Did you know that in the same period as the Côte d’Azur, our coastline was named Côte d’Argent (Silver Coast)? Since the dawn of the 20th century and its first « health trips » by-the-sea, the success of the long white sand beaches, combined with the chic and fun seaside resorts, has gone from strength to strength. The empress, naturists, surfing pioneers, cycling fans, and leisure seekers… they have all succumbed to the charms of the Atlantic. Come and soak up this atmosphere, surrounded by the ocean, the pine forest, the great lakes and bursts of life.

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Look and breathe

 

A patchwork of landscapes like nowhere else, soothing colours – the ocean, white sand, pine forests – endlessly intertwining and unravelling, infinity on the horizon and breathtaking sites! The essentials:

The Dune of Pilat – A 2,700 meter-long majestic dune wall, culminating 110 metres above the entrance to the Arcachon Basin. It also overlooks the green ocean of the forest of Landes.

The Rhune – A mythical mountain overlooking the ocean 905 metres high, it faces the Pyrenees massif and it is giant! Accessible to all ages, on foot or via the little train.

The courant d’Huchet – This nature reserve invites you on a poetic journey, on foot or on board a galupe (flat-bottomed boat) guided by one of the boatmen. You head down river in twists and turns over 9km, in a lush forest with remarkable fauna, to finally reach the estuary of Moliets.

The great lakes – The largest lakes in Europe are here, real inland oceans formed of freshwater from a multitude of rivers and the closing of the dune ridges. Enjoy water sports, gentle bathing for toddlers, hidden beaches and cycling paths.
>> In Médoc, in Landes.

It’s allowed!
Mild weather, wide spaces… the region is the number one naturist destination in the world, with the oldest and largest naturist holiday centre in France. A life philosophy in harmony with the environment. Each centre offers very different activities:

The leisure offer is varied, with the Centre Heliomarin of Montalivet (CHM), which is a village that is for families and has a surfing school, Euronat which houses a naturist thalassotherapy centre, La Jenny which is loved by kids and grown-ups with its tree-top adventure park and its green, and Arnaoutchot, a real village with shops, restaurants, a cinema and a nightclub.

>> Discover more natural heritage in our heading.

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Biscarrosse lake ©OT Biscarrosse

Biscarrosse lake ©OT Biscarrosse

Listen and see… a history that is still in vogue

 

Here the natural heritage has always been accompanied by a rich cultural one. Here are some historical remarks and a visit to the sites and historic seaside resorts.

We start with the St. James’ Way pilgrims taking « the coast way » via Soulac to reach Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We should also mention the belle époque and the fashion of sea bathing, the French Empress Eugénie who invited the courts of Europe to Biarritz and Sarah Bernhardt relaxing in the Arcachon Basin. We also note some scattered evidence of the Second World War and its concrete Atlantic Wall. Then, more light-heartily, we celebrate the birthplace of European surfing.

The flagship site is Cordouan! An architectural jewel nicknamed « Versailles of the sea », the Cordouan lighthouse acquired its current form in 1790, but a beacon has existed on this rock since the 9th century! Visiting it, off the coast of the Pointe de Grave in Médoc, offers a unique experience, a day unlike others.

Arcachon – Founded in the 19th century, Arcachon enjoys hidden coastal architecture treasures. Walk through its two legendary areas: the Ville d’Automne (Autumn town) with a diversity of genres expressed via the colonial style, chalets, neoclassicism, the neo-Basque or neo-Landes regionalism, and even Art Deco, and the Ville d’Hiver (Winter Town), born alongside the new « therapeutic » fashion, wanting the « good » air of Arcachon to treat phthisics, therefore leading to the building of chalets and villas in the sun with verandas and bow windows and the rounded edges of rooms favouring disinfection…

Biarritz – Since 1854, the Basque coast has been in vogue. French Empress Eugénie, Napoleon III’s wife, rediscovered the smells of her childhood in Spain there, bringing with her all the aristocracy of the time. Luxurious and sometimes eccentric holiday homes began to appear. Russian, British, Latin American, they all cultivated their own style! Can you identify them? Biarritz was also the birthplace of surfing in Europe, in 1957

Hossegor – The discreet and chic town. A paradoxical town, a young seaside resort populated by surfing enthusiasts. There is an off-season which evokes a period, that of the celebrities who came to stay, far from prying eyes. There is an intense summer, for those who come to plant their board like a totem and tackle the best waves.

Saint-Jean-de-Luz – This was a whaler, cod fisherman, freebooter repairing and privateer village. It was also a royal site welcoming the marriage of Louis XIV of France with the Infant of Spain. It also saw the birth of the future composer Maurice Ravel… It is a family seaside resort, but that’s not all. It should be discovered from the bay up to the cornice, going past the markets and the port of Ciboure. You are already in the heart of the Basque Country.

Soulac – Soulac is equipped with 500 villas in the neo-colonial or « Côte d’Argent » style, a style imported from England in the 19th century with the fashion of sea bathing. You should also go to the basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Fin-des-Terres, a UNESCO Heritage of Humanity site, an important stop for the St. James’s Way pilgrims, buried by the sand for over 100 years…

>> Discover more cultural heritage in our heading.

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Cordouan lighthouse

Cordouan lighthouse ©CRTA-C.Boute

As a family, what shall we do today?

 

In addition to the resorts with the « Famille Plus » certification, here is a brief overview of the pleasant activities for families.

Famille Plus: the exemplary certification to have a great family holiday with a suitable welcome and events. Our « Familles Plus » seaside resorts: Arès, Carcans-Maubuisson, Hourtin and Lacanau.

Pescatourisme: Welcoming on board! Head off with an oyster farmer or a fisherman, to discover their day to day job, in the Arcachon Basin or in Capbreton. Languages spoken: French

 

 

Bisc’Aventure: In Biscarrose, in Landes, this acrobatic course in the trees is one of the largest centres in France. You won’t be short on thrills, you’ll push yourself!
Languages spoken: French/British English/Spanish

Biarritz Océan: Discover the world of the ocean in all its aspects, with the Biarritz aquarium and the Cité de l’Océan. Watching, immersion, interactivity… you learn while having fun. Various events are organised there for children and young people.
Languages spoken: French/British English/Spanish

>> Discover more activities in our heading.

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Cité de l'Océan in Biarritz

Cité de l’Océan in Biarritz ©Musée de la Mer de Biarritz / CRTA

The sporting, and well-being coast!

 

Here you can stay active whatever the season. You can stay in shape gently, but at the same time you won’t miss out on the thrills either! Up for a good laugh?

Coast down the Atlantic shoreline by bike
No stress, no timetables. Much to everyone’s delight, the bicycle takes pride of place on the Vélodyssée, the completely signposted and safe EuroVelo route. You can hire all or some of the equipment on site.

Surfing, a swirl of thrills
The ocean is powerful, stay safe… Ride the breaker! Here we have the best « beachbreacks » in the world in Landes: La Piste in Capbreton, La Nord and La Gravière in Hossegor, and Les Culs Nus, Les Estagnots and Les Bourdaines in Seignosse. Soustons, Moliets and Mimizan also have hundreds of quality spots

Golf with passion
To discover our courses and to be able to delight in the joys of the green everything is in place so you just need to think about your swing: the « Golf Pass » allows you to play on different courses at preferential rates.
View the list: « Golf Pass Biarritz, Destination Golf » – 16 courses in a 100km radius for a great diversity of practices, levels and landscapes, in Landes, the Basque Country and Béarn. the birthplace of continental golf!

Atlantic well-being
Thalazur in Arcachon; Atlanthal, in Anglet; Thalassa sea & spa and Thalmar; in Biarritz; Hélianthal, in Saint-Jean-de-Luz; and the Serge Blanco complex, in Hendaye.
>> www.thalassocotebasque.com
>> www.bassin-arcachon.com/bien-etre

>> Discover more sport activities in our Activities and leisure heading.

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The coastal path in Hendaye

The coastal path in Hendaye ©CDT64-P.Gaillard

Where can you have some fun?

 

Marking the start of the nice weather, Le Printemps des Landes celebrates spring for 3 months! From 1st April to 21st June. Surfing, reiki, creative arts, discoveries for the kids, shows, cinema, music and theatre festivals… Holidays before the holidays!

The essential event this year is the World Surfing Games in Biarritz – 21st to 28th May 2017

 

To whet your appetite … The Oyster and Ocean festivals , essential events from July to August in the different villages of the Arcachon Basin.

For evenings full of laughs: The Fêtes de Bayonne from 26th to 30th July 2017.

>> Discover more festivals in our Agenda heading.

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Fêtes de Bayonne - Pays Basque

Fêtes de Bayonne ©CDT64

Where should you stay? 7 suggestions:

 

The open air accommodation sector provides a quality and attractive offer adapted to all tastes: original, eco-lodges, glamping and even road trips in a van… Make the dream a reality.

Yelloh ! Village Les Grands Pins – Zen / Surf
Plage Nord, 33680 Lacanau
+33 (0)5 56 03 20 77
5 star campsite, located in the heart of a pine forest, 350m from a vast fine sandy beach.
Accommodation: 233 Mobil homes, 21 equipped tents
Languages spoken: French / British English / German
Opening period: Mid-April – the end of September.

Le Village Western – Hourtin – Original / Horse riding
Castel Le Village Western
Chemin de Bécassine 33990 Hourtin
+33(0)5 56 09 10 60
village-western@orange.fr
4 star campsite – An original, themed holiday concept, near to the Hourtin lake and the ocean. Has a riding school.
Accommodation: 82 mobile homes, equipped tents, tepees, 10 chalets/bungalows
Languages spoken: French / British English
Opening period: 1st April – 30th September

Camping FRAM Nature – Eco-tourism / Cycling
63 Av. de Port d’Albret-40 140 Souston
+33 (0)5 58 77 70 00
5 star campsite located in Soustons, in Landes, in the heart of a 14 hectare pine forest, between the lake and the ocean.
Accommodation: 200 Mobil homes, 37 equipped tents, 12 chalets/bungalows
Languages spoken: French / British English / German / Spanish
Opening period: 1st April – 24th September

Camping Village Le Vieux Port – Luxury / Well-being
850 Route de la Plage Sud – 40660 Messanges
+33 (0) 558 482 200 – +33 (0) 558 480 169 (fax)
contact@resasol.com

5 star campsite in a 30 hectare estate, completely covered by a pine forest.
1,546 pitches and other rental accommodation
This campsite has a glamping range (western tents, eco-luxury, leisure homes with solarium lodges) and an immense 7000m2 water area (7 basins including a large wave pool, 2 outdoor swimming pools devoted to swimming, 2 spas, 3 slides and solariums, etc.)
Languages spoken: French / British English / German / Spanish
Opening period: 1st April – 5th November

Camping Sunêlia Berrua – Sustainable development / Eco-tourism / Family / Surfing
Rue Berrua 64210 Bidart
+33 (0)5 59 54 96 66
contact@berrua.com
4 star campsite with the atmosphere of the Basque villages with a warm and friendly welcome. The campsite is located 700m from the centre of Bidart.
Accommodation: 253 pitches including 156 rental,
Languages spoken: French / British English / German / Spanish
Opening period: 1st April – 1st October

Camping Itsas Mendi in Saint-Jean-de-Luz – Family / Surfing
Quartier Acotz 115 chemin Duhartia – 64500 Saint-Jean-de-Luz
+33 (0)5 59 26 56 50
itsas@wanadoo.fr
4 star campsite with 9 hectare greenery at the foot of the Pyrenees. Rental of mobile homes and welcomes camper vans.
Languages spoken: French / British English / German / Spanish /Euskadi
Opening period: 31st March – 5th November

« On the road again… » when the “road trip” becomes a reality, with Campy Camper
Campy Camper allows you to live your dreams of a getaway. Rent an equipped van where everything has been designed for optimal comfort. The Campy Camper combines handling ability, accommodation and transport perfectly.

>> Discover more accommodation in our heading.

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Camping le Panorama du Pyla

Camping le Panorama du Pyla ©Alban-GILBERT/CRTA

As of 1 January 2016, the Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes regions are now only one! Also discover tourism opportunities in