The Ville d'Hiver (Winter Town)

A surprising walk through time

Arcachon’s Winter Town stretches over 10 hectares and witnessed the construction of one of the most novel and eccentric sets of villas in the 19th and early 20th century. This quarter in uptown Arcachon is a paradise in terms of architecture and eccentricity. Each villa tells the story of the birth of the town of Arcachon, which, thanks to the Pereire brothers, became a very popular holiday resort during the Belle Epoque.

 

A genuinely fantastic architectural paradise

The Winter Town is a mosaic of constructions, each more eccentric than the next. The architects at the time obviously had overflowing imaginations to adorn such villas, Swiss chalets, gothic manor houses or Moorish pavilions with ornately sculptured balconies, turrets, colonnades, neo-classical façades, extravagant roofs, unusual staircases, conservatories and exotic gardens.

With or without an umbrella

Wandering along the Winter Town’s intertwined streets is like taking a step back in time. Whether it’s sunny, raining, windy or snowing the setting remains delightful, with or without an umbrella. You can set off from Villa Teresa (which mixes Spanish and Moorish styles), to make your way to Villa Toledo (Spanish style with a trompe l’œil staircase), on to the ostentatiously decorated Villa Alexandre Dumas,  Villa Brémontier (the re-interpretation of a Swiss chalet ),Villa Trocadéro (Close to Place Brémontier), and Villa Carmen (built with stone and bricks).

Foxhunting hasn’t been in fashion for a long time!

Place Fleming is one of the landmarks of the Winter Town and was formerly called Place des Palmiers. It hosts a beautiful white band stand, erected in 1893. At the time, concerts were given every Sunday during the winter. It is also where the foxhunting parties set off from. The sport was very popular at the time. Important people such as Alphonse XII King of Spain, Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), or the Prince of Wales stopped off here. A fête is organised here every summer. Residents dress in period costumes and pay tribute to what they still like to call Les Années Folles.