Southwest France is home to the birthplace of surfing in Europe. From Biarritz to Hossegor up past Lacanau, Carcans, Hourtin all the way up to Soulac. You're spoilt for choice when it comes to picking up a board and picking a break. France’s southwest coast is dotted with little surf towns. Here you can find surf shops, board rentals, surf camps and cafes. Surfing competitions and festivals are common throughout the year and the coast exudes a laid back surf vibe.
Biarritz is where the action is. Great waves, a thriving restaurant scene and the sound of clubs set the ambiance. A little way up the coast and you come across Hossegor, a piece of coast renowned for its big waves and as the venue of the annual Quiksilver Pro France.
Lacanau is a quick 45-minute drive west of Bordeaux city and is home to some great surf breaks. However, be warned of large tourist numbers on weekends. Carcans is a little way up the coast from Lacanau and is also a hub for tourists wanting to hit the waves. Further up the peninsula you come across Hourtin where you find where the locals hang out as well as a few good surf schools. Montalivet and Soulac are more quiet and a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle closer to the city.
'Surfers in wetsuits rinsed off salt water under outside water showers and more surfers were arriving carrying longboards and shortboards by the waist and on heads.' Learn more
I looked out to sea. The difference between pro surfer and beginner was achingly obvious. Beginners were getting smashed by whitewater and almost drowning. One longboard pro snaked along a wave, showing off with a soul arch. Another on a shortboard, transitioned to feet elegantly, carving a clean line through a grey blue wave.' Learn more