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Further Afield

The Gers is very convenient for the following day trips, but if time and budget allow, an overnight stop would certainly make a longer journey more enjoyable. Be prepared, at many of these locations, to get caught up in traffic and all that goes with it, if you are holidaying in high season; of course, the choice is infinite, so the following list (itself not exhaustive) is limited to a maximum of under 3 hours drive (quickest route from Au Chicot.) More information at the house.

Clockwise, starting from the western-most points:

Atlantic coast - for long, sandy beaches, Mimizan Plage (2 hrs) is the nearest, then there is chic Biarritz (2 hrs), and Hendaye (2hrs 40 mins), both great spots for surfing, plus, in between, the pretty port of St Jean de Luz (2 ˝ hrs). Venturing north, beyond Bayonne and nearer to Bordeaux, is the attractive Bay of Arcachon (2 ˝ hrs), with its huge sand dunes, and jolly town - residential areas split into 'seasons', each with its own distinctive feel;
Bordeaux - the centre can be reached in 2 hrs; the Blue Guide summarises it as 'stately, prosperous and urbane'. A huge Fete de Vin takes place in June;
St Emilion (2 hrs), just a bit east of Bordeaux - if you're still thirsting to discover more about wine regions, this wonderful little town – a world heritage site - is positively surrounded by vineyards, producing some of the finest reds in the world and boasts some rather nice restaurants too...
Sarlat (2 hrs 45 mins), partly by A20 motorway - a beautiful town;
Rocamadour (2 hrs 35 mins), also accessed  partly by the A20, will be well worth the drive, but definitely out of season only, ditto nearby Gouffre de Padirac and its spectacular caves, some of which are explored by gondola;
Montauban (1 1/2 hrs), an attractive town on the River Tarn;
Cahors (2 hrs), on the River Lot, and the lovely cliff-top village of St-Cirq-Lapopie, directly east;
Toulouse (centre 1 hr 45 mins), the capital of the Midi-Pyrenees and an exciting, cosmopolitan city of mellow brick buildings;
Carcassonne (2 hrs 35 mins), a magnificent walled city, south east from Toulouse on the A61;
heading west again, St-Bertrand-de-Comminges (2 hrs), best described as extraordinary: cliff, Gothic cathedral, medieval walled village;
Bagneres-de-Bigorre (2 hrs) - a charming spa town;
Lourdes (2 hrs);
Pau (centre 1 hr 40 mins), a very elegant town/small city with super mountain views from its lovely boulevard. Chateau. Was a popular winter resort in the 19C with British and Americans;

The preceding five places of interest make good jumping-off points for penetrating further into the Pyrenees, which offer lovely walks, climbs, white water rafting, riding, skiing in winter, and of course, Spain.


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