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17 July 2015

Cap Ferret: discrete and authentic charm…

(Still) unspoiled by mass tourism, the cap Ferret peninsula exudes a wonderful sense of charm. While it currently is experiencing a certain vogue, which allows bon ton restaurants and boutiques to flourish, it evades fashion hype.

There is no bling here: those who sport designer clothes, bags and shoes understand nothing! Although we will make an exception for certain shirts and Bermuda pants from Lacoste or Ralph Lauren! The essential here is to know about boats: a sail and a motor will take you to Arguin for a picnic before oyster tasting in a cabin on the edge of the Basin. Discretion is gospel.

To live happily is to live hidden – but not too hidden!
Cap Ferret Gironde

Cap Ferret © DR
By Adine Fichot-Marion

Here, one never uses the word “sea”. There is no room for anything other than the Basin and the Ocean! The Cap-Ferret Peninsula benefits from an exceptional location: on one side, it is beaten by the tossing seas of the Atlantic and by the Basin’s more peaceful waters on the other. This dual exposure offers a variety of different activities. On the Basin there is sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and paddle-boarding…while the Ocean gives itself to more difficult watersports than just swimming in the waves. Watch out! The Basin is not a lake – it has its own tides as it flows into the sea.

The peninsula is interspersed with a succession of villages that, although they are well-maintained, are far from old-fashioned. These villages with their brightly-coloured wooden cabins, alleyways paved with oyster shells are above all dedicated to oyster farming.

And don’t hesitate to jump on a bike. For several years now, various cycling tracks winding through the forest allow you to move from one village to the next.


  • Interest in the Cap-Ferret peninsula is not a recent phenomenon

    Interest in the Cap-Ferret peninsula is not a recent phenomenon! Since 1917 Jean Cocteau stayed at the Chanteclerc hotel in Grand Piquey on several occasions: in 1920 he was accompanied by Raymond Radiguet, who wrote the best part of Le Diable du Corps here. Much later, in the 70s, it was no surprise to see Alain Delon bring his family to l’Herbe on holiday, to fine at the Beach hotel or spot Lino Ventura playing boules in the streets of this particular village…
    The surge of people that descends upon Cap Ferret every summer comes as no surprise either! Pascal Obispo has become a local figure since he settled in the premises of a former holiday camp, often frequenting Hortense, a restaurant with an uninterrupted view over the Dune du Pyla. Here, you can see the whole Basin. Guillaume Canet also enjoys coming to Ferret: not content after filming his third feature film “Les Petits Mouchoirs”, he bought a house with Marion Cotillard, just outside the l’Herbe. And don’t forget Philippe Starck, who made local headlines by buying the Anouilh house on the Ferret beach.
    The best way to give yourself a clear idea of the topography of the place is to climb the cliff steps: look out over green waves/sheep fields and dense pine forests, blue waters of the Basin that dominate the Pyla dune, a 118m high sentinel. All before your very eyes. And the Mimbeau of course, the last big Basin beach before you reach the Ocean. Inhabitants here are almost always connected to oyster farming or fishing. But don’t get your hopes up: these perfectly positioned huts are not for sale as they have been built upon maritime terrain and are therefore reserved for fishermen and oyster farmers…And how better to discover a place by taking one’s time?

  • La Maison du Bassin

    Check out the 11 bedrooms – each more ravishing that the last – of this hotel, located in the heart of the fishing village just a stone’s throw from the Basin. Natural materials: linen, wood, colours including white, grey, beige, marine paintings, objects and furniture hunted from the Esprit du Cap (a neighbouring antique dealer) and throughout the region, giving an undeniable charm to the whole hotel. In the restaurant, a simple menu favours raw products and fish. And don’t miss out on the oysters or the Parcs de l’Impératrice, which come from Joël Dupuch, the incredible representative for the Petits Mouchoirs – renowned for being an amazing oyster farm. The best in the area some might say! The dessert buffet deserves a special mention. Just next door at the “Tchanqué” bar on the large terrace, a top spot for Cap Ferret parties, you can taste rum specialities or other cocktails with or without alcohol… 5, rue des Pionniers. Tél. : 05 56 60 60 63. www.lamaisondubassin.com

  • Côté Sable: the heart and soul of Cap-Ferret

    This elegant single-floor construction is decked out in wood whilst benefitting from an exceptional central location, just a stone’s throw from the legendary market, opposite the beach. It boasts 15 bedrooms, between 22 and 23 m2, each with its own individuality. The décor, masterminded by Adra Bataille, wife of Pascal Bataille – owner of the properties – and a local girl, brings together various different atmospheres. Each room bears the name of a famous writer that inspired travel: Apollinaire, Duras, Hemingway…Pascal purposefully decided to open a restaurant as “there are enough in the area” he points out. But in the bar, with its enormous striped sofas by Philippe Hurel, and a wonderful terrace overlooking the Basin, guests can enjoy breakfast and a glass of Lilet or a cocktail in the evening – and even try some tapas. New additions this season: the Côté Sable brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 11am until 3pm. There is a Clarins spa with two treatments rooms, a Jacuzzi, a hammam and hand and foot treatments with amazing OPI nail varnish, which come to complete what this warm place has to offer. 37, bd de la Plage. Tél 05 57 17 07 27. www.cotesable.fr

  • Le Domaine du Ferret

    Designed by Serge Blanco and opened on 15th June, the Domaine du Ferret is a truly a unique resort on the peninsula. It unites a 4-star hotel-residence and a balneotherapy space: hydrotherapy treatments, affusion massages, seaweed wraps…and a Cinq Mondes spa. Located at Claouey, spanning nine hectares of parkland, the Domaine du Ferret entrusts the running of its coffee shop, the Cabanon du Pinasse, to chef Pascal Nibaudeau. This former head chef at the Grand Hotel in Bordeaux has rejoined the Pinasse café at Cap Ferret and his menu will remain very similar. Try one of his signature dishes: blue lobster, sweetbread and béarnaise with pressed juice and goats cheese with cucumber coulis…the daily set menu (two starters, two main courses, two desserts) change everyday in order to satisfy guests’ taste-buds…Domaine du Ferret, balnéo et spa Claouey, Dune de Caperan. Tél. : 06 11 44 61 46. www.domaineduferret.com

  • An oyster tasting

    The entire peninsula swarms with oyster huts – each more lovely than the last! We absolutely recommend the Cabane du Mimbeau at the end of the narrow canal: on their wonderful terrace overlooking the water with the Pyla dune just opposite, you can retire inside (in case of bad weather) to taste oysters, whelk, prawns and pate, all washed down with a delicious glass of white wine, much the same as the menu at the newly opened Cabane d’Hortense, little sister of the famous Hortense restaurant, which offers the same products that you can taste outside by the waters edge or inside – if it rains!
    At l’Herbe, the prettiest of all the villages on the peninsula, don’t miss out on Kikoyou, which is right on the beach.
    Finally, the trendiest of these huts has to be the Canfouine au Canon: on a wooden terrace dominating the beach, multi-coloured chairs and vintage furniture bring a touch of art-deco. On the menu: oysters, whelk, pate, prawns and white wine – as per usual!
    75, rue Sainte Catherine au Canon

  • My shop Vues du Jardin

    In the vast Nathalie et Olivier boutique, which is set out like a warehouse, you can find everything that you need (and more!) for your home: from sofas to mirrors and even dinner-plates, parasols, knick-knacks, candles and even flowers! The only snag: you will find it impossible to resist buying everything! 24, av. du Bassin. Tél. : 05 57 70 89 60.

  • Bleu de Mer

    Just besides Frédélian, the legendary Ferret pâtissier, renowned for its waffles, ice cream and different cakes, you will find the boutique where you can equip yourself with all the codes of the peninsula: brightly coloured swimming trunks for men, Tod’s loafers, demure tunics and delightful, beautifully cut trousers…in short, this should be your first stop upon arrival – so you can revamp your wardrobe! 33, bd de la Plage. Tél. : 05 56 03 72 49.

  • Betty Boom

    Under this sparkling name of Bordeaux designer Corinne Réaud, be enchanted by elegant and original fashion, which is always a tour de force. Exquisite materials and strong colours dress up frilly dressed and embroidered beach shirts, t-shirts, saruels and cotton bathing suits. Take note of the perfect ballerina pumps in dozens of different colours. 55 bd de la Plage 33950 Cap Ferret

  • The marché du Ferret

    And of course the marché du Ferret: an institution that is open every morning, where you can find the best products: fish at Lucine, superb fruit and veg at Cocotte and heaps of outdoor stalls bursting with clothes, jewellery, shoes and knick-knacks. An Ali Baba’s cave – that is impossible to resist!

  • Pinasse Cafe

    Perfectly located on the edge of the Basin, taste a fantastic array of fish and Dupuch oysters – and an adorable service! In the summer of 2014, Pascal Nibadeau left his Michelin-starred restaurant le Pressoir d’Argent du Regent in Bordeaux, instead becoming manager of these kitchens. He maintains the adorable menu, whilst adding his own touch: blue lobster, sweetbread and lobster béarnaise, prawn tartar and cucumber with Aquitaine caviar and the chef’s egg – cooked at a low temperature. 2 bis avenue de l’océan 33970 Cap Ferret Tel : 05 56 03 77 87

  • L’Escale

    Come here for a taste of tapas with a glass of Entre-Deux-Mers as you step onto the jetty with a magnificent view. Jetée, 2, av. de l’Océan Cap-Ferret. Tél. : 05 56 60 68 17

  • Le Sail Fish

    Le Sail Fish is the only restaurant located in the dunes, beside the ocean. All generations mix here, some coming to dine out while the young stay on to dance and drink into the small hours! The new novelty this summer: the opening of the Sail Fish Café. From 9am, come here for breakfast, then have a bite to eat at lunchtime and make the most of the beach food menu: hamburgers, sandwiches, lobster rolls, sea bream tagine…and in the evening, try the tapas with tuna tatakis, tempura prawns, an assortment of cold meats and even truffle oil chips! Rue des Bernaches, Cap-Ferret, tél. : 05 56 60 44 84 et Sail Fish Café 67, bd de la Plage

  • The Wharf Zazate

    The Wharf Zazate, known as the Wharf, is our new favourite! Found on the Port de la Vigne. A cool atmosphere with large sofas, net fabrics, baroque lighting – a mixture that we love! Excellent cooking and impeccable service. Need we say more? Oh yes – try the incredible piece of beef to share with shallots and delicious chips – plus a more ‘party’ vibe kicks in after 10pm. In addition, “locals” frequent it too: including Marion Cotailard, Guillaume Canet and Gilles Lellouche… Tél. : 05 56 60 90 18

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