Stick your toe in the water
One of Bordeaux’s charms is its proximity to the beaches of the Arcachon Bay. Even if you’re only here for the weekend, there’s time to dip your toe in the ocean. Trains depart every hour from the city’s Gare Saint-jean to Arcachon, with a journey time of between 35 and 50 minutes.
Stroll through the marina, or take a trip across the bay on a Pinasse - the traditional flat-bottomed wooden boats used by local oyster-catchers. At high tide, you can explore the tiny uninhabited l’ile aux oiseaux in the middle of the bay, and admire the two 18th century-style bathing cabins perched on tall stilts.
The bustling seafront strip is flanked by restaurants serving enticing platters of fresh seafood. The Ville d’hiver is also worth exploring - its 19th century holiday villas are exemplary of the bourgeois seaside architecture of the day.
Stay: doubles at the boutique Hôtel Ville d’hiver start from €145 per night. www.hotelvilledhiver.com
Train tickets: Day returns from €11.60
The pool at the Hotel Ville d’hiver in summertime.