Where To Go On Rail Europe This Summer
Travel the basque country in style.
Whether you’ve travelled on Rail Europe or not, all you need is a 4 – Day Eurail pass and map of Nouvelle-Aquitaine for the adventure of a lifetime. Many people travel to Paris with grand ideas about a real European holiday. But just a few hours in the 7th arrondissement will get boring, touristy, and super basic. Hop on a train at Montparnasse Station and explore the countryside of France for a few days!
Day 1: Taste the goodness of wine in Bordeaux
A few days before your trip, purchase a 4 – day Eurail pass here for under $300, depending on your class choice. Choose the two country option, France – Spain.
The train from Paris to Bordeaux is non-stop and the distance time is under two hours. Take a cab to check into Hotel Mercure Chateau Chartrons. This is located just a few minutes from the center of town. You can walk to the public garden or arrange a guided tour through the city on the Bordeaux tourism site. Pro tip: Ask for Christine’s special walking tour.
Where to eat: Brasserie Bordelaise
Where to drink: L’Alchimiste Gintoneria
Day 2 : Spend the day in Saint-Émilion for real macarons and wine.
An hour drive from Bordeaux will take you to wine country. Saint-Émilion has over 900 wine vineyards but under 100 families actual reside the historic town. Back in the day, the quota was 5 liters of wine per day and per person. A pilgrimage center, a monastic city and a densely populated economic power, are so many unknown facets of the history of Saint-Émilion.
What to buy: Real Macarons
What to do: A wine tasting and tour of Château Guadet at Saint-Emilion , 4 Rue Gaudet, 33330 Saint-Émilion, Tel. + 33 (0)5 57 74 40 04
Day 3: Head to the ultimate chill beach town of Biarritz
Once you’ve had a good dose of the city and the country, head hop back on Rail Europe to travel even more southwest to Biarritz, home of European surfing. The train ride is about two hours on Rail Europe high speed line with multiple trains departing from Bordeaux or Paris every hour. Once you arrive to Biarritz, you can arrange a transfer pickup by Le Basque Bondissant to Hôtel du Palais, Biarritz. Welcome to paradise in the basque country.
Live like royalty
It is a well-known fact that the villa that houses the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, overlooking the Bay of Biscay, was built by Napoleon III for his stunning wife, Eugénie. Few travelers realize, however, that the Spanish-born beauty had been to Biarritz before, and that it was she who convinced her husband to visit the resort town in the first place. Today, the scarlet-and-cream-colored seaside villa still channels its grand heritage. Rooms are lavish and high ceilings create a breezy, destination-appropriate vibe.
Equally sumptuous is La Rotunda restaurant, where the beau monde come for special occasion meals. The extensive wellness facility, complete with a Guerlain spa and lounging areas with sea views, is the kind of enclave that Empress Eugénie surely would have loved. Make it to breakfast here and explore lunch and dinner elsewhere.
Where to eat: Le Surf
What to do: Shop around at Les Halles de Biarritz and walk the picturesque boardwalk
Day 4: Surf lessons on the bay of biscay and spa time
Once you’ve spent the night at Hotel du Palais, you’ll want to stay on the property forever. But the hotel concierge can arrange for a surf lesson and spa time at their spa that spans 5 – floors!
Day 5: Head back to Paris
Finally you’ve reached the end of the week and it’s probably tough to say goodbye. But you have to go back to Paris to catch your flight back home!