Best French Beach Towns

Inspiration

Northern FranceCôte d'Azur - French RivieraWell-beingNature and Outdoor ActivitiesCoastalCouples

A Hyères, sur la plage des Pesquiers.
© Lido Beach - A Hyères, sur la plage des Pesquiers.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 12 July 2023, updated on 24 April 2024

If you crave ample doses of Vitamin Sea, some tranquility and a connect with the great outdoors, then we have just the thing (rather 6 things!) for you. Here’s presenting 6 best French beach towns that go beyond the Riviera and other glamourous seaside resorts. Here you’ll be able to soak up the sun, enjoy some watersports and just the right amount of local crowd! Packing your bags, already?

Golf de Morbihan

The first on our list of the best beaches in France is the Gulf of Morbihan located in Southern Brittany. Made up of a collection of islands, this popular French beach town is a nature lover’s delight and a photographer’s paradise. Your cameras just won’t stop taking in the riot of vibrant blues and greens and the nature enthusiast in you will love taking off on walks, cycling or even mountain biking around the Ile aux Moines or the Ile d’Arz. There’s a whole variety of adventurous watersports in Keragon Bay and visits to oyster farms, bird reserves and bike rides along salt marshes that make for an unforgettable holiday in this paradise!

Le Touquet Paris Plage

If you are looking for a quiet beach not too far from Paris, then we suggest the elegant Le Touquet Paris Plage, also one of the best beaches in France, located in Northern France and a must-visit spot on the stunning Opal Coast. Your options once here are numerous… set off on a discovery of the fascinating architecture of this town, pamper yourself with a soothing thalassotherapy session or succumb to the call of adventure and try sand yachting or cycling your way through a nature park replete with dunes, beachgrass and a pine forest! Oh, and did we mention that President Macron also has his summer house here?

Etretat

Located along the Alabaster Coast in Normandy, and arguably one of the best beach towns in France, Etretat is sure to charm you as it did Monet and other artists. Etretat’s showstopper is its majestic cliffs that take dramatic formations such as a needle or an elephant dipping its head in water. If you are a golfer, you’ll love its golf course located at 50 meters above the sea-level with exceptional views. And if you are a surfer, you are sure to hit the waves from its pebble beach!

Ile de Ré

Known as the “White Island” by the locals, Ile de Re, also one of the best beaches in France, is nestled on the west coast and is a cycler’s paradise. You have a choice of 10 small villages to visit but we recommend a pit stop at its main village, Saint Martin de Ré. You’ll have an up close and personal encounter with its 17th century fortifications; its port is ideal for leisurely walks and there’s also a museum that details the history of the island. If swimming is on your mind, then the islands of La Flotte, Arse en Re, Rivedoux Plage and others offer you their beaches. Did you know that the Ile de Ré is also home to vineyards? Do not forget to try its local wine – the pinneau usually served as an aperitif.

Porquerolles

The South of France lures you with some of the best beaches in France and of course we don’t mean the Riviera! Let’s take you to the Porquerolles located in the Var in Provence and a ferry ride away from the town of Hyères. Part of the 3 Iles d’Or (Golden Islands), Porquerolles is the biggest and also the most popular. This car-free island is also a National Park and is ideal for hikers. If you aren’t’ a hiker, then there’s always diving, snorkeling, sailing and paddling possible. If you aren’t into adventure at all, then there’s 5 beaches on the island and the Fort Agathe that are worth exploring.

Palavas Les Flots - Montpellier

Head Southwest to discover one more of the best beaches in France. A 15-minute bus ride from the student town of Montpellier, will take you to the charming sea side resort of Palavas Les Flots. Ideal for some R&R, discover its sandy beaches, its marina or simply amble along its canal bordered by picturesque houses. Its main tourist attraction is the futuristic Phare de la Mediteranee that offers panoramic views of the Palavas and the surrounding scenic countryside. There’s also the Levant Park that provides a real connect with nature with its waterfall and lake, home to ducks and swans.

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