Area : 640,053 SQ KM
Population : 61,538,330
Capital city : Paris
Time : GMT + 1
Currency : Franc
Electricity : 230V
To the east of Bordeaux lies an area of France where you can step back in time to the type of environment with which Victorian naturalists would have been familiar in England: unspoilt, orchid-rich woods and meadows full of flowers, butterflies and bird song. Of course Aquitaine was in fact English during the Hundred Years War, a period reflected by the sprinkling of castles and ‘bastides’.
Traversed by three great rivers - the Garonne, the Dordogne and the Lot – the area is rich not only in butterflies, birds and orchids but also in history and pre-history, the Vezere valley with its fascinating cave paintings being a UNESCO world heritage site. Take in the many diverse habitats from Atlantic oak and pine forests, heath and meadow, arable plain and river wetland to hot Mediterranean-type garrigue – dry, scrubby grassland full of flowers and butterflies.
Visit the beautiful village of Beynac in a fine riverside hotel nestled beneath the impressive castle fortress. From there, you can enjoy sun-baked hills in search of butterflies like Scarce Swallowtail and rare orchids including the Yellow Bee Orchid. Finding a hotel deal in Paris is simple online. In the shady oak woods and meadows, go on the lookout for Hoopoe and butterflies including Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Take a boat trip on the Dordogne in a traditional ‘gabarre’ watching for Black Kites and Kingfishers.
The beautiful and luxurious Chateau les Merles is a venue that is set amongst the sunny vineyards, orchards and forest near Bergerac. You can visit pine forest, heaths and lakes where European Terrapin and Crested Tit are found. Go out onto the arable plateau where Rock Sparrow is just one speciality. The local wildlife association is involved with nest protection work here.