Spain to France Road Trip

Rebecca Formoso
January 16, 2024

What? We visited five cities in three days.

Where? San Sebastián, Lourdes, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, and San Juan de Luz. 

How? We rented an Audi Q3 for 40 euros a day from Europcar and used Airbnb for accommodations.

When? During spring when the days are longer and weather more forgiving (May 2019).

Where did we travel from? Pamplona, Spain.

Trip 1: Pamplona to San Sebastián 52 miles 1hr 8 min


San Sebastián

Why San Sebastián?

  • San Sebastián is a small city in the Basque Country of Spain. It is known to be one of the best places in the world for food (specifically for pintxos and Michelin star restaurants). 

Places we ate and what we ordered: 

  1. La Cuchara de San Telmo for foie gras with apple sauce.
  2. Gandarias for the brocheta de gambas.
  3. La Viña for fresh baked cheesecake. 

What we did: 

  • Besides eat our hearts out? We roamed around the city center.
  • Playa de la Concha and La Catedral del Buen Pastor.

Why would I go back? 

  • To try more pintxos, surf and hang out in this beautiful city. You can’t get sick of it. 

Trip 2: San Sebastián to Lourdes 122 miles 2hr 15 min 



Why Lourdes? 

  • Lourdes is a town in southwestern France that is located on the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. It is a very famous pilgrimage site for the famed apparitions of the Virgin Mary and for having healed over 60 people from incurable diseases. 

What we did:

  • The grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette.
  • The baths where visitors dip themselves in.
  • The Basilica. 

Even if you are not religious, it is an interesting place to learn more about the Catholic religion and its miracles. 

Why would I go back?

  • It is a town so close to the Pyrenees mountains, which means one thing—that it’s a prime spot to plan a hike and explore some lakes. 

Trip 3: Lourdes to St. Emilion 163 miles 2hr 50 min 


St. Emilion

Why St. Emilion?

  • St. Emilion is a beautiful little French town that is known for their historical landscapes and wine. Another reason to visit this area is to experience staying in a chateau. Through Airbnb, we stayed in a chateau that was the epitome of French charm. There was a long driveway that was covered in trees, the chateau had high ceilings and rustic but classy interiors, a garden, a breathtaking vineyard and a place for the horses. 

What we did:

  • We stayed at Chateau Rambaud for one night and spent time playing with their golden retriever, explored the grounds, drank wine and ate some cheese.
  • The town of St. Emilion to roam around the streets and buy some more wine.
  • Dinner in L'Envers du Décor

Why I would go back? 

  • To do the same thing over and over and over again. I would love to try the different dishes and wine they offered. I would also love to visit more vineyards. 

Trip 4: St. Emilion to Bordeaux 27 miles 49 min 



Why Bordeaux?

  • Bordeaux is a French city in southwestern France that is known for its famous wine and gothic architecture. It is actually one of the leading French producers of wine. 

What we did:

Why I would go back?

To check out the wine bar called Les 3 Pinardiers, more vineyards and their wine museum. 

Trip 5: Bordeaux to Saint Jean de Luz 183 miles 2h 22min



Why Saint-Jean-de-Luz?

  • Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a fishing town that is part of the Basque Country of France. The houses date back to the 17th century and are decorated in red and white colors and depict such a relaxing, cozy and beautiful atmosphere. It’s not as famous as it’s counterpart—Biarritz which is why it isn’t overcrowded with tourists. 

What we did:

  • The famous street, Rue Gambetta.
  • The beach “La Grande Plage” and the promenade.
  • The port.
  • A bakery called Madison Adam.

Why I would go back?

To sit in a cafe, read a book on the beach and enjoy the picturesque view of their architecture. 

San Juan de Luz to Pamplona 53 miles 1hr 18 min 

This was the end of the road trip and this is where we returned the car rental. 

Rebecca Formoso
Rebecca is a U30X trip leader in Europe and Asia. She grew up in the Philippines and has been living in Spain since 2012. She loves to play sports, take pictures, and go on new adventures.


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