Life is a Beach.
Bienvenue à plage de Pontaillac.
Welcome to Pontaillac Beach, or Ponta Beach as the locals call it. Positioned on the Atlantic Coast, we came across Pontaillac four years ago by accident when we packed an overnight bag and headed from our Farmhouse on Le Grand Sérail to visit the city of Royan. The Beach at Royan is a vast stretch of golden sand that extends for miles, it actually reminds me a lot of Malibu Beach in California. With its tall Ferris wheel and stunning Marina, Royan is a great destination, although we did find it quite touristy and with a series of concerts taking place on the beach it was incredibly busy.
We decided to head north to discover what was beyond Royan city and before we knew it we were stuck in a traffic jam thanks to us being uninformed of the car ferry crossing times. We queued for well over 45 minutes until we had an opportunity to make a u-turn. By this stage, and many searches on Apple Maps, we were almost about to head back inland when an accidental left turn brought us out on the corner of Avenue de Pontaillac. It was a ‘WOW’ moment from a visual perspective and as we drove through this beautiful boutique sea-side suburb of Royan, we knew we had discovered something very special.
We noticed a gorgeous hotel opposite the beach called the Hotel Miramar and enquired at reception as they had their no vacancy sign turned on. When the Hotel Manager got off the phone, it turned out that the call was a cancellation for an ocean view room in their newly renovated property. The Hotel Miramar is not a five star property, but it is beautifully presented, modern and seaside chic. The service is always excellent, so much so we’ve returned every year since.
“You get that immediate feeling of contentment and sea-side living vibes. Our room was on the second floor on the corner overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Pontaillac Beach. If views and atmosphere had a star rating out of ten, this would be a perfect score.”
We have just returned from Pontaillac today and as I sit in our kitchen in Cognac typing this article, I am reminiscing about so many amazing memories of this special piece of paradise. Life is easy in Pontaillac, the mornings are for long walks, coffee and breakfast by the sea. The day time is for lounging in your reserved cabana on the beach, and the evenings are for dining on the cosmopolitan Main Street.
You know that feeling you get when you discover the perfect place that you keep wanting to return to? It is a sense of belonging and a feeling of immediate contentment. I don’t feel that way with many places, but Pontaillac is definitely one, as is Paris and Bordeaux and Cognac. All so vastly different but for me personally they have one thing in common, a sense of home.
As always, Bon Appétit. Mike x