France has served as one of the world’s top tourist destinations for decades, drawing visitors with its modern cities, picturesque countryside, and renowned mountain resorts. If you’re looking for ideas for a beach holiday in France, consider enriching your summer itinerary with one or all six of the following destinations.
1. Palombaggia Beach
Immensely popular with both foreign pleasure seekers and local water lovers, Corsica’s Palombaggia Beach consistently ranks as one of the finest beaches in all of Europe. Pink granite surrounds the powdery sand of this 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) stretch of coastline ideal for making sand castles, playing sports, swimming, or simply relaxing with a good book. Lifeguards remain on duty during the peak summer months, making this beach ideal for inexperienced swimmers and families with small children. Try to arrive as early as you can to claim a good spot near the water. Keep in mind that the beach gets extremely crowded at the northern end, which offers easy access to a nearby parking lot.
2. Plage de Pampelonne
If your France itinerary includes Cote d’Azur, be sure to visit Plage de Pampelonne. Surrounded by luxury villas and pine forests, this beach draws some of the world’s top celebrities. Exclusive beach restaurants and clubs attract huge crowds during the summer, so try to arrive early in the morning to avoid heavy traffic from nearby Saint-Tropez. Once there, you can choose from over two dozen beach clubs catering to wealthy visitors from around the world. You can charter a private yacht to take you along the shoreline, but if your trip involves a limited budget, rent a lounge chair and umbrella and spend the day enjoying the public section of this 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) strip of sand.
3. Plage de la Pointe Rouge
One of Marseille’s sandy beaches, Plage de la Pointe Rouge offers visitors an idyllic place to relax and soak up some local culture. The beach provides plenty of modern amenities for a pleasant day in and out of the water, while the surrounding area features a good selection of restaurants serving salads, pizzas, sandwiches and a variety of grilled meats. If you get tired of swimming or lying on the sand, rent a jet ski and enjoy an afternoon of offshore adventures.
4. Plage d’Arone
An ideal choice for beachgoers looking to add some history to their France visit, the crescent-shaped Plage d’Arone offers soft sand and a scenic mountain backdrop. Near this beach you can visit a monument serving as a reminder of a submarine that brought the first weapons and provisions to the burgeoning resistance movement in the winter of 1943. Visitors looking for a bit of adventure can also explore to the nearby World Heritage-listed calanques, steep-walled coastal valleys formed by thousands of years of erosion.
5. Paloma Beach
Quiet and sheltered, Paloma Beach attracts tourists seeking the slower pace of charming coastal locations away from big tourist crowds. Though it often hosts American movie stars who explore the French Riviera on their luxurious private yachts, half of this beach remains public and welcomes visitors with less extravagant modes of transportation. Take advantage of a coastal path leading right past the former villa of actor David Niven.
A great alternative to France’s southern beaches, Etretat is one of the most scenic spots on Normandy’s coastline. Nestled between stunning white cliffs, this small village preserves its traditional charm and remains largely unscathed by mass tourism. Just a walk from the village sits a secluded beach, its sand polished by the waves of the English Chanel. Settle at one of the village’s eco-friendly hotels and spend a few days exploring France’s less-visited northern coastline.
A Beach for Every Itinerary
France boasts a range of tourist attractions suitable for practically any type of traveler and receives over 80 million foreign visitors each year. To create a pleasant holiday in France, explore the country’s diverse coastal destinations and enjoy an unforgettable seaside experience.