Main attractions along the Atlantic coast
The Atlantic coast is as majestic and striking as the rolling waves which come crashing on to its sandy shore. The long sandy beaches and pine forests provide an ideal backdrop for outdoor activities such as walking, cycling and horse riding, while its lively seaside resorts offer a whole host of options for nature-lovers, sports fans and sun-worshippers alike.
Looking for inspiration? Discover our seaside resorts and surrounding areas
Bénodet: at the tip of southern Brittany
Standing on Brittany’s southernmost tip, Bénodet is a human-sized seaside resort. Its beaches include the Plage du Trez, in the heart of Bénodet, the Plage de la Pointe St Gilles, the perfect spot for some enjoyable shellfish picking, the Plage du Letty, on the lagoon, and the Plage du Coq, which enjoys natural exposure to the late-afternoon sun.
In terms of activities, the resort has a whole host of options for young and old – sailing, sports, walking along the coast, cultural visits (including the Musée du Bord de Mer and two biscuit manufacturers which welcome visitors) and boat trips along the Odet river or to the Glénans archipelago, which consists of 7 small islands boasting idyllic white sandy beaches.
Just 15km away, visitors can explore Quimper, the capital of Cornouaille, taking a stroll through its lively narrow streets lined with half-timbered houses, visiting the cathedral and admiring the town’s famous earthenware.
Pornic: the gateway to Brittany and the Vendée
Situated just 50km from Nantes, Pornic is the perfect place to get away from it all with its marina, medieval town and beaches. Wander through the medieval town and admire the castle of the terrifying Gilles de Rais, better known by the name of Bluebeard. Nature-lovers will be in their element following the “Sentier des douaniers” (customs-officers’ footpath) which stretches for 15km along the coast, while spa enthusiasts will enjoy recharging their batteries at the Alliance Pornic, a real institution and one of the best-known thalassotherapy centres in France. Just an hour from Pornic, the Parc Naturel Régional de Brière consists of marshland which is home to many species of preserved flora and fauna. Meanwhile, wine-lovers may like to follow the “Route du Vignoble Nantais” in order to discover the region’s Muscadet, a dry white wine which is the perfect accompaniment to fish and seafood.
Rendez-vous in Saint-Jean de Monts on the Vendée’s Côte de Lumière
Surrounded by white sandy beaches, pine forests and salt marshes, Saint Jean de Monts is an ideal destination for a family holiday in the great outdoors. Famous for its 8km-long beach, a perfect spot for beach games and relaxing strolls, this resort offers a whole host of sporting and cultural activities for all the family, including golfers who will be in their element at the golf course situated just 300m from the sea. Getting around the resort is child’s play thanks to a well-developed network of cycle paths and footpaths.
You’re also sure to enjoy a visit to the nearby islands of Noirmoutier, accessible by boat but also by road thanks to the bridge linking the island to the mainland, and the Ile d’Yeu, the island furthest away from mainland France after Corsica.
Biscarrosse in the Landes region, surrounded by pine forests and sand dunes
Situated to the south of Bordeaux, the Forêt des Landes is planted with pine trees and is the largest forest in Europe. Just on the edge of this forest, Biscarrosse stands between the sea and the land, offering all the delights of freshwater and sea water activities with its many lakes and impressive ocean waves. Famous for its huge dunes, this resort also boasts some of the best sites for surfing or kite-surfing lessons. Don’t miss the seaplane museum which recounts the exploits of aviation pioneers and hosts a major seaplane event in May every other year, which attracts 25,000 aviation enthusiasts to the region. In the nearby Arcachon basin, come and explore the Dune du Pyla, the highest sand dune in Europe at a height of over 100m! And, of course, your holiday would not be complete without a visit to the wine estates of the Bordeaux region!
Staying in Biarritz on the Basque coast
Staying in Biarritz allows you to follow in the footsteps of famous visitors such as Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie, and the author Ernest Hemingway, while still enjoying an extremely contemporary experience. Here, authenticity and modernity go hand in hand. Discover the 50 different aquariums in the Musée de la Mer, try your luck in the resort’s casino, or spoil yourself with a well-being treatment at one of the town’s 2 thalassotherapy centres.
Biarritz has also been Europe’s surfing capital since 1957 and now boasts no fewer than 11 surfing schools, while golfing and equestrian enthusiasts are also well catered for. Lastly, why not introduce your taste buds to the delights of Basque cuisine, either in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a more casual eatery – the choice is yours!
Anglet, a paradise for surfers – and much more besides!
When it comes to choosing a beach, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Anglet, as the resort has no fewer than 11 beaches – surfers should make for the Plage des Dunes and Plage des Cavaliers, both of which are renowned for surfing. The resort also boasts dedicated paths and trails for walking and cycling,a tree-top adventure park, and a whole host of other outdoor activities and facilities for nature-lovers, especially in the Forêt du Pignada and Izadia ecological park. And if you want to learn all about Basque cuisine, then make sure you head to Quintaou market for a stroll among its colourful stalls. Meanwhile, just a few miles away,don’t miss Bayonne, the economic and cultural capital of the French Basque country which is famous for its monuments, festivals, chocolate and delicious ham.
Hendaye, a stone’s throw from the Spanish border
Hendaye is the last resort on the French Basque coast, offering countless water sports sites and facilities which make it ideal for activities for all the family, especially windsurfing, scuba diving and sailing. Breathtaking views can be enjoyed from the old medieval town situated on a hill, while the Château d’Abbadia overlooking the cliffs was founded by the explorer Antoine d’Abbadie – don’t miss it! And if you plan on walking along the “Sentier du Littoral” (coastal path), then take time before you set off to stroll around the port with its unique atmosphere. Nearby towns worth a visit include Biarritz and Bayonne. We look forward to seeing you soon in the Basque Country!