The Best Oyster Tasting in France – Trip to Arcachon


I had a definite desire to travel to Arcachon Bay to eat oysters. Arcachon is about 5 hours from Paris near Bordeaux. Worth to travel!

Arcachon Bay and Oysters in June 2020

After being home for several months, I had a definite desire to travel to Arcachon Bay to eat oysters. To be honest, I had the plan already in the spring of 2019, but life happened and somehow the greatly planned trip just simply didn’t happen. So this summer, after the big corona lock-down, a trip to Arcachon Bay was just a pure necessity!

Travelling to Paris During COVID-19

The journey, of course, began with the new corona rules. We were only allowed to board the plane with our masks on, keeping a safe distance and all the other stories. Surely, it wasn’t as pleasant a start to our trip as I had dreamed of.

Travelling in covid times to Paris
Travelling to Paris during COVID-19

We landed in Paris, took a car and started driving to the coast peacefully. The CDG Airport was empty and we were basically the first tourists to arrive post lockdown, as we arrived on the very first they the French government opened its borders again.

Staying in a hunting lodge and some other cool places to stay, which would normally be impossible to stay at, as all the places would generally have been booked for some events, such as weddings or anniversaries.  So it was already a great win.

The even nicer part of this story is that, interestingly, the French in the post-covid world has undergone an amazing transformation.

All the French can now speak English on a very great level and were more than happy to talk to tourists (something not very common in the rural areas of France)!

It was an amazing experience to be greeted with such joy!

Arcachon Bay – A Must-Visit Place for Oyster Eaters

Now, to the point – Arcachon Bay – a favourite place for oyster eaters. Now it’s entirely up to you – if you want a classic beach promenade and fun, it’s worth turning to Arcachon. But if you want to see the real oyster hut life and fun, then sail up the bay. One of our favourite places was the village of Ares and L’Herbe.

Ares oyster village
Ares oyster village

Ares and Gulf of Arcachon

In the village of Ares, the first oyster cabins were on the quay. I liked the simplicity. The basic menu there includes oysters of different sizes, two types of wine, pate and some shrimp. No need to think about which dishes to choose and the result is brilliant.

The annual catch in the Gulf of Arcachon is about 10,000 tons of oysters and about 26 oyster farms are in the pipeline. 4 such regions are Le Banc d’Arguin, Le Cap Ferret, Le Grand Banc and L’Île aux Oiseaux.

Le Cap Ferret. L’Herbe

If you have little time and desire to get the best, then Le Cap Ferret is a place to go. I will highlight another good place below, but first, let’s talk about this gem. Briefly, if you come to the Bordeaux region and need a day out – then Le Cap Ferret should be on the top of your list.

From there, you can also get the best stuff according to the locals and won’t be disappointed for sure. The Le Cap Ferret area is also home to the village of L’Herbe, which is well worth a visit for its small huts that fill the entire beach. We tried to rent some through both Booking and Airbnb, but sadly didn’t succeed.

What’s nice about this place is that the attitude, of oysters being a dish that only a selected few can enjoy, does not exist around here. Oysters are rather “fast food” than a gourmet dish around here!

The oyster is picked up and opened in a similar way to a light concave, but not cut through at the bottom. This is now done by each client with their own fork. There is also no need to drain the liquid first – it is so fresh, that it’s simply not necessary.

Seafood plate in Arcachon
Seafood plate in Arcachon

Oyster Museum in Port Larros, Gujan-Mestra

Shortly, walking past these oyster huts is a complete idyll. Although, I would like to highlight one more
place, even though there are obviously dozens of them, which are worth visiting.

This gem of a place is now located in the village of Gujan-Mestra, which is considered the so-called oyster capital in the area.

There is also a small oyster house and a museum where oyster farming and culture is introduced – I must say, the museum itself it is not very exciting and I recommend talking to local hut owners to understand and see the life around oysters.

The said museum is located in a port called Port Larros.

Les Petites Folies Oyster Vendor and Restaurant

So and now, taking a few steps towards the bay, about 3-4 cabins ahead, there is such a place as you can see in the picture below – Les petites folies. Brilliant and absolutely amazing, I can’t say anything else about the place.

This little company is kept by three people, one farms the oysters and two work at the hut.  I made my own leaderboard after the trip (to remember the places worth visiting) and this place kept everyone busy with their oysters, the atmosphere, the owner and his communication style and so on.

I truly recommend this place – Les Petites Folies!

Les Petites Folies in Gujan-Mestra
Oyster Vendor Les Petites Folies in Gujan-Mestra

Fun fact! These red shrimps are not local to France but come from the African continent, but are still very fresh and pleasant. The small and grey wrinkles, that can be seen in one of the previous pictures are local.

The water in the area is clean and the small prawns are nice too, often they just end up in the local huts – worth asking and trying for sure.

Seafood and oysters in Gujan Mestra
Seafood and oysters in Gujan Mestra

The Months When the Letter R Is Inside Are Suitable for Eating Oysters

Anyone who still remembers this old rule that the months when the letter r is inside are suitable for eating oysters, then this does not apply in this area. Because there is no need to transport oysters and the stuff comes straight from the sea and is so fresh that you don’t believe it. Forget it.

However, in June, we must be ready for it, so that when the water is 24 degrees, the oysters will start secreting the so-called oyster milk, which in turn will create new oyster babies that will attach to everywhere they give.

What’s nice is that the area host various oyster festivals throughout July to  August. The Oyster festivals take place in Andernos-les-Bains and Lanton in July, and Gujan-Mestras and Arès in August.

Oysters Vending Machine

24 hours, 7 days a week, oysters can be bought from an absolutely amazing vending machine. Even an essential lemon is included!  This vending machine is located in the port of Larros, in front of the street – seemed to be the main shopping street, close to the port. You will definitely find it.

Back to Paris – Time To Stop and Stay Overnight in a Wine Manor

On the way back to Paris, we came across various wine estates for overnight stays. It may happen that you can rent a private wine manor for a night for a penny, because, for example, there were 14 weddings cancelled in June-July 2020. This place where we stayed was magnificent – close to the city of Tours and the Vouvray wine region. There is also a local guy, who makes small tours of wine estates and larger castles with his ultra-light plane. So, forget the Eiffel tower and baguettes and explore out of the touristic Paris!

wine estate
Incredible wine manor near Paris


Also, Check My Recipes

Want to taste Boisbrian Oysters Or Oysters Au Gratin With Anchovies And Capers From Pantella?

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