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Pointe de l’Aiguillon
This old fishing area, characterised by its little houses with red tiled roofs and small verandas. Now it is the oyster farming district.
The Port of Arcachon
It is the Bassin’s only deep water port and the second largest marina on the Atlantic Coast with 2 600 moorings. Since 2007, it has been home to a heritage quay reserved for the Bassin’s traditional boats: pinasses (long narrow flat-bottomed boats) sailing barges, tall ships…, the entrance to the Port is marked by the Monument to those who have perished at sea, created by Claude Bouscau, a sculptor awarded the Grand Prix de Rome (1935). Depending on the angle from which it is viewed the sculpture takes the form of a cross or an anchor.
The first chapel was built in 1855. Its bell bears the inscription “Heri nox, hodie aurora, cras lux” (yesterday night, today dawn, tomorrow light), which provided the first Mayor of Arcachon, Alphonse Lamarque de Plaisance, with inspiration for the town’s motto “Heri solitudo, hodie vicus, cras civitas” (yesterday desert, today village, tomorrow city). The current church, in Neo-Roman style, was built around 1900. The bell tower, completed in 1927, is topped with a statue of the Sacred Heart. It is 42 metres tall.
Ville d’été – town-centre
This castle, built in 1853, by Adalbert Deganne, Mayor of Arcachon from 1870 to 1871 and from 1876 to 1880 is a replica of the castle of Boursault, in the Champagne region. Now, it houses the Casino de la Plage.
In 1899 the Mayor of Arcachon, James Veyrier Montagnères secured a vote to build a pier. It was finally built in 1903. Buffeted by bad weather and violent seas, this symbol of the town was reconstructed a century later, in retro style.
The Seamen’s Chapel / Notre-Dame Basilica
The original chapel was built in the early 16th Century by a Franciscan monk, Thomas Illyricus. It housed a statue of the Virgin and Child which was discovered on the shore, while he was praying for heaven to spare two ships caught up in a storm. The present chapel, built in 1722, is in the great basilica, recognised as such by Pope Pius XII in 1953.
Croix des marins (seafarer’s cross)
Erected in 1902, fishermen would salute it to invoke its protection when they set sail. On 25 March, the day of the Arcachon festival, a procession goes past the cross to pay homage.
Created in the late 19th Century, the Winter district is in the hills above the town in a green setting. All the villas are in different styles and form a unique architectural ensemble. The winding streets act as windbreaks.
Belvédère and Passerelle Saint-Paul
Built by the architect Paul Regnauld. The Belvedere provides a fantastic vista over the Bassin.
Created in 1863 by Paul Regnauld, it was the setting for the Casino Mauresque. 4 hectares, planted with rare species, overlook the town.
Practical information: To go up to Ville d’Hiver or down to the town centre you can take the lift in Parc Mauresque (from 8th May). 7 days a week. From 15 June to 30 September from 7am to 10pm. Rest of the year: 8.30 am to 7.30 pm. Free of charge.
Sainte-Anne des Abatilles spring
Discovered in 1923 by the Société Française de Recherche de Minerais et d’Hydrocarbure while looking for oil. Drawn at a depth of 472 metres, the water is pure (no nitrates) and its thermal qualities have been recognised by the medical profession since 1925.
Villa Pereire stables
These are the only remains of the villa the Pereire family had built on its 41 hectare estate. They are in the Avenue Parc Pereire.
Notre-Dame des Passes Church
In the hills above Moulleau, it was founded in 1864. In Byzantine and Tuscan style, it houses one of the rare statues of the Virgin of the Advent (pregnant Virgin) in France. The church is also remarkable for the quality of its frescos.