Offering beautiful scenery, mouth-watering food and delicious wine, a temperate year-round climate and a relaxing pace of life, Gascony is the perfect destination for those looking to take a step back from the pressures of everyday life. With its warm weather and beautiful landscapes, this is the perfect time of year to consider a visit to Gascony – read on to discover our top things to do in Gascony in spring and early summer.
Top things to do in Gascony in Spring/Early Summer
Spanning an area of 3,900 square miles, the Landes de Gascogne, also known as the Landes forest, is a vast area of protected woodland, lakes and heaths that border the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The park is open for visitors who are welcome to hike, cycle and swim, or even enjoy the neighbouring beaches along the coast. Spring is the perfect time of year to really explore everything the park has to offer, being not too hot, but warm enough to explore the outdoors comfortably. Of course, spring is also the best time of year to enjoy nature in its early blooming beauty, and as the largest man-made woodland in Western Europe, there is no better place to appreciate the cycle of the seasons.
The Atlantic Beaches
The 200kms of beaches from Bordeaux to Biarritz, adjacent to the Landes, form the Western limit of Gascony. Here the waves and beaches of the Atlantic Ocean are a hotspot for keen surf
ers from early summer to late autumn. These beautiful golden beaches are also enjoyed year-round by beach-goers looking to relax and soak up the atmosphere – regardless of whether you’re a surfer or not!
Gascony’s Lakes, Rivers and Canals
This is a great time of year to discover the region’s various waterways. In the Landes de Gascogne park, the Lake of Lamothe in Hostens offers canoe hire, paddle boards and pedal boats. With the necessary safety precautions, many of the lakes are also excellent wild swimming destinations. Further inland, the Canal des Deux Mers on the Norther side of Gascony connects Bordeaux in the West to Narbonne on the Mediterranean coast in the East. This amazing feat of engineering is navigable from coast to coast and you can also cycle alongside it from end to end. Near Bordeaux this Canal connects to the River Baise which flows South through the heart of Gascony towards the Pyrenees. You can travel by boat from Buzet-sur-Baise inland as far as Condom, capital of the Armagnac region of Gascony. The old port from which Armagnac was exported all round Europe is still in use.
If you’re into fishing, many of the lakes and rivers in Gascony offer a diverse range of fishing. To fish in France you will need to obtain a licence or Carte de Peche, these can be bought at most s
ports and fishing stores and most bar tabacs for around 60 euros for a year or you can purchase a one day or two week holiday permit for around 10 – 20 euros.
Spring/early summer is an excellent time of year for exploring the Pyrenees by foot. With the skiing season coming to an end, the Pyrenees are far quieter than during the peak summer months or the winter snow season, and therefore offer the perfect opportunity for discovering their raw natural beauty and maybe even to catch a glimpse of some of their famed wildlife. Hiking t
rails of varying abilities are scattered amongst the mountains, while lakes and rivers offer great opportunity for a refreshing swim or fishing.
Wildlife watchers will be interested to hear that marmots and deer are pretty much always visible, while the luckier and more patient few may see griffon vultures, golden eagles and perhaps even a brown bear or two…
A unique feature of visiting the Pyrenees in spring is the sight of the ‘Transhumance’ – the French word for the traditional seasonal journey of many flocks of sheep led by local farmers f
rom the lower winter grounds to their high summer grazing pastures.
We understand that Covid-19 is making international travel difficult during 2021, that’s why we’re offering a ‘No-Risk’ booking promise for all holidays this year. Learn more here.
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