Before I left France, Ian and I had a week in Lacanau Ocean; this does not mean in the Lacanau ocean but rather that we were at the Lacanau which is on the ocean, as opposed to the Lacanau that isn't ! It is a surfers' paradise in summer and one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever been to, which is something coming from a woman who has spent 51 years on Australian beaches !
We stayed in an apartment overlooking the sea for a very reasonable price for 7 days in October. It was warm and sunny mostly and we ate every meal on the balcony. We slept every night with the doors open, to the sounds of the waves pounding the beach.
Funniest thing was the fact that I was obviously not the first Australian to think this is a great place.......
Evidently the apartments we stayed in can house 16,000 people when full in summer but during this whole week in October we only saw 2 other rooms in use. The development along this Atlantic coastline of France is very well controlled and when you are on the beach, you can barely see the buildings but, at the same time, from the apartments you can see the sea but not the beach.... very clever.
The waves were often huge; much higher than the surfers out catching them. I am not normally scared of the sea but this was big ocean stuff; much bigger than we get in the gulfs in South Australia. One day the tide was out further and the swell greatly reduced so I decided to go for a swim. Well, after my head thawed and my heart began to beat again, I just made it back to the apartment in time for a strong hot chocolate.
One day we packed up lunch and went for a walk to L'etang de Cousseau, a small lake in a nature reserve, accessible only by foot / bike. It was about a 10km walk, all in all, through some lovely oak forests, with ericas in flower and lots of ferns and plants I didn't recognise. Along the way we feasted on the delicious fruits of the arbutus or Irish strawberry tree which were laden with their sweet, red berries.