1. The Old Port of La Rochelle
A fishing hub since the 12th century, the Old Port of La Rochelle has seen a host of renowned sailors pass through, between its famous St Nicolas Tower (on the right) and its Chaîne Tower (on the left), making it one of Europe’s most mythical port gateways.
Enter the cobblestoned streets and alleyways of the Old Port district and be whisked away on a journey through a timeless atmosphere. Here you will discover boutiques, bustling
terraces, seafood restaurants and delightful little markets definitely worth a
A stone’s throw away, the Port de plaisance des Minimes, is the largest marina on the Atlantic seaboard (over 5,000 tie-down rings) and the venue for major boating events.
Here, you’ll discover sailing and other water sports as well as a really impressive number of boats from across the world.
During your stopover, make sure you take in the view from the top of the towers which offer a breathtaking panorama over the town, visit the famous aquarium (12,000 marine animals) and, further out at sea, Fort Boyard and the islands of Aix, Oléron and Ré.
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2. The port of Saint Martin de Ré
This little port, nestling in a recess on Île de Ré, bubbles over with charm!
The port, protected by ramparts and a dyke, both UNESCO Heritage listed monuments, comprises a mud-birth base and a wet dock regulated by a lock. Cast your anchor here and discover a delightful little village dominated by the ruins of its old Gothic church. Here, fishing boats and leisure craft mix joyfully together and everyone enjoys a chat on the terraces.
A highly-prized stop-off destination for leisure sailors given its accessibility to various services and its evening entertainment.
Once there, head off for a stroll around its typical streets and alleyways and stop off for a bite in one of the many restaurants on the port.
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3. Royan Port
Royan Port, a large marina on the Atlantic Coast with some 1,000 tie-down rings, is located at the very heart of the town. Leisure sailors can enjoy the charms of this seaside resort which invites to discover its typical 1950s-style architecture and its exquisite Belle Époque dwellings. Lovers of everything vintage… this stop-off is a must!
4. Arcachon Port
The Port de Plaisance d’Arcachon is the second largest marina on the Atlantic seaboard as regards mooring capacity (2,700 places), just behind La Rochelle, and is a highly popular stop-off as it offers access to all the treasures of Arcachon Bay.
While you’re here, enjoy a picturesque stroll through the fishing port, the marina and the oyster farming district of Aiguillon. Wander around on foot or by bike in postcard scenescapes. And, while off on your adventures, don’t miss out on Arcachon, seaside resort, with its “Winter Town” and its “Summer Town”. A stone’s throw away, roam over Pilat Dune, the highest in Europe and visit Cap Ferret peninsula.
Along the bay: “huts on stilts”, Bird island and Cap Ferret peninsula: cachet and authenticity guaranteed.
5. The port of Brise Lames in Anglet
The charming little port of Anglet is located on the left bank of the Adour, at 0.70 metres from the mouth with the Atlantic Ocean. It offers 425 places on the pontoon and 50 places for visitors. Important, it is reserved for boats less than 18 m long.
A must-do is a visit to Anglet village and its beaches located to the north. Here, the setting sun is unforgettable: one of the most instragrammable of the whole region!
For the sporty among you: ride the waves at the famous local surf spots and play a round at Chiberta Golf Club which offers a breathtaking view over the Basque cliffs.
Enjoy this exceptional natural scenescape, where the mountains roll into the sea, at the foot of La Rhune. Biarritz and Bayonne are definite must-visits close by.
For great places to go, read our article “Anglet… through surf champion
Pauline Ado’s eyes”
6. The port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz/Ciboure
The port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz was one of France’s great whaling ports. For the anecdote… the port hosts two fishing boats listed as National Historical Monuments: Aïrosa and Patchiku.
During your stopover, head off and explore the town which has become a highly-prized seaside resort: stroll through the charming pedestrian streets which link the ocean to the historic centre and admire the old mansion houses which bear witness to the wealth of 17th-century shipowners.
Tee off on the greens of nearby Nivelle and Chantaco Golf Clubs
Hendaye Port is located at the mouth of the Bidasoa River which separates Hendaye from Spain. The port, nestling in the Bay of Txingudi, is accessible in any weather and any time of the day (or night). It proposes 900 places on the pontoon for vessels of 5 to 16 m.
Head off from the port and enjoy a host of activities: swimming, trekking, diving, surfing, SUP, kayaking, etc.
On the discovery side, admire typical Basque architecture and dwellings, roam along the coastal pathway or venture further inland.
Here, the Basque Country, set between mountains and sea, will wow with its fabulous landscapes.
Must-sees: Espelette village and its famous pepper, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port a major stopping place for pilgrims on the Santiago de Compostela route and the myriad of local gastronomic delights.