The Gironde is the largest and one of the most popular departments in France. A favourite of both French and foreign property buyers, it is located in the Nouvelle Aquitaine, has Bordeaux as its prefecture and is, of course, famous worldwide for its fabulous wines. We have found 5 lovely places to tempt you into this great department.
With the Atlantic Ocean on the west, it boasts the longest beach in Europe, the “Cote d’Argent”, wonderful for swimmers and surfers. If you are a lover of water, this is the place to be with some beautiful areas to visit such as the Bay of Arcachon and Cap Ferret, a fantastic headland popular with watersports enthusiasts.
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There are some truly beautiful villages and towns in the Gironde and access from the UK is very easy by either plane, train or car. It is by no means the cheapest area in France but it is still possible to buy a reasonably sized property with some exterior space for a little over €250,000 in some areas.
Probably the best-known village in this area, St. Emilion of course is famous for its superb Bordeaux wines. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful villages. Think cobbled streets, cute bistros, some upmarket restaurants and cafes and generally a buzzy atmosphere.
There are many fine historical monuments here and be sure to visit the pretty and storybook-like centre of town.
Property here is a little more than the average in France but you can still find a small home at around the €250,000 mark. There are some gorgeous medieval timber buildings, as well as some modern villas on the outskirts of this lovely town.
St. Macaire is a smallish medieval town located 50kms from Bordeaux. Again, this is a place steeped in history with some wonderful architecture and historical monuments.
Meandering around the narrow little streets, you will see some beautiful medieval houses. There is a weekly market in the main square here and the town is proud of its medieval festival each August.
You will need around €250,000 to buy a decent small property here although, looking in the outskirts of the town, you will find some lovely properties with gardens.
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Cadillac is a small town on the right bank of the River Garonne. As you enter the town, you see a huge defensive wall and gate leading to the medieval centre. Be sure not to miss the incredible Chateau des Ducs d’Epernon, actually a prison for women after the French revolution right up until the 1950s! It is now a museum and a fascinating one too.
Cadillac is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the summer. There is plenty going on with local festivals, exhibitions, wine tastings and music in the streets. It’s well worth a visit! As for property, expect to pay at least €300,000 for a property close to the centre, a little less outside.
Bazas is such a beautiful place! It is known not only for its history and fine architecture but also for its gastronomy. It is situated near the Gascon Landes forest, 65km from Bordeaux. The main square of the town is just gorgeous, the perfect place to stop for a glass of wine and people watch. It is dominated by the Cathedral of St. Jean-Baptiste, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Glancing around the smaller streets, you will see some fairy tale timber and stone houses.
This is a popular town amongst the French for its fine foods, as well as its heritage, so property prices are a little higher here. Again, however, by looking on the outskirts of the town one can find some lovely properties with a little land at around the €300,000 mark.
Gironde is by no means the cheapest area in France but it is still possible to buy a reasonably sized property with some exterior space for a little over €250,000.
Blaye is situated about 50km north of Bordeaux. This is a charming small town with a fascinating military history. Do not miss the incredible Citadel and fortified city walls which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. You can get into the Citadel and wander around the ramparts, a fascinating place with incredible views from the top.
This town is proud of its excellent full-bodied red wines. Naturally, there is a huge choice of wine to suit every pallet and pocket here and you can easily find a decent bottle at a reasonable price, not just the grands crus!
Property in the centre of town tends to be expensive, but at around 10 minutes walk, you will find some good properties with some land at around €250-300,000.
Access to the Gironde from the UK
By plane, you can fly from various UK regional airports with both the main airlines and budget airlines to Bordeaux Merignac airport
By car, you can take a ferry to any of the French channel ports and then take a leisurely drive down the west side, ideally bypassing Paris! However, you could equally stopover in Paris and drive down, which would take around 5 hours.
By train, there are plenty of direct trains from Paris so you could hop on a Eurostar and then get the TGV down from the capital.
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The climate in the Gironde is seasonal. This means hot summers, particularly in the month of August where it can get up to 40 degrees Celsius, warm autumns and cold winters, although not usually too much below freezing! Spring is lovely as the warm weather usually starting around Easter time.
The Gironde is well worth a visit, whether you are planning to buy a second home or make your base there. Since it is a popular tourist destination, you may well find work in the hospitality industry. If you are planning to buy, the rental market is hot here. There are also seasonal jobs picking grapes in the wine harvest in September!
Generally speaking, this is one of the nicest parts of France to visit or buy property in, full of ancient history and the first choice for lovers of good food and French wine.