France is a great surf travel destination with plenty of things to do when there are no waves. France is home to some of the best beach breaks in the world, but what many people don’t know is that France has some great points and reef breaks, as well. Be aware that the tides change rapidly in France (20ft + every 6 hours) and having an accurate tide chart is key to scoring good waves.
France has several surf zones worth checking for surf, though nothing compares to Cote Basque for wave quality, variety and consistency, however, La Côte d’Argent comes in a close second with one of the best beach breaks in the world “Hossegor”. The fact that both these surf zones are located next to one another, makes this area the obvious choice for a surf trip to France.
The Basque Coast begins at the border with Spain, in Hendaye, and runs up the west coast of France to just past Anglet to the river Adour. The area draws tons of tourists in the summer time, but fall and winter is when the waves really begin to appear.
Lafitenia and Erromardie are good right point breaks that are both good waves to surf in the area.
Guethary is an excellent reef break that produces a really good right that works best on a large swell. Avalance is left reef break, just across the channel from Guethary that also works best of large swells. Les Alcyons is a left reef break, that is often confused with being the inside of Avalance, but it is actually its own break and produces a great left reef break that can get hollow and sits directly in front of the parking lot.
There are lots beach break peaks from Bidart to Biarittz that can turn on with the right conditions. Anglet has some really good beach break peaks that get epic especially around Les Cavaliers. Look around as conditions can change rapidly with tides and swell.
La Côte d’Argent
The coastal area north of Bayone is known as “La Côte d’Argent” and is part of the Bay of Biscay. It is limited at its south by the river Adour and its north by the mouth of the river Gironde. This 225 km stretch of golden sand has many of the best beach breaks in Europe.
The best known of the surfing beaches in Cote d’Argent is Hossegor, a long stretch of perfect beach break that is on par with the best in the world. Some of the best spots in Hossegor/Capbreton includes, Graviere, La Nord, Les Estagnots, Bourdaines, Le Piste, Le Penon, and Les Cul Nuls. These breaks offer some incredible barrels on par with the north shore, when it turns on. Unfortunately, this area gets very crowded.
Going north along the coast, from Messanges to Lanacau and on to Soulac, is another series of surfing beaches and rivermouths that get really good waves depending on the conditions. This is a good area to explore for uncrowded beach break waves.