Lifestyled by Paula Joye

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August 1st, 2012

Postcards From Cap Ferret.

Postcards From Cap Ferret.

Parisians are like migratory birds.

August hits and they head south for the summer seeking sun, sand and sea.

Top of the list for those in the know is the exclusive yet quaint seaside village of Cap Ferret. It’s the summer home of stylish French film couple Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard… and quite simply, French beachside holidays don’t get any better than this.

Come once and you’ll return again and again. My daughter Lily (below) sums up the essence of this part of France  – Le bonheur est la crème glacée, le soleil et la mer.

Jane xx

The What.

Getting There: Cap Ferret is about one hour drive from Bordeaux airport or a three hour TGV ride from Paris followed by a ferry from Arcachon to Cap Ferret.

Where To Stay: Renting a house offers the best accommodation options with some good deals found on Homeaway. Prices start from 1,000 euros per week. My top pick for hotel options is La Maison du Bassin, 5, rue des Pionniers; 011 33 556 606 063. Double room, from about 135 euros.

What To Do: Set against the backdrop of Europe’s largest sand dune, a laid back lifestyle awaits amongst the pine forests, charming fishing villages and blue seas of the Atlantic. Cycling is the best way to get around – that or the uber fun safari style jeeps called “Mehari” – and daily food markets offer the freshest produce imaginable.

The local sweet treat, Dune Blanche is an absolute must, as is a kite surf off the Atlantic coast for the adventurous at heart. For those seeking a gentle swim, the calm blue seas of the Bassin D’Arcachon are more than inviting.

Where To Eat:
Chez Hortense (00 33 5 56 60 62 56); Famous for their mussels, this is the place to have dinner if you’re in Cap Ferret. Ask for a table with a view across the bay to the Dune du Pilat. Dinner for two from €80.

Chez Boulan (00 33 5 56 60 77 32) An authentic seafood restaurant with a laid back ambience in a stylish setting. Food is fresh, simple and delicious.

Le Bistrot du Bassin (00 335 56 03 72 46) You have to go here just for the dessert buffet alone. It’s out of this world! Dinner for two from €60.

L’Escale (00 33 5 56 60 68 17) and Pinasse Café (00 33 5 56 03 77 87) are two fantastic options for families with smaller kids. With views across the bay, kids menus, surprise gifts and high chairs, there’s a chance you will actually get to enjoy your meal and finish that rosé!

Where To Drink: The Wharf  – on the port of La Vigne, this bar serves up great music and even better Mojitos.

Best Beaches:
La Vigne for the kids. Gentle seas offer perfect conditions for making sand castles and the chance for crab spotting makes for a fun day out.

La Truc Vert offers white sand, wonderful surf and plenty of space. Sometimes your footprint feels like the only one. The wooden steps over the sand dune are a big bonus too!

Postcards From Cap Ferret.

A typical Cap Ferret wooden boat called “une pinasse”

This preppy white jacket I’m wearing on the boat is called ‘une mariniere”. The yachting must-have for any Cap Ferret dweller. 

A “mehari’ jeep

My friend Benjamin Reynaud (or a young YSL lookalike as I like to call him) who we stay with when we visit the region. Total Cap Ferret chic at it’s best. He’s eating at Pinasse (seen here at low tide).

Dune Blanche

  • Mme

    It’s funny, I’ve holidayed here for the past 6 yrs or so, staying with my french friends, after living in Europe for a decade I have to say that the author gushes, but I promise you it’s much for hype than beauty, the landscape is beach-scrub, houses are in estate developments, and it’s really not so beautiful. The Bassin d’Arcachon is very much like Tuggerah Lakes, north of Sydney, fine, at times smelly mud that becomes exposed as the tide drops. The beach can be wild, it’s a very ling and exposed ocean beach.  A helicopter is often stationed in the dunes and used in rescues. I sound like a spoilsport, but I really wouldn’t recommend making the journey especially, rather, spend more time in Bordeaux, St Emillion or head to Provence, visit Chateaux in the Loire or visit Normandy.
    I cringe as I write this, never thought I’d utter these words, but I promise that a trip to many coastal regions on the Australian East and West is much more beautiful. I know,  however,  that many people harbor romantic notions about the French way of life.

  • PaulaJoye

    Hi Mme
    I appreciate your comments and for taking the time to write.But every sunset is different for the person looking at it…no?PJxx

  • Lula

    These pix are beautiful.
    I love it…wanna go..NOW!

  • Stefanie

    Hi Jane, pictures are just lovely. They convey such a relaxed feel which is what I love about a summer holiday. thanks for sharing.

  • Phoodietweets

    Sitting in my house in Sydney, dreaming I was far, far away! Thanks for the beautiful pix!


    Such a gracious reply Paula x

  • Kitty

    How lovely – we spent some time in Arcachon a few years ago, and while Mme is correct in the fact that some areas aren’t lovely, there are some parts that are just gorgeous. The sand dunes at Pyla are such an example.  I’d love to catch the ferry across to Cap Ferret next time!

    K x

  • Kitty

     PS: I adore Lily’s dress!

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