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Take some time away from it all and rent a houseboat. No need for permits. Finally, you can enjoy a holiday at your own pace. Stop off in pretty moorings such as Nérac, on the Baise, a small navigable river in the region of Lot-et-Garonne. While you're there, make sure you visit the castle where King Henri IV and Queen Margot once lived. Discover the surrounding villages and country houses on foot, or hop on your bike for some cultural and gourmet excursions.
Midday! Lunchtime soon. This lock No. 42 comes at just the right time. Time to pass through it and then treat yourselves to a delicious meal at "La Chope and le Pichet", an inn located in the former lock-keeper's house. Reviews are unanimous in saying that the food is delicious. Not surprising: everything is home-made.
From its source in the Massif Central, the Dordogne has sculpted breathtaking landscapes that can be admired from the top of its cliffs or from the water by taking a trip on a barge, the traditional flat-bottomed boat once used for trade. Here you navigate your way along one of bends of the Dordogne, a perfect curve drawn by the river.
If you love a party and love boats, don't miss the biennial Bordeaux River Festival, which stretches along the banks of the Port of the Moon offering a large number of activities, both on land and on water. The next event will take place in May 2017. Meanwhile, in 2016, Bordeaux is celebrating wine, in the same location but in late June.
As you navigate the Gironde Estuary you'll discover the islands that form an amazing archipelago. Various boats offer rides from Bordeaux to Pauillac or Blaye. If you moor up at the island of Patiras, you can stop for a lunch break at the island's refuge, then climb to the top of the lighthouse to admire a 360°, from 30 meters up.
« I just love this cruise on the Garonne, visiting vineyards along the way ». Robert Sellex, BBC cameraman, is plainly delighted. He took advantage of a few days at a loose end to take a break in Bordeaux with friends. It was only a 90-minute flight from Liverpool.
On the agenda: a visit to Saint-Emilion followed by a Médoc wine-tasters cruise with « Bordeaux River Cruise ». « It makes for a complete break, a great getaway. We started by exploring Bordeaux and the Gironde islands down the river. We've been tasting some excellent wines. We've seen some lovely châteaux from the boat: Beychevelle, Latour, Pichon-Longueville and so on. Our guide has clued us up on the history of Bordeaux, vineyards and wine. We had a magnificent, restful stopover on the island of Patiras, where we chilled out and climbed the lighthouse. We could see the Citadelle de Blaye, the docks and the church in Pauillac. We wound up with a visit to a wine-growing château, the vat-house and barrel storehouse, and learning to taste wine! It was a great day out! » enthused this 50-something Brit. His friends all agreed.
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