Best Things To Do In Arcachon, France

things to do in arcachon france
Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew

The town of Arcachon is a popular weekend retreat for locals to escape the hustle and bustle city of Bordeaux. It has been associated with a place of health and recovery, where the fresh air can recuperate various ailments. At the southern entrance of the bay from the Atlantic Ocean, Arcachon is crowned by Europe’s largest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, which is about 500 meters (1,600 feet) wide, 3 kilometers long (1.9 miles) and reaching up to 110 meters (360 feet) in height.

On the opposite side of the inlet is the peninsula of Cape de Ferret, a popular resort with celebrities, many of whom have holiday homes in this chic seaside resort. The town is divided into 5 sections namely, the summer town, autumn town, winter town, spring town and a beach resort.

1. Plage d'Arcachon Beach

Promenade sur la plage d'Arcachon en hiver - Walk on the beach in Arcachon in winter (11477334214)
Source: Photo by user Grand Parc - Bord... used under CC BY 2.0

Arcachon beaches are different from other beaches in other parts of France. They are beautiful yet unique. One such beach is the Plage d'Arcachon Beach located between the Eyrac and Theirs piers. Head over now and take photos of its white sandy beach while enjoying the lively atmosphere around the beach.

While you are here, you will see visitors enjoying themselves with sunbathing and beach volleyball. If you feel tired after a long day, take a rest at some of the restaurants or bars nearby. Apart from that, this beach is also popular as an access point to the Bird Island. What are you waiting for? Let’s go to the beach!

Plage d'Arcachon Beach

Address: Between Eyrac and Theirs piers, Arcachon, France

Website: Plage d'Arcachon Beach

2. Casino D'Arcachon

Casino d'Arcachon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pline used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Be prepared to be charmed by this castle-like building. What is interesting is its architecture and what is inside this building. At first glance you will think it is an old castle, but it is not; it’s a casino. Initially it was the Chateau Deganne, and later on it was redeveloped into a casino. If you like playing poker or arcade games this is the place for you. Apart from that, there is a restaurant in the casino and you can quench your thirst and grab something and eat while enjoying yourself with the entertainment and gaming provided. Besides that, it is a special place to throw a party or for special events, as there are banquet style halls available for bookings.

Casino D'Arcachon

Address: 163 Boulevard de la Plage, 33120 Arcachon, France

Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday, Sunday (12pm-1am), Friday-Saturday (12pm-3am)

Contact: +33 556834144

Website: Casino D'Arcachon

3. Parc Mauresque

Parc Mauresque
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Als33120 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Parc Mauresque was the setting for Casino Mauresque and was created by Paul Regnauld. This attraction is very near to The Winter Town. It is not the usual park you normally go. Do not worry if your kids are getting restless, as there are playgrounds for them to have fun. Besides that, one can also jog around the park and have picnics to have a fun family outing. In addition, there is a wide array of rare plants within the park. This park is strategically located as it is within walking distance from Arcachon town. It is a must-visit attraction for everyone.

Parc Mauresque

Address: 33120 Arcachon, France

Opening Hours: Monday-Sunday (8.30am-7.30pm)

Contact: +33 557529898

Website: Parc Mauresque

4. Plage des Abatilles

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mtu33260 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Plage des Abatilles, also known as Abatilles Beach, is located south of Pereire Beach. This is a family friendly beach as there are many activities for kids and adults. Among them are windsurfing, kitesurfing, sunbathing as well as a children’s playground. One will also feel the cool and refreshing breeze from the Atlantic Ocean while walking or strolling along this beautiful beach. Apart from that, it is also a perfect spot for picnics as there are plenty of shady areas for visitors and tourists to do so. Sit back and relax under pine trees while you are here.

Plage des Abatilles

Address: Place Lucien de Gracia, 33120 Arcachon, France

Contact: +33 557529797

Website: Plage des Abatilles

5. Dune du Pilat (La Teste-de-Buch)

Dune du Pilat
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user W. Bulach used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Dune du Pilat is situated in La-Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay. It is about 60 km (37.3 miles) from Bordeaux. This sand dune is the tallest in Europe and much more unique compared to other dunes in other parts of the world. It is a popular spot in Arcachon and you will see many tourists and visitors coming to this place every year. The height of this sand dune is around 110 meters (361 feet) above sea level and is about 500 meters (1,640 feet) wide and 2.7 kilometers (1.6 miles) in length.

This attraction is listed as a national listed landscape. While you are here, walk along the dune and get a feel of its white, fine sand. If you are not afraid of heights, climb higher to get a good view of the Pyrenees Range, the ocean coast, the large pine forest as well as the inlet of the Bay. Experience the majestic views and take a photo or selfie while at the summit.

Dune du Pilat (La Teste-de-Buch)

Address: Route de Biscarrosse, 33115, La Teste-de-Buch, France

Website: Dune du Pilat

6. Winter Town (Ville d’ Hiver)

Villa Arcachon
Source: Photo by user Jibi44 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Go on an unforgettable tour to discover the historic district of Arcachon, with its villas of the 19th-century, all in different influence and styles. You must discover this area to understand the development and history of Arcachon. Prepare to be amazed with those villas as they carry a unique heritage. The name Ville d’ Hiver dates back a few hundred years, when tuberculosis struck Europe. Many died and the deadly disease brought panic to many in Europe. Sea air combined with pine tree forest was used by doctors as remedies to prolong the life of their patients. Among those patients were affluent people, who built luxurious and large homes to house their wealthy aristocratic families and patients.

More than 150 beautiful villas were built, and color was viewed to be of unique importance to promote healing and improve their lives. In addition to that, a majestic Moorish-style casino was constructed to cheer up rich patients and their visitors. Ville d’ Hiver is an amazing neighborhood of Arcachon. Each of the houses have a meaningful name and they are very magnificent. Besides, it is also a great place to cycle or take a stroll to enjoy the awesome surroundings.

Winter Town (Ville d’ Hiver)

Address: Old District, Arcachon, France

Website: Winter Town (Ville d’ Hiver)

7. Cap Ferret

Cap Ferret
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rundvald used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Cap Ferret on the French Riviera, is both exotic and beautiful, yet it remains unspoiled. The charm of this forested peninsula between Nice and Monaco has always lured the famous and the rich, who are drawn by the cobalt waters all around, the craggy Provencal coastline and view of the sea, the light as well as the peace of Cap Ferret. As you stroll along its coastal footpaths, you will get to see fascinating sights of grand gardens and villas, which belong to the famous and rich.

It is the combination of scenery and spectacular beaches that give Cap Ferret its particular charm. Apart from that, this area is an ideal place to enjoy the calmer waters of Arcachon basin, its extensive coastline and the beaches of the Cote d’ Argent. There are plenty of villages, hiking trails and bike paths for you to explore. While you are in Cap Ferret head over to the West coast to see the Atlantic Ocean. The oyster villages along the eastern coast of Cape Ferret are charming, small and colorful. With oysters come great seafood restaurants you must try while you are here. Besides, if you want a great view of Cape Ferret, climb up the lighthouse nearby and snap some photos. Slightly north on the Arcachon Bay, you will find a weird but lovely La Chappelle de la Villa Algerienne, a Moorish-style Catholic Church. This is definitely another must visit place for tourists.

Cap Ferret

Address: Le Cap Ferret, 33970 Lège-Cap-Ferret, France

Website: Cap Ferret

8. Aquarium Musée d'Arcachon

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 28n used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

hAquarium Musee d'Arcachon is actually a small and old-style museum. It is a good place to learn about different types of marine life. The aquarium comprises of around 30 illuminated tanks of tropical fish like conga eels, clown fish, and zebrafish. You will be surprised to see some unique shark skeletons while at this museum. Apart from that, there are three different rooms in the museum. The first room is full of stuffed animals, while in the second room you will see various local archaeological finds, like stone arrowheads. In the third room, you will see and learn more about oyster farming.

Aquarium Musée d'Arcachon

Address: Rue du Professeur Jolyet, 33120 Arcachon, France

Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Thursday (10am-7pm), Tuesday (10am-7pm, 8.30pm-11pm), Friday (10am-11pm), Saturday (2pm-6pm). Closed on Sunday

Contact: +33 556833332

Website: Aquarium Musée d'Arcachon

Beautiful and wonderful Arcachon

Arcachon Promenade
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jordy Meow used under CC BY-SA 3.0

There is just too much to see while in Arcachon. If you plan your time wisely you might be able to explore the whole town. From its majestic beaches, and its unique casino to the spectacular sand dune and the lively Winter Town, Arcachon is indeed a place for visitors, families, tourists and locals to spend a great time while vacationing. Everyone will fall in love with this town once they explore it.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

I was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. After my parents got married, I moved to Kuala Lumpur and currently residing in Selayang, Selangor. My favourite pastime...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Arcachon Bay
Good things are meant to be shared!