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Surf Guide France

How good is a surf trip to France? C'est Magnifique, right?

Discover 7 surf spots in this Surf Guide. For each surflevel. Surfspots in a lovely setting.

Since 2011, we have been documenting our surf trips to France. For a long time, we wanted to make a digital surf guide. This is the first issue. Enjoy.

So, Below you will find the overview of 7 surf spots. From the North tot surf spots deeply hidden in the Basque country. We are going from north to south. And start in Normandy.

7 of our favourite French surf spots

Normandy

Normandy needs a thick west or southwest swell to bring the surf spots to life here. That is why this is a region that you should keep an eye on during the winter. With the limestone rocks and cliffs you are surrounding by wonderful nature which is good in regard to a holiday feeling.

Our choice for the surf spot: Yport

1. Yport

Yport. A wonderful lefthander.

In Normandy, in the shadow of well known Etretat. Perfect for a weekend break. For beginners this surf spot is not ideal. It's particularly good with a thick southwestern swell, which hits Brittany and rolls into the Canal. The wind should gave a little southern direction to it. Than it’s offshore!

Practical information:

  • Southwest wind is the most favorable
  • Mid and high tide is the best to score good waves
  • Overnight stays at Camping le Rivage.
  • Parking is easy right next to the beach
  • A surf school is not here. You can not rent boards here. In Etretat, there is a surf shop.

Brittany

If we go south to Brittany, we will come to the surfers paradise with crystal clear water. Raw rock formations. Bays for shelter. And it's always good for the smallest swells. Surfing is virtually guaranteed here. As for the weather; Yes, it's raining sometimes. But as the locals say: It only rains on fools.

We have selected two spots here: Baie de Trépassés and Penhors.

2. Baie de Trépassés

Baie de Trépassés

IIn Brittany in the most western tip of France. Deep in the Atlantic Ocean you will find a bay. With always clear water. And waves a plenty.

Baie de Trépassés.

It's a pretty big bay. With waves in the middle, on the south and north of the bay. So you can choose where it's best for you. A nice spot to take a walk and see the bay from above.

Practical information:

  • Wind with a little east to it is perfect for beautiful surfing conditions
  • Every tide is good here. But with some more push with increasing tide.
  • During the summer, parking spaces along the road may be busy.
  • You can rent surfboards here
  • You can take surfing lessons here ( link to the surf school )
  • Tip for overnight: Surfhouse Bretagne

3. Penhors

Penhors. #sunset.

At half an hour from Baie de Trépassés you will find our second choice in Brittany. As soon as the wind has some north direction you’ll find mellow waves at Penhors. Then this is the place. Great for beginners and intermediates. Lovely to spend a day on the beach with your family. Works mainly with rising tide.

Practical information:

  • The wind must come from the north or have a little eastern direction.
  • Upcoming tide is best. Mid to high tide especially.
  • Parking is excellent next to/at the beach.
  • You can rent surfboards here.
  • You can take surfing lessons here ( link to surf school (also for rent))
  • Tip for a delicious pizza: Penn ar Bed.
  • Overnight stay? As stated before: check Surfhouse Brittany

This is also Brittany:

From Breton crepes to a nice family holiday

Vendee

South from Brittany you will find the Vendee. Adjacent to the ocean and the beautiful Loire area (tasty wines!). And not so far away form Paris. The Vendee is not spectacular in its landscape. Even on the coast side it can get a little boring. Until you are on the beach. You will find some smaller cliffs and some bays. And you have crazy good surf spots here. Especially for Parisians the perfect place, because it is only 4 hours away from the capital. And did you know that the Vendee together with the Cote d'Azur has the most sunshine every year?

Tip: The Vendee is famous for the delicious oysters

Our choice here is La Sauzaie.

4. La Sauzaie

La Sauzaie. For intermediates and advanced surfers.

IIn the Vendee. At the village of Bretignolles sur Mer. Actually even right in the village. An understated place by many. At least, most surfers go to the Bordeaux / Biarritz region. But the Vendee has a lot of beauty. Just zoom in on Google Maps. And you’ll be surprised.

La Sauzaie is a gem. One of the many reef breaks in the Vendee. Through the surface, the waves here always break higher than in the area. Expect some locals. And get in from midtide. Only then it starts to run well.

Practical information:

  • The wind must have something easterly in the direction. Although it can handle a maximum of 3 Bft onshore
  • Upcoming tide is best. Don’t go in when it’s lowtide.
  • Parking is within walking distance. There is a road. With parking spaces next to it.
  • Surflessons; unfortunately. To take lessons you need to drive to the south. At Les Dunes (both a surf beach and a camping site) you’ll find Atlantic Lizard Surf School.
  • Tip for overnight stay: Camping Les Cypres. A car may be required in this area. But this campsite is within walking distance of another beach. And near St Gilles.

Gironde

The department of Bordeaux. A great authentic French city that is worth a visit. In this are you’ll find the typical French beaches. Outstretched. Needle forests. Naked beaches. Surf!

The sandbanks should be very favorable here. If that is not that the case then walk a nice stretch over the beach. Somewhere near, the banks will be good. And it's also a bit quieter.

We chose this surf spot: Le Porge

5. Le Porge

Beachhouse Le Porge

Le Porge is the closest surfspot to Bordeaux. So super easy to drive to. And yet it is not very busy here. At least, if you compare it to Lacanau a few kilometers away.

Le Porge is a small French village. Not so attractive, but Plage le Porge has it all. A typical French beach. With the nude beaches on every side of the beach ofcourse. The scent of the coniferous forest. And good waves. In the high season you can easily rent a surfboard in various places. Lessons are also possible of course.

Practical information:

  • Offshore wind (easterly direction) is the best here. In the summer it is almost always in the morning. This has to do with the temperature differences between the ocean and the country.
  • Every tide is good here.
  • Parking is possible on a large parking lot in the woods. If you drivea little through the parking lot, you'll be right in quieter places = empty line-ups
  • Surflessons can ben taken in high season. There is spread a plurality of containers in which the surf schools ( Skeepskool and So Nice ) store their boards and hiring.
  • You can eat food in the cozy places at the beach.
  • Camping tip: Camping La Grigne. Walking distance to the beach.

Landes

This area looks a lot like the Gironde. Hossegor is the main attraction here. All surf brands are represented here with a shop. What makes it a nice surfing feast. But it is also known for annual surfing event: Hossegor Pro. The best surfers in the world come together in autumn to score points for the World Championship.

We did not choose here for Hossegor but for a surfspot more North: Vieux Boucau. Away from the crowds and generally easier waves to surf on.

6. Vieux Boucau

Les Landes

Just below Bordeaux. Where you find quite a lot of tourists in summertime. But where it’s rather quiet from September. While the water is still warm. And the swells follow each other in a rapid pace.

Practical information:

  • Here too, the wind must be offshore. What is often the case in the morning (in summer and late summer).
  • In principle, every tide is good here, but at full tide the wave machine can stop fors ome hours.
  • Parking can be done in front of the dune, at the edge of the village.
  • Surfboards can be rented at Alternative Surfschool or Ecole de Surf Cote Francaise.
  • Also for surf lessons, you can go to these surfschools.
  • Via AirBnB you can rent an apartment right at the edge of the beach.
Good waves in Les Landes

Basque Country

This feels like California. In all cars, there is a surfboard. And it has a mild / warm climate.

Biarritz is Europe's surfcity. Here's where surfing started in Europe. It is a nice French city. Here the Spanish life and cuisine is mixed with French life and cuisine. A great fusion. That makes the Basque Country an interesting crucible. Delicious culture and a tasty kitchen.

And surfing here is just awesome. There’s enough choice for each level. From big waves to relaxed smaller waves.

Laftinea is our choice.

7. Lafitenia

Lafitenia. A perfect righthander.

In the Basque country. At a truly phenomenal place, the waves break in a fixed place. All to the right. Because it's such a wonderful wave, you're never here alone. And around lunchtime, you will find the employees of the Quiksilver headquarters in the lineup. But go there. It is all worth it. You simply paddle to the peak. You let some surfers go. Until your wave comes. Because it will. And BAM! There you go. Enjoy!

Practical information:

  • The wind is best if there is an easterly direction. A south wind is also fine.
  • Full high tide is not convenient for good waves. Often it does not work anymore. So rather a different tide.
  • Parking can be at the top of the hill. From here you can easily walk down the road.
  • Your can take coffee or lunch at the parking lot on the lawn. Here is a food truck (runs until September).
  • Camping Playa is the perfect place. From your camping site you can see the surf. What better way to wake up? And from here you can quickly walk to the other nearby spots.
  • For a snack and a drink, you have to go to Aldea. In Guethary. One of the best places in this area. An altenative is Bahia Beach.
  • Lafitenia is an ideal spot for intermediates.

Extra: The Basque Country

Because the Basque Country is a great region. Good food. Idyllic bays. Challenging surf spots. Amazing views.

More from The Basque Country.

Erretegia.

Passed by many. But a very nice and small beach. And for intermediates the perfect wave.

Cenitz

A mellow surfspot with lots of rocks and stones. But a nice wave. Easy to get and ride. You often see boards with more volume here.

Guethary

Avalanche to be exact. Guethary is a small village with an even smaller harbor. Avalanche is challenging wave.

Typical Basque Country

Avalanche

Beware. From the side, it might looks doable. But first, it's a big paddle. And second, the waves suddenly turn out to be two as high as expected. Be prepared. It is worth the effort though.

Want some more information about surfing in France?

This mini guide is just the beginning. The guide will be expanded. And we will add new countries. Follow us on Facebook. And you are the first to be informed.

Credits:

Jurjen van den Broek

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