Step #1: Surf, mountains and tapas in Biarritz
Charlotte takes us to the mountains to enjoy a 360° view over the Basque coast. From the old-fashioned wooden train that takes us to the top of the Rhune, we admire vultures and the Pottoks – or Basque ponies – that roam wild here. After a succulent snack from a farm in Venta Yasola, we set our sights on Biarritz, where surf culture mingles with the dominant Art Deco style of the city. The Côte des Basques – where surf began to spread throughout Europe in 1957 – is the top surfing spot, sought-after for its long, consistent waves. The day ends with an outdoor yoga session, followed by tapas and cocktails at the Etxola Bibi open-air restaurant, where we enjoy the silvery sparkle of the sea.
Step #2: Galloping free, fine sand beaches, oysters and canoeing in Saint-Jean-de-Monts
Delighted to be on the road again, we climb aboard our Roadsurfer van and head for the Saint Jean de Monts area of the Vendée. This beach resort features the typical architecture of the 1970s, offering miles of fine sandy beaches that we discover on horseback, galloping along the water’s edge as the sun sets. The oyster is the star product of this region, and Charlotte invites us to a taste directly at their source. She takes us to see a local oyster farmer, David Lecossois, who enthusiastically shares his expertise and presents us with a platter to enjoy, bare feet in the sand. Other must-sees: the Salt Route and a sustainable visit to the Breton marshland of the Vendée in a canoe.
Step #3: Fishing on pilings in Pornic
The first leg of our trip along the southern area of Brittany takes us to Pornic. The Sablons beach is emblematic with the golden sands of its untamed, family-oriented inlet. The coastline path is lined with adorable villas, pine trees and seaside plants. From here we set out for a bike ride along the cliffside. The coast is dotted with the area’s typical fishing cabins perched atop pilings. In fact, we rent one at La Plaine-sur-Mer to enjoy a most authentic plaice fishing experience. Just step onto the pontoon, cross the fine wooden footbridge lapped by the sea, and you’ll immediately feel the immensity of the ocean disconnecting you from the bustle of everyday life. Pure enjoyment!
Step #4: The sweet life in the Golfe du Morbihan
The road trip continues to the Golfe du Morbihan in the pursuit of tranquillity, a change of pace, and a wild natural setting. We set our sights on L’Île d’Arz, known as the “Island of Captains” since it has forged generations of renowned sailors. This quiet, verdant spot is currently undergoing a complete rejuvenation, with young farmers who are reclaiming the lands for organic production. We follow Charlotte on bike along the 10-mile circuit around the island, taking time out here and there to enjoy the view. Throughout this island reigns a flavour of insular liberty. The jagged coast offers a number of inlets, and with such a mild climate, we can’t resist a dip in the turquoise waters!
Step #5: Elegant Bénodet and a magical stopover in the Glénan Islands
Our last stopover on the Atlantic coast is the charming vintage village of Bénodet, across from the Glénan Island archipelago. Charlotte, who has been eager to unfurl her sail since our road trip began, takes us to the largest island of the archipelago, Saint-Nicolas, for a paradisiac kiteboarding excursion. Famous for its white sandy beaches, native flora and clear waters, the archipelago rivals with the most beautiful tropical islands. Forget pollution: the extensive, varied ecosystem of the Glénan Islands is a daytime wonderland, whether you’re diving, sailing, exploring in a glass-bottomed boat, or hiking. Just add a crèpe and a bowlful of cider to finish on just the right note!