Arcachon Bay – my paradise, an hour from Bordeaux

After many years living abroad (our story), one of our motivations to come and live in Bordeaux was the proximity with Arcachon Bay. Only an hour away from Bordeaux, this place is my idea of paradise!  Ever since my early youth I use to spend summers here with my grand-mother ‘Mamie de Bordeaux’, the unique palet of colours, the wildness, the smell of pine and iodine, and the unique beauty have always been very fond memories. To complete the idyllic picture, I remember vividly my families and friends and their never ending ‘apéritifs’ with local oysters and barbecued fish, over-looking the sunset on the Dune of Pylat.

 

Today the Arcachon bay, particularly the peninsula of Cap Ferret is highly praised by celebrities such as Marion Cotillard who even made 2 films in one of the oysters-harvesting villages (Little White Lies).

Arcachon town with the Golf Course of Arcachon

A little geography

On the northern side of the bay is the wide area of Cap-Ferret: a listed and protected verdant peninsula located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Arcachon Bay. You have the choice of enjoying the many sandy beaches on the Atlantic shores on the West, and the calm water of the bay itself. On the splendid wild headland are nested beautiful villas hidden in the pine forest. With only one main road and many bicycle paths you can discover it all, from Andernos at the further point inside the bay to La Pointe (the point). Discover the traditional oyster villages based around a cluster of small cabins  such as Piraillan, Le Canon and L’Herbe. Make a  stop-over to enjoy a platter of oysters with Bordeaux white wine. If you’re searching for entertainment (and quaint and plush shops), “Ferret” is the town to visit!

Oyster village of Piraillan

On the southern side of the bay is the seaside town of Arcachon, built at the end of the 19th century.  It has four areas named after the four seasons with beautiful bourgeois houses built in a unique romantic architecture of the late 1950s. Arcachon is a buoyant town with many restaurants and shops over-looking the bay and the peninsula of Cap-Ferret. There are plenty of golden-sand beaches around, and for the energetic ones many walks to choose from. It’s also a great starting point to take a boat cruise to see the bay and the Dune from a catamaran or a traditional small wooden boat called a Pinasse.

There is a direct train from Bordeaux to Arcachon (50 minutes) and even a daily TGV (high-speed train) from Paris to Arcachon (over 3 hours). Like in Cap Ferret, Arcachon boasts many bicycle paths. Arcachon is a great starting point to explore the bay all the way to the Dune of Pylat, the highest dune in Europe. The Dune measures 500 m wide and almost 3 km length with a height of 106m. So brace yourself to climb the endless wooden steps! But the scenery when you get to the top is breathtaking, here you see the entire bay and the ocean.

The Dune of Pylat

Golfing around Arcachon

If you’re visiting or staying in Cap-Ferret area, why not play 18 holes at Lacanau golf course, only 40 minutes’drive away. You’re guaranteed to experience a great course set in the pine forest, and in very good condition all year around.

When staying in Arcachon, we recommend our clients play at the 1895 International Golf of Arcachon. The near-by golf courses of Gujan-Mestras and Biscarrosse offer a great alternative.

Visiting Arcachon bay

From Bordeaux, if you wish to discover both sides of the bay for the day, be aware that it takes 1h30 minutes minimum from La Pointe (furthest point of the peninsula) the Dune of Pyla. Our recommendation is to take a train and hire a bicycle at the station. This gives you the option to either cycle to the Dune of Pylat or take a crossing boat with your bike to Ferret to discover the peninsula.

Where possible, Greens and Grapes can organise private day trips for small groups, leaving from Bordeaux with private chauffeuring. For example, in the morning clients play 18-holes in the Arcachon area. After having lunch in Arcachon, a pinasse boat awaits us on the pier for a visit of the bay. We then disembark at one of the oyster villages on the peninsula to meet an oyster farmer where we can sample some oysters in his cabin overlooking the sunset on the Dune of Pylat. At the end of the day a private coach is waiting for the return trip to Bordeaux.

A day on a pinasse with a group of restaurant owners from Finland.

Did you know?

When you join Greens & Grapes for a holiday, you benefit from our local knowledge and experience. We know every accommodation owner, and we have inspected every hotel, golf course and cultural sites. And with the current sanitary context, we’ve made sure that along your itinerary every partner is very respectful of the sanitary measures to protect you with strict cleaning protocols and distancing measures.

 

Sunrise from the village of L’Herbe

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