When you plan your holiday, arrange to collect a rental car in Bordeaux and take yourself on a liberating drive around the beating heart of France's southwest.
"We are a beautiful port city with excellent architecture and gastronomy. What is not to like?"
Bordeaux offers visitors an interesting mix of old and new, blending historic architecture and traditions with the new as an extensive regeneration programme has breathed new life into the city.
Bordeaux is a vibrant city, one of gothic cathedrals, large airy squares, 18th century mansions and a real joie de vivre.
The locals are enamoured with their city and expect tourists to visit, you’ll receive a warm welcome.
During the summer months it sits warmly in the mid-20s, while in winter expect temperatures of around seven degrees.
Seafood is very popular here, but the standout local favourite is the entrecôte marchand de vin, a hearty dish of beef cooked in a rich gravy. Delicious.
King Richard II of England was born in Bordeaux. Some would argue that that made him French.
Bordeaux is the fifth largest city in France
"Everything about modern Bordeaux is imbued with grandeur, like Versailles, and everything about old Bordeaux recounts its history, like Anvers." - poet and novelist Victor Hugo
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As squares go, this one is particularly beautiful, with great examples of late 18th-century architecture. 'La Bourse' in the title refers to the magnificent Stock Exchange building that dominates it.
Use the Place de la Bourse car park, adjacent to the square.
This busy high street is the main shopping area, where you can stock up on all of the latest French fashions. At nearly a mile long, you won't be short of choice.
The street itself is pedestrianised, so if you are at the Grand Theatre end use either the Jean Jaures or the Place de la Bourse car park. If you are at the opposite end, then use the Victory car park in Place de la Victoire.
The Notre Dame Church may not be as grand as its namesake in Paris, but it is equally ornate and well worth a visit.
Try the underground car park called Tourney, on the Allees de Tourney.
Unwind with a meander around the collections and exhibits in this excellent museum and art gallery.
The nearest car park is the Societe Civile Immobiliere Mazarin in Rue Mazarin.
As botanical gardens go, this place has got it all - green houses, a water garden and big impressive fields full of grain.
Use the Jean Jaures or the Place de la Bourse car park.
This town on the Atlantic coast has some pine forests and attractive beaches, such as the pretty resort of Soulac-sur-Mer, that are well worth a visit.
To reach the north-west tip of Medoc take the D1 then the D1215 out of Bordeaux. It should take around an hour and 45 minutes.
This traditional, pretty, market town offers a more sedate experience than Bordeaux, take a drive out to visit its narrow streets and bistros serving up delicious food.
It's about an hour and 20 minutes to Bergerac. Take the N89/A89 east.
A trip to La Rochelle is like a journey back in time - and we don't mean to your French GCSE lessons. The seaside town has preserved its 17th and 18th century centre to great effect.
Head north out of Bordeaux on the E06/A10. It will take about two hours to get there.
If you fancy a change from sightseeing, why not try cycling, walking, horse-riding or canoeing in the wide open space of this impressive park.
It only takes around 40 minutes to reach the edge of the park. Take the A63 south-west out of Bordeaux.
" Many of the tourist hotspots like Rue Ste Catherine are pedestrian-only, but you will find car parks at both ends of the busy shopping street. Also, the first Sunday of every month - except in summer - is designated traffic-free with restrictions on where you can drive. On days when the bans are in place, drop your hire car at the nearest car park and walk to your destination. Public transport is limited on the outskirts of Bordeaux - this is where a hire car comes in very useful. "