If your interests include a lively nightlife, rich local history, superb food and consistent swells, than France is for you. Its long coastline boasts a glut of hollow beach breaks and some exceptional reef and point breaks. Besides good surf, what attracts world-class and average surfers alike is the total surf experience. On a coastline packed full of culture and waves, you can catch A-frame tubes in the morning and then kick back après surf for some good food, wine and sights.
Culture and ambiance aside, the real draw is the waves. Not to worry – France delivers.
The French Mediterranean and the northern coast of Brittany occasionally deliver waves, but the most dependable surf potential lies to the south. The west-facing Atlantic coastline catches swells as they are funneled into the Bay of Biscay. The SW coast of France, known as the Cote de Basque (Basque Coast), renowned for its wealth of surf, runs down to the border with Spain. Hossegor, Biarritz, Anglet and Guethary, to name a few beaches, are popular surf destinations in this wave rich zone. Tubing beach breaks, pumped with swell from low-pressure systems, are the wave du jour when it’s on. The warm months of June – August find the more popular spots thick with people. But if you are willing to explore and come armed with some basic knowledge, you can find your own peak.
Fall, winter, and spring usher in cooler water and more powerful waves, with winter water temperatures plummeting into the mid to high forties. Those willing to surf the colder months will find light crowds and gaping tubes. The bottom line: France’s Atlantic coast is blessed with hundreds of miles of wave-filled experiences. Whether you surf the spitting beach breaks of Hossegor, the mellow waves of Cote de Basques in Biarritz, or tackle a big wave spot like Guethary, you will enjoy your time in surf-stoked France.