Our Drive Across France to Bordeaux & Loire Valley

bordeauxsignMy mother and sister in law live in Bordeaux, France. Since they are not able to travel we took our May school break traversing France to Bordeaux. We had considered flying, but I wasn’t quick enough getting the tickets and we are trying to travel a lot on the cheap while we have the chance. So, we decided to undertake the 9.5 hour drive to Bordeaux. I made all the arrangements since I love planning trips.

We started Day 1 on Saturday, leaving around 10:30 am. We drove west from Luxembourg through  Paris (which is about 4 hours). The outer ring of Paris was a little busy but not bad. This quick view of Paris was anything but beautiful or romantic. As the motorcycles weaved in and out between cars at breakneck speeds we maneuvered through the black fume-laden auto route that was full of pitted roads, slow-moving cars and graffiti filled bridges.

After we left Paris we headed south through the Loire Valley. Our next stop was Futuroscope near Poitiers Saturday evening. Parc du Futuroscope is a theme park based upon multimedia, cinematographic futuroscope and audio-visual techniques. It has several 3D cinemas and a few 4D cinemas along with other attractions and shows, some of which are the only examples in the world. We had been to Futuroscope when the kids were little, around 9 years ago.

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The next morning we ventured out for a full day of Futuroscope. It was a long day but the kids kept us going until 9 pm. Luca and I had a great time on the Dances with Robots ride, which was a combination of being in a dance club and riding a bucking bull. It was quite the challenge and not for the faint of heart. We also were able to visit the Arthur and Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs 4 D Adventures, as well as see two Imax style theater productions Mysteries of the Unseen World and The Explorarium, a stunning dive with Jean-Michel Cousteau. We also explored Futur l’Expo, a hands-on journey into the future. There were also many outdoor exhibits and park areas as well as rides for the kids. We didn’t get a chance to see everything but we had a great time.

On Monday morning we finished our trip to Bordeaux, another 1.5 hour drive. Although the weather was not sunny during our stay it was pleasant. We spent most of our time outside exploring the city, Parc Bordelais, Place des Quinconces, the water fountain on the promenade (we couldn’t get the kids to leave) and visiting with our family. We rented a beautiful house on Housetrip.com in the Bouscat area of Bordeaux called Maison de Charme that was fantastic. It was in the perfect location, only a five minute walk to our families house and a couple of blocks from the park, shopping and restaurants in the heart of Bordeaux.

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Luca in Parc Bordelais

 

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We took a day trip to see to the coast near Bassin d’Arcachon. We didn’t have a lot of time so we were only able to visit Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe, 60 km from Bordeaux. It was quite a hike up the dune and the kids had fun climbing up and running down a couple of times.

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Our trip to Bordeaux had to end and we had to say goodby to my mother and sister-in-law Friday morning as we started back home. We stopped in the Loire Valley in Amboise. We could not drive through the Loire Valley without stopping. We spent the afternoon visiting the Chateaux du Clos Luce a Amboise, Leonardo de Vinci’s house and workshop at the end of his life. It is a museum and gardens that is out of this world. This year is the 500th  anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s arrival at the Château du Clos Lucé.

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We spent the night in a nice Airbnb apartment on the small island that straddled the Loire river. We walked into the village of Amboise for an excellent dinner and explored the town. In the evening after dinner the kids and I found a nice local park and the kids played until dark.

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Saturday morning we walked across the bridge to town for fresh pastries before our day at  Château de Chenonceau, the famous château spanning the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley. It is a 15 minute drive from Amboise. There are not words to describe Chenonceau. We did a tour and explored the gardens and out buildings. It was hard to say goodbye to such beauty and history.

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