Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains - French resort

6 December 2019

Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains (in Gascon language “Lo Bocau Vielh”) is a quiet little resort town in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, in the southwest of France. Vieux-Boucau-les-Bains’ exact location is in the Landes de Gascogne area, which is adjacent to the Silver Coast of France.

Vieux-Boucau means “old mouth”. This name is easy to explain. Landes de Gascogne, a vast part of Gascogne, and the “land” word come from the French “landez”, which has one root with the Gallic word “land”, meaning “barren.” This area was called this name in the past, as it stretched for almost 230 km along the Bay of Biscay and was nothing more than vast marshes. They were formed due to the constant water accumulation since the plain between the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees has a natural slope.

Landes is separated from the Bay of Biscay coast by sand dunes – the longest in Europe.

Landes de Gascogne remained a marsh until the end of the 18th century when it was decided to carry out land reclamation and then plant a forest. So the largest forest in Europe, grown by man, appeared in Gascogne. Up to 80% of the forest is pine, but there are also oak, elm, linden, chestnut, alder and other trees.

The region has become a popular destination for tourists since the beginning of the 20th century. One could get to the Silver Coast (Côte d’Argent) through Landes, which got its name from the poet and journalist Maurice Martin, who came here in 1905. It was he who first used this Silver Coast expression inspired by the silvery sheen of the Atlantic Ocean’s waves.

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