With an expansive westerly facing Atlantic coast, France has some of the finest and most beautiful surfing spots in Europe. With great beaches, fantastic surf and the prospect of sunshine it is not surprising that France is magnet for surfers from across the world. Add to that a heady mix of great nightlife and fine cuisine; you have the makings of a great holiday exploring the very best of French reefs and breaks. To help you choose we are going to focus on our top 5 surfing beaches in France.
1. Hossegor, Aquitaine
Nestling in the south west corner of France within border region of Aquitaine, Hossegor is the surfing capital of France, if not Europe! The breaks at Hossegor are widely regarded as world class and often are huge; this is a great spot to ride the perfect tube. Perfect for more experienced surfers, Hossegor is the location for pro competitions including the prestigious Quicksilver event. With miles of beaches to choose from it is not surprising that Hossegor has become a permanent fixture for the pro tour. With such an established surfing community the local economy has developed primarily to support surfing in the area. Much of the picturesque coastline is surrounded by forest which along with the laid back vibe has attracted artists as well as surfers to this part of the Atlantic South West. If you are serious about surfing, Hossegor has definitely got to be on your ‘to do’ list.
2. Biarritz, Aquitaine
The allure of Biarritz is hard to resist, renowned as a luxurious resort since the mid-19th century Biarritz now attracts the surfing elite alongside the chic tourist set. In very close proximity to northern Spain, Biarritz enjoys a good quality of consistent breaks that will thrill regular surfers. Being such a popular resort, Biarritz is also great for beginners with a number of surf schools available to introduce you to the sport. This is a gorgeous part of France with a spectacular rocky coastline dotted with numerous inviting coves. The natural landscape is in keeping with the illustrious history of a resort that has attracted the artistic glitterati for decades, with notable visitors including Earnest Hemmingway who was so enamoured that he included Biarritz in his classic ‘Sun Also Rises’. If you like your surfing with a touch of the exotic and that Californian feel, then Biarritz may be perfect for you.
3. La Sauzaie, Vendee
The Vendee is blessed with some of the largest and most picturesque beaches in France. For surfers the beach of choice is La Sauzaie, where strong Atlantic tubes roll off the local reef to produce some of the most consistent waves in France. Known locally simply as ‘the spot’, Sauzaie’s reputation for great surf has grown particularly in the last two decades. Here you will find large but busy beaches packed with surfers keen to get on board some of the best breaks in the Vendee, with waves often between 1 and 2 metres in height. Nearby Bretignolles-sur-Mer is a great centre for water sports in general with sailing, kite surfing as well as traditional surfing very popular amongst tourists.
4. Moliets , Aquitaine
Set in an area known as Les Landes, the beach at Moliets is set in and amongst beautiful countryside surrounded by sandy dunes. Very popular amongst surfers particularly in the summer and autumn months, this is a fun resort orientated around the outdoors. With a vibrant nightlife Moliets comes alive in summer with an activities based scene is very popular with Brits. There is an unspoilt feel to the area ideal for families but enough going to keep everyone happy. Surfers can enjoy consistent surf throughout the year, this is a huge beach but does get busy in summer. With good breaks from left and right, the Moliets Plage is a great base for your next surfing holiday.
5. La Torche, Brittany
The Celtic connection between Brittany and South West England remains strong and indeed there is a very close relationship in terms of history and indeed geography between Brittany and Cornwall. The western reaches of Brittany, like its English cousin, is fantastic for surfing and perhaps the most famous spot is La Torche, a headland in the Bay of Audierne. Facing the Atlantic the rugged terraine surrounds a large sandy beach which produces regularly long rides, with a particularly fun wave at low tide. The exposed nature of the landscape means the winds off-shore are perfect for watersports and indeed the world wind surfing championships have been held here in the past. There is a great balance here between land and sea, with the countryside blending into the sandy dunes creating a picturesque backdrop for coastal walks. Eminently accessible from the channel ports, Brittany is well served by regular ferry crossings so head to La Torche for the some of the best surfing in North West France.