Bassin d’Arcachon and South West Coast

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Dune de Pyla
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Oysters, Sea, Surf and Beaches

With white sand beaches that stretch to Biarritz and Spain, the largest pine forest in Europe, lakes, fishing villages, surf and sailing you’ll soon understand why the coast is almost as important to the people of Bordeaux as Wine.

The fishing villages of Gujan Mestres, Andernos, Arès, and Cap Ferret are dotted around the Bassin. Whilst they share interesting coastal architecture, they each have their own unique identity – pier, port, sailing or boat tours. Stop at one of the oyster shacks for platters of oysters or mixed seafood.


This very French holiday town is the largest on the Bassin. It has a Casino, great restaurants and boat trips around the Bassin d’Arcachon. It is easily reached by train or car, is close to the Dune de Pyla, and has a ferry service to Cap Ferret.


This is an Oyster Port on the southeast end of the Bassin d’Arcachon. There are excellent seafood restaurants on stilts out into the oyster cleaning pools, colourful oyster shacks and the hustle and bustle of flat-bottomed oyster boats coming and going. Sunday morning is a favourite time to visit when the oyster shacks are open. The oyster farmers will shuck a dozen fresh oysters for you and serve them with a glass of crisp, dry Bordeaux Blanc, delicious.

Cap Ferret

Secluded, laid-back and authentic, Cap Ferret is the oyster capital on the Atlantic coast. It’s about 2 hours drive from Claribès and makes a memorable day out that’s different from the vineyards. The Cap is a long spit of land with Atlantic beaches on the west side and the calm Bassin on the east. In particular, the working fishing villages, such as l’Herbe, are truly magical.

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Surf and Beaches

The southwest coast is famed for sandy beaches, dunes, pine forests and world-class surf. Lacanau, La Porge, and Biscarosse all have excellent facilities for hiring surfing gear. Some of the towns have inland lakes providing a safer swimming experience for younger children, as well as sailing, water skiing, etc.

South of the Bassin climb the Dune de Pyla – the highest sand dune in Europe – to get a fabulous view of oyster farms, Bassin d’Arcachon and pine forests.