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Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Gironde

Arcachon - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Gironde

An upscale seaside resort in Arcachon Bay, located some sixty kilometres south-west of Bordeaux, elegant Arcachon can be enjoyed in all four seasons. While it particularly enchants summer holidaymakers in search of the beach and sea, it also delights visitors who love Belle Époque architecture. Indeed, the prestigious winter town, in the hills of Arcachon on either side of the peaceful Moorish Park (Parc Mauresque), contains a great number of villas built in the late 19th century in an eclectic range of styles, ranging from Swiss chalet to Neo-Gothic manor through English cottage. The most splendid include the Villa Toledo, Villa Trocadéro, Villa Alexandre Dumas, Villa Teresa, Villa Craigcrostan and Villa Brémontier.

The summer town, which stretches along the sea between the Eyrac Pier and the Chapel Pier, has all the ingredients for a great holiday: a beautiful sandy beach overlooking the tranquil waters of Arcachon, commercial streets ideal for shopping, outdoor cafés and restaurants for a drink, a plate of seafood or an ice cream, a museum-aquarium with the sea life of the region as well as galleries devoted to zoology, archaeology and oyster farming, a casino, bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained till the end of the night, and also many activities on offer all throughout the summer. The unmissable Thiers Pier is a nice place for a leisurely stroll while admiring the waterfront of the summer town and Arcachon Bay…

The tour of the resort then continues through the spring town, famous for its mineral water spring, Les Abatilles, the thalassotherapy centre, beach and Pereire Park, and the autumn town with the fishing ports and oyster farms, as well as the water sports centre, to indulge in sailing, kitesurfing, kayaking or even stand-up paddle. You'll find plenty to ensure a successful holiday, at any time of the year!

Additional information

Seaside resort popular with tourists, Arcachon takes place in New-Aquitaine, in the department of Gironde. Main town of the basin of Arcachon, it faces the Atlantic Ocean, on the border of La Teste-de-Buch and the station of Pyla-sur-Mer.

Recent, the city of Arcachon was born from a separation with La Teste-de-Buch in 1857, notably thanks to the creation of a railway line with Bordeaux. The arrival of the tourists of the big city thus triggers the creation of a coastal resort. Arcachon is also known over the years for its activities of hydrotherapy, thalassotherapy and climatic therapy related to the discovery of the source Sainte-Anne des Abatilles.

Today still, Arcachon is appreciated for its beaches, as well as for its architecture Belle Epoque with the obsolete charm. Gastronomy, the Girondine city will seduce lovers of oysters, with a variety known since the time of Rabelais!

Things to see and do

The winter town is one of the most popular areas of Arcachon. Rich in historic villas of the nineteenth century, it is the work of the brothers Pereire, bankers who arranged the site in the second half of the nineteenth century. This high-class resort reveals buildings that combine original Neo-gothic, Moorish, colonial, neoclassical or Swiss chalet styles. Attracting the crowned heads of all Europe, the winter town quickly developed with the "well-bearers", unlike the curists of the summer city. If the Moorish casino built in 1863 disappeared in a fire, one can still admire instead an immense park of several hectares. Located on top of a dune, it offers a breathtaking view of the summer town and the Arcachon basin, including an arboretum, a pinnacle marking the location of the former casino, and a sculpture of Claude Bouscau in homage to the dead resisters for France.

Six large villas in the winter town are especially worth a break. Built in the 1920s, Villa Iris has a rare Art Deco style in the oldest town, Villa Graigcrostan dates back to the end of the 19th century. The work of a Scottish aristocrat, she mixes the style like the Neo-Palladian with its columns on two levels. It has now been divided into private apartments. Certainly one of the most beautiful in the area, Villa Alexandre Dumas presents a Hispanic style mixed with rustic Italian architecture. A large garden with many species surrounds the building. Do not miss the villa Brémontier, one of the first built in the neighborhood. Re-designed a few decades later, it reinvented the style of the Swiss chalet. You will also notice the Villa Trocadero with its carved wooden decoration, or the Villa Toledo, its beautiful exterior staircase, its Hispanic style and Moorish park.

The Teresa Villa, also known as the Semiramis Hotel, has been completely renovated and deserves a visit.

As you walk through the resort, you can admire the sailors' chapel, the Sainte-Cécile belvedere and its breathtaking view of the region, the Notre-Dame basilica of the mid-19th century, or the synagogue listed in the Historic Monuments. In the city, several sculptures by Claude Bouscau are to be admired as the Heracles of the Moorish park.

To keep you entertained, head for the 19th-century Château Deganne, today it welcomes the casino of the beach. In neo-Renaissance style, it brings together an important collection of paintings.

A museum aquarium also allows you to learn a little more about the marine world.

But Arcachon is also a natural heritage of exception with its basin bordered by the dune of Pilat, the highest in Europe, or even the beach Pereire. The latter, with its maritime gardens, bike paths and hiking trails and lawns, is an ideal place to relax.

A listed natural site, l'île aux Oiseaux and its tchanquée huts are accessible by boat, and one can appreciate the marina, the second of the Atlantic Ocean.

Behind the scenes of the auction: attend the sale in auction and familiarize yourself with the different fish of the Basin: seiches, bars, redts, soles according to the seasons... Discover this unique atmosphere with a guide who A visit will make you share all the passion of the profession of fisherman.

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Pinnace trip in the Bay of Archachon
Nature and the great outdoors280 € to 700 € Lège-Cap-Ferret

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Natural sites
Performance halls

Events and festivities

The market is held every day of the week, in the morning, except on Mondays outside the school holidays. On July 13, the city offers a garage sale.

The patronal festival takes place on March 25 with a procession to the sea and animations for young and old.

In early July, Nuit Blanche offers a giant picnic all in white on the beach of Pereire.

Between July and August, Arcachon en scene with concerts of artists from all over the world.

Every July 14, a fireworks is fired on the beach.

The festivities of the sea take place around August 15 with a giant picnic, traditional boat rides, processions, fireworks and concerts.

At la Madeleine lake, it is possible to attend an open-air opera at the end of August.

In September, the Cadences Festival of Arcachon offers dance performances of all styles.


Arcachon (© JE)
Arcachon (© JE)
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Accessible by bike, Pereire beach facing the Cap Ferret
Accessible by bike, Pereire beach facing the Cap Ferret
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Beautiful, taste oysters at the Aiguillon Shack
Beautiful, taste oysters at the Aiguillon Shack
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Arcachon (© JE)
Arcachon (© JE)
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The walk (© JE)
The walk (© JE)
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vu The basin of the dune Pyla (© JE)
vu The basin of the dune Pyla (© JE)
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Live recreational fishing on Arcachon...
Live recreational fishing on Arcachon...
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby


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