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Quiz: Test your knowledge of south west France

Think you know the land of confit de canard, cognac and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of the south west of France.

Quiz: Test your knowledge of south west France
Photo: AFP

We love the south west of France and it seems that the tourists agree with us, as thousands flock there every year. So let's test our knowledge of this beautiful area, with its fascinating history.  

To begin with, what exactly is included in southwest France?

READ ALSO: The 39 maps you need to understand south west France


To make things simple, we’ve used the definition from the territorial reform of 2016, which groups the administrative regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie, themselves recently created, together as the “Grand Sud-Ouest français”.

That makes the Southwest a sizeable chunk of the Hexagon, which stretches as far north as La Rochelle, past Nîmes in the east, and as far into the interior of the country as Creuse. Within those limits, everything is fair game. Ready?


Test your knowledge of southwest France


The “Grand Sud-Ouest français


What is the most populous city in southwest France?


Which of these regional dialects is not spoken in Southwest France?


The International Comics Festival is held in which southwestern city?


In which département are the famous Lascaux cave paintings located?


Legend has it that this ancient Cathar fortress was once home to the Holy Grail:


What is the least populous department in the Southwest?


Castelnaudary, Carcassonne (pictured above), and Toulouse offer competing versions of this classic southwestern dish:


In which department are average house prices highest?


Which of the following wines is not a variety of Bordeaux?


What is the southwest France's highest peak?


The headquarters of the aerospace manufacturing giant Airbus are located in the suburbs of which southwestern city?


Which of the following cheeses is not produced in the Southwest?


This photo shows which southwestern architectural landmark?


What is Southwest France’s longest river?


These two icons of French architecture – one of which is located in the Southwest – were both restored by which renowned architect?


Which one of these département names and numbers do not match?


Surfing arrived in France thanks to the filming of The Sun Also Rises in which southwestern seaside town?


In the Three Musketeers, D’Artagnan participates in the siege of which historic Protestant stronghold?


The Canal du Midi links which two cities?


Which southwestern rugby union team is the current champion of France?

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Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/
But while the map – created by – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.

Here are some of the key points.
1. Everyone hates Parisians
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
2. Staycations rule
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
3. Northerners like a drink
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
4. Poverty
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
5. Southern prejudice
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
For more maps that reflect France, head to