When you think of France, you might not immediately associate it with its gorgeous coastline. But in fact, from Brittany to the French Riviera, France offers an amazing array of beaches attracting tourists from all over the world. Here Utrippers picked out 10 of the best beaches in France.
1) Porquerolles, Var, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
Utrip Team Pick
The municipality of Hyeres is located just east of Toulon, is easily reached by train, and remains a perfect spot for what is certain to be a memorable Mediterranean vacation. Main attractions include the three islands of the Iles d’Hyeres, all of which offer breathtaking views and exciting whale-watching tours. Pack up some food and a bottle of rosé to fully enjoy a sunny afternoon on the French Riviera. While no automobiles are allowed on the islands, bike rentals are available from local shops for less than 15€. “Piage d’Argent” is one of Porquerolles’ many incredible beaches, all of which are perfectly relaxing places build to lie back and stick your toes in the sand.
2) Plage de l’Estagnol, Var, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
Approved by the Sarkozys
One of the most prestigious beaches in Southern France, it is near Fort de Brégançon, which is where the French president spends his family holidays. Besides Saint-Tropez, Plage de l’Estagnol, a beach bordered with a lagoon, is also a fun place to people watch.
3) Six-Fours-les-Plages, Var, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
Best Known for Watersports
Every year, from late October to early November, wave and freestyle windsurfing competitions take place on the shores of Six-Fours-les-Plages thanks to its strong, beautiful waves. In addition to the “brutal beach”, largely loved by the windsurfers, there are a number of other lovely secret cove beaches.
4) Plage du Camp-Long, Saint-Raphaël, Var, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
A True French Vacation
Saint Raphaël, a commune on the southeast coast, has a wide (22 miles), indented coastline. It’s a popular vacation destination among the French, who visit for the diversity in beach types. Snorkelling, diving, and other watersports are available, and there are also a number of bars and restaurants. If you’re more of an adventurous traveler, take a hike around the footpaths nearby and see the volcanic remains.
5) Ile de Riou, Marseille, Procence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
Ideal for Scuba Divers
Marseille would not be the same without the island archipelago dotting around it. Ile de Riou is a small island south of Marseille, and is uninhabited today with wild nature that is carefully preserved. The undersea forest is lush and vibrant, a must-see for divers and snorkelers alike.
6) La Paloma, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Alpes-Maritimes
Beach with Luxury Villas
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, one of the nation’s most affluent areas, is surrounded by luxury villas and restaurants. About 7 miles east of Nice, it is an extremely popular place, filling up with celebrities and royalty members. Lay in the sun on the cove and enjoy the magnificent view of the French Riviera.
7) Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie
Rich in History
Once occupied and destroyed by the German army during the Battle of Normandy in the second World War, Le Havre is today a popular attraction due to its rich history and beautiful coastline. Located in Northern France, the best time to visit is from April through early fall. Volleyball courts, cycle lanes, and skate parks are all available on the beachfront. It is also great for sailing and windsurfing because of the strong northwesterly winds.
8) Cassis, Bouches-du-Rhone, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur
Best Kept Secret
If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, consider Cassis as it is one of the best kept secrets in Southern France. It’s well known for its clear blue waters, cliffs, and the sheltered inlets. Cassis in French also means blackcurrant, so while you enjoy the scenic views try the delicious drink called “kir”, which is white wine mixed with crème de cassis (blackcurrant syrup).
9) Euronat, Côte d’Argent, Aquitaine
Most Beautiful Nude Beach
Côte d’Argent, on the west coast of France, is one of the area’s most protected beachfronts. European families love to come here to hang out on the golden sands or just to grab a cup of coffee in one of the many nearby beach cafes.
10) Castel Plage, Nice
Best of Nice
Castel Plage is located at the end of the Promenade in Nice, attracting tourists, couples, and families all summer long. It is a great place to visit if you don’t mind the crowds and want to enjoy a high-class holiday experience. Occasionally the restaurants on the beach host special evening events, with live music and delicious cocktails creating a fun party atmosphere.