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"Holiday heaven!
A delightful region of France with so much to do and discover, be it active or more of a leisurely nature. The days were just not long enough. We have returned refreshed and inspired".
Mr & Mrs Williams, Cheshire

We say... “There is so much to say, to see, to do, to eat and to drink in South-West France. Such a variety of landscapes: views over hills, mountains and the ocean; châteaux, medieval bastides and hilltop villages; and colourful sweet smelling markets everywhere, including the great summer evening markets where we all gather around large tables to enjoy the fresh delicious food, and music from the local group. Come on! You are all welcome!”
Area representative for South west France

Pay a visit... to one of the many vineyards in the area. Battalions of vines carpet the countryside in colourful shades of green that gradually turn to yellows and reds as the season progresses. Many 'domaines' offer wine tasting so why not seize the chance to discover new wines in authentic surroundings?

Spend... the day on the beach. The elegant resort of Biarritz has a lovely sweep of beach and a promenade lined with 'Belle Epoque' hotels. To the south lies St Jean de-Luz where bright red, green and blue fishing boats and red timbered houses create a colourful setting.

Taste the freshest seafood and river fish caught that day, the foie gras and duck dishes of the region, the delicious cheeses and the seasonal vegetables from the market. Finish with some fresh fruit, Agen prunes covered in chocolate,or a mouth watering cake from the local 'pâtisserie'.

Enjoy a day on the water. Take your pick from a boat trip on the Rivers Lot or Tarn, canoeing down the River Aveyron or windsurfing and swimming in the sea along the coast at Biarritz and St Jean de Luz.

Savour the taste of the warm croissant and the fresh coffee as you sit outside the village café watching the weekly market unfold before your eyes. Browse the stalls laden with fresh produce from the region, sample some of the local wine, and contemplate what to buy for dinner that evening.

Discover the magical world of caves. This corner of France boasts some spectacular caverns that are open to the public. The 'Grotte de PechMerle' is famous for its wall paintings whilst the 'Gouffre de Padirac' is so large that a boat takes you along the underground river.

Mas des Oliviers
Côte d'Azur - Provence and Cote d'Azur
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Vizinada, Istria - Istria
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Casa das Pintoras
Vila Praia de Ancora - Costa Verde and Minho
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La Bergerie
Dordogne - South West France
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Dordogne - South West France
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Château des Vignes
Var - Provence and Cote d'Azur
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HOME | France | South West France Area Information

South West France (Aquitaine & Midi Pyrenees), Area Information

South West France, Aquitaine
From the splendid imposing peaks of the Pyrénées, the Atlantic coastline on the west, well ordered fruit orchards and vineyards, higgledy-piggledy villages and medieval bastides, to lush river valleys and deep gorges, the variety of landscapes is impressive.

Our properties are in the Aquitaine 'départements'of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Dordogne, whilst in the Midi-Pyrénées houses are concentrated in the 'départements' of Tarn-et-Garonne, Lot, Aveyron and Tarn.

Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Les Landes

With the Atlantic coast to the west and the border with Spain high over mountain passes, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques is a lush green area that remains unspoilt by the excesses of tourism. In bygone days this province was called Le Béarn, and even today the locals are fiercely proud of being Béarnais.

The spa town of Salies-de-Béarn, its picturesque houses meandering along the riverside, is popular with those seeking the therapeutic properties of its salt waters.Orthez is on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela, and Navarrenx and Sauveterre are good starting points for exhilarating kayaking trips on the Gave d'Oloron.The Béarnais capital, Pau, is an atmospheric city with breathtaking views of mountain peaks.

South West France
On the coast, the choice is yours: Biarritz, long associated with the 'rich and famous', manages to be both sophisticated and friendly - its fine sand family beach is backed by the splendour of the Casino. St Jean-de-Luz is a buzzing little townwithin a horseshoe bay with its beach adjacent to the lively fishing harbour.The stretch of coastline by Capbreton and Hossegor will appeal to surfers.

Just inland is the town of Soustons, a delightful town with a number of freshwater lakes ('etangs') nearby teeming with wildlife. To the east is Dax, famous for its thermal waters and spa treatments. The town is the gateway to the gentle rolling countryside of the Chalosse area, where good food and wine is assured. To the north the pine forests of Les Landes begin, a vast expanse of trees that seemingly march on for ever.

South West France, Bergerac


Rolling hills clothed in the blossom of fruit trees signal the region of Lot-et-Garonne, known as the 'orchard of France', with the renowned Pruneaux d'Agen in great abundance. Weekly markets in towns such as Monflanquin and Villeneuve sur-Lot boast stalls laden with local produce. These pretty towns, and others such as Tournon d'Agenais and Prayssas are 'bastides', the new towns of the Medieval Ages, whose arcaded squares are nowadays filled with cafés and shops.


Rows of well tended vineyards typify the wine growing regions of Bergerac, where country lanes wind through charming villages and towns, with the impressive silhouette of an occasional château completing the picture.

The heart of the Dordogne is along each bank of the river itself, where the green countryside overflows with historic sites. Take time to visit the prehistoric caves at Lascaux, the Renaissance town of Sarlat-la-Canéda, Brantôme, known as the Venice of the Dordogne, and Périgueux with its Byzantine cathedral.


The tranquil river Lot meanders through a verdant valley dotted with golden coloured villages such as Puy l'Evêque and Luzech, and hamlets untouched by time, eventually arriving at Cahors, situated on a bend in the river with the famous Pont Valentré standing proud.

To the east, the river cuts through the limestone hills, creating high dramatic gorges and scenic routes. The uplands are dotted with prehistoric caves and grottos, with much of the landscape designated Natural Park. Those interested in medieval history should not miss a visit to Rocamadour and St Cirq-Lapopie; villages perched dramatically on cliffsides.


Tarn et Garonne and Tarn

The superbly preserved walled bastide of Cordes dominates the surrounding countryside. Its narrow cobbled streets wind their way up to the tree lined square at the top from where you are afforded a spectacular far reaching view. Follow the road due south and again the landscape is one of vines; a tour of the 'route du vin' of this Gaillac region is recommended.

As you approach Albi, the region's capital, the rewarding sight of the immense red bricked cathedral comes into view, its stern exterior giving no hint to the stunning interior, a cornucopia of Gothic art at its most flamboyant. Winding country roads take you through picturesque countryside, passing hilltop towns such as Caylus and Bruniquel. Stop awhile in St Antonin Noble Val, a friendly, intimate market town on the banks of the river Aveyron.


Not far away are the Gorges de l'Aveyron, a spectacular sight and in summer a popular destination for canoeing and other river sports. The bastide town of Najac perches precariously along a ridge above the Aveyron river, with a fairy tale castle at the highest point, surveying all who visit. From there, a line of ancient houses follows the ridge, culminating in the main square with its central fountain and numerous cafes and restaurants.

Follow the river due north and you reach Villefranche-de-Rouergue, a fascinating bastide with extensive amenities, and of course, the weekly market.


Fêtes and Markets

There are numerous local festivals throughout the year - flamenco music (Mont-de-Marsan), salt (Salies-de-Bearn) and medieval pageants in the Dordogne are just a few to enjoy. In summer, the streets are filled with music - from classical and traditional through to jazz, blues and rock.

Summer evening markets are popular in many towns and villages, when the main squares are filled with long communal dining tables around which food stalls provide an opportunity to taste local dishes.


The abundance of fruit, vegetables, local meats and cheeses at the markets bears witness to the importance of food in this region. In spring, the fruit of peach and plum trees is a staple of mouthwatering 'patisseries'. Locally produced confit of duck, Toulouse sausage, foie gras, and Roquefort cheese feature on many menus, and cassoulet, the famous hearty dish based on haricot beans and duck, has to be tried.

Seafood is excellent in restaurants by the coast, with inland restaurants serving locally caught river trout and salmon. From the renowned red wines of Bordeaux, the soft sweet wines of Monbazillac, reds from Duras and dry whites of the Jurançon, there is a wine for every palette. Full bodied reds are found in Cahors whilst the vineyards of Gaillac produce 'perlé' (a very slightly sparkling white) as well as some interesting reds and roses. All can be sampled during a tour following a 'route du vin' and of course purchased to enjoy at home.


The gentle, temperate climate of this corner of France generally ensures that spring and autumn are mild and sunny, with temperatures rising in the summer to 28 degrees Celcius or the low 30s.

Getting there

The region has five airports which are served by scheduled and 'no frills' flights: Bordeaux and Biarritz to the west; and Bergerac, Rodez and Toulouse to the east are all convenient for our houses. Limoges and Brive can also be considered for visitors to the Dordogne and Lot. The region is within a comfortable day's drive of the western Channel ports, and a 12 hour drive from Calais, although a leisurely drive through France, stopping overnight, appeals to many. Improved journey times and connections via Eurostar to Paris means that travelling by train is a less stressful, more eco-friendly alternative to flying.

South West France News and Events For South West France
The South West corner of France is a region of sharp contrasts, from the beaches of Biarritz to the rolling hills of the Dordogne and Lot, the imposing peaks of the Pyrénées to fields of fruit orchards and vineyards. Our villas are located across the regions of Aquitaine and Midi Pyrénées.  Many of our villas in South West France are restored farmhouses or barns with thick stone walls and original features. All benefit from lovely views of the surrounding countryside and private pools.

France's favourite village
Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn region of South West France is celebrating, having been voted 'France's favourite village' in a nationwide survey. Winning out of a shortlist of 22 villages across the country, notable features of Cordes that will surely have contributed to its win include its dramatic hilltop setting, its beautifully preserved walls, and its narrow cobbled streets lined with sandstone houses. The central square, a classic feature of a historic bastide town, dates from the 13th century and affords wonderful views over the surrounding countryside. Cordes is in good company; St-Cirq-Lapopie, just 70km away in the neighbouring Lot department, won the coveted title in 2012! By Lauraine Pearl,