“It tastes like garlicky calamari,” said Flea, smacking her lips and devouring her fourth snail in as many minutes.
Moliets is a small resort tucked away in Acquitaine, on the Atlantic coast of South West France. It’s warmer than the Vendee, but with the same wide, sandy beaches. And Moliets really is a playground for adventurous families.
There’s loads of family-friendly accommodation in this part of France. Our base was Villa Clairiere aux Chevreuils, a purpose-built holiday village providing villas, set between the sand dunes of Moliets beach and the forests behind.
The idea is you get all the fun of renting a villa – plenty of space, with high-end interiors, and a private pool. But you also get the ease of being on a managed site, with cleaners, a reception and maintenance staff.
The accommodation is impressive, and I’ll be covering that in a separate post. For today, I’ll share some of the best activities for families in Moliets.
This part of France is world-famous for the quality of its surf. The annual Quiksilver Pro competition takes part each autumn just up the coast in Hossegor, and the waves are considered some of the best in Europe.
For beginners, there are plenty of surf schools offering one-to-one and group lessons. We took a group lesson with Ecole de Surf du Golf. The instructor visited our villa ahead of time to let us all try on wetsuits to get the right fit. The next day, we walked down to the beach suited up and ready to go, with hoodies and towels to keep out the bracing wind.
The two hour lesson was hilarious. The conditions were quite rough (that’s my excuse for why I was so bad, and I’m sticking to it) but the instructors were super helpful, and I managed to catch a few waves, even if I wasn’t strictly vertical at the time… Do bring along drinks and snacks; the kids will be ravenous when they come out of the water.
Madame Vacances in Moliets has a number of villages and properties around the Moliets Golf Club, and we took a golf lesson here. You can have family lessons, and if you get bored of hitting balls, the tennis courts are just next door.
Golf hadn’t ever been on my to-try list, but we had a complete BLAST on the driving range, not to mention a rather lovely lunch at the golf club. It turns out I’m quite good at channelling my inner rage and hitting small objects long distances. I have zero control over the direction or pitch of course, but still, it’s a lot of fun. Flea was still better than me, mind.
If surfing isn’t quite your bag, how about stand up paddle boarding? The good news is that getting – and staying – on a paddle board is a sight easier than a surf board, although that’s not to say I didn’t fall off repeatedly. Much to Flea’s amusement.
We went paddle boarding with SUPLand, spending a leisurely couple of hours paddling across the exceptionally pretty Lac Riviera. We crossed the lake, then meandered along a shaded river, and back again. It was such good fun, and you ARE allowed to kneel on the board, if you struggle to keep your balance. Board rental costs from €12/hr and wetsuits are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are literally hundreds of cycle paths around Moliets and the surrounding countryside. We rented bikes from Loca Velo, who can deliver and collect bikes if needed. Kitted out with helmets, we spent a gorgeous morning exploring (by exploring, naturally, I mean “getting lost”).
We set off from our villa and headed through the golf course towards the beach. From there, we meandered through the forest towards Moliets. The paths are wide and well-maintained, and the scenery beautiful. Although just a heads up – in France, the brakes and gears are reversed compared to UK cycles, which Flea took a little while to get used to!
One of my favourite things about this area is the setting. There are miles of paths through the forests, and you could take a different route every day for a week or more. Every so often you catch a glimpse of a gorgeous beach through the trees, and there are loads of places to stop and enjoy the view, or take a picnic.
A real highlight of our trip to Moliets was Flea’s skateboarding lesson with Skatelandes. A 90-minute lesson at the skate park costs €25 per person.
Like most kids, Flea is a self-taught skateboarder. Her expert guidance so far has been limited to YouTube videos. So to have a teacher who could show Flea exactly how to land her 180 every time – AMAZING. Flea loved it. (Contact Julien Polisset for details of lesson availability and costs)
If you have children aged 5+, don’t miss the Adrenalin Park at Moliets (from €10 for kids and #20 for adults).
There are small courses for younger kids, and high wires and zip lines for older kids (and parents). While the centre is more relaxed than the UK equivalents, the system is very safe, and a lot of fun. We enjoyed that the kids could take their time, approach obstacles in any order, and there are other activities on-site including trail bikes, quad bikes and paint-balling.
Of course, not everything in Moliets involves getting hot and sweaty! The main beach is spectacular, and we spent a happy few hours on our final day lunching in town, then lounging on the beach.
The main street has a charming vintage carousel, a supermarket and more than half a dozen eateries. These range from a decent pizzeria to the Hotel Grille L’Ocean which is great for a fresh seafood. Here, I feasted on a gorgeous dish with poached egg coated in crispy breadcrumbs, on a feather-light bed of mushrooms and spinach.
Our time in Moliets was a revelation. The weather in France can’t be guaranteed, especially in early June, but we found so much to do that a little rain didn’t spoil our fun. If we were to head back, I’d love to spend more time exploring, and Moliets is really just a short drive from Santander, one of our very favourite Basque towns. Do you have recommendations for this part of France? I’d love to hear them in the comments if so!
Details: We stayed at Villas La Clairiere aux Chevreuils as guests of Madame Vacances. Prices start from £102/pp for a seven-night stay in a villa sleeping eight people, on a self-catering basis. Villas are designed with families in mind, with private pools, fully kitted out kitchens, satellite TV and large lounges. Return flights from London Gatwick to Bordeaux cost from £108/pp with easyJet. To book call Madame Vacances on 01273 358 071, or visit www.madamevacances.co.uk
Pin for Later