Top of the league for rubgy destinations, Nouvelle-Aquitaine!

In 2023, Nouvelle-Aquitaine will host the Rugby World Cup, one of the 3 biggest international sporting events. All of our destinations will be celebrating for this historic sport of the Region.

Three base camps will be present in the Region, in Lormont for Fiji, in La Rochelle - Île de Ré for Georgia and in Libourne for Romania.
Bordeaux will host at least 5 matches of this World Cup. Among the teams present in Bordeaux, we can note South Africa, Ireland or Wales.

Today, rugby exists almost everywhere in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and includes clubs with eventful timelines. Five of them are ranked in the Top 14, the 14 best professional rugby clubs in France: Bordeaux-Bègles, La Rochelle, Pau, Bayonne and Brive. Not to mention the clubs in the Pro D2: Agen, Angoulême, Biarritz and Mont-de-Marsan.

The region totals some 60,000 licensed members and 400 rugby clubs.Since 1899, the region's clubs have played 61 finals and won 31 times.
Five clubs rank in the Top 14:

  • Stade Rochelais,
  • Union Bordeaux Bègles,
  • Aviron Bayonnais,
  • Section Paloise,
  • CA Brive.

And four clubs in the Pro D2:

  • SU Agen,
  • Stade Montois,
  • SA XV Charente Rugby (Soyaux-Angoulême),
  • Biarritz Olympique

Since 1899, the region's clubs have played 61 finals and won 31 times.

1 - Bordeaux

Union Bordeaux-Bègles - TOP 14 (first division)

Bordeaux, capital of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, is a city that's open to the world through its port, its numerous rail links (2h from Paris or Toulouse) and its multiple national and inter-national airlines. The largest urban centre to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, its centre city is characterized by its exceptional architecture. Its lively terraces along the riverside, its starred restaurants, its evermore vibrant artistic and cultural stage make it a must-visit destination.

A superb city to discover, along with its surrounding areas: its wine estates, its famous Lacanau and Biscarrosse beaches, paradise for surfers and bodyboarders...

Discover Europe's highest sand dune, Pilat, which guards the entrance to Arcachon Bay, and the world's most reputed vineyards by taking a trip along six major wine routes which will lead you from the picturesque village of Saint-Emilion, the fortress-town of Blaye through Sauternes, Pessac-Léognan as well as Médoc and its famous Margaux wines. An incredible programme awaits you.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine rugby can be traced back to 1877 in Bordeaux. This sport is an integral part of the city's culture, highlighted by the history of its club as well as by its national reputation and its stadium's record-breaking crowds.

Bordeaux will host the 2023 Rugby World Cup from 8 September to 21 October.
See our dedicated article.

2 - Biarritz - Basque Country / Bayonne

Aviron Bayonnais - TOP 14 (first division)

Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque – PRO D2 (second division)

A little paradise bubbling over with charm boasting the region's red and white! With its strong identity, the Basque Country has everything to please: the ocean, moun-tains, countryside, renowned seaside resorts, gastronomy and authentic villages with their brightly-coloured "euskal etxe" (Basque houses).

The kingdom of surfing and water sports invites you to enjoy its host of paradisiacal spots. Golfing enthusiasts can work on their swing along one of the many courses dotted around the region. The Basque Country is also the birthplace of the Cesta Punta, Basque pelota, which explains the existence of numerous "frontons" (pelota courts) in all the towns and villages.

It's also paradise for hikers and cyclists. The sportiest can set off for an exceptional hike along the famous GR10, which starts on the ocean-front then heads up to the Pic du Midi d'Ossau, or why not enjoy a bit of rock-climbing, canyoning, horse-riding and spend some unforgettable moments joining in traditional celebrations organized in many of the destination's villages and towns.

Here everyone dances, sings and cele-brates ham, sardines, cherries, peppers, and more... Friendly challenges are set between villages which are also an opportunity for sharing intense moments of pure emotion, get-togethers and laughter. And, it goes without saying, here we celebrate the major sporting events, and rugby in particular.

3 - Landes

Stade Montois Rugby (Mont-de-Marsan) - PRO D2 (second division)

Union Sportive Dax Rugby Landes – Nationale 1 (third division)

A stone's throw from the ocean and the Pyrenees, the Landes has a two-sided nature. The pine forest, its immense beaches, paradise for surfers and its sandy paths. The valleys planted with vines and oak groves.
From north to south, we discover a Gascon tradition imbued with conviviality and sharing with many popular festivals, ferias, activities and events around Armagnac, eau-de-vie distilled and aged in oak barrels.
Also take a tour of Dax, city of water and the first spa resort in France to be pampered in its many spas. You will be surprised by its Gallo-Roman heritage but also by the Hotel & Spa Le Splendid, a well-known 1920s palace by Hemingway and a world masterpiece of Art Deco, or even Les Thermes, a modern building designed by Jean Nouvel.

And if you like cycling, take the Vélodyssée or the many cycle paths along the Atlantic coast or exploring the Landes forest.
First producer of foie gras in the world, the territory is a stronghold of "village rugby" where each municipality has its own field and team.

Existing for more than one hundred and ten years, the Stade Montois, the flagship club of the Landes enjoyed exemplary success after the war and until the 1970s. Over the generations, the colors of the "Stade" were worn loud and clear on the five continents by many internationals.

4 - Pau - Pyrenees

Section Paloise – TOP 14 (first division)

From the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean Sea, this destination is blessed by nature. Over the seasons, the Pyrenees mountains and their mythical passes, celebrated by the Tour de France cyclist, offer many leisure and relaxation activities.

In Pau, in Béarn in the heart of the Pyrenees, the remarkable visit to the castle where King Henri IV was born is a must before discovering the Jurançon vineyards, playing golf in the oldest club in continental Europe (1856) or enjoy horse racing at the Pont-Long racecourse, inaugurated in 1842.
The city is also famous for its basketball club Elan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez, which has been attracting crowds and unleashing passions for years.

Historically, Pau is one of the first three cities to host rugby in France in 1890 with the Poppies club. At the end of the 1960s, the Pau Section was marked by world-famous figures such as that of Robert Paparembode.

5 - Vallée de la Dordogne (Dordogne Valley)

Club Athlétique Brive -TOP 14 (première division)

Listed by UNESCO, the Dordogne Valley is one of the largest biosphere reserves in the world.
Its unique landscapes with vertiginous cliffs crossed by superb castles, its prehistoric caves including the famous Lascaux, its picturesque listed villages, the medieval town of Sarlat, its remarkable gardens... make it an exceptional destination.
And for horse-riding enthusiasts, don't miss a visit to the internationally renowned Haras de Pompadour, the cradle of the Anglo-Arab breed. It now houses the headquarters of the Haras Nationaux.

A very sporty city, Brive-la-Gaillarde maintains its image as a Rugby destination thanks to its good years among the best French rugby teams. To stay in the theme, the city of Brive-la-Gaillarde offers an Escape Game, one of whose universes represents the locker room of a stadium.

6 - Cognac - Angoulême

SA XV Charente Rugby (Soyaux-Angoulême) - Pro D2 (second division)
Union Cognac - Saint Jean D'Angely - nationale 1 (third division)

With its 75,000 ha, the Cognac vineyard is the largest white grape vineyard in Europe. The capital of wine eau-de-vie, just 1h30 from Bordeaux and less than 2h from Paris, knows how to distil its treasures.

It opens the doors of its greatest houses: Martell, Remy Martin, Hennessy… to learn the secrets of distillation or discover the aging cellars.

A few kilometers to the east, Angoulême hosts the French film festival and the international comic strip festival every year. The maze of cobbled pedestrian streets with walls painted with all sorts of bubbles and designs is worth a visit.

Recently a rugby destination, Angoulême is a sports town where it is as good to practice running as during "The strides of Angoulême" in April. It relies on its rugby club playing in Pro D2 to promote the attractive and dynamic image of the destination. A few kilometers away, we must mention the Union Cognac-Saint Jean d'Angély club (historic club created in 1899) which plays in National 1.

Voir cette publication sur Instagram

Un mois avant la reprise de la #PROD2 🤩 #mondaymotivation

Une publication partagée par SAXV Charente Rugby (@saxv_charente_rugby) le

7 - La Rochelle - Île de Ré

Stade Rochelais - TOP14 (first division)

La Rochelle, today, holds a recognized place in the world of rugby thanks to the rise in strength of its professional club.
With more than a hundred years of existence, Stade Rochelais has a rich history, in victories, but also in emotions and unifying moments. Finalist in 2021 of the Top 14 and the European Cup, the Rochelais achieved the feat of winning the biggest international competition, the European Rugby Cup, on May 28, 2022, against the Irish province of Leinster, quadruple tournament winner.

A major fishing and trading port since the 12th century, La Rochelle has always had its gaze turned towards the ocean! As you walk around the Old Port, admire its two towers which bear witness to the history of the city. They have seen the sails of many explorers disappear beyond the horizon. Speaking of sailing, La Rochelle hosts the Grand Pavois international afloat boat show every fall.

Don't miss its famous aquarium, or its local gastronomy - a seafood platter with tasty oysters from Marennes d'Oléron, for example. Not far away, discover the Ile de Ré and the Ile d'Oléron with their charming villages, the famous Fort Boyard, and the Hermione Frigate located in Rochefort__ (its home port), famous for having led the Marquis de La Fayette to the United States in 1780 in order to defend their independence. Maritime atmosphere guaranteed!

Nature lovers will continue their journey to the neighboring Marais poitevin, taking the time to navigate its canals or take the "Vélodyssée", a cycle route that crosses the Marais before continuing along the Atlantic coast to in Hendaye, on the Basque coast.

8 - Vallées du Lot et de la Garonne (Lot and Garonne valleys)

Sporting Union Agen - PRO D2 (second division)

Destinations full of charm for lovers of green and river tourism, the Lot and Garonne valleys are traversed from lock to lock to discover the treasures of the local heritage: its many bastides (Monflanquin, Monpazier, etc.), hilltop castles (Bonaguil, Gavaudun..), its "most beautiful villages in France" and their farmers' markets.

200 km of waterways on the Canal de Garonne, the Baïse or the Lot for a boat trip! To pedal along the water, take the Canal des Deux Mers by bike, this famous cycling route connects the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and is a delight for all cycling enthusiasts. The destination is also a paradise for hikers and lovers of equestrian tourism. Between two nature getaways, take the time to explore Agen, a charming town between Toulouse and Bordeaux, renowned for its famous prunes and its rugby club.

Rugby in Agen is recognized in particular thanks to its professional club. This sport is part of the traditions among young people.

There are stained glass windows in the chapel of the commune of Monclar d'Agenais with the effigy of players or scenes of rugby action to honor this sport, which is celebrated every year at Pentecost.

RELATED
ARTICLES 

Rugby is first and foremost a collective sport played across the globe. But, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine it’s also a...

The oval world is a blend of on-the-pitch matches and grandstand dress codes! Between the clothes shops created by...

When competition time is over, the stars of the oval ball welcome you to their fiefdom. Here’s my selection of the...

An inspirational stroll through magnificent castles in Perigord !

1hour 40 minutes from Paris and 35 minutes from Bordeaux by train, the historical town of Angoulême is these days...

Although Dordogne is much better known for its castles and gastronomy, it has a wealth of incredibly enchanting gardens...

RELATED
ARTICLES 

Rugby is first and foremost a collective sport played across the globe. But, in Nouvelle-Aquitaine it’s also a...

The oval world is a blend of on-the-pitch matches and grandstand dress codes! Between the clothes shops created by...

When competition time is over, the stars of the oval ball welcome you to their fiefdom. Here’s my selection of the...

An inspirational stroll through magnificent castles in Perigord !

1hour 40 minutes from Paris and 35 minutes from Bordeaux by train, the historical town of Angoulême is these days...

Although Dordogne is much better known for its castles and gastronomy, it has a wealth of incredibly enchanting gardens...