Southern France is an immensely popular holiday destination and, when you consider its pleasant year-round weather, wealth of fantastic activities and beautiful scenery, it’s not too hard to see why. While you’re probably aware of the many tourist hotspots in the south-east (including Cannes and Saint-Tropez), I think it’s also worth seeing what the south-west of the country has to offer, in particular the Arcachon Coast.
Although it is not the most well-known tourist region in France, I believe that it’s certainly among the most stunning. In fact, it is often referred to as the Saint-Tropez of the south-west, such is the level of beauty and chic atmosphere it offers. With this in mind, once you’ve settled into yourFrench holiday accommodation you should look to get out and explore.
Given the area’s location next to the Atlantic Ocean, I think it’s fairly obvious that it’s a great place to take long coastal walks. As you stroll, you should keep an eye out for the maisons tchanquees homes built on foundations rising many feet above the ground. These traditional stilt properties are designed to protect the residence and its inhabitants from floods in the event of a sudden rise in the tide and certainly make for a captivating sight as you meander along.
Taking a walk along the Great Dune of Pilat is certain to prove a highlight of any holiday spent in the region. As you might have guessed from its name, this sand formation dominates the area – in fact, it’s the tallest dune in Europe – and is a great place to go for a stroll.
Upon climbing the wooden staircase to the top of the dune, you’ll get to walk along the sand and take in fantastic views of the French coastline. While this will be a pleasant enough experience in itself, if – like me – you like taking part in more adrenalin-pumping pursuits, you should give paragliding a go. The southern end of the dune is a popular area for the action sport, while you can also go sailing and canoeing in the nearby waters.
For those looking to enjoy slightly more relaxing activities during their getaway, birdwatching in the Arguin Sandbank is a good option. The sandbank lies at the entrance of the Arcachon Basin close to the Great Dune of Pilat, and is a nesting spot for a wide range of species, including the sandwich tern – a bird that has a distinctive black cap on its head.
No matter what you plan on doing during your break – after all, you are on holiday so you’re free to do as much or as little as you like – I think it’s worth bearing in mind that the Arcachon Coast has great year-round weather.
Not only does the area receive some 2,200 hours of annual sunshine, but the average temperature normally stays above 10 degrees C, even in December and January. This means you are virtually guaranteed to enjoy pleasant conditions, something you may be especially keen to do if you’re hoping to escape the UK to take in some winter sun.
If you’re thinking of taking a break in the Arcachon Coast please leave a comment and let us know what you plan to see and do there.