Oyster heaven in Arcachon
Oyster heaven in Arcachon
If you like oysters (and if not you might have the wrong blog) then Arcachon should be the top of your holiday list. The area has over 350 oyster farmers, and produces over 8,000 tonnes per year. Probably just enough to keep Gemma going for the weekend.
We got the train down from Bordeaux, which cost 11 euros and was just under an hour. The journey is comfortable and if you get a seat on the upper deck you get to take in the Bordeaux countryside on the way. Once you arrive in Arcachon you can walk the whole town, it’s pretty small and would take around half an hour to walk from one far end to the other. Plus there’s plenty of places to stop off at if you want to break up the journey.
Where to eat
We came here for the oysters and were not disappointed in the slightest. Everywhere serves up oysters but the best places we ate them in are as follows.
In the centre of Arcachon if you search the best oysters in Arcachon this comes up every time. Quintessentially French in it’s decor with monochrome and wood taking centre stage. We ordered the Pitt platter, consisting of the familiar tin of pork pate, nine oysters, six prawns, six whelks and bread. At 22 Euros it was such good value, in central London it would easily be double. A lovely lunch spot.
If someone asked me for my death row dinner I think this might be it, but the view and sunshine would need to come with it. The restaurant is on the edge of the oyster beds and you go to one of the wooden huts to order. You can get 12 oysters for under 12 euros, and the prawns were the best I have ever had. Along with an ice cold glass of wine it truly was perfection.
This was on the other side of town to where we were staying so we walked along the beach and made a couple pit stops.As you would expect from the name this place had a great selection of wine, and was good value. We did the set menu, offering two courses for under 15 euros and the food was fantastic quality. I had a portion of swordfish which was cooked perfectly, and came with some salad and lemon rice. This was followed by a huge creme brulee (well we were in France). If you are looking for a break from the seafood platters, and a couple glasses of wine, Wine Not visit? Across the road is a fishmongers which is well worth a visit, and if staying nearby make sure you go and get some of their food to take back. It had the most amazing array of marinated fish and salads - I was sad we were on our last night.
The food market in the centre of Arcachon is a bustling hub of activity, especially early in the morning. The quality of food on offer really did just make me want to up and move (London please take note!). There was an oyster bar at the end of the market which looked lovely, but we didn’t have time to check it out during our stay. Instead, we made up a few portions of cooked anchovies, squid and prawns along with some salad and headed to the beach.
Beyond the town itself there are miles of beautiful coastline to explore, and it’s definitely worht the trip to the Dune of Pilat. It is Europe’s biggest sanddune, and the views and absolutely unreal. On one side the sea, and the other dense forest it attracts tourists for the views but there were also plenty of people bringing picnics to the top, and just some everyday sunbathers.
We hired bikes from near our rental in Arcachon, and then cycled for around 45 minutes to the foot of the dune. It’s a great way to see the area, stopping off at cafes along the way. Overall it’s an easy ride and pretty flat, though combined with walking on the sand we were definitely aching the next day!
I absolutely adored this area of France, the food, views and sunshine really did make for a perfect break. It might be time to make my third trip in two years to Bordeaux!