Where is the Landes department located in France?
Located between the Gironde and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, between the Arcachon basin and the Basque coast, Les Landes is a department in southwestern France renowned for its natural spaces. The territory is home to a large part of the Landes de Gascogne regional natural park, characterized by its pine forests, large lakes suitable for nautical activities (Biscarrosse, Parentis), dunes and vast sandy beaches on its seafront: the Côte d ‘ Argent, portion of the Atlantic coast famous for its surf spots (Biscarrosse, Mimizan, Hossegor, Seignosse, Moliets). Mont-de-Marsan, Landes prefecture, is watered by two rivers: the Midou and the Douze. This department of New Aquitaine is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Gers and Lot-et-Garonne to the east.
Which city to visit in the Landes?
A comfortable stay by the sea in a Grand Sud campsite will allow you to visit the most beautiful cities of the Landes:
Trendy seaside resort, Biscarrosse has several kilometers of beaches (South beach, North beach, Central beach, Vivier beach) which attract surfers and bathers. The city offers an interesting alternative to the ocean for families looking for a safe place to swim: the lake. Lake Biscarrosse has sandy beaches (Navarrosse, Maguide), ports, nautical bases and picnic areas. Bike paths connect the lake with the beaches and the city center. Many activities are possible on site: water sports (kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle, windsurfing) and museum of hydroaviation.
The bourgeois Mimizan has many bars and restaurants on the seafront and large expanses of fine sand. After swimming and the sandcastles, take a bucolic walk to Lake Aureilhan. Near the lake, there is a botanical garden classified “remarkable garden”, the flowered promenade. A 12 km long path takes you around the lake.
This city of Marensin of less than 8,000 inhabitants has the distinction of having two types of beach: ocean beaches and the beaches of the marine lake of the port of Albret. These are sheltered from the wind and are very popular with families. Take advantage of your day in Soustons to visit the museum of traditions and old tools.
Along with Hossegor, Seignosse is one of the largest seaside resorts in the south of the Landes coast. Penon, Bourdaines or Estagnots beach: miles of sand and magnificent rollers that delight surfers. The city has two churches (Penon and Saint-André) and excellent local products such as foie gras, kiwis and asparagus.
It’s hard not to mention La Gravière when we talk about Hossegor. In addition to its world famous surf spot, this town of Maremne seduces with its promenade by the sea (you will be surprised by the beautiful wall painting “The Wave”), its charming well-preserved churches and its marine lake.
What are the must-see places of interest in the Landes?
Pond of Biscarosse and Parentis
With an area of 35 km2, it constitutes one of the great Landes lakes. During sunny days, it becomes a swimming place (equipped beaches) and a playground for lovers of windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking and fishing. This natural area surrounded by pine trees is served by several cycle paths and is the starting point for many hikes.
Pond of Cazaux and Sanguinet
Divided between the departments of Landes and Gironde, Lake Cazaux and Sanguinet (55 km2) is also ideal for practicing nautical activities in calm waters. You will find a golf course and a water park (Aquapark Biscarrosse) on the west bank.
Ecomuseum of Marquèze
Between Mimizan and Mont-de-Marsan, the Great Heathland Marquèze ecomuseum in Sabers is a must visit for lovers of local heritage. Inaugurated in 1970, it will reveal the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Haute Lande at the end of the 19th century.
Gave de Pau
The Gave de Pau, a tributary of the Adour, rises in a natural site listed as World Heritage by Unesco: the Cirque de Gavarnie. This river attracts many fishermen. How about a boat trip to discover the hinterland of the Landes in a different way while relaxing?
Orx Marsh National Nature Reserve
Located between Labenne and Orx, this protected site is of great ecological interest. The Orx marsh is the last major wetland on the Aquitaine coast to be protected. A place of refuge for migratory birds, it attracts birdwatchers in particular.
What activity to practice in the Landes?
Do you want to spend an active holiday during your stay at the Grand Sud campsite in the Landes? Overview of the main outdoor activities to practice alone, as a couple, with family or friends:
Sport king on the Silver Coast. The Landes coast, which stretches over 100 km, has many spots: Biscarrosse, Mimizan, Contis-les-Bains, Moliets-et-Maa, Vieux-Boucau, Seignosse, Hossegor, Capbreton …
Kitesurfing and windsurfing
The ocean beaches, with their rollers and their strong current, are rather reserved for initiates. Beginners generally turn to the Landes lakes such as Biscarrosse lake and the Cazaux and Sanguinet pond.
Canoe, kayak, stand up paddle and rowboat
The large lakes are excellent playgrounds for paddle sports. Lake Leon, in the Huchet current nature reserve, is equipped with a nautical base. You can take a pirogue on Lake Aureilhan (Mimizan) and stand up paddle on the Gave d’Oloron. For boat trips, get off the beaten track by opting for the Etang Blanc in Seignosse.
The small lake of Biscarrosse, very full of fish, is one of the favorite corners of the Landes fishermen. There are several plans and peaceful rivers for fishing such as Lac de Luc in Pouillon, the Sainte-Foy pond, the Moliets pond and the Tarnos pond.
The Vélodyssée, which links the Basque Country to Brittany, crosses the Landes along the coast. Several other greenways crisscross the department.
Coastline, Landes forest, lake tour, countryside… In total, more than 3,500 km of marked trails have been set up for hiking, horse riding and mountain biking.
The 40 has ten 9 or 18 hole courses, most of them by the ocean: Mimizan, Mont-de-Marsan, Biscarrosse, Moliets, Hossegor, Soustons, Seignosse, Bahus-Soubiran, Dax, Hagetmau …
Where to go for a walk in the Landes?
From a family walk by the lake to a sporty hike in the forest or in the dunes, an overview of the 5 most beautiful walks in the Landes.
The round of Castles
A very nice route in the Bas-Armagnac dotted with castles to explore a little known region of the Landes.
- Distance: 16 km
- Duration: 3h40 (1h00 VTT)
- Level: easy
- Departure: Labastide d’Armagnac
Hossegor Marine Lake
An original way to combine hiking and oyster farming. Take the time to admire the lake, the Landes houses and, at the end of the journey, the oyster huts where an oyster tasting awaits you.
- Distance: 7.4 km
- Duration: 2h15
- Level: easy
- Departure: Hossegor
Sanguinet lake and forest
A circuit suitable for families between lake and pine forests, with a beach on arrival where you can swim. Possibility to combine the ride with the visit to the Butterfly farm.
- Distance: 6.6 km
- Duration: 1h30
- Level: easy
- Start: Sanguinet
La Forge circuit
This hike allows you to discover the heritage of the town (old feudal mound, buildings built with the red stone of the country), to get lost in the forest and to be lulled by the sweet melody of the rivers.
- Distance: 12.7 km
- Duration: 3h30
- Intermediate level
- Departure: Pontenx-les-Forges
A bucolic walk along the Midouze in the shade of oaks, plane trees and chestnut trees.
- Distance: 13.9 km
- Duration: 4 hours
- Intermediate level
- Departure: Saint-Yaguen
What are the gastronomic specialties of the Landes?
Although it is very well surrounded (Basque cuisine, Perigord cuisine), the Landes gastronomy enjoys a great reputation thanks to the quality of its local products, in particular:
This highly coveted beef on the tables of Parisian restaurants is excellent grilled, a la plancha or in tartare. One of the secrets of this meat: 100% vegetable animal feed.
The Adour kiwi
You have to wait until fall to see it ripe and full of flavor, but the wait is worth the effort. Certified “Label Rouge”, the Adour kiwi is one of the jewels of the Landes terroir. It is used in particular in the composition of desserts (pies) and sorbets.
Asparagus of the Sands
Its strange ability to grow in sandy soils has earned it this enigmatic name. This white asparagus is tasted in spring.
Certified “Red Label” and raised outdoors for more than 100 days, the Landes farm duck is fed whole grain corn. All the conditions are met to obtain high quality poultry for consumption in the form of duck, foie gras or confit.
Yes, this is where one of the oldest spirits was born. A unique character that has been exported to the four corners of the globe.
Where to sleep in the Landes?
There are several accommodation solutions in the moors. You will find many hotels and apartments for rent with ocean views (including airbnb). Bed and breakfasts and lodgings are rather concentrated around lakes and in the countryside, especially in Bas-Armagnac. Grand Sud campsites offer mobile homes with equipped kitchens and private terraces, as well as spacious pitches. Their aquatic area and other recreational facilities, their free entertainment program and their proximity to the ocean are great assets for families who want to stay on the Landes coast at the best price. Le 40 also has a large naturist campsite in Vielle-Saint-Girons (Arnaoutchot).