It’s fair to say that I don’t have the most active lifestyle; a bit of yoga and leisurely walks (to the bar) make up my exercise routine.
However, when it comes to holidays, I’m a huge fan of outdoor activities. For me, a holiday is all about trying new things, new foods, new experiences and ideally getting some sort of an adrenaline rush.
So I was glad to discover that Moliets-et-Maa, a spot in the south west of France, offered all this and more.
Other than the glamour of Biarritz and the wine of Bordeaux, I knew very little of this part of France.
Moliets-et-Maa is a lovely small village an hour north of Biarritz and two hours south of Bordeaux, nestled in the middle of a forest, with a number of different holiday villages and complexes.
We stayed in a private villa, which was part of Villas La Clairière aux Chevreuils. Surrounded by fragrant pine trees, with a small lake nearby, it was idyllic. I could have easily spent a week lounging by the pool.
However, first on the agenda was collecting our bicycles for the week.
The great thing about Moliets-et-Maa is that it’s really well laid out for cyclists. There are cycle paths on all the roads (which are pretty quiet anyway), and nearly everyone gets around by bike.
I loved this, as it meant we were getting a bit of exercise every time we went to the beach etc. but also no one had to drive so could enjoy all the French wine!
For more serious cyclists, there is a network of cycle paths that run all the way from Leon to Bayonne, so you can easily explore the region by bike.
From the villa, it is a short 2km cycle (or walk) to two beautiful beaches, Plage des Chenes Lièges and Plage de Moliets – both beautiful, wide sandy beaches – which we frequented often.
Plage de Moliets has a number of shops and bars, but Plage des Chenes Lièges is more natural, with just a shower and toilets, plus a surf hire stand.
Plage des Chenes Lièges was our favourite though, and we visited it often during our stay.
One of the activities I was most excited to try was surfing.
I’ve been learning to surf now for a year (it’s definitely not the easiest of sports!) and had heard great things about the surf in Moliets-et-Maa and nearby Hossegor.
In fact, Hossegor is well known as a surf destination and hosts a World Surf League competition each autumn.
We started by getting a beginner’s surf lesson at Plage des Chenes Lièges beach.
It’s huge, so there is plenty of space for both surfers and swimmers. It also has consistent swell, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to surf (or attempt it anyway!).
After our lesson, we headed to Hossegor to practice.
In general, the waves at Hossegor are larger than those of Moliets-et-Maa, and you will find lots of experienced surfers here.
Having said that, it’s still a great place for first-timers to try out surfing and it too has a surf school.
It’s an easy 30-minute drive from Moliets-et-Maa to Hossegor, and even if you don’t go for the surfing, I would recommend a visit during a stay in Moliets-et-Maa.
Hossegor is a lovely little town with great cafes, bars and shops and a central market. After refuelling on some pintxos we headed for the beach.
There are a few things on my ‘bucket list’ that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I managed to achieve one of these in Moliets-et-Maa – horse riding on the beach.
Prade Messanges Equestrian Centre is a 5-minute drive from the villa and offers lessons and organised hacks.
We took a two-hour beach and forest ride, which I absolutely loved.
Leaving the school, we rode through trails and woodland, before reaching the stunning beach. This part of the coastal beach was almost empty and it was a dream to ride along the sand with the sound of waves crashing onto the beach.
Then it was back into the forest along a different route to return to the school.
Having a private swimming pool at the villa also meant we could enjoy daily swims, a great way to start each day.
After a week of swimming, horse riding, surfing and cycling, I felt totally invigorated and refreshed.
I’d ticked off some life goals, improved my surf technique and still enjoyed the delicious food and wine of the region, which confirmed to me that Moliets-et-Maa is the perfect adventure holiday destination!
Other activities in Moliets-et-Maa:
While in Moliets-et-Maa, you can also try high ropes, quad biking and paintballing at Adrenaline Park.
And on the water, you can hire stand up paddle boards or take a SUP lesson. Hire starts from £10 (€12) per hour.
Or alternatively, enjoy a round of golf at Golf Moliets. Golf passes start at £90 (€100)
Something slightly less active, but no less fun is a night at the local folklore festival.
This takes place each Tuesday in Moliets-et-Maa during July and August. It’s a display of Basque sport, dance and culture and includes Basque pelota, stilt walking and traditional music.
There is also local food and wine on offer, so a great opportunity to sample the traditional Landes cuisine.
Where to stay in Moliets-et-Maa and how to get there:
A week’s stay at Villas la Clairière aux Chevreuils with Summer France starts from £81 pp (£647 total) for eight people sharing a self-catering three-bedroom prestige villa with a private garden and swimming pool.
(Top picture: Hayley Lewis)