Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine, is situated 350 miles southwest of Paris. One of the best known cities in France, its fine wines are appreciated the world over by millions of connoisseurs. A major center of communications and commerce, Bordeaux is the western terminus of an excellent road and rail network between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. This region of wide-open spaces includes Europe's largest forest, and offers a long list of outdoor activities in an authentic and healthy environment. The number and quality of its golf courses has made it France's leading region for golfers.
A visit to the Aquitaine region inevitably inspires interest in its past. With an abundance of prehistoric sites and a fascinating variety of artifacts, it is no wonder that the region is referred to as the "Cradle of the Arts." The outstanding finds at Lascaux, La Madeleine, and Rouffignac, the abbeys, fortresses, and châteaux, and the Gallo-Roman remains will delight those interested in architecture and archaeology.
Romantics will be fascinated by the social history of the region, the duchy ruled over by Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 12th century. Married first to Louis VII of France, and later to Henry II of England, Eleanor bore ten children, including Richard the Lion-Hearted. One of the earliest feminists, Eleanor's court encouraged the flowering of the troubadour tradition and the development of the concept of romantic love.
A wine-growing region of worldwide reputation, the vineyards of Bordeaux produce Margaux, Medoc, Sauterne, and Saint-Emilion wines, leading examples from an area where many excellent wines are produced. Aquitaine abounds with time-honored recipes and new cuisine, with local specialties like truffles and foie gras to whet the appetite of the gourmet. Local and international hotel chains offer all the services necessary to satisfy the most demanding visitors. Quality, price, and pleasure are the key words of promise in Aquitaine.