If you've never heard of Cap Ferret, you're not alone. This perfect peninsula, located about 40 miles west of Bordeaux, is a secret that the French (quite rightly) keep close their chests. Their answer to the Hamptons, where lazy days are spent cruising through pine forests to windswept beaches or ducking between oyster bars enjoying the best of the sea (and vine!). Heaven.
The best way to spend a day on the Cape is on two wheels, weaving between villages and beaches through pine forests and fields. Our first stop was the village of Le Canon where we had a quick wonder around the shops that line the main road before heading to our first 'degustation' of the day, Cabane 171.
Literally translated as 'tasting', degustations are simple authentic huts are run by local oyster farmers, offering platters of fresh shellfish picked in front of you served with bread, butter and pate. If you like seafood, it's an experience not to be missed, and is such good value that you'll do a double take when the bill arrives.
The best thing, is that with 30 or so individual huts dotting the coastline, a meal can become a multi-detsination adventure, and as we like a lunch more than most, this was the pivotal moment in our love affair with Cap Ferret.
Starting strong, we cycled over to the traditional fishing village of L'Herbe, about a mile away, where brightly coloured fisherman's cottages mingle with the workings of an active fishing industry.
After a walk on the beach (and a pose on a boat) we headed to our next oyster hut, Emile et Une Huitre for a few oysters and possibly an another glass of Rose for a refuel, before hopping back on the bikes and back to base for a bit of a rest.
We choose Feret Vigne as our base for the weekend - a great little B&B located in the middle of the Cape between the main village of Cap Ferret and the villages of Le Canon and L'Herbe. Run by Cecile, a wonderful and interesting host, who speaks perfect English, it was our perfect escape. The rooms were well thought out, and beautifully appointed (we had a sauna in our bathroom) with a wonderful pool and lots of space and privacy to enjoy the beautiful garden or indoor sitting area.
The next morning we were up early and after a wonderful breakfast of fruit, yogurt, pastries, eggs and a beautiful fruit crumble we set off on a longer adventure. Slightly ambitious, we chose to cycle to the southern tip of the peninsula, for no other reason that it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Passing through forests and fields, along winding lanes and through villages...
Stopping off at the most spectacular wild and windswept beaches, with a definite hint of the Hamptons about them...
These dramatic swathes of sand were virtually deserted, with just a couple of families enjoying some pretty epic looking picnics in the sand. We soon got the idea, and joined them with fresh french bread, wine and cheese. No beach bars, hotels... nothing to impact the view.
We reached the southern tip and joined the few other tourists taking photos of the Arcachon Basin but by this point the only thing we were focusing on was food.
We cycled back into the main village of Cap Ferret which is super-pretty and lined with interesting shops selling everything from designer clothes to overpriced bits of driftwood - exactly what you'd expect from a Hampton-esque seaside town. I'm going to admit to a major faux pas as we didn't get any shots of this beautiful village, as it was raining when we passed through, but it is well worth a visit, and easily somewhere you could spend half a day milling around the shops, cafes, restaurants and delis.
We did come back for dinner though and our favourite restaurant of the trip was Le Bouchon de Ferret - a superb atmospheric fish restaurant where we sat at the bar watching the chefs at work. We're not big fans of stuffy eating and would always rather take a seat at the bar, so this was the perfect spot to enjoy incredibly flavoursome sea bass carpaccio and the plumpest scallops simply served with green salad and fries.
We also ate at Chez Magne at Hotel de la Plage which was also very good, although a little lacking in atmosphere (we were out of season) and the glitzy White Garden in the Port de la Vigne, a short walk from our B&B, which was fine but comparably not our favourite.
And my travel essential... without a doubt the trusty Travel Wrap. It was gloriously sunny, but being April pretty damn chilly and I have no idea what I would have done without this extra layer over my jacket in the day or on my shoulders at dinner!
Armed with only a leather jacket and a distinctly chilly offshore mid April "breeze" I would have been absolutely frozen without this bad boy! Worn over my jacket for biking, over my shoulders for outdoor eating and as a scarf in the evening... the perfect all rounder.