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.
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.
The rectangular minimalist infinity pool, with its natural filtering and regeneration ponds, rather resembles a genuine lake blending into the garden. The onsite spring water is filtered and regenerated through plants, rocks, pebbles. Guests can cool-off in the infinite green waters of the pure natural spring pool, leaving their skin luxuriously smooth and silky soft, or settle down in one of the comfortable lounge chairs on the huge deck with a 180 degrees view of the garden and shore line. No chlorine in sight! The pool deck offers yet another site to organize a massage or romantic candle light dining. Although they are steps from the ocean, if saltwater is not your preference, this ecological swimming pool is a refreshing and relaxing alternative.
The spectacular 5000 sqm park lost many of its century old pine trees in the storm of January 2009. A sad happening, however it opened up the garden to unchallenged sea views and sunsets. Wide vistas over the front lawn are extended as far as Cap Ferret and Arcachon. Only the century old stone wall, lined with Tamaris trees that have withstood the winds and its heritage gate separate the grounds from a direct stroll onto the beach at low tide or a refreshing dip at high tide. The garden of this luxury seaside estate offers guests a unique experience in the ecological pool nourished with its own natural spring water, a petanque field and outdoor table tennis.
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.
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.
Value for Money
Double rooms are from just Euro 189,00 in low season; and from Euro 369,00 in high. These rates are per room and per day and include breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
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.
Our Special Readings
Top 5 of Aquitaine sights
Aquitaine is “the other South of France.” The southwestern corner of France, bordering Spain and the Atlantic, is best known for the world famous wines of the Bordeaux region. But there is much more here than Grand Cru. Aquitaine is rich in history, with castles, cave paintings and medieval villages galore. And you won’t be disappointed by the cuisine drawing on the freshest ingredients from the region’s fertile fields, fishing grounds and vineyards. Here are our top 5 in this very special place.
The city of Bordeaux serves as the gateway to the southwest of France. This charming port on the banks of the Garonne River has been a commercial center since Roman times, the capital of a region whose wines are coveted the world over. Bordeaux has recently undergone extensive renovation, earning it a Unesco World Heritage Site designation and the nickname “The Little Paris.”
Architectural gems such as the opera house on the main square opposite the Grand Hotel de Bordeaux have had their former brilliance restored and even enhanced. Such is the case with the Place de la Bourse. The elegant curves of this neoclassical palace bathed in golden light are multiplied by the Water Mirror, the world’s largest reflecting pool.
Neighborhood street markets such as Les Capucins in the Saint-Michel/Victoire area feature a cornucopia of poultry, seafood, charcuterie, cheese, fruits, vegetables and fresh baked breads and tantalizing pastries. The wine that has contributed so much to history and made Bordeaux world famous and wealthy is honored with a museum built in the shape of a decanter.
This is the land of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in history, a legendary beauty who reigned as both queen of France and queen of England and led a battalion of women in war. Her prowess in battle and the bed chamber spawned her reputation as an Amazon queen who presided over a Court of Love of troubadours and chivalry. Medieval history is very much alive in this corner of France, with ancient turreted castles and carefully preserved villages like St. Emilion and Sarlat, whose narrow streets were trod by pilgrims en route to Crusades and the shrines of San Juan de Compostela.
10 reasons to visit La Gironde
La Gironde, the south-western region of France, owes mainly its fame to the capital, Bordeaux and its undisputed wine vocation. In fact, for centuries, excellent wines appreciated all over the world are produced here. But food and wine is not the only motivation to visit the Gironde region: this territory is indeed very rich and visiting you will find many good reasons to come back, just like me. However, I must also say that Bordeaux is the destination of the year: several newspapers that have written wonders, and tourist guides mention it as an unmissable place to visit in France. In short, it is definitely a place to visit in this end 2018 but also in 2019. For this reason, here are ten reasons for doing so.
Drive through the saltworks of the Guérande Peninsula and visit its medieval citadel, declared a City of Art and History in 2004.
Visit the Castle of Gilles de Rais aka Bluebeard, which dominates the medieval town of Pornic.
Visit the La Rochelle Aquarium to discover the most beautiful species of fish in Europe.
Embark on Boyardville or Fouras to visit the Fort Boyard, a fortification built in the 19th century (and today famous in France thanks to the homonymous TV game).
Dune du Pilat: a truly gem in Aquitaine
Bordeaux and Aquitaine are not a very popular destination, especially for those who do not travel often or those who do not leave the most touristy and famous routes. And believe me, it’s really a pity! There are countless reasons to push anyone to go there and it would take so many articles to better describe the peculiarities and beauties of this area of France, and sooner or later I will visit all and list them definitely. In any case, this time I chose to go to Aquitaine for a specific reason, to discover the Dune du Pilat with my own eyes.
In fact it is precisely in Aquitaine that the highest dune in Europe rises. And it is here that the French forest marks the boundaries of a strong and fascinating sea like the Atlantic. The green stops suddenly but the aroma of pine, pushed by the wind, envelops a mountain of fine and fascinating sand: the Dune du Pilat, as I wrote before, the highest dune in Europe. A challenge for everyone that climb at sunset, when the sun sets it on fire with ocher, purple and gold nuances and let themselves slide down a hundred meters high. A launch pad for hang gliders with colored wings that take flight to the Atlantic with a dark blue color. It is here that, between sky, earth and sea, nature explodes showing itself wild, stunning, beautiful.
The Dune du Pilat is a giant mountain of golden color, soft and so fine that it flutters at the first gust of wind, in fact the dune is constantly moving. The Dune du Pilat exceeds 100 meters in height and is about 3 km long. Belonging to the Grands Sites de France (given its beauty and its fragility), the dune, as said in continuous movement, has an asymmetrical shape, with a strong slope from the forest side and a lighter slope on the side of the Ocean. As a result of meteorological factors (such as winds and storms), hydrological (such as currents, waves and tides) and climatic factors (rising ocean levels) the dune moves eastwards from one to five meters each year, covering the forest.
Bordeaux: A gleaming city on the Garonne
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.
Special City Guide: Bordeaux
Elegant Bordeaux, capital of Aquitaine and the fifth-largest city in France, is the hub for the legendary wine châteaux of St-Emilion and Médoc. They welcome you to their vineyards all year round. Away from the trestles, Bordeaux gives generously, too. Its wide Quays curve graciously around the Garonne River to the reconverted Bassins à Flot docks, past Gothic churches, 19th-century factories, tree-shaded thoroughfares and 18th-century merchants mansions so beautiful, the city has been hailed the great urban aesthetic triumph of western France.
Let the neo-classical masks of Bacchus and Mercury on Place de la Bourse lead you to Quartier Saint Pierre’s stately old merchants’ houses. Or cross tree-lined Place des Quinconces, with its statues of Montaigne and Montesquieu, to antique shops and markets in the Chartrons district. From here the CAPC (contemporary art museum) displays offbeat 1960s art. Standing 374 feet tall, Basilique St-Martin provides sweeping panoramas over the River Garonne, whose ships are like jewels glistening in the silvery water.
Sensible by day, Bordeaux rocks by night. Bars and bistros line the Garonne’s Quays, leading well-dressed crews to the chic clubs at Bassins à Flot, while students guzzle cheap wine in grungy bars round Place de la Victoire. For something more sophisticated, the Grand Théâtre is a sumptuous neo-classical venue used for top-notch opera. In the trendy Bastide district, just across the Pont de Pierre, lights from Bordeaux’s rows of mansions twinkle seductively.