Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret is located on the country's Atlantic coast about 60 miles west of the city of Bordeaux. It is the headland at the tip of a long spit that almost completely encloses the Arcachon Bay and protects it from the Atlantic Ocean. This is not the Cap Ferrat of the glittering French Riviera with its exclusive jet set resorts and luxurious private villas. Rather, you will find magnificent stretches of beaches that may often seem deserted even during the height of the summer season and a coastline of working fishing villages. Descriptions of Cap Ferret France hotels are more likely to contain the word charming than the word glamorous.

This is a place of pristine pine forests, oyster shacks, wild dunes, and harbors with picturesque fishing boats. Little wooden beach cottages, rough waves, and chilly Atlantic breezes give it the feel of Nantucket Island. In fact, both the rough seas and the chillier weather are two things that help to keep the miles and miles of Cap Ferret beaches nearly deserted. Another thing that has kept this region such a well-kept secret is the fact there were virtually no Cap Ferret France hotels at all until the lovely La Maison du Bassin was built. This is truly a lovely hotel, located on the bay side of the cape (address: 5 Rue des Pionniers).

Before hotels began to be built, just about the only accommodations in the region were privately owned homes and villas. Today, some of these have been turned into hotels and guesthouses, especially around Arcachon. Those Cap Ferret France hotels actually on the cape itself are generally very comfortable two- and three-star properties that would be considered roughing it by many who frequent the Riviera. The lovely but modest Hotel des Dunes (119 Avenue de Bordeaux) is a good example of the rustic three star standard properties on the cape. It is a small property with only fifteen rooms and is only about 150 feet away from the beaches and dunes on the Atlantic side of the cape.

Cap Ferret is at the end of a long, thin strip of land. There is only one main road (the D106) that runs down the center of this strip of land. La Maison du Bassin and Hotel des Dunes are both located in the same area near the end of the road; they are just on different sides of the road. Other things to do include fishing (you can haul oysters out of the water and have them on your plate for dinner), hiking the trails through the pine forest, and surfing. When staying here, it is possible to take ferries into the town of Arcachon, which is a popular resort with a number of restaurants, shops, galleries, and some interesting eighteenth-century architecture. From Arcachon, you can visit the Great Dune of Pyla (or Pilat), the tallest sand dune in all of Europe, reaching a height of more than 350 feet.

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