Market Guide: Gironde – Arcachon

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Arcachon is a beguiling town at the mouth of Arcachon Bay. It is essentially Basque-looking in nature, even though it’s not a Basque town at all.

Its architectural mish-mash works very well and stems from its transformation during the Belle Époque from declining fishing port to posh tourist resort. Around the same time, the old-fashioned (and much more dangerous) fishing went out the window and the safer shellfish-farming became the business to get into for hordes of tourists who came looking for authentic sea food. The “winter town” (ville d’hiver) in Arcachon gives you a throwback to what things were like in Arcachon back in this era when wealthy city folk built their large second homes here and wintered in the mild climate. It’s well worth popping into the local tourist office and getting the audio-guide that gives you a fascinating tour of this part of town.

The town has a main market every day of the year (except Mondays outside of school holidays) from 07:00 to 13:00 indoors in the centre of the town at the Hall Baltard on Place du Carreau. Plenty of sea food fresh from the bay available here, plus lots of non-seafood local produce too. During July and August, this market is also open from 17:00 to 20:00

During the months of July and August, meanwhile, there is an organic market every Tuesday morning from 08:00 to 14:00 on the Avenue Notre Dame des Passes. About 15 stands are usually represented here selling bread, cheese, épicerie, honey, wines and lots of other lovely local goodies.

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