Tucked away in the south-western corner of France, the Aquitaine region offers some of the most quintessentially French holiday experiences – without the crowds. Here the seaside resort of Moliets – nestled between the unspoilt Landes pine forest and the Atlantic Ocean’s endless sandy beaches – is perfectly placed to entertain active families and nature lovers alike.
A couple of hours from Bordeaux Airport and even closer to Biarritz, you can hire a car but in our case our host, Summer France, offered transfers to and from the airport. Alternatively some people prefer to drive from the UK, which enables visitors to explore this little-known part of the French coast.
Set around a golf course which is in the top ten 27-hole courses in the world, Summer France villas are the perfect spot for those who like to knock a little white ball around. Having never played before, other than a spot of crazy golf during seaside trips, we took advantage of lessons at the golf driving range. The children looked more like they were hitting a baseball than a golf ball, but having learnt the rudiments we were soon all able to hoof it a fair distance. If golf isn’t for you, there are many other activities close to the accommodation. Hiring a bike from the on-site shop is recommended as many of the activities, the beach and resort of Moliets, with its shops and restaurants, are a short cycle away. For a great pizza try Pizza Dinner at Le Transat (www.le-transat.fr) or for a family treat and fresh oysters check out Hotel Grille l’Ocean (www.hotel-grill-ocean-moliets.com/restaurant-moliets-et-maa).
For those in need of a bit more adrenaline there is also plenty on offer. Just north of Hossegor, Europe’s surfing capital, Moliets is internationally known for its incredible waves and great summer vibes and is the perfect place for all the family to learn surfing. Being complete novices, we were taken back to basics by our patient teachers before moving on to the more advanced skill of actually trying to stand on the board. Safety was definitely the name of the game as the current was pretty strong.
Within an hour, my youngest was already managing to kneel then stand on her board and ride the waves. I can’t say my efforts were as impressive but it is a great way to keep active children entertained and for them to learn a skill while on holiday.
If surfing doesn’t provide enough buzz for one holiday there is always high-rise zip-wire fun to be had at Moliets’ very own Adrenaline Park designed with kids in mind, although there is plenty of fun for the adults including a leap of faith. There are 15 different stages of challenges high up in the treetops which could easily fill a day as the children – and big children – push themselves to the limit.
And the excitement doesn’t stop there. Just when you think this area can’t have any more to offer for the adventurous family, skateboarding appears on our itinerary. The children loved learning to do 180s under the expert tuition of Julien Polisset at the radical skate park at Vieux-Boucau.
For those who fancy something a bit more sedate, take a trip to nearby Lac de Leon, which is the perfect place to try stand-up paddle boarding. It’s not as easy as it sounds to start with, but once you get your balance paddling across the lake and then navigating a picturesque stream was almost relaxing. Clearly you don’t have to pack all this into one trip to Moliets, it is the type of place you could visit year after year.
Summer France offers five complexes across the Moliets resort, with its comfortable range of apartments, cottages and villas with pools ensuring couples, families and groups can all enjoy their ideal break. What is a real bonus is that accommodation is flexible so if available you can book your holiday to start and finish on a date of your choosing, ideal for those driving from the UK for whom the normal seven or 14-day break just doesn’t work.
We stayed in the Les Villas de la Clairière aux Chevreuils. The spacious villas are equipped with families very much in mind, with each boasting a large lounge with satellite TV, well-equipped kitchen, decked terrace and private pool. In fact, there was just about everything you could think of, from a tumble dryer to an iron and ironing board.
It was the perfect base to unwind round the pool with a cold glass of something after such an adrenaline- packed few days and for those who want a more relaxing holiday that’s exactly what you can do. Guests of Summer France get a discount on most of the activities but there is no pressure to do any of them.
For a family looking for flexibility in a little-known area of France with a wide choice of action-packed activities Moliets could just about tick all your boxes.
Catherine and her children stayed at Villas La Clairière aux Chevreuils. Prices start from £102 pp for a seven-night stay in a villa sleeping eight, self-catering. summerfrance.co.uk
Return flights from Manchester to Bordeaux with easyJet (easyjet.com).
Adrenalin Park – The zip wire treetop activity centre: adrenalineparc.fr
Surfing lesson – Ecole de Surf du Golf: ecoledesurfdugolf.com/en/
Moliet golf – golfmoliets.com
Skateboard – email [email protected]