Dreaming of a surf trip to France? With its stunning coastline, delicious food and some of Europe’s best waves, it’s no wonder that France has become a popular destination for surfers from around the world. In this article, we’ll guide you through essential tips and tricks for planning an unforgettable French surfing adventure.
Choosing the perfect surf spot
France boasts a diverse array of surf spots along its beautiful coastlines, perfect for surfers of all skill levels. Depending on your preferences and experience, you may want to consider some of these top French surf destinations:
- Hossegor: Often considered France’s surfing capital, Hossegor attracts both professionals and amateurs alike with its powerful beach breaks and consistent swells. This is where we are from !
- Biarritz: A historic and elegant city known as the birthplace of European surfing, Biarritz offers a mix of beach and reef breaks catering to various skill levels.
- La Torche: Located in Brittany, La Torche is known for its strong winds, making it an ideal choice for windsurfers and kite surfers.
- Lacanau: A popular family-friendly destination, Lacanau features a long sandy beach with consistent waves suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers.
- Île de Ré: A picturesque island off the west coast, Île de Ré offers a relaxing escape from the mainland with uncrowded surf breaks and pristine beaches.
Before settling on a specific location, be sure to research the wave conditions, local surf culture, and accessibility of each destination to ensure a suitable match for your surf trip goals.
Timing your surf trip
The time of year you choose to visit France can have a significant impact on your surfing experience. To help you decide, consider the following factors:
In general, France experiences the most consistent and powerful surf from September to November, thanks to Atlantic swells generated by autumn storms. However, enjoyable surf can often be found throughout the year, with smaller waves during summer months catering to beginner and intermediate surfers.
As with many popular surf destinations, French beaches can become quite crowded during peak season (July to August) due to an influx of tourists. If you prefer more uncrowded surf breaks, consider planning your trip outside of these busy months or seek out lesser-known spots off the beaten path.
While you may catch some sunny days during the fall and winter, the French coast can experience cooler temperatures, rain, and strong winds during this period. On the other hand, summer offers warmer water temperatures and generally better weather, making it an ideal time for a combination surf trip and beach vacation.
Preparing for your trip: essential gear and travel tips
After selecting the perfect surf spot and timing for your adventure, it’s time to gather all the necessary equipment and plan out the logistics for a smooth journey. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Packing your surfboard
If you’re bringing your own surfboard, make sure to pack it securely in a high-quality surfboard bag to prevent damage during transit. Additionally, check with your airline for any specific rules or fees related to transporting surfboards.
Renting a surfboard
If you prefer not to bring your own board or want to try something new, many French surf towns have rental shops offering a wide range of surfboards and wetsuits. Research the available options and prices beforehand to make an informed decision.
When it comes to lodging for your surf trip in France, there is no shortage of options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious beachfront villas. Consider proximity to the beach, amenities offered, and your travel companions’ preferences when choosing accommodations.
Local etiquette and culture
Familiarizing yourself with local customs and etiquette can help ensure a positive experience both in and out of the water. In France, this includes respecting lineup rules, being mindful of beachgoers, learning basic French phrases, and indulging in the local cuisine – don’t forget to enjoy a fresh baguette!
Exploring beyond the waves: sightseeing and activities
A surf trip to France offers more than just incredible waves. Take advantage of your time in this beautiful country by exploring its rich history, art, culture, and natural beauty:
- Historic sites: Visit iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, or Carcassonne’s medieval fortress in the south of France.
- Museums and art galleries: Discover world-renowned collections at the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, or Centre Pompidou, or explore smaller regional museums showcasing local artists and history.
- Nature and outdoor activities: Hike through stunning national parks like the Calanques near Marseille, bike along picturesque wine routes in Burgundy, or paraglide over the Pyrenees mountains.
- Festivals and events: Time your visit to coincide with annual cultural celebrations such as the Cannes Film Festival, Bordeaux’s Fête le Vin, or the Quiksilver Pro France surf competition in Hossegor.
By carefully planning your surf trip to France, you can look forward to an unforgettable adventure filled with epic waves, delicious food, and lasting memories in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.