Arcarchon, France: Dune du Pilat and Dinner @ La Co(o)rniche
You can’t go without some beach vibes on super sunny weekends abroad…
Arcarchon was somewhere I have to admit, I had never heard of before.
When looking up where to go around Bordeaux, this place came up that prompted me to look into it further. Arcarchon is a sea-side town, under an hour away in the car on the motorway from Bordeaux, it feels like the Brighton to London, the city-peoples’ refuge for some fresh salty air.
The main sight is no doubt Dune du Pilat.
The tallest sand dune in Europe at 110m above sea level, it is nearly 3km long 500m wide, moving inland by 5m every year!
There is a big car park (6 euro max), where you can change clothes if need in your car (take a change of clothes for after as you will be totally covered in sweat – take my word for it!), buy your sun screen and drinks at the shops, and head towards the foot of the dunes.
It really does strike you just how expansive and TALL this dune actually is. On a sunny day, the sand is hot-hot, your bare feet really sinks into the softness of the clean white sand, making walking super difficult and giving your calves a good workout.
Once you get to the top, the view is that of sheer natural beauty. Forest for as far as you can see to one side, and the water on the other side. There is a beach at the bottom of the other side where you can run down to, roly-poly down, fall down, whatever is the quickest way of getting down there as the sand is SO HOT!!
With all that hard work of walking across the Dunes, you will deserve a nice cold beer afterwards!
So where to go?
You will find that during your research into local restaurants in Arcarchon and when you are actually there on the ground that there are no ‘nice’ restaurants. Seaside brasseries adorn the length of the beach, but they are run down and tatty, serving overpriced pizza and piña colada.
Just right at the foot of the Dune du Pilat lies La Co(o)rniche.
YOU HAVE GOT TO COME HERE. IT IS STU-NNING.
La Co(o)rniche benefits from an incredible location – right on the Dune and the Atlantic Sea just on the Arcachon Bay – suspended between sea and sky, sand and pine.
As soon as you drive up to it, the matt black wall and the 5* welcomes you as a man in white escorts you out of the car and lead you up the steps into this incredibly stylish, modern, neo-Gothic style hotel-come-restaurant and bar.
The white bright decor of marble tables and the New England vibe furniture in the main restaurant was down-to-the-T totally my style, and the expansive al-fresco patio area facing the 180 degrees sea-dune view was just something else.
I have been fortunate to have gone to some incredible places for dinner over the years, but this is right up there amongst the best of the best in terms of location, vibe, decor and just how it makes you feel.
The menu choices are very decent. Away from the seafood platters, 2 courses for 58 euros is what we went for. Starter and Main, Main and Pudding. Starter for the boy. Something sweet pour moi.
Extra 10 euros each gets you this massive iron cast plate of beef.
Impressively presented right? Not sure the cut was good though… too much fat, streaky, and very chewy. It came with a roquefort creamy sauce which packed a punch and fries were good, just a shame the meat let it down.
As the sun set right in front of us, over the infinity pool and the horizon beyond, the lights came on and the whole place came abuzz with calm energy and warm glow.
I love the whole vibe of La Corniche – if you are ever in this part of France, make this a one night pit stop.
You will remember this night for a very long time.