A day of sun sea and sand! 

It's 8 o'clock. Today we're off to the beach at Carcans Ocean from our wonderful hotel in Bordeaux. The beach bag is ready - a last look to make sure I haven't forgotten the basics... beach towels, sunscreen 50 for the kids, hats, water bottle, beach games... OK let's go!

The picnic is all done - sandwiches, crisps and drinks in the backpack. At Carcans-Maubuisson, we're going to park the car and rent bikes for the 5 km ride to the ocean.

The children are getting impatient - we'd better get going... 8:15 and off we go to Carcans-Maubuisson.

We arrive at ten past nine at "Le Poutch" from where we can see the Carcans Hourtin lake, some boats and windsurfers far off, and the sun reflected on the water... here we are!

First things first - parking the car in the free car park on the market place, where we'll leave the old thing for the day.

Next...

Family breakfast. We sit on the terrace in a bar in Maubuisson facing the lake - a gorgeous view, and the lake is very calm this early in the morning - along the Lake Boulevard, a few people are taking their morning walk. Time to finish our coffee - Matt and Alex have found a playground just in front of the café. I'll let them play while I sort out the bicycles. we could have brought our own, but at Carcans-Maubuisson bike rentals are everywhere so prices are very competitive. Before we set off we go to the Carcans-Maubuisson Tourist Office, for the plan of all the bike paths and some practical information - what interests us most is the degree of difficulty of the trail that leaves from Maubuisson to go up 'Carcans Plage. It's only 5 km but in places, my cousin told me that it was quite difficult for the children and that we'd have to cross the dunes to reach the sea.

We are greeted by Alexia at the tourist Office, one of the holiday advisor. She recommends that, given the age of Matt (only 5), we should rent a bike with a trailer. Very good idea - he can contemplate the wildlife and the view, and look after the back packs at the same time!

Now to rent bikes, the first agencies are in the pedestrian street just fifty yards from the Tourist Office. Paul takes the trailer bike, Alex takes a red one with matching helmet, while I take one with a back-rack for the picnic basket. By 11 am we're on the cycle path opposite the tourist office and off we go for a 5 km ride...

It's getting hot, - fortunately the bike path is very well shaded, and when we reach the hilly section Alexia talked about in the distance I see a beautiful long downhill stretch, Alex literally explodes with delight! I must say for 9 years old, nothing scares him!

A break from pedalling at Carcans Océan

We arrive at Carcans Ocean just before noon and follow the trail to the orienteering course. The children have an opportunity to let off steam here with lots of life-sized wooden games. Before lunch we have a game of boules, which Alex wins even though Matt does everything he can to put him off his game - little scamp. The game gives us all a good appetite!

 

1 o'clock and time for the picnic

Crisps all round and everyone gets their favourite sandwich filling! Ale and, Paul get chicken and salad - but always without tomato... Matt likes just ham and butter, but always manages to only eat the ham! I like a nice fat English sausage inside me, preferably with lots of sauce! The meal ends with apples for the grown ups and apple purée pots for the kids. We'll all have an ice cream later.

Everyone lays back for ten minutes to digest their lunch before going for a swim. We lock the bikes to the bike rack (lock provided by the renter), and we amble down to the shore. Oops! The parasol is still in the car! Problem solved, Paul has seen one for sale at the beach shop on the Place Marcel Prevot.

At the beach the green flag is flying and the water is at 20 °C. We spread out our things in the area under lifeguard watch. The children are eager to get the water, but not before hats on, and a complete whitewash with sunscreen!

Paul plays with them, swimming, sand castles, racket ball. As for me, I sit comfortably on my towel, book in hand. It's MY turn to relax.

4.40 pm - after a busy day, it's time to head back

The children enjoyed the day and now they're tired out. We jump on our bikes and bikes and return to Maubuisson.

We take the bikes back - everything is quick and easy - and we are just about to go back to the car, but suddenly realise we haven't yet had the day's biggest treat! The traditional ice cream maker at Maubuisson "salon et boutique de la glace" is always super-busy and not to be missed. Matt takes the candy floss flavour, Alex has caramel. Paul is happy with vanilla, but I like something more exotic with whipped cream and lashings of ripple!

Best points
  • Less than 1 hour from Bordeaux

  • Bike rental available

  • A personalized welcome at the Tourist Office

  • ...and above all a family fun day!