MOLIETS - OUT & ABOUT
Moliets offers a variety of activities and attractions for the holiday visitor.
There are two restricted swimming areas supervised by professional life savers (June to Sept), leaving the rest of the beach for the surfers and body-boarders.
Surfers can have fun paddling their boards down the Huchet River, out to the fantastic breaks. The less confident can take lessons - there is a choice of surf schools, including Ecole de Surf du Golf
, Moliets Surf School
and Maa Surf Shop and School
Lessons include wetsuit and board hire, and advice will be given for the most appropriate board.
Tip - avoid the crowds at Plage Centrale and take the footpath over the dunes to Plage Chênes Lièges. It's about 400 metres south of Plage Centrale but less crowded at peak times.
There is a permanently reserved area of beach for kite flying
, the only one in Aquitaine. There are four free beach-volleyball
courts run by the Moliets Tourist Information Office
, with weekly organised tournaments in summer.
The stretch of beach at Moliets is enormous, so despite all the surfers and kite-flyers, etc, there is plenty of space for the family and for those who just want to relax and sunbathe.
Outside of the main summer season, many people come to Moliets for the golf
alone. The seaside course Golf de Moliets
is ranked 9th best in France (according to the internet golf guide Top 100 Golf Courses
), and considered to be one of the 25 most beautiful courses in Continental Europe. Particularly memorable are the four holes by the sea on the shifting dunes, which change continuously with the weather. There is an 18-hole (par 72), or a 9-hole course (par 31) to choose between. For more information about the local golf courses and golf pass, visit our Golf in Aquitaine
L'Etang de la Prade and Etang de Moliets are excellent fishing
lakes. A fishing license is required, and can be bought from the Bureau de Tabac des Lacs
in Moliets Village. Fish include pike, perch, black-bass, roach, carp, tench and eel. Sea fishing is completely free.
Moliets has 8kms of cycling
trails, taking you through the forest, along lakes, and to neighbouring villages. We recommend the map of footpaths and cycling tracks available from the tourist information office. You can also use the Moliets tourist office website to find bike hire companies in Moliets
is available at nearby Messanges (Domaine de la Prade), and tennis
is available at the golf clubhouse.
Sailing, windsurfing, kayaks
are all available at nearby Lac de Léon and Étang de Soustons too.
Moliets has a court for Pelote Basque
(Tuesdays, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville au Village). Similar to squash, the most dramatic variation of the game is played on giant courts - opponents fire a hard ball at a high wall using a huge hooked glove, causing the ball to travel at incredible speeds. Other variations of the game include bare hand, which is played throughout the Basque country.
Children’s Tourist Attractions
There’s plenty available in Moliets for energetic youngsters. As well as the sports outlined above, the Avenue de l’Ocean offers basketball
courts, table tennis, and a games room; on the beach there’s a trampoline, askate-park
, and volley-ball
Anyone over the age of six can find adventure at Moliets Adrenaline Parc
. Treetop balconies and slides (for those taller than 1m 40cm - approx 4 ½ ft), Quad bikes (from 6yrs), paint-balling (from 14 yrs), and mini-motorbikes.
There's also a small children's farm
is the nearest village market
(5kms) - Tue all year plus every day in the summer, mid Jun - end Sep.Léon is a pleasant village with a good boulangerie and a couple of restaurants too. Moliets
also has a summer market - Tue, Thu, Sat in Jul & Aug.
If shopping for more luxury items is your thing, then head south to France Basque Coast
and peruse the boutiques of Biarritz
or St Jean de Luz
A couple of recent restaurant openings in Moliets, Dune and Chez Vincent have been most welcome in extending the choice of good French eating beyond the Hotel de l'Ocean. La Cave aux Moules is the the pick of the more touristy options. The village of Léon offers a couple of restaurants with good value set menus, plus there's a couple of gems further inland too (see below).
Dune, Moliets Plage centre - good quality home-cuisine, English spoken, and recommended by several clients. Dune Restaurant
Chez Vincent, Moliets Plage centre - superb contemporary poissonerie and restaurant, serving catches freshly landed in Capbreton and presided over by charismatic Vincent himself. Chez Vincent
La Grange aux Saveurs, opposite Adrenaline Parc on the road towards Messanges - regional food straight from the producers – particularly foie gras (a regional speciality), Armagnac and wines. As with most French markets, tasting is encouraged.
Ferme-Auberge Lesca, 428 chemin du Stucs, 40260 Castets (inland from Moliets, 20km beyond Léon to Castets) - a former barn serving amazing regional specialities of the Landes region. The small terrace offers a charming view of the landscape, and the building makes for a great country-style atmosphere. Booking essential!
Hotel de l'Océan, ave de l'Océan, Moliets-Plage (on the right as you walk towards the beach) - contemporary-style restaurant. There's a big terrace to sit out too.
Le Bellini / Rumours, ave de l'Océan, Moliets-Plage (on the left as you walk towards the beach) - contemporary-style bar and restaurant. Outdoor terrace too.
Relais de la Poste, 24, avenue de Maremne, Magescq - for a sumptous gastronomique experience, this is well worth the 20kms drive. One of the best in the region and part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux group.
The above list has been compiled with the help of the Lonely Planet Guide (South West France)
, The Green Guide (Atlantic Coast)
and the Cadogan
Guides – always an excellent and informative read. “Gascony and the Pyrenees
” is the one to buy to cover the Landes Coast
In the summer season, there are discos and nightclubs on ave de l'Océan and rue de la Bastide.
Arts and Culture
To be quite honest, this region of France is not for culture-buffs but for people who want an easy-going seaside family holiday with plenty of outdoor activities.
That said, if you fancy a day's break, then a visit to Bordeaux, Biarritz
, or St Jean de Luz
is recommended. These two coastal jewels are further south on the French Basque Coast
- there's also some very pretty villages to visit inland. Or cross the border into Spain
for the Guggenheim at Bilbao
or spend a day in beautiful San Sebastian
To experience Landais culture, why not sample a pastime particular to the south west - visit Vieux-Boucau
to watch course landaise
(a less gory version of bull-fighting) and the Basque-invented pelota, the fastest ball-game in the world. If you’d like to learn more about the Landaise culture and traditions, try the eco-museum at Sabres
in the Landes National Park,
less than 1 hour's drive from Mimizan.
The Courant d'Huchet
experience is a great way to experience the fragile natural environment - see the excursions below..
To the south of Lac de Léon
, land has been set aside as a nature reserve
, and is a great spot for observing birds.
Near Vieux-Boucau, Tropica Parc
is an open-air tropical garden with a distinctly Asian flavour. Birdsong is everywhere, as is the scent and sight of Asian plants and spices, even Indonesian bicycles and Balinese houses. There are also animal enclosures with animals including dwarf zebus and donkeys.
Sample the Amazon in south west France!
This is a 'must do'! A very leisurely way to spend the afternoon is taking a descent down the semi-tropical Huchet River from Léon towards the ocean. Relax as Landais gondoliers gently punt you on your way in flat bottomed boats. Look out for yellow water lilies, pink hibiscus, cypress pine, and several species of South American origin. 2, 3 and 4 hr trips are available. If travelling in August, you will need to book your Courant d'Huchet Boat Trip
in advance for this treat.
Explore the lakes
The freshwater lakes that punctuate the forest are a great alternative to the ocean and provide safer bathing for children. Rather like the Lake District in England, each lake, or étang, has its own atmosphere. Travel south for more beautiful quiet lakes and nature reserves
(see below). The delightful Étang de Soustons (Soustons Lake), is surrounded by reeds and thick pine woods, where you can enjoy a light walk and picnic by the water’s edge. South of Soustons, look out for the charming Étang Blanc (‘White Lake’ – due to its fine sandy bottom), bordered by fishermen’s huts. The narrow road takes you through wonderful countryside and along the tempting shoreline. The smaller Étang Noir (‘Black Lake’ – named after its black mud) is classified as a Nature reserve. Elevated walkways give you a closer look at the many varieties of fish and migratory birds.
Châteaux and wine tours
A good way to take a break from the activities on offer at Moliets is to head north/east to the vineyards
. For wine-lovers, the Médoc
region is home to several world-class vineyards including celebrated appellations such as St-Julien
and Médoc itself. The warm climate and gravelly soil combine to produce some of the world’s most sought-after red wines. Naturally there are plenty of wine-tasting opportunities. To visit the best-known châteaux such as Lafite Rothschild
, you are advised to make a booking in advance.
La Côte Basque
An hour’s drive south are the sophisticated resorts of Biarritz
and St Jean de Luz
, the south Atlantic’s riposte to the Côte d’Azur. Both provide excellent beaches, cuisine and up-market shopping as well as a good introduction to the Spanish-influenced Pays Basque. If you have time, drop into the regional capital,Bayonne
. Famed for its ham and its chocolates, Bayonne was under English rule for 300 years. It is much under-rated and worth a trip to see its cathedral and walk its ancient streets. Trek a little further inland and theBasque Country
itself is a delightful land of rolling green hills and picture-perfect villages of the Pays Basque are a must. Ainhoa
all perfectly demonstrate Basque village life.
A little further south and you can hike in the mountain air of the Pyrénées
It's your holiday - be pampered
In France, the south west is known for its rejuvenating waters, both salt and fresh varieties. The result is a wide selection of spa
centres. Nearby Dax
is the official spa capital of France and is a 25 minute drive from the villas. The Côte Basque – Hendaye, St Jean de Luz and Biarritz - is home to numerous thalassotherapy centres. There's a couple closer by including at Capbreton
Visit another country!
OK, maybe that isn't the best piece of advertising by a company specialising in south west France! But,Spain
is only 90kms away. We thoroughly recommend a visit to delightful San Sebastian
, the Spanish Basque country’s equivalent of Biarritz. The more adventurous could drive another hour or so further along the northern coast to Bilbao
to see the Guggenheim
For further tourist information about the local areas beyond Moliets, please browse our region guides:
» France Basque Coast
» Bordeaux Countryside
Lastly, here’s a few words of travel advice when you’re holidaying in Moliets…the crowds swell in late July and August and parking can be difficult at the Plage Centrale. Our advice is to hire bikes. Also, if you walk/cycle through the forest directly to Plage Chênes Lièges, you'll avoid the beach crowds in August.