The carrelet has been part of the Gironde landscape for many, many years. It gives the estuary quite a look, and its regulars are quite proud of it! Origins, presentation, best spots in Gironde: zoom in on these little wooden huts on stilts and this colorful and traditional fishing technique. Learn about the history of the carrelet, the emblem of the Gironde estuary.


The word carrelet is thought to have originated around the 17th century, spelled “quarlet”. In its early days, it referred to a large square net, held in place by curved poles, installed at the stern of a boat. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the first carrelets were built, mounted on a wooden platform connected to the shore by a gangway. It was from the 1940s-50s onwards that these installations began to develop. The first paid vacations played a key role! 

Today, a carrelet refers to both the net (i.e. the fishing technique) and the hut housing it. In terms of technique, the carrelet is a mesh net attached to a round or square frame, itself suspended by 4 metal cables. A winch is used to raise and lower the net on the incoming and outgoing tides. 

So, what about the famous “cabane” that makes the Gironde so charming? Not just anyone can build one, and not just any old way. Each installation, managed by the Autonomous Port of Bordeaux and subject to an authorization for temporary occupation of the public domain, must comply with precise environmental standards. Apart from the mast and frame holding the net, the hut, platform and gangway must be made of wood. The whole structure rests on large piles, usually driven into the mud or set into place on a rock.

Carrelet Le Phare Richard Jau-Dignac and Loirac - left bank Gironde estuary

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this is fishing without a boat. It’s done on the waves from the hut set up on the banks of the river. Another special feature is that no bait is required. Crayfish, prawns and smelts are just some of the fishers’ favourites.


Did you know that since February 12, 2021, carrelet fishing has been part of France’s intangible cultural heritage? The banks of the Gironde estuary alone are home to almost 660 carrelets: enough to satisfy your desire for discovery during a stay in the region!

The carrelets are an integral part of Gironde’s picture postcard, and are a welcome sight for walkers, who never fail to take beautiful photos. Like sentinels of the river, mounted on wooden stilts, they enliven and dress up the banks of the Gironde. An immaculate blue summer sky, a setting sun, a foggy winter morning: the carrelet puts on a show of its undeniable charm, whatever the season or time of day!

On the left bank, at the Pointe du Médoc, near the Richard lighthouse, in Jau-Dignac-et-Loirac, admire the string of carrelets along the estuary. On the right bank, in Gauriac or La Roque de Thau, the carrelets give the picturesque Corniche road an added charm that few can resist!


Carrelet Gauriac - right bank Gironde estuary

Proudly jutting out into the river, the carrelet offers a very special kind of fishing. The little hut and platform can be decorated and furnished to suit the angler’s taste. Furniture, flowers and a barbecue make this little spot more than just a place to fish: it’s a convivial place where fishing enthusiasts like to gather with family and friends to share a pleasant moment of pleasure and relaxation.

When renting a carrelet, it’s more a question of atmosphere than anything else. Fish according to the tide, feast on your catch with a meal prepared on site, enjoy the tranquility of the banks of the Gironde… a tempting program imbued with authenticity that’s not about to end.

Indeed, the locals are keen to perpetuate this symbol and celebrate this magnificent heritage: numerous festivals are held in honor of the carrelets. Pauillac, Braud and Saint-Louis, the Richard lighthouse… all organize “La nuit des carrelets“, which, on a summer’s evening, dresses up these traditional wooden huts in a thousand lights.

Take a stroll along the banks of the Gironde estuary and soak up the authentic charm of the carrelets. Perhaps take advantage of a tailor-made tour with Wine Cab in an English cab to admire them, and why not try your hand at this type of fishing. Some carrelets in Gironde are available for hire for a few hours. Taste the atmosphere, take a break, strike a pose and, above all, come back enchanted! Contact Wine Cab and put together your own carrelets discovery tour.