Everything you need to know about shellfish…and much more…

  • Visit of the mussel farms
  • Visit in low tide
  • Magnificent view on the foreshore
  • In boots in low tide at Pen Bé
  • The privilege to walk in Bouchot mussel farms
  • Boots in the sand in low tide
  • Regulations of the fishing from the shore
  • Brigitte Metayer, Sea and nature association in Pénestin
  • Explanation on worms buried in the sand
  • Opening of an oyster
  • The children captivated by the opening of the oyster
  • Explanations on the clams
  • Clam
  • Tasting of clam
  • Mussel farm
  • Oyster farm
  • Criste marine - aromatic plant
In the summer, after a day in the great outdoors, what better way to round it off than around the table with family or friends to tuck into some mussels!  This ever popular dish with its multitude of different recipes is always a guaranteed success. 
But thinking about it…how do they farm these little bivalves?...Rather than sunbathing on the beach today we’re off to discover the other ‘inhabitants’ of the rock pools and golden sands in the company of Brigitte our guide from the group called ‘Mer et Nature’.  We’ve arranged to meet at Pen Bé (Assérac).  The time of our visit is subject to the low tide, in this case 11h for our band of ‘jolly hunters’ of all ages. 

Fully equipped with our wellies, some have even brought binoculars with them, we’re raring to go!  Brigitte gives us a brief review of the rules and safety guidelines to respect when gathering shellfish on foot (Fr. pêche à pied) then off we go towards the foreshore (the zone on the coast which is alternatively covered and uncovered by the sea).  WOW!  What a magnificent view!  The bay of Pont-Mahé as far as the headland ‘de Merquel’, the island Dumet the scenery is breathtaking!

Our smiling guide Brigitte as the daughter of mussel farmer and seafood seller is indeed an expert in her field and makes one and all feel at ease.  The children ask questions, she answers them with words they can easily understand “each shellfish has a different home: the diggers like to dig their way down into the sand…”
We have the golden opportunity to follow her down into the mussel farm.  We wander fascinated between the posts ‘les bouchots’ to which cling the famous shellfish.  The children listen as they scrape about in the sand in search of a ‘shellfish’.  The rest of us adults talk things over with our guide.  There is truly an interesting conversation going on here.  We don’t notice the time fly by.  Brigitte describes for us the lifestyle of these ‘sea farmers’, these 30 or 40 families who produce nearly 4000 tonnes of mussels, which according to her ‘are the best in the world’ of course!

Like with trees or with plants there is a great diversity of shellfish for the trained eye who knows what they’re looking for!  “oh look, I’ve found a teeny-weeny one!” exclaims one of the children with glee.  Another adds “I’m good with winkles”.  Locally known as ‘Bigorneaux’! 
Brigitte also knows exactly how to capture the interest of even the youngest members of our group.  They are stood right at the front to make sure they don’t miss a thing when she skillfully opens an oyster.  They are not alone…my neighbour remarks to her husband that maybe he should watch attentively so as to be able to do the same thing when he gets home!
 
From this day forward we’ll never look at the content of our plates in the same way again!  We’ve learnt all sorts of things:  like a mussel takes from 12 to 18 months to reach adult size, a clam takes 4 years!  That it’s necessary to turn over several times the sacks containing the oysters to make sure to have a good ‘harvest’.  That starfish are some of the biggest predators of mussels and that ‘Christe Marine’ (Crithum Maritimum) is an aromatic plant which tastes fantastic with fish…fascinating stuff!

Don’t hesitate, book a visit with Brigitte. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the opportunity of meeting this local lady and to try some tasty fresh produce from the sea too !
 
Opening day(s)

From Sunday 01 July to Friday 31 August 2018

Every day

  • Duration of the visit: 1h30
  • Boots necessary
  • Binoculars advised
FaresDates Min Max
Adult (over 14)01/07/2018 - 31/08/20185.00€
Child (from 6 to 14)01/07/2018 - 31/08/20184.00€
Association Mer et Nature : +33 (0)6 08 52 53 50 / mer_nature@orange.fr
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Contact
Mer et nature
3 allée de Poudrantais
56760
PENESTIN
Phone : +33 6 08 52 53 50