A road trip to the Occitanie South of France with Simon Fourcade

A lover of the great outdoors, Simon Fourcade is the coach of the French junior Biathlon World Cup team on the mountainside; but he invited us to discover the Catalan lands of his native region, stretching to Cap d’Agde, on the seaside. The irresistible charm of a multifaceted destination with a variety of landscapes.

Step #1: Between land and sea, treasures full of character in Collioure

Before we discover the authentic colourful lanes of this Catalan village, Simon takes us on a hike to Tour Madeloc, an old guard tower that offers a striking view of the Mediterranean and the full Albera Massif. We barely step out of it when we are whisked away to explore the inlets that dot the coast on stand-up paddleboards. The excursion features memorable jumps from the rocky outcroppings and dives into the turquoise water. At the end of the day, our appetites are satisfied and our taste buds thrilled with the famous anchovies of Maison Desclaux and an organic wine from Terre des Templiers, which we enjoy facing the sea and watching the sunset, among the abrupt mineral vineyards.

Step #2: A festive gourmet atmosphere at Argelès-sur-Mer

For a gourmet stopover in Argelès-sur-Mer, Simon takes us to the La Bartavelle restaurant, showcasing the authentic products and expertise of farmers and craftsman of the South of France. But Argelès-sur-Mer is also the spot for a not-to-be-missed event: the festival Les Déferlantes, which stirs the hearts of rock, pop and rap music aficionados. We attend the festival, and love its friendly atmosphere, its discerning yet varied program, and one important detail: the mild climate of the South of France, where evenings are caliente!

Step #3: Wind and surf in Leucate

Time to head for the wide-open spaces of Leucate, member of the France Stations Nautiques, to reconnect with the elements. Simon is a ski enthusiast, whether downhill or on the water; and he introduces us to kiteboarding. It is here on the beach of La Franqui, an almost infinite stretch of fine sand and crystalline waters where the Mondial du Vent is held, that we try out this airborne adventure. Verdict: thrilling and restorative! Listed among the most beautiful beaches in France, La Franqui remains relatively secluded, far from the crowded tourist resorts: the perfect balance between an untouched natural environment and leisure activities.

Step #4: Water and speed in the Mediterranean Cap d’Agde

We finish this itinerary through the Occitan South of France with Cap d’Agde and its surroundings, abounding in well-kept secrets. We explore the wild expanse of the natural reserve of Bagnas on our bikes and discover the protected lagoon and its surprising biodiversity. Then, after our escapade across land, France Station Nautique takes us on a catamaran trip on the sea. An incredible sensation of speed and freedom, the feeling of flying over the water.

Our top pick to enjoy the many facets of this Occitan coast in the South of France: to rent a van from Roadsurfer to wake up in a different background every day and to experience life on the road in comfort.