© Alain Vacheron

The Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island)

A corner of paradise in the middle of the Bay

The Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island)

Once upon a time, there was a small, protected island in the middle of Arcachon Bay. Everyone knows the Île aux Oiseaux’s two picture-postcard Cabanes Tchanquées. What is less known is that the island is home to some fifty wooden cabins, some of which are occupied during the holiday period and some, almost all year-round. In these small cabins which are difficult to get to, there is no running water or electricity and the nearest grocery store is several kilometres away by boat when the tide is favourable. All the inhabitants agree on one thing; they are living in a corner of paradise.

Natural treasures

The island is aptly named! It has great ornithological wealth composed of nesters, migrating or wintering species. 150 different species of birds can be observed on the site throughout the year. There are 300, 000 to 400,000 birds which rest or hibernate here. The plant life is equally special… most of the island is composed of wetland areas where numerous plant species are hidden. These are the only salt meadows on the Atlantic Coast which have never been touched by human intervention. The Île aux Oiseaux offers its visitors natural treasures and outstanding biodiversity.

The Cabanes Tchanquées

The famous cabins built on stilts, opposite Arcachon, are the stuff of dreams. Their name comes from the Gascon “chancas” meaning “built on stilts”. You should be aware that they are not open to visitors. A very long time ago, these houses built on stilts housed the guards who oversaw the oyster farms. Those who wish to get as close as possible to the two jewels of the Bay, can, however, take the UBA (Union des Bateliers Arcachonnais) boat shuttle which departs from several towns, including Arcachon. The boat owners organise a number of guided tours which make it possible for everyone to tour the island by sea. Get on a boat, admire and the postcard will become reality!