Our vacation in Arcachon (What to see & do?)

 

You maybe read a few weeks ago the post I wrote just before we left for our summer vacation in Arcachon, France. Summer is already far behind us now and today it is officialy Fall! I wanted to write a small retrospective of our trip to share with you our coups de coeur.

Why Arcachon and where is it?

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If you don’t live in France you may have never heard of the Arcachon Bay. Paris, Provence and St Tropez seem to be the three top choices of the tourists. It is well-known that French people and European in general take every year a summer vacation. It is true. I think I don’t know even one person who doesn’t. But you won’t usually find them in St Tropez, at least in the summer. Chic French people will most likely spend their summer in places like Bréhat, Belle-Ile-en-Mer, La Baule, Biarritz, Cap Ferret and the Arcachon Bay… So here we are!

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If you plan a trip to Arcachon…

Here a few ideas, tips and favourite places to help you :

Come at the right time

I recommend you to avoid the 2 first weeks of August. We knew that it is a crowded time everywhere. But the Arcachon Bay being, well, a Bay, everyone take his car to go to the ocean at low tide. That means huge files and very crowded beaches.

Visit Cap Ferret

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Cap Ferret is a little town located North of the Bay. It is a lovely place with a quiet, authentic athmosphere.

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As a Cap, you need to do a quite long road to come there. But you’ll ride through lovely fishermen villages.

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The area has several great places for shopping. I’ll tell you more about it in my next post.

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You can walk to the lighthouse of the Cap, well known for its red and white colours.

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I also recommend you to go to the true cap itself where the view on the bay, the Dune du Pilat and the ocean is really stunning.

Go sailing

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Sailing is like the icing on the cake of a preppy summer.  The Bay is particularly favourable for this activity. Arcachon has furthermore one of the biggest marina in France.

Even if you don’t have a sailboat, there are a lot of possibilities for every budget : one-day or half-day excursion, on small or big sailboats, with 20 people or just for yourself…

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You can also discover the bay in a “Pinasse”, the traditional wooden boat of the Bay.

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Eat some oysters at the producer’s cabin

The oysters from Arcachon are famous in France. All around the Bay you’ll find different villages where you can buy and eat some oysters directly at the producer’s cabin. For a very reasonable price, you can choose a Menu with a glass of white wine. Just sit next to the ocean and savour the moment.
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Climb the Dune du Pilat

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The Pilat Dune is an incredible huge Dune along the ocean. You can walk to the top (which can be quite exhausting if the weather is hot). But the view is the reward. You will discover an amazing view on the ocean and the nature all around. A magical place, but help yourself by avoiding the overcrowded hours. Early in the morning is probably the best choice.

Discover the old “Winter city” of Arcachon

Once upon a time… In the 19th century, Arcachon became one of the most exclusive holiday resort in France. Billionaires from that time built incredible houses where to spend their summer time. You can still go for a walk in that area to discover these amazing old buildings.

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Enjoy the beautiful beaches

The true stars of the area are the beautiful sand beaches. Those along the Bay can sometimes be a little muddy but those on the ocean front are beautiful. I especially liked the beaches of Pyla-sur-Mer and Cap-Ferret.

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Some of them are also true paradise for surfers.

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Go to a market

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You can’t go to France without going to a market to shop all the local fresh produce you need. Delicious fruit, vegetables but also fish, cheeses, wine… It is a feast for the eyes and for the mouth. There are markets at least once a day somewhere on the Bay so enjoy them!

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