Lacanau Visitor Guide

 
 
 
LACANAU - OUT & ABOUT

Beaches
Surfing is perhaps the most popular pastime in Lacanau - the town holds World Pro events on a regular basis. Offshoots of the sport such as kite-surfing are now also popular. The beach is supervised in July and August. You can try your hand at surfing or body boarding under tuition from Lacanau Surf Club, or Les Dauphins who cater especially for youngsters (opposite the campsite, on plage Nord). As if there weren’t enough sports on offer, you can even try land-yachting on this gloriously wide sandy beach. 

If the ocean surf is formidable, there are sandy coves around the local lakes - ideal for younger bathers.

Activities
The Lac de Lacanau, 5 miles long, is a very popular spot for families. Every watersport imaginable is available here: swimming, sailing, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing and kayaking, with boats available for hire. To dry off, you can tour the lake on foot, or by hiring a bike – 20kms if you want to do the full circuit.

Lacanau-Ocean boasts 110 kms of safe forest cycle tracks and there are a few options for bike hire in Lacanau. Past clients have specifically recommended Central Garage for bike hire in Lacanau - they will deliver and pick up, there is also Nomade Locations Lacanau bike hire.

Or how about swapping two wheels for four legs - horse-riding.

There is good holiday golf available at Ardilouse Golf International Lacanau-Ocean (2x 18 holes) and Baganais Golf School. Check out our Aquitaine Golf page for more info including the Médoc Golf Pass pass for this region.

Also close to the golf course you will also find 16 tennis courts (4x indoor) and 2x squash courts

Various sea therapy treatments are available at the local Centre de Balnéo Vitalparc. Supposedly great cures for being run-down, anxious, and heavy-legged. We’ve yet to establish if it works for the day after wine tasting. Please let us know if you try this! 

Children’s Tourist Attractions
Bike rental is a nice relaxed way for the whole family to get to know Lacanau-Ocean early in your visit, while you consider activities for the week ahead. Lacanau-Ocean is ideal for junior cyclists (and senior cyclists with kiddie-seats!). There are miles of flat, safe, tracks through the forests and around the lakes. Bikes are available to hire throughout the town, including near the tourist office.

Shopping
There are shops, services and mini-market in the town, as well as a weekly food market in the summer months. For serious boutique shopping, head for Bordeaux

Eating Out
To be quite honest, Lacanau is not a foodie's destination. The cuisine is mostly standard tourist fare. The exception that crops up in client feedback is Le Bistrot du Cochon, close to the sea-front and there are plenty of places to choose from - the standard and choice is improving..
 
Le Bistrot du Cochon, Rue Docteur Darrigan - "great food, lovely ambience and garden"..."food & service brilliant - one of the best meals my wife and I have had in the last few months"
Chez L’Australien, 19 allée Pierre Ortal - part of the Hôtel-Restaurant Le Marian, this venue offers both a casual bar-brasserie and a more formal restaurant (eves). Known as The Australian Bar - "good value place to eat out".
Casa Lolita, Blvd de la Plage - cosy Spanish bar serving tapas and other Spanish fare, right on the seafront.
Le Squale, Pl du Génerale de Gaulle - a cross between a fish market and a self-service restaurant. Each morning you can watch the fishing nets being emptied of the fish that will later find its way onto the menu. Very popular.

Le Taverne de Neptune, Place de l’Europe - for a good range of food, served in a relaxed atmosphere.

La Garluche, Avenue Henri Seguin

Casino, at the Rond Pont du Baganais, "good value for money meals". 


The above list has been compiled with the help of the Lonely Planet Guide (South West France), and The Green Guide (Atlantic Coast).

If you hop onto TripAdvisor, you'll see the Top 3 Ranked Restaurants in Lacanau (as of Sept 2014):
Ranked #1 Le Bistrot des Cochons (we'd agree with that)
Ranked #2 La Cabane
Ranked #3 Le Cordon Bleu

Nightlife
There are summer discotheques and nightclubs to be enjoyed plus there's a casino in Lacanau Ocean near to the Ardilouse golf course.

Arts and Culture
Maubuisson, on the nearby Lac Hourtin Carcans, houses the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires des Landes – focusing on life in and around the forest. Here you will learn more about the tradition of the Médoc area, resin-tapping, and how locals have lived through time.

There are festivals throughout the year, most of which have a sports theme! 

Nature
Far away from the cars, through the footpaths and bike paths of the Lacanau forest, The Étang de Cousseauis a nature reserve bordered on one side by dunes, on the other side by marshland. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, tortoises, deer and a range of migratory birds along the 13 kms of trails. You will also find information points about the many plants, animals and about tapping trees for resin. Allow half a day, and take plenty of water and mosquito repellent.

Excursions

Châteaux and wine tours...
A good way to take a break from all of this sporting activity on offer is to head east to the vineyards. For wine-lovers, the nearby Médoc region is home to several world-class vineyards including celebrated appellations such as St-JulienPauillacHaut-MédocMargaux and Médoc itself. The warm climate and gravelly soil combine to produce some of the world’s most sought-after red wines. Naturally there are plenty of wine-tasting opportunities. To visit the best-known châteaux such as Lafite Rothschild and Margaux, you are advised to make a booking in advance.

A bit of pampering...
An altogether different wine experience can be had at Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, in the middle of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte, vineyards, just south of Bordeaux. The spa offers unique beauty treatments derived from grand cru grapes of the Graves appellation renowned for their anti-ageing and micro-circulation improving properties - in short, visitors apparently come out feeling good!

Visit the 'great lakes'...
The nearby village of Hourtin, to the north, is a great base from which to explore the network of lakes, lagoons and canals – perfect for canoeing. It is also a popular spot for pleasure boats, thanks to the new marina. Lac d'Hourtin-Carcans is France's longest freshwater lake (over 20 kms) and three times the size of lac de Lacanau. Here you will find a range of sports centres, notably MaubuissonBombannes and Hourtin-Port. Bombannes offers boating, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, archery and other games. Hourtin-Port is a major sailing venue. There is a great cycle track between the Lac d'Hourtin-Carcans and the ocean, ideal for finding a private picnic spot in the woods or your own bit of sandy beach. With the scent of fresh pine and sea-salt in the air and with hardly a soul around, this is a most relaxing wilderness!

Alternative beach destinations...
Try Carcans-Plage and Hourtin-Plage to the north, or further south, Cap Ferret

Mingle with the Parisiens...
Cap Ferret and Arcachon are favoured sunning spots and the most exclusive venues on the northern Aquitaine coast. Arcachon is approximately 90 minutes driving distance and has numerous attractions including the magnificent Dune du Pilat – Europe’s highest sand dune. Set on the southerly edge of the Bassin d’Arcachon, the town is perfect for boat trips, seafood, boutique shopping and a good old-fashioned stroll along the promenade or the beautiful Winter Town.

City break in Bordeaux...
It's only 30 miles away, and is a good option for a day-trip, whether it’s boutique shopping, sight-seeing or culture. Walking around the 18th century old town centre (Quartier St. Pierre), you can begin to imagine the city’s commercial and maritime past. 

Visit the medieval gems...
In the Pays des Vins east of Bordeaux - St Emilion, with its 11th century basilica, is the best known but can be busy; St Macaire and La Réole are also enjoyable. 

For further tourist information about the local areas beyond Lacanau, please browse our region guides: 
» Medoc Coast
» Arcachon Bay
» Bordeaux Countryside

Travel advice
Here’s a few words of travel advice when you’re holidaying in Lacanau…the crowds swell in late July and August and parking can be difficult. Our advice is get on your bike!

TripAdvisor Recommends
Lastly, the Top 3 Must-see attractions in Lacanau are:
Ranked #1 Reserve Naturelle de l'Etange de Cousseau (serene, beautiful)
Ranked #2 Golf et Mini Golf UCPA du Baganais (good option for holiday golf with children)
Ranked #3 Lacanau Surf Club
 

Lacanau Ocean

Lacanau golf

Lacanau lake

Lacanau cycle path

 

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