The Courant D'Huchet nature reserve was created around this estuary in September 1981, a habitat which is home to a number of exotic trees, a multitude of birds (egret, osprey, night heron, eaglets, hawks, cormorants, etc.) and mammals (deer, otters, wild boar, etc.).

This is perhaps the most visited route of the entire Landes coast, both on foot and by boat. It is not for nothing that it is a highly protected nature reserve with landscapes of great beauty.

The route starts at Pichelèbe, where, in addition to the information centre, there is a large car park which is usually full in the summer months; however, vehicles also park on the verges of the road, where there is hardly any traffic.

1. Information centres
2. Tour
3. How to get to Pichelèbe
4. Boat trip

(Click on image to enlarge)

1. Information centres

The Reserve has two reception and information buildings for the public:

 Maison de la Réserve. Located in Léon, by the lake (374 rue des berges du lac 40550 Léon).
Opening hours:
- 1 April to 30 June: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
- 1 July to 30 September: Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 h. to 12:30 h. and from 14:00 h. to 17:00 h.
- 1 October to 31 March: Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.

 Chalet Pichelèbe.

Opening times:
Tuesday to Thursday: from 14:00 h. to 17:30 h.

Weekends: from 14:00 h. to 17:00 h.

Closed on Mondays and Fridays

 

2. Tour

The route is long, almost 20 km, but is divided into two clearly divided sections, both starting in Pichelèbe:

Pichelèbe - Mouth. 8.5 km (round trip). It runs along the estuary until it reaches the beach.

Pichelèbe - La Nasse - Cout de lÁuga. 10 km (return trip). Connects Pichelèbe with Lac de Léon. This section, which runs through the forest of the reserve next to the estuary, can be shortened to 6 km if you only go as far as La Nasse.

The first of these, the one leading to the sea, is by far the most frequented by the thousands of tourists who come to the reserve every summer.

The route starts off along a pretty path through pine trees that runs alongside the Courant d'Huchet at all times. At several points along this first stretch there are small paths from which you can approach the river, as shown in the picture.

Further on we can see a small, short path that leads to a hut located in front of a small lake: this is an observatory from which we can see, if we are lucky, some of the fauna that inhabits this place or that rests before continuing their seasonal migration.

Approximately one kilometre further on, there is a crossroads on the right that leads down to the river. Take the path on the right (there is a sign with a small blue arrow indicating the direction to follow). In any case, the path that continues straight on ends at the same point and is the return route, but it is advisable to follow the indications on the signs.

As we approach the mouth of the Huchet estuary, the views from the road become more spectacular:

3. How to get to Pichelèbe

4. Boat trip

If you don't feel like walking or if you fancy a boat trip, there is a boat service on Lake León that connects the lake with the mouth of the estuary. From the calm river waters you can discover marshes, peat bogs and dunes, where many species of animals nest, including 200 species of birds, otters, mink, grey herons, cistus (turtles) and a great variety of fish.

The boats are driven by the 35 bateliers who are part of the G.I.E. des bateliers, an independent organisation of the nature reserve.

Opening hours:
- From 1 April to 30 June: 2-hour boat trips, departing at 10 am and 2.30 pm.
- From 1 July to 31 August: 2-hour boat trips at 10am; 3 and 4-hour boat trips at 2.30pm.
- From 1 September to 31 October: 2-hour boat trips, departing at 10am and 2.30pm.

Prices:

Adults Children (up to 6 years old)
2 hours 15 € 8,50 €
3 hours 20 € 11,50 €
4 hours 25 € 14,00 €