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 dAzur. That hasnt stopped it, however, from
attracting the VIPs so much so its 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 youll
also find Cap Ferret villas and boutique hotels dotting the town and the surrounding area.
If youre thinking of paying this hidden gem a visit, heres how to get the
best out of your time here.
Visit an oyster village
Oyster fishing is at the heart and soul of Cap Ferrets
lifestyle and economy, and youll find that theyre 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 LHerbe 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 its a great way to see more of Cap Ferret at a gentle pace. On
board the narrow-gauge train, youll see some beautiful coastline, stunning
pine forests and pretty fishing villages, spanning two kilometres in just under
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,
youll 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 lHorizon
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 youll 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 Ferrets
lighthouse is one of the peninsulas main landmarks, and dominates the coastal
skyline. After climbing the 258 steps to the top, youll discover amazing views
out over the bay, taking in the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe.
Youll also discover more about the Caps 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 youve 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.
(Rennes), available under Creative Commons
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