Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the largest administrative region in France, located in the south-west of the country. The region was created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes.
The new region covers 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) – or 1⁄8 of the country – and has approximately 5,800,000 inhabitants. The new region was established on 1 January 2016.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine lends itself to relaxing holidays from the Basque Coast to the Périgord-Limousin Natural Regional Park – discover its beaches, cities steeped in history, many picturesque villages, medieval fortified towns and also its mountains, vineyards and the Landes forest.
After Île-de-France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the premier French region in research and innovation, with five universities (Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Limoges, Poitiers and Pau). The first agricultural region of Europe in terms of turnover, it is the first French region in terms of tourism jobs, as it has three of the four historic resorts on the French Atlantic coast (Arcachon, Biarritz and Royan), as well as several ski resorts, and is the fifth French region in terms of business creation.
The region embraces 12 departments in total: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne and Haute-Vienne. Its largest city and only metropolis is Bordeaux, in the heart of an urban agglomeration of nearly one million inhabitants.
Its economy is based on agriculture and viticulture (vineyards of Bordeaux and Cognac), tourism, a powerful aerospace industry, digital economy and design, para chemical and pharmaceutical industries, financial sector (Niort is the fourth-largest financial centre in the nation, specialising in mutual insurance companies), and industrial ceramics (Limoges).
In terms of culture, the new region includes major parts of Southern France (“Midi de la France”), marked by Basque, Occitan and Oïl (Poitevin and Saintongeais) cultures. Historically, it is the "indirect successor" to medieval Aquitaine and extends over a large part of the former Duchy of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Saint André Cathedral. The building is one of 69 monuments associated with the Way of St James recognised by UNESCO when adding the famous pilgrimage to the world heritage list. © Atout France/Michel Angot.
Tourism is an important sector in a region with significant assets, starting with a mild and sunny climate, famous vineyards (wine tourism) and many heritage sites, some of international renown. Its wide ocean frontage, stormed by thousands of vacationers – and surfers – every summer is characterised by sandy beaches that often stretch to the horizon.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine is also a delight for the food-lover, with numerous Michelin starred restaurants. In Landes and the Périgord, duck breasts, gizzards and foie gras are the specialities. The Basque country treats you to Bayonne ham, sheep’s cheeses and espelette chili. But the gastronomic trump card in Aquitaine is to be found in its vineyards. From Unesco-listed Saint-Emilion to the House of the Wines of Jurançon, through Planète Bordeaux or the House of Wines in Bergerac, you can sample the finest vintages from the Aquitaine region.