Coming back from my summer vacation, it’s time to share with you some tips about my favorite French island, Noirmoutier. I have been going there every summer and more for more than 25 years so I had to tell you all my little secrets about how to enjoy it at its best.
A little about Noirmoutier island…
Noirmoutier island is an oceanic, tasty and natural island with blue shutters and white houses. Between the salt marshes mosaic, the harrowed fields from the agricultural plain, the coloured ports and the half-rural, half-seaside architecture, Noirmoutier island offers deep contrasts through bicycle paths maze. Bordered by lots of blond sandy beaches, Noirmoutier is also the ideal place for the ones wanting to relax and to unwind. Some amazing chefs have launched restaurants there to express themselves with local products, all full of freshness.
The #1 thing to do in Noirmoutier island
Relax and let your car behind you! Once you would have arrived in Noirmoutier island, you will soon discover that 99% of the people there use their bike to go from place to another. If you want to live like the ones who are used to come to Noirmoutier, please don’t take your car to go to the beach. Rent a bike and enjoy the most beautiful beaches of the island: La Plage des Dames with its little white cabins, Les Souzeaux with its beautiful houses which are transmitted within the family from generation to generation or the most savage one, La Luzeronde. Trust me, you’ll soon find your bike is the best transportation.
Where to find the best food?
L’ilôt bleu is peaceful, offers an amazing view on the castle (especially in the evening when it’s lightened) from inside or outside the restaurant. The white and grey wooden decoration created by the Chef Camille Crabos will instantly calm you down and lighten your day (even if it’s raining outside). After traveling the world, this charming lady whom cuisine reminds her delicate personality has decided to settle in Noirmoutier and open a restaurant where she cooks local products. Proof is that the menu changes almost every day depending on the products she gets in the morning from the fishermen or the greengrocer.
After enjoying a delicious appetizer including some delicious mushrooms and particularly well spiced up, I decided to go for fish. The piece I was served was very good and perfectly cooked. After asking the Chef she explained she first uses the pan before baking it in the oven. The fish was accompanied with the famous potatoes from Noirmoutier. Looking like pearls, Camille Crabos only choses the smallest ones as they are the best ones. My mother had a beautiful piece of duck which was cooked at its best. Coming with zucchini and flavoured-semolina, she said it was a wonderful surprise. The cheese glass bell made me discover cheeses I did not know about while the chocolate desert was a memorable conclusion to this sweet lunch.
Open from April to mid-November, L’ilôt Bleu is a new restaurant where creativity, taste and refinement meet each other in delicious recipes. Without any hesitation, open the door and enjoy the menu!
Location : 13 Rue du Robinet, 85330 Noirmoutier-en-l’Île
Phone number: +33 9 73 28 00 40
Le P’tit Noirmout
It’s tough to visit Noirmoutier without being tempted by this restaurant that has already been featured several times on TV. I finally gave into temptation, passed the door and was pretty happy to discover this place, ran by Arthur, a young man of 25 years old who started cooking when he was only 13. Starting with a clams’ trilogy was a great idea. The colors were definitely of this starter reflected its delicious taste and I have to say I am still dreaming of the potato bread the clams were presented on. I continued with a large piece of cod served with ancient vegetables. At this point, I again noted a detailed presentation on the plates which proved the attention to details given by the Chef. Now let me tell you about the desert which was the highlight of this lunch and how I still don’t regret the few more grams I had the day after. I tried a brioche pain perdu which was covered with salted butter caramel. Oh my, it was so good that I could have eaten the same one for diner!
No doubt that Le P’tit Noirmout is full every day. The value for money is the best you can find on the island while the table and plate presentations as well as the service worth just as much as renowned restaurants.
To enjoy Le P’tit Noirmout at its best, make sure to book your table in advance for lunch or for the second dining service.
Location : 10 rue du Marché 85330 Noirmoutier-en-l’Île
Bookings: +33 2 28 10 79 52
Fleur de sel
Who has not heard about this 35 years old establishment (it is also a hotel), ran by a family? Famous for its fine cuisine, Fleur de sel is a gourmet restaurant awarded 2 chef’s hats in the Gault&Millau Michelin guide. Pierrick Wattecamps – son of the founders – and his staff, welcome their guests in a « home-made » restaurant which boasts a seaside yet elegant decor. Offering traditional cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients, the chef, Eric, has been revisiting traditional flavors with all the fineness of refined gourmet cuisine over the past 20 years. Year after year, he improves the menu and surprises the clients.
I started the evening with a marinated salmon preserved in olive oil. As a fan of fish, I am quite demanding and I can tell you that this one was a one of a kind. My dad, who accompanied me that night, went for roasted prawns. I continued with a nice piece of hake served in a piquillos crust while my dining companion went for the sesame roast duck fillet which was accompanied with a melon chutney and zucchini. Both were excellent: cooked just as it should be and tasty. The deserts we chose to finish the diner on a great note were as good as everything we already had. The “Harmony pear-chocolate-caramel” was fresh and I loved the texture while the marinated cherries with lemon verbena were as delicious as different from what’s usually on desert’s menus.
I highly recommend this address which for many reasons already has a great reputation. You will never be disappointed and as Pierrick Wattecamps humbly said, a lot of clients come back year after year. I certainly understand why.
Visit Fleur de Sel website and book a table: +33 2 51 39 09 07
Where to relax?
Looking for a treat? I have the best address on the island for you. It is called ‘L’Ancre Marine’. I am used to do massage and treatment experiences so I am quite demanding but this one was definitely one of the best I have ever had, or maybe even the best one!
Renovated recently, the spa includes a steam-room, a sensorial pool and a tea-room. After one hour in the spa, where I particularly liked the massaging jets, I had the pleasure to discover how great were the massages at the Spa of L’Ancre Marine.
Using the Thalgo and Terrake products, whom have a great reputation and delicious smells (I instantly felt like if I was somewhere else when I had them on my body). I chose the “Esprit de Polynesie” ritual. The promise was to escape to the rhythm of Polynesian traditions in order to relax the body and sublimate the skin. The massage was done with very thin white sand before having my body wrapped with pearlescent oil which had the lovely Monoi smell.
The masseuse was really professional and I can honestly say I rarely had such a great experience in a spa. All massage long, I felt like if I was on a cotton cloud, cradled by the waves of the little cushions I had under my body.
I am still dreaming about this massage and I’m really sad that I will not be back there before next summer. If you are in Noirmoutier, trust me, go there and enjoy! It will be the cherry on the cake of your stay.
Also, they are a hotel so you can book a room there as it has a great location, between the most savage beach La Luzeronde and the port and the heart of the city. You will also be just a few meters away to the cutest bike ride of the island.
Location: 87a route de l’Herbaudière, 85330 Noirmoutier
Information and bookings: +33 2.51.39.03.62
Hotel Saint Paul
Hotel Saint Paul is another option to relax. Even though the spa is more basic and does not have the comfort that L’Ancre Marine offers, it offers all institutes cares (massage, waxing, care for hands and feet, ect.) and personalized rituals using organic beauty products from the brand Estime & Sens.
Using organic beauty products, the beautician who took care of me a face cleaning which hydrated my skin and made me glow.
For more details and reservation call +188.8.131.52.05.63.