Health and Leisure Recreational Facilities in the Aquitaine Coast, France




Hospitality industry is among the fastest growing economic sectors worldwide. In fact, the hospitality industry by itself is recognized as multi-billion dollar and still progressing industry. While this industry enables the provision of vast services for the clients and the business management as whole, opportunities are also diverse. Indeed, the provisions of the industry for the customers are as unlimited as its opportunities for expansion and addition of features that are beneficial to the potential clients and the whole enterprise.

Today, people specifically tourists are able to search for different areas of interests while in a vacation spree or hobby’s sake. Within the industry, it is quite apparent that there are numerous choices that cater to their personal intentions. At present, more hospitality industry sectors are engaged in service provision than in manufacturing, indicating the continuous growth of the hospitality industry. Among these conditions are addition of services and facilities that concerns the eventual enjoyment, maximization of the vacation, health benefits, and other personal fulfillment of the tourists and other clients.

Truly, the changing needs of people affects the present conditions of the whole sector. There are some actions done to fully develop as well as to improve the traditional means of enjoyment. In tourism, the addition of several recreational and leisure activities and facilities, aside from the main place as an attraction itself, is an initiative of hospitality industry related individuals. Thus, the tourism sector provides new amenities, facilities, services, and offers that concerns the further improvement and enjoyment of the clients. 

This paper aims to discuss the range of health and recreational leisure facilities of the Aquitaine Coast of France. It will delve into exposition of the several activities present and common in the area.


Destination: Aquitaine Coast, France



            Located South-West of France, the Aquitaine Coast is the longest sandy coast in Europe (ranging from 230 km). Its spectacular features – the beach, dunes, and pine tree forest compose its shore system. It forms a vast triangular basin and several lagoons like the Arcachon, which is the largest.

            Some areas of the coast were occupied with people, situating the town behind the dune. Among these are Lacanau and Cap-Ferret to name a few. Taking it as an example, the two towns consists a population of 12,000 people in winter and 156, 000 others in summer. With the features of the coast, it is a persuasive force for tourism especially during the summer season. Agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture (oysters), tourism, and recreation are the major functions common to the coastal zone. The beach, which is the main attraction of the place, is also the principal tourism venue of the whole region. It is known that the whole coast is a public property and governed by the state. With the administration of the state officials, the area is protected and also developed.

            The Aquitaine Coast offers a variety of potential economic activities falling under hospitality and tourism businesses. Since it is a coastal region, where the beaches serve the main venue, it attracts people – local and foreign tourists in nature. The wide assortment of featured places and activities will definitely boost the tourism business and hospitality industry as a whole.

            As an area composed of the water and the sand, several activities are held. Recreational and leisure events are viable in this area. The Aquitanian littoral offers an attractive range of health and recreation. Among these are bathing, sports likes surfing, canoe-kayak, fishing, and thalassotheraphy. On the other hand, the land with its unique features also offer pedestrian and equestrian excursions, bicycle touring, golf, jogging, and just leisure walk among the pine tree forest or along the roads. There are also small urban places that cater to the amenities for access and sanitary installations, shops, parking, and restaurants.




            As early as the eighteenth century, human yearning of the sea came to fore. Historically, people perceived and associated the seashore with dreams. It is due to the confronted elements present during those periods of time. Then, the urban middle class of the society introduced the balneology or “the science of medical treatment by bathing” to the people.

            The Aquitaine Coast has a variety of resorts that anyone can access given a specific economic equivalent. However, the entire coast is free to all who wants to bathe and swim since it is governed by the state and it is prohibited to have private beaches. The fascinating 300 km of fine sand that the coast offers means unlimited access to the coolness and spectacular of the sea and its waves.

            In bathing, the possibility of having sunstrokes is high. Thus, it is necessary to have a shed. This is why shelters are being offered as a facility to swimmers at a given amount of charge. However, anyone is always welcome to take the natural shade of pine trees in the nearby areas.

            The beaches of the Aquitanian littoral, according to ViaMichelin website, offer great naturist centers such as Porge (between Lacanau and Arcachon), Vendays-Montalivet (south of Soulac), and Hurdy-gurdy-St-Bosoms (North of Moliets-Beach). With these places, one can enjoy the practices of naturism (e.g. trekking, gazing, and appreciation).

As additional information, there are protected areas in which a “Coastal Law” implied by the authorities is observed. It states that there should be no construction of any structure 100m from the seafront and protected forest. Forest exploitation is also impermissible.

Swimming and sea bathing in the Aquitaine beaches are also faced with several threats. Due to the unpredicted increase of the waves and significant factors of behavior of swimmers, cases of drowning are observable. To avoid this, supervisory services like bay watching, life guarding, and the like are offered. For the security welfare of the beach aficionados, everyone is encouraged to swim and bathe in supervised areas.


Surfing and Other Related Sports

            The waters of the Aquitaine Coast offer a wide array of water games and sports. The emergence of the concept of extreme sports also contributed to the growth of water-based sports. Thus, sliding and gliding activities in the water  such as coastal surfing and wind surfing, skate boarding, hang gliding, delta planing (or parasailing), and all their derivatives are present and operating. These sports activities rely to the waves, winds, and other energies drawn from the natural elements of the water and the sea. With the help of the piloting machines and relevant equipment, these growing sports are additional attractions to visitors of the area. Also, these doings improve the relationship of body and nature that enhances spontaneity, imagination, and freedom.

            At present, the waves of Lacanau, Biarritz, Hossegor, Rebated joint, Capbreton, and Saint-Jean-of-Luz persuade many surfers all over the world.  Due to the outstanding attributes of the coast like the waves of the Moors that changes in configuration and ever unpredictable; the permanent movement of the sand banks; and extraordinary locations, surfers flock during peak season and truly maximize the enjoyment of their endeavor. Processes peculiar to leisure activities, which rely on groups sharing the same affinities and new territorialities also characterize the area.

            As the most popular water-based sport activity in the region, surfing could be considered as a main service to the Aquitaine littoral. Surfing resorts are mainly characterized by their urban infrastructures: promenades, observation posts, direct access to the ocean, and blocks of seaside apartments.

The image conveyed by surfing – freedom, well-being, and environmental friendliness – is thought to be flattering for the region while setting an example for today’s youth. This is the reason why local communities promote surfing and other related activities through competitions and cups.



            Kayaking in the sea is an ideal activity in the Aquitaine. It is longer and narrower that the river kayaking. The kayak of the sea perfect and pleasant location in the Aquitaine is the basin of Arcachon.

            There are equipments, gears and other materials that can be rented from specialized resorts in the whole area. With a corresponding amount as fee, a kayak aficionado is able to access to such services. However, canoe-kayak in the Aquitaine area could also be dangerous especially when it is across the master keys of the ocean. It is always essential to seek for attention from monitoring professionals.



            The sea offers a wide assortment of natural riches. The Aquitaine littoral is gifted with the blessings of nature. In this area, fishing is among the major occupation of people inhabiting the area. Aside from this occupational purpose, fishing is a tourism featured activity.

            Fishing in the Aquitaine begins when a boat leave towards the basin of Arcachon. It could also be on the coasts landaises and Basque. Today, the French Federation of the fisherman at sea creates spectacular activities in thematic ways (e.g. angling to drag a “large” or tuna for one half or whole day).

            For more adventurous fishing buddies, shark and tuna are subject of catching with the aid of professional fishermen specifically to the places as St-Jean-of-Luz or Biarritz. The fishing in the beaches is called “surfing casting” and requires revolutionary materials offered by the fishing professional and their outlets.





            With the evidences of the benefits of bathing in the sea water, thalassotheraphy is another tourism factor in the Aquitaine Coast. History records showed that a doctor originating in the Arcachon named Bonnardiere coined the term thalassotheraphy. This therapy is based on an ancient belief by Euripides that “the sea cures all the evils of the men.”

            The process is likely related to bathing and swimming. However, natives believed that it is a medicinal practice. But critics say otherwise. Thalassotheraphy is not regarded as a medical care as to compare with hydrotherapy. But still this practice is a viable tourism industry in the area.

            As a matter of fact, the Basque Coast is popular with its famous thalassotherapy centers such as Atlantal with Anglet, Thalassa Biarritz and Thermes marine in Biarritz, Héliantal with St-Jean-of-Luz, and Serge Blanco in Hendaye. Additionally, the basin of Arcachon also obtained a center of re-arrangement known as the Thalazur Arcachon.

            With the present obsession of people to spa and beauty regimens, this could be considered as another means of beautification, relaxation, and recreation to every visitor of the region. The natural effects is proven and tested by a significant number of persons. That is the reason why it still remains viable up to this time.


Pedestrian and Equestrian Excursion


            The waters of the Aquitaine allure the visitors and tourists. But its beauty and potentialities for recreation and leisure is also leveled to the amenities present in the land. Thus, there are several facilities offered as land-based instead of water-based as stated from the other above.

            Pedestrian excursions expose the richness of the Aquitanian littoral. The dunes are the most familiar areas for such activities. The dune of Pilat, Europe’s highest dune (117m of altitude) is the traditional venue for pedestrian excursions. It showcases a wood staircase that facilitates climbing in order to see the spectacular panoramic view of the ocean, the Cape Tag, the master keys of the basin of Arcachon, and the ornithological reserve of the bench of Arguin.

            Aside from this, pedestrian excursion in the area exposes the shirking of treasured monuments like the St-Andre Cathedral in Bordeaux, the bell-tower of Mimizan, the four historical ways of Saint-Jacques-of-Compostelle, the church N-D.-of-the-End-of-Grounds with Soulac-on-sea, and the bell-tower of Mimizan. These four historic areas are classified in 1998 with the world Inheritance of UNESCO.

In pedestrian excursion, tourists and other visitors must seek the help of guides in their strolling and site visits.



            This common sport is best situated in the Aquitanian littoral. In France, the best and most beautiful golf courses are located in the area. Among these golf course facilities are the golf of Chiberta with Anglet, the golf of the Low registers and Sauternais with Cœur of the vineyard, and the golf-hotel of Seignosse.

            The golf of Chiberta with Anglet is characterized with 18 holes between sea and forest while the golf of the Low registers and Sauternais with Cœur of the vineyard is a flat course and calms that is held between trees with the varied gasolines and water obstacle. The player must unite with power and strategy plus a marriage between the force of the Low registers and the softness of Sauternes. Finally, the golf-hotel of Seignosse was regarded by the US Magazine as one of the first 100 world courses. It has also 18 holes and a layout of legend that is prepared to draw the most demanding players.

            Similar to the other services rendered, the access to this facilities and its equipments requires a expensive amount of money. Sometimes, it is also exclusive in its operations.


Bicycle Touring

            Touring the place with the breeze of the sea and the fragrances of the pine trees is another health and recreational facility of the Aquitanian littoral. This activity is very well experienced in the Gironde. While biking, the people witness the rising and falling landscapes of vines to the flat paths of the forest landaise.

            In Gironde as of writing, biking counts 171 clubs, 1060 km of cycle tracks and 2750 km of marked out hiking trails. Further, ocean with the ponds and the basin of Arcachon, the old forest roads and other abandoned railways were arranged in cycle tracks.



Jogging and Leisure Walk


            To other people who are not capable and possess limitations in the aforementioned health and leisure recreational facilities, a simple jogging and walk around the area is enriching. The fresh breeze of the ocean, the pine trees, and the natural surrounding can add vitality to the body and its system. Aside from the beneficial effects, it is free of charge and anybody can do it the most convenient time possible.

With the presented facilities of the Aquitaine Coast, there are also some problems occurring in that area that affects the tourism and hospitality business management. Soil erosion is the major problem of the locality. Such problem causes floods to the areas and destruction of its natural resources. Further, the problem of pollution is also a threat. Existing human conditions such as crimes, exploitation, and lack of self-discipline are also considered as problems. But then again, the national government design precautionary measures that will eventually alleviate or solve the existing problems.

More free time, changing lifestyles, and the breaking down of tasks into individual operations have brought new attitudes and calling for more energy of man as compared in the past. After the enthusiasm for spas, followed by a seaside-resort mania driven by doctors who recommended rest and the enjoyment of nature, came the craze for sports resorts, stemming from the need for physical activities with nature as an ally. Arriving somewhat after skiing resorts and sailing or yachting resorts, surf resorts go hand in glove with the specialization of sports activities, a segmentation of the disciplines and a profound indicator of social changes.

With Aquitaine Coast as a venue and the presence of its health and leisure recreational facilities, tourism and hospitality related industries will continue to flourish and contribute to the economic development of the local regions and the national economy as a whole. Thus, there is a need for these facilities to continuously maintain and develop into more innovative means.



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