Wine, food, châteaux, vineyards and sunflower fields: the southwest is the essence of rural France, and much more. The historical richness of the southwest begins tens of thousands of years ago, when our palaeolithic ancestors made paintings on the walls of a cave in Lascaux in the Dordogne region and at other caves in the Vézère valley.
Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine, is also the wine capital of France. A thriving port city on the estuary of the Garonne River, it has a beautifully preserved 18th century centre and excellent shopping for visitors. Its Music Festival which takes place in May is an annual treat. Surrounding Bordeaux are some of the finest vineyards in the world, including those of Margaux, Médoc, and Saint-Émilion. Most vineyards welcome visitors to visit their cellars and sample the product.