I’ve been thinking about visiting the Bordeaux area in France for ages.
As Ryanair have direct flights from Edinburgh to Bordeaux and Poitiers (which lies around 160 miles north of Bordeaux), I thought that a 7 day leisurely self-drive touring holiday between the two cities sounded good.
Poiters and Bordeaux are both in the Pitou-Charentes region of west central France. As I’ve previously visited the coastal area of this region, I was keen to explore the interior.
I used the itinerary planner on the France-Voyage.com website to look at various route options. It’s a really helpful, simple tool; you use sliders to indicate your interests such as culture, nature, architecture and well-being, the pace of your itinerary and factors such as budget and if you’re travelling with kids or pets.
After looking at various options, I went for the auto-selected trip, travelling at a leisurely pace. I chose an emphasis on architecture, culture and nature. I was willing to travel to see the most beautiful sites, and wanted a trip on a low budget.
You can manually select the route from the travel guide list. However, as I don’t know that area, I was happy to go with the auto select. if something which doesn’t take your fancy appears, you can easily remove it from your itinerary.
As you read through the itinerary, you can do virtual visits of the destination and click through for more information about specific attractions, accommodation options and restaurants in the area.
You can then export the itinerary as a pdf, allowing you to print a mini guide book.
I was impressed by the itinerary generated for me, which you can see on the map below.
My France-Voyage itinerary from Poitiers to Bordeaux
Explore Poitiers, one of the highlights would be Notre-Dame-la-Grande church, dating from the 11th century. In Summer and during the Christmas holidays, the Polychromies light show is projected onto the facade of the church.
Start with a visit to the village of Nouaille-Aaupertuis, dominated by an Abbey which was established in the 7th century.
Then a stop for lunch in Civray, located on the banks of the River Charente.
Next a stop in Ruffec, on the River Lien. By the river bank, there’s an old communal laundry, mill and castle ruins.
The final stop of the day is Verteuil-sur-Charente.
After a stop in Tusson, spend the rest of the day in Angouleme, the French capital of the Comic Strip.
A stop to visit the natural springs in Touvre.
Then a visit to the medieval fortress of Villebois-Lavalette.
Begin with a visit to Maine-Giraud Manor House, former home of the poet Alfred de Vigny.
Maine-Giraud Manor House
A stop at Bassac in the Charente Vailley, which could include kayaking in the river.
Next a trip to Barbezieux, with its 15th century castle.
After visiting Saint Emilion and buying some of the local wine, some time to explore Libourne, where the Dordogne and Isle rivers meet.
End the day in Bourg.
A visit to Blaye Citadel, which overlooks the Gironde Estuary.
End the day in the city of Bordeaux, which has been a world heritage site since 2007. In the evening, I’d head for the Jardin des Lumieres, with its water mirror and illuminated walkways.
I think that the France-Voyage website is a really useful resource for planning your holiday in France. It’s free to use and has half a million pages of information in five languages. The travel itinerary tool is excellent, as it allows you to tailor your trip to your own interests and budget, since it shows accommodation options ranging from camp sites to luxury hotels.