Nobody on the road. Nobody on the beach.
I feel it in the air. The summer's out of reach.
Empty lake, empty streets.
The sun goes down alone.
I'm driving by your house. Though I know you're not home.

Don Henley, 'Boys of Summer

Hossegor. Just the inner verbalisation of these three syllables trigger a sudden flash of wellbeing. Flashbulb memories of sun drenched afternoons on the beach, spectacular waves, incredible sun sets and nights full of debauchery flitter through the neo-cortex.  

Viewed from a more stochastical point of view, Hossegor is a small town within the Soorts-Hossegor commune in France's Departemends des Landes on the rim of the Bay of Biscay, ca 40 km north of Biarritz. If prefer numbers, the WGS84 position is 43° 39′ 33.84″ N, 1° 25′ 36.12″ W. According to the 1999 census, it has about 3700 inhabitants, but easily doubles during the summer holidays. It's home to one of the two European legs of the ASP World Tour and hence unsurprisingly a surfer's paradise.

Behind large sandy dunes lies a large seawater lake that is surrounded by a pine tree forest, which is part of the largest maritime pine tree forest in the world. Dotted around the lake, hidden by the trees are villas, chalets and only a small number of family owned but luxurious hotels. The whole town is completely unspoilt by any buildings taller than 3 stories, avoiding the tawdry character that so many beach resorts these days project. There is a casino with a small, exclusive little club and, dotted around the town and the beach promenade, a few bars and cafe's. After en exhausting day at the beach, after being slammed by 3 meter waves again and again into the sandy ground while bodysurfing the Cafe de Paris at the central crossroads in the centre of the town is the place where to welcome the evening with a few cassis, before venturing off to have some decent aquitanian food and finishing the evening overlooking the Atlantic (or dancing and shagging your head off. Your choice).

The fact that Hossegor has always tried to attract a different sort of tourist is visible in the layout of the town centre. No fast food chains, no multi-national 'coffee houses', only local shops and the odd surf-boutique. It has some of the best patisserie on the planet, and no breakfast would be complete with a 5 km treck to get the best chocolate croissant in the known universe (and that includes that funny little place on Alpha Centauri). Being pissed like your typical UK resident is frowned upon, so you better be able to hold you liquor or drink like the locals: in moderation.

This whole melange, together with glorious weather that thanks to the atlantic winds get never too hot makes it the best place to vacation. Ever.



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