Biscarrosse, a beach resort on the Aquitaine coast, and third-largest city in the Landes county, has been a municipality for nearly 30 years. It has 13,000 permanent residents, and anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 inhabitants in the summer season.
Biscarrosse is divided into three different areas:
- the city, the commercial and business districts
- the lakes
- the beach resort area
These three sections are nestled within the largest forest in Europe, the Forest of the Gascony Landes, with 1.2 million ha (~3 million acres) of pine trees. Located within an hour drive from Bordeaux, Aquitaine's regional capital, and about an hour and a half drive from Spain, Biscarrosse is easily accessible, which makes it a popular beach resort for visitors all year long.
Biscarrosse Beach, a place where life feels good year round
The recently remodeled central plaza and pedestrian streets, make the Biscarrosse beach an ideal spot for families to walk around and go shopping. Open from the first days of spring until mid-autumn, everyone can relax and enjoy themselves at the local bars and restaurants, many of which boast outdoor terraces.
During the summer season, the beach atmosphere is in full swing. While the sun sets, music and live street entertainment fill the town. Visitors can dance to jazz music, celebrate the sounds of salsa, and enjoy surprise performances, like concerts, clown acts and more.
Each day at the Biscarrosse Beach, there are new festivities for visitors. And for the late-nighters, they can continue to have fun in bars and clubs till the early morning. This is the Biscarrosse way of life, where visitors of all ages can enjoy themselves.
An exceptional environment on the Aquitaine coast
The natural sites and diversity of the land is what best defines Biscarrosse. Sandy beaches stretch along the oceanside, clear water lakes glisten in the sun, and majestic pine tree forests fill the dunes and hills. Offering a unique panorama from the lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, Biscarrosse is the only beach city on the Landes coast to offer such a diverse landscape.
Here, everything is beautiful. The breath-taking surroundings, mixed with many seasons of sunshine, makes Biscarrosse a desired destination for leisure activities in a diverse natural environment.
Unique aspects of a beach city totally oriented towards nature
The municipality of Biscarrosse is the largest inLandes County. Spanning about 20,000 ha (~50,000 acres, twice the size of Paris), two-thirdsof it's land is covered by forest. Constrasting wth the large majority of theLandes landscape, Biscarrosse stands out with its unique geology and charmingatmosphere.
The coastline is rich with beaches, dunes, and pine fieldsalong the Atlantic Ocean. Moving inland, a majestic and impressive hilly forestsurroundes the two great lakes of Biscarrosse, making up a total of 10,000ha (~25,000 acres) of fresh water.
The lake of Biscarrosse/Cazaux/Sanguinet is bordered by large,beautiful white sandy beaches, from which visitors can observe the reflection ofthe nearby forest on the unique, crystal clear and turquoise water. Along theshoreline, the shallow waters recall the feeling of a Pacific lagoon, making ita safe and scenic place for both children and adults to swim. In the summer,the water rises to a comfortable temperature, ranging from 24-28°C (75-82°F).
Move, breathe, have fun!
In Bascarrosse, there are activities for all ages and athleticabilities. Within its lakes and forests, visitors can take advantage ofnautical sports, sailing, local adventure activities, horseback riding,bicycling, golf and more. On the beach, visitors can enjoy relaxing, canoeing,swimming, boating, windsurfing, or having a go on a surf board.
Cycling tracks and pedestrian trails
Over 90 km (~56 miles) of hiking trails divided into 8 different routes,connects the city, beach and lakes. For those who enjoy bike riding, 40 km (~25 miles) ofcycling trails reach as high as the Dune of Pilat, 15 km (~9 miles) to the north, down tothe southern part of the county, filled with verdant nature.
Biscarrosse, where air mail began
One could say that air mail started in Biscarrosse. Under the initiative of Pierre Georges Latécoère, an engineer from Toulouse, a new flight route was created to connect Toulouse to Santiago, Chile. However, a transatlantic flight with a classic plane was too intimidating at the time. Latécoère decided to use seaplanes for his project, and he chose Biscarrosse as his homebase, due to its close proximity to his factory in Toulouse. In 1930, the assembling base was created, named after Latécoère, and test flights began. “La Compagnie Générale Aéropostale” (the French Air Mail Company) was conceived that same year.
Air France then began its first regular passenger flights starting in Biscarrosse and landing in New York City, Natal in Brazil, and the French West Indies. Several hundred seaplanes, one of which was “Le Croix du Sud”, departed from the lake of Biscarrosse; the greatest legends of the sky, such as Mermoz, Guillaumet, Saint Exupéry, Bonnot, Hébrard, and Jozan, flew those air giants.
Today, Biscarrosse is an international attraction for amateur pilots and other interested visitors; every two years, they host an International Seaplane Reunion on the Latécoère site.
Biscarrosse in the center of history
Numerous sites testify to Biscarrosse’s significant history through the centuries. One of these important sites is the Seaplane Museum, which is located on the southern shores of Biscarrosse, built on the site of the former Latécoère seaplane base. Today, the museum hosts large exhibits that showcase the fantastic history of seaplanes through collectable treasures, documents and original restored seaplanes.
Another important site is Church of Saint Martin (External link) . This church, dating back to the XIV or XV century, was made with a local stone called "Garluche". Recently renovated by the municipality and the church community, it now has 3 naves: the lateral naves (14m long and 4m wide), and the main nave (31m long and 6.5m wide), built with pink bricks. Pillars, arches, white stone vault ceilings, walls made with "garluche", stained glass, altars, and the unique woodwork can be easily admired at this church.
The Castle of Montbron is another top destination, which was rebuilt in the XVI century. It now boasts a main building with two towers on the facade. Mullioned windows on the ground floor were transformed in the XIX century. The courtyard is sealed by two lateral buildings. Large stone fireplaces from the XVII and XVIII century remain on the ground floor today. Visitors can view the lake from the castle; a legend talks about an underground passageway that once would have taken people from the north tower to the water.
Another legend exists in the town, called "The Elm Tree Legend". Around 1450, a young shepherd woman, Adeline, was wrongly accused of being unfaithful to her fiancé Pierre with an English officer. The council of the ancients judged her guilty, and forced her to be exposed naked under the tree of justice for one day. By sunset, she died of shame and sorrow. The day after, on the trunk of the elm tree, precisely where Adeline put her head, flowers bloomed, looking like a bride's white flower bouquet. Since that moment, each year in May, white flowers bloom in the very same place.
Museum of traditions
Created in 1988, the Museum of Traditions (External link) is a vibrant destination thanks to donations of furniture, hardware, documents and more detailing the history of Biscarrosse. The museum showcases the area's culture, details about its landscape, the way men built and maintained it, as well as information on the dunes and lakes, and man's achievements that established our region.
How to get there
By car: From Bordeaux, take the A63 highway, then follow on the A66 highway and exit at Mios/Biscarrosse. Follow the signs in the Biscarrosse direction.
By train: The closest stations are Ychoux (20 minutes), Arcachon (25 minutes), Facture (35 minutes), and Bordeaux (1hour).
By plane: The iBordeaux-Mérignac International Airport is approximately 50 minutes from Biscarrosse
Tourist Office of Biscarrosse
55 Place G. Dufau
40602 BISCARROSSE CEDEX
Phone : +33 (0)5 58 78 20 96
Fax : +33 (0)5 58 78 23 65
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org (External link)