Villa Ville D'hiverVilla Ville D'hiver
©Villa Ville D'hiver

Winter town

A surprising journey through time

On 10 hectares, the Winter Town of Arcachon saw the construction of one of the most original sets of villas of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth. This district, on the heights of the city, is a small paradise of architecture and fantasy. Each villa tells a story, that of the birth of Arcachon, which became thanks to the Pereire brothers a top resort of the Belle Epoque.


A paradise of architecture and fantasy

The Winter City is a mosaic of buildings all more eccentric than each other. The architects of the time evidently showed a delusional imagination to equip these villas, Swiss chalets, Gothic manors or Moorish pavilions with balconies with chiseled additions, turrets, colonnades, neo-classical facades, extravagant roofs, singular stairs, verandas and exotic gardens.

With or without umbrella

Strolling through the interlaced streets of Ville d’Hiver is like taking a stroll through time. Whether it’s sunny, raining, selling or snowing, with or without umbrellas, the setting is enchanting. The route can start from Villa Teresa (in Hispano-Moorish style), to reach Villa Toledo (Hispanic style with a trompe l’oeil staircase), Villa Alexandre Dumas (of great decorative richness), Villa Vincenette (dressed in its bow windows), Villa Brémontier (a re-interpretation of the Swiss chalet), Villa Trocadéro (near Place Brémontier), Villa Carmen (made of stone and bricks).

We don’t hunt hunting there anymore!

It is one of the jewels of the Winter City; Fleming Square, formerly known as Palm Square. It houses a very nice bandstand, all dressed in white installed in 1893. Concerts were given there every Sunday of winter. From there, there were also hunts to run, a sport very popular at the time. Personalities such as the King of Spain Alfonso XII, Elisabeth of Austria (Sissi), or the Prince of Wales stopped there.  A party is organized there every summer. The residents, dressed in period clothes, pay tribute to what some still call the Roaring Twenties.