Find out what the best beaches in France are as awarded by millions of real travelers.
You'll need a car and an area map to reach Porto-Vecchio's beaches, where you'll find pure white sands lapped by brilliant turquoise water. The busy beaches are the top attraction in this port town, which travelers report hasn't yet been totally overrun by the tourist trade. Sample fresh seafood in the local restaurants, and plan a side trip south to the charming town of Bonifacio.
A stylish beach town on France’s southwestern coast, Biarritz was once the vacation spot for nobility and is now Europe’s surfing capital. It’s experienced a tourist renaissance—summers are busy. Biarritz lacks the Riviera’s glitz, but you’ll see affluent vacationers in designer gear and surfers in flip-flops, and hear French, Spanish and Basque. The Grande Plage is the center of the action. Behind it, visit the restored, Art Deco casino and wander the streets down to the old port to the west.
With more than 600 miles of coastline, Corsica has beaches to rival the Côte d'Azur. Calvi, in northwest Corsica, blends French style with Italian sunshine. Bask in the sun on a pure white beach that stretches the length of the bay, or explore the medieval Citadel with its unparalleled views and peaceful pedestrian streets. Jazz lovers should plan to visit during Calvi's annual jazz festival in June.
This charming coastal village sits at the foot of the epic cliffs, Cap Canaille. Cassis is a great place for outdoor activities, including boating, scuba diving and hiking. It is also the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. There are many cafes and restaurants, where travelers can dine and sip while watching the sunbathers lounge by the crisp, blue waters of the French Riviera. The Route des Cretes runs high above the port, with magnificent, panoramic views of the area.
Monet painted Juan-les-Pins. So did Picasso. If they showed up today, they'd find a youthful summer destination that centers on sunbathing (invented by Coco Chanel, some claim), casinos, nightclubs, and staying out late. TripAdvisor members say the one thing "JLP" lacks is restaurants, but neighboring Antibes, a short bus ride away, has more than enough to compensate.
You could spend every day at the beach in Antibes and feel you've had a rewarding trip. But make a point of exploring Antibes' Old Town as well, called by some the cultural heart of the Côte d'Azur. Visit the Musée Picasso for its splendid artwork, sculpture terrace, and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Later, enjoy dozens of restaurants, or take a quick ride into Juan-les-Pins for its lively nightlife.
The crowning glory of the French Riviera, Cannes is the place to be seen on the beach even when it's not film festival time. Inviting sands and 300 days of sunshine a year make sunbathing a popular sport, and you can even rent a yacht for a week if you're really out to impress.
Nice has a cosmpolitan Riviera vibe, and you'll enjoy exploring its fashionable boutiques and restaurants and sunning yourself on its popular beaches. (Just don't expect soft sand—these beaches have pebbles.) Walk up to Castle Hill for a beautiful view of the city, the Bay of Angels and of course, the bright blue water that gave the Cote d'Azur its name.
Saint-Malo, originally built as a walled citadel guarding the mouth of the Rance river, was for centuries home to feared pirates. They’ve all gone to Davy Jones’ Locker, though, and now it’s Brittany’s most-visited city. Walk the bustling streets of the reconstructed old city and the vast beaches, making sure to stop at the Grande Porte, Porte St-Vincent, the town’s castle with its Musée de la Ville and the Grand Aquarium.
The romantic and wind-swept beaches of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer were the inspiration for several sketches and paintings by Vincent Van Gough. A shallow beach-side lagoon and seasonal beach cafes make this the perfect place to relax and absorb the picturesque scenery.