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“Visit the Winter town on the petite train”

Winter Town (Ville d’Hiver)
Ranked #3 of 49 things to do in Arcachon
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 4 April 2018

We visited Arcachon in June 2017 and really wanted to see the old villas in the so-called Winter Town. While it can be done on foot, the petite train has commentary in English so you get more for your euros! Before WW1 it was home to the rich and famous of Europe taking in the pine-scented air for the health benefits. All of the villas are unique, and it a pleasant way to while away an hour or so. Good value for money.

1  Thank Rod F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 28 October 2017

Arcachon was built in 1857 by imperial decree of Emperor Napoleon III. He asked Baron Haussman to plan the city and the Pereire Brothers to built villas in the Ville d'Hiver where the very wealthy upper class families could come to be treated for tuberculosis and compete with the thriving sanatoriums of Switzerland. Specialised doctors would visit their patients in these villas and provide the relevant treatment. Today, most villas have been changed into apartments and the law specifies that the external facades must be renovated every 5 to 7 years. They are truly grand old buildings reflecting the splendour of a past century and a rich, refined clientele. If you like architecture and buildings, these buildings must be visited either on foot or with the "Little Touristic Train" which departs from the corner of the SNCF train station and Tourism Office. Arcachon is divided into 4 quarters - all named after the four seasons. Ville d'Ete et de Printemps (summer and spring districts) are situated on the sea front, the Ville d'Hiver and the Ville d'Automne (Winter and Autumn districts) are on the heights of Arcachon.

3  Thank AlineElsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 11 October 2017 via mobile

In an earlier review, “Paul R” from Leighton Buzzard, England, thinks that Ville d’Hiver is “the most dismal place” he’s ever visited. I stayed in Ville d’Hiver, and it is a lovely green and leafy area with some absolutely awesome houses. I’m not an expert in architecture, but I’m guessing most of these villas are 1850-1930 and have beautiful Belle Époque / Art Nouveau features. Some are just impressively massive. I must visit Leighton Buzzard sometime, because the architecture there must really be something else.

2  Thank BobboyPickle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 3 October 2017

We took the petit train and had a tour of the town - the villas are so grand and some are huge. Shame the town planners got involved in the 70s as some are now cheek to jowl against modern carbuncles.

1  Thank IanandGilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 5 September 2017

We stayed in an airbnb in the Winter Village during our stay in Arcachon. It is a lovely part of town and within walking distance of the shopping area and beach. On our own we walked around and admired the architecture but later took the bus tour that leaves from the information center and learning about the history made the experience all the more complete. Highly recommend.

Thank Judy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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