Southwest of France in 30 Pictures

As I was putting in order the thousands of pictures I have taken for the last 10 years in southwest of France I realized that there is no article in this blog or page in the website that summarizes all the beauty of the region. Of course I have a list of the UNESCO’s listed sites, a list of places my readers like best and the most important tourist sites in and around each major town of the region; but nowhere do I tell MY geographical definition of the southwest of France, or publish pictures that capture the beauty of this land without a reference to a historic fact or touristic interest.
This post contains some of the pictures I have found to be very representative of the southwest of France.
But first I’ll start with MY geographical definition of the region.
Its the western border is the Atlantic Ocean coast starting from the city of La Rochelle all the way south to the cities of Biarritz and Hendaye in the very southwest corner of the country, at the border with Spain.

La Rochelle
La Rochelle

Charente maritime Atlantic Coast
Charente-Maritime Atlantic Coast
Landes Atlantic Coast
Landes Atlantic Coast – known for its surfing competitions

Hossegor Surfers
Hossegor Surfers

Biarritz
Biarritz

Hendaye Atlantic Coast
Hendaye Atlantic Coast

The southwestern corner of France is the French Basque Country, a part of the Basque community called in local language Euskadi that straddles both France and Spain.
It is interesting to mention that Basque people speak Euskara, a language unrelated to any other language in the world and whose origin is still unknown.
Basque Country
Basque Country

Basque Country
Basque Country

The southern border of southwest France, and indeed the country border between France and Spain, is formed by the Pyrenees mountains range that stretches all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.
Pyrenees
Pyrenees

Pic du Midi Astronomical Observatory
Pic du Midi Astronomical Observatory

Cirque de Gavarnie
Cirque de Gavarnie

And this is how we get to the Mediterranean Sea whose shore borders the southwest of France starting from the towns of Cerbère, Collioure near the border with Spain all the way to the city of Sète.
Collioure
Collioure

Sète
Sète

And up northwest we go passing through the granite region of Sidobre, the towns of Rodez, Sarlat and Perigueux and meeting again the starting point of La Rochelle.
Sidobre
Sidobre

Rodez
Rodez

Sarlat
Sarlat

Perigueux
Perigueux

The two biggest cities of southwest of France are Toulouse and Bordeaux.
Both towns are internationally renowned: Toulouse for its AIRBUS plane factory and Bordeaux for its wines!
While Bordeaux region wines are arguably the best know wines of the world, the southwest has other wine regions like Gaillac and Corbières.
Toulouse
Toulouse

Bordeaux
Bordeaux

Cité du Vin of Bordeaux
Cité du Vin of Bordeaux

Haut Brion
Wine Chateau Haut-Brion – one of the oldest winerie of Bordeaux
Gaillac Wines
Gaillac Wines

Corbieres
Corbieres

Like most of the regions of France the southwest is dotted with beautiful, and beautifully restored, medieval castles, reminders of the country’s glorious past, and beautiful castle ruins that keep alive long gone stories like the one of the Cathars that once were taking over the southwest of France.
Hautefort Castle
Hautefort Castle

Bonaguil Medieval Castle
Bonaguil Medieval Castle

Cathar Castle of Montsegur
Cathar Castle of Montsegur

Of course a big part of the charm of the region lies in its historic small villages, many of which, around 300, were founded during the Hundred Years Wars (1337 – 1453) and named “bastides”.
Bastide of Castelnau de Montmirail
Bastide of Castelnau de Montmirail

The bastide of Puycelsi
The bastide of Puycelsi
The round bastide of Fources
The round bastide of Fources
Ancient village of Lauzerte
Ancient village of Lauzerte
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