Huitres are one of the glories of France, where they have been a popular delicacy since Neolithic times. Most of them are now farmed by ostréiculteurs (oyster farmers), notably around the Atlantic coast at La Rochelle and Bordeaux (Marennes, the Île d’Oléron and Arcachon), Brittany (Cancale, Quiberon and the Morbihan coast), Normandy (St-Vaastla-Hougue) and in the Mediterranean lagoons of the Bassin de Thau.
In 19th-century Paris, once trains could transport oysters fresh from the sea, they became wonderfully cheap, restaurants served them by the dozens as a starter. Today restaurant diners usually get by with six. And they’re rarely cheap.
Images by Jean François de Troy , Michele M.F., Myrabella, Pierre L.