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©Médoc Atlantique
© ©Médoc Atlantique

The Médoc : a place to savour summer

Between oceans, lakes and estuary, the Médoc peninsula offers a range of landscapes. Among friends or family, go on adventures deep in nature, head out onto the Garonne River or the Atlantic Ocean, or share gourmet moments of delight!

The river

In the quaint fishing ports of By, Saint-Christoly and Saint-Vivien, time seems to have stood still. It was here that flat-bottomed boats used to be loaded with barrels of wine and sent to Bordeaux, returning filled with goods. There are some trails that take you up close to the “carrelets”: square dipping fishing nets that line the river bank. The little wooden huts on stilts are the emblematic image of traditional estuary fishing. You can even take a close look at a carrelet during a tour of the Richard lighthouse. Passing through here, visitors tend to get an urge to board a boat for a day trip or half-day trip along the river: to the isle of Patiras, where you can roam among the almost untouched nature after visiting the little lighthouse; to Île Nouvelle, a place with an unusual history; or to the oldest active French lighthouse, Le Phare de Cordouan. Listed as a historical monument in the same year as Notre-Dame in Paris, Cordouan is known as “the Versailles of the Sea” thanks to its grandiose architecture. At the top of her 301 steps you can enjoy a 360° view over the Gironde Estuary and the ocean.
Bordeaux River Cruise
+33 (0)5 56 39 27 66 - croisiere-bordeaux.com
Association communale du Phare de Richard, Jau-Dignac et Loirac
+33 (0)5 56 09 52 39


The waves

In the Médoc, surfing is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life. The Médocains often try out the waves before going to work. The region does not lack for surf sports: Lacanau is the most well-known, with its annual championship that attracts surfers from around the world. In Vendays-Montalivet, the lifeguard post almost makes the place feel like California. A little further to the north, the waves of Soulac are less frequented but just as appreciated, and the 500 villas of the region’s oldest beach resort offer a pleasant seaside walk. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, adult or child, the coast’s fifty or so surfing schools can adapt to your level and offer alternative activities like stand-up paddleboarding or yoga on a surfboard: original ways to make the most of the ocean! For those who want to plunge further into the world of the surfboard, the tourist office has concocted a guided tour dedicated to the kings of watersport.
Office de tourisme Médoc Atlantique
Place de l'Europe, Lacanau-Ocean, 33680
www.medoc-atlantique.com - +33 (0)5 56 03 21 01

Surf Lacanau
Surf Competition Lacanau Pro

Sweet treats

To caramelise his hazelnuts for his homemade caramel syrup, the inventor of noisettines, Michel Noyez, originally used the motor from a windscreen wiper and bicycle cogs to turn his copper bowls. Three decades later, Les Noisettines du Médoc have become an institution. Still made by hand, they have inspired others to create sweet delights for which the region is famous, notably Le Thé du Médoc, which is made of a mixture of green tea, pine needles, vine leaves, heather and acacia; it truly is a taste of the Médoc. Not to forget Les Sarments du Médoc: these fine, gnarled chocolate sticks that look like the vine shoots from which they take their name. They were accidentally born when a machine made a (fortunate) mistake and have since become part of the regional gastronomical heritage.
Les Noisettines du Médoc
Route de la Landette, Blaignan-Prignac, 33340
+33 (0)5 56 09 03 09
Les Sarments du Médoc
37 Rue de la Tremoille, Margaux-Cantenac, 33460
+33 (0)5 57 88 55 26

Noisettines du Médoc
Noisettines du Médoc

At the heart of the pine forests

The warm, perfumed scent of the pine forest and the intoxicating effect of the myrica gale welcome the walker upon their arrival at the nature reserve found around Cousseau, a stretch of water known as an étang in these parts. The nature reserve harbours both ancient dunes and the marshes of Talaris: a wetland born through sedimentation between the two great lakes of Lacanau and Cazaux. During the 7.5km circuit you might come across little egrets, common snipes, osprey and dozens of other species of bird; don’t forget your binoculars! The reserve is also the habitat of the otter and the local breed of cow. This rare breed is endangered, but is perfectly biologically adapted to the moors, marshes and undergrowth found here. There are guided tours of the reserve every morning, allowing you to learn more about the flora and fauna found here, or for discovering the tales and legends of the Landes de Gascogne. Let your imagination soar while totally immersed in nature.
Office de tourisme Médoc Atlantique
Place de l'Europe, Lacanau-Océan, 33680
www.medoc-atlantique.com - +33 (0)5 56 03 21 01

Etang de Cousseau
Etang de Cousseau
Etang de Cousseau
Etang de Cousseau

Have fun with the children

Make beautiful summer memories by taking your children out on to the lake by pedalo or canoe at Hourtin the largest freshwater lake in France, or let them loose at a skate park, or why not take to the cycle paths that run for 120 kilometres through the forests and along the ocean… There’s certainly no lack of opportunities to have some good family time in the Médoc. What about solving puzzles and deciphering hidden messages using geocaching tech? You can set off on a treasure hunt over a few kilometres while learning about the land and its local heritage thanks to Tèrra Aventura: download it for free on your smartphone. You can also take a game booklet from the tourist office and set off on Robin’s trails in Soulac (“les pistes de Robin”). Kids against parents! On your marks, get set…




Village Western
Welcome to the Far West ! This campsite looks like a cinema set, yet there’s no risk of getting scalped if you choose to spend the night here in a tipi. A stable is open for licensed horse riders.
Chemin de Bécassine, Hourtin, 33990
+33 (0)5 56 09 10 60
Hôtel des pins ***
A one-hundred-year-old hotel close to the beach, just a few kilometres from the listed Basilica, Notre-Dame-de-la-fin-des-Terres.
92 Boulevard de l'Amélie, Soulac-sur-Mer, 33780
+33 (0)5 56 73 27 27
Château Mercier
A gite and guest rooms in the heart of a vineyard on a family estate, where you can have a rare experience. Must try: grape jam or red wine fleur de sel made on-site.
5 Mercier N, Saint-Trojan, 33710
+33 (0)5 57 42 66 99
Lodging Le Lac ***
Cabins perched in the trees or on stilts: there’s plenty of choice for observing nature from this verdant scenery between the grand lake and the ocean. Cycle path, golf course and equestrian centre nearby.
30 Avenue de la Plage - Le Moutchic, Lacanau, 33680
+33 (0)5 56 03 00 26


Les fermiers toques
This shop selling local produce cooks whatever isn’t sold. The lamb farmer runs the restaurant and the chef changes the menu every day. The plate delivers surprise, quality and simplicity.
Chemin de Beauchêne, Cissac-Médoc, 33250
+33 (0)9 87 30 30 67
Le Café lavinal
The terrace set up on the village square in Bages is lovely. Having won a ‘BIB gourmand’ in 2018, they place an emphasis on local produce for their beautiful dishes.
Bages, Pauillac, 33250
+33 (0)5 57 75 00 09
La maison du douanier
Whether you choose from a set menu or à la carte, either way you’ll enjoy bistro-style cuisine with audacious pairings and a touch of exoticism. When the sun is out, you can eat on the go thanks to the outdoor shack, where the view over the estuary is unbeatable.
1 Route de By, Saint-Christoly-Médoc, 33340 +33 (0)5 56 41 35 25
La fleur au fusil
Bistro cuisine made by four hands and two smiles. Colourful and creative dishes give pride of place to seafood and local produce.
8 Cours Georges Mandel, Saint Vivien de Médoc, 33590 +33 (0)5 56 09 98 11