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Cap Ferret, we will be back!

June 10, 2010

Since Finn is all better we decided it was high time to hit the road. First on our list of place to visit was Cap Ferret.

Cap Ferret (pronounced kahp feh-ré) is a cape located at the tip of the Lège-Cap-Ferret peninsula in Aquitaine. The drive is about an hour and a half due west of Bordeaux or an hour and forty-five minutes from Langon (which is where we’re house-sitting). We arrived around 4pm thanks to our little French rental car – a Renault Twingo. I’m categorically unfond of French cars, but the Twingo has a bit of that endearing ‘the little engine that could’ spirit. It may be basic like no other car we’ve ever driven and ‘acceleration’ may not be a word it comprehends, but so long as it gets us from A to B, I’m not going to complain!

I was filled with excitement at the prospect of being at the beach. It had been nine months since I was last at a beach… nine months! For someone who’s lived in coastal Australia for the last decade or so… that is a very, very long time! I bounded out to greet the shoreline. The sand was beautiful; clean and fine. It was too windy and cold for a dip, so we walked along the shore and admired the view instead. Across the bay, you can see the Dune du Pyla: the largest sand dune in Europe. That will definitely be on the itinerary for another day!

Driving back through the area we passed many small villages advertising oyster degustations; something the area is known for. There are little cabanes de pêcheur (fisherman’s cabins) along the shoreline that are such a part of the area’s history that they are protected. They are tightly packed in together and offer little in the way of space, however, they are very much sought after. When a couple of them (with external toilets) sold for €1.12 million in 2005 locals were completely surprised. Having seen them, and despite finding them quaint and charming, I was too!

A little bit further along we found a lovely restaurant called L’Auberge du Bassin sitting all on its own, directly on the beach and with views out over the bay. A beautiful interior that was restrained and elegant while at the same time laid back welcomed us as we stepped through the front doors. I was slightly nervous as we hadn’t planned on going out for dinner and we were both wearing thongs/jandals/flip flops (how’s that for international?), but the waiter didn’t bat an eye. He greeted us warmly before leading us past a giant beast of a dog, who could have passed for a baby bear, and over to our table. I have to admit: I struggled with the menu. Menus are not normally something I have a hard time deciphering in French; in fact they’re one of the easier pieces of text for me. We ended up using ‘google translate’ on L’s phone and then I understood why things weren’t making sense. I didn’t know what these ingredients were even in English! Sure I know that a whelk is a type of shellfish… but that’s all I can tell you. Yup. And that’s still all I can tell you. Must google that!

We settled on the three course menu. To start, I had the foie gras mi-cuit served with a port wine reduction and some fresh bread… and it was heaven. L was similarly quiet as he happily tended to his oysters. My main course was a’marmite du pêcheur (fisherman’s bowl). It’s not something I’ve had before and it was definitely interesting; a bowl of various fish and assorted shellfish in a shellfish broth and topped with melted cheese. Yup. Cheese. Odd… but somehow enjoyable. Not as good as a bouillabaisse though. L’s main was ‘le duo’: beef and magret de canard served with rather depressed-looking fries. The magret was divine though and all else was forgiven. We both ordered ‘dame blanche’ for dessert; a classic combination of vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. We left happy… very full and happy.

foie gras mi-cuit maison au porto

Les 9 huîtres du Bassin n°3

marmite du pêcheur

I’ve never travelled with a pet before (much less a dog of Finn’s size), so I’m not sure how it all works, but I’d really like to spend a couple days in the area. We talked about staying at one of the pet-friendly hotels, but I honestly don’t think they allow dogs of Finn’s size and furthermore, we can’t take him everywhere and we can’t leave him alone in the room. I think we’re just going to have to suck it up and do a whole bunch of day trips instead… I can’t wait!



Telephonic Numerals 05 5660 7022

Location 39 Avenue du Général de Gaulle, Lége Cap Ferret

Website www.laubergedubassin

And? They have a lovely outdoor area that is three-quarters dining, one-quarter relaxed lounge. Would be beautiful to dine out there in the warmer months, although it’s proximity to the road plus the busyness of the area in July and August… hmmm… you’ll have to tell me how that goes.



One Comment leave one →
  1. June 19, 2010 09:04

    I totally loved this area, it was awesome. Had an amazing chilled beachy vibe, which reminded me of Australia. Don’t think I could ever get tired of it.

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