Arcachon – the perfect French beachside holiday

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One of my favourite places in the world is the French Atlantic coast around Bordeaux. The food is amazing, the wine is plentiful and delightful πŸ˜‰ and the water is perfect – the waves are powerful enough to make you jump and spin you around, and the temperature is refreshing but not freezing. Basically I love it!

This year we spent a week in the little town of Arcachon, which is a bit of a honorary quartier of Paris during the summer – we ran into several friends from school and work in the short week we stayed. The resort started developing about 150 years ago, and a lot of the villas must have been built at that time, giving this little town a whole lot of charm. My family has been coming here since the ’50s and not that much has changed since then!

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I have written about the area before, as we have camped in some lovely places around Arcachon, but this year I wanted to jot down a few tips about Arcachon itself.


The center of town has everything you would want in a French town (I ran into an English couple who actually stopped to chat to me as I was the first English speaker they had crossed in days). It has shops and bakeries and an amazing open air market that is open most days in the morning. The beach is in the centre of the town and has everything you might need, from kids entertainment to restaurants.

Do check out the Belle-Illoise shop for tinned fish goods galore. It might sound strange, but it is impossible not to walk away with at least one tin of sardines.

We also discovered the most beautiful fishmonger called La Poissonerie d’Aiguillon, all the products were incredibly fresh and appetising and a lot of the fish had been fished locally that day.

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Another favourite is the little oyster shack called La Cabane d’Aiguillon close to the port on a little beach. Sitting on the dock after a long swim, sipping oysters and a glass of fresh Tariquet is one of my favourite memories of the summer.

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If you are looking for a fancy place to see the sun set, La Corniche is the perfect destination, a upmarket bar and restaurant with an unrivalled view of the sea and the Dune du Pilat.

The little cape of Cap Ferret is only a short boat ride away and a little train takes you from the little harbour on the bay side of the cape where the oysters are cultivated to the wilder Atlantic shore on the other side of the cape. A lovely restaurant and hotel is the Hotel du Bassin, a great little bolthole.

We use the great guys from Surf en Buch for surfing and paddle board lessons.

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Do let me know if you have any other tips — I am already secretly planning my holidays for next year. πŸ˜‰ Here is a photo of my mother, her brother and my grandparents enjoying Arcachon as we do now!


Emilie xx



Comments (11)

September 9, 2016

What a photograph at the end!!!!!!! Amazing!!! Thanks for the tips x

Susan M.
September 9, 2016

Thanks for the tips. I’ve been dying to take my family for years. Maybe one of the coming summers? The final photo is amazing — love the swimsuits!

Esther in Amsterdam
September 9, 2016

I love all the photos but the last one is so special! (Coco’s curls!!)
Let’s go to Arcachon together next year! xxxxxxx

September 9, 2016

You seem to take after your mum? And her little swimsuit – how cute!
Thanks for the tips, it seems a lovely place to spend a few days of summer vacation with the kids.

Courtney in London
September 9, 2016

How amazing to have that photo of your mum when she was young!! And how special to return to a place so special to your family. xx

Helen in Amsterdam
September 9, 2016

What an amazing photo Emilie! xxx

Annie from Brimful
September 10, 2016

Sounds like a glorious place to vacation. And that photo of your mum at the end – amazing!

September 10, 2016

We went to Arcachon last year and I can say I have never seen a more perfect holiday area for a family. From the biking trails to the numerous beaches of all sorts – it was perfection. The surfing beaches were so beautiful, like Plage Pereire, lined with lovely pine forests. I highly recommend it!

September 10, 2016

What a fantastic post! Would love to visit sometime.

Rebecca Legros
November 13, 2018

J’adore! I discovered the Arcachon Basin ten years ago when I moved to Bordeaux, and we’ve gone countless times over the years. It’s my favourite beachside place EVER and is remarkably still quite untouched by foreigners πŸ™‚

May 31, 2019

Lovely blog ! Please can you recommend any family places to stay in arcachon area. Thanks !

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