The Côte d’Argent has over 100 kilometres of ocean beaches, edged with sand dunes and protected by an immense pine forest. This outstanding area and its fragile environment need to be respected and protected. The Landes coast, stretching from Biscarrosse in the north, to the mouth of the Adour river in the south (at Biarritz), is a paradise for fans of the seaside.
Description: One of the premier resorts in South West France, Biarritz is an absolute delight, even if you will find it terribly busy in the peak season. The main central beaches are la Grande Plage and Plage Miramar whilst there are other beaches to the north and south of the town.
Our recommendations: Pointe Atalaye at the southern end of la Grande Plage is worth a visit for it’s fine views. Fine views are also offered at the Phare de Biarritz lighthouse at the northern edge of Plage Miramar. In the summer there are regular concerts on a Friday night in front of the Eglise Ste Eugénie. Check with the tourist office for details.
For the children: Try a visit to the Musée de la Mer which has daily sea lion shows. And of course the beach!
Description: Hendaye is another typical seaside resort with an inland tidal lake making it ideal for sailing enthusiasts. The sandy beach is 4km long.
Location: 30km south west of Biarritz via the A63 autoroute, right on the border with Spain.
Website: http://www.hendaye.com/ (official town website, also includes the tourist office site).
Our recommendations: For a change of scenery, take the water bus from the sea front over to Spain! Or take the splendid cliff top walk along the Domaine d’Abbadia.
For the children: For older children try one of the sea kayaks (a kind of canoe) or book a sailing lesson in the estuary.
Description: There are really two separate towns here with Hossegor and Capbreton separated by the Canal du Bourret and the marina. The resort is famous for its surfing, with huge Atlantic breakers enhanced by the submerged canyon about 3km offshore.
Our recommendations: There is a lovely nature reserve to the north of Hossegor based around the Etang Blanc and Noir lakes. You will find daily street entertainment in the town during the summer season. For details contact the tourist office.
For the children: The Lac Marin d’Hossegor is a tidal lake which runs parallel to the sea front. It has several beaches and warm salt water, so it makes a great place for the kids and is much safer than the sea front.
Description: St Jean-de-Luz is a delightful seaside resort with an attractive fishing port. With a medieval heritage it has a lovely old world charm whilst providing all the required amenities. The architecture is typical of this Basque region.
Website: http://www.saint-jean-de-luz.com/fr (tourist office website).
Our recommendations: There are some excellent sea food restaurants in the area around the main square, where you can also enjoy the regular musical events (see the tourist office website for latest information). Here you will also find a Basque choir performing each Sunday morning in the summer.
For the children: Head for the beach where you will find all the usual seaside attractions, including pedaloes for hire. Older kids can try their hand at surfing, you should take care of younger children or weak swimmers as the Atlantic breakers can be very powerful here.