Aquitaine, the next place to escape to
If you missed our partners’ from Aquitaine visits to Chicago and New York City at the beginning of the month, you can still read their latest news here. Céline Boute, Marketing Manager on the US market at the Regional Tourist Board of Aquitaine, will show you how Aquitaine is the perfect vacation fit for all different types of clients.
Describe your favorite view in Aquitaine
The Pilat sand dune, on the Atlantic Ocean, is close to Arcachon and a one hour drive from Bordeaux. It is the highest in Europe (330 feet high), totally natural and the panoramic view from the top is amazing: the ocean on the one side, the pine tree forest on the other one, and the bay of Arcachon with its 19th century city. Sitting there watching the sun rise is such a peaceful moment! Another one, totally different, is the overhanging gardens of Marqueyssac in the Dordogne. From the belvedere, you can enjoy one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the Perigord : the medieval castles of Castelnaud, Beynac… and villages such as La Roque Gageac or Domme, both classified among the “most beautiful villages of France.” On Thursday evenings in July and August, you can enjoy candlelight nights, which makes the place even more magical…
If you had only 24 hours in Aquitaine, where would you eat and drink?
I would have to make some tough choices as all of Aquitaine, and South West France in general, is renowned for its food (“la cuisine du sud-ouest”) and offers a variety of wines.
In the Bordeaux area, I would have oysters in the bay of Arcachon. One of my favorite places is the small village of L’Herbe, close to Cap Ferret: a tiny place with wooden oyster farms along the bay, where the oysters are bred. You can cycle there from one village to another as there is a cycling path, the Vélodyssée.In the vineyards, I would have lunch at chateau La Dominique in Saint Emilion: the brand new cellar was designed by Jean Nouvel and you can also enjoy the restaurant La Terrasse Rouge where local and affordable food is served. The view of the surrounding vineyards is amazing, among them the famous Cheval Blanc, their closest neighbor. They have also just developed some cooking and wine pairing workshops.
In the Basque country,I would enjoy the Spanish-influenced cuisine at Les Halles, the indoor markets in Biarritz or Saint Jean de Luz. Many locals never miss this “rendez-vous”, especially during weekends. Local producers are always found here.One of my favorite places is Crampotte 30, at the fishermen port in Biarritz. In one of the small fishermen houses, Sophie Rolland has opened a very tiny restaurant and serves homemade tapas. And in Bayonne, you should not miss the local cider breweries, such as Ttipia for instance, where you can have local dinner in a very lively atmosphere.
And finaly in the Dordogne Périgord area, I would take a cooking class based on black truffle and foie gras, some of the best ingredients of the French cuisine. A restaurant I particularly like is Les Etincelles Vincent Lucas, where Chef Vincent Lucas produces an original and local cuisine, with his wife Anne: just let him know if there's anything you don’t eat and he will serve a surprise menu.
What is your favorite season in Aquitaine and why?
Fall, especially September, because the light is beautiful and the climate is very mild. It’s a good time to tour the vineyards as the vines are in their prime beauty. End of September starts the harvest time, and one can become a grape picker for a day, which is a very interesting experience. And in early September, we organize the Medoc marathon, the craziest in the world: dressing up is absolutely a must, food & drink points are provided with... wine, oysters and entrecote à la bordelaise obviously!
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