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The Gironde (department number 33) is located in the region of Aquitaine and has an estimated population of 1,386,996 (approximate in 2006).
Situated in the south-west of France, the department is named after the estuary formed by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and is the largest department in France.
The capital of the department is the city of Bordeaux, around which the main wine industry is located.
Why you should visit Gironde for your next holiday in France
It is not just the wine that makes the Gironde an enticing holiday destination, although there are some 60 co-operative wineries in the region. The department is also known for some 8000 Chateaux and the beautiful countryside is rich in agriculture; with of course a large focus on vineyards. The flowing rivers of the Garonne and the Dordogne add interest and diversity to the landscape and activities available.
The climate in the region is temperate for most of the year. This is attributed to the proximity of the ocean with the gulf stream, the pine forests which protect against the ocean winds, the Azores and of course the two rivers.
The Gironde is also known as one of France’s leading cycle destinations with over 500kms of cycle tracks and 2000kms of walking paths many of which can also be used by mountain bikes.
What to see in Gironde
Bordeaux is the capital of Aquitaine with a population of around 230,000 and it spans the Garonne river on both the west (left bank) and east (right bank) side of the river. On the atlantic coast and built on a bend of the river Garonne, Bordeaux is accessible to ocean going liners.
One of the largest urban areas to be recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site, Bordeaux has a choice of over 350 monuments to visit and was firmly on the pilgrims route. With many churches, Gothic cathedrals and 18th century architecture those interested in history will be kept happy from dawn until dusk.
Bordeaux is a cosmopolitan city combining the medieval old town with café society along the main streets and river. Along the quayside Sunday seafood, flower and book markets draw the shoppers. A wonderful variety of different food is available throughout the year.
Langon has a population of around 6000 and is 48km south east of Bordeaux on the left bank of the Garonne. The river is still tidal at this point.
With a population of around 23,000, Libourne is the wine making capital of the northern Gironde, near to St Emilion and Pomerol. Originally built as a bastide town, it lies on the rivers Isle and Dordogne where they converge.
Blaye is located on the right bank of the Gironde estuary approximately 56 kms north of Bordeaux. Many of the walls of the citadel remain and can be walked affording views of the estuary and allowing you to fully appreciate the location.
How to get to Gironde
Holiday accommodation in Gironde is easily accessible.
Various international and other independent airlines operate services to Bordeaux-Mérignac airport.
Located in southwest France, the Gironde is accessible from the north via the A10 and from the south-west by the A62 and south-east by the A63. From the east by the A89.
The TGV operates an extensive service to the region from Paris taking approximately 3 hours and the line usefully serves Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport . Bordeaux to Lille is approximately 5 hours. London is just under 7 hours.