Aquitaine has 5 departments – Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrenees-Atlantiques.
- Dordogne a long time favourite with the British, with its rolling countryside, plentiful vineyards, beautiful historic villages with bustling markets, beaches, rivers and lakes to swim in, gives a real taste of France with something for everyone. ·
- Gironde is home to Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine. This bustling city with its attractive architecture, numerous cultural events and excellent shopping is also at the heart of one of the two top regions for French wine. The vineyards of Bordeaux produce excellent wine, many of which are leaders in their fields.
- Landes with an average yearly temperature of 12°C ( 53°F ), world class surfing on the ‘Silver Coast” and hundreds of kilometers of forested cycling paths, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Lot-et-Garonne located to the south of Dordogne and is divided into two by the Garonne River. This beautiful region is rich in historical places to visit such as spectacular chateaux and there are weekly markets in the fortified medieval towns. The region is also famous for its produce and plum and nut orchards spread across the rolling hillsides.
- Pyrenees-Atlantiques due to its mild climate, Atlantic coastline and proximity to Spain, this region can be considered a hot spot. This region offers a great number of year-round outdoor activities including surfing and hiking and ski resorts that boast many of the advantages of the Alps but without the crowds and are less expensive.
The best way to travel to Aquitaine is by air to one of the four major airports in the region. Low cost airlines such as Ryanair fly direct to Biarritz, Pau and Bergerac from London Stansted. It is also possible to fly from most UK airports on British Airways, Flybe and Air France to Bordeaux.
Aternatively, the TGV, France’s high speed train service, connects London-Waterloo to both Biarritz and Bordeaux.
Due to its lengthy Atlantic coastline, the climate of Aquitaine is mild. As a result the mountains can accumulate over 120 inches of rain per year, which makes this region greener (with many forests and lakes) than the Mediterranean. Warmer days begin in May and linger into September and October. Summers in the inland areas can be very hot (record temperatures of 40°C+/104°F in 2003) whereas the coasts and Pyrenees remain cooler thanks to sea-breezes and altitude.