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Once known for its oysters, Arcachon has become a lovely little beach resort, luring the well-to-do from nearby Bordeaux to its sunny, soft golden sands. Arcachon’s four quarters, named after the seasons, are dotted with pleasant little B&Bs, boutique hotels and a few larger chain offerings, so there’s a lovely variety to choose from when considering the best places to stay in Arcachon.
Arcachon is a popular spot in summer - possibly because it’s so close to the Dune du Pilat: Europe’s largest sand dune. You can scuttle up the side to its peak, 107 metres from the surrounding sand, or take the stairs. The longest slope faces the Atlantic and the views are quite something.
If you’re hoping for some French seaside character you’ll not be disappointed, Arcachon has some rather lovely 1950s villas which lend the town a bit of vintage charm. Many of them can be found in the Ville d’Hiver, the Winter Quarter, in their scattered groups of design styles from Gothic to colonnade.
Arcachon also has a small aquarium, a rather charming traditional red and white lighthouse and there are some fascinating oyster fishing paraphernalia, including the flat-bottomed boats, to muck around with.
What Not To Miss
- Head up the Great Dune of Pilat, bordered by both a forest and the sea, and enjoy the wonderful views from this scenic spot. Bring along a picnic and watch the sunset - a wonderfully romantic way to spend the evening.
- Admire the wonderful architecture of the historic Ville d'Hiver neighbourhood, with its array of magnificent Belle Époque villas. Take a guided tour of the area if you want to learn more about its history.
- If you're looking for a fun family day out then spend the day at Parc de la Coccinelle, an amusement park with a number of rides as well as a petting zoo that the kids will love.
- Wander around the neo-Gothic Basilique Notre-Dame and marvel at the beautiful architecture, stained-glass windows and paintings.
If you're planning a summer trip, don't forget to reserve well ahead. The best places to stay in Arcachon get snapped up very quickly!
In the centre of town
- The Hotel Ville d'Hiver is a boutique hotel with 12 lovely boutique style rooms, converted from a 17th Century water treatment centre. That doesn’t sound as romantic as it really is - the chic rooms have lovely balconies and there’s a spoling spa as well as a pool.
Across the Bassin
- Across the bassin, opposite Arcachon in Lege Cap Ferret, you'll find La Maison du Bassin. It offers a charming home from home atmosphere with lovely views over the Bassin, plus a restaurant specialising in seafood (of course!).
By the Bay
- Villa La Tosca boasts fabulous sea views and extremely stylish, grown-up rooms. With an outdoor pool and a fabulous restaurant, it has everything you need for a wonderful seaside holiday. Available for exclusive rental by groups.
For An Apartment Or Villa
- If you think a self-catering option would best suit your needs then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.
- The weather is nicest in the summer months, with the average temperature climbing to 20°C in July and August. However, this is peak season and so expect many tourists as well as accommodation to be more expensive.
- It you prefer to visit at a quieter time (and having the beaches to yourselves!), then September's probably your best bet. The temperature's still around 18°C, so it's perfectly pleasant.
- International visitors can fly into Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport, located 60km northeast of Arcachon. There are direct daily flights from London Stansted, Gatwick and Luton with Ryanair and Easyjet, whilst Ryanair also sometimes fly direct from Edinburgh.
- From the airport, hop on the train to Bordeaux-St-Jean and then go on to Arcachon. This takes just under 2 hours.
- For car hire prices, and hiring a car is possibly the easiest way to get to Arcachon, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Arcachon
Hotel Ville d'Hiver 12 rooms from £99Arcachon
Refurbished 17th century boutique hotel on the West coast of France. 12 chic and quiet rooms, with all the mod-cons and balconies. Spa and outdoor pool and a charming in-house restaurant. Perfect for couples who appreciate style.Historic - Main building constructed in 1883 by the Compagnie Général des Eaux to treat and transport the water of the local Cazaux LakeGreat walks - The Dune du Pilat a short drive awaySpaBoutique
La Maison du Bassin 11 rooms from £114Arcachon
Charming home from home overlooking the Arcachon Basin. Tasteful rooms in neutral hues with period furntiure. Enjoy local produce and seafood specialities in the restaurant or a drink on the colonial-style terrace with black and white tiles and cane furniture. A relaxing seaside escape.Great walks - Sandy ocean island nature reserve of Banc d'Arguin is located at the entrance to ArcachonSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Traditional
Hotel Ha(a)Itza 38 rooms from £236Arcachon (Pyla-sur-Mer)
Hotel Haaïtza is located on the coast of Pyla-sur-Mer. This lovely spot exquisitely merges crisp, light interiors with wooden features to offer incredibly chic accommodation. Sunbathe by the pool and be sure to enjoy delicacies each morning from the bakery. Refined and unpretentious, a top spot!Short fly break - Located just 29 miles from Bordeaux's Mérignac Airport, ideal for a weekend trip awaySights nearby - Be sure to visit the Great Dune of Pyla or head to the Arcachon Bay ZooGreat walks - Meander along the coast at sunset and marvel at the gorgeous viewsSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
Villa la Tosca 9 rooms from £262Arcachon
Sitting right on the picturesque Arcachon Bay, Villa la Tosca is a superb place to unwind. From the stunning views, to the super stylish rooms, the outdoor pool and the excellent restaurant, it has ticked all the boxes. Available for exclusive rental, it's perfect for large group holidays by the seaGroups - Large groups can rent the whole villa for exclusive use, as well as a cook to cater to your every need!Romantic Break - An enchanting villa right on the seafront, it's perfect for a relaxing romantic holiday.Great walks - There are numerous beautiful walking routes in the nearby Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park.Seaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Recommended by - Tablet
La Coorniche 11 rooms from £493Arcachon
A chic coastal property offering a slice of luxury just outside the quaint seaside town of Arcachon. Rooms are light and airy with white on white style and the best have large terraces with fabulous views. A charming restaurant specialises in seafood and there's a glorious pool to unwind by too.Beach Life - A tranquil spot located right on a beautiful stretch of beach.Great walks - Take long walks across the sand dunes and through beautiful pine forests.Swimming Pool - Outdoor poolSecluded setting - For escaping.