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 Surfing in France | surf.holiday

Surfing in France

  • Veröffentlicht am 07.05.2019 20:20
  • Von Arne Kolisch

Surf camps, surf schools and accommodation

France fascinates European surfer hearts ever since. The Atlantic coast, which stretches from east to west, is perfect for surfing. The part of the coast that pushes our adrenalin is the picturesque stretch from Brittany to the Pyrenees on the border to Spain. Besides waves, this section of France has so much more to offer. There are unique landscapes to admire, such as the Dune du Pilat, sophisticated beach resorts like Biarritz, Bordeaux as a city of culture and many small typically French towns with day markets that fill the heart of every gourmet.


The land of good wine and food is for most of us just around the corner and in fact, most surfers travel with their own cars. The advantage of having your own car is being independent of the local surf spot, you can easily check out the surrounding area and the nearest supermarket. If you do not have a car, you can fly and rent a car on the spot, but it is usually a bit more expensive. For those who want to change to alternatives, we have some great surf camps that offer coaches from different cities in Germany for their guests. Just have a look at our France Camps!


What keeps all surfers busy in France is the search for the perfect sandbank and once you have found it, it can be over with the next big storm. The French Atlantic coast is open and unprotected and therefore in constant change. If you want to surf in France, you have to watch the waves a little longer and pay attention to the tides. In any case, endurance is the key, because if you want to stay in your sweet spot, you usually have to fight with the current. As far as the swell is concerned, one can roughly say that the waves in summer are rather small and everyone finds something to surf, but in winter, the advanced among you are looking forward to bigger waves.

Surfing in Brittany

France's coastline can be divided into three sections, which we would like to introduce to you. Brittany, in the eastern part, is interesting for those who are not afraid of cold water and rough weather. It has a large swell window, but the chances of good clean waves getting through are a bit smaller. With good conditions, it can get quite crowded. If you do venture into the water, you should have your wetsuit ready. The water temperature from January to April is 10 degrees (5/4 wetsuit) from May to June; November to December it is between 12 and 13 degrees (4/3 wetsuit) and in summer it is 15-16 degrees (3/2 wetsuit). The highlights of Brittany are places like Mont St. Michel, the place with one of the largest tidal range of the world, St. Malo, the half islands La Palue, Quiberon and of course the untouched wild nature.

Surfing in Gironde and Landes

Right next to Brittany stretches Gironde and even further south Landes with endless sandy beaches. Along the coastline are several small and large beach resorts that attract the summer crowds. To avoid these crowds just do the trick by staying a little further to the left or right of the cities and what works in the water works on land. The surfing conditions in these parts of France are quite similar. You have beach breaks formed by the many rivers and currents. Since there are few big channels, sandbanks, unfortunately, do not hold anything above 6 feet. The best chances for off shore in France are usually before 11 am.


The most famous surf spots along this coastline are Lacanau and Arcachon in Gironde; Vieux-Boucau, Hossegor and Cap Breton in Landes. In terms of water temperature, Gironde differs slightly from Landes. In Gironde, the water temperature from November to April is 12-14 degrees (4/3 wetsuit), from May to June & September to October 15-18 degrees (3/2 wetsuit) and from July to August 20 degrees (springsuit). For Landes, January to April are 12-13 degrees (4/3 wetsuit), May - June & September - December 15-18 degrees (3/2 wetsuit) and July - August 21 degrees (springsuit).

Surfing in Hossegor

When you are in the region of Landes you should definitely spend some time in Hossegor, venue of the WSL Quik Pro every autumn. Hossegor is considered one of the best beach breaks in France, favoured by a deep water channel that runs directly towards the city. In addition to perfect waves, you can spend your money in the nearby outlet shops, which offer everything you need for surfing. When you are looking for the best spot for your next surf picture, you have to visit Cap Breton. It gets somewhat busy here but either way, it is worth having a look. What you'll find, especially good to see at low tide, are old war bunkers that rise out of the sand and perfectly formed waves behind them.


Beyond the endless beaches and pine fragrant forests, you will find wonderful possibilities for culture and nature excursions. In the eastern part of Gironde lies Bordeaux, here you can eat the best Canelés, drink tasty wine as the name of the city suggests, and have endless opportunities to explore museums and historic sites. A great highlight is also the Dune du Pilat just behind Bordeaux, in Landes. It is the largest shifting dune in Europe, looks almost like a ski resort and invites to unpack a snack and the purchased wine and enjoy the sunset. Along the coasts of Landes, you can experience many small typical French coastal towns with promenades, great markets, and fabulous food.

Surfing the Basque Country

Last but not least, the Basque Country in the west, right next to Spain. Those who are tired of endless beach breaks can enjoy reef plates that even offer conditions for big waves. The most famous reefs are Guéthary and Lafitenia. Do not be scared as this area is not just good for the advanced amongst you, also the beginners will have the best conditions, for example at the beginner beach Hendaye. The downside, in this area of France, larger storms, which can blow the waves out for days, are common. However, you will also have bays, headlands, and jetties that offer shelter from the wind. From the summer beach in Angelt to the winter reef in Guéthary, there is something for everyone. The water temperature is from January - April at 12-13 degrees (4/3 wetsuit) from May - June & September at 15-19 degrees (3/2 wetsuit) and from July to August at 22 degrees (springsuit).


If you go on an exploration tour, take your time to experience Biarritz. Biarritz offers small bathing bays, long walks along the rocks in the city, a big bathing beach and tracks along the steep coast a little further outside the city centre. As always, "the French live like the gods" and you see lots of small restaurants and boulagerien with fantastic food and drinks. Those who visit the Basque Country in spring should go to the Fete de Bayonne. Here you will be part of a huge party that runs through all the streets with fireworks, stalls and lots of wine. Those who dare to unpack their French might even find their way to the many balcony parties.


As you can see, France should definitely be on your list :)

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