’s huts built on stilts. The carrelets are part of the Charente-Maritime heritage and an incredible sight, standing tall on the coastline.


Surprisingly perhaps given its position, Talmont was founded as an English bastide town in the 13th century and the layout of the streets now is more or less the same as it has been for the last 700 years.

Francethisway.com

Exploring the village

The streets of Talmont are quite narrow so you need to park the car and explore the village on foot. Start by following the old fort ramparts around the outside of the village and finish with a stroll around the streets and the pretty whitewashed houses.

Talmont-sur-Gironde is best known for the magnificent 11th century Sainte Radegonde church, that stands right on the edge of the cliffs. The façade of the church had to be rebuilt in the 15th century after the original façade fell off into the sea. But as well as its location, the church has a beautifully ornate carved entrance, and fascinating carvings of animal heads just below the roof.

Coastal views

The views along the coast from the cemetery are very impressive, with white cliffs in both directions. After completing a tour of the ramparts take a stroll through the narrow streets of Talmont-sur-Gironde to see the little whitewashed houses.

Pink and white hollyhocks

Colourful display

From the end of spring and into the summer months, the hollyhocks dominate the village streets and the cemetery. They are a really beautiful sight and seem to grow from every little crack in the wall.

We have hollyhocks here at Bel-Air Gites as well. Incredibly tall stems that look too fragile to last a long time, but some can flower for several months. They are self-seeding so we get more and more every year. If you want to see the hollyhocks in full bloom then make sure you book your next summer holiday at Bel-Air Gites in the Charente-Maritime. We are in a great location close to beaches, woodlands, vineyards and castles. There are plenty of family attractions here as well. From theme parks to golf courses. Hiking trails to water-sports. You’ll find something to suit everyone.

Book now for Summer 2021

Autumn in France

Autumn at Bel-Air Gites

This year we are looking forward to another wonderful autumn in France. It’s a fantastic season for the senses. Sights, sounds and smells that you can only associate to the end of summer. Leaves changing colour from green to red, gold and brown, rustling in the wind and tumbling slowly to the ground. And the smell of fragrant wood smoke and the crackling of bonfires.

In the Charente-Maritime late September is still relatively warm. This year in particular we have had lots of lovely dry days. The nights are drawing in quickly, but even they are not cold, and we have had our windows open to let in a gentle breeze.

Soon we will be saying ‘au revoir’ to our last guests and starting to prepare the gites and gardens for the winter. Even when we have nobody staying with us there is still a long list of tasks to keep us busy.

Officially Autumn

In Europe autumn this year ‘officially’ starts on the 22nd September, but nature doesn’t work by the same calendar. Already we are seeing the swallows and swifts gathering to fly south. Their journey will take them thousands of miles to Africa because even the mild winters are too cold. There aren’t many insects around for them to feed on, so that’s another good reason for them to get away for a few months.

toasting marshmallows on bbq

Toasting marshmallows

Because autumn in France, around the Charente-Maritime is still warm we try and make the most of it. It’s still pleasant enough to be outdoors, and to take the chill off as it gets cooler, we light the barbecue. Winter is only officially here when it’s too cold stand around the barbecue toasting marshmallows.

Precious family time

Autumn is also a time when we look back on the summer months and start thinking about Christmas and planning next year’s holiday. 2020 has not been great, but hopefully next year we will all to get to spend precious time with family and friends. Video-calling is fine, but it doesn’t replace the personal touch, and the warm hugs and kisses that make us all feel loved.

Our French friends in particular have found it a real struggle because kisses are a big part of saying hello, even to strangers.

So, if you are thinking about getting together for a well-earned holiday next year, why not bring family and friends to Bel-Air Gites? We have lots of accommodation and loads of great spaces for the children and grown-ups. And in our child-friendly gites we provide everything you need so that you don’t need to bring it all with you. That might just give you enough room to squeeze another person in the car.

Book Now for 2021

chenes-2-collage

Happy Guests are Returning Guests

Happy Guests at Bel-Air Gites

Our philosophy at Bel-Air Gites has always been to make sure our guests feel at home by trying to make sure our gites feel like a ‘home-from-home’. We seem to be doing something right because I’m happy to report that we have a lot of returning guests.

Making memories

Families and groups of friends who come back year after year to stay at Bel-Air Gites. Even though 2020 has been very different because of Covid-19 restrictions, quarantines and subsequent cancellations, we have still had returning guests.

Last week we said ‘Au revoir’ to one of our regulars. As this is their ninth visit, I think we can confidently say that they love staying at Bel-Air Gites. And even left us a wonderful surprise gift and Thank You note.

It’s kind and thoughtful things like this which make everything worthwhile.

Relax and unwind

There are lots of things that make Bel-Air Gites the perfect family-friendly holiday location. Being in the second warmest region in France is a bonus, and our close proximity to long, white sandy beaches is another.

Then there is the abundance and variety of family attractions all within an hour’s drive of Bel-Air. You will find something in the Charente-Maritime to suit everybody, young or old. Activities that are new and exciting adventures. Or tranquil places that will gently help you relax and unwind.

returning guests relaxing in the pool

Planning your next holiday

If you are planning your next family holiday then before you book anywhere else, be sure to check-out Bel-Air Gites. You won’t be disappointed, and if you don’t believe us then maybe you will believe our guests.

Thank you for helping to make our holiday happen this year. And thanks for lots of new (9th year) memories at Bel-Air. Looking forward to 2021 already

Bel-Air Gites Facebook

Book Now for 2021

When you have stayed at Bel-Air Gites you won’t want to stay anywhere else.

2020 Tour de France in the Charente-Maritime

Stages of the Tour de France in the Charente-Maritime

For the first time ever during peace-time, the legendary Tour de France will not take place in the month of July. The announcement to postpone the race was made in April, and it is to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. With the race now starting on Saturday August 29th, most of the stages will take place during September 2020. And from the 7th to the 10th of September there are several stages of Le Tour de France in the Charente-Maritime.

Le Tour 2020

That’s right. Stages 10, 11 and 12 are less than 90 minutes drive from Bel-Air Gites. If you are avid followers of the Tour de France, then you probably already know the route. If not, then here are the details for the stages that are the closest to Bel-Air.

Cyclists in the Tour de france

Stage 10 – 8th September

Île d’Oléron, Le Château-d’Oléron to Île de Ré, Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Stage 11 – 9th September

Châtelaillon Plage to Poitiers

Stage 12 – 10th September

Chauvigny to Sarran Corrèze

Just in these three stages the teams will cover a total of 554 kilometres. Stage 12 is actually the longest stage of the Tour, taking the riders through the Vienne and Haute-Vienne areas. It tires us out just thinking about it.

Sightseeing

They arrive in the Charente-Maritime on Monday 7th September, but that’s an official rest day. I wonder what they will do on their day off in France’s second most popular tourist destination.

They are in the perfect place for taking in the culture and the breath-taking beauty of the French Atlantic Coast. Perhaps a boat trip or helicopter ride over Fort Boyard, taking in the old port at La Rochelle. Or maybe an invigorating walk along the long, sandy beaches before they stroll round the Aquarium at La Rochelle. For those preferring to take in the more historical sites we would suggest a visit to the Roman amphitheatre at Saintes, or the citadel of Saint Martin de Ré.

bottles of pineau des charentes

Gastronomy

If they weren’t following such strict diets and exercise regimes we’re fairly certain that they would find something delicious to eat and drink in this fabulous region. They will be cycling through some of the areas finest vineyards, so maybe cognac would be their tipple. However, if they have been doing their research then they would be more tempted to try the local Pineau des Charentes.

Food-wise there are so many wonderful Charentais specialities they will be spoilt for choice. Oysters, éclade (smoked mussels with pine needles), chaudrée (fish soup), or galette charentaise. What would you recommend?

The Tour is the ideal opportunity for spectators and supporters to admire the diversity and the beauty of French landscapes. From craggy coastal regions and charming coastlines. To soaring mountains, lush farms and picturesque towns and villages.

Happening Now In France

Relaxation

After all those hours cycling perhaps a round of golf at one of the top 5 golf courses in the Charente would help them relax. Some of our guests at Bel-Air Gites recommend Golf de Royan. It’s an 18-hole course amidst forests of pine trees and natural sand dunes, with a view of the lighthouse. What could be better than that for taking your mind off the Tour for a few hours?

And whilst we are on the topic of relaxation and taking your mind off things…

Booking your family holiday

They don’t call it the Sunny Charente for nothing. In August and September, when the Tour de France is taking place the weather here is usually in the mid to high 20’s. So if you’re not chasing Le Tour why not come and relax by the pool at Bel-Air Gites? Or check out some of the other great family attractions close by. There is so much to see and do here you will want your holiday to last forever.

For the best family-friendly holiday experience come to Bel-Air Gites, in the Charente-Maritime.

Book now and book direct for the best prices

Visit La Rochelle – Image Credit: Karim Manjra on Unsplash

Jarnac – castles, canoes and cognac

The city of Jarnac has a rich and exciting history.

Located on the banks of the Charente river, between Angouleme and Cognac, the city of Jarnac is less than an hour’s drive from Bel-Air Gites. It is the birthplace and burial place of François Mitterrand, France’s longest serving President. The museum bearing his name houses a wealth of state treasures such as paintings, sculptures, carvings and ceramics. All presented to him during his presidency.

The city of Jarnac dates back to the Neolithic age. In its time it has been a great Gallo-Roman centre, and a stronghold of the Counts of Angouleme. It’s also been briefly under English control, when Eleanor of Aquitaine was married to King Henry II (1154 – 1189).

Michelin-Guide 2020

Today the city focuses on tourism, and not just its links with President Mitterrand. There are boat-trips and canoes on the rivers and a myriad of festivals all year long. Lovers of gastronomy are more enthusiastic about its link with cognac, and the Michelin-Guide Restaurant du Chateau.


August is a great month to visit Bel-Air Gites and experience the french way of life. At the beginning of the month, the city of Jarnac has an almost carnival air to it. There is a fair and lots of shows dedicated to street theatre. Then, at the end of August, the city has a night cycling race in the city centre. This is in addition to the weekly markets held there every Tuesday and Sunday morning, all year round.

Out on the river

If you prefer to the explore by the river Charente route then there are lots of options for the whole family to enjoy. ‘Randonnee Fluviale‘ based in Jarnac, offer a wide choice of thermal, or electric motor boats that you can hire without a license. They also have kayaks, canoes, pedalos, paddle-boards and bikes. You can enjoy discovering the Charente with the whole family!

The Canoe Centre at Jarnac also has a number of events on throughout the year for all the family. Details of up-coming events, discovery tours and kayak lessons for adults and kids can be found on their website.

If you don’t want to be on the water, you can explore the city on foot and visit some of the historic sites, like the 8th century church of St Peter. Or the beautiful park on the island of Charente, on the site of the old castle.

For the grown-ups

If you are in Jarnac and you love cognac then you are in the right place. Both Hine and Courvoisier have distilleries on the banks of the river. You can visit, tour and taste by appointment only. For details of opening hours and ticket prices you will need to visit their websites.

Hines – Fine Cognac and Courvoisier

Book Now for 2021

And talking of bookings, don’t forget to book now at Bel-Air Gites. We are already taking bookings for 2021, so don’t delay. Our child-friendly gite accommodation will be snapped up in no time.

Make sure you have your fantastic family holiday at Bel-Air Gites in the Charente-Maritime!


Food & Drink Charentais Specialities

Fish and seafood lovers in particular will admit that they have a bit of a ‘foodie’ love-affair with the Charente-Maritime. But whatever you prefer, we’re sure you’ll find something to tickle your taste buds. Here we list a few of the Charentais specialities that we think you should try when you stay with us at Bel-Air Gites

If you want the freshest produce then you have to take trip out to one of the many weekly markets. For fish and seafood our favourite has to be the market at Royan, where it’s freshly caught and sold the same day. But you have to get there early, because these markets are extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. Most of our favourite Charentais specialities can be purchased at the markets, depending on the time of year.

Fresh Oysters

Marennes-Oléron Oysters

Oyster farming began to be more commercially developed in Marennes in the 19th century. Today, the Marennes-Oléron basin produces around 40 to 60,000 tonnes per year. Most of the production is centred around the port of La Cayenne, about an hour’s drive from Bel-Air Gites. Even if you don’t want to try the oysters, it’s a pretty little village. Go for a day out just to see the charming multi-coloured oyster huts and the oyster beds established on old salt marshes.

The Marennes-Oléron oyster has a unique green colour, a delicate and refined aroma and a light, nutty flavour. You will find a lot of restaurants and stalls offering a tasting of quality oysters in the area around the port. Or you can even buy your own to eat on the spot, or take away. Oysters can be served raw as a canapé with a little dressing. Alternatively, they can be grilled, poached, fried or steamed.

Charentais Melon

Another of the Charentais specialities is the hand-picked Charentais melon. It’s a member of the cantaloupe family and was imported to France around the beginning of the 15th century.

The melons are harvested in July and August, and sold at the local markets. If you want to make sure the melon is ripe, pick it up. It should feel heavy, and if it has a little crack near the stem then this is a sign that it’s ripe. Perfect when served with summer meals and aperitifs, and goes particularly well with a chilled white Pineau des Charentes.

Snails

In Charente, they don’t talk about “escargots”, but “cagouilles”, the popular garden snails common in the area.

Atlantic-Cognac.com

Enjoy a delicious pan of snails stuffed with meat, and slow-cooked in a white wine and tomato sauce. We can even give you the recipe for cagouilles a la Charentaise

Black Truffles

Most people associate the truffle with the south east of France and the Périgord. But the Charente also has numerous truffle patches, because they live very happily next to vines. Some connoisseurs will even tell you that the scent of the truffles is one that can be found in cognac’s array of aromas. Most truffle patches in the Charente produce the highly-prized ‘Tuber Melanosporum‘, or Périgord black truffle. The famous truffle market at Jarnac is on every Tuesday from December to February. You don’t have to buy. Just go to take in all the sites, sounds and aromas of this wonderful market.

One of the reasons why black truffles are so expensive is because they take so long to grow before they can be harvested. For example, from 100 trees only 30 or 40 might actually produce truffles. On average it can take between 6 and 8 years to see the first truffle. 

Saffron

glass jar of estuary saffron

Do you know that saffron is the only spice derived from a flower? It’s another one of the treasures of the Charente, and one that we have shared with you in a previous article. It’s another very expensive commodity, but it can be used in so many different ways. Because saffron is rich in antioxidants there are a number of common ailments which herbal saffron supplements can help with. It’s safe to use in small doses, and very simple to add to any diet.

Manslois Cheese

No french meal would be complete without a good selection of cheeses. And we have found one which is a 100% Charentais cheese.

‘Le petit Manslois’ is a fresh artisan cheese traditionally made with cow’s or goat’s milk. Its texture is smooth and soft, and it has a very delicate and creamy flavour. It’s a very versatile cheese and can used in savoury dishes, such as pies and soufflés. Or simply mixed with herbs. But it can used in sweet dishes as well, and commonly used to make a delicious cheesecake with a hint of orange blossom.

That’s just for starters

So I hope we have given you some food for thought. This is only a small selection of the amazing food and drink that can be found in our wonderful region. Why not come to Bel-Air Gites and try some for yourself? Have a day out at one of the local markets, buy all your fresh meats, vegetables and cheese. Then get back to Bel-Air and create a delicious BBQ feast on your own private patio.

Making sure you and your family have an amazing holiday is just one of Bel-Air Gites’ Charentais specialities. Come and find out some more.

Don’t Miss Out. Book Now For 2021

The Caves of Régulus and Fontaines


Meschers-sur-Gironde is not only famous for its beaches, but also the limestone cliffs and naturally-formed caves.

Located 15 km from Royan, Meschers-sur-Gironde is only 30 minutes drive from Bel-Air Gites in the Charente-Maritime. The Grottes du Régulus and Grottes du Fontaines have been owned by the town council since 1980. After several years of restoration work, to ensure they were safe for visitors, the caves were opened to the public. It’s an incredible place with a long and colourful history.

This exceptional environment welcomes more than 70,000 visitors a year and is a major tourist attraction in the Charente-Maritime. Open between April and November, they offer guided tours during the day with written translations in several languages. There are also touch-pads available for the deaf or hard of hearing.



One evening a week they hold an original and interactive show in the caves, for adults and children. Hosted by local comedians, amateur dramatics groups and volunteers, the show tells the story of the caves’ famous inhabitants. It’s a popular event that sells out quickly, so if you want to go, be sure to book in advance.

In the waning light of day, the shadows plunge the caves into a most mysterious atmosphere

The Wanderings

There’s a ‘Minidik The Shrimp‘ quiz for kids, and evening walks in July and August, ideal for all the family. In the evening, doors open between 9pm and 11pm, with the ticket office closing at 10.30pm.

Meschers-sur-Gironde

Fascinating History

It really is a great day out and the history of the caves at Meschers-sur-Gironde dates back centuries. Find out about the people that used to live there; how they were used to protect the coast from the English fleet, and how ‘Grottes du Régulus’ got their name. It’s a fascinating place!

Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, sadly the caves had to close in March 2020. But keep a lookout for their new 2021 opening times on their Facebook page.

Plan Your Trip

Be sure to include a trip to Meschers on your summer 2021 Bel-Air Gites holiday ‘To Do List’. If you need any more information about the caves, or any other trips, please get in touch. We are always happy to help and want all our visitors to have a fantastic family holiday.

Make wonderful family memories at Bel-Air. Child-friendly gites in the beautiful Charente-Maritime

Sunflowers in the Summer sun
Image credit – Aleksandr Eremin on Unsplash

Wish you were here? Book now for 2021

We’ve booked Bel-Air Gites!

It’s been very quiet at Bel-Air Gites recently. We have spent a lot of time in the garden, tidying up the gites, the pool area and Play barn. It still feels very strange that we are not busy with guests, check-ins and change-overs. Like so many families, the last few months have helped us to appreciate what we have got. And to learn not to take anyone, or anything for granted. We especially appreciated all the calls and video chats that lifted our spirits and made us smile. It made us we wish you were here.

Even though we have had enquiries for this summer, as a family we have decided to ease ourselves very slowly back into a more normal routine.

Now we are happy to report that Bel-Air Gites is open for business, and taking bookings for 2021. In fact, we have had so many enquiries already, it looks like it’s going to be an incredibly busy summer!

If you are planning your next holiday, here are a few very good reasons for you to get in touch. Make sure you don’t miss out.

Family-friendly

You only have to check out our reviews to see that we are recognised as one of the best, family-friendly holiday businesses in the Charente-Maritime.

At Bel-Air gites you will have everything that you need to make this your family’s home-from-home. Wish you were here?


And we mean ‘everything’

We want it to be your best family holiday ever and we start by providing all the basic kiddie essentials. Whether you have babies, toddlers or bigger kids, twins, triplets or even quads, at Bel-Air gites we provide everything.

  • Cots and linen, high-chairs, pushchairs, baby baths, stair gates, changing mats, baby monitors, booster seats, potties and toilet trainer seats.
  • Steriliser bags, child steps, bath/shower non-slip mats, child proof cupboard and window locks, bath toys and children’s cutlery
  • A hand blender, night lights, blackout blinds
  • Bath towels, hand towels and pool towels, even for the babies

If you can think of something that we haven’t listed let us know. We will do our very best to provide it for you. You can rest-assured that all of these items will be completely sanitised between check-ins. Our guests’ health and safety has, and always will be, our top priority.

Child-friendly means more than just providing a cot and high chair.

Accommodation

At Bel-Air we have four individual gîtes (holiday cottages) and a large farmhouse. They sleep between 4 to 6 guests, so they’re ideal for small families, or for bigger groups that want to holiday together.

All the gîtes are fully furnished and well-equipped, including TVs showing UK and French TV channels and DVD players. We also provide Free WiFi so you can keep in touch with friends, and share your wonderful holiday experience!

Each gîte has it’s own private patio area with barbecue and garden furniture. Large enough for you to dine ‘al fresco’, the patio area is the perfect place to wind down. Enjoy a chilled glass of wine, and watch the sun setting across the fields. I bet you wish you were here now.

Our Facilities

As if the accommodation wasn’t enough, we have created a safe and secure environment for children of all ages. They can play, have fun and create happy childhood memories.

We have a large playground full of swings, a slide, a climbing frame,  trampoline and tunnels. The large, heated outdoor pool is fenced in, and securely gated so your little ones can’t get in or out unsupervised. You can relax and enjoy your holiday, while the kids have fun being pirates and little mermaids.



The Playbarn at Bel-Air Gites is a massive hit with children of all ages, and the adults too. There is a large selection of toys, books, DVD’s and games, including a pool table, footballs, and other outdoor games.

Health & Safety

Our guests’ health and safety has, and always will be, our top priority. And we pride ourselves on keeping all the activity areas safe, clean and as up-to-date as possible.

From next year we are introducing more flexible arrival and departure dates. This will ensure that we have a full 24 hours in between all bookings. The extra hours will enable the team at Bel-Air to more thoroughly cleanse the property inside and out, and to ventilate the rooms. Hand sanitisers will also be provided in each gite.

If you have any questions regarding the cleaning process or products used, especially related to allergens, then please contact us before booking.

Location

Your Bel-Air holiday retreat is perfectly located in the beautiful sunny Charente-Maritime. Surrounded by a wide variety of exciting, and fascinating attractions you will find something to suit all ages.

Beautiful seaside villages of Saint Georges de Didonne, Talmont, Meschers sur Gironde and Royan. The picturesque islands of Ile de Re and Ile d’Oleron. All these are at the top of the favourite family holiday destination list. And they are all only a short drive from Bel-Air Gites.

We’ve put together our list of the most popular family attractions in the area. But there are so many nearby, you will need to stay longer to fit them all in. 

Do you need any more reasons? We don’t want you to miss out. Book with us today and have the family holiday of a lifetime.

Bel-Air Gites, child-friendly holidays in the sunny Charente-Maritime.

We wish you were here

The Best of Bordeaux

Mention Bordeaux and immediately images of french vineyards, and bottles of sumptuous claret-red wine spring to mind. But with a wide variety of tours and activities, you will find that Bordeaux is a family-orientated city. And as it’s only 90 minute’s drive from Bel-Air Gites, you can add it to your ‘Places To Go’ list.

Museums can be a cool alternative during the hot summer months
Image credit : Michal Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Bike Tours

Scattered all across Bordeaux, there are bike stations where you can hire bikes for adults and children. And with more than 200 kilometres of cycle paths, the Bordeaux urban area is a paradise for cyclists.

Explore the city-sights at your own pace. For a leisurely bike ride make your way along the Cours du Chapeau Rouge, down to the recently-renovated quays. Stop for a snack and a cold drink, then continue along the Garonne river path, to the Chaban-Delmas lift bridge. When you cross the bridge, the cycle path takes you along the right bank of the river. Here it is quieter and less-developed, but you get fantastic views of the Place de la Bourse and Old Bordeaux.

Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux – Image credit : Guillaume Flandre on Unsplash

Go back over the river via the Pont de Pierre, which was commissioned by Napoleon and completed in 1822. From there, you can coast down the slight incline to the Porte Cailhau and the Place du Palais. Overall this trip covers about 8 km, assuming you don’t take too many detours on the way.

If you prefer an official guided bike tour, you will find many firms that are reasonably priced with English-speaking guides. In the summer you might want to book in advance as it can get busy. Remember to take plenty of water and sunscreen.

Museums

Without a doubt, Bordeaux is a family-orientated city. And when it is hot outside, nothing can beat the cool, air-conditioned atmosphere of a museum. In Bordeaux you will be spoilt for choice. The city has eleven museums in all. With permanent collections devoted to fine arts as well as natural history, archaeology, and regional history. The Natural History Museum was created in 1791. With over 1 million specimens, it is one of the largest in France. It’s definitely worth a visit if there’s a budding David Attenborough or Indiana Jones in the family.

New Light Show in the Submarine Base

The long-awaited ‘Bassins de Lumières’, located in the submarine base at Bordeaux, opens to the public in June 2020. This enormous bunker, almost 20 metres deep, was built by the Germans to house submarines during the Second World War.

It regularly hosts temporary exhibitions and shows, but this year 2020, the Light Show opens for the first time. The transformation is incredible! Visitors will be able immerse themselves in art, light and music as they stroll through this incredibly atmospheric structure. Entrance is by ticket only, with discounts for families, and tickets can be purchased from Basin of Lights.


Parks and Gardens

French families love to take a picnic and get back to nature at the weekend. You can too, and as Bordeaux is a family-orientated city, the parks and gardens are free. For a complete list of family-friendly, natural attractions in Bordeaux check out these favourites on TripAdvisor


Did we mention the wine?

As we are in Bordeaux how can we not mention fine wines? Do you fancy a walking and tasting wine tour? If so, there is a 3-hour walking tour that includes wine tastings along the way. Your guide will shares stories about the city and shows you its landmarks as you walk, the cobbled streets. Take breaks at wine cellars and brasseries for tastings of the famous Bordeaux wine.

There are far too many Bordeaux wine and food tours for us to mention here. To get the lowdown on the best ones available, check out other travellers’ reviews on TripAdvisor. You might just have to stay a little bit longer at Bel-Air Gites to fit it all in.

Bel-Air Gites – Book for 2021

We are pleased to say that Bel-Air Gites is now taking bookings for 2021. So get in touch and start planning your next fantastic, family-friendly holiday.


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