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Destination Southwestern France:
Story and photos by Tom Weber

beach scene at the seaside resort of Pyla-sur-Mer, Southwestern France

he latest edition of my photo shoot around southwestern France finds my toes buried in sand, my hands wrapped around chilled glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, and my knife and fork working overtime on several well-prepared dishes at the seaside resort of Pyla-sur-Mer.

view of the Atlantic from the Pyla-sue-Mer resort with pine trees in the foreground

Situated along the Atlantic coast, Pyla-sur-Mer, called the "Hamptons of France" by a French friend of mine, is located in the community of La Teste-de-Buch at the entrance to the Bay of Arcachon.

Europe's tallest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, La Teste-de-Buch, France

Along with the pristine beaches and small out-to-sea inlets, the area also boasts Europe's tallest sand dune, Dune du Pilat. Standing 110 meters at its highest point, this great dune measures about 500 meters wide and stretches 2.7 km in a north-to-south direction. In short, it's one heck of an elevated sandbox.

signage of the La Co(o)rniche Hotel, Pyla-sur-Mer

Although the views were spectacular, my party of five was really in Pyla-sur-Mer to enjoy some fantastic seafood dishes under a large umbrella table overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the terrace restaurant of the Phillipe Starck-designed La Co(o)rniche Hotel.

oysters at the restaurant of the La Co(o)rniche Hotel

a fish dish at the La Co(o)rniche Hotel restaurant

white wine at the La Co(o)rniche Hotel restaurant

dessert at the La Co(o)rniche Hotel restaurant

second dessert, La Co(o)rniche Hotel restaurant

A bit pricey – okay, quite expensive – but it was worth every euro cent. The wait staff at the hotel-restaurant with the parenthetical O was courteous, quick and very accommodating; and, the fresh seafood, from raw oysters to the seared tuna and other dishes in between, coupled with the mouthwatering desserts, made the afternoon overlooking the Dune and the Atlantic one that me and my bons amis won't quickly forget.

For more information on La Co(o)niche, visit its English language website.

Related Articles:
Destination Southwestern France: Libourne; Destination Southwestern France: Saint Émilion; Destination Southwestern France: Domme and Beynac-et-Cazenac; Destination Southwestern France: Sarlat-la-Canéda; Thoughts About Les Hommes Français; Provence;

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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