The départments of Vendée and Charentes, make up the 700km Côte de Lumière. Lumière means 'light' and it's a fact that this region receives the highest sunshine hours on the French Atlantic coast. It's an intriguing mix of Brittany's broken up coastline and Aquitaine's long straight sand dunes, with a good selection of underrated waves. The continental shelf extends out into the Bay of Biscay and there is a bit of a N-NW swell shadow from Brittany, so the beachbreaks don't quite have the power of the more famous spots further south. However, some interesting rocks and flat slab reefs can be found, particularly on the islands in the area. Proximity to some large cities ensures year-round crowds at the best spots, but this coastline is often overlooked by travelling surfers heading south. Spring to autumn for the beachbreaks until the winter swells and winds divert the focus to the island breaks and reefs that offer some protection.