Chateau des ducs de la tremoille patrimoine Thouars Thouarsais Nouvelle Aquitaine

Villes et Pays d'Art et d'Histoire (Towns and Lands of Art and History) in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

“Villes et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire” (Towns and Lands of Art and History), the name of this label is a pledge to heritage and architecture, to know-how and traditions, to accounts where famous figures appear and well-known events, from Prehistory to the 21st century.

The network brings together over 190 towns and lands holding the label, including 28 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. Their mission?
To concoct guided tours, exhibitions, educational workshops, inspiring activities for young and old alike throughout the year to promote their rich heritage.

First step: the Interpretive Centre

The Centre d'Interprétation de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine (CIAP – Heritage and Architecture Interpretive Centre), usually established in an outstanding building, is THE place for learning in a fun-filled, interactive way about everything that can be/has to be discovered. Learning through exhibitions, scale models, brochures and booklets and, of course today, wonderful digital media: interactive terminals and maps, augmented reality as well as audio and olfactory immersion!
Head down to Bayonne, Bordeaux, Oloron-Sainte-Marie, Parthenay, Poitiers, Rochefort, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Saintes and Vassivière.

Spectacle de rue au coeur de Limoges

Second step: the visits

At the CIAP or at the Tourist Office, a host of discovery-visits can be booked. They can be free-as-you-please, with a map and a leaflet, or accompanied by a tour guide, open to everyone and fascinating. On the agenda for the visits, a tour through emblematic buildings, discovery of unusual places, and even a trip taking you in the footsteps of a famous figure, traditional-style tours and night-time strolls with flame-lit torches or candles, with musicians, storytellers and actors to whisk you back to the past more easily.
Children also find their fair share of activities and workshops, whether they come with their class during the school year or with their family over the summer.

And now, where do you go from here?

In Nouvelle-Aquitaine, 14 “Villes d’Art et d’Histoire” (Towns of Art and History) promote their heritage: Bayonne, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Cognac, Limoges, Pau, Périgueux, Poitiers, La Réole, Rochefort, Royan, Saintes, Sarlat-la-Canéda and Thouars.
The “Pays” (Lands) make up the other half of the label-granted places:

  • in Charente, Pays de l’Angoumois, Pays du Confolentais;
  • in Charente-Maritime, Île de Ré;
  • in Corrèze, Pays des Hautes Terres Corréziennes et Ventadour, Pays Vézère et Ardoise;
  • in Lot-et-Garonne: Pays du Grand Villeneuvois;
  • in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Béarn des Gaves, Pyrénées Béarnaises and Pays de la Baie de Saint-Jean-de-Luz - Ciboure;
  • in Deux-Sèvres, Pays de Parthenay, Pays Mellois;
  • in Vienne, Pays Châtelleraudais, Pays Montmorillonnais;
  • in Haute-Vienne, Pays des Monts et Barrages.

Le pont du XIV juillet franchissant le gave de Pau et le château

Nouvelle-Aquitaine Videoguide

This free mobile app deals with quite a few of these “Villes et Pays d’Art et d’Histoire” (Towns and Lands of Art and History). On your Smartphone or tablet, it presents itineraries highlighting the character of places, provides visitor pocket-guides for all the heritage-focused sites of a town and its surrounding area.
Thanks to geo-tracking, historic, architectural and natural particularities as well as the collections in the museums at each point of interest are automatically displayed on the screen when the visitor arrived at a site, as sequences of photos, audio, videos, synthesis image restitution as well as quizzes.
Free app on Android and Apple stores. Texts available in French and in English.

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