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Bordeaux and southwestern France

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Bordeaux, France
I kept hearing about some kind of cool "fountain" in Bordeaux - but didn't really get what was supposed to be so special about it. And the first day I was there it was turned-off due to a special event taking place. So when I first saw it, it...
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69 Cours Pasteur, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Since 2001, residents of Bordeaux have been able to rent free bikes through Vélo Ville de Bordeaux (VVB), the city's long-term bike loan program. Some four thousand bikes have been loaned to locals since the program launched and the requests...
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Bordeaux, France
Grab a map and draw your own path, starting in the town of Bordeaux. See that area to the right, between the parallel Dordogne and Lot rivers? Stay within the borders of this area where authentic food reigns. Tips from the pros: The driving can be...
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81000 Albi, France
On having one Eurail pass and one day to spare between the big X's marked Paris and Barcelona, I craved the soothing ad-lib of a tiny, not-so-known area in the South of France. Bordeaux, Marseille… all remarkable cities I'm sure, however my...
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Le Miroir d'eau, 33000 Bordeaux, France
"Le Miroir d’Eau” near the Garonne River is a delightful place for an afternoon of people watching in one of France’s most enduring and picturesque cities. While photographers focus on the reflections of the Place de la Bourse in the mirror of...
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33000 Bordeaux, France
My 5:30 a.m. departure from Bordeaux allowed me an opportunity to take one last photo of the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, which opened in 1780. Royal architect Victor Lewis conceived the theatre as a temple of arts and light and succeeded in making...
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Route de Biscarrosse, 33260 La Teste-de-Buch, France
Dune de Pyla is the largest sand dune in Europe, located in the Arcachon Bay area, southwest of France (about 45 minutes away from Bordeaux). Unlike the overly marketed and crowded Cote d’Azur (south of France), it has some of the most spectacular...
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Place de la Clautre, 24000 Périgueux, France
A trip to Périgueux, the capital of the Dordogne department is a wonderful weekend excursion from Bordeaux. An easy train ride brings you through pastureland and forests, and deposits you in the center of this town that has existed since neolithic...
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33250 Pauillac, France
Located in the heart of the Médoc in the northwest of Bordeaux, the “Pauillac” Appellation covers some 1,200 hectares located directly on the outskirts of the town of the same name, along the estuary of the Gironde. It has no fewer than three of...
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Essaouira, Morocco
Just a couple of hours from Marrakesh, the Atlantic fishing port of Essaouira makes a perfect short break away from the big city. Its imposing sea ramparts contain a small medina of whitewashed houses with bright blue windows. The town is an...
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Santa Korda Kalea, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
At La Cuchara de San Telmo, on the corner of the plaza Valle Lersundi in San Sebastian, the specialties were hot pintxos, quickly prepared to order--from the menu or the specials board, or by pointing to what your neighbor was eating. This was one...
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Igeldo Ibilbidea, 187, 20008 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
It was raining when we arrived in Donostia-San Sebastian, but the skies cleared on our second day, and we rode the funicular railway up Mount Igueldo to take in the view back on the city, La Concha Bay, and the empty beach. The "low" travel season...
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Zurríola Hiribidea, 24, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
San Sebastián, for many, is a surf town. Pukas is your one-stop shop for everything from surf lessons, bikinis, gear, and cool souvenirs with a local twist, like their trademark 'Surfing the Basque Country' t-shirts.
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Euskal Herria Kalea, 7, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
January 20. The favorite day of residents of San Sebastián. A day that nearly always portends cold, rain, and discomfort. It's the Day of San Sebastián, also known as the Tamborrada. Imagine an entire town turning up at the main square at...
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Mount Ulia, 20013, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Most visitors never cross the river from the Old Part, and the vast majority overlook what has to be one of the most beautiful hikes from here to California. At the edge of Gros, a trail heads up some stairs (at the end of Calle San Francisco) and...
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Plaza Zuloaga, 1, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Museo San Telmo is a must-see for any art or culture-phile during a visit to San Sebastián. The newly renovated museum's architecture alone makes for fascinating viewing, and there are sections on Basque anthropology as well as revolving...
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Kalea Isla de Santa Clara, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
From May to August, a ferry runs from the port of San Sebastián to the island that sits serenely in the middle of the Concha Bay. The island is quiet, isolated, and empty. There is a café on the island with a mysterious timetable, and a lighthouse...
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Bretxa Plaza, 3, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
La Bretxa shopping center houses the usual trappings of a modern-day shopping mall, but below ground one can find the city's largest and best market for the fruits of the sea. Cold, wet and crowded, this is the spot where you will find both...
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Calle de Nagusia, 96, 20115 Astigarraga, Guipúzcoa, Spain
December to May is cider season in the Basque Country. Basque cider is quite different (drier, more bitter) than its American and English counterparts. The real magic in Basque cider, however, happens when it is consumed. Groups of friends head in...
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Zabaleta Kalea, 6, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
La Gintonería, in the less-traversed neighborhood of Gros, could very well be the best gin-tonic in San Sebastián. With two shelves laden with premium and hard-to-find gins, it's a gintonaholic's dream. They have a selection of premium tonics and...
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Aldura Gunea Aldea, 20, 20100 Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Molecular and sustainable Basque cuisine at 2-Michelin starred restaurant Mugaritz. Modern farm house, garden, and sheep frolicking about make the ethereal setting one-of-a-kind.
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Malkorbe Kalea, 5, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Arriving to Getaria can be done by bus, but one of the most unforgettable parts of visiting this village is approaching (or exiting) it by the sidewalk that winds along the sea. Depending on the time of year, you will have endless views of a calm...