A magnificent, chic and family-friendly seaside resort, Arcachon is a destination full of wonders to discover.
Located in south-west France, in the department of Gironde, Arcachon developed in the 19th century thanks to the boom in sea bathing. Then it attracted wealthy visitors from all over Europe, with magnificent "picturesque" villas, which were built in the Ville d'Hiver district.
In addition to its rather pleasant climate, Arcachon is also known for its bay, its oysters and its easy living. As a prime resort, it attracts many holiday-makers who come here for relaxing family holidays or romantic breaks.
The Ile aux Oiseaux is a small island in the centre of Arcachon Bay which is home to the two famous cabanes tchanquées (wooden huts on stilts). The best way to explore the island is to take a tour around it by boat, where you can also see the fishing villages around the bay, the oyster beds, Cap Ferret and the Dune of Pilat.
If you visit Arcachon, make sure you don't miss the Dune of Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe, standing at 100 metres high, over 1.5 miles long and containing around 60 million cubic metres of sand. Just at the entrance to the bay, it is easy to get to by bus from Arcachon station. You can walk to the top and walk over the crest, while thrill-seekers can try paragliding or gliding over the top.
Cap Ferret, a neighbouring commune of Arcachon, is also a must-visit destination. Lavish villas surround the bay and its listed lighthouse is open to the public. It's worth climbing up the 258 steps to the top, as the view over the ocean, Arcachon bay and the peninsula is breathtaking.
Lovers of fresh seafood and fish will be spoilt for choice. Juicy oysters, sturgeon caviar, mussels, scallops and eels from the bay, to name just some of the seafood on offer, can be enjoyed in a little restaurant with your feet in the sand, or on the seafront near Thiers pier, admiring the sunset and sipping a glass of local wine. Life is really is sweet in Arcachon!