The French region of Aquitaine is famous for its spectacular coastline. The Atlantic Ocean provides some excellent swimming, surfing and water-sport opportunities and with around 150 miles of beaches, there is the perfect stretch of coastline for everyone.
The Médoc Peninsula in particular is home to some of best beach resorts in France and is the perfect place for a day out if you are staying in one of the fabulous gites in Aquitaine. The Médoc Peninsula is located to the north and west of the Bordeaux area.
As well as its beaches, it's known for its fine wines. Home to many famous vineyards, the region produces some of the world's best-known wines. Away from the vineyards, Médoc life is very much about the coastline. There are several charming beach resorts scattered along the Atlantic coast and all have their own unique character.
The number and sheer size of the beaches in the area means it's always possible to find a quiet spot, even in the height of summer. The beaches of Médoc are very popular with both locals and tourists so many have excellent facilities.
The busier beaches have lifeguards, toilet and changing facilities, cafes and water-sports. If you're heading to a less-developed beach, however, be sure to take plenty of water with you as well as an umbrella for shade from the sun.
Surfing and sailing are popular along the Médoc coast and many centres offer lessons for beginners if lying on the beach all day doesn't appeal. Further inland, there are lush green pine forests and vast blue lakes offering ample opportunities for hiking, horse-riding and cycling, making Médoc a great destination for an activity holiday. There are trails suitable for all levels of walking ability and plenty of scenic spots for a picnic.
Soulac-sur-Mer is one of the most popular Médoc resorts and tourists and locals have been bathing here for around 150 years. The beach here stretches for an impressive 4.5 miles and its soft, golden sand makes it ideal for families. The town boasts interesting architecture and is a picturesque setting for a day out. Soulac-sur-Mer's food market is not to be missed and is open all year round. A great place to stock up on local produce if you're staying at one of the self-catering gites in Aquitaine; the regular market is complemented by a night market during July and August.