- How to discover the summer city ?
The Summer City corresponds to the city center.
Until the beginning of the 19th century, Arcachon was reduced to a few huts of fishermen and residents on the edge of «the Little Sea of Buch». In 1823, a Breton sailor by the name of François Legallais opened the first seawater bathing establishment, aimed at a wealthy clientele. Thalassotherapy, climatotherapy, the destiny of Arcachon is already oriented towards that of a city of well-being and health. The vogue of the sea baths attracts highnesses and celebrities, large families, artists and men
business. The seafront sees the construction of cottages and villas thus foreshadowing the City of Summer. It is the beginning of the boom of Arcachon. On May 2, 1857, Napoleon III signed the imperial decree recognizing Arcachon as a full-fledged commune.
To discover this area, you can follow the main axes: the Gambetta avenue going from the Tourist Office/ the MA.AT to the seafront, the seafront consisting of the boulevards Veyrier-Montagnères and Gounouilhou, the large Marquesas Square and the pedestrian street of Lattre de Tassigny connecting the waterfront to the Mauresque Park. Following this route, you will have the opportunity to go shopping, do the market located in the heart of town, stroll on the seafront or stop for a coffee or a gourmet break in a restaurant.
From the summer town, you can easily access the port via the «boards» trail going from Place Peynaud to the small marina, or access the Winter City by the elevator.
You can also embark by boat to discover the Basin, or cross towards Cap-Ferret. (except for electric chairs – boarding jetties not adapted)
- How to discover the Winter Town ?
In 1852, Émile and Isaac Pereire set up the Compagnie des Chemins de Fer du Midi in search of investment and took over the operation of the Bordeaux – La Teste railway line.
They extended it to Arcachon in 1857. To make it profitable, they bought 60 hectares of forest land and thus created the Winter City. A veritable «open-air sanatorium», the wealthy sick enjoy «the balsamic air
In the spring of 1862, streets and alleys were laid out, casino and villas were built. Napoleon III’s stays in 1859 and 1863 made Arcachon one of the largest weather resorts. From the end of the 19th century, rich families and merchants from Bordeaux built sumptuous villas in the Winter City, now listed in the inventory of picturesque sites.
If it is difficult to enjoy the armchair walk in this historic district consisting of curved and often narrow alleys, you can still enjoy it by walking around the Parc Mauresque, park with species of exotic varieties, around which beautiful examples of period villas will be visible and accessible. Villa Teresa (Private Historical Monument), Villa Castellemare, and many others will delight you.
You can also opt for a visit by small tourist train. From April to the holidays of All Saints 2 different circuits: a panoramic circuit, and a circuit in Winter City. If you are in a manual wheelchair, we can keep you in the chair at the Tourist Office during the tour. For electric chairs, the new small train put into circulation in summer 2021 will soon be up to standard to accommodate 1 chair.
- How to discover the the Moulleau district ?
This area of the city was born from the desire of two Bordeaux residents, Mr Grangeneuve and Mr Papin, to create a new climate station. They bought 32 hectares of land and then called on the architect Louis Garros to build a chapel that was entrusted to the Dominicans. Built from a square in 1933, the surroundings of Notre-Dame des Passes have been decorated since 1958 with a Virgin sculpted by Henri Carlier.
Today, this district combines shops and cafes. Its pedestrian promenade, with its bronze cannon coming from the battery set up by Napoleon I at the time of the Continental Blockade, and its pier are must-see places.
You can walk on this pedestrian promenade and the pier. However, parking at the parking lot near the church is preferred.
- How to discover Spring Town ?
Spring Town : Pereire and Abatilles
It corresponds to the Pereire and Abatilles districts. The Pereire family owned a park of 41 hectares of which only the stables located avenue du Parc Pereire remain today. The park was developed and planted with several thousand pine trees to stabilize the coastal dune line in 1977. The district of Abatilles derives its name from the gascon. It means «wooded dune». It was first a place-said, a forest plot then a residential area. There is the famous source Sainte-Anne des Abatilles. Rich in calcium, anti-oxidant and nitrate-free, its water was used for thermal cures from 1925 to 1970. Today, it is still exploited and exported.
You can access the foot of the Source kiosk where it is possible to taste the water in summer, at specific times.
You can also follow the promenade de Pereire to the beach of Arbousiers, while admiring the seaside and especially the large sand bank at low tide.
- How to discover Autumn Town ?
It corresponds to the Saint-Ferdinand and Aiguillon districts.
It hosts the fishing port and the Marina. Until the end of World War I, Arcachon was the second French fishing port for trawlers.
This district experienced a great deal of economic activity thanks to the fisheries and shipyards that prospered until the early 1950s. Today, alongside fishing, the activity of the marina is developing.
Arcachon has been classified as a «sailing resort» since 1986, and its sailing club is also Handivoile.
You can walk around the port, on the promenade. You can also access the small shopping area.