ALSACE

Departments:    Bas Rhin(67),Haute Rhin(68)                                                                                                                                    
One of Frances smallest regions, located in the north east of france.
The region is set between the Vosges mountains in the west and the river Rhine which forms a natural border with Germany in the east.
Alsace countryside is a blend of dense forests,farmland, and fortified towns,and villages with distinctive half timbered houses.
Many villages  are on the Route de Vin,in the foothills of the Vosges mountains,the area produces renown wines such  as Riesling,Sylvaner,Pinot blanc and Noir,Muscat and Gerwurtzraminer.
Kronenbourg beer is another well known product from Alsace.
Another scenic area,is the 3000km2 national park of Massiff de Vosges with glacial lakes and gentle mountains..

Having been annexed twice by the Germans,a good deal of the architechture,cuisine dress style and dialect is Germanic.Although the inhabitants regard themselves as French,they are proud of being first and foremost Alsations. Consequently the use of their own language has remained strong ,known as Elässisch (a high german dialect) it is still spoken by about forty percent of the population but not taught in schools or used in documentation.


Land area
Alsace consists of 8,280 km2 equivalent to 1.5% of France's total surface area.
This is the smallest region of France.

                                                                                                                         

Climate Type:
Continental


Average temperature
Summer:18°c, Winter 3,5°c.


Average sunshine
1,636 hours per year.(Strasbourg)

                                                                                                                             www.all-free-photos.com
Average rainfall

Summer: 66mm, Winter 38mm. Equivalent to 610 mm per year(Strasbourg).                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 AQUITAINE

                                                       

Aquitaine, in south-western France is the countries largest region.
It has a long, straight west coast of app 200km, which stretches from the mouth of the Gironde estuary down to Spanish border.

At the southern end is Biarritz, very fashionable in the 30's and still a popular destination. The beautiful white beaches of this coastline are half-empty during the summer months compared to France's over-packed Mediterranean coast, consequently property purchase here is a good proposition as the prices have not risen to the same extent as the Med' and the weather can be as good as its rival coast whilst the Atlantic, with its crashing waves is far more interesting than the Mediterranean.


Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine, is situated 350 miles southwest of Paris. One of the best known cities in France, its name is synonymous with the fine wines that are appreciated the world over.

Aquitaine's coastline is flanked by a large expanse of pine forests that make up most of the Landes département, they  were planted in the 19th century to stabilise drifting sands. There are many good quality golf courses in the area, making it France's leading region for golfers.


Above Landes, the Gironde département around Bordeaux is home to some of the world's most celebrated vineyards, such as Medoc, west of the river Gironde, and towards the hilly area around St-Emilion.


The Pyrenees mountain range steadily begins to rise in the Pyrénées Atlantiques, the southern most département of Aquitaine. The mountain foothills are a lush green land where the houses architecture gradually become chalet in style.


Part of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques is Basque country (Pays Basque) where some 80,000 Basques live. The remaining 600,000 reside across the border in Spain
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The northern, inland area of Aquitaine contains one of the most popular départements with the British, which they refer to as the Dordogne, named  after the regions river.

To the French it is known as Périgord, each area of Périgord has been assigned a descriptive colour. The south-east around Sarlat is called Perigord Noir because of its dense oak forests; the limestone area around the River Isle and Périgueux, capital of the région, is called Perigord Blanc after the light colour of its rock; Périgord Poupre refers to the wine-growing area around Bergerac; and the very green wooded area and pasturelands to the north is Perigord Vert.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 AUVERGNE                                                                                                                                                         auvergne map

 Departments: Allier (03),Cantal (15),Haute Loire(43) Pay de Dome(63)

 

 

The Auvergne is a  region of hills and mountains, valleys, forests and rivers,and the mountains of Auvergne, which culminate in rocky peaks at over 7000 feet, are the backbone of France's Massif Central,  the largest volcanic area in Europe.

They are dormant but not extinct, the underground activity manifesting itself in the likes of the hot springs at  Chaudes Aigues in the Cantal, where the water comes out of the ground at a temperature of 82°C, the hottest springs in Europe. There has been no volcanic activity in Auvergne for over 7000 years, but evidence of it's  volcanic past are  to be seen throughout the region, not only the  volcanoes themselves, but in the numerous lava flows, volcanic plugs  and  sets of "organ rocks" that form one of the region's remarkable geological features.


   While the northern end of the province stretches up the Loire and Allier valleys towards the low-lying Centre of France, most of the southern part of the region is hilly or mountainous, with large stretches of land lying at over 1000 metres (over 3000 ft). These uplands are penetrated by the valleys of many rivers, most notably the Loire and the Allier which both rise in the south of the Auvergne.


  The Auvergne  has a low population density and has a  fine natural lanscape including beautiful valleys, large expanses of coniferous forests, and spectacular hillscapes. It is a region much appreciated by ramblers and nature lovers, as well as by people in search of a holiday far from the madding crowd.
   It is a region rich in history too, with a fine collection of historic dungeons and castles, as well as some of the finest romanesque churches in France, many with frescoes.

Famous for its lace-making, the small city of Le Puy,  is one of the most unusual cities in France, due to the rocky pinnacles that stick up in the middle of it.
   Of course there are modern attractions too, including a safari park, the Vulcania theme park (illustrating the story of Auvergne's extinct volcanoes, and including 3-D cinema and IMAX), scenic railway lines, cable cars to the peaks of the highest mountains, kayaking and rafting facilities, mountain bike tracks, and much more.


  Three main rivers have their headwaters in the Auvergne: the Loire, the Allier and the Dordogne.
 The capital city Clermont Ferrand, is a university city of some 200,000 inhabitants, and the home of the famous Michelin tyre company

 Land area

  26,013 km2 (10,043.7 sq mi)

                                                                                                             auvergne picture

Climate Type;
Continental.


Average temperature
Summer: 18°c, Winter 3.5°c.

Average sunshine
1,907 hours per year (Clermont-Ferrand)


Average rainfall
Summer: 63mm, Winter 30mm. Equivalent to 590 mm per year (Clermont-Ferrand).