Last Updated on 25th July 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
Cap Ferret lies on a peninsula in the Bay of Arcachon. A windswept landscape with low lying houses shadowed by towering pine trees and surrounded by sandy dunes stretching as far as the eye can see, it’s one of the most popular summer resorts in France. Here’s your insider’s guide to the best things to do in Cap Ferret, as well as what to know before you go.
Cap Ferret is such a popular destination that it is sometimes nicknamed the ‘Saint Tropez of the Atlantic’. The easiest way by far to get around Cap Ferret is by bicycle. After all, parking is a bit of a nightmare and the town is spread out enough that walking can take a while to allow you to get anywhere.
Where is Cap Ferret?
Cap Ferret is located in South West France, around two hours drive away from the city of Bordeaux. Situated on the Bay of Arcachon, the town has a population of just over 8,000 residents, though this number swells in the summer months when visitors flock to the bay to experience the beauty of the Bassin d’Arcachon for themselves. Cap Ferret is around a 40 minute drive away from Andernos-les-Bains.
Best things to do in Cap Ferret
A little more polished around the edges than some of the other towns in the region such as Andernos or Arachon, Cap Ferret has a number of independent shops and boutiques. Most of the stores in town are concentrated along Boulevard de la Plage, which as its name suggests, follows the shoreline along the beach.
Hands down the best thing to see in cap ferret is the lighthouse, which dates back to 1947 and can be climbed for a fee. Just bear in mind that there are a few hundred steps to climb up so be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
The view from the top is simply breathtaking and it’s possible to see all the way to the Dune du Pilat, i.e. the largest sand dune in Europe. The lighthouse also boasts a small museum on the lower floors which give a greater insight into the history and geography of the local area.
Cap Ferret Bunkhouses
The history of Cap Ferret is inextricably intertwined with the history of France and nowhere is this more apparent than in the bunkhouses which are located all along the coastline in this part of France, including on several beaches of the Cape.
One of the most prominent bunkhouses is the Blockhaus du phare du Cap Ferret, which is situated directly next to the Cap Ferret Lighthouse and was constructed during the Nazi Occupation of France. Today the bunkhouse is free to visit and is a sombre reminder of a difficult period of French history.
Eglise Notre Dame des Flots
Unlike many other churches in rural France, the main ecclesiastical building of Cap Ferret is incredibly modern and consists of a building dating back to the late 20th-century topped with a spire in the form of a thin white cross. The interior of the church is just as modern in appearance, with stained glass windows sculpted from deep azure blues to bright as the sun yellows.
Much like the other towns in the Bassin d’Arcachon, Cap Ferret too has its own oyster village, which is known in French as the Village Ostréicole. While oysters can be consumed any time of the day, we preferred to end our days by visiting oyster bars.
These are common all around the Bay of Arcachon and serve up simple menus consisting of oysters, shrimp, or meat paté. I personally brought along my own vegan paté to consume alongside my local wine paired with views of the glittering sea.
Beaches of Cap Ferret
Thanks to Cap Ferret’s envious location alongside the Atlantic Sea, there are actually a number of beaches which visitors can frequent while visiting the town. A number of them even overlook the Dune du Pilat (the largest sand dune in Europe).
One of the most beautiful beaches in the South West settlement is that of Plage des Dunes. This beach faces the Atlantic Coastline and is just as spectacular as it is wild. Those who are looking for a gentler pace would do well to head to the beach within the Cap-Ferret Fisherman’s Village, which is sheltered by the bay of Mimbeau.
Pointe du Cap Ferret
The very end of the Bassin d’Arcachon can be found in the form of the land’s end, which is a few kilometres further south from the illustrious lighthouse and is best reached by car or bicycle as opposed to walking.
Visitors should note that there are a number of Space Invaders to be found across Cap Ferret (10 in total). These are not all situated within the vicinity of the town itself itself, but instead in the wider region. For example, I spied an Invader at Le Canon.
Where to eat in Cap Ferret
As with many places in more rural France, finding vegan and vegetarian options can be few and far between. This was even the case when we visited many of the oyster huts, whose only menu offerings were meat and fish.
Even when there was fare other than shrimp or oysters, the option was a meat paté. As such, I visited prepared and took my own vegan paté for eating with the bread at the oyster huts and came prepared to other places with cereal bars and the like.
With this being said, there are a few places in the French town that offer up vegan and vegetarian food. The first of these is Ferret Coffee Shop. There were a couple of meat-free items on the menu and we ate there during our stay in the town.
Though the food wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, the prices were reasonable and the food was alright. The other place in town that’s worth checking out is Bali Bowls. As well as fresh juices and smoothies, this vegan-friendly restaurant serves up amazing bowls and speciality coffees.
If you want to discover even more about local food in the Bay of Arcachon, then you would do well to book a guided tour like this one which will give you a greater insight into how the Oyster producers work and live.
Watch the Bay of Arcachon Vlog
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