My classmate Edward was born and raised in Bordeaux and offered to take us for a day-trip over to Arcachon, a small town about 1 hour west of here on the shores of Bassin d’Arcachon (actually a large sheltered bay connected to the Atlantic Ocean). Our primary objective was oysters (‘huîtres’ in French), but we also wanted to check out the quaint little beach town.
It’s been a popular summer resort/spa town since the time of Napoleon and has some interesting old architecture that’s particular to this area. It’s like a frilly victorian style, with each house having it’s own name displayed on the front, kinda like a boat. Edward’s family owns a beach house near the marina where he spent many of his childhood summers staying with his grandmother. It was really interesting to see a pool in their backyard, like many in the neighborhood, which was originally used for raising oysters! The houses in this neighborhood all backup to a canal connected to the Bassin, which provides a source of sea water. As an engineer, I was impressed by how they were able to fill and drain these basins on the tides, which vary by about 3 feet in this area. Nowadays, however, during the summer most folks just fill the pool for swimming. They go to town for their oysters.
It was a crisp, but sunny day and after a nice walk around town and the beach, Edward steered us to one of his favorite seaside restaurants where we partook in local fruits de mer and a fabulous bottle of dry Muscadet Sevre-et-Main (…clean and minerally, with a hint of citrus). A gastronomic delight! It was a wonderful day overall and we envision returning again sometime soon.