If you’re into surfing in a big way or just starting out, you’ve probably heard of the many surf spots in Southwest France.
Did you know that Brittany, Normandy and the Vendée are also essential surf spots on the French coast?
Well-known Southwestern spots are between Bordeaux and along towards the Basque coast. But there are plenty of other surf spots worth your time. And most of them will be much quieter than the more popular places. Here are a few of the best and some of the lesser-known surf spots (But shush, don’t tell anyone else) in the Northwest of France.
La Pointe de La Torche, Brittany
La Torche is considered to be THE best surf spot in Brittany. This makes it the most famous, which means it’s very popular in summer. But, there are other secret spots such as Tronoen and Porz Carn. Each one is situated on either side of La Torche and these spots allow you to have the waves to yourself!
La Torche does have strong currents which can make it dangerous, so the beach is often monitored during the summer months. It’s an advanced surfing position as there are no offshore reefs or islands to block breaking waves. The waves here are known for their length and allow surfers to surf for a long time on one wave. Waves can reach up to 3.5 m when there is strong wind.
There are several surf schools in the area which can provide equipment and help you find the right places to surf, depending on your level.
Quiberon Peninsula, Brittany
The Quiberon peninsula is yet another top surfing site in Brittany. Due to this, it is one of the most populated surf spots and the nearby city of Plouhrnel has been dubbed Surf Village.The peninsula contains kilometres of beautiful beaches which are all fairly accessible.
The most popular season for surfers is winter, when the waves are strong and the current is quite weak. The four most famous beaches on this peninsula are Port Blanc, Port-Marie, Port-Rhu and Port-Bara. Port-Bara is the most accessible for all levels of surfers. There are also two surf schools close by which offer courses.
The Wild Coast of this peninsula extends about 10km west. It is prohibited to even bathe on this western part of the Peninsula. Only very experienced surfers surf here and to do so, you must have a licence issued by the Fédération Française Surf (FFS).
St Brevin l’Ermitage, Saint-Brévin-les-Pins, Loire-Atlantique, Pays de La Loire
There are several spots in the area including Rochelets Beach, Le Pointeau and L’Ermitage. L’Ermitage is an exposed beach break which has pretty reliable surf with waves breaking both left and right. Winter to spring is the best time of year for surfing here and it is rarely crowded.
There are a few surf schools in the area that can provide classes, board hire and advice. Don’t forget your wetsuit as the best conditions are in the colder months. It can get pretty chilly in the water.
La Sauzaie, Bretignolles-sur-Mer, Vendée, Pays de La Loire
The wave at Sauzaie is pretty unique and also one of the most famous in France. It is one of the very few reef breaks, as France has mainly beach breaks. The uniqueness is that this site almost always has the same wave at the same spot. Waves break on a rocky bottom and the wave height makes it an ideal surf spot.
It’s only suitable for experienced surfers due to the rocks. The best time of year is Winter through to Spring during high tide and half tide.
You can still surf this area if you’re a grom or beginner but you’ll want to move along to the stretches of sand at the Les Dunes 1 and 2 surf spots. It’s possible to surf here year-round and at any tide and you can hire equipment right on the beach. Due to its location, it is more crowded and there are limited designated surf areas in the summer.
Bud Bud, Longeville-sur-Mer, Vendée, Pays de La Loire
Though the name might make you smile, it can be a tricky place if you don’t watch the conditions. When the swell is good and the wind is right, it’s like the Landes in South West France (where the Quiksilver Pro France competition takes place).
It is a beach break with hollow and close waves that form tubes. It is the only place where this kind of surf can be found in this region. That is why this Vendée spot is so popular.
Every September / October the area hosts the Bud Bud Surf Contest which brings surfers of all levels from all over Europe together. Due to its notoriety, it can get pretty busy, even described as dangerously so at certain times of the year. A victim of its success. This is not a good spot for groms or beginners.
Lots of surf clubs nearby offer classes, board and wetsuit hire and surf academies. The best time of year is winter through to spring and best around mid-tide.