The Atlantic Coast
The Bonfire Vans team just love this west coast of France because we love to surf and this is the home of France’s surf scene - and there is amazing surf, we know.
For the last 10 years we’ve spent each summer in the southwest of France, taking our surfboards and our three children. So we know it well and we are happy to answer questions.
There are never ending sandy beaches, blue seas and spectacular coastal scenery. In the summer the weather is almost guaranteed to be sunshine.
Home to some truly wonderful cities including Bayonne, Pau and Biarritz this part of the world has culture and a surf heritage.
We recommend spending a day in Biarritz (at least). If you've never surfed, this is the place to try. There are surf schools all over the area, but we have put some we highly recommend on our Biarritz page.
The Bordeaux Wine Region
Bordeaux is the capital of the Gironde department and sits on the banks of the Garonne river - which is an impressive 647 km long, running from the Spanish Pyrenees to the Atlantic coast.
It is a gateway to the other well known French wine regions of this area - Dordogne and Lot-et-Garonne, which you could explore just by following one of the two rivers - Dordogne and Garonne.
The grape varieties in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.
Known in France as the Aquitaine Region, the area is stunning with chateaux, vineyards and rolling hills. You’ll find many guided wine tours in the area.
There are too many towns to visit, all with fantastic restaurants and wine bars. To name a few: Périgueux, Bergerac, Sarlat-la-Canéda, Coulounieix-Chamiers, Boulazac and Trélissac.
The Landes region is on the Atlantic coastal side and is home to some of France's most famous beaches - some of them so long, they feel never ending.
Visit the coastal towns of Biscarrosse, Tarnos, Capbreton, Soustons, Mimizan and Hossegor.
The newly named region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, now encompasses the region formerly known as Poitou-Charentes, north of Bordeaux.
A wonderful area with beautiful medieval buildings and history dating back to Roman times. We highly recommend visiting the towns of Poitiers (2.5 hours north of Bordeaux), Angoulême, Niort and Cognac.
This area home to Cognac, a high-quality brandy, only distilled in Cognac in western France.
The little town of Jarnac is known as the cradle of Cognac - walk along the river purchasing some fine local versions.
There are lovely coastal towns such as La Rochelle, Royan and Rochefort sitting just inland of Port-des-Barques. Do check out the harbour at La Rochelle.
The Poitou-Charentes region also contains two low lying islands - Ile d’Oleron and Ile de Ré, both with stunning beaches to spend a day. Of course, it is possible to camp on the islands.
Toulouse and the Pyrénées
The capital of the Midi-Pyrénées region is Toulouse, a vibrant city in the middle of the west and east coasts.
If you take a road trip from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean it’s the perfect stop off point.
Other well known cities include Lourdes, famous for being part of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route.
This area of France has an abundance of attractions both natural or architectural. The mountains themselves of course and medieval towns and heritage sites. Visit Albi, Tarbes, Castres, Rodez or Auch.
One of our favourite things to do is go to the wonderful city of Pau check out the Chateau de Pau, go for a walk around the lavish gardens then head over to La Fiancée du Désert for some Lebanese nibbles.
What’s Stopping You?
What’s stopping you from hiring one of our campervans in the Southwest of France? We have standard campervans that sleep two, or roof top campervans that can sleep four.
If you prefer a hotel, don’t worry - we have minibus or van hire in both areas, so you can include the whole family PLUS all your kit.