Gironde (French pronunciation: [ʒiʁɔ̃d]; Occitan: Gironda) is a common name for the Gironde Estuary, where the mouths of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers merge, and for a department in the Aquitaine region situated in southwest France.
Gironde is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Guyenne and Gascogne.
From 1793 to 1795, the department's name was changed to Bec-d'Ambès to avoid the association with the revolutionary party, the Girondists.
Gironde is part of the current region of Aquitaine and is surrounded by the departments of Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne and Charente-Maritime and the Atlantic Ocean on the west. With an area of 10,000 km², Gironde is the largest department of metropolitan France.
It is well known for the Côte d'Argent beach which is Europe's longest, attracting many surfers to Lacanau each year. It is also the birth place of Jacques-Yves Cousteau who studied the sea and all forms of life in water.
The Great Dune of Pyla in Arcachon Bay near Bordeaux is the tallest sand dune in Europe.
The President of the General Council is Philippe Madrelle of the Socialist Party.
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