The Very Best of the Aquitaine, France


Chateau Duras & sunflowers, available to rent via Oliver’s Travels

The Aquitaine can be found in France’s south-westerly corner, nuzzling up to the Spanish border in the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Year after year it’s one of the most visited places in France, and it isn’t difficult to see why it appeals to so many people. Simply put, the Aquitaine, France represents the very best the country has to offer thanks to a wide range of landscapes and climates that offer visitors, well… pretty much anything they want!

the glorious hills of the Aquitaine

Taking in the whole breadth and depth of Aquitaine is a task in itself, and of course you’re going to want to cater your trip to concentrate on the places that you and your traveling companions particularly enjoy. Here’s some ideas of where to start and some things you should definitely try when visiting one of France’s most versatile destinations on your luxury French villa holiday!

a river in the Landes

Pick your landscape!

  • If you’re looking to be surrounded by countless acres of beautiful Pine forests, head to Landes – it’s the perfect place to get closer to nature with an easy walk, a more ambitious hike or even taking to two wheels and enjoying the spectacular surroundings by bike. Plus this area sits very close to the Atlantic.

the Dordogne river

  • The Dordogne River winds its way through parts of Aquitaine and provides some of the most stunning natural landscapes in all of France. The best way to take it all in is to hop in a kayak and gently head downriver, though a spot of fishing is a great way to enjoy in more sedate style.

night-time in Bordeaux

  • As Aquitaine’s capital, a visit to Bordeaux is a must! Of course, the city and its surrounding area is synonymous with some of the world’s best winemaking, and rolling vineyards make the ideal backdrop for a spot of cheese and wine tasting.

surfing in Biarritz

  • Thanks to its western Atlantic coast, Aquitaine has some great spots if you feel like a spot of sea and sand too. Enjoy the spirit of the Cote d’Azur at Biarritz (where you’ll also find what’s arguably the best surfing in Europe) or for something a little more family-friendly, head to the golden sands at Moliets Plage near Arcachon, or visit Europe’s tallest sand dune at the Dune du Pilat.

the Dune du Pilat, the largest in Europe

  • Fancy something a little more high altitude and adrenaline fuelled? Near the Spanish border, resorts like Gourette and La Pierre Saint Martin offer great opportunities for indulging in some winter sports, and all within a three hour drive from Bordeaux!

And while you’re there, make sure you indulge in these foodie highlights…

  • Hunt down some ‘black gold’ in Périgord – it’s literally the best place in the world for truffles, and you can even arrange your own truffle-hunting trip with a slap-up meal at the end.

Magret de Canard

  • The Aquitaine is also highly regarded when it comes to duck, and if you’re a carnivore you’ll be missing out on a massive culinary treat if you don’t sample this delicious waterfowl in one form or another during your stay. Try confit, a little foie gras or aiguellettes (duck filets) – you’ll find the very best in the Landes and the Périgord, though you can’t really go wrong as canard is top-notch throughout the whole of Aquitaine!

some of the best oysters in the world come from Arcachon

  • Another boon of Aquitaine’s coastline is the fantastic seafood. Again, thanks to the quality you can’t really go wrong when it comes to choosing, but oysters from the Arcachon Bay are rightly prized by gourmands across the globe.
  • Aquitaine produces some utterly fantastic cheeses from ewe and goat’s milk. Coeur is a deliciously tangy goat’s cheese stuffed with chestnut or fig preserve, while if you fancy something a little stronger go for the firmer Tomme de Pyrénées

wine tasting in St. Emilion is possible all year round

  • And of course, we can’t talk about Aquitaine’s gastronomy without mentioning the wine! Though you’ll find literally dozens of world-class wineries offering trips, tasting and much, much more, true wine aficionados will only have only place in mind when they think of Aquitaine – Saint Émilion, whose reputation on the world stage of wine is hard earned and wholly justified.

Villa le Priotlet for rent, right on the Dordogne river

Note: To truly take in the Aquitaine in all its glory, we suggest staying at one of the many villas available for rent, via our partner Oliver’s Travels. If you are a GO-Card holder you’ll receive a champagne reception upon arrival, a basket of locally made gourmet goods and free concierge services to help you plan what you want to do in the region. Head to the Oliver’s Travels website to check their whole portfolio of villas in Aquitaine and get your trip started.

you can rent anything from a cottage to a Chateau from Oliver’s Travels