Le Verdon, France

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Situated at Point de Grave, where water from the Atlantic meets the gushing Gironde estuary, Le Verdon will appeal to you if you love the great outdoors or fine wines. Offering a beguiling mix of forests and beaches, dunes and hiking paths there's plenty to do if you fancy an independent, active day ashore. The Fort of Verdon and the Cordouan Lighthouse (the oldest in France - visited by boat) are both local sights. Further afield, the Bordeaux wine region, covering some 270,000 acres, beckons. Home to over 5,000 wine chateaux and many famous vineyard regions including Medoc, Saint-Emilion, Sauternes, Entre-Deux-Mers, Cotes de Bourg and Libournais, this is a great place to sample the local vintages and learn more about the wine-making process. From scenic drives through vineyard countryside to tours of the cellars, or a trip to the resort of Soulac, a city with 500 neo-colonial villas and a UNESCO-listed basilica at the tip of Mdoc, Le Verdon acts as a gateway to many of the region's delights.