Below you will find a wealth of information about each of France\'s regions and their associated departments. To see properties for sale in a particular department of a region, click on one of the department links from below.
All region guides were provided by and are copyright of www.good-france-guide.co.uk.
Department: Haut Rhin |
Alsace is like a narrow ribbon from the Swiss border in the South, up to the German border in the North of Strasbourg. Cradled by the Vosges mountains and the river Rhine and sheltered by the Vosges mountains, the province of Alsace enjoys a semi-continental climate with hot summers and long warm autumns, ideal for market gardeners, wine growers and visitors alike. There are three big towns in Alsace. The cultural, intellectual and financial centre is Strasbourg. The industrial and business centre is Mulhouse. The agricultural and wine centre is Colmar.
A sign exists at the border of Alsace stating "The Crossroads of Europe." Not only does Alsace neighbour both Germany and Switzerland, but the Council of Europe chose to locate itself in Strasbourg in 1949, symbolizing the political and cultural centre of Europe. The European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights followed suit.
The gastronomy of Alsace combines the heartiness of German cooking with the sophistication of French. Restaurants, ranging from typical Winstubs to elegant award winning restaurants. Alsace is also famous for its wine and beer, and a wide variety of each is available to supplement an excellent meal.
Department:Dordogne | Gironde | Landes | Lot-et-Garonne | Pyrénées-Atlantiques |
The Aquitaine region of France is also known as the Bordeaux and Basque region. The region of Aquitaine, located in the southwestern corner of France, is a land of grand vineyards near luxurious seaside resorts, fishing ports and spas. More than 150 miles of fine white sandy beaches and enormous dunes make up the Silver Coast.
The resorts of Arcachon, Biscarosse, Mimizan, Hossegor, Seignosse and Biarritz; the lively fishing port of St Jean-de-Luz; the Basque flavour of the streets of Bayonne with tall half timbered houses and green and red paintwork; the former fishing port of Capbreton; Grande Lande open air museum (Ecomusée), accessible only by the restored steam train running from Labouheyre to Sabres.
The broad and sandy Côte d\'Argent runs straight for 80 miles and more - so there\'s plenty of room for everybody, and the Atlantic surf is clean and fresh and far more challenging than any in the Mediterranean.
In the Basque country, which straddles the border of France and Spain, you\'re never far from the sun and sand, and to enjoy them with elegance and finesse, where better than Biarritz? - the glittering jewel of the Côte d\'Argent with its grand hotels and stylish casino.
To the northeast of Aquitaine lies the delightful Dordogne region with many prehistoric caves. The heart of Aquitaine\'s culture and life lie more in the centre, focusing on Aquitaine\'s capital of Bordeaux, and radiating into the vineyards that surround the city. Bordeaux is known as a treasure cellar of France\'s grand dinner and dessert wines. Bordeaux vineyards have the mouth-watering names of Médoc, Blayais and Bourgeais, plus Pommerol, Graves, and St. Emilion in a fabled land of vineyard castles.
Department:Allier | Cantal | Haute-Loire | Puy-de-Dôme |
The Auvergne region of France is also known as the Massif Central region and is the very centre of France. Its spectacular volcanic terrain possesses a startling beauty on a vast scale. Its four departments, Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire and Puy-de-Dome, lie in the heart of France only one hour from Lyon and three from Paris.
Auvergne ham, trout or salmon from the river or cheeses including Bleu d\'Auvergne and Saint-Nectaire will greatly enhance the "flavour" of your holiday.
Stroll across the battlefield of Gergovia, follow in the footsteps of Lafayette, find out about the local legends. Visit some of the Auvergne\'s castles where medieval knights joust, or go along the route of the spa towns. Those who are keen on Romanesque art will admire the many churches which portray inspiration from the School of the Auvergne.
Clermont-Ferrand (Le Puy) is the capital of the Auvergne. The four departments which constitute Auvergne - Haute-Loire, Cantal, Puy-de-Dôme, Allier - form a striking province of sharp-peaked extinct volcanic mountains and sparkling crater lakes. A land of amazing geological diversity, webbed with little-traveled roads, Auvergne is dotted with castles, historic ruins and walled villages. Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne\'s capital, is topped by the sacred mountain of Puy-de-Dôme, and once housed a vast Roman temple dedicated to Mercury. From its peak, the view encompasses an impressive 20-mile long procession of 60 volcanic peaks.
Parentignat, called the "Versailles" of Auvergne, boasts superb antiques, paintings and tapestries. Nearby Ravel is a classic manor within the walls of a fortress.
Department:Côtes d'Armor | Finistère | Ille-et-Viliane | Morbihan |
At the most Westerly tip of France, Brittany thrusts into the sea where the Atlantic Ocean and English Channel meet. Similar to Cornwall, not only in its position but in its strong Celtic influence, Brittany presents visitors with a special personality.
Surrounded on three sides by sea, possessed of its own language, folklore and architecture, it is hardly surprising that the French themselves talk of Brittany as a different land.
Brittany is justly popular but has not suffered for its popularity. Though there are large, fashionable resorts like La Baule and Dinard, the pattern is small, friendly towns and fishing villages, traditional markets and a way of life that looks to the sea. Watersports thrive in the mainly hot summers and warm waters of the Gulf Stream. For those who want a change from beach or boats there are tours or walks, riding stables, golf courses and tennis courts. And after the day is done there\'s a wide and affordable choice of restaurants in which to enjoy the Breton specialities of seafood and crêpes washed down with local cider.
No matter how one travels in Brittany, one is never very far from charming lodgings in private estates or chateaux, and always close by are cafes or restaurants serving up traditional Breton crepes filled with ham, mushrooms or cheese (or served sweet with chocolate, jam or fruit) or a superb seafood meal accompanied by a glass of crisp, cold Muscadet or cider.
Department:Côte d'Or | Nièvre | Saône-et-Loire | Yonne |
Bourgogne or Burgundy is renowned for its red wines. The Burgundy wine region starts with the Côte-de Nuits south of Dijon, the Côte de Beaune south of Beaune, the Côte Chalonnaise east of Chalon-sur-Saône and the Mâconnais, north of Macon. It also includes wines from Chablis, a smaller wine region east of Dijon. The Burgundy wines are associated with the rich gastronomy of this region. Famous wines including Gevrey Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, Pommard, Volnay and Meursault.
Auxerre, a historic and most attractive riverside town on the banks of the River Yonne, proudly boasts a magnificent cathedral as well as the nearby vineyards of Chablis; Nuit St Georges, the house of some of the region\'s finest vineyards; yet another famous French wine area - Macon - where there are plenty of wine tasting opportunities.
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