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Sun and Surf in Southern France

A beach in Biarritz at sunset (Image: Wikimedia)International surfers know that southern France is home to several surf hotspots, including Marseilles, Toulon, Biarritz, Saint- Jean- de- Luz and Saint-Raphael.

Marseilles and Toulon
: Located in the southwestern part of France, the major cities of Toulon and Marseilles offer some impressive Mediterranean breaks. Several major surf championships are hosted in this area each year.


Don’t want to pay the extra airline fees to bring your own board over to France? No worries. Boards and supplies can be rented or purchased at one of the surf shops in the area, including Freestyle Surf Shop in St. Cyr sur Mer, Aloha Surf Shop in Toulon or Massilia Surf Shop in Marseilles.


Biarritz: Biarritz is located in the southern part of France on the Atlantic Ocean. In 1957, surfers from California who were traveling through Europe first discovered the breathtaking waves of Biarritz and surrounding towns like Saint-Raphael and Saint- Jean- de- Luz. Biarritz’s first surf club was established in 1959, which made surfing a major part of the local culture. Today, Biarritz is considered to be the “surf capital” of Europe.


You can rent a board and gear at several spots right along main stretch of Biarritz’s expansive beach. Since Biarritz is also popular with the upscale lounging and swimming crowd, surfers need to stay in the designated areas. During the international Biarritz Surf Festival in July, thousands of visitors flock to the area to witness amazing feats performed by the big names of longboard surfing.


Saint- Jean- de- Luz and Saint- Raphael: The Basque (on the French side as opposed to the Spanish side) towns of Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Saint-Raphael are quainter than their glitzy neighbor, Biarritz, but the surf is just as good. There are several surf shops located in both Saint-Raphael and Saint- Jean- de- Luz that offer rentals and lessons.


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Morly Cowan

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