We - Caroline, Tom and Maurice - decided it was time for an adventure. As soon as we heard about WebCamper by emile weber, we booked a van and planned a spontaneous surf trip to Biarritz. During our week in the south of France we learned to love this new way of traveling.
With WebCamper to Biarritz - A cosy surf trip to remember
A trip with a VW „Bullie“ is a dream come true for every surfer. In its latest incarnation, the T6.1 Multivan California Ocean, that WebCamper offers, is a luxurious yet incredibly useful companion for a surf trip. As the European Atlantic coast wakes up from a long winter, we saw an opportunity to exchange the alternating Luxembourgish spring weather against a few hot days in the sun and water.
As the weather and the waves are notoriously difficult to forecast on the European Atlantic coast, a flexible and reliable campervan was needed. Possible destinations for this trip included cities and small towns in France, but a final decision could only be made at last notice considering the latest forecasts. From Voyages Emile Weber's diverse offering of campervans, the VW T6.1 California is probably the most flexible van. The camper feels right at home on camping grounds as well as the small city roads of southern France and was thus ideally suited for the planned trip.
On the road
We picked up our vehicle of choice at WebCamper in Canach the day before our departure. An employee from WebCamper took the time to explain every functionality of the van in detail. After approximately 15 minutes the briefing was completed, and we felt ready and confident for our trip.
The first ride with the van was more relaxed than expected. Even though the Multivan is big, it drives just as easily as any other car. Because of the large mirrors, the overview is great. The automatic gearbox is practical and the 2.0 litre TDI diesel motor feels very powerful. The integrated Apple CarPlay quickly became one of our favourite features. It enabled us to easily navigate, listen to music as well as podcasts, and answer calls during the drive. The 10-hour trip was very comfortable, with massive leg space in the front and even more in the back.
While the weather was still forecasting a lot of rain for the upcoming days, we were still optimistic that the situation would change, and some surfing would be possible. And just as we arrived in Biarritz, the rain had made space for some sunshine. After we had found our camping place, we set up the camper in a few easy steps. We took off our boards that we had fixed on the rails of the bus and immediately walked the fifteen minutes to the next surfing spot. We had 30 minutes left before the 7 pm curfew and enjoyed watching the remaining surfers catching the last perfect waves.
At the camping
As free nature camping is not allowed in France we pre-booked a space at the Biarritz Camping. The camping was well located outside - yet close - to Biarritz and only a few minutes away from the next surfing spots.
We had booked a square that was located close to the showers and bathrooms - a very good choice as we quickly found out. While we initially regretted not having a toilet or shower in the Multivan we quickly realized that for us the option of having a bathroom just a few steps away was the better option.
Transforming the camper from a luxurious limousine into a cosy living room was done in just a few simple steps. The front seats can be turned around and a table can be put out in seconds. In the side and trunk doors, a table and foldable chairs are built-in that can be taken out to reveal a nice terrasse in front of the van. The marquise can easily be pulled out with a few simple turns.
Our booked space had access to electricity so that we did not have to worry about the battery power and charging all our equipment (phones, camera, etc.). All necessary cables to connect the camper to the electric plug were provided by WebCamper.
Time for a rest
As we were exhausted from the long trip we were very much looking forward to the first night in the camper. We had never slept in a luxuriously equipped van with a pop-up roof before and now the time had come to rest and test.
The first night was surprisingly comfortable and we slept really well. The van has two very comfortable beds, one large bed in the pop-up roof and one more bed in the back of the car. Multiple lights and charging plugs are at hand, just like at home. Despite it being cold outside, the park heating kept us warm throughout the night. With our batteries recharged, we were ready for our first day in Biarritz!
Let’s go surfing
As we woke up the next morning and opened the windows of the roof-tent, the smell of French pines and the sound of breaking waves in the distance let the anticipation grow for a good day at the beach. Maurice set out to find the nearest bakery while the coffee was cooking on the integrated stove in the van. After a quick breakfast, we were on the road to find the best surf beach for the day. We chose “plage d’Illbaritz” between Biarritz and Bidard as our first surf spot since we were able to park the car just in front of the beach. Finding a suitable parking spot near the French beaches may be difficult from time to time since a lot of carparks limit the cars' maximum height to 1,80 m (T6.1 Multivan is around 2 m high), but at beaches around la Cité de l’Ocean, there were no such issues.
The first surf session is always the hardest having been far away from the ocean for many weeks. But feeling the power of the ocean on a perfect wave makes all the struggles, muscle aches and exhausting paddle-outs worth it. After two hours of surfing, energy faded, and it was time to refuel. At this time coming back to your “home on wheels” also proved to be an invaluable luxury. We had all our supplies with us and started preparing lunch in front of the beach. What an incredible place to stay for the day.
The kitchen may seem small at first glance, but offers all you need to cook for a small group of people, whether it be on the camping ground or in front of the best beach views. WebCamper provided a very good selection of camping-friendly kitchenware that is efficiently stored in a box in the back of the car. Everything you need and nothing more. Nevertheless, we brought a few “nice-to-have” items that made the trip even more enjoyable (Coffee-Maker anyone?). We included all those extra add-ons in a list at the end of this article to help you pack for a similar camping trip.
Sunshine after the rain
The two upcoming days were marked by lots of rain, so we had to spend the majority of the time in the camper. We passed the time by playing games, discussing, and cooking. Even though we were disappointed not to be able to surf, we enjoyed the cosy days in the camper. To be honest, at this point we were also happy that we were only 3 people, as space would have been quite tight.
After two days, the sun came out again and we could finally go back into the water. While Tom and Maurice were enjoying a perfect surfing session, Caroline was enjoying the sun at the beautiful côte des basques beach.
As the two last days were approaching, the terrasses in France opened up again and we started to fully dive into the French holiday feeling. To get to the restaurants, we simply packed everything into the van and drove to the city center. Thanks to the many driving assistance systems it was easy to park in any available parking space in the small town of the French Basque country.
Aside from Biarritz, there were many more places to explore. St. Jean-de-Luz is an authentic small basque city with a very unique flair, definitely worth the visit. A few steps further south and you are in Spain. A must for every passionate surfer are the coastal towns in “Les Landes” between Biarritz and Bordeaux. Hossegor, also known as the European surfing capital, is probably the most popular place to visit. After watching the professionals surf some of the most difficult waves, we set out to explore the beach bars and restaurants hidden in the woods of Hossegor. Some of the best camping grounds can also be found in this part of the country, so on our last day we are already dreaming about our next camping trip with our van parked beneath the pine trees of “Les Landes”.
The trip with the camper van was a welcome change to the more traditional ways of spending our holidays. As it turned out, the trip was more easy-going and comfortable than expected. The camper enabled us to spontaneously plan our trip according to the weather. Even though the weather didn’t always play along in the end, we appreciated the flexibility the camper provided us, like driving directly to the nearest surfing spots and city centre with all our equipment. Before starting, not much planning was necessary as the van was very well equipped by the WebCamper team. However, we recommend having a quick look at our add-on list, to be sure that you have all the necessary items to fully enjoy your adventurous camper trip.