In the seat The fur­ther south you go in France, the sun­nier the weather be­comes, but some re­gions get much bet­ter weather than you’d think, and they might not be quite where you’d ex­pect...

Living France - - DESTINATION -

Saint-Jean-de-Luz

If you asked a group of Brits why they de­cided to make the leap to France, sun­shine would be high on the list. There are no prizes for guess­ing that Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Langue­doc-Rous­sil­lon are the sun­ni­est re­gions, with an av­er­age of 2,724 hours of sun­shine per year in Nice, and 2,668 hours in Mont­pel­lier. Provence, how­ever, is also the most ex­pen­sive re­gion and with a lit­tle dig­ging, it soon be­comes clear that in other parts of France, the sun shines a lot and property prices are much more at­trac­tive too. So, if you want sun­shine with­out the price tags and the crowds of the Mediter­ranean coast­line, take a closer look at th­ese re­gions. In the south-western cor­ner of France, Aquitaine reaches Spain at its south­ern­most fron­tier while the At­lantic Ocean stretches along its western coast. It is one of the most di­verse re­gions in France with a land­scape that of­fers ev­ery­thing from sun, sea and sand to forests and ver­dant coun­try­side. It com­prises five de­part­ments, cov­ers a land area of 41,308km and with a pop­u­la­tion of 3,335,134, it has a pop­u­la­tion den­sity of just 80 peo­ple per kilo­me­tre. The av­er­age for France is 116 per kilo­me­tre.

The depart­ment of Lan­des is known for its vast ex­panses of for­est as well as its sea­side re­sorts: Cap­bre­ton, Hossegor, Ar­ca­chon and Cap Fer­rat; while the pop­u­lar re­sort of Biar­ritz in neigh­bour­ing Pyrénées-At­lan­tiques is a haven for surfers. Fur­ther south, Saint-Jean-de-Luz ( pic­tured above) has a lovely har­bour and good fam­ily beaches.

Its re­gional cap­i­tal, Bordeaux, is a World Her­itage site and also a Ville d’Art et d’His­toire, a ti­tle which has also been at­trib­uted to Bay­onne, Pau, and Périgueux. There are also nu­mer­ous me­dieval vil­lages such as Sar­lat-la-Canéda, which has a to­tal of 250 listed build­ings – more per square me­tre than any­where else in Europe. It's a haven for sports en­thu­si­asts too, offering a wealth of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties such as golf, paraglid­ing, hik­ing and rugby, as well as nu­mer­ous wa­ter sports in­clud­ing surf­ing, sail­ing, ca­noe­ing and kayak­ing.

Car­cans

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