France // Poitou-Charentes and the Atlantic coast //


Entre-Deux-Mers (“between two seas”) lies between the tidal waters of the Dordogne and Garonne. It’s the most attractive area in the wine region, with gentle hills and medieval villages. Its wines, including the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, are mainly dry whites, produced by over forty caves cooperatives. They’re considered good, but not up to the level of Médocs or dry Graves produced to the south.

Around 25km east of Bordeaux is the ruined eleventh-century abbey La Sauve Majeure, an important stop for pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Thick woods once surrounded the abbey – in fact its name is from the Latin silva major (large forest). All that remains today are the Romanesque apse and apsidal chapels, and outstanding sculpted capitals in the chancel. The best illustrate stories from the Old and New Testaments; a pensive Daniel in the lions’ den is particularly winning. There’s a small museum at the entrance, with some keystones from the fallen roofs.


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