New Aquitaine, Occitanie

Ocean or Mediterranean sea? Summer is coming… so let’s enjoy the beautiful and sunny Southwest of France (Nouvelle-Aquitaine & Bordeaux)

Do you want some inspiration for the coming summer holidays? This month let’s explore the treasures of the Southwest within both Occitanie and Nouvelle Aquitaine regions.

These two regions are seen as great rivals when speaking about quality of living (the French Douceur de vivre), gastronomy, sunny weather and consequently they are also competing in attracting most of the Parisians and Northern Frenchs. And this is not only for summer holidays… do you know that big southwest cities like Bordeaux, Toulouse or Montpellier are ones of the most dynamic cities in France gaining each more than 10.000 inhabitants per year?

However, people from southwest of France are facing an unsolved existential question: how to know which is part of the Southwest and which is not – and thus is usually called “the (unlucky) others”-?

From a geographical and administrative point of view, both regions are in the southwest quarter of France. They share the Garonne watershed and are bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Pyrenees mountains and Mediterranean cost to the South, and Massif Central mountains to the Northeast.

From an historical perspective, they were both part of the Occitania region where Occitan was historically the main language spoken (see the map with the flag and the Occitan cross). Both regions share a very rich gastronomy, making marvellous wine (and not only from Bordeaux region…), dish specialties based on duck breast and foie gras as well as typical cheeses such as the Roquefort nicknamed very modestly “Le Roi des Fromages”.

From the past, these territories have kept a prestigious cultural heritage between traditional countryside and towns of art and history whose names may be familiar to you, among others: Albi and Toulouse (les villes roses), Bordeaux (et son “port de la Lune”), Carcassonne (la citée médievale), Bayonne (et sa culture basque) or Perpignan (la catalane).

But on the top of their great history, gastronomy or beautiful landscape, there is maybe one thing people from South-West are the proudest… their typical Southwest accent (l’accent du Sud-Ouest!) which make them really unique and endearing!

(to know more about accents and their particularities in France see this little interesting video)

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