Shhhh! These are the best-kept secret beaches on the Côte d'Azur...

On the Côte d'Azur, it's sometimes enough to follow a coast path for a few hundred meters or to take a flight of hidden steps to discover a little-used cove, bathed in turquoise water. From Embiez to Roquebrune Saint-Martin, here are our favorite beaches to spread our towels on a strip of sand or pebbles, hidden well away from the world.

Silver frame in Le Lavandou

Fragrant pines hosting singing cicadas, sparkling white sand strewn with rocks, the sea beyond all with every shade of blue: at the foot of the wild Massif de Maures, Jean Blanc Beach is the quintessence of the Mediterranean rocky inlet. Reachable from the coast path between Le Lavandou and Cavalière, it holds another gem: the wild cove of the Elephant, bathed in emerald-green waters and hidden behind a rocky outcrop.
Le Lavandou (External link)

In the pine forest of Bormes-les-Mimosas

Pellegrin beach draws its appeal from the green ocean of pines bordering its shore. Trees cast their loving shade on this long strip of sand, dotted with wooden fences that evoke the Atlantic coast. But no, we are on the Côte d'Azur, with the island of Porquerolles standing out on the horizon. To stretch your legs, take the coastal path to Fort Brégançon (one-and-a-half-hour-walk), the official holiday resort of the President of the French Republic.
Bormes-Les-Mimosas (External link)

Natural bubble in Ramatuelle

Between Cape Taillat and Cape Camarat, Escalet Beach is surrounded by claws of granite and shale. This is the same the peninsula as Saint-Tropez, near the festive and mythical Pampelonne Beach. However, Escalet is mercifully tranquil. The stone lace, also underwater, attracts many fish, providing an opportunity to snorkel in the depths before lying down on a beach towel wrapped in the sweet aroma of the surrounding scrubland.
Ramatuelle (External link)

The flamboyance of the Esterel

The red rocks carved by the wind off the Esterel massif hurtle down to the sea to meet shades of emerald and azure—this is the spectacular decor of the Corniche d'Or between Saint-Raphaël and Théoule-sur-Mer. A few beaches cut the rock further down the road. A staircase leads to the creek of Ile des Vieilles, a narrow strip of ocher pebbles between Agay and Anthéor. Its name comes from the schools of fish that float around the red earth, called vieilles (wrass).
Estérel (External link)

Return to nature on Sainte-Marguerite Island

Twenty minutes from port of Cannes lies Sainte-Marguerite Island, a dense bouquet of stone pines and eucalyptus. On the south-east coast, facing the sea and Saint-Honorat Island, Pierres-Hautes Beach invites you to relax. Its long limestone slabs raised above the water and out of sight are popular with naturists. After swimming, visit the royal Fort of Vauban, on the steep coast north of the island. When it was a prison, it was home to the "Man in the Iron Mask."
Sainte-Marguerite Island (External link)

The well-kept secret of Cap-Martin

A long flight of steps leads to Buse Beach, only known to residents and regulars of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Yet it is a stage in the district of Cabbé, one of the most beautiful coastal paths in the region. Did its big white pebbles inspire Le Corbusier, who built his famous Cabanon on the heights, or Eileen Gray, who designed the iconic E1027 villa nearby? The park of the old residence of an Italian actress spreads out along almost the entire length of the beach, distilling shade and cool air.
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin (External link)

For more information:
• Plan your trip to the Côte d’Azur (External link)
• Also read: Four fabulous beachside hotels on the Côte d'Azur