Arcachon Bay, a lagoon-like inland sea

Arcachon Bay is a geomorphologic curiosity : a 1.500 hectare bay supplied with water from the ocean and from many waterways. An inland sea whose colours are lagoon-like, bordered by a golden crown of fine sand culminating at 104 metres: the amazing Pilat Dune! From the top of the dune, you can admire the green, lush Landes forest. 


Arcachon is also the Bay's eponymous town. You may have heard of its winter district. Arcachon is the town where the very first healthcare holidays took place. It soon became a luxurious seaside resort which attracted Spanish tourists, Russian dukes and all types of artists.

A wonderful nature reserve

cabanes_tchanquees_bassin_arcachon©Laurent Reiz_CRTA

All of the Bay's towns have the traditional culture of oyster-farming in common. In fact, in the 4th century the Roman poet Ausonius wrote about oyster-farming in his works. The stakes you can see around the bay– called "pignots" – protect the oyster beds and mark the boundaries of each farm. They are a typical feature of the Bay’s landscape. Everywhere you go, you will find oyster-fishing ports and enjoy a dozen oysters, often served with "crépinettes" (a type of flat sausage).  

To visit this wonderful nature reserve, there is nothing quite like the forest's cycling paths. The best way to tour the area if you enjoy boat rides, is onboard a "pinasse" (traditional local boats):
admire the Bay's «tchanquée» cabins (on stilts), approach "Île aux Oiseaux" island and head all the way to Arguin sandbank, by navigable channels which fluctuate with the tide. This is the spot where the Bay and the ocean meet.


Speaking of the ocean, Cap Ferret peninsula, its Herbe village, Algerian chapel and dirt trails offer visitors are well-worth a visit  If you are feeling up to it, try climbing the lighthouse's 275 steps and make the most of the Bay's unique panorama. Need a rest? Grand Crohot beach and its 14 dunes are waiting for you, just a few steps from here! 

Further information about Arcachon Bay