A thousand and one ways to discover the Bay of Arcachon
The Bay of Arcachon is a destination that is easy to fall in love with.
Among the places of interest that cannot be ignored are the Dune du Pilat, the cabanes tchanquées and the Ville d’Hiver.
Visitors also fall in love with remarkable sites such as the lighthouse and the Pointe du Cap Ferret, the Banc d’Arguin or the jetties.
The oyster farming villages and ports also arouse the curiosity of visitors, as do the ornithological reserve of Le Teich and especially the beaches.
From the campsite on the Bassin d’Arcachon, you will be ideally situated to visit the surrounding area.
Don’t miss out on the famous oysters of the Bay of Arcachon in one of the many restaurants in the area.
Where is the Bay of Arcachon?
The Bassin d’Arcachon is one of the wonders of southwestern France.
The lagoon is located almost equidistant from the Adour and the Gironde.
It is the only one of the lagoons that retains a connection to the Atlantic Ocean, between Cap Ferret and the tip of Arcachon.
Several destinations are located in the vicinity of the Bassin d’Arcachon, including the town of the same name, but also well-known towns such as La Teste-de-Buch, Gujan-Mestras and Le Teich. Andernos-les-Bains and Arès also attract many visitors, especially families with children.
How to get to the Bay of Arcachon?
The TGV is a convenient way to reach the Bay of Arcachon. There are daily connections from Paris-Montparnasse to Facture-Biganos (the journey takes about 3 hours) and Arcachon (in less than 4 hours).
From Facture-Biganos station, the town of Arcachon can be reached in 22 minutes.
There are also daily TER (regional train) connections from Bordeaux Saint-Jean to Arcachon.
The F41 line passes through several stages; we have listed here the travel time from the starting point (Bordeaux Saint-Jean) to each of these locations:
- Bordeaux Saint-Jean – Facture-Biganos : 28 minutes
- Bordeaux Saint-Jean – Le Teich : 33 minutes
- Bordeaux Saint-Jean – Gujan-Mestras : 38 minutes
- Bordeaux Saint-Jean – La Hume : 42 minutes
- Bordeaux Saint-Jean – La Teste : 45 minutes
- Bordeaux Saint-Jean – Arcachon : 50 minutes
It should also be noted that all the towns on the Bassin are linked by cycle paths. It is also possible to discover the region by boat, from Arcachon, Cap Ferret or Andernos-les-Bains.
Water taxis are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to cater for travellers who need more privacy. Travellers can also enjoy their getaway by hiring a motorboat, a sailing boat or a pinasse.
It is also possible to travel around the Basin by bus. In the north, line 601 provides daily connections between Lanton and Lège-Cap-Ferret, passing through Andernos-les-Bains and Arès. Line 601 links Mios to Andernos-les-Bains, passing through Audenge and Lanton.
In the south of the Basin, eight lines provide daily connections between Gujan-Mestras and Arcachon, passing through La Teste-de-Buch. Eight city centre shuttles link La Teich to Arcachon daily, passing through Gujan-Mestras and La Teste-de-Buch.
Visit the Baïa website for more information.
Nature and landscapes in the Bay of Arcachon
We cannot list all the treasures of the Bay of Arcachon here.
We suggest you discover two of the most emblematic sites of the Basin:
- The Dune of Pilat
It is probably the most famous sand dune in the world. In any case, it is the highest dune in Europe.
Many visitors climb to the top to appreciate the imposing character of this natural treasure: 106.6 km high, 3 km long, several million m3 of fine sand and 4,000 years of history.
Visitors who come on foot, by bicycle or by Baia bus can access the site free of charge. If you come by car, the parking fee is €6 per vehicle for 4 hours.
- The Banc d’Arguin
The Banc d’Arguin nature reserve is one of the most precious treasures of the Landes Basin.
This pretty sandbank is particularly appreciated for its bucolic location at the foot of the emblematic Dune de Pilat and facing the Pointe du Cap Ferret.
The most emblematic sandbank in south-west France is only accessible by boat.
However, visitors can choose between the traditional pinasses, maritime shuttles or water taxis.
The trip from the Lège-Cap-Ferret peninsula takes about twenty minutes; it lasts more like an hour if you leave from the port or the Thiers pier in Arcachon.
Discover the cabanes tchanquées
What a great experience to embark on a pinasse, a barge or a tour boat to discover the Ile aux Oiseaux and its famous cabanes tchanquées!
Visitors can allow themselves this escapade (from the piers of the Bay of Arcachon) at any time of the year.
However, it is recommended to favour high tide, when the boats can get closer to the cabanes tchanquées.
Visitors can make reservations at the Tourist Office or on the service providers’ websites.
The privatisation of a boat is also possible, for those who wish to tour the island.
It is also possible to kayak around the Bird Island.
This experience is all the more tempting as it gives you the opportunity to get a closer look at the cabanes tchanquées.
The discovery by kayak lasts two hours, three hours for a walk and four to five hours for a hike between land and sea.
The typical villages of the Bay of Arcachon
Picturesque ports and villages are located all around the Bassin d’Arcachon, the most famous being La Teste-de-Buch, Gujan-Mestras, Biganos, Andernos or Arès.
Many visitors are also interested in the village of L’Herbe on Lège-Cap-Ferret, with its colourful wooden huts and its chapel of the Villa Algérienne.
The scenery is all the more attractive as these small towns have the Dune du Pilat in the background.
Just a stone’s throw away is the Bélisaire jetty, from which pinnaces, launches and barges leave for the Banc d’Arguin, the Ile aux Oiseaux or the coast of the Presqu’île.
Beaches and coastline
The Bassin d’Arcachon is also known for its large sandy beaches.
The beaches of Petit Nice and La Lagune attract many surfers and thrill seekers.
The powerful waves also attract water sports enthusiasts to the beaches of La Salie in La Teste-de-Buch or those of L’Horizon, Le Truc Vert du Grand Crohot and La Garonne in Lège-Cap-Ferret.
Top 10 must-do activities on the Bay of Arcachon
- Climbing to the top of the Dune du Pilat
- Diversions to the Winter City
- Discover the scents of the markets of the Basin: the weekly market of Arcachon, the covered and open air market of La Teste de Buch…
- Diversions to the ornithological reserve of Le Teich
- Discover the summer ochre hues of the salt meadows of Arès-Lège
- Boat trip in the wild alleys of the Leyre Delta
- Boat trip along the oyster farming villages of the Bay of Arcachon
- Visit of the oyster farming villages and ports: on foot or by bike
- Kayak tour
- Boat trip : to the Ile aux Oiseaux or the Banc d’Arguin…