France, Surf, Travels
Comments 2

Weekends in Hossegor: A Frequent Escape

Ah Hossegor, j’adore. A place where year abroad paperwork and French university timetables were replaced by rolling waves and peaceful pine forests…

I feel stuck sometimes. Listless. Restless. I’m sure other people feel it too. When you become prisoner to the same four walls, staring at an insatiable to-do list where each task ticked off is replaced by a new one. Your mind wonders desperately: there must be something better I could be doing… Yes, those endless lists will have to be completed some time, but I’ve learnt over the past year that the best way to get out of this rut is to get up and move. Change the scenery of the every-day and escape the confines of your own head. Breathe in nature and become inspired again. Step outside of your comfort zone, and then step back and return to yourself.

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Living in a city, albeit a fairly small one, during the first few months of my year abroad began to take its toll within the first week. The constant drone of engines, scream of sirens and stream of shouts from the streets below pierced through the windows of my apartment day and night. Not to mention the 30 degree heat of late August which, added to the noise, made day-to-day errands intolerable and sleep near impossible.

One weekend in early September, after a particularly stressful first week at my new French university, I had to get away. I was craving open skies, the quiet of nature, the kiss of the ocean. With no plan in mind, other than to escape the noise and heat of the city, I booked myself a weekend away at Lighthouse Maison du Surf, a charming Landaise home with a friendly hostel vibe run by Italian surfers from Turin. Little did I know, this would be the first of many weekends to come over the next few months spent surfing, socializing and soaking up the vibe of autumn in Les Landes…

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I lost count of the number of times I made the journey from Pau to Hossegor, a drive that felt strangely similar to the drive I used to make from Exeter to Cornwall back at home. At the end of the week I’d pack up my car and fly up the A64, watching the Pyrenees disappear from my rearview mirror as the countryside rushed by. Within an hour and a half I’d be back in the Lighthouse kitchen, greeted by familiar faces and the warm aroma of homemade coffee. There were so many wonderful people to meet of all ages and stories, some passing through for a few days, others staying weeks, all on a journey somewhere. And all with the same infectious zest for a life of adventure.

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With the end of every weekend, it got harder and harder to leave. The Sunday night drive home became the Monday afternoon drive home. But then a friend would call me up for a surf, or there was a BBQ going on at Coolin’ followed by the screening of a new surf film, and before I knew it it was gone midnight and I had to get back for class the next day. But it was okay, because as soon as that class was over I’d jump straight back in my car and off to Les Landes I’d go.

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I was lucky enough to catch the second edition of Newave Festival, a local event celebrating “les valeurs de la culture glisse” through art, music, surf and skate. Unfortunately, we were burnt out after the Friday night dancing at Bourdaines to headliner Møme, so I haven’t got much to report about the rest of the weekend. Other than the fact that the taco van was hangover heaven. The following week was the start of the Quiksilver Pro 2016, when vanloads of surfers from all corners of the world descended onto the beach car parks to watch the pros battle it out in the water.

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After a week of wave watching and partying, I left my voice in Hossegor and headed home for the last time, with a car full of sand and a (sore) head full of memories. A bitter sweet ending to a whirlwind 6 weeks. Roll on 2017.

Check out my insider’s guide to Hossegor over on the i-escape blog to discover where to surf, what to do (when you’re not surfing) and where to eat!

Here’s what a typical weekend in Hossegor looked like for me…

A quick stop at Meg’s Cafe for a healthy hangover brunch…

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Hit the surf or watch the comp…

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Followed by a stroll through town searching for a pastry or two (and not being able to resist a quick look in my favourite shop Hoaz) and a wander along the lake front, stopping for a smoothie at Le Mango Tree

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Then back for dinner and chilled vibes at Lighthouse…

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And catching the sunset before heading out for the night…

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2 Comments

  1. That looks like a lovely weekend getaway. How long is the season? When does it start getting too cold for lounging in shorts?

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