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Exploring France’s basque country – Andernos-Les-Bains

Exploring France’s basque country – Andernos-Les-Bains
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After a few lovely days in Biarritz, Frenchie and I decided, that it was time to move on. There are SO many beautiful little towns to visit in Southwestern France, so it can be difficult to decide. However Frenchie’s parents are in love with Andernos-Les-Bains and they offered to let us stay at their holiday residence, so that’s where we went! (Furthermore Andernos is famously know for its charming oyster harbour – another reason to go!)

Enjoying the view of the harbour and the fishermen’s huts

Andernos-Les-Bains is a place of beauty. It is not as vivid as Biarritz – well, at least not in May (I have been told it can be quite busy here in June/July). But as the pictures show, Frenchie and I really enjoyed la ville tranquille. Just strolling along the seaside hand in hand – without too much interference!

Blue skies and sandy beaches… What more could you want? Oysters maybe?

So here we are… Welcome to Oyster heaven! Yes, it is actually possible to taste 100% fresh, natural oysters directly at the producers place here in Andernos! 

I can not count the times I saw people coming in and out of the oyster producers doors with big baskets full of beautiful, fresh oysters! It is very popular to buy them directly – and bring them either to the beach for a picnic – or to enjoy at home! The best part of it all – they are so cheap (just look at the prices on the picture above!) Bonus info: A number of oyster farmers  have facilities that are open to the public, basically to give you a good look at what goes on. Also there are bay-trips on traditional boats! We didn’t have the time to try it out, but we certainly will next time we are here!

If you are in to oysters, this is the place to go! All the fishermen’s equipment decorate the harbour – which makes this place so very authentic and charming!

Speaking of charm… How can you not fall in love with this place…

Time to eat! The harbour is only a few minutes walk from the city centre of Andernos – but we definitely wanted fresh sea-food, so we decided to stay and find a restaurant right in the heart of oyster bay!

We tried to get a table at Chez Eliette! This place is very popular, but unfortunately we weren’t the only ones – so no table for us! No need to despare – there are plenty of places to choose from!


We were lucky to get a table at Chez Huguette, but we had to wait a bit! Not a problem with a view like this! 

Let the oyster party begin! (Frenchie is a big fan of bulots as well. Bulot is a tasty sea snail.  If you enjoy bigorneau, winkles, coques, cockles, conuque, conch, or clams, then bulots should not seem strange. They are all a part of the same family and their taste and texture are very similar

There are many different lovely dishes to choose from at the restaurants here! If you are not a big oyster fan, how about ordering lobster – or even a seafood-platter? That way you get to taste a bit of everything

We had the pleasure of eating seafood two nights in a row. Here is the exquisite selection of pure joy on a plate

Some of the “little buggers” can be hard to crack, but you will get the hang of it by using the right tools – and yes, it will be messy, but it is so worth the hard work! (say hello to my little friend!)

Ahemm… Someone got tempted by the profiteroles! I can’t reveal who it was!

Besides from oyster heaven, Andernos have many other great things to enjoy. Take a walk in the city centre for a bit of shopping and discover the villas in the typical Arcachon architecture.

The Saint-Eloi church is one of the jewels of Andernos-les-Bains. It charms with its beautiful friezes, its capitals, or murals. Saint-Eloi is also a relay of the famous pilgrimage of Saint-Jacques de Compostela. Don’t forget to visit the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa dating from the fourth century, listed building

It is not hard to find the words liberté, égalité and fraternité in France. They especially adorn the entrance to public buildings and schools like here in Andernos

Pretty little things wherever you go

The city centre has many small seaside shops! I got my blue/white dotted dress from one of them! Perfect for a warm day by the sea!

Lovely lunch view a sea view at Les Tamaris 

Throughout the year an outdoor market takes place every Tuesday and Friday, while the halls are open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning. In summer they are open daily

Outdoor market

Everything you heart (and tummy) desires!

Indoor market

These lobster were alive and kicking…

No fancy fuss – just fresh oysters for great prices!

The market is actually quite big – so these are just a few of the stables. You can also buy local wine, clothing, jewellery and arts and crafts!

Bonus-info: Andernos Jazz Festival is held in July. The cultural event offers international performers and shows in the streets. July is also the scene of the famous Festival of the Oyster including tastings and other musical entertainment

If you are looking for a more quiet place to enjoy your holiday with lots of charm and great food, I suggest you consider Andernos-Les-Bains. It might get a bit too quiet for an entire week, but if you rent a car it is a great base for visiting cities like Bordeaux, Biarritz and the Spanish border!

Next on the blog – beautiful Bordeaux! Stay tuned…

X Louise

Comments (2)

  • Lovely pictures and scenery

    I have never visited Andernos before, but it looks like a have missed out on something, so will definitely plan to go with my husband soon!

    V

  • Hi Victoire,
    You should! If not just for a dinner out enjoying the amazing seafood at VERY affordable prices! I know you live close by, so if you for instance are going to Bordeaux, take a smaller detour and you will be there in a heartbeat!
    X Louise

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