Oysters from the Arcachon basin, Cap Ferret and Médoc at your table!

Lège-Cap-Ferret
Oysters from the Arca ...

The Gironde is an oyster department ! The oysters from the Arcachon basin are famous, as are the oysters from Cap Ferret. And do you know the Médoc oysters ? They are to be rediscovered! You want to taste oysters, but certainly not blind... To know everything about these shells, the Bordeaux Gironde Guide takes you to the heart of oyster beds, to the counter of oyster huts... Put on your boots, let's go for an investigation in the Arcachon basin, Cap Ferret and Médoc, in the footsteps of the pearl of the Gironde !

sponsored content

Medoc oysters, back on your plates

The farming of oysters in the Médoc is a very old practice. The first populations of modern humans consumed seashells and vestiges of them have been found at all times. The wild oysters from the mouth of the Gironde were collected for their particular flavor, then refined in Arcachon. The Médoc was even considered to be one of the largest production areas in France. It was only in the 1970s that a series of pollution led to their consumption being banned. Little by little, the waters are regaining their original quality and since 2014, oysters from the Médoc have made a comeback on the tables.

This is good news, because they are very popular for their fleshy tendency (they are said to be super special with 15 to 17% flesh), firm on the palate, and their little nutty taste. The Gironde estuary is a favorite place for the breeding and refining of oysters. These mixtures of fresh and marine waters create a particular ecosystem, very rich in phytoplankton, on which they feed. Today, only the ripening has resumed, but the oysters from the Médoc are resuming their letters of nobility.


Oysters

The Medoc estuary hides its game well, there are oysters, but also Gambas farms !

sponsored content

The oysters of the Arcachon Bay - Cap Ferret, the historical reference

The endemic oyster of the Gironde is a flat oyster, the “ Gravette ”. However it will be decimated by a disease, until the complete cessation of its breeding in the 1920s. It can still be found in the wild on the coast. It will be replaced by the Portuguese cupped oyster, which is already well established there, since an accidental colonization during a load shedding. Unfortunately, this too will completely disappear in the 1970s. To save oyster farming in the Gironde, Japanese cupped oysters will be imported. They are the only ones that are still high in the basin.

Did you know Did you know ? The Arcachon Basin greatly benefited from Napoleon III's greed for oysters! It is he who regulates the profession, implanted the first oyster beds and officially launches the exploitation of oysters from the bay in the 19th century.  

If the Arcachon basin is renowned for its oyster farming, it is also known for its “ spat ” (see definition below). It must be said that it is a paradise for this shell. This small " inland sea " offers it optimal conditions of temperature, salinity and food. It is the river called the " Leyre " which brings it fresh water, so beneficial to the proliferation of phytoplankton, on which oysters feed. The basin therefore lends itself well to oyster reproduction.

Did you know Did you know ? The spat is like a " litter " of young oysters fixed on a support. Oyster eggs will float in open water like a school and evolve into the larval stage. They will move until they find a good support and hang on to it. It is at this stage of their development that they are called " spat ".


Oysters

The oyster, a shell found in the wild, but raised by man, is sublimated to the rank of a gourmet dish !


From the first facilities in the 19th century, the oyster farmers see the economic potential, seize this opportunity and will turn it into nursery pond. They are still leaders in this market !

Did you know In the wake of the launch of oyster production, ingenious inventors, such as Jean-Michel Coste and Jean Michelet, are optimizing spat recovery. These are the first collectors and the technique of " liming " which allowed the development of breeding and the export of spat.

Four terroirs stand out :  

  • The Cap Ferret which closes the basin.
  • The Banc d'Arguin, at its entrance.
  • The island of birds at its heart.
  • The Grand Banc at the bottom of the basin, in the town of Gujan-Mestras.

The Cap Ferret oyster has a more vegetal flavor ; that of Banc d'Arguin has an almost sweet taste… Each of these terroirs has its own particularity. It is in the oyster huts that you will be able to appreciate their differences and have you explain their specificity, the different categories and their classification by size.


Oysters

There are pretty points of view in the oyster beds of the Arcachon basin !

Oysters   Oysters

An oyster is 3 years of maturation before arriving on our tables. Oyster farmer is a work of patience !

The traditional oyster huts

Oyster farming is a profession in harmony with the ocean, in an exceptional setting. But it is demanding and requires constant adaptation. It is a permanent challenge to combine the protection of an environment, a production that meets expectations, and climatic or health hazards. In addition, these fragile seashells require three years of good and devoted little care to flourish and reveal their taste. It is a long term job that requires tenacity.

In the 19 th century, breeding improved and the working conditions of oyster farmers improved. The first cabins were built to store equipment and accommodate workers. It is much later that they will be open to the public. By entering an oyster hut, you will find beautiful tasty oysters, you will be well advised, but above all you will meet these enthusiasts of the coast, the marshes and the sea.


sponsored content


In the basin, you will find 23 oyster ports and thousands of cabins... More than 80 offer direct sales and tastings ! To find your way around, the Arcachon basin site provides you with a map to find the hut that suits you closest to your location (fr). You will also find plenty of good addresses in our directory of oyster huts and bars.

To discover the Médoc oyster, go to Saint-Vivien-de-Médoc, at Petite Canau.

If you want to know more, we recommend that you visit the Maison de l'huître in Gujan-Mestras (fr). For a more immersive experience, you can embark with the Arcachon boatmen to visit the oyster beds (fr).

the good idea Take advantage of the “ Cabanes en fête : oysters and Entre-deux-Mers ” which take place in the port of Andernos-les-Bains on the first Saturday in December. On site, are organized tastings, a meal, entertainment... Other festivals animate the ports of Lanton in July and Gujan-Mestras in August.


Oysters   Oysters

The colorful wooden oyster huts of the Bassin d'Arcachon, near the small fishing ports. While walking, we often find an oyster farmer to sell you a good basket to enjoy on the beach.


Here is our discovery of Gironde oysters which ends. We hope that this tour of the Arcachon basin, Cap Ferret and Médoc has inspired you for a gourmet getaway and a future stay in Gironde.

Did you like our article ? Find more on our Blog.

Follow us on the Bordeaux Gironde Guide Facebook page and on Instagram @guidebordeauxgironde.


Back to "Food Lovers"

You will like also

Top 10 things to do in the Bassin d'Arcachon

Top 10 things to do in the Bassin d'Arcachon
Top 10 things to do in the Bassin d'Arcachon

Lège-Cap-Ferret

A weekend in Cap-Ferret

A weekend in Cap-Ferret
A weekend in Cap-Ferret

Lège-Cap-Ferret

Homair Les Viviers campsite: Family holidays at Cap Ferret!

Homair Les Viviers campsite: Family holidays at Cap Ferret!
Homair Les Viviers campsite: Family holidays a ...

Lège-Cap-Ferret

Your holiday stay or professional meetings in Arcachon: the Hotel Villa Lamartine

Your holiday stay or professional meetings in Arcachon: the Hotel Villa Lamartine
Your holiday stay or professional meetings in  ...

5,9 km - Arcachon

Boat rental in Arcachon, for unusual holidays!

Boat rental in Arcachon, for unusual holidays!
Boat rental in Arcachon, for unusual holidays!

5,9 km - Arcachon

Events nearby

Jardin et verger Dulas

Jardin et verger Dulas
Jardin et verger Dulas

29/12/2022

5,8 km - Arcachon

Sorties natures

Arcachon en Forme - Novembre Décembre 2022

Arcachon en Forme - Novembre Décembre 2022
Arcachon en Forme - Novembre Décembre 2022

10/12/2022

5,9 km - Arcachon

Evènements sportifs

Concert : Le Chœur Fibich chante Noel

Concert : Le Chœur Fibich chante Noel
Concert : Le Chœur Fibich chante Noel

10/12/2022 to 10/12/2023

6,1 km - Arcachon

Concerts

Concours de Pétanque à la Mêlée

Concours de Pétanque à la Mêlée
Concours de Pétanque à la Mêlée

26/12/2022

6,6 km - Arcachon

Jeux-concours

MULTI-ACTIVITES LES MERCREDIS

MULTI-ACTIVITES LES MERCREDIS
MULTI-ACTIVITES LES MERCREDIS

07/12/2022

6,8 km - Arcachon

Evènements sportifs

Marché d'Arcachon

Marché d'Arcachon
Marché d'Arcachon

19/12/2022

6,9 km - Arcachon

Marchés

Arcachon fête Noël !

Arcachon fête Noël !
Arcachon fête Noël !

10/12/2022 to 01/01/2023

6,9 km - Arcachon

Fêtes populaires

Visite guidée : Balade gourmande à Arcachon

Visite guidée : Balade gourmande à Arcachon
Visite guidée : Balade gourmande à Arcachon

23/12/2022

7,0 km - Arcachon

Gastronomie

Atelier Zazen

Atelier Zazen
Atelier Zazen

13/12/2022

7,0 km - Arcachon

Evènements sportifs

Micro-Folie : Collection des musées des hauts de France - Décembre 2022

Micro-Folie : Collection des musées des hauts de France - Décembre 2022
Micro-Folie : Collection des musées des hauts  ...

19/12/2022 to 21/12/2022

7,0 km - Arcachon

Expositions

You will like also

Dunes beach

Dunes beach
Dunes beach

The Dunes beach is more intimate than the other beaches of Cap Ferret and for good reason, it is the least easy to ...

1,1 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Pointe du Cap Ferret

Pointe du Cap Ferret
Pointe du Cap Ferret

The peninsula which closes the Bassin d'Arcachon is an exceptional natural site. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean ...

1,8 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Mirador beach

Mirador beach
Mirador beach

As its name suggests, it is a beautiful point of view on the surroundings and on the dune of Pilat opposite! There ...

1,9 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Bélisaire beach

Bélisaire beach
Bélisaire beach

It is a beach which is installed on the Arcachon basin, we are near the point with its lighthouse and we can clearly ...

2,6 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Moulleau

Moulleau
Moulleau

The most south of the town of Arcachon, beautiful view over the entire basin, swimming is pleasant because you get ...

3,6 km - Arcachon

Ride around

Rallye à vélo au coeur du Cap Ferret

Rallye à vélo au coeur du Cap Ferret
Rallye à vélo au coeur du Cap Ferret

2,2 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Velo hybrid

Au Cap Ferret, de Bélisaire à l'Horizon

Au Cap Ferret, de Bélisaire à l'Horizon
Au Cap Ferret, de Bélisaire à l'Horizon

2,2 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Velo hybrid

De Bélisaire à la Pointe

De Bélisaire à la Pointe
De Bélisaire à la Pointe

2,2 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Velo hybrid

Le Tour du Bassin d'Arcachon à vélo - Du Cap-Ferret à la Dune du Pilat

Le Tour du Bassin d'Arcachon à vélo - Du Cap-Ferret à la Dune du Pilat
Le Tour du Bassin d'Arcachon à vélo - Du Cap-F ...

2,2 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Velo hybrid

Abécédaire des Dunes au Cap Ferret

Abécédaire des Dunes au Cap Ferret
Abécédaire des Dunes au Cap Ferret

2,3 km - Lège-Cap-Ferret

Walking