Leucate is firmly on the world kitesurfing map and plays host to the Mondial du Vent competition each April. The beach is fine for beginners in lighter cross-shore winds, but becomes a real hot-spot for freeride and freestyle riders when the offshore Tramontana kicks in.
Kitesurfing - Leucate-La Franqui
Top freeride/freestyle spot.
Lagoon for beginners.
|Beginner - Advanced|
Best Time of Year
|March and April, July to October|
Summer Water Temp
|22°C > 25°C|
Winter Water Temp
|11°C > 12°C|
Cross-offshore wind. Oyster beds in the lagoon.
|Perpignan (35 min)|
There are three large car parks in Leucate including Coussoules which has overnight parking for campervans.
Leucate is just 25 mins by car from Perpignan–Rivesaltes Airport via the D83 and D627.
From Montpellier (1 h 15 min), head west to Béziers and Narbonne, then take the A9 motorway towards Perpignan turning off at junction 40.
Leucate Kitesurfing Gallery
Leucate is a top location for kitesurfers of all abilities whether you're a complete 'body-dragging' beginner or a freestyle rider looking to perfect your air gybes.
There are more than 10 kitesurf schools with "Ecole française de kitesurf" qualified instructors, a choice of kitesurf spots either on the sea or in the lagoons behind the beach, and the Tramontana wind which blows reliably on more than 300 days a year.
Close to the spots you'll find loads of accommodation options whether you want to camp, stay in a hotel, B&B or go self catering.
La Franqui, Plage Les Coussoules
Les Coussoules is recognised as one of the best kitesurfing spots in Europe. The super-reliable Tramontana wind provides superb conditions for wind sports and it's here that the annual 'Mondial du Vent' takes place. Dutch pro kiteboarder Youri Zoon calls Les Coussoules "a unique, pure ride spot". It's true that when the Tramontana kicks in with gusto, often powering up to over 40 knots, it's cloud nine for advanced freeride and freestyle kiters. When the wind switches, it gets wavy but unless it's cross-offshore the waves tend to dump on the beach.
Park next to the Camping des Coussoules about 300 m from the spot. You'll find the kitesurf zone in front of the lifeguard station.
Etang de Leucate
The Etang de Leucate is a 3 km long lagoon behind Port Leucate that gets swept by force 6-9 Tramontana on more than 200 days of the year. There are spots for every level of rider and there's loads of variety - cruising, freeride, freestyle, whatever you're into. The northernmost area at Le Goulet is reserved for windsurfers but further down towards Ile de la Rascasse (see map) you have a designated kite zone that is mostly standing-depth. The only danger is the oyster beds and the wooden posts that mark them out.
If the wind is too strong, head to the southernmost part of the lake at Port-Barcarès where it's a bit more sheltered. Launch at Éole where the water is flat and standing-depth, making it ideal for beginners. Further out, there's a bit more chop for jumping. The only downside is that if it's been a hot summer and the water level is low, there can be a lot of seaweed.
Park at Leucate Plage or if it's too busy, head to the next bay at Ile des Pêcheurs.
The Aqualand spot is on a long white sandy beach just south of Port Leucate. The wind is a little less strong here and it's close to the shops and eateries, so is ideal if you're combining kitesurfing with a day on the beach with the family. It's standing depth for about 20 m and the spot gets really good 300 m off the beach. In summer, you'll regularly find the Tramontana replaced by a south-easterly Marin wind which brings in some nice surfing waves.
Etang de la Palme
Located north of Leucate village the La Palme lagoon is a lot smaller than the Étang de Leucate and is a good spot for learning to kitesurf as it's standing-depth everywhere. It's best under Tramontana conditions but can get gusty. It's very shallow towards the shore and you need to watch you don't get hung up on the sand. The drive in is a bit sketchy as the road is prone to flooding and full of enormous potholes.