Aquitaine ,capital city Bordeaux, is one of the grand significant regions of France; it is also one of the largest and most varied regions of France, stretching from the foothills of the Massif Central in the north, to the Spanish border in the south, a distance of over 300 km. In the middle Ages, Aquitaine was allied with the Plantagenet kings of England, and the region has many historic connections with the British Isles, notably through the wine trade.
Main attractions and sites in Aquitaine :
Bordeaux: regional capital, remarkable 18th century and earlier architecture, including the theater, bridge over the Garonne, and other buildings, Riverside, street sand markets. Bordeaux Art Gallery has a large collection, particularly rich in 17th-19th century French and European art, including works by Chardin, Greuze,Claude Lorrain, Poussin, Delacroix, Renoir, Frans Hals, Van Dyck, Rubens,Ruysdael, plus a lesser but interesting collection of French 19th and 20th century art. The “Grand Theater” is one of the finest surviving 18th century theaters in Europe, and the only one in France to have conserved its 18th century interior.
St Emilion: small wine-making city with narrow streets and unique underground’monolithic’ church.
The Aquitaine vineyards: the chateaux of the Bordeaux, Medoc and St Emilion vine yards. The most famous Bordeaux vineyards are situated northwest of Bordeaux, on the south side of the Gironde estuary.
Agen: interesting art gallery housed in Renaissance buildings. A fine collection of painting including works by Goya, Tintoretto,Greuze, Corot, Boudin, Sisley and other. The aqueduct carrying the Garonne canal over the river, completed in 1843, is 550 metres long, and is the second longest canal bridge in France.
Bonaguil: fabulous medieval fortress chateau in the valley of the Lot, near Fumel One ofthe finest castles in France.
The Canal du Midi or the Canal laterals de la Garonne: Europe’s oldest canal system, linking Atlantic and Mediterranean. Of particular note is the 539 metre-long canal bridge at Agen, the second longest canal aqueduct in France,carrying the canal over the river Garonne.
The Bastide towns of Aquitaine: small medieval planned towns, dating from the time of the hundred year’s war between France and England. Three of the finest examples in Aquitaine are Eymet in the Dordogne, Montpazier (built by the English), and the hilltop bastide of Montflanquin.
By train: TGV from Paris Gare Montparnasse,or from Lille; train from Toulouse or Marseille.
By car: motorway from the Channel ports via Rouen and Tours, or from Paris.
By air: to airports at Bordeaux, Bergerac, Pau and Biarritz – or (peripheral)Toulouse.