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Subprefecture and commune
Arcachon, the Landes forest and the Dune of Pilat
Arcachon, the Landes forest and the Dune of Pilat
Coat of arms of Arcachon
Coat of arms
Arcachon is located in France
Location within Nouvelle-Aquitaine region
Arcachon is located in Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Coordinates: 44°39′N 1°10′W / 44.65°N 1.17°W / 44.65; -1.17Coordinates: 44°39′N 1°10′W / 44.65°N 1.17°W / 44.65; -1.17
Country France
Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Department Gironde
Arrondissement Arcachon
Canton La Teste-de-Buch
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Yves Foulon
Area1 7.56 km2 (2.92 sq mi)
Population (2008)2 11,789
 • Density 1,600/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
INSEE/Postal code 33009 /33120
Elevation 0–45 m (0–148 ft)
(avg. 8 m or 26 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Arcachon (French: [aʁ.ka.ʃɔ̃] ; Arcaishon in Gascon) is a commune in the southwestern French department of Gironde.

It is a popular swimming destination on the Atlantic coast 55 kilometres (34 mi) southwest of Bordeaux, in the Landes forest. It has a sandy beach and a mild climate said to be favourable for invalids suffering from pulmonary complaints.[citation needed]

Arcachon is known for the "Arcachonnaise", the local name for an Arcachon villa, the architectural style of many of the older houses built there. It is a Victorian style that was criticized for generations, but is now considered to be charming.[citation needed]

Arcachon seen by satellite

The town of Arcachon is 150 years old. Not long before 2 May 1857, when Emperor Napoleon III signed its official "birth certificate", it was just a forest of pine trees, oaks and strawberry trees (arbutus), with no road links, and home - mostly when the weather was expected to be warm, and more in wood huts than in real houses - to fewer than 400 people, mostly fishermen and peasants. In earlier years, when some hygienists began to recommend sea bathing, three sea establishments were laid out by some entrepreneurs especially for the Bordeaux bourgeoisie and other wealthy people. This was the beginning of a new lifestyle, and some of the locals got the opportunity to claim their independence from La Teste-de-Buch, which owned their properties, in order to found a "free" new town, Arcachon.[citation needed]

At its southern entrance from the Atlantic Ocean, Arcachon Bay is crowned by Europe's largest sand dune, the Dune du Pilat, nearly 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) long, 500 metres (1,600 feet) wide, reaching 110 metres (360 feet) in height, and moving inland at rate of 5 metres (16 feet) a year.[citation needed]

The area is served by Bordeaux Merignac Airport and the TGV Atlantique.

International relations[edit]

The United States Navy established a naval air station on 8 June 1918 to operate seaplanes during World War I. The base closed shortly after the First Armistice at Compiègne.[1]

Arcachon is twinned with:


Historical population
1861 736—    
1866 2,065+180.6%
1872 3,696+79.0%
1876 4,981+34.8%
1881 7,133+43.2%
1886 8,102+13.6%
1891 7,910−2.4%
1896 8,221+3.9%
1901 8,259+0.5%
1906 9,279+12.4%
1911 10,266+10.6%
1921 10,634+3.6%
1926 12,261+15.3%
1931 13,135+7.1%
1936 13,102−0.3%
1946 14,603+11.5%
1954 14,985+2.6%
1962 14,862−0.8%
1968 14,986+0.8%
1975 13,892−7.3%
1982 13,293−4.3%
1990 11,770−11.5%
1999 11,459−2.6%
2008 11,789+2.9%


The writer Alexandre Dumas once lived in Arcachon's Ville d'Hiver. Puerto Rican politician Ramón Emeterio Betances spent close to six months at Arcachon shortly before his death in 1898. The poet Carmen Bernos de Gasztold was born in Arcachon in 1919. Film producer Humbert Balsan was born in Arcachon in 1954. Composer-organist Charles Tournemire died here in 1939. Composer Louise Talma was born here in 1906.[citation needed]

On the other side of the Bassin d'Arcachon is Cap Ferret, a popular resort for celebrities including Zinedine Zidane and Jean Pierre Pernaut, who have holiday homes.[citation needed]

The writer and journalist Sylvie Caster was born in Arcachon in 1952.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Van Wyen, Adrian O. (1969). Naval Aviation in World War I. Washington, D.C.: Chief of Naval Operations. p. 65. 

External links[edit]