Famous for the red wines that bear its name, Bordeaux is nestled along the swift flowing yet tranquil Garonne River, flowing into the Dordogne beneath the city to create the largest estuary in France. As famous for its relaxed and accepting culture as it is for its fine vintages, the whole region seems to exude a laid back elegance, confident in its own character. Incorporating French, Spanish, and Basque influences, this part of southwestern France has one of the richest cultural identities in the country, as well as spectacular landscapes along the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrenees.
• Rich history
• Historical landmarks
• Excellent restaurants
• Lively nightlife
• World famous wineries
This part of southwestern France has been described as an archaeologist’s heaven as it is a region that has been inhabited by mankind for tens of thousands of years – longer than any other area in Europe.
Famed throughout history as the birthplace of counts and kings, Aquitaine has been one of the most hotly contested regions in France, and has changed hands often. Romans conquered the region in approximately 60 A.D., and the area was a vital source of tin for the Roman army. The Frankish King Charlemagne was never in full control of the region, and it is often considered to be one of the most striking examples of European feudalism in the world.
From the coming of Christianity until the late 18th century, this region was the battlefield for many conflicts. The English fought and lost the Hundred Years’ War for Aquitaine, which was followed by the Wars of Religion in a series of massacres and guerilla wars. The region was occupied by both German and Italian forces during World War II, and served as a vital submarine bases, with many of the U-boats active in the Atlantic getting under way from the mouth of the Garonne.
Described by Victor Hugo as the ‘most beautiful city in the world’, Bordeaux is a city with a flourishing economy due its spectacular trade in wine, and fiercely independent residents. Today, Bordeaux is internationally known for its superior wines, laid back atmosphere, and its palatial residences of the multitude of rulers that have come from the region.