The Southwestern France is a region that stretches all the way from the Bordeaux area and down to the Northern Basque Country and Spain. However, only areas closer to the Atlantic than to the Mediterranean are included in the region.
Bordeaux is the elegant capital of this wine producing region. Excellent museums, attractive buildings and a thriving student community combine to make Bordeaux an interesting city for both residents and visitors.
Arcachon is a beach resort which is home to the highest sand dune in Europe. This pleasant little town enjoys good weather and is famous for its oyster and pleasure boating. Bayonne is the jewel in the crown of Basque urban heritage, the white houses with red or green timber stand on the banks of the river Nive. Biarritz is a stylish coastal town, 8 km west of Bayonne. Biarritz is a well known and popular seaside resort, but the town is expensive. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France. It is located inland at the foot of the Pyrenees, and is a lively city and an important cultural center.
Every imaginable outdoor activity is available in Southwestern France: rafting, kayaking, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, golf, rock climbing, horseback riding and in the Pyrénées, skiing. House boats and pleasure craft can be rented on many rivers and canals.
The Southwest's culinary tradition is closely tied to the land. Few regions offer such a variety of wild mushrooms, black truffles, prunes, chestnuts and walnuts, game and cheeses. Also the region is famous for its wines, especially in the Bordeaux area where you can visit some of the famous châteaux such as Margaux, Lafite-Rothschild, and Mouton-Rothschild. The brandy-producing region of Armagnac is also located in this area.
The Dordogne region of Southwestern France is one of the most beautiful and popular destinations in the country. The region is located between the Loire valley and the High Pyrénées and named after the great river Dordogne that runs through it. A lovely countryside, dotted by the golden stone houses native to this region, makes Dordogne something very special.
The legendary stone villages such as Monpazier, Rocamadour, Domme and La Roque Gageac, are unforgettably picturesque. The market of Sarlat-le Caneda is just one of many remarkable markets in the area, but this is one that is truly a shopper's dream come true. Dordogne is furthermore famous for its medieval castles sprinkled throughout the region (there are said to be 1001 castles in the Dordogne).