You are an epicurean while also being an esthete. You enjoy good food and wines that go well with dishes with gourmet flavors. You also like to visit very beautiful cities and stroll along the streets leading you to make beautiful discoveries. For your next vacation in France, here is a place to discover as a priority combining all these qualities :The South-West . We have selected 10 cities for you, but this list is far from exhaustive, there are so many beautiful cities where the culinary welcome is equivalent to the beauty of the place.
Lose yourself in old Bordeaux randomly through the cobbled and pedestrian streets. Here you will discover the Saint-André Cathedral on a superb square also overlooking the equally remarkable town hall. Walk up rue Sainte-Catherine from Place de la Victoire to the Grand Théâtre which is one of the jewels of the Gironde capital. Stroll on the alleys of Tourny where you can find two to three of the best fine dining restaurants in the area. Go down the Cours de l’Intendance to Place Gambetta . You will be able to contemplate the facades of the old private mansions of the 18th century from the time of the Bordeaux slave nobility, the most beautiful example being that of the Place de la Bourse overlooking the water mirror and the quays . There are still a few good restaurants to report rue Saint Rémi , Saint Project Square and around the Saint-Michel church. In Bordeaux, taste Bordeaux-style lamprey , rib steaks with porcini mushrooms, stuffed squabs or even excellent seafood and various fish from the Atlantic. Of course, you can accompany all these dishes with the best grand crus of Bordeaux that you will find on the menu.
60 km from Bordeaux, discover "the pearl of the Basin" by going to Arcachon. This seaside resort made fashionable by Empress Eugénie in the 19th century is renowned for its city of four seasons and its houses in winter town so special having known big names like:Marie-Laurencin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Debussy or even Sarah Bernhardt at the Belle Époque among many others. The beauty of Arcachon makes it world famous and it is very popular with fashionable artists at the moment. The fact remains that you can go and taste the most beautiful oysters from the region, but also huge seafood platters in the restaurants of the Boulevard de la Plage at the water's edge. Some local specialties based on fish or eel can be served with a good white wine from Graves .
Saint-Émilion is a small town known all over the world for its Premiers Grands Crus Classés , but did you know that it is a magnificent medieval city also where gastronomy is in the spotlight! The city is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This city with steep streets will delight you as you discover it. Don't miss a visit to his Hermitage , at the Cordeli cloister ers dating from the 14th century, at the Palais des Archevêques , the catacombs and many other magnificent buildings of its historical heritage. You can tour Saint-Émilion in a little train and indulge in a tasting of its wine. For lunch or dinner, enter one of the famous restaurants to enjoy local specialties and finish with one of its famous macaroons .
Saint-Jean-de-Luz is the pearl of the Basque country on the edge of Socoa Bay. This fashionable seaside resort is very popular with surfers and people who love large sandy beaches. You can go to Fort de Socoa , see the house of Louis XIV and the house of the Infanta Joaenoenia . The highlight of the show remains Saint Jean-Baptiste Church which is a part of the life of the Sun King, because she was the host to celebrate his marriage with Marie-Thérèse on June 9, 1660 . At the back of its apse, discover the masterful altarpiece in gilded wood . Stroll around the fishing port and enjoy a hake caught by line . Monsieur Adam's macaroons existing since 1660 cannot leave anyone indifferent. Mouchous and kanougas de Pariès are also delicious.
The city of our "good king Henry VI » deserves a detour as much for its castle mentioned as early as the 12th century as for all the historic buildings of the 16th century, witnesses of the siege of the kings of Navarre. This city of art and history also allows you to taste many Béarn culinary specialties such as garbure accompanied by a Madiran wine .
« Albi the Red is an episcopal city registered with UNESCO. You cannot pass it without entering the Sainte-Cécile Cathedral on the banks of the Tarn. Take the time to also visit its historic center on foot. You will admire the view from the Pont Vieux, see the museums and the fortifications along the river. In terms of gastronomy, you will be served, because there are several chef restaurants in this beautiful city. Taste a good foie gras local or even better:a duck confit cassoulet accompanied by a Gaillac wine .
The " Pink City » awaits you to reveal its archaeological wonders such as the Capitoline or Hotel Dieu , for example. Many sumptuous monuments and museums are open to amaze you. You can still get on a boat to discover Toulouse during a ride on the Garonne or by taking a bike and discovering part of the Canal du Midi along its banks. If you are passionate about aeronautics, be sure to visit the Airbus factories and the Aéroscopia museum . As for gastronomy, taste the famous sausage from the eponymous name of the town, with local ham, goose foie gras, Fenetra , at Pavé du Capitole , Toulouse-style chicken and finish with the famous apple crisp which is pure delight.
Bergerac is a listed town of art and history. You will see superb half-timbered houses in its old center with narrow streets and its Renaissance-style freestone buildings. In some squares, you can also see the effigy of the famous Cyrano . The city is crossed by the Dordogne . It is possible to see it from its banks by climbing on one of the gabares of walk. Bergerac is still one of the gastronomic capitals of the South-West and its local products will delight your taste buds such as duck foie gras, cabécou, goose confit, truffle sauces, Périgord walnuts, chestnut jam , etc.
Sarlat-la-Canéda is the capital of the Périgord Noir . This medieval city is beautiful from entry to exit. The historic center is made up of magnificent mansions, one of the most remarkable of which is the Maison de La Boétie. The Presidential Hotel, the Hôtel de Savignac or the Hôtel du Barry with lauze roofs are still magnificent witnesses of the rich past of the city. Go to Liberty Square and sit at one of the terraces of a restaurant. You can taste mythical dishes such as apples à la Sarladaise with duck stuffed with black Périgord truffles and black-headed porcini mushrooms from the neighborhood. Taste the Enchaud again based on roast pork studded with garlic and finish with a walnut cake from the city. Then leave to admire the Saint-Sacerdos Cathedral and the Bishops' Palace .
Cordes-sur-Ciel is a city built on a promontory overlooking the Cérou valley in the Tarn. You can stroll along its medieval streets and alleys to discover magnificent houses with remarkable architecture. Admire the doors and windows on every corner. This bastide was built in 1222 and was a high place of Catharism . Cordes-sur-Ciel is also one of the most beautiful villages in France and well worth its name. You will be amazed by the beauty of the facade of the Grand Veneur's house and by other facades in the Gothic style. The city gates are also notable such as the Porte de Rous on the first enclosure dating from the 13th century. The typical dishes of the city and its surroundings are concocted with local products such as truffles, foie gras, duck confit and Gaillac wines . You will find radishes with salted liver, pink garlic soup, chichoulet, casse muzzle, Jeannots and apple crisp. If you wonder what it is, taste it and then you can give some news.