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Lège-Cap-Ferret (Municipality, Gironde, France)

Last modified: 2018-06-23 by ivan sache
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Flag of Lège-Cap-Ferret - Image by Pascal Gross, 24 September 2006

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Presentation of Lège-Cap-Ferret

The municipality of Lège-Cap-Ferret (6,307 inhabitants in 1999, 9,362 ha; municipal website, tourism website) is located on a thin paeninsula separating the Basin of Arcachon from the Atlantic Ocean. The municipality spreads over 25 km, from the village of Lège, the administrative center of the municipality, to Cap Ferret. It was separated from the municipality of La Teste only in 1976. Lège-Cap-Ferret, once a desert area, is today a very popular sea resort, with beaches both on the Basin and the Ocean. However, its inhabitants have attempted to preserve their "independance" and their environment, and they would like to avoid the saint-tropezisation of the area.

The village of Lège was originally located on the shore of the ocean, but it had to move progressively inland, towards the Basin, because the village was constantly invaded by sand blown by the western winds. The paeninsula was first settled by fishers from Gujan, Mestras, La Teste and Arès. During the fishing season, they stayed on the north-western coast of the Basin of Arcachon, which is protected from the western and northern winds. They built small wooden huts or settled in old boats ran aground, and progressively organized the villages of Les Jacquets, Le Canon, Piraillan, L'Herbe and Cap Ferret. Since oyster farming is also very popular in the Basin, the villagers were mostly "sea farmers", that is both fishers and oyster farmers.
The lighthouse of Cap Ferret, marking the entrance of the Basin of Arcachon, was built in 1835-1840 and inaugurated around 1855, as one of the 43 main lighthouses on the French coasts (those with a range of 18-27 nautic miles). The lighthouse was destroyed by the Germans in 1944 and rebuilt in 1949.

Léon Lesca, a civil engineering contractor from La Teste, built during the Second Empire the modern port of Algiers and the railway Constantine-Philippeville. Back to France, he purchased, along with his brother Frédéric, a big estate on the paeninsula near the village of L'Herbe. In 1865-1866, he built a big villa in Moorish style, known as "the Algerian villa". The paeninsula was then a desert place, inhabited only by the lighthouse and semaphore keepers, a few customs officiers and rangers. There were no roads and the closest village, Lège, was located 15 km away. Everything required for the building of the villa was brought by ship. Originally a hunting lodge, the villa became the center of a big agricultural domain: Lesca exploited the forest and oyster parks, created fish tanks, grew grapevine, built a school, a wharf, houses for his employees, a chapel and a presbytery. He set up a 25-ha lanscaped garden and introduced several exotic trees in the region, such as yuccas and mimosas. Lesca died in 1913 in his villa, aged 88. The villa was unfortunately abandoned and suppressed in 1965. Only the chapel has remained; it is probably the only Catholic chapel in the world built in Moorish style.

Ivan Sache, 24 September 2006

Flag of Lège-Cap-Ferret

The flag of Lège-Cap-Ferret is blue with the municipal logo. The lighthouse is of course the Cap Ferret lighthouse. The colours most probably stand for forest, sand and water.

Pascal Gross & Ivan Sache, 24 September 2006

Cercle Nautique du Ferret


Burgee of CNF - Image by Ivan Sache, 13 July 2002

Cercle Nautique du Ferret (CNF; website) was founded in 1949. Its burgee is a triangular white flag with a red border all around, a light blue cross and a white diamond with a red border placed over the middle of the cross. The black letters "CNF" are placed in the diamond.

Ivan Sache, 13 July 2002

Club Nautique de Claouey

[Flag]         [Flag]

Flag and burgee of CNC - Images by Ivan Sache, 24 April 2018

Club Nautique de Claouey (CNC; website) is located in Claouey, a village part of the municipality of Lège-Cap-Ferret. CNC is actively involved in the revival of two traditional sailboats of the Basin of Arcachon called pinasse à voile and bac à voiles, respectively.
In the 1980s, only two genuine pinasses à voiles still sailed on the Basin; today, there are some 20 boats whose owners have founded Association des Pinasseyres in 1982. In 1987, the municipality of Lège-Cap-Ferret granted to CNC the two municipal pinasses called Ferret-Caple and Capricieuse.
The bac à voiles was designed in 1890 by the naval architect from Arcachon Auguste Bert. The boat is very wide and flat-bottomed, so that it was used to transport heavy loads; it was used in the past to ship wooden posts from the neighbouring forest of Landes to the British coal mines. The bac à voile was superseded in the 1930s by the motorized boats. In 1999, the Mayor of Lège-Cap-Ferret and the President of CNC decided to build a bac à voile from scratch, with the help of the Sea College of Gujan-Mestras. The boat, called Escalumade (in Gascon, sea spray) was successfully launched on 5 May 2001. CNC has also sections for racing yachting and sea rowing.

The flag of CNC is blue with a yellow diagonal stripe charged with the blue letters CNC. The burgee of CNC (photo) is white with the club's full emblem, which features the club's flag.

Ivan Sache, 24 April 2004