Villa La Tosca
Nestled in the tranquil bay of Arcachon, on the edge of the shore and backing onto lush pine forests, you will find the luxury Villa La Tosca. Built in 1903 in the Arcachon Architectural style, Villa La Tosca is a beautiful hotel decorated with acute attention to even the finest details. The Villa itself is a mix of sumptuous and restored features. There are 8 bedrooms but also one separate family chalet which is still on the grounds, (the chalet is rentable for larger groups). The main villa is a mansion with a soul and a story to tell.
The elegant design of Villa La Tosca is inspired by local architecture with Italian influences and envelops guests in an atmosphere of tranquil luxury. La Tosca is a home from home, where guests can relax by the open fire with a glass of vintage red from the hotel wine cellar, or browse the shelves of the wood-panelled library. Unwind amidst the lush landscape and fountains and take a refreshing dip in the natural spring waters of the hotel swimming pool. In summer, guests are invited to dine on the hotel terrace and admire spectacular sea views and sunsets.
The eight guest rooms boast bright, airy interiors with splashes of rich colours and stylish wooden furniture, creating a warm, inviting ambiance. All the well-appointed luxury rooms each come with an en-suite bathroom and are individually designed to complement the surroundings and make the most of the sea and forest views. All rooms have only the finest Egyptian cotton linens and are furnished with a mix of contemporary and antique pieces as well as hand picked artworks. Whichever room you choose, naturally all the fittings are designed by Philippe Starck, toiletries are by Claudalie, and you will enjoy satellite TV and complementary Wi-Fi if you can tear your eyes away from the panorama.
A locally sourced breakfast is served on a beautiful oak table in the hall or on the terrace each morning which sets the tone for the whole day. Chefs come in and prepare your afternoon tea or an evening of fine dining on request. In the summer, meals and drinks can be enjoyed on the large deck. As you would expect, there is an extensive wine list at the Villa which regularly revolves and features wines of the world-renowned Bordeaux Wine Region. Moreover, Villa La Tosca is situated close to 8 Michelin Starred restaurants, and is very near the heart of the Bordeaux wine country where 80% of the world’s most exclusive wines are produced including Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc. Private Chefs (including a Michelin Star Chef) can be enjoyed in the privacy of the relaxed dining room upon request. Only the best of local French produce is used, creating beautifully appealing dishes.
Whether you would like a small intimate dinner, a family celebration or birthday, or a business event, Villa La Tosca can cater for any of guest’s requirements. The sea view and ambience of the crackling open fire adds to the enjoyment.
The Villa has a home cinema room, Petanque court, outdoor table tennis and trampoline. There is an ecological swimming pool onsite with a natural filtering and regeneration system and rather resembles a genuine pond or lake blending into the garden. Among the beautiful flower beds you will find an organic vegetable garden where the chef sources his fresh ingredients. There is a well-stocked library on-site complete with marble fireplace.
Located just 35km from Bordeaux-Merignac Airport and more importantly an hours drive from all the world-famous vineyards of Bordeaux, this luxury Villa is ideally for a weekend away. The Villa serves as both a boutique hotel (you can book just one room) or can be rented out in its entirety if you have enough family and friends to fill its 8 bedrooms.
As a standalone villa you can expect superb boutique hotel style servicing. Everything from limousine transfers, sailing lessons, private chefs and spa therapists can be arranged. Wine tours to the regions famous chateaux & cooking classes are highly recommended as well as many varied activities from kayaking or sailing to horse riding or fishing. The in-house concierge can help with any activity you may want to enjoy during your stay.
L’eau Vive is an exquisite 80 sqm suite on the 1st floor with breathtaking sea, garden and pool views. Tall French windows, dressed with luxury silk curtains, give direct access to the vaulted loggia, and a private sea view terrace. A 3rd private terrace with pool view is the perfect place for meditation or yoga. Guests are seduced by the luxury bathroom with Philippe Starck fittings, a walk-in shower with massage jets and rain shower head, a state of the art Jacuzzi bathtub, and your own authentic private fire place.
La Vue, is a 40 sqm suite on the 2nd and 3rd floor offers breathtaking 360 degrees sea and pine tree views. Magnificent views take your eyes as far as Arcachon and Cap Ferret. Guests are seduced by the luxury tranquility and peacefulness this room evokes. Enjoy a glass of wine or a book from the library whilst watching the exquisite golden sunsets. The large sea view bathroom has a bath-with-a-view, walk-in shower and luxury Philippe Starck designed fittings. Sonos Player and personal Nespresso Machine.
La Verandah (20 sqm) is a sea view room on the ground floor with tall French windows which directly open on to the loggia and the gardens and beach. Relax in the deck chairs and enjoy the serenity of the location. The luxurious spacious bathroom, suitable for guests with reduced mobility, has a large walk-in shower and designer fittings.
Le Bassin is a 20 sqm sea view room on the 1st floor with direct access to the large loggia vaulted terrace, enjoy a glass of wine or a book from the library whilst watching the magnificent sunsets. Guests are seduced by the crackling fire of their private authentic marble fire place and the green peaceful colours of the luxury decoration, silk curtains and throw-on pillows. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and Philippe Starck designed fittings.
La Foret is a cosy 20 sqm room on the 1st floor with a view of the pine and oak trees. Guests are seduced by the log fire of the private authentic marble fire place and the warm colours of the luxury decoration, silk curtains and throw-on pillows. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and Philippe Starck designed fittings.
Le Confort is a cosy 20 sqm attic room on the 2nd floor. Attic windows offering a romantic setting during moonlit and starry nights, velvety and fluffy fabrics enhance the luxury warm feeling. The bathroom has a large walk-in shower, a natural stone washbasin and Philippe Starck designed fittings.
Le studio is a 30 sqm bright garden level room with private kitchenette. The double French glass doors, dressed with luxury silk curtains, open up and give direct access to the Villa’s back yard, parking and ecological swimming pool. Ceilings of garden level rooms are typically lower that the ceilings on all other levels, please be aware of this fact when booking. The bathroom has a walk-in shower.
La Chaudière is a 20 sqm garden level room. This cozy room, located at the rear of the villa andoverlooking the parking with secure windows, and ceilings much lower compared to other rooms, is equipped with a walk-in shower.
Organic Vegetable Garden
A pebbled garden path and wooden bridge lead to the organic vegetable garden, bathing in sunlight filtered through oak tree leaves. Here guests can accompany the chef to select a range of seasonal vegetables, herbs and berries for their own evening meal. Guests may pick their own fruits from the apple, pear, fig and cherry trees.
Offers an extensive selection of easy reading and reference books.
Rent Villa la Tosca and its 8 bedrooms, in its entirety for events that you desire. The larger reception rooms are ideal for hosting your party, while the stunning sea and sunset views outdoors will make for some fantastic photographs. The villa can accommodate up to 120 people for any corporate and/or private events. Weekly exclusive use vacation rental includes delicious continental breakfast provided daily, unlimited tea, coffee and soft drinks and a butler or waiter service. Also available upon request are private chefs, use of limousines and even a helicopter service.
What is your favourite film? Relax yourself watching your preferred movie in their movie theater.
Their well stocked wine cellar offers a unique glimpse at some of the regions well known wines as well as some hidden gems and best-kept-secrets. They are all about the joy of wine and, therefore, offer fantastic quality for money for these wines from the source. Guests can indulge in a wide variety of French wines. La Tosca’s original but renovated wine cellar maintains an ideal temperature and humidity for the careful maturing of French wines.
Villa La Tosca has a semi-professional standard Kitchen available for use of the guests. Often it is in use by the private chef cooking up something special. Fully equipped western kitchen with 2 integrated ovens, a gas hob, induction cooking, grill, built-in deep fryer, microwave, plate warming drawer, coffee machine, ice maker, freezer, and American style fridge. The cosy kitchen and its island is the meeting point for guests, inviting casual conversation. It is open planned, separating the dining room with only a two sided large fireplace. On the other side are large dining settings with spacious lounge areas.
The history of Villa La Tosca:
Born 1903, La Tosca – situated in the heart of the Bassin d’Arcachon and considered as one ofthe best examples of Italian influenced “Arcachon Architecture”. She was built for Mr. Germain Cumenge, Prosecutor of the Republic in Bordeaux. The typical Italian style lodge he built resembles, still existing, houses in Arcachon Ville d’Hiver, but is unique in its spacious chambers, its vast terrain and beach front location. Before modern times, the authentic natural spring provided owners and guests with the purest drinking water. The spring water is eternally pressured from an 80 meters deep well, naturally filtered by layers and layers of rocks, soil and sand. Mr. Cumenge brilliantly succeeded in his career. He became District Attorney after which he pressed on to become First President of the Court of appeal. He and his family have left a legacy of importance to the region. Since the family Cumenge, La Tosca was acquired in 1941 by the family Sainte Marie from Bordeaux before being cherished by Mrs. & Mr. Bardon, the bemoaned Mayor of Lanton. Mrs. and Mr. Bardon changed the name “La Tosca” to “Hurlevent”. The current owners of the estate have lovingly renovated the property and its 5000 sqm parks with great care and eye for detail… La Tosca has been given a new lease of life.
When to go:
The Gironde enjoys an ideal climate with 2000 + hours of sunshine. With moderate winters and summers, this is a perfect place to visit in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. A spring in France provides the right climate for the picturesque green hills with pretty flowers and calm weather. There is just the right amount of rainfall required for the Bordeaux vineyards to flourish and to ensure the countryside’s luxuriant greenery. Spring and summer are especially lovely because of the beauty that these seasons bestow upon the French countryside, however, the Autumn months make travel and site seeing very doable, even with the occasional drizzle and chillier conditions in the evenings as the end of the Autumn draws in.
Villa La Tosca is nestled in the tranquil bay of Arcachon, this waterfront hotel boasts a peaceful setting amidst lush pine trees. The sun-kissed Atlantic shoreline lies at the bottom of the hotel’s verdant gardens, with a range of aquatic activities available on the azure waters. There are Kayaks and bikes for rent onsite, for those into more active breaks. Cap Ferret, a chic, laid-back seaside town, is popular with French VIPs and is great fun to explore on bikes. Kayaking down the River Leyre (Aquitaine’s ‘little Amazon’) is a magical experience, as you drift with the current, watching the sunset. Being in the heart of Wine country, we highly recommend experiencing a vineyard tour and wine tasting, or visiting one of the many Michelin Starred restaurants a short drive away, all of which can be arranged for you. Bird lovers can visit Parc Ornithologique du Teich, a specially protected wetland for migrating birds which is located not too far away. The full range of watersports are available and there is a sailing school only 250 metres away. The nearby historic city of Bordeaux (now protected by UNESCO as a world Heritage site) is well worth a visit with its diverse galleries, museums and fantastic restaurants.
Enjoy the Arcachon Bay – The top spot for bathing tourism, has taken care to preserve its natural heritage intact, as an integral part of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park. It is tidal by nature, the daily withdrawal of the Atlantic Ocean ensuring the release of health giving ions into the atmosphere from the depths of the sea bed and the replenishment of clean, fresh, invigorating waters.
Explore the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natura Park – It was created in 1970 and is part of the largest forest in Europe. It covers over 315.000 hectares and can be explored on foot, by mountain bike, on horseback, or by canoe along the Leyre, a river that winds through the heart of the pine forest before flowing into the Arcachon Basin.
Visit the Gironde Estuary – The 600 km² Gironde Estuary is the largest in Europe and the best protected. Born of the confluence of the Garonne and the Dordogne, the Estuary has something of the Mississippi about it, stretching between islands and marshes and bordering Médoc’s renowned winegrowing estates and the vineyards of Blaye and Bourg.Its wines may have made Gironde famous, but its rivers and streams have also contributed much to its development. When Celtic people, the Biturigi Vivisci, settled on the banks of a meander of the Garonne in the 3rd century BC, a port grew up on the river, known as Burdigala – the present-day Bordeaux, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007.
Hiking – 4.200 km of hiking trails, including 2.300 km of marked-out routes, wind their way through vineyards and pine forests, and alongside the coast and the Estuary. Gironde has progressively become France’s number one cycle tourism destination.
Beaches and Water-Sports – 126 km of beaches devoted to surfing, kite surfing, body boarding, sand-yachting and sea kayaking. Sheltered by the coastal dunes, three great lakes lying in un-spoilt natural settings make an ideal destination for families in search of safe bathing, water-sports enthusiasts, ramblers and anglers alike.
Visit Bordeaux – Bordeaux’s emblematic architectural heritage consists of a clever mix of modern and ancient: from the 15th century city gates to the maze of medieval streets, and from the sumptuous peristyle of the Grand Théâtre to the modernism of Miroir d’eau, the largest of its kind, which perfectly complements the classicist style of Place de la Bourse. Strolling around the cafés, bistros & Haute Couture boutiques of the Quartier St Pierre is a delight. A leisurely walk is recommended along the Garonne canal which has been given a fantastic facelift.
Explore St-Émilion – The medieval village of St-Émilion perches above vineyards renowned for producing full-bodied, deeply coloured red wines and is easily the most alluring of all the region’s wine towns. Named after Émilion, a miracle-working Benedictine monk who lived in a cave here between AD 750 and 767, it soon became a stop on pilgrimage routes, and the village and its vineyards are now Unesco-listed. Today, despite masses of tourists descending onto the town, it’s well worth venturing 40km east from Bordeaux to experience St-Émilion’s magic, particularly when the sun sets over the valley and the limestone buildings glow with halo-like golden hues.
Visit La Cité du Vin – La Cité du Vin is an over-the-top, mega project with all the scope of a wine theme park for adults. Located on the banks of the Garonne River, this permanent World’s Fair of wine, which opened on June 1, 2016, offer 20 themed areas and exhibits. There is a 250-seat auditorium for screenings and classes, and in true theme park style, there is also a simulator boat ride, reimagining the maritime journey of a merchant’s galley across the globe. This being Bordeaux, after all, serious wine drinking still comes first. There are expert-led tasting sessions, while the top two floors are given over to the panoramic Belvedere wine saloon, a restaurant, tapas bar, and boutique selling stock from 80 countries. There’s even a tribute to the hangover, an enormous plush chair where you sit listening to famous stories of inebriation. And don’t forget the “tasting experience,” a multi-sensory space with moving sets, 3D images and olfactory whiffs.
With its urban elegance and provincial charm, Bordeaux is an appealing tourist destination in a beautiful region of southwest France. Bordeaux is called the “Port of the Moon” because of its romantic location on a crescent-shaped bend of the Garonne River. In this splendid setting that allowed trade to flourish, the city has a rich cultural heritage dating back to antiquity. UNESCO declared Bordeaux a World Heritage Site in 1998 thanks to the city‘s wealth of architectural treasures. More than 350 buildings are classified as historical monuments.
A place of historical importance in the heart of Bordeaux, the Cathedral of Saint Andrew dates back to the 12th century. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this cathedral was part of the Route of Saint James pilgrimage trail. Pilgrims traveled through Bordeaux from the Médoc, Tours, and the British Isles on their way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The Cathedral of Saint Andrew compares to the Notre-Dame in Paris in its grandeur and features an impressive facade with sculptures of the Last Supper, the Ascension, and Christ in Majesty. Interestingly, the western front side of the cathedral is completely unadorned, since it was originally too close to the old town walls. However, now you will find the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) opposite the cathedral; this grand neoclassical palace built in the 18th-century reveals the dramatic difference in architectural styles over the centuries. During the summer, the Bordeaux International Organ Festival is held at the cathedral. Visitors can enjoy free concerts performed by the most talented European organists.
Le Grand Théâtre
The Grand Théâtre is the centerpiece of the Place de la Comédie, a hub of city life and the ancient site of the Roman Forum. One of the city’s most emblematic buildings, this monumental theater was built in 1780 in the inspiring new Classical style of Bordeaux. The building was designed by architect Victor Louis who also designed the Palais Royal and Théâtre Français in Paris. The exterior features 12 colossal Corinthian columns along with statues representing the nine muses and the goddesses Juno, Venus, and Minerva. Inside the theater, visitors are awed by splendid foyers and grand staircases. For a memorable experience, spend an evening at the theater to enjoy a performance by the National Orchestra or National Ballet of Bordeaux.
Place de la Bourse
Lining the quays of Bordeaux for a half mile are elegant classical buildings from the 18th century. This impressive collection of architecture along the river was designed to welcome and impress visitors. The most magnificent example of this neoclassical architecture is the Place de la Bourse, which epitomizes the elegance of 18th century design. The square was built between 1730 and 1755 by members of the Gabriel family of architects. In the center of the square is the lovely Fountain of the Three Graces, surrounded by two beautiful pavilion-like buildings: the Bourse (Stock Exchange) and the Musée des Douanes (Customs Museum). These graceful quayside buildings stand just above the banks of the Garonne River. Take a scenic walk alongside the Garonne to admire the inspiring architecture of the Place de la Bourse and the shimmering reflections of the buildings in the river.
This exquisite basilica is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site because it was a stop on the medieval Way of Saint James pilgrimage. The basilica features the Romanesque style typical of churches on the route to Santiago de Compostela. This exceptional church dates back to the 11th century. The choir, featuring a stone abbot’s throne and ornate stalls, was built during the 14th and 15th centuries. The choir chapel is adorned with impressive Gothic reredos (decorative screens) that display 12 alabaster reliefs and a 14th-century Virgin Mary figure. The oldest part of the basilica is the 11th-century crypt, which is a treasure trove of ancient reliquaries and sarcophagi from the 6th and 7th centuries.
Exemplifying an extravagant “Rayonnant Gothic” style, this basilica, dedicated to the Archangel, is another important church on the Route of Santiago pilgrimage trail. Along with the Cathedral of Saint Andrew and the Basilica of Saint Seurin, the Basilica of Saint Michael is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica took 200 years to build, from the 14th to 16th centuries. The church presents a pleasing unity of architectural style, described as “Rayonnant Gothic” (the 13th-century French style of ornate Gothic architecture). From the top of the freestanding belfry, you can take in stunning panoramic views of the city. After visiting the basilica, enjoy a stroll around the quarter of Saint Michel that surrounds the basilica. This quarter to the south of the Pont de Pierre is the most colorful and atmospheric neighborhood of Bordeaux. Twice a week on Monday and Saturday mornings, the Square of Saint Michel is transformed into a marketplace, and the shops around the square lend a lively ambiance.
The Museum of Aquitaine vividly illustrates the history of Bordeaux and the region of Aquitaine from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum has exceptional pieces of antiquity, including the Laussel Venus, an artifact from 25.000 BC, Gallic gold coins from around the 2nd century BC, and a 3rd-century statue of Hercules. Other highlights include the 13th-century figure of a knight of Curton and the 16th-century Montaigne’s tomb. The monument to Montaigne once stood at the entrance of the museum, and visitors would touch the statue’s foot as a ritual to “absorb” the wisdom of the illustrious man. For a peek into everyday life of Bordeaux during the 20th century, be sure to view the Reconstructed Grocer’s Shop filled with superb replicas of furniture, accessories, and foodstuffs from the 1900s. You’ll find a cash register, coffee grinder, tinned fruits and vegetables, pots of mustard, terrines of foie gras, jars of bonbons, and a display of lollipops.
Esplanade des Quinconces
An expansive public space in central Bordeaux, the Esplanade des Quinconces is considered to be the largest square in Europe. This tranquil retreat in the heart of the city is just a few blocks away from Le Grand Théâtre. Flanked by the Quai Louis XVIII alongside the river, the esplanade offers peaceful waterfront views. Built from 1818 to 1828, the square’s monumental fountain honors the Girondins, the group of republican politicians from the département of the Gironde who were deputies in the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. (Many Girondins were sent to the guillotine during the Terror). The original fountain was destroyed during World War II and later restored. There are also statues of Montesquieu and Montaigne. Another noteworthy site nearby is the Jardin Public, where you can visit the botanical gardens and the natural history museum.
Pont de Pierre
One of the iconic sights in Bordeaux, the Pont de Pierre (Stone Bridge) blends perfectly with the city’s elegant riverfront buildings. Imagined in 1817 by engineer Claude Descamps, the Pont de Pierre was completed in 1821 after years of construction work. The result is a beautiful feat of engineering. The bridge spans the Garonne River with 17 graceful arches supported by foundation piles that are set into the riverbed and well designed to withstand strong currents. In the history of Bordeaux, this was the first bridge to cross the Garonne River.
At the center of historic Bordeaux, the Rue Sainte-Catherine is the busiest shopping street in the city. This street is also the oldest existing thoroughfare in Bordeaux, as it was a road during Roman times.
Where to stay
Located just 40 minutes by car from the center of historic Bordeaux, Villa La Tosca is a jewel located on the shore of the Arcachon Bay and it is considered a prime example of Arcachon Architecture. Built in 1903, the luxury villa was recently restored to preserve its historic heritage and warmth, while offering modern amenities and comfortable luxury. Outdoors, an acre of manicured gardens contains an ecological lap pool, a kitchen herb garden, and a natural spring. The villa overlooks the lawns and gardens, the ancient wall and the views of the sea. Villa La Tosca has eight luxurious bedrooms, each with their own unique styling and feel. If you are looking for an exceptional place for an exceptional moment, you would be hard pressed to find a more stylish and welcoming retreat.