Thursday, March 25, 2010

Arcachon, with oysters and love

View over the Mulleau Beach in Arcachon
View of the Moulleau beach in Arcachon. Further away the Pyla sand dune. Photo Wikipedia

My first visit to Arcachon was to see my friend Nathalie, who has a summer house there. She showed us around, the Winter City area with the crazy architect houses, the shopping street in the centre, the marina, the old fishermen area and the main pedestrian street longing the beach. I fell in love instantly.

Arcachon has, like the villages around the Arcachon Bay, a special light, a closeness to the sea and its movements, its smells. The tide decides a lot for life here, taking the water far out at low tide, setting the boats ready to go at high tide. It also sets the working hours for the fishermen, because they can only take care of the oysters at low tide.

Arcachon is like the capital for the Arcachon Bay. It is a perfect starting point for discovering this unique region, by car, by bike or by boat. It's always lively here all year around. Many people living in Bordeaux have their summer house in this area.

Villa Bremontier in the Winter City in Arcachon

Arcachon is a newly built city. It was created when some smart business men prolonged the railway line all the way out here and built a recreation area in the beginning of the 18th century. The oldest part of Arcachon is called the Winter City and lies up on a hill next to the city centre and the beach. Here you find incredible houses to admire - maybe not always beautiful but always interesting. After that, the Spring City, around the Pereira garden, was built, followed by the Summer City, the city centre of today. The Automn City consists of the original fishermen houses and is situated close to the marina and the fishermen harbour.

View from the restaurant Cafe de la Plage in Arcachon

One of my favourite places is the Café de la Plage, at the pier Eyrac. You can sit on the terrace and admire the view of the palm trees, the beach and the sea. Their specialty is seafood - surprise! A local specialty is to serve the oysters with small sausages (crépinettes) or even foie gras. You can also order cooked oysters, fried with vegetables, barbecued, in the oven or stuffed...  Another good address is Chez Yvette - for seafood of course.

Seafood platter in Arcachon

I highly recommend a boat trip in the Bay area. We tried a two hour long one to discover the Bird Isle, Ile des Oiseaux. You get to see the shacks on stilts nearby, the oyster farms, the birds and above all, you get a good look at all these small villages around the bay.  There are also a regular ferry between Arcachon and Cap Ferret, the village at the end of the bay arm.

Old style carousel in Arcachon

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Eva. We plan to go there in September. Henning from Norway


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