New Aquitaine: History, heritage and the future

Considering its size, it’s no surprise that New Aquitaine (External link) is home to an astonishing number of historic sites and contributes significantly to France’s heritage as a whole. One of its major attractions is the complex of Lascaux caves (External link) with its extraordinary prehistoric paintings and engravings, many depicting animals. The caves were first discovered in 1940 and have since attracted visitors in their thousands – but the high volume of tourists sparked mould growth and the gradual deterioration of the paintings, so in 1980 the Bulls’ Chamber (the main feature of the cave complex) was meticulously re-created and opened to the public as the first replica. The newest of the cave replicas opened in December 2016.

Also adding to the historical sites in New Aquitaine are the Rochefort Arsenal, a former French naval base and dockyard in the town of Rochefort, now home to the International Sea Centre. Those interested in the Second World War should make for the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, which suffered a terrible massacre at the hands of the Nazi occupation in 1944 and remains a memorial to the dead. And proving that New Aquitaine is a region of modernity as well as history, Futuroscope (External link) on the outskirts of Poitiers is a must-visit attraction for the whole family, a multimedia theme park with 3D and 4D cinemas and a showcase of world-leading audio-visual techniques.

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