Gironde is the largest french department with 2170 miles of rivers and 72 miles of fine coastline, and thanks to Bordeaux is home to 1.3 million people. It is named after the estuary that was formed by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. The department is most famous for its sandy beaches, delectable mussels and fine wines. Summer is hot, with the occasional storm and Winter is usually mild.
Bordeaux is the capital of the department and also where the main wine industry is located. Being a bustling, cosmopolitan city, it contrasts with the traditional atmosphere found in wine-producing communities. The city has an elegant shopping centre, including the longest shopping street in Europe, and many great restaurants. The port town of Langon is located to the south of Bordeaux and is the highest point on the river Garonne, and the area has many stunning villages including St Emilion with chic, boutique shopping and wonderful vineyard scenery.
The Aquitaine Atlantic coast attracts a number of surfers, and is considered to be the best surfing spot due to its high waves. The Bassin d’Arcachon offers a more relaxing experience, and if you like mussels this area produces France’s fourth largest supply.
British Airways, Flybe, Easyjet and Air France all fly to Bordeaux from most UK airports. The TGV can also get from Bordeaux to Paris in under 4 hours.