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CAP FERRET/ARCACHON?? Possible stop before Basque Spain in September??

CAP FERRET/ARCACHON?? Possible stop before Basque Spain in September??

Old Jun 23rd, 2024, 01:20 PM
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CAP FERRET/ARCACHON?? Possible stop before or after Basque Spain in September 2025??

I know zero about Cap Ferret but for years I've read good things about CF and the Arcachon basin.
I am already thinking about a trip of about three weeks or so, for late summer 2025.
This potential trip might include that area of France and, before or after, time in Basque, Spain.

Early question: Which would be the best base for up to a week for a person who has a strong priority for swimming in warm water?
I've read a bit about the Cap Ferret peninsula but cannot get a handle on where in the area would be best to stay, without a car and with swimming in warm, calm water, and hopefully walk to restaurants the main priorities. A hotel with a pool long enough to swim would be sublime. I read about the "piscine de CF," but what is that..I get nothing from Google.
Is that an actual public pool, an enclosed "pool" within the sea, or something else entirely?

Is this a good location?


Would Cap Ferret be better, for some reason, than the more lively Arcachon? (Remember the swimming priority, in early to mid-September). Signing on to a water tour of the basin sounds great, with swimming possible in good weather....

The French part of this trip would combine with time in Basque, Spain.
I see people swim in Donostia in October but that's not for me......it would be nice to be able to swim in the sea---swim to that island off San Sebastián, but I'm ok with a nice pool in a lovely hotel and, as usual, food is a top priority for us. (No issue in that area!)

I am not interested (on this trip) in staying in Bilbao. Maybe a few days where I can swim in the sea and then a few days inland where we can see beautiful scenery and eat well (eating well is kind of a given in that area, so not worried about that part). The OAR Cottage, where Maribel stayed recently? It could be anywhere comfy and our budget would not rule out upscale hotels.....

So where do two formerly young persons (one speaks horrific French and the other speaks only English) spend in the Arcachon area and then go southwest to the Basque region of Spain?

I would prefer to do without a car in France, and make our way by train to Spain; from there, renting a car would be likely, just to get around inland Basque areas that I've never visited.
Spent time in San Sebastián and Getaria and further west....near Durango.

Donostia would not be in the plan; there is a film festival in September and I've been there a few times, so would like to see another part of the coast and someplace very comfy and inland...even as far west as Cantabria possibly...

We fly out of JFK or EWR and could return from: Bilbao? Santander? San Sebastián? Bayonne?

Right now the first thing to get sorted is an idea of what Cap Ferrat is like for two people who are no longer confident even riding bikes.
And given the swimming obsession, where to go first....Basque Spain or the French portion.

Not ruling out a return to Pays Basque, inland...if I can find a hotel we would like for a couple of days en route fro France to Spain......early/mid September..will the peppers be hanging on the walls of houses like I dream about when I see those photos???? In fact, a few days in Pays Basque (Ainhoa??? Espelette?? Sare??) might be really great. We stayed once as guests at Les Pyrenees in San Juan Pied de Port so probably no reason to go that far although not ruling anything out... Would rent a car if we went that route.

So that's the story and I'd be so grateful if the knowledgeable folks here (I'm looking at you, my Madrileno friend!) could offer some advice since I'm really off my orbit here.....

Muchisimas gracias y eskerrik asko. Yes, and merci beau coup!

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Jun 23rd, 2024 at 01:28 PM.
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Old Jun 24th, 2024, 02:12 AM
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We've vacationed in Le Bassin d'Arcachon and have taken day trips from there to Cap Ferret on our way down to the Pays Basque. Our last route: Paris to Bordeaux on the TGV (2 hrs.) to Le Bassin d'Arcachon (with car) to Hossegor in the Landes to San Sebastián and environs. Lovely trip.

But for you, flying out of NY, I would fly back from Bilbao. As you know, the SS airport is in Hondarribia and flights are quite limited outside of the summer season as well as the Biarritz airport (we use it to fly back to Paris)..

I understand some, read some but speak little French and had no problem at all.

We've always done Bordeaux, the Landes, the Pays Basque before going to Spain's Basque Country because we want to save the best for last.

We chose to stay in more lively Arcachon for more dining options and excursion options (Dune de Pilat, boat rides around the bay, ferry to Cap Ferret, etc.) and shopping at the wonderful covered market. And the architecture of the Ville d'hiver (the "winter town"), filled with late 19th c and early 20c villas with sculpted wood gables we found really interesting, along with the neo-Basque villas on the way to the Dune de Pilat (highest sand dune in Europe). And the Arcachon beaches are quite attractive.

If I had a very, very, very ample hotel budget, I'd stay with a car in Pyla sur Mer at the Ha(a)ďtza, a design of Phillippe Starck, although it's extremely expensive in high season. Or just settle for a nice Monday to Friday lunch there next door at La Co(o)rniche.

We stayed at a modest hotel in the "spring resort" of Arcachon with pool but no a/c which we surely needed in early June. If I return, I'll book the 4-star Villa du Moulleau in a garden jr. suite closer to the really architecturally interesting and kind of chic Pyla sur Mer. They have bikes to rent.

I wouldn't personally stay in summer at the very busy summer resort, the Ville d'eté, near the Jettée Thiers, but in October I suspect it would be fine. There's the Hotel le B there right at the seaside promenade or the Arcanse by Inwood but it just didn't appeal to us as much as the area south of the center of Arcachon.

We did this after a stay in the lovely city of Bordeaux, with day trip to St Emilion where I had visited twice before with friends using it as a base, then picked up our rental car at the train station and drove to Arcachon.

While we enjoyed our time on Cap Ferret, shopping, driving around and sampling the fabulous oysters at the cabannes (our favorite being the La Canfouine in Le Canon, where a lovely rosé wine is produced--discovered it on Le Fooding), I personally would get bored staying put there for a week, but that's just me, since I'm not a big sun and sand person and after an hour at the beach I get bored and want to go off to explore.
Many French families find it a really nice, laid back, bicycle-friendly vacation spot and stay for weeks. They use bikes to get around.

About the red peppers (you're thinking about the inland villages of Sare, Ainhoa, Ascain, Itsassou and Espelette, THE red paper town. It celebrates its fęte du piment on Oct. 26-27 this year.
We're heading once again to those parts after San Fermin. A place I think you would love would be the Hotel Restaurant Les Frčres Ibarboure in inland Bidart.

Last edited by Maribel; Jun 24th, 2024 at 03:07 AM.
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Old Jun 24th, 2024, 03:17 AM
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Fęte du Piment in Espelette.

I reread your post carefully and see that you´re thinking about early to mid September rather than October.

If you don´t bike, then you would, I think, want a car for Arcachon or have to depend on taxis and take water trips. You could then return your car to the Bordeaux Gare St Jean and take the TGV to the Biarritz Gare or continue on the TGV to Hendaye where it ends (2.5 hours, because it's very slow after Bordeaux to the border). For exploring the inland Basque villages mentioned above, you'd need a car.

Last edited by Maribel; Jun 24th, 2024 at 03:58 AM.
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