Must-see places in the Landes forest

Published on 20/02/2024

What to see and do in the ForĂȘt des Landes? The Landes forest is so big that it's not always easy to know where to go. Camping Le Vieux Port has selected five emblematic places to visit.

The Pilat Dune

With the ocean on one side and the Landes de Gascogne forest on the other, the Dune du Pilat is pretty well surrounded! Listed as a "Grand Site de France", this gigantic natural dune near Arcachon, the highest in Europe, offers a breathtaking view of the immense pine forest. A staircase leads up to the top of the sand mountain, which reaches an altitude of over 100 metres and is 3 kilometres long.

The lake at Biscarrosse and Parentis

Nestling in the heart of the Landes forest, just a few minutes from the ocean, the Biscarrosse and Parentis lakes is a small island of coolness surrounded by pine trees and bordered by numerous beaches. You can enjoy water sports such as sailing, paddle-boarding or kayaking, or simply stroll along the water's edge, admiring the beauty of the surrounding forest landscape. A path through the forest overlooks the lake.

The MarquĂšze eco-museum

If you're interested in the history of the Landes forest, make a diversion to the MarquĂšze eco-museum, near Mont-de-Marsan. Located in Sabres, this open-air museum presents the changes in Landes society since the early 19th century: landscapes (moorland, airial, forest, etc.), architecture, skills (such as gemmage, the harvesting of pine resin) and the farming methods of Landes shepherd-farmers. For more information, see our article on visiting the MarquĂšze ecomuseum.

Graine de ForĂȘt at Garein

Just 10 minutes from the MarquĂšze ecomuseum, don't hesitate to stop off at Garein. This is where you'll find "Graine de forĂȘt", the Landes Forest Discovery Centre. A visit to the small museum and interpretation trail offers a sensitive and accessible approach to the cultivated forest and its natural environment. You'll learn interesting things about the history of forestry, the timber industry and its trades, and the flora and fauna of the Landes forest massif. Information and prices: Graine de Foret.

DID YOU KNOW? The Landes forest is the largest in Europe. It covers more than a million hectares straddling the Landes and Gironde départements. Strictly speaking, it is not a "natural" forest, but an artificial one. It was Napoleon III who decided to plant the forest in 1857 in order to reclaim the marshes and turn them into farmland.

The Arjuzanx Nature Reserve

Lovers of flora and fauna will be amazed by a visit to the Arjuzanx National Nature Reserve. This reserve is home to an incredible diversity of birds, including grey cranes. The well-maintained and signposted forest tracks guide visitors through landscapes of great heritage value, between lakes and pine forests, offering an incredible playground for amateur photographers and birdwatchers. Until the 1990s, this protective setting for biodiversity was a former brown coal mine operated by EDF.

The Forest of Contemporary Art

For a unique artistic experience in the heart of the Landes forest, don't miss the Forest of Contemporary Art. This is a forest walk where works of art, often monumental, are hidden away in nature. In 2024, there will be 27 of them. Visitors can adapt their itinerary to suit their location (car and trainers essential). These works of art can be discovered in the four corners of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, in Mont-de-Marsan, Commensacq, Brocas and Sabres.

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