Our final stop in our French adventure was at Le Sylvamar, a campsite situated in the Landes Forest just a kilometre from the beach at Labenne Ocean. Labenne Ocean is located between the beautiful Basque city of Bayonne and the surfing mecca that is Hossegor. Since we first visited five years ago the area has seen some development with a number of apartments and eco-homes sprouting up along the road to the beach.
I fell in love with the location for a number of reasons; cycle tracks snake past the campsite, through the forest, taking you to the nearby fishing port of Capbreton, where the ocean is calmer and you’ll find a number of shops, cafes, cinema and a market, where we bought delicious cooked chicken, fresh fruit and veg and organic bread. Take the cycle paths in the other direction from the campsite and you arrive at the beaches of Tarnos and Ondres.
From time to time we would cycle, stop off and take a walk through the forest. We would stop for a while and listen to the sounds; the crickets and the ocean. No cars, no people, no music.
I love the swathe of beach at Labenne Ocean, the vast expanse of sand that never fills with bodies and sun brollies. True it gets busy but there is always space to play. Look north on a clear day and you can just about make out Capbreton.
Turn the other way and you will see the craggy mountain tops of the Pyrénées along the horizon. As well as the views there is the food; we’ve enjoyed a traditional Basque lamb stew in Bayonne and seafood platters in Capbreton. Just outside of the campsite, on the road leading down to the beach, is Cafe Atlantico. The owner has decorated the restaurant with quirky treasures from his travels in Kenya, Martinique and Mexico. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the food delicious.
The campsite itself is fun, with plenty of activities for children. There are five pools; a deep pool, a smaller, more shallow heated pool, a lagoon and lazy river and an indoor fun pool for smaller children with water jets and slides. My son also enjoyed the play area, playing football and hiring bikes. The evening entertainment takes place in an ampitheatre, so everybody can see, and starts with a disco and games for the very young children. The campsite mascot makes an appearance at this time, a red squirrel called Yellito, it’s funny watching all the children flock to him for a cuddle. At 8.30pm there is usually a show, either magic or dance or comedy until 10.30pm, then a disco for the teens.
Sylvamar, Avenue de l’Océan, 40530 Labenne, France