As our selection of France's top beaches shows, the most beautiful beaches do not always have to be on the Riviera. The Côte d'Azur certainly hosts treasures, but other regions also have plenty to enchant visitors. Whether you’re looking for picturesque promenades, family-friendly stretches of sand or secluded, natural bays, the French coastline will captivate you with its diverse seaside resorts. Here is the ultimate list of the best beaches in France, ready for your next beach holiday!
The Conche des Baleines beach, at the far end of the island Île de Ré, opens up directly behind the Lizay forest. The easiest way to explore the beach and its surroundings is by bike. Make sure you bring your swimming costume - the still turquoise waters are perfect for a swim. At the right time of year, the wind makes it the perfect place for windsurfing too.
In the south of Corsica, the dream beach of Roccapina is framed by a rocky bay. Azure water and white sand are framed by picturesque rocks. It's not the easiest beach to access – from the village you have to walk down a dirt road – but it's well worth the effort.
The small village of Étretat on France's northern coast is perched on unique and truly spectacular limestone cliffs. The backdrop of Normandy is extraordinary and provides you with a special kind of beach holiday. Underneath the huge cliffs, a comfortable stretch of beach runs in front of emerald-green waters which gently sweep ashore. During the summer months, the beach provides refreshing bathing in the English Channel. In the village you will find all amenities including accommodation and restaurants.
Porquerolles is the largest island of the Hyères archipelago in southern France and can be reached by a short ferry ride from the Côte d'Azur. Notre-Dame Beach, in the north-eastern part of the island, stretches along a sweeping bay. In the hinterland pine trees, wild herbs and gnarled eucalyptus trees create a magical setting. The beach is an ideal destination for the whole family and offers activities such as swimming, diving and boat tours.
The beach of Palombaggia in the south of Corsica is often listed among the ten best beaches in Europe. Its Caribbean ambience gives the beach a special charm. To get to the beach, you have to take a path that branches off the island's circuit. It leads down a few hundred metres through pine forests and rewards you with a stunning sight. A white sandy beach and the crystal-clear sea form a small bay which ends by protruding into the sea as a bizarre rock formation. The broad, naturally shaped treetops remind you that you have arrived in paradise.
Not far from Hyères is the 5km long beach of Almanarre on the strip-shaped peninsula of Giens. The wide, sandy beach is ideal for sports such as badminton or beach volleyball and comes to life right on cue. The stretch of coast attracts many water sports enthusiasts and facilities include paragliding, water skiing, diving and kitesurfing. Due to its size, the beach also offers plenty of space where you can retreat for peace and quiet. The charming landscape consists of rough cliffs in the south and offers a beautiful, natural outlook.
The extremely wide coast of Espiguette with its vast sand dunes, marshes and lagoons seems to resemble a shoreline along the Sahara. Signs of civilisation almost disappear along the endless beach. The yellow sand and the often rough sea create a distinctive picture of an unspoiled state. Like a deserted island, the scenery promises freedom and joy. Yet there’s no need to feel like Robinson Crusoe, because the best French food and refreshing drinks are easy to find nearby, served by the restaurant Les Pieds Nus.
This hidden cove may be discovered by chance as you walk the hiking path around Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Nestled between stony terraces lined with poplars and craggy rocks, you’ll find this cosy beach. The blue sea invites you to dive in and relax in the calm waters. Take a break and recharge while enjoying culinary delights in Paloma’s first-class restaurants.
In the far south-west of France lies a local beach in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The Basque coast on the Atlantic washes in gentle waves, while stone dams around the area hold back the wild sea and strong winds. Separated from the innumerable hotels, restaurants and bars by an inviting promenade. As a popular bathing establishment, the beach maintains a lifeguard post and various facilities during the summer.
Well shielded from the Atlantic, this small bay welcomes you to the Armorica National Park in Brittany. The homely atmosphere is characterised by colourful country cottages, forest-clad cliffs and a wide, white sandy beach. In the nautical centre next to the water you can enjoy sailing lessons or rent equipment for kayaking and canoeing. The adjacent village has excellent hotels, restaurants and bars to keep you well-fueled and well-rested for enjoyable beach days.