In late September 2011, Hélène and I took a two-week trip to southwestern France. After landing in Toulouse we first stayed with some friends at St-Cyprien just south of Perpignan. From there we made our way overland first to Arcachon, then Bordeaux and finally back to Toulouse.St-Cyprien proved a great jumping-off point. It is just one of many coastal towns, most centred on villages with long fishing traditions. Some maintain their charm while others have been swamped by sun-and-sand searchers and their condo developments.Leaving the Mediterranean coast to move inland was difficult but, all told, we had a great trip with sun, sea, sand and mountains. Not to forget just a little bit of fine dining and wine.