The clouds were gathering above me adding streaks of grey to an already moody sky in Moliets-et-Maa. As I wiped the sea spray from my eyes, I could see the wave rushing towards me. It was go time.
I hurled myself onto the oversized surfboard and started paddling to the encouragement of my fellow beginner surfers. I felt the ocean lift my board and the foam bubble around me.
It was pretty much now or never to try and ride the wave. I gingerly got to my feet and awkwardly positioned myself into the ‘surfer stance’. This particular stance, unfortunately, does make you appear as if you are ever so slightly constipated.
“I’m actually doing it”, I thought to myself as I raced towards the shore, “I nailed this wave!” It’s joy, relief and achievement all at the same time. I felt like the queen of the ocean.
Welcome this small surfer town in the South West of France, an idyllic seaside resort surrounded by pine trees, sand dunes and cycle paths.
Located on the sunny Atlantic Coast of south-west France, it’s a French destination that should be high on your travel list.
Surfing in Moliets-et-Maa
During the summer months, Moliets-et-Maa is one of the livelier beach resorts on the Landes coast. Moliets Plage, in particular, is packed with surfing pros as well as beginners trying to catch their first wave.
There’s plenty of surf schools and surf camps in Moliets with effortlessly cool, qualified instructors, ready to guide you into surfing glory.
Ecole de Surf du Golf offers a mix of group and private lessons with charming instructor Camille, who epitomizes the laid back ‘French surfer’ look.
Camille teaches at the quiet green beach of the cork oaks in Moliet. The Ecole de Surf du Golf is the only surf school that can operate in this beach area. Luckily this meant I had endless wipe-outs without a large audience to witness my failings.
The best time to go surfing in Moliets-et-Maa depends on your ability level. The beaches can get really crowded during the summer months, so beginners might be better learning in the off-peak season.
I find there’s no better way to recover from a vigorous surf session than with a large glass of vino. I made my way to La Cave des Vignerons de Tursan, for a spot of afternoon wine tasting.
This boutique winery offers tastings on a selection of local Tursan wines. Dashingly handsome staff will top up your glass and explain the grape varieties and winemaking process.
Looking back on my notes later in the evening, I had clearly imbibed on many glasses of Chateau Bourda, as my scrawlings were completely nonsensical.
With 8kms of picturesque cycling trails, Moliets is best explored on two wheels. The commute to surfing took me through scented pine forests and alongside strips of seaside shops and cafes.
It was a real pleasure to cycle in Moilets. There are dedicated cycle lanes through the town and towards the beaches.
I thoroughly embraced the local culture by languidly biking after a long, wine heavy lunch and calling out “bonjour” to passing cyclists.
Cycling enthusiasts can also take advantage of longer cycle networks that head out of Moilets and towards neighbouring towns.
Golf – Golf de Moliets
Some visitors come to Moliets just for the world-class golfing. The seaside course ‘Golf de Moliets’ is considered to be one of the most beautiful golf courses in Europe.
This well-known 18-hole golf course was created by the highly regarded American golf course designer Robert Trent Jones. The course famously features four holes by the sea that are located on shifting sand dunes.
I’m not really much of a golfer as I lack the necessary coordination required. I decided to sip wine in the sun outside the golf house, rather than knock chunks out of the green with my haphazard swinging.
Day Trip To Hossegor
There are several small surfer towns along the Landes coast, one of the more hipster surf towns is Hossegor, a 30-minute drive from Moliets et Maa.
I spent a few hours wandering amongst boutique stores, upmarket cafes and outdoor market stalls full of shiny trinkets.
I eschewed the cutesy cafes on the main road to have lunch at Hossegor Market Hall. Inside there are food stalls selling a selection of Basque-inspired pintxos and regional wines.
I perched precariously on a small stool in the centre of the market sipping wine whilst market customers milled around me. It was like a small window into French life as kilos of seafood were weighed and sold, friends met for a gossipy lunch and traders chatted together.
FLY: Return flights with low-cost airlines are available from London to Biarritz and from London to Bordeaux.
STAY: La Clairière aux Chevreuil villas. The villas at La Clairière aux Chevreuils come with a private swimming pool set inside a large garden with a terrace. I particularly enjoyed lounging poolside. Rates from £100.12 per person for a week in a 3-bedroom villa, sleeping up to 8 people (£801 total), in May. Or from £235.5 per person for a week in a 4-bedroom villa, sleeping up to 10 people (£2355 total), in August