6 Reasons To Visit Arcachon & Its Beautiful Bay

Arcachon – the cradle of oyster culture.

Admire the beautiful town of Arcachon; its scenery, beaches, and delicious seafood restaurants. Arcachon is located near the city of Bordeaux, and a wildly sought-after destination, especially during the summer. If you are a fan of oysters, the town’s main attraction is its oyster farming! Now, not everybody is a fan, nevertheless, Arcachon is a French gem that you must visit. Here are the six reasons, I hope will persuade you to take a little trip down to the bay of the Atlantic Ocean.

Photo by Bet Osten on Unsplash

A few tips you might find useful when visiting Arcachon:

  • Rent a bicycle! Arcachon and its surroundings will be much more enjoyable!
  • The most coveted sights (ie: la Dune du Pilat) are wildly visited, that is why we suggest visiting them in the morning if you wish to avoid the crowd. The view will be rewarding!
  • If you are visiting Arcachon in the summer, do not forget to reserve your hotel or bed-and-breakfast in advance!


To reach Arcachon from Paris, there are many options. By car, it is approximately a six-hour drive, but the trip will be beautiful as you will pass by Orleans, Tours, and Bordeaux.

If you want to take the train, the bay of the Atlantic is only four hours away. There is a direct line between Paris and Arcachon, and the price points are very reasonable. On site, if you wish to visit the surroundings, it is, nevertheless, essential to have a car.

La Dune du Pilat

An overview of la Dune du Pilat
An overview of la Dune du Pilat. FACEBOOK Dune du Pilat Officiel

Between the sea and the forest, lies this impressive sand mountain. More than 106 meters high, 2,900 meters long, and 600 meters wide; la Dune du Pilat is considered to be the highest dune in all of Europe. This famous dune is constantly changing with the tides and the winds. Climbing 160 steps will be worth it! You will be rewarded with a mind-blowing view on the Atlantic Ocean, and the Landes forest. Bring a picnic and walk on 55m² of soft sand. Climbing, paragliding, swimming…anything is possible! La Dune du Pilat is a must-see if you are in the region, since it’s the perfect spot for an aperitif at sunset!

La Dune du Pilat at sunset
La Dune du Pilat at sunset. FACEBOOK Dune du Pilat Officiel

L’île aux Oiseaux

The island’s stilted houses
The island’s stilted houses. FACEBOOK Ile Aux Oiseaux

Located in the middle of the bay, the Isle of birds is only accessible by boat or canoe. So why is it named the Isle of birds? This wild island was -originally a breeding place for horses, and cows. After a terrible storm, the island became a fishing and a hunting ground (very well controlled.) Still today, the isle is a refuge for the migratory birds, as well as a protected site. The two stilted and colored houses are the island’s second claim to fame. You cannot visit the interior, however, you can climb on the decks to admire the view.  At high tide, the houses are surrounded by water, and at low tide, on the sand. It all depends! By yourself or with friends and family, take a tour of this unique island, dedicated to the preservation of wilderness !

A little tip: Be sure to check the tidal calendar before your trip!

Ville d’Hiver, or Winter Town

The breathtaking view on the bay from the district
The breathtaking view on the bay from the district. PHOTO bassin-arcachon.com

La Ville d’Hiver is a distinct neighborhood in Arcachon. Overlooking a stunning view on the bay, the district is composed of numerous 19th century villas associated to a picturesque architecture. Many styles can be recognized, such as: neo-Classic, neo-Gothic, etc.  Situated on the heights of the town, more than 300 villas are at your disposition. The most famous ones are: Villa Teresa, Villa Dumas, Villa Toledo, and Villa Carmen. Pay close attention to the architectural details, as they are the district’s jewels. Originally, this part of town was built as a Tuberculosis Treatment Center. The illness came to rest in this serene seaside district. Come and discover this 10-hectare architectural wonderland!

One of the numerous villas in the neighborhood
One of the numerous villas in the neighborhood. PHOTO bassin-arcachon.com

Oyster Farms