Cap Ferret | Quality Villas

cap ferret

Looking out towards the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and
Arcachon Bay, a 90-minute drive from Bordeaux, the peninsula of the Cap Ferret
is a far cry from the glitzy, polished beach resorts that line the
Mediterranean coast on the Cote d’Azur. That hasn’t stopped it, however, from
attracting the VIPs – so much so it’s been referred to as the Gallic Hamptons –
though it has an unspoilt air which makes it stand out from other beach
destinations in France, as well as making you want to come back time and time

Initially reliant on its abundant supply of oysters, Cap
Ferret is still very much a humble fishing village at its heart, though you’ll
also find Cap Ferret villas and boutique hotels dotting the town and the surrounding area.
If you’re thinking of paying this hidden gem a visit, here’s how to get the
best out of your time here.

Visit an oyster village

Oyster fishing is at the heart and soul of Cap Ferret’s
lifestyle and economy, and you’ll find that they’re also an important element
of the local diet. The peninsula itself is home to ten oyster villages, with
many classified to protect their heritage and appearance. Two of the prettiest
are L’Herbe and Le Canon, lined with small, colourful 19th century
cottages, decorated with brightly coloured flowers and separated by windy,
narrow alleyways. Also decorating the village are artefacts of the industry, from
old tractors to wooden pallets, as well as signs outside buildings saying
‘degustations’, meaning oysters and wine are available to enjoy.

Explore Cap Ferret by petit-train

Running from the Belisaire jetty on the eastern side to the
Plage Horizon beach in the west, the petit-train may be small but is not just
for children – it’s a great way to see more of Cap Ferret at a gentle pace. On
board the narrow-gauge train, you’ll see some beautiful coastline, stunning
pine forests and pretty fishing villages, spanning two kilometres in just under
fifteen minutes.

Relax on the various beaches

Cap Ferret is home to over 20km of beaches, hidden behind
forests of pine trees. On the Bassin side looking out over the Arcachon Bay,
you’ll find quieter and more tranquil beaches, while the beaches overlooking
the Atlantic are slightly more lively and invigorating. The waves here are
extremely powerful, making it a good spot for watersports, but also slightly
dangerous, so care should be taken. Plage du Grand Crohot, Plage de l’Horizon
and Plage du Truc Vert are all supervised by lifeguards during the high season.

Take a walk

With over 20km of coastline, the Cap is a great place for
walking, especially if you enjoy coastal walks. For something a little
different, head to the Reservoirs de Piraillan, near the oyster village of
Piraillan. Here you’ll find a fantastic variety of wildlife, particularly
birds, with the reservoir being home to several grey herons.

Visit the lighthouse

Built in 1947 and measuring 53m high, Cap Ferret’s
lighthouse is one of the peninsula’s main landmarks, and dominates the coastal
skyline. After climbing the 258 steps to the top, you’ll discover amazing views
out over the bay, taking in the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe.
You’ll also discover more about the Cap’s way of life here, in interesting
displays about oyster fishing and navigating the sandbanks, which includes a
virtual tour of the Bassin on board a variety of boats.

Catch your own seafood

If you’ve already consumed your weight in oysters, you can
go one step further and try and catch your own fresh seafood. Cast your lines
or nets from the beach, or wait until low-tide, when you can find all kinds of
seafood, including shrimps and green crabs, while on the mudflats there are cockles,
winkles and clams to be caught.

Image: Pierre
), available under Creative Commons

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