12 November 2018
Holidaymakers and tourists who are familiar with the Aiguillon Bay know the place. The fishmonger’s of the oyster farm “Les Viviers d’Arçay” in la Faute-sur-Mer in Vendée, has an excellent reputation. Fishes and shellfish have a prime place in this seaside resort of Vendée. But Alain Cadichon is first and foremost an oyster farmer before being a fishmonger. A familial tradition that has lasted for four generations now, and that he shares with the public every Tuesday from March to October during a guided visit of his oyster farm “Les Viviers d’Arçay”.
Boats at La Faute sur Mer.
Everything you need to know about la Faute-sur-Mer oysters farms
Visiting an oyster farm.
If the peak season is ending on the shores of the Marais poitevin, the crowd present at the meeting time (4pm) before the oyster farm “Les Viviers d’Arçay” is still substantial. On the “Pointe d’Arçay”, at the Lay River mouth and just a few kilometres away from the Aiguillon Bay, around forty people gather to discover the secrets of oyster farming. Oyster tasting scheduled at the end of the visit is certainly a reason.
Coming from four generations of oyster farmers, Alain Cadichon is the last one to continue the family tradition. His explanations on the situation and the environment of his oyster beds allow you to better understand the constraints (tides, weather impact, etc.) and difficulties of this profession that greatly depends on the seasons and the weather.
The oyster of Vendée in the Marais poitevin, from the farmer to the consumer
Tasting of oysters at La Faute sur Mer (photo : Creative commons).
During the visit, the owner explains every necessary step to get a quality product. From breeding to consumption, it usually takes 2.5-3 years. Oyster farming is a constant and difficult work. Visitors who are interested participate in a near master-class by Alain Cadichon, who doesn’t hesitate to engage and question them. He also engages youngsters during the washing and calibrating period. Each step of the harvest and preparation of oysters are explained and detailed to us.
After two hours of explanation and demonstration of his daily work, the oyster farmer offers us to end the visit with oyster tasting. With a glass of white wine, visitors enjoy those oysters which are the result of a patient and careful work. An expected moment that is not disappointing!
As a great showcase of both work and products, the guided visit of the oyster farm “Les Viviers d’Arçay” in La Faute-sur-Mer, Vendée, is a good way to learn every secret of oyster farming on the Atlantic coast.
The guided visit of “Les Viviers d’Arçay” and other attractions are proposed in the Marais poitevin like a trip in boat or a donkey ride, so don’t hesitate to book your tickets!