Arcachon Ville d'Hiver visitor guide

Photo of Arcachon Ville d'Hiver

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Set above the beach and Arcachon's Ville d'Eté or summer town is the Ville d'Hiver, the winter town. This part of town is packed with magnificent villas built at the end of the 19th century both to extend the summer season and as an alternative to cures in the mountains for tuberculosis.

See our Arcachon guide for the other quarters of this beautiful town.

Explore Arcachon's Ville d'Hiver

To get to the Ville d'Hiver take the Rue du Marechal de Lattre de Tassigny which runs from the beach slightly east of the Jetée Thiers to the bottom of the Parc Mauresque.

Here you can either take the lift up to the park or take the path and steps up the steep slope to the park at the top. Even this short excursion is worth doing for the wonderful views from the charming park.

Parc Mauresque, Arcachon

The Parc Mauresque is in the heart of the winter town and is surrounded by streets packed with beautiful and often slightly eccentric villas built during the latter half of the 19th century in the 'Belle Epoque' period.

Some of the villas in the area are particularly noteworthy but I never tire of walking around the quarter and admiring all the charming villas that make up the area.


The tourist office can provide you with a map marking the positions of the most interesting and best-preserved of the villas.

From the park walk a short way down Allee Rebsomen at number 4 is the Villa Teresa. This villa was built in 1882 in a Spanish-Moorish style.

Villa Teresa, Ville d'Hiver

On the other side of the park on the Allée du Moulin Rouge is the stunning Villa Toledo. As its name suggests it is built in a Spanish style and has beautiful latticed wooden balconies - a style common in Arcachon but particularly impressive on the Villa Toleda. The villa also has a trompe l'oeil. The Villa Toledo was originally a centre for gymnastics and horse-riding.

Villa Toledo, Arcachon

Near to here is the Passerelle Saint-Paul, linking two hills and leading to the Sainte-Cecile observatory, built with a helping hand from Gustave Eiffel. Climb to the top if you dare! The metal spiral staircase does 'wobble' a bit as you go making those like myself with a fear of heights a little nervous, but the views from the top are well worth the effort. It is 25 meters high and built on a hill and so the views over the bay and the town are fabulous.

Observatoire Sainte-Cecile, Arcachon


view from observatiore over Arcachon bay

Villa Alexandre Dumas on rue Alexandre Dumas is an imposing villa with patterened glazed bricks, stylish windows and many ornamental features. It was built in 1895 and has recently been restored, by its owners, to its original state.

Villa Dumas, Arcachon

Allee Bremontier is home to the unusual Villa Bremontier. This is an interpretation of a Swiss chalet apparently and has a tower which is home to the staircase. Many of the villas in the Ville d'Hiver were originally built as rental properties and this is one of them.

Nearby on allée Faust is the rather gothic Villa Faust built in 1859 and also the Villa Graigcrostan built in 1880 in a mix of styles including colonial and Italian.

Villa Faust, Arcachon


Villa Graigcrostan

Round the corner is Place Bremontier named for M. Bremontier who started the planting of the dunes. The hunt used to begin in this square. On the square is the Villa Trocadero which is one of the prettiest villas with its beige, white and blue colouring. It was built in 1863 in a Swiss Chalet style but enlarged and its lovely balconies and verandas added around the start of the 20th century.

Villa Trocadero, Ville d'Hiver

The Villa Carmen on allee du Docteur Lalesque has pretty stone and brick-patterened walls and large, decorated wooden balconies. This villa has housed some famous people including the Queen Mother of Spain.

Villa Carmen, Arcachon

The Villa Vincenette is a particularly ornamental villas. It has a belvedere, carved balconies, patterened brickwork and some lovely Art Nouveau windows.

Villa Vincenette, Arcachon

Another lovely part of the Ville d'Hiver is the Place Fleming, also known as the Place des Palmiers. Be sure to walk by here on an evening when its lovely bandstand and surrounding trees are beautifully illuminated.

Place Fleming, Arcachon

Be sure to also visit the Ville d'Eté of Arcachon with its great beaches and lovely market square. Also take a walk around the port in the Ville d'Automne of Arcachon.

Explore elsewhere in the Bassin d'Arcachon. You can find more travel ideas in the Gironde guide and the Aquitaine guide.

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Arcachon is one of our favourite seaside resorts in France and has lots to explore. Recommended!

Arcachon guide
Arcachon Ville d'Eté

Arcachon Ville d'Eté

Arcachon's 'summer town' is a very attractive sea side town next to long sandy beaches

Arcachon Ville d'Eté guide
Parc Mauresque

Parc Mauresque

The Parc Mauresque is a large parc and garden in the heart of the resort of Arcachon

Parc Mauresque guide
Arcachon town beach

Arcachon town beach

The town beach of Arcachon is a long sandy beach with lots of facilities.

Arcachon town beach guide
Arcachon's Pereire beach

Arcachon's Pereire beach

Arcachon's Pereire beach is a favourite with locals and holiday makers.

Arcachon's Pereire beach guide
Arcachon Ville d'Automne

Arcachon Ville d'Automne

The Ville d'Automne is the eastern part of Arcachon, around the port area and including the beaches of Eyrac and Aiguillon

Arcachon Ville d'Automne guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Gironde

The French version of this page is at Arcachon Ville d'Hiver (Francais)