Leucate France might not sound familiar to you, but it's a small town in the Languedoc-Roussillon region that's quite known among windsurfers because it's almost always windy there and there's a huge lake which is perfect for windsurfing.
The reason we chose Leucate as a destination is because my former boyfriend used to go there on vacation with his parents and always had a great time at the beach and windsurfing. It was a trip inspired by nostalgia and the need to see if the place still was as fun as he remembered.
Leucate Plage France
We booked an apartment in Leucate Plage on Airbnb, with a large terrace so that we could enjoy our evenings chilling outside.
There really isn't anything to do in Leucate Plage besides windsurfing and hanging at the beach, but that was okay as we could use some quiet quality time together.
That doesn't mean we did absolutely nothing, though. On our first day there we did what we usually do in a destination: we took a map, headed out, and started walking. Our goal? Port Leucate. Now let me show you a map to give you an idea of what we wanted to do.
So we were staying in Leucate Plage, up north, and we wanted to walk along the beach down to Port Leucate. As you can see there's water in between Leucate Plage and Port Leucate, but for some reason, we thought we'd be able to cross.
Not only did the only road to get across make a huge detour, it was also some kind of highway which was meant for cars and bikes only.
Yes, we could have walked along the bicycle lane, but it wouldn't have been a pleasant walk, and as you can see it's quite a long road.
And if that wasn't enough, a large part of the beach that we wanted to walk along was part of a nudist village. Yes, that's right, a nudist village.
So we were walking with our toes in the sand and talking when all of a sudden all these bungalows appeared. We had the choice of walking straight through the nudist village or going all the way to the lakeside and walking along the not very fun highway. We first chose option one but got quite uncomfortable being the only people in clothes after a while and then went for option two.
So our discovery walk along the beach wasn't really a success. We only covered about 4 kilometers one way, but because we had to navigate through the nudist village and find our way back, we really spent an entire afternoon walking.
So one word of advice: if you want to go somewhere from Leucate Plage, take the car!
The only cool thing we came across was this small harbor with fish stores and tiny fish restaurants, Port Leucate.
“Phare de Leucate Plage”, the lighthouse
Another exploratory walk went better. On the road leading to our apartment, we'd seen a sign pointing to the lighthouse of Leucate Plage. It seemed to be really close, but we wouldn't let a map fool us again and decided to drive up there. Good call, as the road was pretty long, very steep and didn't have any sidewalks.
This time our destination had been worth it. There are actually two lighthouses in Leucate. The old one, which didn't seem to function anymore, and a new one. There's also a restaurant up there from which you have amazing views of the sea, as well as some kind of marine watchtower.
Besides that, there are several paths along which you can walk and from which you get great views over the region. In one spot there's even a tiny staircase that takes you to a hidden beach at the bottom of the cliffs.
So there's Leucate Plage, where we were staying and here the lighthouses are; Port Leucate, where we didn't get by foot; and Leucate Village. You can actually walk to Leucate Village from Leucate Plage, but the center of Leucate Village is really small and if you want to get there, again, it's much easier to take the car.
If you enter the village from Leucate Plage, you just follow the main road until right before you leave the village again (which takes you about two minutes) and there you'll find a large parking space where you can park for free.
Leucate Village might be what comes to mind when you think of a typical small French village. There's only one main road and the sidewalks on that road are barely worthy to be called that. There are some stores, but all life seems to be centralized around the village square, also the only place where you actually see people.
The houses are beautiful, in natural stone or painted in vivid colors.
When we were visiting there was a small market going on, as well as some school festivities. A nice surprise, because we thought we'd only find one “attraction” in Leucate Village and that's the medieval ruins of the castle of Leucate.
As far as we know the history of the castle goes back to the 14th century. It was used until the mid-17th century and demolished late 17th century after orders from the king. All that's left are vague remains of the castle and its walls, but the entrance is free and as the site is located on higher grounds, it gives you a nice view over Leucate Village and the lake.
Windsurfing in Leucate
And then Boyfriend of course also did what he came to Leucate for: windsurfing. The lake of Leucate is great for that, with several spots where you can park your car right by the lake, get out your gear and just go.
I would have liked to try it out, but we didn't have the proper board nor sail for a beginner and as I had some books I wanted to read for the blog, I put my camping chair out of the wind and enjoyed the sun while Boyfriend rode the lake.
I didn't film him a lot as he often went far on the lake and the wind was too heavy to keep my camera steady, but here's a little peek at windsurfing in Leucate:
(You can also watch this video directly on YouTube)
Things to do around Leucate France
Besides spending time in Leucate, we also explored the region a bit. You can read about that here:
Where to stay in Leucate
Budget: Ibis Budget Perpignan Nord
At a 22-minute drive from Leucate this hotel is a little further out, but an excellent value option for a cheaper stay. Located between the city of Perpignan and the village, it’s a basic, air-conditioned hotel with a garden and terrace, free WiFi and 24-hour reception desk.
B&B: Tilley Lounge Cocoon
Tilley Lounge is a one-of-a-kind guest house that sort of resembles a giant outdoor pod! Located in the nearby village of Fitou, this bed and breakfast offers guests the use of an outdoor plunge pool, terrace and barbecue, as well as their own private bathroom, seating area with flat-screen TV, continental breakfast and free WiFi.
Luxury: Le 19-21
The rooms of Le 19-21 are straight out of ‘Grand Designs’ – everything is furnished with a contemporary elegant taste, and the outdoor areas feature a beautiful pool with sun loungers and a rooftop terrace area. This four-star hotel also has a sauna and bar and is located right in the middle of the beautiful village of Leucate.
Apartment: Studio Mer
Situated in the quaint village of La Palme, this is a modest apartment that is fantastic value for money. Studio Mer is air-conditioned and has an outdoor patio space, a fully equipped kitchen and quirky angled ceilings.
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