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The French Riviera is home to many picturesque towns and historical wonders. However, what makes it unique is its beautiful coastline with countless beaches that follow each other, village after village, alternating sand and pebbles.
The most famous French Riviera beaches are located near cities and towns. But there are also more remote places, little corners of paradise, often known only by the locals.
For this piece, we asked some travel bloggers and friends to help us find the very best beaches on the French Riviera, and we have selected eight beautiful French Riviera beaches with something for everyone. You can decide to spend your summer holidays near one of these beaches or explore more than one on a French Riviera road trip.
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Plage des Sablettes, Menton
Contributed by Dymphe – Dymabroad
Plage des Sablettes is one of the best beaches on the French Riviera. This sandy beach is located in Menton, which is a great town close to Monaco, that I recommend visiting too! You can easily reach Menton and the beach by train from there.
Plage des Sablettes is a public beach by the Mediterranean Sea, and it is very beautiful. What’s great about this beach specifically is the backdrop of the colorful houses of Menton’s old town! This is something that makes the beach so much more special than a regular beach.
Plage des Sablettes is a lovely sandy beach that is great for everyone! Besides that, there are many facilities at the beach. For example, there are many restaurants, changing cabins, and beach showers. Moreover, because the beach is next to the town, there are many shops and other things you can expect in a large town.
Les Marinières Beach, Villefranche-sur-Mer
Contributed by Emma – Emma Jane Explores
Widely regarded as one of the best French Riviera beaches, the sandy shores of Les Marinières Beach in the gorgeous coastal town of Villefranche-sur-Mer are perfect to escape nearby Nice for a relaxing beach day.
This beach is one of the most accessible beaches in the Côte d’Azur, as the train line runs right next to the beach. It takes less than five minutes to go from the railway station to the sand!
Given the ease of accessibility, this French Riviera beach is perfect for couples wanting a romantic day out or a family with kids intent on splashing around in the bay. The water is very calm and easy for swimmers – there’s no risk of getting dumped by giant waves here.
Plage des Marinières also has showers and toilets as well as lifeguard supervision throughout the peak season in July and August. Les Marinières Beach is also a stone’s throw from cafes, restaurants, and the charming old town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, which are all definitely worth exploring whilst you’re there. Once you’ve had your fill of sunbaking, pop up to a local restaurant and enjoy a bucket of moules marinières for lunch.
Plage de Castel, Nice
Contributed by Chrysoula – Greece Travel Ideas
Plage de Castel in Nice is situated at the eastern end of the Quai des Etats Unis under the castle. The beach can be reached from the seafront promenade by walking down 30 steps, so it is not ideal for those with restricted mobility or pushchairs.
Plage de Castel comprises of a public beach and a private section with a restaurant. The beach is 150 meters long but is not 100 % sandy as there are many large stones. Because it is sheltered, the sea is usually calm. The views along the seafront of Nice are excellent.
The beach is ideal for solo travelers or couples as it has no facilities. There are no sun loungers or parasols, and it does not have a lifeguard. If you would prefer to stretch out on a comfortable lounger, the Castel Beach Restaurant offers sunloungers and parasol rentals along with a gourmet restaurant offering Mediterranean cuisine.
Blue Beach, Nice
Contributed by Norbert – World in Paris
Blue Beach is one of Nice‘s public beaches, a pebbles beach with a relaxed atmosphere and great views of the turquoise sea. The public part has a shower but no toilets or changing places.
Blue Beach contains a private beach managed by the Blue Beach Restaurant with umbrellas and sunbeds available for a fee. While other restaurants in Nice close during the winter, Blue Beach restaurant is one of locals’ options for a lunch or a French apéritif with friends all year round.
Next to Blue Beach, there’s a water sports center where people can engage in various activities like water skiing, kayaking, or parasailing. Even if this is not your cup of tea, it is fun to watch from your towel while sunbathing.
Blue Beach is located at the bottom of rue Rivoli, not far from the famous Hotel Negresco. You will easily recognize the beach from the parasols in the private area.
Olivette Beach, Cap d’Antibes
Antibes has some truly spectacular beaches with something for every visitor. We particularly like Plage de l’Olivette, a small and intimate beach located on the western side of Cap d’Antibes. This beach is perfect for couples or groups of friends who want to spend a few hours far from the hustle and bustle of the most popular beaches in Antibes.
Plage de l’Olivette is used to host pointus, the typical colorful boats from the south of France, and there’s a light wooden pontoon. In the middle of these little boats, there is an area for sunbathing (mix of sand and small gravel), but swimming here is not allowed. Instead, we recommend shaking out your towel on the right side, outside the port area. There are no facilities there, but it is a wonderful and quiet place with turquoise waters and some shady places.
Pampelonne Beach, Ramatuelle
The world-famous Pampelonne beach is St-Tropez’s crown jewel of beaches, even if it is located in neighboring Ramatuelle. Pampelonne beach a site of remarkable natural beauty that offers a rural backdrop to the world’s most glamorous beach party scene.
Frequented by the jet-set since the 1950s, it is on this French Riviera beach that the ‘Tropezien myth’ was forged. And it is not only because of its thin white sand or turquoise waters; three beach clubs contributed to shore up this myth.
The Tahiti Plage was set in 1946, taking advantage of the bamboo decoration left after filming ‘Chant des Iles’. The Club 55 – established that same year from a simple canteen built by the filming team of ‘And God Created Woman’ -, is now a renowned restaurant. And the Epi Plage – designed as an extension of l’Epi-Club de Saint-Germain des Près in Paris -, has always been a meeting place for personalities from cinema, fashion, music, and politics from the 1960s until now.
But the private beach restaurants only take up a portion of the beach area. The rest of the Pampelonne beach is free for visitors to throw down their towels. It may be a bit crowded in the summer, but off-season is a great place to be. There are public toilets and beach showers near the access points of Tamaris, Patch, and Barraques.
The best way to reach Pampelonne beach is by car and parking it near one of the access points. There’s also a free shuttle bus that runs from central Saint-Tropez.
Cap Taillat, Ramatuelle
Contributed by Nadine – Le Long Weekend
Located south of the Saint Tropez peninsular, Cap Taillat is an area of untamed natural beauty. Completely undeveloped and wild, the beaches surrounding this isthmus in the South of France are some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches on the French Riviera.
Only accessible on foot, to reach Cap Taillat you must hike from Plage de l’Escalet along a coastal trail for approximately 3km. On the way, you’ll pass by many stunning coves and sandy strips, each with its own unique appeal. Some of these coves are known for naturism, but it’s not officially permitted on the Cap Taillat beach.
Whether you’re after a family-fun day in the sun or a romantic spot for two, you’re sure to find just the right place to shake out your towel. Visit just outside of the peak summer season (July-August) to appreciate the beaches at their best.
Because of its remote nature, there are no facilities once you leave Plage de L’Escalet, though there are toilets and showers near the car park. So take everything you may need for the day with you, and be sure to bring everything back with you too.
Plage Notre Dame, Porquerolles Island
Plage Notre Dame (Our Lady Beach), on Porquerolles Island, is one of the most beautiful beaches on the French Riviera and, paradoxically, one of the French Riviera beaches that sees lesser crowds on this list.
The water in this piece of paradise is turquoise and shallow for the first 300 m, so it is perfect for families with little kids. The beach is 800 m long, sandy, and surrounded by pine and eucalyptus trees. Plage Notre Dame is not only beautiful, but it also smells good!
Plage Notre Dame is located around 30 min by foot from the Porquerolles village. It is possible to reach the beach by bicycle, boat or on foot. From the village, several trails lead to the beach, and along the way, you’ll pass by some old forts that you can visit.
The best time to visit Notre Dame beach is during late spring when the surrounding trees are in full bloom. If possible, avoid August, the only month when the beach sees the crowds.
Porquerolles Island is one of the most beautiful French islands, part of the Hyères archipelago. It is possible to travel to Porquerolles Island by ferry from the harbors of Tour Fondue or Toulon.
And there you have it, the list of best beaches on the French Rivera. Which one tempts you most for your next beach holidays in Southern France?