Dax travel guide

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Visit Dax (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France)

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The town of Dax is the Landes department of Aquitaine in south-west France, north-east of Bayonne and south-east of Mont-de-Marsan. It is on the edges of the extensive forests of the Landes region.

Dax is the biggest spa town in France both in terms of numbers of visitor numbers and when measured by the amount of thermal spring water produced here.

The history of Dax began in pre-roman times, then the town was developed by the Romans because of its thermal waters.

With the end of the Roman Empire the town was largely destroyed by the barbarians but was rebuilt and eventually passed into English hands with the marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to Henri Plantagenet.

In the 19th century, with the introduction of a railway line to the town, the thermal waters once again became key to the towns wealth, and Dax is now famous for its mud treatments as well as spa treatments. 

Explore Dax

France This Way review: Dax is pleasant to visit but if you are not here for the thermal waters the other attractions are quite minor - so it is pleasant to visit when you are passing but not worth travelling a long way to see.

Cathedral in Dax town centre

A small part of the ramparts can still be seen in the town by following the Promenade des Remparts in the north of the town next to the Parc Theodore Denis.

The most important site in Dax is the ‘Fontaine Chaude’ where there is a pool of hot thermal water inside a Roman-style structure built in the 19th century. The water is about 64°.

The pool is fenced off but taps at one end have the thermal water pouring out. The water is said to be good for the relief of rheumatic ailments, gynaecological problems and problems related to veins.

Also worth seeing in Dax is the Hotel Splendid, an Art Deco Hotel which is considered to be a key work of the Art Deco period in the 1930s. Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Kessel are amongst the celebrities of the time who stayed in the hotel.

The Atrium is another Art Deco building in the town and is now a concert hall. You can enter its very nice looking restaurant for a meal, an excellent spot for lunch.


Dax also has some notable modern architecture including the Les Thermes Hotel built by Jean Nouvel.

The cathedral of Dax, the Cathedrale Notre-Dame, was finished at the end of the 19th century in a classical neo-grec style. It is built on the site of a 13th century gothic cathedral and the ‘portail’ of this original church has been preserved and can be seen in the left transept. It is very ornately carved and shows the Last Judgement.

You can also visit the Crypte Archeologique which contains the remains of a gallo-roman temple of the 2nd century, and the Arenes which is the bullfighting ring of Dax and is is situated in the Parc Theodore Denis.

Dax Museums

There are two notable museums in Dax. One is the Musée Georgette Dupouy. Georgette Dupouy is a 20th century artist whose paintings are described as impressionist with surrealist tones and whose paintings have been exhibited throughout the world and 60 of her paintings are now in permanent collection in this museum.

The other is the Helicopter Museum (‘Musée de l’armée de terre et de l’hélicoptère’) which has a large collection of French army helicopters and an insight into how a helicopter works.

Dax gardens

There are two gardens that we enjoyed visiting close to Dax. The first is the Plantarium at Gaujacq, a botanic garden with a large collection of plants and plants for sale. The other is the Parc du Sarrat, covering three hectares and with a botanic garden and a potager.

Dax town centre gardens

Attractions nearby

The principal attractions in the region are on the Atlantic coast about 35 kilometres to the west of Dax and include smaller resorts such as Capbreton and Soorts-Hossegor and larger towns such as Biarritz and Bayonne.

You will also enjoy heading south to the foothills of the western Pyrenees to visit small towns such as Salies-de-Bearn and Orthez.

You can find more travel ideas in the Landes guide and the Aquitaine guide.

See also Find Dax hotels

Photos of Dax

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Map of Dax and places nearby


Visit near Dax with France This Way reviews



The small town of Salies-de-Bearn is a pleasure to explore, and a nice place to visit when you are passing through the region

Salies-de-Bearn guide


Moliets is one of the more recently established resorts on the Atlantic coast, very popular with families

Moliets guide


Soorts is one of the smaller beach resorts along the extensive Atlantic coast in South-West France

Hossegor guide


Capbreton is a popular resort and beach that also has a traditional harbour and fish market

Capbreton guide


The 13th century stone bridge across the river is the highlight of your visit to Orthez

Orthez guide
La Bastide-Clairence

La Bastide-Clairence

Labastide-Clairence is another of the most picturesque villages in the Basque region

La Bastide-Clairence guide

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

Address: Dax, Aquitaine, 40100, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.7078, longitude -1.05028

Plan your visit to Dax, Landes

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Parc du Sarrat: remarkable garden
  • Sorde l'Abbaye - abbaye St Jean (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (20 km)
  • Marais d'Orx: site of natural beauty (30 km)
  • Courant de Huchet: site of natural beauty (31 km)
  • La Bastide-Clairence: most beautiful village (35 km)
  • Hagetmau: ville fleurie 4* (37 km)
  • Abbaye de St Sever (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (39 km)
  • Bayonne: secteur sauvegarde (42 km)
  • Bayonne cathédrale de Sainte-Marie (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (42 km)
  • Anglet: ville fleurie 4* (45 km)
  • Courant de Contis: site of natural beauty (48 km)
  • Jardins de la villa Arnaga: remarkable garden (48 km)

Market days in Dax, France

Regular market(s) are held in Dax each Sunday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Dax (Francais)