The Atlantic coast of Aquitaine


With over 150 miles of Atlantic coastline and many more miles of coast if you count all the inlets and river mouths, Aquitaine is home to some of the best beaches in France. The coast is lined with many seaside resorts, varying in size, style and ambience and divided between four distinct districts: The Médoc, The Bay of Arcachon, The Landes and The Basque Coast. There are countless gites de France properties situated in this region, most within easy drive of the coast.

The Médoc

The Médoc peninsula is located to the nort and west of Bordeaux. Renowned for its world-famous wines - such as Pauillac, Margaux and Saint-Estèphe - the region also boasts around 60 miles of stunning coastline. There are 10 seaside resort towns scattered along the shore, stretching from Le Porge, Bordeaux's nearest beach, to Le Verdon at the other end of the coastline. Soulac-sur-Mer is one of the most popular Médoc resorts and has a long history of attracting bathers from this part of France. With architecture dating back to the mid 1800s, Soulac-sur-Mer has plenty of attractions both on the beach and off.

The Bay of Arcachon

A 1500 hectare-bay fed by numerous rivers and streams, the Bay of Arcachon is home to a former luxury spa resort town, previously frequented by European royals. There are several small towns around the bay, each with its own distinct character and charm. The town of Andernos is one of the most popular, boasting Gallo-Roman ruins and hosting its own jazz festival. The various towns all have unique but equally beautiful views of the bay, meaning keen photographers can snap the bay from different angles if choosing to take a tour of the different resorts.

The Landes

This stretch of the Aquitaine coastline was originally home to a collection of small fishing villages, but most are now attractive resorts with plenty of attractions. Landes has over 60 miles of coastline and experiences some powerful waves, making this part of Aquitaine popular with surfers. Hossegor hosts part of the surfing world championships each August, when surfers and spectators flock to the region.

The Basque Coast

Characterised by an eclectic collection of craggy cliffs, sandy beaches and picturesque creeks, the Basque Coast offers a wide range of diversions. Bayonne is one of the major tourist towns and boasts museums, shops, restaurants and bars galore. The town is a great spot to head for those staying in a rural gites de France property and looking for a little culture or nightlife.