Five Reasons to Fall in Love with Nouvelle Aquitaine

Originally posted on & updated on 10th February, 2024

With the sand and surf of the Atlantic to the west and the majestic peaks of the Pyrénées to the South, Nouvelle-Aquitaine is one of the most popular destinations for Europeans relocating to France. Nouvelle-Aquitaine has been formed by bringing together the former regions of Aquitaine, Poitou Charente and Limousin to create a vast jurisdiction packed with culture and variety. So why is this region so popular with British buyers and those relocating from other parts of Europe such as Scandinavia? Here are five reasons why so many people fall in love with this part of France and choose to make it their home.

Mild Climate with Proper Seasons

In the UK we’ve almost forgotten how the seasons used to be and it can be hard to differentiate spring from summer and autumn from winter. In Nouvelle Aquitaine the winters are gentle but summertime is gratifyingly hot and sunny, just as it should be. Spring is full of colour as the crops push up through the warming soil and nature bursts into life. The Gulf Stream prevents this area becoming too dry which means autumn harvests are plentiful. Which leads us neatly onto food…

Gastronomic Delights

Hillside flocks of sheep in the Pyrénées produce excellent quality lamb which is a specialty of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region and is used in rich stews along with other local seasonal produce from Perigord and fresh vegetables farmed in Landes, Gers, and Lot-et-Garonne. The Basque Country is of course famous for its seafood and there are superb restaurants right across the region serving fish from the Bay of Biscay, oysters from Arcachon and the famous foie gras. It goes without saying that cheese is on the menu here as in other parts of France including locally made hard and soft ewe’s milk cheeses. If you’ve missed James Martin’s excellent recent French Adventure on ITV, try to catch up with them, they usually involve a fair amount of butter and wine, both in the the food, and the chef.

Aquitaine is where the French Go

A recent survey of French second home owners found that they too love Nouvelle Aquitaine, particularly Charente and Gironde. In fact, stylish Arcachon Bay with its magnificent sand dunes, chic resorts and pine forests lining the coast is right at the top of their list. It is home to Europe’s tallest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, a popular tourist attraction which is 110.5m high and growing. The seaside resorts of Cap-Breton, Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with their cosmopolitan feel and outstanding restaurants are also big favourites with holidaymakers from all over Europe. A little further up the coast in Charentes-Maritime visitors can do some celebrity spotting in the elegant resort of La Rochelle and Ile de Ré with its pretty harbour, which is easily reached from the mainland by bridge.

Outdoor Living

Dordogne has long been a favourite with British tourists and expats thanks to its warm climate and peaceful countryside – not to mention the meandering Dordogne river which is a haven for sporting and outdoor enthusiasts. Its origins in the Massif Central are characterised by deep gorges and rapids which explains this area’s appeal to hikers, kayakers and canoeists. Along the route of the river, as it works its way to the Gironde estuary, quaint Perigourdine houses sit beneath golden cliffs, their steep roofs reflected in the flowing water. La Roque-Gageac is well worth a visit if only to see the exotic palms and cacti that have made their home on the gorge face. Nouvelle Aquitaine also reaches right out across the Pyrénées-Atlantiques where there are more outdoor adventures to be enjoyed. Don’t miss the waterfalls and the green delights of Les Gorges de Kakuetta.

Did We Mention Wine?

We couldn’t possibly talk about a region that includes places like Bordeaux, Cognac, Pomerol, Saint-Emilion and Margaux without mentioning wine. Saint-Emilion, for example, is not only a picturesque medieval village, it has an impressive winemaking heritage. It is also the only wine site to have a UNESCO classification. The vineyards that stretch from Bordeaux to Garonne produce Medoc and the region is also famous for Sauternes and Bergerac, to name just a few. The landscape is scattered with small independent growers as well as large vineyards that export worldwide.

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