France occupies the largest landmass of any European country, but although an economic and military world power, it no longer boasts the largest air force in the world as it arguably could at the end of World War 1. But make no mistake, today's Armee del'Air packs a mighty punch. Lying south-east of Paris is the Bourgogne or Burgundy region. Steeped in a tradition of gastronomic excellence, a gazetteer of the area reads like a cross between a fine wines list and good food guide. But Dijon, capital of the area, is more than a stopping off point for lovers of a well stocked table; it is a natural crossroads. To the west, the heartland of France, to the east, a short hop to the borders of Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Dijon was an obvious location for the fledgling Aviation Militaire, as it was then known, to base one of their first aerial observation units in 1912. Two years later an airbase was officially inaugurated in the suburb of Longvic, a couple of miles south of the historic centre of Dijon.