Stay in Gujan-Mestras: where nature and heritage are preserved
Château Mader: discover the region of Arcachon off the beaten path
Discover small oyster harbors
The Arcachon Bay, an inland sea of 155 km2 (60 sq miles), has the ideal conditions for cultivating oysters. With its 7 ports, Gujan-Mestras, is the capital of oyster cultivation and the perfect spot to take a boat ride on a “plate” (the traditional boat of the oyster farmers). A seasoned oyster farmer will share the secrets of his profession and answer your questions about oyster farming. You can enjoy fresh oysters aboard the boat, unless you would prefer to share a platter in one of the charming oyster shacks that line the Port of Larros, only 500m (500 yards) from the château. Whelks, shrimp, and paté are also served, accompanied by a lovely, cool glass of wine…white or rosé.
Walk or cycle along the coastal path
The coastal path, that passes right in front of Château Mader, follows the coast of Gujan-Mestras boasting 7 ports, from the port of “La Môle” to the port of “La Hume,” with its monitored beach (1 km/.6 mile, from Château Mader). A walk along this path will allow you to discover the unique flora and fauna of the bay. Only a few kilometers from the château, you can observe a myriad of bird species that populate the waters, like those of the bird park of Teich. According to your desires, you can stop to picnic on the wild beaches, take a dip or sunbathe…
A paradise for cyclists
220 kilometers (135 miles) of bike paths allow you to safely cycle from Gujan-Mestras. You can reach Cap-Ferret by riding across majestic pinewoods, then embark with your bike on one of the small boats that shuttle between Cap-Ferret and the port of La Hume, a short ride from Château Mader. With a little luck, a doe will cross the trail just in front of you….
Climb the Dune of Pilat
From the terrace of Château Mader, you can see the top of the Dune of Pilat: 110 m (360 ft) high and 3 km (2 miles) long, it is the highest dune in Europe!
Located 15 km (less than 10 miles) from Château Mader, the dune extends all the way to the entrance of the Bay of Arcachon and offers an absolutely breathtaking view; on one side, the vastness of the Landes forest (the largest artificial forest of Western Europe, with one million hectares (2,5 million acres), on the other side, the Atlantic ocean, the Banc d’Arguin (the sandbank which marks the border between the calm waters of the bay and the ocean) and the Cap Ferret peninsula.
Cruise the Bay
Aboard a wooden pinasse, the traditional boat of the bay, you will reach l’Ile aux Oiseaux (Bird Island), a fantastic nature reserve, and discover the iconic “cabanes tchanquées”, two wooden cabins on stilts. Picnic at the Banc d’Arguin, after a dip in the crystalline waters surrounding this large sandbank . Thanks to the many ferries, cross the bay in 30 minutes and stop at Cap-Ferret for a stroll in the flowered alleys of its picturesque oyster-farming villages, or to enjoy its invigorating oceanic beaches.
Golf beneath the pines
In Gujan-Mestras, two kilometers (1 mile) from Château Mader, and Arcachon, ten kilometers (6 miles) away, you will enjoy two 18-hole golf courses combining technical difficulty and aesthetic layout. Less than two hours away, you will find several golf courses with international repute: Near Bordeaux, the Golf du Medoc, one of the top 10 european golf courses and, in the Landes and Basque country : Hossegor, Seignosse or the legendary Golf de Chiberta ..
Enjoy summer music festivals
A true local institution, Thursdays at the Port of Larros’ free summer concert series last through the entire summer season. There is something for everyone: jazz, salsa, rock or local “bandas.” Residents of Gujan and vacationers rub shoulders in a friendly atmosphere, enjoying a crêpe or drinking a glass of champagne. From the terrace of the Château, you will be in the front row to admire the fireworks of July 14, launched from the pier of the port of Larros, or the many fireworks on August 15.
Admire Arcachon, and the “Ville d’Hiver”
Starting in 1857 thanks to the arrival of the railway, Arcachon was one of the fashionable seaside resorts to which the European aristocracy was drawn, just at the time when Clara and Camille were building Château Mader. The train still takes you in less than 10 minutes from Gujan to the center of Arcachon. A stroll through the winding, shady streets of the “Ville d’Hiver,” home to beautiful 19th-century villas, plunges you into another era. Like the bourgeoisie of the Belle Epoque, you can stroll the lively streets of the resort, have lunch or dinner along the seafront, opposite a magnificent beach that invites sunbathing and swimming.
Take a stroll around Bordeaux, an hour away…
Just 60 km (37 miles) from Château Mader, Bordeaux, wine capital of the world, is a must-see destination: discover its magnificent 18th century architecture – strolling in the Golden Triangle, Place de la Bourse and along the quays of the Port of the Moon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire St Andrew cathedral and enjoy a panoramic view over Bordeaux from Pey Berland tower. Shop in Rue Sainte Catherine, the longest pedestrian shopping street of Europe. Visit the Cité du Vin, appreciate contemporary art at the CAPC in the posh Chartrons district, walk through the lively Capucins market, shop at the antique dealers in the Espace Saint-Michel …With it’s history, shopping, culture, it ‘s no wonder that Bordeaux has been ranked “European Best Destination 2015”
Explore the world-renowned vineyards and Saint-Emilion
Visit the vineyards that surround Bordeaux with their prestigious vintage wines, such as Haut Brion (Pessac), Yquem (Sauternes), Margaux, all within 80 kilometers (50 miles); discover the grape-growing slopes of Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and fall in love with this small medieval town, where you can take a lovely walk along the steep cobblestone streets or visit the impressive underground cathedral. Take a break for a glass of wine on one of the many café terraces.
On request, we will organise for you a “custom-made” tour via chauffeured limousine.
Basque country and Spain, two hours away…
The lively streets of Saint-Jean de Luz and the beautiful, sandy beaches of Biarritz are only a two-hour drive away. For a change of scenery you can discover the white houses with their bright red or green shutters that are characteristic of the Basque country. Cross the border into Spain and take the road that goes along the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, stop to caress the pottoks (small wild horses) and admire the beautiful landscapes. Discover elegant San Sebastian, its renowned beach (La Concha). At the end of the day in Spain’s culinary capital, you can savor tapas in the maze of the old town or enjoy dinner in one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants before returning to Château Mader.
Oysters from the bay, wild-caught fish and seafood from the fish market of Arcachon, beef from Bazas, asparagus, duck and foie gras from neighboring “Les Landes,” and of course, Bordeaux wines: the region has an abundance of the highest quality products!