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Lacanau is a town in southwestern France located in the Gironde department, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which enjoys a privileged location. Its history and heritage deserve real interest ... In Occitan Gascon, the city is called "La Canau".

In the 1st century

In the 1st century, a modest village of Gallic huts stood at the mouth of the Canau river. This small port called Port Maurice was occupied by the Romans who replaced the huts with beautiful stone houses. The river being very deep, the high-side boats ventured very far inland to the Andrauts.

In the 6th century

In the 6th century, a geological phenomenon caused a large quantity of sand to emerge from the bottom of the sea, which invaded the whole region. The invasion of the coast by the sands will change the ponds of the Médoc over the centuries.

In the 12th century

In the 12th century, a hamlet existed in Talaris. There would have been a church before the one which was near the seigneurial castle was built. He was evacuated because of the rising waters. It is said that Saint Louis would have disembarked at the port of Talaris before joining Bordeaux via Castelnau. It was also in the 11th century that construction began on the pond, on the peninsula of the goats along the river 'La Canau' on the south side and the pond on the east side.

In the 13th century

The castle was moved and replaced in the 13th century by another building, in wood like the previous one, but more solid. Lacanau then became a stage of the Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle routes starting from Blaye and passing through Soulac, Sainte-Hélène-de-l'Etang and Carcans. A third and last castle was built in the 15th century which was not destroyed until 1806.

In the 18th century

The Saint-Vincent-de-Lacanau church, initially located 500m east of the current shore of the lake, was moved in 1764-1765 to its final location because the construction of a dike was not enough to prevent the advance of the marshes. From then on, the Médoc had only one pond left along the ocean coast from Sainte-Hélène-de-l'Etang to Lège.

In the 19th century

1884. Inauguration of the first railway line linking Arès to Lesparre with a stop at Lacanau.

1884. Mr. Pierre Ortal, owner in Lacanau Bourg and head of the Landes Railways department, informs the municipality of Lacanau in writing of his intention to create a seaside resort on the coastal dunes of the municipality.

1885. A new railway line linking Bordeaux to Lacanau is opened. The Bourg welcomes new traders, new Belle Époque-style residences, and new inhabitants.

In the twentieth century

1904/1905. Thanks to a new economic railway line created between Lacanau and the coastal dunes, it is now possible to go by train to the village of Talaris, to the tourist resort of Moutchic and to the new seaside resort by the ocean.

1906. On the coastal dunes, the first villas emerge from the sands on land offered by the Société immobilière de Lacanau and from the railway from Lacanau to the ocean. For the first time the name of the seaside resort appears in a document from the municipality of Lacanau: Lacanau Océan.

1908. In Moutchic, the first villas, including Baron de Kertel's Tower of Pines, were built on land offered by the same real estate company. With the arrival of the train since 1904, this fishing spot is gradually becoming a new tourist site.


Since then, Lacanau has continued to grow and attract more and more visitors. The swimmers who came aboard the “pleasure trains” to bravely brave the waves, hanging on to a rope, have given way to surfers, whose spot is now recognized worldwide.

Station anchored in its environment, the offer of outdoor sports has diversified. Trendy terraces have conquered the aisles, shops have multiplied. With 100,000 visitors during the summer season, Lacanau Océan does not have to be ashamed of its place as the first seaside resort in the Gironde.