Plage des Bardoulets, Port-Ste.-Foy, France

A beach across from a "bastide"--summer evening along the Dordogne
Here's a spot to take a break from vineyard-hopping and chateau-exploring: the "plage des Bardoulets" across the Dordogne from the 13th-century "bastide" (fortified 'new'-town) of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande.

After coursing through limestone gorges, the Dordogne river meanders through a lush landscape of vineyards and hilltop castles before emptying into the Gironde estuary just north of Bordeaux. Along the way, one of the most popular spots for local families is this "beach," set up by the municipal authorities, complete with lifeguard on summer afternoons.

Bring a post-swim picnic and bask in the mellow twilight, complete with medieval reflections and the laughter of children and their fathers, playing in the sand...
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Les Bardoulets, 33220 Port-Sainte-Foy-et-Ponchapt, France