Attractions in Aquitaine

Aquitaine is one of the three regions in the larger region of Nouvelle-Aquitane of France along with Poitou-Charentes and Limousin. It is situated in the south-west of France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It is composed of the 5 departments of Dordogne, Lot et Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes and Gironde. In the Middle Ages Aquitaine was a kingdom and a duchy, whose boundaries fluctuated considerably. There are 250 kilometres of ocean coastline, the vast coastline is also home to a great many boating harbours and seaside resorts, from the beaches of the Médoc in the north to those of the Basque Coast on the Spanish border. It is also bordered to the south by a vast range of mountains: the Pyrenees. The most magnificent vestiges of the Palaeolithic Era in France are concentrated along the Vézère Valley in Perigord, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Coastline of Aquitaine offers unforgettable fishing trips, relaxation, beneficial thalassotherapy centres, as well as cycling tracks and golf courses in the shade of pine trees. Inland Aquitaine offers rolling fairways, walks, horse rides or bike rides, and canoeing along the waterways. The Pyrenean Aquitaine is ideal for fishing, white-water canoeing, well-being in the spa towns and hiking through unique landscapes.

See also: Cities in Aquitaine

Attractions

Lascaux Cave Paintings. Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art.

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Château de Bonaguil is a castle in the French commune of Saint-Front-sur-Lémance, but actually owned by the neighbouring commune of Fumel in the Lot-et-Garonne département. It has been classified as a Monument historique (Historic Monument) since 1862.

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Cordouan lighthouse is an active lighthouse located 7 km at sea, near the mouth of the Gironde estuary in France. At a height of 223 feet (68 m) it is the tenth tallest “traditional lighthouse” in the world. The Tour de Cordouan, the ‘Patriarch of Lighthouses’, is by far the oldest lighthouse in France.

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Saint-Émilion’s history goes back to prehistoric times and is a World Heritage site, with fascinating Romanesque churches and ruins stretching all along steep and narrow streets. The Romans planted vineyards in what was to become Saint-Émilion as early as the 2nd century.

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The Château de Marqueyssac is a 17th century chateau and gardens located at Vézac, in the Dordogne Department of France. The chateau was built at the end of the 17th century by Bertrand Vernet de Marqueyssac, Counselor to Louis XIV, on cliffs overlooking the Dordogne Valley.

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Biarritz is located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department in the Aquitaine region. It is adjacent to Bayonne and Anglet and 11 miles (18 kilometres) from the border with Spain. It is in the traditional province of Labourd in the French Basque Country.

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Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a fishing port on the Basque coast and now a famous resort, known for its architecture, sandy bay, the quality of the light and the cuisine. The town is located south of Biarritz. The port lies on the estuary just before the river joins the ocean.

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Sarlat is one of the most attractive and alluring towns in southwestern France.The town of Sarlat is in a region known in France as the Périgord Noir. Sarlat is a medieval town that developed around a large Benedictine abbey of Carolingian origin. The medieval Sarlat Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Sacerdos.

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Bordeaux is classified “City of Art and History”. The city has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List as “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble”. Bordeaux is home to one of Europe’s biggest 18th century architectural urban areas

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