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Discovering Le Bassin of Arcachon in France

Luxury has various facets, and one of them is privacy. While many premium vacation destinations provide all the means to insure privacy and tranquility, other offer it just effortlessly. And such is the beautiful area of Le Bassin d'Arcachon in the Gironde department of France.

A one-hour drive from the notable city of Bordeaux, this natural spot is considered as the beach resort of the capital of wine. For non-residents, the region’s location on the southwest coast of France is a change of scenery from the country’s Mediterranean beaches. As a visit to Arcachon and its surrounding area brings you a step closer to the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

And so, as part of our team’s journey across France, we wanted to bring you the must-see parts of Le Bassin.

Arcachon City & Beach 
The city of Arcachon is the liveliest place of the Bassin, with a downtown hosting the fresh morning food market, shopping stores and the stage for seasonal cultural and entertainment events. The city is accessible on foot from the train station, and is ideal for walking or cycling along its beautiful promenade, parallel to the sandy beaches of the Bassin up until the fishermen’s port. (Editor’s note: don’t miss out on passing by the villa that hosted Salvador Dali and Coco Chanel for nine years.) The Bassin is also known to be an ideal destination for all sorts of water sports like surfing, paddling, water skiing or boat cursing.

But the most picturesque part of the city is the Ville d'Hiver quarter. Its architecture is like nothing we have seen before. The streets consist of colorful villas built with English, Spanish and Oriental architectural influences creating a bouquet of houses of stone, brick and wood, each with its unique character. Taking a tour in the mini-train is the ideal way to visit the entire Ville d'Hiver and the Parc Mauresque located up on the hill. The village is behind the encounter of the previous King and Queen of Spain.

Cap Ferret
Cap Ferret is a savage intact beauty with a luxurious touch, probably because of the multi-millions euro villas that are spread around its land. Yet these estates remain subtle as they are constructed to resemble the regions’ emblematic fishing cabanas.

A 30-minute boat ride from Arcachon City, Cap Ferret is the perfect place to walk around barefoot and makeup free, which is a look often opted by celebrities like Marion Cotillard, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood and other members of European royalty.

And when in Cap Ferret, you must taste the fresh oysters from a fisherman’s shop with a glass of white wine. But before the culinary blast, make sure to go on a bicycle ride on Cap Ferret’s cycling routes, which goes through forests of pine trees towards the golden sandy beaches of the Atlantic.

Dune du Pilat
Paris has the Eiffel tower and the Bassin d'Arcachon has its Dune du Pilat. Being the highest dune in Europe, the Pilat or Pyla, is classified as a natural site and a monument of the region, which attracts more than 2 million visitors per year.

The Dune of 110 meters, stretches along three kilometers and evokes many different sensations. At a first glance you may feel like you are lost in the middle of an Arabian Sahara, yet if you look around you will realize that an evergreen forest on one side, and the roaring Atlantic Ocean on the opposite side surround you. So prepare yourself to either climb up the dune, or take the staircase, and voila an absolutely breathtaking view will await you!

Where to Stay & Dine
The ideal location to stay around Le Bassin d'Arcachon would be in the city of Arcachon. It is central between all of the villages, and reachable via the train or Bordeaux’s airport.

While the city center doesn’t have a 5 star hotel, it does offer numerous Apartment Hotels. One of them is Appart-Hotel Le Trianon, which is a replica of a holiday apartment. With a fully equipped kitchen, spacious rooms hosting up to 6 people, you will have the liberty of going to the local markets and cooking your own meals. Its ideal location right next to the casino and the beach is an added value. As for the dinning, the area offers many premium seafood restaurants including two one-star Michelin rated restaurants. And for those who enjoy spa and thalassotherapy treatments, then booking a massage or a facial is possible at the Thalazur Arcachon, which presents different wellness packages catered to your needs.

So if you are seeking the unforced tranquility and serenity of nature, then Le Bassin d'Arcachon is your kind of place. Going to the Bassin area is like visiting the summerhouse you have always wished to own. It is a space to disconnect from your everyday life and reconnect with inartificial beauty. Simply a breath of fresh air!

To book your trip, make sure to go through the Bassin d'Arcachon region’s website here, organize your tours with the Archon office of tourism here, and book a room with a sea view at Le Trianon hotel here.

Article by Victor