Villandraut is one of those charming, small, and almost forgotten Gironde villages. Its historical significance can be seen immediately by the towers of its ancient castle.
WHO WAS POPE CLEMENT V?
Born Raymond Bertrand in 1264, to a wealthy family in Villandraut (or potentially Bazas). Throughout his lifetime he would build multiple famous chateaux in Gironde for his family, called ‘châteaux Clémentins’ – from Roquetaillade to Duras and more. He would eventually become famous for moving the Vatican from Rome, Italy to Avignon, France. He was also incredibly influential in the Bordeaux and, eventually, Burgundy wine industry. His wine producing property just outside of Bordeaux, Chateau Pape Clement (AOC Pessac Leognan), still produces some great quality wines. The tomb of Clement V is located in Uzeste, only 10 minutes away from Villandraut.
This small, historically significant village is home to a mere 1,200 inhabitants who love and care for the chateau and it’s surrounding natural environment. You can visit the Museum in town, housed in an 18th century building. Call to confirm opening hours and to plan your visit / +33 (0)5 56 25 39 63 / https://musee-de-villandraut.jimdofree.com/
WHAT TO DO IN VILLANDRAUT
You’ll have to visit the Chateau of Villandraut, there are self-guided options and English tours available (book in advance by calling). While it is in ruins, there are some rooms with paintings available and beautiful fireplaces, but the views from the top (if you plan a private tour) are incredible. During holidays like Halloween or Christmas, the chateau also offers many wonderful events for children / https://www.chateaudevillandraut.fr/ / firstname.lastname@example.org / +33 (0)5 56 25 87 57 (Monday-Friday)
If you enjoy kayaking or canoeing, take a trip down the Ciron River which passes through the town. The ‘Base Nautique’ is currently closed until May 2023, as they clean up the river. Check hours and make reservations by checking the website / http://basevillandraut.e-monsite.com/
There is a bike path running from the coast inland, which passes through Villandraut. You can rent bicycles from nearby Bazas (or check with your hotel/BnB stay if they have some to let). https://www.wikiloc.com/trails/bicycle-touring/france/aquitaine-limousin-poitou-charentes/villandraut
Buy some lovely local pottery from Potterie Lucie et David, well known for thir in-ground clay watering vessels, they also create some lovely bowls and cups / Closed Wednesday, call in advance to guarantee overture / http://www.poterie-lucie-et-david.fr/index.php?page=decouverte
WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT IN VILLANDRAUT
If you love cheese, this newer addition to Villandraut will satisfy your needs. La Cremerie des Tilleuls is a fromagerie and épicerie, with other local products and produce / Open afternoons, all day Sunday / 5 Place Gambetta, 33730 Villandraut / +33 (0)5 57 03 16 17 / https://actu.fr/nouvelle-aquitaine/villandraut_33547/gironde-a-villandraut-la-cremerie-des-tilleuls-une-fromagerie-epicerie-vrac-vient-d-ouvrir_41509295.html
Two bakeries (boulangeries) offer fresh made bread, order your chocolatine (not a ‘pain au chocolate’ in SW France), also keep an eye out for ‘puit d’amour‘ pastries.
Franco/American couple owned butcher Laurent BAUP is right on the traffic circle in the middle of town and is a great location to pick up some locally prized bazadaise beef for dinner / Closed Sunday afternoon and Monday / http://www.boucherie-baup.com/
The outdoor market is every Thursday morning, with seafood vendors, butchers, produce and more. In season you’ll find some incredible white asparagus grown just down the road.
WHERE TO STAY
There are multiple charming bed and breakfast style lodgings in Villandraut, one of the prettiest in the center of town is La Cordonnerie. They offer a jacuzzi, bicycles and breakfast as well as internet / 8 Rue Jean Lapeyre, 33730 Villandraut / +33 (0)7 81 05 38 55 / https://lacordonnerie-villandraut.fr/
Villa Madeline is also centrally located with an outdoor pool and offering the possibility of dinner on site / 2 Rue Madeline, 33730 Villandraut / +33 (0)5 56 24 60 64 / www.villa-madeleine.fr