France offers a variety of surf spots along its north, west, and south coasts. Each of them offers different surf conditions throughout the year, so it’s important to understand when to surf in France and what conditions you should expect depending on where and when you go.

The surf coasts of France

France surf seasons should not be defined on a single-coast basis as each of them has its own particularities

map france surf coasts
The 3 surfing coasts of mainland France

The north coast of France, which extends from Northern Brittany north of Brest to Dunkirk and the Haut-de-France region, is facing the English Channel. This area of France is favorable for surfing when northern Atlantic swells create enough waves for the swell to pass between Brittany and the United Kingdom.

The west coast of France, which extends from south of Brest and south Britanny to Biarritz in the French Basque Country, is home to France’s most renowned surf spots, such as La Torche in Brittany, Hossegor la Graviere, and many others in Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire. Facing directly the Atlantic Ocean, it’s without a doubt the most reliable coast for surfing, especially during the warmer months.

The south coast refers to the coastline bordering the Mediterranean Sea and the island of Corsica. This area of France is not well-known for its surfing, but it can offer good surf sessions during the colder months due to the formation of short-period swells in the nearly enclosed sea.

When is the best time to surf in the English Channel, the Atlantic Coast or the Mediterranean Sea?

Or in France in general

In France, the surfing seasons do not perfectly align with the traditional seasons of winter, spring, summer, and fall. This guide provides a month-by-month overview to help plan and understand the surf conditions during each time of year.

Surfers in Biarritz during winter
Surfers in Biarritz during winter

From November to February:

France experiences the coldest temperatures of the year and its strongest winds.

Despite the chill, this is the best time surf-wise on the north and south coasts, as the waves are the biggest, generated by the biggest swells in the northern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Be aware that the water north of France at this time of year can go as cold as 7°C  (44.6°F) so bring some neoprene.

Meanwhile, the west coast will also offer its heaviest, but also choppiest surf conditions as the main wind will be onshore.

March to May:

The winds are starting to calm down, and the water while still cold, starts to warm.

The north coast stays relatively consistent while being exposed to smaller swells as the months goes.   

The Atlantic coast will still see significant swells, although it will not be exposed to the massive winter swells. The waves will also become cleaner as the northwesterly winds begin to die down.

The Mediterranean Sea becomes increasingly calm over time, providing a declining number of waves as the months pass.

June to August:

France’s warmest season in and out of the water, but also the least reliable period in terms of waves.

The south coast will have no surf, while the north coast may have rare tiny conditions.

The west coast and particularly the southern half of the coast, meaning the beaches bordering the region of Nouvel Aquitaine will have most of the waves France can offer at this time of year. Expect small waves and crowded lineups as it coincides with the local tourism season.

September to October:  

Warm waters and swell in the Northern Atlantic.

The northern coast will start to episodically be exposed to some swell in relatively warm waters.

The west coast is expected to offer excellent surfing conditions, as the wind will be predominantly offshore from the east and comparatively weak, and the water will be close to its warmest temperature.

The Mediterranean coast may experience rare swells that hit the local surf breaks as the wind starts to strengthen later in the month.

Would you need more information?

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