Surfing in the North of France

Hidden gems in Brittany and Normandy

Surfing in the North of France

A lot of surfers head directly to the south of France to hit the well-known surfer beaches, such as Biarritz, and are missing out on the hidden gems of the North. Brittany and Normandy offer sandy beaches with powerful breaks which make these regions a surfer’s paradise for all abilities.

Although France is pretty much an all year-round surfing destination, conditions are ideal in the summer for beginners to give surfing a go. The cuisine and scenery combined with choppy waves make northern France the ideal destination. For more advanced wave riders, the most consistent surf is from September to April.


The northwestern region of Brittany extends out towards the Atlantic Ocean and boasts a lengthy, dramatic coastline with amazing beach resorts. Its exposure to choppy waves means that Brittany has plenty of swell. Surfers can enjoy open, exposed stretches as well as sheltered coves, making it suitable for all abilities.

In the very western part of Brittany, you will find the coastal landscape of Finistère . With a huge number of beaches and surrounded by sea, surfers will have plenty of choice as to where to catch the waves. If you hate crowds, fear not, you will be able to find some peace and quiet out on your surfboard in Brittany.

La Torche is the most famous surfing area in Brittany with its beautiful white beach. The currents can be strong, making these waves more suitable for experienced surfers. Yet most of the time, the surf is accessible for beginners to pros. Rest assured, you are guaranteed serious waves all year round here.

La Guidel is perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. It is arguably one of the best places in Brittany to learn how to surf as the consistent long gentle waves will help you progress quickly.

Image: Pierre Guezingar


Slightly further down the northern coastline from Brittany is the historically rich Normandy. You’ll need some big swells and strong winds to get going but will enjoy beautiful chalk cliff backdrops. Your best chance to hit up Normandy is during the winter, but prepare for freezing cold temperatures.

The perfect spot for beginners can be found in St. Malo as their is little current and medium-sized waves. St. Malo’s surf school provides instruction with highly experienced surfers. 

Etretat perfectly picks up the southwestern swell, delivering consistently fast and fun waves. Its point break nature means it creates really long waves, providing surfers with precious more exhilarating minutes on their surfboard.

Not far from Le Havre, Yport offers fairly consistent surf throughout the year, making it one of the best surf spots in Normandy. During the summer, the waves tend to be flatter, however, its proximity to the Pointe de Chicard cliff ensures that the surf is always smooth and rippleless. It is mostly suitable for intermediate surfers, has excellent parking and is always less crowded than Etretat.

How to get there

If you’re coming from the UK, catching the ferry is convenient and cheap way of travelling when taking your surfboard. From the UK, Brittany Ferries  sail to a variety of destinations across the northern coast of France including Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Roscoff and St Malo, giving access to some of the best surf spots.

Surfers should definitely head to the North of France to see what the surf is like for themselves. Get stoked!

Further reading

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