France Atlantic Coast

Between Bordeaux and Biarritz there are miles of beaches with lots of space to build sandcastles. Nido gives 10 reasons why it is worthwhile for families to spend their holidays there.

German families don’t just travel to the Mediterranean for a beach holiday in France. The Atlantic coast is particularly popular with many, especially the southern part of Aquitaine. Between Bordeaux and Biarritz, kilometres of beaches with lots of space for building sand castles are tempting. Surfers love the high waves and nudists also feel particularly at home here.

Nido gives an overview, also of the top holiday resorts and the mild climate all year round. In addition, there are tips for the choice of accommodation and for varied excursions, for example to the wine-growing region and to the no less beautiful city of Bordeaux.

Great climate without heat bell

The pleasantly mild climate on France’s Atlantic coast offers many hours of sunshine, especially in July and August. Fortunately, family holidaymakers rarely moan about a dry heat like in the Mediterranean, and there is often a refreshing breeze. In May and June you can usually plunge into the Atlantic floods without jittering. Even in September the water temperatures are still around 20 degrees.

Wide, golden yellow sandy beaches with lots of space

France’s Atlantic coast offers around 500 km of the most beautiful beaches, which are much less crowded than the Mediterranean during the summer high season. Here the vacationers do not come themselves before oil sardines: Instead they enjoy much place at the broad beach and picturesque sunsets with sea noise.

Families, watch out: Bathing in the high waves inspires adults and older children alike. But beware of strong Atlantic waves and especially currents! Parents should warn their little offspring of the dangers and stay close at all times. Good to know: In the summer months most of the big beaches like Lacanau, Arcachon and Mimizan are well supervised. Lifeguards and professional rescue from the air are standard.

Also interesting for young people: surfing and kiting

The eyes of athletic adolescents shine there: Finally (again) on the board! The French Atlantic coast is a water sports paradise, it is one of the best surfing areas in Europe: from the Spanish border to the north to the Silver Coast near Arcachon. The most popular surf hotspots are Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Biarritz, Anglet, Capbreton and Lacanau. (Link tips: wellenreiten.de and surfnomade.de)

Many naturist holiday centres, often also for families

France is one of Europe’s top destinations for nudists, too. Friends of naturism like to visit nudist holiday centres, mostly camping sites or holiday villages with holiday homes. Often, the facilities even include sports animation, childcare and nudist restaurants, which also inspire families.

Those who love swimming without a cloak usually go to the Atlantic beaches of Aquitaine. With 1.8 kilometres of nudist beaches, there are two nudist centres in the Gironde region: Centre Hélio Marin (CHM) in Montalivet and Euronat in Grayan l’Hopital. The nudist holiday village La Jenny in Le Porge and the beach La Lagune in La Teste de Buch are also very popular.

Nature trips by bike

Those who do not want to spend their holidays only on the beach should make excursions and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Cycling and hiking are also possible. Our tip for the whole family: The huge regional nature park Landes de Gascogne is located near the coast between Bordeaux and Mimizan. Attractions are the pine forest and the estuary delta of the river Eyre, a bird paradise. In the bird park of Le Teich, young and old can enjoy the many storks and migratory birds.

Wine-growing area and quaint little towns nearby

There’s no boredom here: France’s Atlantic coast offers a variety of landscapes, sights and leisure activities – ideal for a family holiday. Get into your car spontaneously in the morning and discover the most beautiful corners individually. Parents can look forward to a wine tasting and restaurants with flair, the little ones to romping around in a real castle park.

Our tip: The Gothic castle La Brède, built in the 13th century, lies in the world-famous wine growing area near Bordeaux. It is surrounded by a moat and an English landscape park. Also worth an excursion and easily accessible by car are rustic, historic towns in the Dordogne such as St. Émilion and the Périgord Sarlat or Bergerac.

Combination with the trendy city of Bordeaux

Bordeaux is just over 50 kilometres from the Atlantic coast on the Garonne and Gironde rivers. Especially city travel fans should plan some holidays here. Bordeaux has a classic and neoclassical cityscape and architecture and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2007.

The metropolis in the southwest offers a much more friendly appearance than before. In recent years it has been significantly embellished at many corners and is considered a trendy city in France. Former hangars at the old harbour gave way to a chic promenade with several cafés and restaurants. They are also proud of the modern tramway (Le Tramway, since 2003).

Thousands of students contribute a large part to the cosmopolitan atmosphere. For those who want to get a taste of the original oriental flair, we recommend a tour through the quarter St. Michel. This is called in the vernacular the quarter of the Arabes (Arab quarter). Sunday morning the flea market around the church St. Michel attracts many prospective customers.

Large selection of cheap holiday apartments and houses

The Mediterranean region Côte d’Azur has been world famous for decades and attracts with noble, melodious holiday addresses such as St. Tropez, Nice, Cannes, Menton and Monte Carlo. When looking at the prices of holiday homes there, many German families prefer to orient themselves differently…

The accommodations on the Atlantic coast are noticeably peiswerter, also thanks to the large selection of holiday apartments and houses. These offer significantly more space and often more comfort than a hotel room, and are also sometimes significantly cheaper. Even in Aquitaine’s popular holiday resorts such as Mimizan and Lacanau, attractive holiday homes for every taste and budget are offered: exclusive villas, modern apartments or small studios with a kitchen for self-catering guests. This also eliminates the often high restaurant costs in France.

Many cheap campsites on the Atlantic coast

One of the most popular holiday regions for a camping holiday in France is the southern Atlantic coast. Camping with comfort: Large pitches and clean sanitary facilities are standard, and some campsites even offer heated and covered swimming pools, as well as a wide range of leisure and entertainment activities – with childcare and entertainment just like in a club hotel.

The Poitou Charente region offers gentle nature tourism with many family-friendly accommodations. Our tip for young families: Camping Domaine d’Oléron is situated on the Ile d’Oléron, France’s third largest island, in beautiful nature and next to a forest. The four-star campsite offers entertainment on the restaurant terrace in the evenings during the high season. There are also many sports facilities, a playground, a swimming pool with a separate paddling pool and several slides.

Travel also only by bus and train possible

A tip for travellers without a car who primarily want to visit larger coastal towns and cities: Also with bus and course a successful vacation is possible, with previous good planning. The train in France is similarly expensive as in our country, but the distances between the places are not too big, so that the wallet is still spared. Our location tip: Arcachon and Biarritz offer a top connection by train and bus.