Feast your eyes
If you want a wine trip that’s worthy of its name then you can’t miss the famous Châteaux Route. It runs from the top to the bottom of Médoc, drinking in its top appellations: Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, all names that bring to mind world-famous Grands Crus… obviously.
History lovers will be in their element with Fort Médoc, Fort Pâté and the towering Blaye Citadel in the distance forming the “Verrou Vauban”, the bolt on the Gironde Estuary. This architectural defence jewel is listed as UNESCO World Heritage and treats visitors of all ages to Gironde History with a capital H.
It’s no surprise that further north you’ll find Cordouan Lighthouse built in the 16th century. The 68m tall neoclassical “kings’ lighthouse” battles the elements. Our “Versailles of the seas” is the oldest working lighthouse in France, an architectural wonder and on the shortlist for UNESCO landmarks.
As for the Atlantic Coast, everyone loves it! Surfers are wild about it, families flock here when the sun’s out and locals are always hiking and revisiting it. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet then head to Médoc’s lakesides, especially Hourtin-Carcans Lake which is the biggest natural lake in France and a top attraction at Médoc Regional Nature Park.
The magical little ports on the estuary give you a warm welcome with their open-air bars and unobstructed views of the Gironde Estuary. The local catch is on the menu: claire oysters, Médoc gambas and “esquires” (local shrimp).
Fun fact time
Did you know that bats were winemakers’ BFFs?
That’s right, because they tuck into over 3000 insects every night, including vine leafroller tortrix. That’s why the owners of Château Hourtin-Ducasse, Marie-Noëlle and Michel Marengo, set up bat roosts on their estate 10 years ago. It’s a great idea that supports Médoc biodiversity and joins the château’s many other eco-friendly initiatives such as natural vine treatments using essential oils. A great example of conservation agriculture that combines protecting the land with high standards!
It’s always fun o’ clock in Médoc! Aside from Open Doors events, let’s give you a quick overview of what’s on:
The Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc is an unmissible sporting event that brings runners and foodies from all over the world together for a fun time. Legendary wineries, fine wine and local specialities pop up throughout the 42km run, to the delight of entrants. The event that no surfer should miss is the show-stopping (and heart-stopping) Lacanau Pro! When it comes to music, theEstivales Musiques en Médoc and Jazz and Wine Festival set the stage for fabulous concerts at wineries. Unmissable: The International Les Vendanges du 7e Art Festival in Pauillac screens twenty films before anyone else every year. Last but not least, mid-August sees the estuary’s fishing huts light up for La nuit des Carrelets: an original way to visit or revisit the local “carrelets”.
Get a taste for it!
Médoc fine wine is the perfect pairing for Gironde specialities. You simply have to order “grenier médocain” for starters. This signature Médoc cured meat is also part of the Les Sentinelles du Goût de Nouvelle-Aquitaine label that aims to promote traditional expertise and produce. Médoc has everything any seafood lover could wish for: estuary oysters, gambas, shrimp. As for mains, we have to tell you that Pauillac lamb and Médoc red wine is a match made in heaven. End your meal on a sweet high with noisettines (caramelised hazelnuts), vine shoots and Perles du Médoc (chocolate raisins).
Holidays are about taking a break or slowing down to take care of yourself too! So if you want a spot of carefree pampering then visit the Relais Margaux for a moment of mindful relaxation and tailor-made treatments. VitalParc brings you an entire sensory world with a vibrant pool, Turkish bath, sauna and even an ice cave (goosebumps guaranteed!). Let’s not forget the “rituel impérial du Japon” treatment that whisks you away to the land of the rising sun.
Check out our Médoc wine tasting selection