This part of Aquitaine came under English control with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henry II in 1152. The border with France was fortified by Henry II and his successors, leaving ancient castles and fortified medieval bastide towns across the landscape and overlooking the Gironde river. Returned to France in 1453 after the Hundred Years War, the whole area is packed with interesting historical sights.
There are some 10,000 wine producing chateaux in the Bordeaux region, including some of the most expensive wines in the world. Five ‘premier cru’ wines - Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Haut-Brion are here. Visit Pauillac, capital of the Medoc area, and Blaye, both noted centres for wine culture.
Between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne is the Entre deux Mers wine area. Up the Garonne river from Bordeaux is Cadillac, a bastide town fortified by the English king in 1280 and subsequently a chateau built for the Dukes of Epernon. On the Dordogne call at the market town of Libourne, and from here or Cadillac travel to the village of St Emilion, noted for its catacombs and huge underground church as well as its wine.