Les Landes is a beautiful department of France situated on the far south-west of the Aquitaine region. The name literally means “heathland” and thus it offers the most wonderful rich countryside and is hugely popular with hikers and bikers.
But it has so much more to offer! It is also well known for its vast stretch of soft sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast. A virtual paradise for those who long to be by the sea, whether it is to surf and swim or simply relax on the white sand with a book.
If you enjoyed the French TV surfing drama La Dernière Vague (The Last Wave), it was filmed here.
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It is a refreshing and lesser known region of France, well worth considering if you are looking for fresh air, sea and sunshine. Let us take a closer look at the wonderful department of Les Landes.
A place to retire to?
Les Landes has a huge amount to offer both the adventurer and those who want a peaceful, simple retirement.
With acres of wonderful forests, miles of sandy beaches, pretty villages and towns, this is an area where just doing nothing but admiring the beauty of one’s surroundings is perfectly acceptable!
For leisurely activities such as organised walks, touring the ancient buildings, golfing, beach combing and fishing, look no further. Here you have the option to be as energetic or as slothful as you like! This is an area where many French people retire to, in order to benefit from the sea air, the spas and the wonderful countryside.
Broadly speaking, the weather is warm from around May to October with very hot temperatures during July and August. The rainiest and coldest months are January and February.
Be prepared for a bit of wind; after all, it is very near the Atlantic Ocean! But if is sunshine you are after, you will be fine as this is the true south of France with more than 300 hours of sunshine each year, even in winter.
Properties and property prices
The world is your oyster when it comes to types of property here. There is a wide variety of styles from elegant chateaux and villas to farmhouses and chic seaside apartments.
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If the sky is the limit in terms of your budget, you will have plenty to choose from! However, a budget of around €250,000 will afford you a decent 2-3 bedroom house with some land. Obviously the further inland you go, the greater the choice. It is worth remembering that this is one of the largest departments in France, so you have a big choice of property.
The nearest airport serving the UK is Bordeaux at just over 60 miles away. From here you can get a train down to the Les Landes area. If you prefer to travel by train, think about taking the Eurostar to Paris then taking a direct train to Bordeaux and change here. Driving will take around 9 hours from Calais.
As always, it is far better to make your journey into part of the adventure, so we advise either flying to Bordeaux and then renting a car, driving the whole way with an overnight stop (or two!) or simply going all the way by train.
From points further afield, such as the USA, you will need to change in Paris, London or a major airport such as Amsterdam.
Towns and villages
Les Landes has several stunning towns and villages brimming with beauty and history. It also offers some beautiful spa towns. What could be lovelier than recharging one’s batteries in a spa by the sea?
Situated on what is known as the Silver Coast and a few minutes from the actual town of Biscarrosse, this is a superb place for lovers of the sun and sea. With over 4 kilometres of beach and plenty of water sports on offer, this is also the ideal spot to take a leisurely walk in the sea air. There are some lovely, unpretentious little boutique shops, restaurants and cafes here too.
Les Landes has several stunning towns and villages brimming with beauty and history.
If you are a surfer, this will surely ring a loud bell. Hossegor is one of the most famous surfing resorts in France. With 7 kilometres of totally unspoilt clean sandy beaches, this is a fabulous place for lovers of water sports. The local town is justifiably proud of its heritage and works hard to maintain the cleanliness of its beaches. You might even think you are bordering the Pacific Ocean, it is just so spectacular!
Make sure you’re prepared for a viewing trip with the tips and tricks from our Viewing Trip guide.
The town itself is beautiful. Between the first and second world wars many majestic villas were built here, largely Art Deco influenced. Timber framed and white facades make for a wonderful sight and many villas have been restored since they were first built. There is plenty for lovers of gastronomy here too with some fine restaurants and pretty cafes.
A little further inland, this is a truly delightful spa town, ideal for recharging one’s batteries. There is a superb park with a rose garden, waterfall and hot springs as well as plenty of top end restaurants.
Back to the Silver Coast and here we have the fine seaside resort of Mimizan-Plage, situated between the Landes forest and the Atlantic Ocean. There are over 10 kilometres of sandy beaches here, making it the ideal spot for water sport lovers as well as those of us who simply like to relax on the sand with a good book.
This is a very popular resort during the summer months with some lively bars, clubs and even a casino.
How does a picturesque cosy French village within striking distance of the coast sound? Levignacq is full of half timber houses, cobbled streets and ancient buildings. Rich in history, this lovely village is well worth exploring, not least for its ornate church of St Martin. This lesser known village is a real find for lovers of history as well as the ocean.
Les Landes is very worthwhile taking the time to discover. From spectacular coastline to meandering forests to pretty ancient towns and villages, What more could one ask for?