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Biarritz ist ein beliebter Urlaubsort in der Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bild: Mike_O/shutterstock

Nouvelle Aquitaine – The South-West of France

Nouvelle Aquitaine Location
The location of Nouvelle Aquitaine in France, Image: Turkas / shutterstock

One of the most scenic holiday regions in France is located in the southwest of the country. Nouvelle-Aquitaine offers contrasting landscapes, authentic places and breathtakingly beautiful flora. With its mild climate, inviting beaches, charming towns and unique sights, the region is an unforgettable destination.

Hiking and cycling surrounded by beautiful nature

“Pure nature” – this is the perfect way to describe the inviting region of Nouvelle Aquitaine. If you visit the southwest of France, you should plan a lot of time for outdoor activities, because hardly any other destination offers so many enchanting natural excursion destinations. Especially bike tours, because they allow you to enjoy the landscape to the fullest. But even if you set off with hiking boots and a backpack, you will very quickly be enchanted by the natural beauty that can be discovered throughout the region.

The magnificent forests of the region are just as attractive as the waterfall in Gimpel or the lake of Vassivière. Inland, the numerous lakes are particularly attractive. Among other things, the lake of Soustons invites you to sail, row, surf and stand-up paddle boarding or yoga paddling. The lake of Seignosse is quieter and more romantic. A trip to the lake of Arjuzanx is fantastic for families, because cranes can be observed up close here. Basically, the region offers wonderfully quiet places that invite you to relax and enjoy, so that everyone can discover their own personal highlights for themselves.

Atlantic coast – beautiful beaches meet traditional spa and seaside resorts

Basta Rock in Biarritz
Basta Rock in Biarritz, Image: Luke SW / shutterstock

In addition to fine sandy beaches, numerous bathing and health resorts are spread over a good 720 kilometres of coastline. Numerous marinas provide maritime flair. The beaches of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region not only attract bathers who want to relax and unwind on the quiet stretches of beach, but also surfers appreciate the hotspots around Lacanau, Hossegor and Biarritz . Of course, excursions to the islands of Île de Ré and Île d’Oléron are very popular.

On tours along the coast, places like La Rochelle and Hendaye beckon. But the thermal baths of Cambo Les Bains, Saujon, Evaux-les-Bains and Dax are also very popular and are among the best in the country. In the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, vinotherapy is also offered, which is a special experience for wellness enthusiasts. One of the most famous destinations in the region is the 100-metre-high Dune du Pilat, known as Europe’s highest dune, located on the Bay of Arcachon .

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The World Heritage Sites of Nouvelle Aquitaine

Dordogne, Nouvelle Aquitaine
Dordogne, Image: Francisco Javier Gil / shutterstock

If you choose Nouvelle Aquitaine as your destination, you should not miss out on the cultural richness of the region. World Heritage Sites such as the Lascaux Cave are among the breathtaking sights of the region. Particularly worth seeing is the valley of the Vezère, which, together with the neighboring valley of the Dordogne, offers 15 World Heritage Sites. The valleys are therefore often referred to as “the cradle of mankind”.

But Nouvelle Aquitaine has many other historical sites that offer unique insights into history. A visit to the Henri IV Castle in Pau is highly recommended. Today, the castle is used as an exhibition space by the National Museum. Another highlight is the National Museum of Porcelain in Limoges. A special gem are the churches of Saint Léonard de Noblat near Limoges and Saint-Front in Périgueux. These are located on the Via Lemovicensis and are the starting point for many pilgrims on their way to Santiago di Compostela.

Bordeaux is one of the many villages and towns in the region that are worth seeing. A good half of the area of the well-known city is considered particularly worthy of protection and has been listed by UNESCO as an “extraordinary urban and architectural ensemble”.

Unforgettable places to visit in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region

Even those who love more unusual places will rave about a stay in the southwest of France long after their holiday. A very special place is, among other things, the bamboo park in the Périgord in Le Buisson de Cadouin. It offers a tropical ambience and invites you to take long walks, because entire forests of bamboo have grown here. In addition, the park offers a Zen rock garden that encourages meditation and is also ideal for simply enjoying the peaceful tranquility of this place.

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Aubazine
Aubazine, Image: Francky38 / shutterstock

The cave of Proumeyssac with the crystal cathedral, on the other hand, is a place that shines with its indescribable beauty. In a 40 m high vault there is a fantastically decorated room. Uniquely beautiful natural stone ornaments, petrified fountains decorate the stalactite cave.

Visitors to the town of Aubazine can walk in the footsteps of Coco Chanel. The monastery complex located here is one of the oldest in France. The medieval abbey once included an orphanage where Gabrielle Chanel lived from the age of 12 until her 18th birthday. With dreamlike stained glass windows and detailed church art, the monastery complex is a gem that inspired and shaped Gabrielle Chanel.

The pleasure region of Nouvelle Aquitaine

However, southwestern France is also a true oasis for connoisseurs. Novelle Aquitaine is particularly known for excellent red wines, which are pressed in Bordeaux, Bergerax, Cognac, Dura and Armagnac, among others. Accordingly, visits directly to the winegrowers on site are recommended, who of course also offer tastings and are happy to provide a look into the wine cellars.

The region is as varied in culinary terms as it is scenic, because while the coastal region offers oysters, the Basque Country produces the legendary Bayonne ham. Ossau Iraty, on the other hand, is known for sheep’s cheese, while hot peppers are grown in Espelette. But melons, strawberries and much more are also grown in the region.

Due to the variety of regional products, the cuisine of Nouvelle Aquitaine has always been multi-layered and so it is not surprising that today there are over 50 restaurants in the region that stand out with one or more Michelin stars. But good food in the Novelle Aquitaine region is not dependent on stars and so there are delicious wines and excellent food in almost every restaurant.