Discover Aquitaine

By: David Seymour

The Aquitaine region of France is most famous --- and rightly so --- for it fabulous beaches and superb wine. It was named by the Romans who were extremely happy to discover so many rivers flowing through the land. England, as well as the Romans, once ruled this under-rated area of France. If you are searching for , then this region has got to be at the top of your list.

Most regions of France enjoy good food and wine as a part of daily life. This region benefits from truly great food and wine. Bordeaux is a major wine producing area, known the world over. But did you know you can also find a natural inland sea with the largest beach in the whole of Europe here? It is this sea, Bassin d'Arcachon, which produces more than 80% of the country's mussels.

You will probably be familiar with the regions within Aquitaine, such as Dordogne, Gironde and Lot-et-Garonne, but probably the most famous place within this region is Bordeaux, which is at the heart of the Gironde.

Gironde is the largest of the 'departments' or areas within Aquitaine. It has more than two thousand mile of rivers and seventy miles of fine coastline. The Gironde is home to more than one million people. It was named after the estuary which was formed by two rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne. Summers here are hot, and winters tend to be mild. There are a multitude of traditional villages in this region, many set picturesquely amongst acres of vineyards.

Bordeaux, nestled in the heart of the Gironde, with a population of just over half a million inhabitants, is at the heart of south-west France. It has what is considered to be the most important port in the whole of Europe. But it is probably better known for its neoclassical architecture and spacious, well kept town centre. Bordeaux also boasts wide boulevards as well as well tended parks. An air of the 18th century pervades the streets, a feeling which appears to have been effortlessly cultivated.

The town was first settled in the third century BC by Romans. Between 1154 and 1450 the English took charge, and assisted with the development of the wine industry. By far the most popular and widely known of the many wines produced in this area is the red wine known as Claret.

If easy access from the UK is important to you, you should be reassured that the region has an extensive travel network. Bordeaux is now linked by TGV to Paris. And airlines such as Air France and British Airways have regular flights into Bordeaux from the UK.

If you have been searching for a , you owe it to yourself and your family to explore the delightful area of Aquitaine.

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