Arcachon Bay is a fragile, engaging natural environment in perpetual motion, subject to the wrath of the ocean and human whims. This formidable nature reservoir, crisscrossed with pathways, is actually a mesotidal lagoon 70 kilometres from Bordeaux, surrounded by a dozen picturesque villages and towns.
Before starting your tour, begin by admiring the scenery from the Dune du Pilat, from which the view is spectacular: on one side the green of the pine forest, with its 2,400 hectares of Landes, the other, bluish monochrome ocean, the golden slopes of the Banc d'Arguin and the silhouette of Cap Ferret and its lighthouse. Whether it is written ‘Pilat' or ‘Pyla', the highest dune in Europe is the star of the Bassin. Classified as a ‘Grand Site de France', it attracts a million visitors a year, showing off its spectacular measurements: 2,700 metres long by 500 wide and 105 tall, totalling 60 million cubic metres formed by the action of the ocean and the wind. But we know the site is not without danger as the dune is moving; it eats away almost 8,000 square metres of forest, year after year. Make the tour by starting along the ridge and heading to the beachfront: a beautiful two- or three-hour walk awaits you, which is not always easy in the soft sand.
You can also just sit and do nothing more than meditate upon the view. Or, take a boat ride from Arcachon and the coastal villages around the Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island) and Cabanes Tchanquées to the Banc d'Arguin.
Office de Tourisme d'Arcachon
Esplanade Georges Pompidou
+33 (0)5 57 52 97 97