Hossegor and Biarritz, France
Credit: Getty Images

Paris is Paris, and Cannes hogs France's beach-related press, but the southwestern corridor near the Spanish border is no slouch as a destination. "I love the beach breaks in France, especially at the very Southwest, in Hossegor," Gilmore says.

The site of September's Quiksilver Pro France ASP World Tour event, Hossegor is known for its world class – if notoriously unpredictable – surf. There's not much in the way of swell during the summers months, but it gets roaring in the late spring and early fall. It's known to give even the world's best surfers fits, so if you're looking for more manageable breaks, head about 20 minutes south to Biarritz, a tiny European beach town with a turn-of-the-century grandeur that also happens to double as a surf locale.

"I love Biarritz. It's one of my favorite spots - just because it's such a cute little town - it's like a mini Paris on the beach," Gilmore says. "It has a little Spanish/Basque influence as well, so it's really multicultural. The waves aren't so great, but it still has that summer vibe, so it runs very festive, and they just hang out and surf, and it doesn't get dark until 10 o'clock at night, so you can go eat dinner and then go surfing again after that. Or, you can just go straight to party town."