Relax on a stylish honeymoon holiday or romantic getaway at Arcachon – the oldest resort on the Côte d'Argent (Silver Coast), a 200km-long stretch of straight sandy coastline backed by high dunes that merge into the largest forest in western Europe, known as Les Landes.
Arcachon is the perfect daytrip or weekend seaside break from touring the wine country of Bordeaux and offers all the facilities you need for a great beach holiday in France.
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on the seemingly endless stretch of white-sand beaches that extend along the Atlantic Coast – the longest stretch of uninterrupted beaches in Europe.
Or unwind on Arcachon's main beach, a wide sweep of golden sand fronting the Bay of Arcachon. Facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, beachfront cafés and bars as well as various water sports including kite surfing and cruising around the bay.
Cruise out to ‘Bird Island', stroll around town and admire the Second Empire villas grouped into four charming quarters, or hire a bike and cycle south to the highest sand dune in Europe, the 107m-high Dune du Pilat, for a picnic with panoramic views along the coast.
Arcachon offers a good range of seafront bars, cafés, seafood restaurants (specialising in fresh oysters).
A choice of must-see attractions lie just a short drive away from Arcachon, including…
Climb to the top of Europe’s highest sand dune for panoramic coastal views over the Bay of Arcachon and the Landes forest to the south.
The sand dune is just 12km from Arcachon and easily reached by road and train, although you will still need to hike up to the top. A group of kiosks at the bottom of the dune offer refreshments such as ice cream and soft drinks.
Hire a bike and follow a 75km-long cycle path from Cap Ferret through pine-forested sand dunes to the resort town of Soulac in the north.
Perhaps break the trip half way at the resort town of Lacanau-Ocean. Cap Ferret can be reached by boat from Arcachon, or trains run through the vineyard-covered countryside to Bordeaux from Soulac.
Explore on foot this 120ha bird sanctuary at one of the most important regions of wetlands remaining in France, just 14km east of Arcachon.
Choose from three hiking routes and, from raised observation hides, look out for some of the 260 migratory species that breed here, including storks, white egrets, herons, spoonbills and shelduck, among other species.
From the town of Mont de Marsan, explore on foot or by bicycle some of the one million hectares of seemingly endless flat and sandy pine forest.
Or travel south by road or rail from Bordeaux to experience this amazing national park in comfort. Come in July to see Les Fêtes Madeleines, a week of traditional parades, sports, flamenco dancing and bull fighting.
The best time to visit Arcachon (and the Bordeaux region) is from June to September, with mid-July to late-August the best time for a beach holiday when the weather is warm and sunny.
Often overlooked by foreign holidaymakers en route to Spain, less-crowded Arcachon enjoys hot summers in August, with temperatures often soaring to 30°C (86°F).
Arcachon has a temperate, sub-oceanic climate throughout the year, with mild, wet winters and warm, sunny summers. Rain falls throughout the year in Arcachon.
More information about weather in Arcachon…
Arcachon is located on the Atlantic coast in southwest France, around 65km (40mi) from Bordeaux, and around 650km (403mi) from Paris.
The most convenient route to Arcachon is by air to Bordeaux–Mérignac Airport (BOD), located around 12km (7.5 mi) west of Bordeaux.
Alternatively, the high-speed TGV trains from Paris Montparnasse takes 3 hours 21 minutes, including a transfer time of 20 minutes at Bordeaux St Jean railway station. Trains run every hour.
Apart from walking, taxis, buses, trains and hire cars are all available.
The southern entrance of Arcachon Bay is crowned by Europe's largest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, nearly 3km (1.9mi) long, 500m (1600ft) wide, reaching 110m (360ft) in height, and moving inland at rate of 5m (16ft) each year.
More information on how to get to Arcachon…
Latest update: Arcachon: 17 January, 2023