A paradise for surfers, nature lovers, walking enthusiasts and open air enthusiasts, the Landes combines immense ocean beaches, vast forests and numerous lakes. The second largest department in mainland France (after the Gironde) is lapped by the Atlantic Ocean along a 106 km sandy coastline lined with high dunes.
Through the forest:
The Landes de Gascogne forest covers an area of nearly one million hectares, making it the largest artificial forest in Western Europe. Its fragility is protected and it offers landscapes perfect for walking, cycling and horse riding. It mainly consists of maritime pines, green oaks and cork oaks. There are many cycle paths, marked footpaths, the GR8, Vélodyssée and the coastal route of the Way of St James. Azur > Messanges path: 45 min roughly, 10 km to La Vélodyssée or the green trail.
The gastronomy of the Landes is very rich. It is the leading producer of foie gras in France; the inventor of duck magret; it is famous for top chefs like Guérad and Ducasse and gastronomy celebrities like Maité, etc. Some products from the Landes are very famous indeed, such as:
- Duck foie gras
- Landais chicken
- Chalosse beef
- Le Bas Armagnac
- Vin de Sables and Tursan wine
- Asparagus (sold at Darrigade farm!)
- Pastis Landais, etc.
On the Landes coast, behind the sand dunes and in the middle of the pine forest, nestle numerous ponds and lakes:
Lake Soustons / Azur
Lake Soustons/Azur is next to the campsite and extends six kilometres to Soustons. It is a fresh water lake. Its shores boast a variety of landscapes, such as marshes, waterways, a small island, pine forests, and a few houses. The area is ideal for fishing, in a very lovely environment, and is also perfect for walks. It is also appreciated for boating, notably rowing. From the campsite, set off on a canoe outing to discover the lake.
Part of the Léon fresh water lake is a nature reserve. The other part is reserved for leisure activities, such as canoeing and kayaking (with Marc on the River Palue). Very popular with anglers, Lake Léon also has lovely green spaces and cycle paths, all in a bucolic atmosphere.
Vieux Bocau seawater lake
The seawater lake of Port d’Albret in Soustans and Vieux Boucau provides many other possibilities and activities. A cycle path goes around the lake and offers wonderful bike rides under the pine trees (roughly 5 km). Or you could walk instead. A 3.8 km walk takes you around LakeAlbret. This walk should take between 40 minutes and 90 minutes. Or why not cycle or jog?
Hossegor seawater lake
Lake Hossegor is a seawater lake which becomes almost empty with each tide, before filling up again. There are several beaches around the lake. There is a lovely walk around the lake, ideal for a little family walk. Hossegor Lake is the only oyster farming site in the Landes.
Bullfighting, known as course landaise, is a tradition and a performance, and also a recognised sport. It is practised throughout the Landes in arenas, with sauteurs (leapers) and écarteurs (dodgers) on one side, and a cow, called the coursière, on the other. There are many different shows in the summer in Soustons, Vieux Boucau and elsewhere, for you to discover and enjoy. http://www.mpcourselandaise.com/
Escape to planet Marquèze!
The Marquèze eco-museum is on the commune of Sabres, 70 km from the campsite. Take a ride on the hundred-year-old train and enjoy a unique experience at the Marquèze eco-museum, an authentic 19th-century hamlet. You will discover houses furnished as they were back in the day; you can take part in different activities; try out local games and taste a cake fresh out of the oven. A real adventure for young visitors! Treasure hunts and workshops are organised free of charge to discover the eco-museum in a fun and interactive way. In Marquèze, travel back in time to the heart of the Landes de Gascogne.
Courant d'Huchet is a vital link between Lake Léon and the Atlantic Ocean. The site is rich in history, traditions and habitats for fauna and flora.
In Seignosse, take a walk through the swamp forest of Etang Noir, on a decked walkway that runs alongside this fresh water lake.
Discover the Marais d'Orx Nature Reserve on foot, along a 6.2 km (round trip) path, from the Reception Centre to the pump sector. Different wooden structures allow you to observe a variety of species. Freely accessible site, open every day, or guided tours upon reservation (with a fee). http://www.reserve-naturelle-marais-orx.fr/