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Uncovering the Hidden Treasures of a West Central France Road Trip

Updated: 23 hours ago

Picture this: you're driving through the French countryside, surrounded by fields of sunflowers and quaint little villages. The perfect road trip playlist is playing in the background and you are feeling completely relaxed. But then, as you round a bend in the road, you see it: a hidden gem that was just waiting to be discovered. This is what a West Central France road trip is all about - uncovering the hidden treasures that make this region so special. Keep reading for our top tips on how to make the most of your journey.

Château Villandry, France
Château Villandry, France

Things you need to know before you take a West Central France Road Trip

If you are planning a West Central France Road Trip, it is essential to do your research and know what to expect. Before booking your trip, it's important to understand the climate of the region. West Central France experiences mild summers and cold winters with plenty of rain throughout the year. The best time to visit is usually between June and August when the temperatures are warmest.

Start your road trip in one of the main cities of the region, such as Limoges or Bordeaux. Here you can explore the fascinating history and culture of West Central France by visiting some of its best-known attractions, such as the Château de Blois or Basilica of St. Martial. Don't forget to sample some of the delicious local cuisine while you are here too!

Once you've had your fill of city life, it's time to head out into the countryside. There are plenty of picturesque villages and small towns that can be reached by car, such as Marennes or La Rochelle. Take some time to wander around these towns and admire the quaint architecture and beautiful landscapes. There's also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and kayaking - so don't forget your camera!

A West Central France road trip is an amazing way to discover the hidden gems of this beautiful region. From exploring cities to uncovering its rural charms, there's something here for everyone. So go ahead and book that trip - you won't regret it! Bon voyage!

By following these tips, you should be able to make the most out of your West Central France road trip and come home with plenty of amazing memories. With stunning landscapes and interesting attractions around every corner, this region is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your journey today!

Start in the city of Bordeaux and explore the world-famous wine region

Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux, France

If you're looking for the ultimate road trip, look no further than Bordeaux. Nestled in south-west France, this city is the gateway to the world's most renowned wine region. Not only known for its top-notch vineyards, but also for its hidden treasures that have yet to be uncovered! Top 3 things to do while in Bordeaux.

  1. Day a Day trip to Dune of Pilat: Dune du Pilat is a big sand hill near Bordeaux, France. It is the tallest sand dune in Europe and has lots of things to see! You can walk up the dune and look out at the ocean, or explore the nearby forests. There are also views of amazing sunsets, wildlife and plants to discover.

  2. Visit the Chateaux: The chateaux of Bordeaux are a must-see when visiting this region. From lavish palatial structures to stunning vineyard homesteads, these historically significant sites are sure to leave you in awe. Take your time exploring the grounds and soak up the breathtaking beauty of the architecture.

  3. Enjoy Local Specialties: Make sure to enjoy some of the local delicacies while you're in Bordeaux – it is one of the culinary capitals of France, after all! Whether it's famous foie gras or delicate pastries, sampling some of these delicious dishes will definitely leave your taste buds begging for more.

Drive to the charming town of Saint-Émilion and visit its UNESCO World Heritage site

Take a trip to the lovely town of Saint-Émilion and explore its UNESCO World Heritage site! Located in southwest France, between Bordeaux and Bergerac, this delightful spot is an absolute must-visit for vacationers looking to experience one of the oldest listed sites in France. You can marvel at its incredible architecture or sample some of its many delicious wines - if you're brave enough! With stunning views, fascinating history, and plenty of attractions to choose from, Saint-Émilion is definitely worth a visit if you're eager for adventure.

Make your way to Bergerac and enjoy a leisurely afternoon kayaking on the Dordogne River

Visiting Bergerac is the perfect way to experience the calm and beauty of France. If you're feeling adventurous, why not take a leisurely kayak down the Dordogne River? This serenely winding river has all the fixings for a tranquil afternoon getaway. So, bring some snacks and your best paddling tunes to make yourself comfortable as you calmly cruise through nature's little paradise. Plus, you'll have lots of time to practice saying "Allons-y" in your finest French accent!

Périgueux, where you can indulge in some delicious truffles

Perigueux provides a captivating opportunity to witness two distinct towns - the medieval and roman town, along with an awe-inspiring cathedral. When you arrive at Periqueux, be sure to stop by the tourist office for their ‘carte touristique’ so that you don't miss out on any of its many attractions!

  • Perigueux Cathedral and the old town: When you first arrive in Perigueux, the Saint Front Cathedral will undoubtedly capture your attention. It's composed of a Greek Cross layout that is akin to St Mark’s in Venice, and four beautiful domed roofs (cupolas) are perched atop its center and arms. Be sure to take some time during your stay here to admire this spectacular monument! The iconic Rue Limogeanne boasts a plethora of breathtaking half-timbered homes, none so beautiful as the Maison Estignard. An exquisite example of wealthy merchant abodes in Perigueux, this façade is an exemplary illustration of the first Renaissance period and draws inspiration from Chateaux Blois and Chambord respectively.

  • Roman Perigueux: Located to the west of today's city centre, Roman Perigueux has a much smaller area than its medieval counterpart but is still brimming with fascinating attractions. The Vesunna Temple was constructed in the second century and parts of its 'cella' or sacred space can still be seen! Additionally, Le Jardin des Arenes park which once served as an amphitheatre offers not only nicely-maintained gardens but also remnants from its original structure - perfect for a pleasant picnic setting.

End your getaway here high in the sky with exquisite truffles in Périgueux. From white to black and everything in between, this destination is home to a wide variety of truffles. Take a tour with a local guide and learn the unique history of these delectable morsels - then go on to sample as many as you like! Be sure to get your money's worth, because you may never see such delicious treats in one place again!

Drive down to Château des Milandes

The enchanting Milandes Castle, constructed by François de Caumont, Lord of Castelnaud in 1489 to impress his wife Claude de Cardaillac, was given a new life at the turn of the twentieth century. Jules Vacherot, an esteemed landscape architect of that time period and renowned for his exceptional design abilities transformed the grounds into one of only few “Perigord Gardens” registered as Historic Monuments.

Journey through the enchanting world of raptors with a dozen birds showcased on the castle's north facade overlooking the stunning Dordogne valley. Their passionate falconers will guide you and your loved ones every step of the way for an unforgettable family experience!

Head to Sarlat-la-Canéda, known for its picturesque medieval architecture

If your idea of a perfect vacation includes living like a medieval lord or lady, then Sarlat-la-Canéda is the spot for you! This quaint town in Southwest France takes you back to the Middle Ages with its distinctive architecture, boasting beautiful cobblestone streets, majestic stone buildings, and even an authentic castle. Walk around and daydream as if you were one of the historical figures who might have lived there hundreds of years ago. Just don’t forget to take lots of pictures throughout your journey so that even when your time in Sarlat is done, you can revisit the stunning sights anytime you choose.

Saint-Geniès, France

Nestled in the heart of Périgord Noir lies one of France's most stunning villages. Its captivating beauty is attributed to its ocher stone houses and traditional slate roofs, all together creating a magical landscape that radiates peace and tranquility.

Since the 13th century, two parallel houses have been standing side by side in what is now known as Saint-Genies castle. The merging of these two dwellings and construction of the square tower with its spiral staircase along with an oval tower gave it its current shape during the 16th century. In perfect harmony with the church, Cheylard Chapel stands out as one of Périgord's most exquisite architectural gems. Built in 1327 by Gaubert de Chaminade using Gothic style, it looks down upon the valley of Chironde and captivates all who pass through this village with its stunning classified frescoes - a testament to its time.

Uncover the Mystique of Blois, a Historical Gem Lying in Centre-Val de Loire, France!

Blois, France is a small town located on the banks of the Loire River in Centre-Val de Loire. This enchanting, historical gem is steeped in charm and has witnessed many important events throughout its centuries-long history. Having served as a royal residence since the 9th century, the town has seen both the rise and fall of many monarchs, from Louis XII to Henry III.

Nowadays, Blois is a bustling yet tranquil place that’s brimming with culture and sights. Its cobblestone streets lead you to the immense 15th-century Royal Chateau de Blois, which towers over the surrounding countryside. Rich in history, this grand chateau is home to a breathtaking collection of works, including furniture, tapestries and paintings that tell the story of its many illustrious occupants.

Blois also offers a plethora of culinary delights. Sample delicious regional dishes like tarte Tatin and rillettes (a traditional pork-based pâté), as well as local wines. Of course, don’t forget to take a few moments to simply explore the streets and bask in the beauty of this picturesque town! Truly, Blois is one of France’s prime historical gems.

So what are you waiting for? Visit Blois today and uncover its centuries-old

Loire Valley Chateaux

Château de Chambord, France
Château de Chambord, France

Château de Chambord is one of the most iconic and majestic castles in the Loire Valley. Located in the heart of the region, this unique Renaissance-style castle has been standing since 1539 and spans over 440,000 square feet. It was built by King Francois I who wanted to create an impressive residence that would reflect the French monarchy’s power and wealth.

Today, Château de Chambord is a popular tourist destination that draws visitors from all over the world. Remaining virtually unchanged since its construction, this stunning castle offers an awe-inspiring glimpse into the past with its majestic architecture, ornate turrets and grand courtyards. And don’t forget the grand double-helix staircase, which is the castle’s most iconic feature.

The Loire Valley also boasts a range of other impressive chateaux such as Château de Chenonceau, Château de Blois, Château Villandry and Château d'Amboise. Each is unique in its own way and offers a fascinating insight into the country’s royal history. So why not take a journey through time and explore the beauty of these grand castles?

Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau

Tours, France is an incredible destination in the heart of Centre-Val de Loire. This charming city is known for its historical sights and cultural attractions, making it an ideal spot for a day trip or weekend getaway. With its cobblestone streets, ancient architecture and picturesque riverbanks, Tours offers a glimpse into the past with its many history-rich sights.

Start off your visit at the iconic Tours Cathedral, which boasts a beautiful Gothic façade and stunning stained glass windows. Then, stroll through the old town and its ancient streets to uncover hidden gems like the Château de Tours – an impressive castle that was once home to the Counts of Blois. After exploring the city’s many sights, enjoy a leisurely lunch along the banks of the Loire River before heading back to your hotel.

Whether you’re looking for a cultural escape or a historical adventure, Tours, France is the perfect place to satisfy your wanderlust. So what are you waiting for?

Château de Saumur

The Château de Saumur, the "Château of Love" constructed by René I of Anjou on its emerald rock was a magnificent abode for both royalty and prisoners. It is one of the most impressive castles still preserved from the Valois dynasty in medieval times.

Situated atop the Loire River in Saumur, Château de Saumur is a captivating sight. Its towers topped with machicolations and its blue-tiled roof paired with white stone create an enchanting atmosphere that seems to be taken straight from a fairytale. You won't want to miss out on taking time to explore the courtyard wall's sculptures of animals when you're there – these details are often overlooked but shouldn't be!

Château de Saumur is open to all, and you may tour the castle on your own or join a guided excursion that highlights its most picturesque places. Inside the castle, an extensive selection of decorative ceramics and wall hangings can be witnessed alongside equestrian artifacts—the town is well-known for their horsemanship after all! To top it off, take a drive over the bridge across Loire River; you'll get marvelous views of both Château de Saumur and the city from there. It's definitely worth taking in before bidding goodbye to this beautiful destination!

Explore the Historic Wonders of Château d'Angers - One of France's Most Iconic Castles

Château d'Angers, located in the city of Angers in western France is one of the most impressive and well-preserved castles in the country. Built in 930 AD by Fulk Nerra, count of Anjou, it was used as a royal residence until the 16th century. This massive fortress is surrounded by an impressive moat, with a drawbridge leading to the main entrance. Once inside, visitors can explore the castle’s many towers, ramparts and interior rooms.

Château d'Angers is best known for its collection of medieval tapestries called the Apocalypse Tapestry. This incredible set of tapestries, measuring a total of 100 meters long and 50 meters wide, tells the story of the Book of Revelation from the Bible. The tapestries are an incredible example of medieval artistry and can be seen in their entirety inside Château d'Angers.

Have a brilliant family day at Futuroscope theme park

Futuroscope theme park is located in Poitiers, France, and is a world-renowned destination for family fun. Guests will find a wide variety of attractions at the park, including 4D movies, interactive shows, multimedia rides and much more. The park also features various restaurants and cafes offering delicious menus for all ages.

Pier of the Green Venice

A visit to the Petite Venise Verte (Green Venice), also known as Poitevin Marsh – the second largest wetland in France – is a must. The best way to take in all its beauty, from dense foliage and lush green meadows to quiet waterways, is by punt; you'll glide peacefully under a canopy of trees for an unforgettable experience.

To explore the French coastline, take advantage of 28 piers - 10 located in Vendée, 13 situated in Deux Sèvres and 5 nestled within Charente Maritime.

Here you can rent punts and embark on a self-guided voyage of discovery or select an experienced guide to show you the wealth of wildlife in this marsh.

Île de Ré: spectacular beaches, picturesque ports, unique architecture, and tranquil countryside

Île de Ré is an enchanting island situated off the west coast of France in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a haven for tourists and locals alike, boasting stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, and a diverse range of activities.

A popular destination for holidaymakers, Île de Ré provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here, you can explore its picturesque villages, cycle along the stunning coastal paths or simply soak up the sun on one of its many beaches. Don't miss out on visiting the magnificent Château des États de La Rochelle – a historic fortress built in 1627 that overlooks the island. Île de Ré is the perfect place to relax and unwind, so be sure to add it to your travel itinerary!

Uncover the Undiscovered Riches of a West Central France Road Trip - Explore Regions Buried in Mystique and History!

If you’re looking for a change of pace this holiday season, we suggest renting a car and driving off the beaten path in France. You’ll find plenty of charming small towns, tasty food and wine, and interesting attractions that are far from Paris or the French Riviera. And who knows? Maybe this year’s Christmas card will feature you posing in front of a 13th century castle instead of the Eiffel Tower.

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