A series of scenic and peaceful walking trails – 6km in all – wind through and around the swamps, lakes and woodlands of this idyllic bird reserve in Le Teich, 5km east of Gujan Mestras. There are plenty of hides to watch birds up close: some 260 species of migratory and nonmigratory birds call the reserve home. Bring binoculars (or rent in situ for €4.70/7.40 for one/two pairs), water and a camera, and time your visit for high tide (marée haute), when birds are most abundant.

The stars of the show are the white storks, spoonbills, common cranes, marsh harriers and black kites, all of which can be spied on from a network of well-maintained hides. Away from birds, the park is one of the most reliable places in France to see the now-threatened European pond tortoise.