7 Best beaches in France for the perfect sandy getaway

Last Updated on 21/05/2022 by secretmoona

France is a country with a huge coastline stretching along 3 of its sides. From the English Channel to the Atlantic Ocean down to the Mediterranean, there are a large number of beautiful and nice beaches in France. Whether you are looking for natural beauty, a safe place for your family you will be pleased with the choices available to you. From sandy beaches to pebble, dunes to granite cliffs, there is something for everyone. Here 7 beach connoisseurs including myself select our favourites beaches in France.

Nice, Côte d’Azur

Nice, France - Nice beaches in France

Southern France is known for its beautiful blue beaches on the Mediterranean. To us, Nice has one of the most stunning beaches along the French Riviera. It’s no wonder Nice is the capital of the French Riviera. The water is a picturesque blue, and the pebbled beaches are sunny almost year round. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the city offers visitors many things to do. Nice has, beautiful overlooking views and lots of things to do including markets, museums, restaurants, and plenty of shopping. You can visit Old Town, the city’s beautiful cathedrals, or view the ocean and city from Castle Hill. On Castle Hill, you can tour the historical Castel Plage, a former citadel for Nice. For the art goers, Nice is home to a museum dedicated to the impressionist Matisse and a museum of modern art.

By Kathrine and Pam from Everywhere Forward 

Etretat, Normandy

Etretat, Normandy - Nice beaches in France

It was too hard to choose the best beach in France, so I decided to pick the best one for visitors who only stay for a short time in France. Etretat came first in my mind for a few reasons. I love Etretat for its breathtaking chalk cliffs and arches. They make Etretat look special. No wonder why famous French artist like Monnet, Courbet, and Maupassant showcased this unique place in their work. You feel small when you wander on the Etretat beach, in front of a 70-metre rock rising from the sea. You can walk up on the cliffs to admire the stunning views.

The village is also an excellent addition to your visit. You will find many restaurants and small streets where you can get lost. The Vieux Marche (old market) is a must-do to buy souvenirs and find local food and crafts. But not only is Etretat beautiful, but it is also easy to access from the French capital. You can visit Etretat as a day trip from Paris, or ideally as a weekend trip. And you may even combine it with other places to visit on the way to discover a bit more of the reputed Normandy region.

By Eloise from My Favourite Escapes | Facebook

Paris Plages, Paris

Paris Plages, Paris - Nice beaches in France

An article on the best beaches in France could not be complete without Paris Plages! Paris Plages is a big event in Paris in the summer, very appreciated by tourists and locals alike. During one month, from 15th of July to 15th August, the banks of the Seine are covered by sand and populated by hammocks, palm trees, and beach bars making that part of the city a moveable feast.

Paris Plages is great for kids, but also adults can have their fun with small concerts, dance lessons or just their favourite cocktail in a very laid back atmosphere. Paris Plage’s main location is the Seine’s right bank, between Paris 1 and Paris 4. However, there is another similar event along Canal de la Villette in Paris 19. This second Paris Plages has more interaction with the water and more games for kids. Paris is always a good idea, but If you are visiting Paris during this period don’t forget to add Paris Plages to your bucket list.

By Elisa from World in Paris

L’escalet Beach, St Tropez

L'escalet Beach, St Tropez - Nice beaches in France

If you are in the South of France and most likely in the area of Saint Tropez, you might want to look for a nice public beach. The most famous beach around Saint Tropez is Pampelonne. A long and beautiful white sand beach with many beach clubs. And this is the problem of Pampelonne beach. If you don’t want to pay 40 Euros for a sun chair and an umbrella, you will have to go somewhere else. Locals, like to go to the public beaches.

You can access those beaches by bus during the high season, but it is better if you have a car. The two most beautiful public beaches close to Saint Tropez are L’escalet and Cap Taillat. When you arrive at L’escalet, you will want to pass the first beach and keep walking to find white sand and lovely creeks. If you walk even more (taking some good shoes), you will find Cap Taillat. It’s even less touristic and with wild beaches. Those two spots are perfect for snorkelling. You can take a picnic and spend an entire day there. La belle vie!

By Amandine from Les Berlinettes | Instagram

Palombaggia, Corsica

Palombaggia beach, Corsica - Nice beaches in France

If you are looking for some for the nicest beaches in France, Corsica is your destination! The coastline of this island located in the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most diverse. In the South, you can find white sand, turquoise waters, colourful rock formations and stone pine trees: a magical combination! It is hard to choose the “best” one, but Palombaggia beach is often considered as the reference. This long sandy cove is bordered by pink rocks that turn red at sunrise and sunset. And between the Palombaggia and Tamaricciu beaches, you can find a small cove with giant grey boulders. This is one of the most photographed places in Corsica. It can be considered as a little corner of paradise, although not that much in the middle of the day in Summer, as it gets overcrowded…

Want to know how to get there? Better to have a car. It is only a 20min drive away from Porto-Vecchio, the main town in South Corsica. There is a large free parking at the East end of the beach, and then just a couple of minute walk to reach it. By the water, you can find a few restaurants and equipment rental for snorkelling and other water sports.

By Claire from ZigZag On Earth | Pinterest

Gorge du Vernon, Provence

Gorge du Verdon, Provence - Nice beaches in France

Gorge du Verdon in Provence has become incredibly popular – thanks to Instagram I have gotten to know this amazing gorge with its very unique colour.  But just a few meters further down is a beautiful beach which is less known but very pretty. Even though I visited in summer, it was quite empty – is not a beach, that you almost all have to yourself one of the best? The artificial lake of Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon is just before the bridge from where you see people renting boats and paddling through the gorge.

You can even park your car next to the lake before spending in a few hours or even a full day at the beach. As mentioned, it’s not overly crowded (most likely because it is hard to get there by public transportation and those who come to spend more time at the gorge) – so bring some food and drinks along and have a picnic. The water is clear, and so it is also a perfect place to hop into the water and enjoy the scenery. Since it is a pebble stone beach, I definitely suggest bringing a few more towels – maybe I am a bit too sensitive, but I guess, your body and skin will thank you if you lay down on several towels.

By Arzo from Arzo Travels | Instagram

Hoëdic, Brittany

Hoëdic Beach, Brittany - Nice beaches in France

A visit to the little island of Hoëdic should be on your list of things to do in Brittany. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, the island is only 2.5 km long and just 1 km wide. The island offers some of France’s nicest beaches, an impressive network of coves, a fort and Neolithic sites. So, as well as spending hours at the beach you can also discover historical architecture. As soon as you dock at Port Argol, you are welcomed with the fresh maritime air and lovely fishing boats.

By Mayi from SecretMoona | Facebook

So here you have it, our selection of the best beaches in France. Was your favourite beach on our list? If you know of a small natural jewel, do not hesitate to share it by leaving a comment below!

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Hi there! I'm Mayi. Welcome to my blog SecretMoona! I hope to share with you the hidden secret of places I visit.

8 thoughts on “7 Best beaches in France for the perfect sandy getaway

  1. So many beautiful beaches in France! I’ve only been to Nice and would love to return and visit all of your recommendations!

  2. I didn’t know there was a beach in Paris! 🙂 I loved the beach in Nice and some other places in South of France like Menton! I saw you mentioned Corsica, it looks incredible! Would love to go there!

    1. Thanks Lasma! Paris Plage is unique. It’s not as charming as beaches in day Menton for example but so handy…

  3. Oh my god – what even are those beaches at Etretat and L’escalet! I’m literally swooning. This is quite a refreshing post – thanks for virtually taking us along through France’s pretty beaches 🙂

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