Along the Atlantic, it’s the sandy Gironde and Landes coast, lined with pine forests, and then the rockier Basque coast… Inland, there are proud fortified towns called bastides, prehistoric remains and countless gourmet venues… all demonstrating that there isn’t just “one” Aquitaine, but several.
Ranging from sea panoramas to country landscapes, Aquitaine features numerous tourist attractions to satisfy nature enthusiasts. With the Cordouan lighthouse, the Pyrenees, the Arcachon Bay and the Lascaux caves, your stay in Aquitaine promises a host of multifaceted unusual encounters: ocean, forests, vineyards, mountain and country, forts and castles that have come down the centuries, lofty winemaking estates, etc.
You have to travel the highways and byways of Aquitaine to fully appreciate its cultural wealth. Lifestyles, customs, faces, accents and even the way of wearing the beret all show subtle changes as you cross this surprising region.
Unlike the straight coastal line of the Gironde and the Landes, a wonderland for nudists, the Basque coast is more rocky and craggy. Just off the resorts stretching from Soulac to Hendaye, a peaceful countryside spreads inland, lined with vineyards, picturesque villages and chateaux that will greatly appeal to nature lovers.
A stay in Aquitaine is an opportunity to explore the Périgord and the Lot-et-Garonne, but also lesser-known regions like the Entre-Deux-Mers in the Gironde, the Chalosse in the Landes, the Béarn in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. What could Bordeaux’s and Sarlat’s architecture, the prehistoric caves in the Vézère Valley and the airial clearings in the Landes have in common, other than the beauty of their shapes in harmony with the landscapes?
And if you like old stones, you should tour the small fortified towns (bastides) built in the 13th and 14th centuries: Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Monpazier, Eymet, Monflanquin... Or stroll along the small streets of the Medieval and Renaissance cities of Brantôme, Sarlat and Saint-Emilion. Your stay in Aquitaine also represents a chance to make a great journey back in time to several thousand years ago, discovering the Lascaux prehistoric caves and their rock paintings, or the prehistoric zoo in Fontirou. Enjoy the Pyrenees Natural Park, with its flora and fauna thriving in a well-preserved setting.
If you’re feeling like sports, abandon yourself to the joys of rafting down the Pyrenean Gaves (mountain streams), canoeing along the peaceful Dordogne River, unless you’d rather surf the ocean waves at Lacanau, Hossegor and Biarritz, or maybe set sail on the great lakes that line the coast. If you’re feeling like quiet, you should explore the region, from the faux-plats in the Landes to Pyrenean mountain pass, hiking or cycling along signposted footpaths and trails.
Come breakfast or dinnertime, Aquitaine tables will surprise you with the sheer diversity of their specialties. Because, if confits and foie gras figure on every menu, be advised that in Bordeaux, people are quite fond of lamprey, and that the Basque simply love Bayonne ham, chocolate, turron candy and Izarra liqueur...
On a good menu, you’ll probably get to enjoy Arcachon oysters and salmis of wood pigeon, served with one of those “princely wines” known as Medoc, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol or Graves. Not forgetting however that while the whole world envies us for those delicious Bordeaux wines, it will also succumb to the plum or violet bouquet of a very old Armagnac.
Are you considering a stay in Aquitaine for your next holidays, or simply for a weekend? Book your Logis hotel and enjoy the many available activities offered by your hosts.