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Savoir vivre in France
Post from 26/06/2009

Rendevous in Aquitaine

Meet the French and get a feel for the light hearted enjoyment of life - something you can find across France though probably there is no place as nice and diverse like Aquitaine to experience this feeling. Whilst there why don’t you take in the French atmosphere with more intensity by staying in a holiday house or apartment. In more than 2.500 different types of accommodation you can establish an own picture for yourself. From the mouth of Gironde to the Spanish border more than 250 kilometres of beaches, seas and pinewood forests are to be found along the coastline. This can only mean one thing: Plenty of summer, sun and beaches. These though are not the only special aspects of this region. Numerous castles, chateaus and prehistoric caves are just waiting to be explored. Whilst passing along the route you will see a number of picturesque villages that will take you back in time. Why not also on your travels visit the vineyards in the wine growing region of Medoc and Bordeaux and take a good bottle of wine away for back home. In your holiday accommodation prepare a nice flavoured typical dish from Aquitaine known as “Piperade”. Below you will find the recipe.

Sportive Gironde
The first thing that comes to mind when people think of Gironde is “Arcachon” the famous place for oyster cultivation. Therefore there is nothing more authentic than to indulge fresh oyster on the terrace of your holiday home with a dash of lemon and enjoy the faineance in the sun. Lazybones will not have much time for this passion as nature will call. For bike enthusiasts Gironde is the ideal holiday region as more than 500 kilometres of bicycle routes take you along the sandy beaches and scented pine woods. On your tours you are accompanied by the voices of nature which provide you with total relaxation. A tip for your day trips like for example from Arcachon to Cap Ferret would be to pack a picnic basket as many villages are worth a stop. One has a particularly beautiful view from Pilat the largest dune of its kind in Europe. On the one side one is able to see the green pinewood forest and on the other side the deep blue sea.

Fine sandy Landes:
Surf championships are a regular feature in the summer on the fine sandy beaches of Landes. Why don’t you attend a surfer course at a local surf school like in Mimizan Plage and in a short space of time you will master this sport. The waves are very promising and the weather is nearly always perfect. Alternatively you may prefer lying and sunbathing on the beach of Biscarosse. Should you feel that there is too much bustle and hustle at the beach then one can recommend visiting one of the most renowned thermal spas in France: Dax. Next to tranquillity, relaxation and recuperation festivals are of great importance to Dax. Every year around the 12th-17th of August the ‘Dax la feria’ takes place. Folklore, bandas and bodegas form part of the program. Mingle with the locals, make new acquaintances and maybe even invite your new friends back for a glass of wine. Where could this be better than in a holiday house? 

Culinary magnet: Dordogne
Compared to the other three regions Dordogne has no access to the ocean it still though has its attractions. The place is a focal point for gourmets. Probably like nowhere else in France one is able to indulge culinary delights. Fois gras, duck produce, ham, nuts, cépe and wines are just some of the culinary riches to be enjoyed here. Best you buy some truffles at one of the markets and prepare some tagliatelle with them. Add some butter and garlic and your luxury dish is complete. Need some exercise after dinner? Then take a stroll up towards one of the numerous caves.  Next to the culinary offerings Dordogne has culturally a lot to offer. This includes for example the prehistoric cave drawing in the “Grotte de non Pair” which are at least 20.000 years old. Hike along the paths of our ancestors over winding paths in the groves and look forward to the sunset afterwards on the terrace of your holiday house.

Iberian flair in the Basque region
Whilst on vacation should you see people that are wearing an oversized basket glove in the shape of a banana and playing sport then you are with no doubt in the Pyrenees.  The name of the game is Chistéra and is a very popular and common past time in this region. Spend a few minutes watching this sport as it is quite a bit of fun. A special piece of advice holiday home vacationists:  An early morning visit to the market halls of Pau. Here one of the most lovely farm markets takes place.

Be inspired by one of the most diverse swathes of land in France and visit Aquitaine!


Recipe Pirade:
Prep around 30 minutes
Preparation around 25 minutes

Ingredients for 4 persons:

  • 8 eggs
  • 4 slices of Bayone ham
  • 1 red paprika pepper
  • 1 green paprika pepper
  • 4 tomatoes (optionally more)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 pieces of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Core and slice the tomatoes into dices, cut paprika into slices. Dice onion, press garlic, gently brown them in the pan with oil and finally add tomatoes and paprika.
Add salt and pepper then let it braise on a low flame.
In the meantime beat the eggs and afterwards add them to the pan. Cook it like an omelet depending on how viscous you like it. Put it on a plate and add ham.

P.S. The original dish is made with Pimet d’Espelette ( a small red paprika pepper from the area of Espelette)