Finally a long weekend to enjoy the nature, sun and oysters of Arcachon Bay! It’s in Ares near Cap Ferret that we will stay 3 days to discover one of the most beautiful regions of France (nature side). Of course it will be impossible for us to see all the Arcachon Bay in just 3 days … That’s why, I preferred to focus my program of activities and visits only on the northern part of the Arcachon Bay. Here is the organization of my Arcachon Bay tour and the program of our long weekend of discovery of Arcachon Bay in 3 days (itineraries, best things to do, best places to visit, excursions, restaurants, lodging).
How to go to Arès on the Arcachon Bay?
If you want to use the train, you will have to go to Arcachon which is accessible in 50 minutes by train from Bordeaux.
Otherwise to go directly to Arès, the most convenient is to go by car. Indeed, the Bordeaux-Arès by car is only 50 minutes (46 km).
How to visit the North of Arcachon Bay in 3 days?
The location of the hotel or camping is essential to not waste time on the roads … Indeed, even out of season, I knew that circulating on certain axes is complicated because of traffic jams. So, the priority is to choose a fairly central accommodation compared to the program of visits.
It is in Arès that I chose to stay for its situation on the Bassin d’Arcachon, very close to Cap Ferret and many protected natural sites, for its natural reserve of the salt meadows, for its oyster port and its famous huts where you can taste the best oysters in the Bay.
My discovery Arcachon Bay program in 3 days
- Beach of Arès
- Nature reserve of salt meadows
- Réservoirs de Piraillan
- Ares oyster port
- Cabane 44 restaurant
- Cap Ferret Lighthouse
- Pointe Cap Ferret
- Dunes of Cap Ferret
- Ornitological Reserve of Teich
- Delta of the Leyre
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Day 1
North Arcachon Bay – My route Map – Day 1
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Day 1 program
Beach of Arès
What a good time to discover early on the morning the beach of Arès! At low tide, the beach mingles with mosaics of sparkling mirrors punctuated by silhouettes of white boats … We stay there an hour to do nothing, to stay contemplative. The show is simply beautiful! Faced with this dream scenery, we decided to make our first flight drone here are some pictures.
Nature reserve of salt meadows in Arès
From the end of the beach, start the trail towards the oyster port of Arès. From there, another footpath goes to the national nature reserve of the salt meadows of Ares and Lège-Cap-Ferret. Created in 1983, it occupies an area of almost 500 hectares including 200 hectares of salted near. It is composed of mudflats, salt meadows, dune hem and a beautiful wooded area.
Réservoirs of Piraillan
It is the afternoon that we decided to take the car to go to the Réservoirs de Piraillan. This nature reserve is located north of the village of Piraillan. This site of 39 hectares, of which 6 hectares of reservoirs delimit four islets. From the top of the dune, we can sometimes see Bird Island. We had a wonderful walk which took us about 2 hours.
Oyster port of Ares – Cabane 44 restaurant
Back to Arès, go to the oyster port. Oysters being the specialty of Arcachon Bay, it is at Cabane 44 that we will taste them tonight. Oysters, whelks, tapas and white wine are enjoyed on the terrace of a typical hut in a relaxed atmosphere. A real moment of happiness!
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Day 2
North Arcachon Bay Tour – My route Map – Day 2
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Day 2 Program
Dunes of Cap Ferret – Sentier de l’Abécédaire
We take the road very early (8:00) to start our hike in peace, with no one and to be able to fly the drone. We arrive at Lège-Cap Ferret on the alley of the Dunes and leave for 5 km by housing the dunes to the Pointe du Cap Ferret. Superb, magnificent…
Pointe du Cap Ferret
It is an incredibly beautiful place. We were there in the early morning before returning to this beautiful place by the hike. The colors at sunrise are incredible with magical mirror effects!
Then in the late morning, the brightness is perfect to observe the Ocean on one side and the Bay of Arcachon on the other.
Cap Ferret Lighthouse
What a “bad surprise” … I thought to find a lighthouse in the wild but arrived on the spot, disappointment: it is a lighthouse that is surrounded by streets. So his environment did not really seduce me. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful lighthouse point bar. Finally, I found it much more beautiful seen from above, thank you the drone!
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Day 3
Northern Arcachon Bay Tour – My itinerary Day 3
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Day 3 Program
Ornitological Reserve of Teich
This reserve is a must in the Bay of Arcachon. We went to its opening at 10am because it is the best time to observe the birds. The pluses of the reserve: a trail that forms a loop of 6 km and its huts and bird’s eye viewpoints.
Leyre Delta Nature Reserve
Right next to the Teich Ornitological Reserve is another natural site that we discovered during a 2-hour hike (9 km loop). The landscapes are much the same as on the Reserve but the site is much less crowded and equally interesting for bird watching.
If I had 1 more day … Bird Island and Cabane tchanquées
If I had the chance to have an extra day, I will have added to my program the visit of the Bird Island and the famous cabanes tchanquées. From the pier of Cap-Ferret, a 2-hour boat tour allows you to observe the oyster beds, the Bird Island and the two wooden cabins on stilts typical of the Arcachon Basin. They have become the emblem of the Bay. But maybe next time …
If I come back, also I will enjoy an exceptional point of view on the Arcachon Bay, the Cap Ferret and the Arguin Bank by climbing the Pilat Dune (La Teste de Buch). It is the highest dune in Europe: 106,6 m high.
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Hotel recommended
Here is a guest house that I recommend for a short stay in Arès. With a beautiful terrace and a lovely pool, Villa Elisaia offers fully equipped studios. A breakfast consisting of fresh produce is served every morning. This beautiful house is a haven of peace very well placed in Arès and therefore ideal to discover the North of Bassin d’Arcachon and Cap Ferret. More information on Booking
North Arcachon Bay Tour – Camping recommended
Here is my tip and favorite campsite in Arès: Camping Pasteur. For the budget, this is really the right plan because its location is ideal (400 m from the beach and the center of Arès). Tourists are very well received in a family atmosphere and benevolent. What did I like about this campsite? Its calm, its swimming pool, the kindness of the staff … but especially its price: only 55 Euros the night in a bungalow 2-3 places! See the campsite’s website
North Arcachon Bay Tour – My tips
For small budgets who want to afford a good restaurant at an unbeatable price, I recommend the restaurant l’Olivier (30 rue du 14 juillet in Arès). We have twice tested the formula at 18 Euros including 1 full dish + portion of french fries + 1 glass of wine + 1 coffee. The dishes are simple, delicious, very rich and the reception is very friendly!
For those who want to buy oysters, I recommend to choose them directly to the “Oysters Gourmet” Gaec Duvignacq Brothers (34 rue du 14 July in Arès): direct sale of the producer. We tasted the oysters 4 seasons (6 € the dozen) and came back before returning to Toulouse to bring back to the whole family …
A visit idea to add to this program?
Here’s how to visit Bordeaux in 1 day
Another idea of a circuit in France?
Here is my itinerary for a 4 days road trip in Brittany