Nouvelle Aquitaine today

Regional map

Nouvelle Aquitaine (in Southwest France) is the name of the new region created by the territorial reform that took effect on January 1, 2016.

It combines the former administrative regions of Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes and Limousin.

Its administrative centre or préfecture and capital is Bordeaux.

It is also France’s 7th largest French city with 850,000 inhabitants.

Aquitaine is divided in 5 departments: Landes (40 – Mont-de-Marsan), Gironde (33 – Bordeaux), Dordogne (24 – Périgueux), Lot-et-Garonne (47 – Agen) and Pyrénées-Atlantiques (64 – Pau).

The department of Landes gave its name to the vast forests of pines planted in the 19th century to stop the erosion of sand dunes.

The western section of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department corresponds to French Basque Country.

Poitou-Charentes consists of 4 departments: Charente (16 – Angoulême), Charente-Maritime (17 – La Rochelle), Deux-Sèvres (7 – Niort) and Vienne (86 – Poitiers).

Its administrative centre and capital is Poitiers.

Limousin is divided in 3 departments:Corrèze (19 – Tulle), Creuse (23 – Guéret) and Haute-Vienne (87 – Limoges).

Its capital and préfecture is Limoges.

Nouvelle Aquitaine geography and climate

The Nouvelle Aquitaine Region mainly covers the Bassin d’Aquitaine, a vast sedimentary basin formed in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic.

It is the largest French region, and therefore its landscapes and climates vary from an area to the other.

It indeed stretches from the wetlands of Poitou in the north to the Pyrénées Mountains in the south.

The Atlantic Ocean’s delineates it to the west, and the Massif Central to the east.

Its littoral enjoys a warm oceanic climate.

However, inland areas are subject to semi-continental influences, while the Pyrénées have a predominant mountain climate that varies with the altitude.

Finally, the Basque Country has pockets of micro-climates.


Agriculture and of course viticulture, tourism, aerospace and industrial ceramics are the base of the region’s economy.

However, pharmaceutical industry as well as digital, design and financial sectors plays a major role.

New Aquitaine is the largest European agricultural region in terms of turnover.

It is also the first region in France in terms of employment in the tourism sector.

Indeed, the prestigious seaside resorts of Arcachon, Biarritz and Royan, but also by the Pyrénées ski resorts sustain this thriving sector.

Nouvelle Aquitaine is also the second area of France (after Paris-Ile de France) with the largest number of universities and Grandes Ecoles (Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Limoges, Poitiers and Pau).

The region is obviously well connected.

The A10 motorway connects Bordeaux to Paris and to Spain, the A89 to Clermont-Ferrand then the Rhône Valley, and the A62-A61 to Toulouse and the Mediterranean.

Secondly, the TGV connects it to Paris, Toulouse and Spain.

Finally, the Nouvelle Aquitaine has 5 international airports:

Bordeaux-Mérignac, Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne, Pau-Pyrénées Airport, Limoges-Bellegarde and Bergerac Airport.

Area: 84,061 km²
Population: 5,844,177 (01/01/2013)

Photo Wikimedia Commons: Region map by Oie blanche is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
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