The French Atlantic Coast – Part 1

By | July 11, 2013

There are 3 main beaches/resorts located in the area. Being:

          Montalivet;

          Euronat; and

          La Jenny.

These are located on the northern part of France’s ‘Cote D’Argent’ or the Silver Coast. The closest major city to the area is Bordeaux, which is easily accessible by air and rail connections from Paris. However, all three resorts suggest that you hire a car or taxi to the resort and they don’t appear to be close to any public transport.

Euronat and Montalivet are north and south respectively of the small coastal village of Montalivet-les-Bains, and are about 10/15 minutes apart by car. If you don’t stay at the resorts there is some accommodation available in the area. I stayed at the town of Mandays-Montalivet about 8 kms from the coast. The town of Le Porge is the closest to La Jenny being about 40kms from Bordeaux and where there are options for accommodation. Montalivet and Euronat are about an hour’s drive to La Jenny.

This stretch of coast extends about 140 kms or so uninterrupted of sandy surf beaches, from Soulac-sur-Mur in the north to Cap-Ferrett in the south, and is the Gironde area. The area is very tidal with the difference between high and low tides being about the 6 metre mark. The whole area is a pine forest now being plantation pines and this dominates the area, to the point that each resort is set in a pine forest. Each resort is very well sign posted with large bill-boards indicating what type of resort they are, naturalist, and road signs set the directions. They are also clearly marked on tourist maps of the area and are one of the area’s selling points or attractions tourist wise.

This coastal area is one of France’s holiday areas and during the summer it takes on a very beach holiday feel. Circus’s and other attractions arrive and the whole coast is dotted with other holiday parks and resorts. Each town or village in the area has a couple of shops selling various beaching paraphernalia, (boogie boards, kid’s sand making equipment and the like). The surf is rated the best in France arguable Europe (Portugal may also have a claim). There are many surfers in the area but there doesn’t feel to be surfy culture, maybe it’s a French thing.

Montalivet-les-Bains, Soulac and probably other towns in the area have daily markets blocking the main street to vehicular traffic and have kids beach activities and surf schools. Montalivet-Les-Bains’s main street when not hosting the daily morning market is lined with small restaurants and the French version of a take-away. You sit and eat but is quicker, there’s really no quick meal in France (you sit, you wait, you order, you wait, you eat, you wait, ask for the ‘l’addition’ (bill), you wait, it arrives, you wait and attempt to pay and wait some more). A spruiker is the only thing missing from these restaurants, they are that tacky, there is also a couple of carnival rides in the main street.

Part 2 to come.

 

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