Above on the left are shown cranes on their migration routes which are seen here, at Beau Séjour, and also at Le Teich, a nature reserve close to the coast. The coastal area really splits into two. There is the atlantic coast which runs from the Point de Grave at the north down to the southern tip of Cap Ferret and also from the Dune du Pilat to the Spanish frontier. We are not considering the atlantic coast since this is really for committed swimmers, surfers and beach lovers. The backdrop to this page is a sunset on the atlantic coast with surfers catching the last of the daylight waves. On this page we are considering the Bay of Arcachon, in French, le Bassin d’Arcachon.Apart from being a fantastic area for seeing birds it is a traditional area for oyster farming. Many of the villages are pretty much unspoilt with oyster farmers everywhere and simple restaurants selling oysters. Sometimes there are prawns or bullot (whelks) but always the menus are centered on oysters. As we understand it, the regulations are much lighter than for a normal restaurant but on the other side the restrictions on what they can serve are much tighter.The most famous village for oyster farming, in French ostréiculture, is Gujan Mestras. This is found just after the wildlife park at Le Teich. It is a place to see oyster farmers at work. It is not smart or chic, but rather it is rustic. If you like oysters and white wine it is a dream! Below are photos taken there on Sunday the 9th March 2014 when the temperature was 24°C. Most of the small restaurants were full. One restaurant shows a long menu, pretty much all oysters!
Cranes on their migration route. A kingfisher looking down onto an oyster bed. An egret fishing among the oyster beds.
Arcachon, shown left and right, is loved by the French. I have to admit that it is not my taste. It dates from the middle of the 19th century when the railway arrived and so was built as a holiday resort. Much of the architecture dates from this time and is of a style that is true to its time.The beaches are sandy but I prefer to see it from a distance or to sit at a restaurant beside the sea looking out towards the sea and not towards the town. Not many people share my views, but then this is an individual’s site.
Again a matter of opinion but I really like Cap Ferret. There is the traditional oyster farming but there are several beaches and a range of restaurants. There are lots of places just off the beaten track. French visitors get there early to grab ‘their’ spot. One such secluded spot is shown on the left.What is clear is that the Dune du Pilat is the tallest sand dune in Europe. What is not clear is the spelling, is it Pilat or Pyla? Please be careful with the GPS! Shown with the setting sun it almost invites us to climb it. Apparently the views from the top are magnificent.