The south-west of France is the land of the "French Paradox". On the one hand fine dining has been raised to a form of art and on the other we hardly see any problems with cholesterol or cardiovascular disease.

Meals usually start with a soup, garbure, tourin, fish soup, oysters or a terrine of duck liver. The next course offers fish (salmon, eel, shad). Next comes a meat dish consisting of suckling lamb from Pauillac, beef from Bazas or goose and duck. For special occasions foie gras,truffles and wild mushrooms are beloved additions to the meal. The region also has a wide variety of local desserts.


Arcachon offers many options for enjoying oysters and other local seafood. It is also possible to do this at one of the oyster farms in one of the many little harbors. Should you do this in Gujan-Mestras you can also visit the House of Oysters for more on the history of oyster farming.