Nouvelle-Aquitaine ("New Aquitaine") is the largest administrative region in France, located in the southwest of the country. The region was created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. It covers 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) – or 1⁄8 of the country – and has approximately 5,800,000 inhabitants. (municipal population on 1 January 2012). The new region was established on 1 January 2016, following the regional elections in December 2015.
It is the largest region in France by area, with a territory slightly larger than that of Austria; even French Guiana is smaller. Its largest city, Bordeaux, together with its suburbs and satellite cities, forms the 7th-largest metropolitan area of France, with 850,000 inhabitants. The region has 25 major urban areas, among which the most important after Bordeaux are Bayonne (288,000 inhabitants), Limoges (283,000), Poitiers (255,000), Pau (241,000), and La Rochelle (206,000), as well as 11 major clusters. The growth of its population, particularly marked on the coast, makes this one of the most attractive areas economically in France: the new region outperforms the Île-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in terms of demographic dynamism.
After the Île-de-France, New Aquitaine is the premier French region in research and innovation, with five universities (Bordeaux, La Rochelle, Limoges, Poitiers and Pau) and several Grandes Ecoles. The first agricultural region of Europe in terms of turnover, it is the first French region in terms of tourism jobs, as it has three of the four historic resorts on the French Atlantic coast (Arcachon, Biarritz and Royan), as well as several ski resorts (e.g. Gourette), and is the fifth French region in terms of business creation (all sectors).
Its economy is based on agriculture and viticulture (vineyards of Bordeaux and Cognac), tourism, a powerful aerospace industry, digital economy and design, parachemical and pharmaceutical industries, financial sector (Niort is the fourth-largest financial center in the nation, specializing in mutual insurance companies), and industrial ceramics (Limoges). Many companies specializing in surfing and related sports have located along the coast.
In terms of culture, the new region includes major parts of Southern France (“Midi de la France”), marked by Basque, Occitan and Oïl (Poitevin and Saintongeais) cultures. Historically, it is the "indirect successor" to medieval Aquitaine, and extends over a large part of the former Duchy of Eleanor of Aquitaine.