The Arcachon basin

The Arcachon basin (Laca d'Arcaishon in local Gascon dialect)

Is an expanse of salt water situated in the Landes region of Gascony, in the Gitonde, between the towns of La Teste-de-Buch to the South, Lège-Cap-Ferret to the West, Biganos and Val de Leyre to the East.

The Arcachon is a small inland sea spanning 155km² at high tide and 40 km² at low tide. The basin is triangular in shape and bordered by over 80km of flat coastline or wooded dunes. In contrast to the large lakes typical of the Landes region, it is fed by a river, La Leyre, which generously opens onto the Bay of Biscay, where the tide influences the flow of some substantial masses of water.

The Atlantic Ocean is accessed solely via special ‘passes’, situated between the Pyla dune and the Cap Ferret headland. It constitutes a series of channels enabling the circulation of water between the basin and the ocean. Moving sandbanks, swept along by the marine currents, constantly modify the course. The strength of the currents makes traversing these passes somewhat tricky, especially on days where there are spring tides.

Biganos, is a town comprising some 10,000 inhabitants, which forms part of the Landes region’s country park in Gascony, of which it is the biggest centre for tree felling.
With its two traditional ports and its river, La Leyre, Biganos is a special site where green tourism blends in with the influence of the nearby seaside resorts, such as Arcachon and Andernos.

La Leyre with its prehistoric ferns and its exuberant nature and the island of Malprat with its reeds and cotton plants, have given rise to the nickname “little Amazon” for this unique area. Canoeing, bike rides, fishing, pony treks and hikes will complement the delights of the beaches of the Arcachon basin and the Atlantic coast.

Furthermore, close to some of the top wine-growing domains and less than an hour from Bordeaux, Biganos is the perfect place to take a deeper journey of discovery into the cultural and architectural heritage of the Gironde.


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