Here in Switzerland, Good Friday (the Friday before Easter) and Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter) are national holidays and everyone ha off work. Ryan and I were both excited for the long weekend and decided to visit the Bordeaux region of France.
After work on Thursday, we packed the Defender with our camping gear as quickly as we could and hit the road. There was a fair bit of traffic leaving Geneva, but it cleared up pretty quickly and we made it to our stopping point of Clermont-Ferrand around 11 pm.
In the morning after settling with the campground, we got back on the road and arrived on the Atlantic Coast of France and Dune du Pyla around lunch time. After stopping at a grocery store for supplies, we checked in to the campsite.
We were lucky to get a spot right on the beach with an unobstructed view and even luckier that the Defender could easily handle the sand of the beach! We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon watching the ocean and the plethora of para gliders. We also climbed to the top of the dune for a spectacular view.
The next morning, we left Dune du Pyla and headed to the world-famous Saint-Emilion. Saint-Emilion is a city in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region and is home to about 1,000 wine chateaus, including the makers of the 500 Euro per bottle Saint-Emilion Cheval Blanc.
We enjoyed a lazy hour wandering the quaint and car-free streets before stopping by one of the wine sellers for a tasting. While visiting individual chateaus is fun, I prefer this because you can try wines from many different chateaus rather than just one.
After returning to our car with our purchases, we got back on the road and headed for the Dordogne river valley. We had a great scenic drive on the back roads and enjoyed stopping in several picturesque towns along the way. This region of France is famous for the thousands of castles dotting almost every hill left over from the Hundred Years War (and also for the foie gras farms, but that’s not really our thing).
We stopped for the evening at a beautiful campground for the evening. We had a spot right on the river and enjoyed a relaxing evening. In the morning, we had planned a canoe trip from the campsite but the rain changed our minds. Instead, we had some nice massages before getting in the car to drive home a day early.