Atlantic Coast

Atlantic Coast

The Ile de Ré, lying off the mainland at La Rochelle, is a good starting point. A well kept Parisian secret for many years, it is a boho-chic, family-oriented island, with fabulous beaches, flat with lots of cycle ways (easy to rent bicycles) and delicious seafood. Now linked to the mainland by a bridge, the island is easily accessible with regular and cheap flights to La Rochelle or Bordeaux.

Then continue along the coast south through Aquitaine and the Médoc, where the Gironde estuary pours into the Atlantic, and draw a straight line 270 kilometres long down to Spain! Your fingers will hover over the fine sand, dune grass and steep cliffs on the Basque coastline, nature reserves and wide open spaces. And there’s plenty of interest along the way.

In Aquitaine, take a wander through the world’s leading wine growing peninsula. Discover the maritime heritage of the Arcachon basin with its huts built on stilts, fishing ports and villages famous for oyster production.

Cap Ferret (not to be confused with Cap Ferrat on the Mediterranean coast) overlooks the basin on one side and the Atlantic on the other and is another destination of the smart French. Try to scale the Dune du Pyla near Arcachon, at 114m the highest sand dune in Europe, and once at the summit, treat yourself to a nice glass of Bordeaux!

Basque Country has a certain charm that can’t be found anywhere else. At the south western point of France, this region offers an amazing view of the ocean and the Pyrénées. Get to know the locals who are proud of their language and culture; watch a pelota ball match in a village square; enjoy grilled calamari and Basque cakes on a sunny terrace. Bidart, a small village on the Basque coast, has developed a reputation as a great beach destination over the past few years, and the place to go to “Catch the Wave” (for surfers in the party), while still preserving its authenticity and traditional charm. Blue Cargo (must book) is a very lively and lovely nightclub on the beach – we highly recommend! For the foodies, a short drive takes you over the border into Spain and the epicure’s heartland of San Sebastián.

Maison des Bremaudieres, Bois Plage, Ile de Ré

This really is the perfect base on the Ile de Ré.  A stunning and contemporary beach house superbly situated just behind the dunes of Bois-Plage, two minutes' walk from one of the best stretches (12km) of south-facing beach on the Island.  The village itself is a couple of minutes by…

£7,500 - £11,250 per week

Sleeps up to 10

The Beach House, Bidart, nr. Biarritz

Situated above the beach, with panoramic views of the sea and the Pyrenees and in the heart of the historic village of Bidart, this six bedroom villa is the most luxurious and well situated on the Basque coast. With direct access to Bidart’s main beach, yet just a stroll to…

€8,500 - €17,700 per week

Sleeps up to 12

Maison Atlantique, Arcachon

Just west of Bordeaux, this luxurious and historic, traditional, beachfront villa is discreetly tucked away in the serene and tranquil bay of Arcachon on the southern French Atlantic coast. Individual rooms are available during low and mid season - the perfect place from which to explore Bordeaux.

€9,300 - €30,000 per week

Sleeps up to 16

Maison de Maître, Saumur, Loire Valley

This completely restored Nineteenth Century manor house is located in Saumur, the jewel of the Loire Valley and the perfect base from which to explore this beautiful part of France.

From €8,000 - €9,600 per week

Sleeps up to 8