About Arcachon beaches
The French resort of Arcachon first grew to prominence over a century ago when the citizens of Bordeaux came here to take the waters and enjoy the Atlantic beaches. These days Arcachon is still popular with day-trippers and weekend breakers from Bordeaux and other parts of France, but they have also been joined by families and couples from all over Western Europe. The reasons they come are easy to understand with balmy temperatures, a choice of beaches and a decent array of restaurants. Then there is the Dune du Pilat, a sweeping sand dune (the highest sand dune in all of Europe in fact) that reaches a height of 107m (350ft).
Arcachon’s main beach is very popular with a good sweep of sand fronting the Bay of Arcachon. Various watersports are available as well as cafés and bars, sun loungers and parasols. The area around the Jetée Thiers is the most popular stretch with the most comprehensive facilities.
Beyond the beach:
There are regular boat tours that run out around the Bay of Arcachon and leave from the resort’s main beach. They usually take in the ‘Bird Island’ (home to numerous birds and plenty of oysters too) on the way and the trips also offers great views of Arcachon and the sweep of the bay as its heads out in search of the Atlantic Ocean proper. The Winter Quarter is a relaxed area for a stroll, set on a hillside. Once popular with TB sufferers, now it is just a relaxed place to cool down in summer.
The beach that lines the Arcachon waterfront is ideal for families. Other attractions for younger visitors include the Marine Museum (19 Boulevard General Leclerc) with its myriad models, and the Aquarium (2 Rue du Professeur Jolyet).
The most obvious day trip is to Bordeaux, one of not only France’s, but Europe’s, great cities. Wine buffs will be in heaven as the capital of the famous wine region overflows with high-quality wine, as well as top-class restaurants, informative museums and buzzing nightlife. Walks by the Garonne, the lifeblood river, are also popular. Regular trains to Bordeaux run from Arcachon’s railway station.