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What To Do Around Arcachon, France

What To Do Around Arcachon, France

What To Do Around Arcachon, France

Arcachon Bay is a jewel in the French Atlantic coast. Blessed with superb scenery, thriving on outdoor adventures, and sustained by the best oysters in France, there’s a host of wonderful things to do at Arcachon Bay.

When Napolean III declared Arcachon an autonomous municipality in 1857, the tiny town was little more than a clearing in a pine forest inhabited by fishermen enjoying the regions oyster-harvesting credentials. Encouraged by its new independence, investors set about flogging the health benefits of the sea to the bourgeoisie.

Enchanted by sheer beauty and medicinal advantages, the wealthy flocked to Arcachon Bay, and a new seaside resort was born.

Today, it’s easy to be captivated by Arcachon’s allure. Bordered on one side by the ridge of the Dune du Pilat and on the other by the slender stretch of the Cap Ferret isthmus, Arcachon Bay is a beautiful slice of France. Powder soft beaches in blonde, pine forests in luminous green, and pristine azure waters complete a colour pallet perfect for switching off and unwinding.

But if you’re looking for more than a relaxing break, there are plenty of great things to do in Arcachon Bay. Take a surfing lesson in the Atlantic rollers, cycle trails that whisk you along villages lining the beach, explore the bay by boat or dine on some of the freshest oysters imaginable.

You won’t have Arcachon to yourself in July and August, but either side of summer, when the weather is still good and the crowds are thinner, the relaxing beauty of this gorgeous destination gently simmers.


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1 – EXPLORE EUROPE’S LARGEST SAND DUNE – DUNE DU PILAT

Just south of Arcachon, Dune du Pilat – the highest sand dune in Europe – rises 100 metres over the Atlantic Ocean in a magnificent sweep of golden blonde.

From the summit, views stretch across Arcachon Bay towards the isthmus of Cap Ferret, with the oyster-rich island of L’Île aux Oiseaux caught amidst the glimmer of the ocean. With the surf on one side and a luminous pine forest on the other, it’s a magical place to visit at any time, but is particularly special at dawn or dusk.

In the morning, the sun rises over the pine forest, casting shadows over the dunes which have been swept free of footprints from the overnight winds. Morning is a quieter time on the Dune du Pilat, and with the cooler temperatures, it’s perfect for hiking along the undulating ridges of pristine sand.  

At dusk, the dunes glow a vibrant orange as the sun sets over the Atlantic Ocean. Bring a picnic and your choice of beverage, find a spot on the ridge and absorb one of the best sunsets you could hope to find. 

You can find more detailed information on our guide to visiting Dune du Pilat, including how to get there and the different hiking options.



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