Visit the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park

Published on 18/10/2023

Straddling the Landes and Gironde dĂ©partements, the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park covers 3,150 kmÂČ, or 30 times the size of Paris. Whether you're looking for a sporting, artistic or cultural itinerary, here are five ideas for micro-adventures to explore this vast area of unspoilt woodland.

Canoeing down the Leyre

Long used to irrigate the meadows of the Landes de Gascogne, the Leyre is a small, wild and tranquil river that rises in the Landes forest and flows into the Leyre Delta in the Arcachon basin. It has been nicknamed the "Little Amazon" because of its exceptional flora and fauna. From the base at Commensacq in the Landes, you can canoe down the Leyre. Under a gallery forest of deciduous trees and on clear water, it's a real change of scenery.

Visit the MarquĂšze eco-museum in Sabres

In the heart of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, on a magnificent 25-hectare site, the Musée de MarquÚze offers visitors a unique insight into the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Grande Lande at the end of the 19th century: traditional timber-framed houses, wells, bread ovens, hen houses, sheepfold, bakery.... Here you can learn about farm animals, old-fashioned cereal growing, old-fashioned games and pen-and-ink writing. Exhibitions are held in the ecomuseum pavilion. The train is waiting for you at Sabres station!

Birdwatching at the RĂ©serve ornithologique du Teich

To the south of the Arcachon Basin, bordering the Landes département, the Le Teich ornithological reserve promises some wonderful discoveries for nature lovers. Every ten days, observers count and map the birds. Nearly 260 different species have already been spotted. Visit the reserve in a different way during guided outings with the "Evening Visitors" in summer when the Park is closed, and the "Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter Visitors" in the morning. Every year, in the depths of winter, the migration of the grey cranes attracts thousands of enthusiasts and curious onlookers. Further information: https: //www.reserve-ornithologique-du-teich.com/

Stroll through the Forest of Contemporary Art

In the heart of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, between the southern Gironde and the Haute Lande, the ForĂȘt d'Art Contemporain has installed over 27 works of art since 2009. Enter nature as if you were in a museum! The works are sometimes monumental, sometimes discreet, and can be found in the forest, on an old railway line or an abandoned airial. "Volute", the 27th work in the Forest of Contemporary Art, has taken root in Brocas-les-Forges. This wonderful project, which has been running for 15 years, has now become a destination in its own right. Further information: www.laforetdartcontemporain.com

Enter a Cercle de Gascogne

Who's heard of the Cercles de Gascogne? Located in the heart of a village, these are community cafés that have survived the centuries, where you can still have a drink and enjoy a meal shoulder-to-shoulder with a merry gathering. The origins of the cercles de Gascogne date back to the aftermath of the French Revolution, in the same way as the cafés citoyens. Many of them have not stood the test of time. Twenty-three remain today. Further information: http: //cercles-gascogne.fr/

Swimming at Hostens lake

In Hostens, in the heart of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park, the Hostens estate extends over an exceptional 600-hectare site, surrounded by five large lakes and numerous wetlands. Classified as a sensitive natural area, it is home to remarkable flora and fauna, including many protected species. There's also a leisure centre offering a range of activities around the five lakes. There's also a beach for swimming and a reserve for fishing and birdwatching. For biodiversity lovers, naturalist tours are also available for an immersive experience.

Useful links :

- Official website of the Landes de Gascogne Regional Nature Park: www.parc-landes-de-gascogne.fr

- Website dedicated to walking and hiking: www.rando-landes-de-gascogne.com

- Where to stay: in the heart of the Landes forest, the 5-star Le Vieux Port campsite offers a wide choice of accommodation: mobile homes, chalets, premium lodges, pitches with private sanitary facilities, equipped tents, etc.

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