Apart from the spectacular villas bordering it, the lake holds a unique treasure: its incredible ecosystem. An amazing number of birds gather in the shade of the pine trees, hundred-year-old cork oaks and strawberry trees. A great cormorant can stand alongside a woodcock or an egret, not far from a grey heron and a seagull.
The lake’s water is the perfect habitat for fish like the gilthead bream, the sea bass or the sand eel, as well as shellfish and crustaceans. And the good news is that you can feast on this fresh fish. You’ll only have to ask the local oyster farmers who offer them for tasting!
That said, some people think fish can only be good if you fished it yourself. So board one of the Cap Pêche Loisirs speedboats departing from Capbreton, where Christophe Barriola, world vice-champion and member of the French shore fishing team, will be delighted to be your skipper-guide. There are a few other good surprises in this nature reserve: four fantastic sandy beaches. The Rey beach in the south and the Blanche beach in the middle, the so-called Chênes-Lièges beaches (Cork Oak beaches) and the Parc beaches, on both sides of the Canal d’Hossegor. Ideal places for a quick splash or to enjoy one of the several nautical activities offered around, without making too many waves.
When you’ll eventually feel like having a drink, you should head to the oyster farm, le Parc à huîtres, on the south-east edge of the Hossegor Lake. On the menu: oysters and white wine tasting in an open-air café on the very edge of the lake, with an awesome view of the Pyrenees.
There, you will find a quite informal, chic and friendly atmosphere. People having drinks with their feet in the sand, surrounded by the pleasant fragrance of the ocean. And you can share this moment with family or friends, at lunchtime or in the evening, on the terrace (when the weather is nice) of one of those shed-like restaurants, which are not only exceptional but also idyllic.
That is probably the best opportunity to taste the famous oysters of Hossegor Lake and their subtle hazelnut flavour (and other sea tapas).
The distinctive characteristics of the oysters grown in this lake are that they are hollow, fleshy and iodic. It’s fairly easy to choose them as they are classified according to their calibre, their size. So you only have to ask the number you prefer:
Growing baby oysters is a local speciality. At around two years old, Number 4 weighs between 45 and 65 grams. This oyster is small, thin, and a very pleasant mouthful both for the neophyte and the expert.
This oyster is medium size and weighs between 66 and 85 grams. It is the most widely consumed oyster here as it will please any palate.
Aged three and a half years, this oyster is bigger (it can weight up to 120 grams!) and fleshier than its fellow oysters. A delicacy for most gourmets!
The oldest oyster, and the largest. Weighing between 121 and 150 grams, this oyster will often be eaten cooked, although real aficionados will gulp it down.