Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s rich heritage and culture reflect what an important part the area played in the history of France.
There are several UNESCO world heritage sites in Nouvelle-Aquitaine: The Vézère valley’s prehistoric sites and caves, Saint-Savin sur Gartempe abbey, Saint-Léonard de Noblat collegiate church, the Ways of St James, “Port de la Lune” in Bordeaux, the Citadel of Blaye and “Vauban Bolt” on the Gironde estuary…
The very first humans left amazing traces of their presence in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In fact, it’s probably France’s richest region as far as prehistory goes. France and some of Europe’s finest Paleolithic vestiges lie in Périgord, along the Vézère Valley.
In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the Middle Ages were one of the most productive eras, for religious architecture and art. The abundance of fortresses, châteaux, abbeys, churches, citystates, villages, medieval quarters, fortified towns testifies to the area’s rich, occasionally turbulent history. The 10th to 15th Centuries were also marked by strong leading figures as Eleanor of Aquitaine’s and her eldest son, Richard the Lionheart, who is said to have spent more time in Nouvelle-Aquitaine than in England.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s “Towns and Lands of Art and History” (Villes et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire) strive to present and enhance their remarkable historical and architectural heritage, from the Prehistoric era to the 21st Century. All year long, many territories such as Rochefort, Saintes, Poitiers, Cognac, Limoges, Royan, Thouars, the Angoumois, Confolentais, Mellois, Île de Ré, Parthenay, Montmorillonnais and Châtelleraudais territories organise guided tours, exhibitions and events.
Nouvelle-Aquitaine has 28 of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (most beautiful villages of France) – charming destinations to discover while roaming, as gourmet getaways or an active discovery in the open countryside. We can cite, for example, Talmont-sur-Gironde, Collonges la Rouge, Monflanquin or Monpazier.
Contemporary art has a place of honour in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Architecture, museums, art centres… an entire range of activities is available for art lovers.
An unprecedented complete replica retraces the discovery of this famous decorated cave. But the adventure doesn’t stop there: six exhibition halls investigate the place occupied by Lascaux in world cave art and its relation to contemporary creation.A adventure combining the emotion of our ancestors’ art and technological prowess.
Built under the reign of Tiberius and completed under the reign of Claudius, around 40 A.D, it is one of the oldest surviving examples in France. This huge arena would once have held 15,000 spectators.
In order to create a completely new visitor experience, contents are designed to allow total immersion in the great history, and especially that of the famous frescoes inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- France’s richest region as far as Prehistory goes.
- Many UNESCO listed cities and monuments, including the Vézère Valley in Dordogne.
- One of the most productive eras for religious architecture and art.