French Riviera Beaches
The French Riviera beaches with its azure Mediterranean waters and cobalt blue skies, are perfect for romantic getaways.
The French Riviera beaches are within close distance to romantic seaside towns of the Mediterranean with a plethora of shops and restaurants set into picturesque buildings.
Despite the fact that some of the beaches consist of stones taking a swim in the azure Mediterranean waters is still very popular. Topless bathing is the norm, and although nude bathing is officially frowned upon, that doesn’t stop some brave souls from baring it all.
Stretching along the coast between Toulon and the Italian border there are hundreds of public and private beaches.
Below you will find our selection of secluded, romantic and popular and trendy beaches starting from the Italian border, Menton, Villeneuve Loubet, Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Iles de Lérins, Saint Tropez, Toulon, Bandol, La Ciolat, Cassis and Marseilles. Included also are some tips for romantic walks and getaways.
Menton lies on the French-Italian border, on the edge of a bay between Monaco and the Italian Riviera. This romantic port town and its almost as much Italian as it is French and has its own micro-climate, no mosquitoes and sunshine for 331 days of the year. The Riviera beaches are a great place to lounge and swim in the Mediterranean.
French Riviera beaches line the seaside on both sides of the town. The majority are to the west, towards Cap Martin. The handiest is probably the Plage des Sablettes at the feet of the old town [photos-11,12].
There are nearly a dozen private beaches in Menton, where you rent deck lounges and have bar service and a handy restaurant for lunch. In spite of the many private beach areas, there are many free beaches (such as the Plage des Sablettes), and the entire beach front along the water is open to public access.
Distances and nearby villages and towns: | Beaulieu-sur-Mer 20 km | Castellar 5 km | Eze 15 km | Gorbio 13 km | Monaco 9 km | Nice 27 km | Roquebrune-Cap-Martin 1.2 km | Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat 22 km | Sainte Agnès 12 km | Sospel 19 km | La Turbie 13 km | Villefranche-sur-Mer 23 km |
Villeneuve Loubet lies between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Antibes, at the mouth of the Loup River.
French Riviera beaches
Type: Pebbly beaches
A quiet, uncrowded beach even in the summer with a mixture of pebbles and sand. The reason it’s so quiet is the fact that it’s on the edge of a very busy main road.
Nice with wedding cake mansions, palaces and pastel pained concrete gateaux has diverse shopping, splendid dining and lovely art-deco facades. Everyone you meet will tell you what a nice time they are having and soon you too will be referring to all the nice things in Nice.
Nice French Riviera beaches
If you don't like sand between your toes you will like the smooth round pebble covered Nice beach. From Antibes-Juan-les-Pins to Cannes, the beaches are sand.
For romantic moments take a walk down the Promenade des Anglais at sunset, it's a famous street that travels along Nice's Mediterranean waterfront. Another great idea is taking a hike up to the waterfall by the Chateau and enjoying the splendid views or browsing the antique market or the flower market in Old Nice. For those into art and, a visit to the Musee Chagall and Musee Matisse are a definite must.
If you are thinking about stealing a few quiet moments head to lush greenery and elegant statuary of the Eze Garden. Le Jardin d'Eze is bit out of Nice, a garden of tropical plants on the crest of the hill that dominates Eze. It offers some amazing views of the Mediterranean.
Antibes is a beautiful town known for its great sandy Riviera beaches and hilly coastline located directly across Baie des Anges from Nice. You can relax on the French Riviera beach and visit the Picasso museum, there are many attractions, less crowds and an old city with narrow, winding streets and steps that lead up to the Chateau Grimaldi. In the evening, head to one of the many outdoor restaurants at the old port.
Cap d’Antibes -- The cap is one of the most exclusive parts of the Riviera and the beach is very pleasant although much of the beach is private there are still plenty of spots to find space, even in the season.
Juan les Pins, contiguous to Antibes, is known both for its nice sandy beach backed by pine trees that is not too crowded in the summer.
Nearby: | Biot 8 km | Cannes 10 km | Fréjus 53 km | Grasse 21 km | Mougins 12 km | Nice 25 km | Opio 20 km | Valbonne 14 km | Vence 20 km |
Cannes, synonymous with glitz and glamour, has sandy beaches most of which are sectioned off for guests of the hotels on Blvd de La Croisette.
Free public French Riviera beaches, Plage du Midi and Plage de la Bocca, stretch for several kilometers westward from the Vieux Port along Blvd Jean Hilbert and Blvd du Midi. Also worth a visit are the Riviera beaches on the two islands in the bay off the coast.
The best places for romantic walks are not far from the water. Stroll on the pine and palm shaded walkway along Blvd de la Croisette or in the winding narrow streets of Old Town.
Romantic Getaways from Cannes -- Iles de Lérins are fifteen minutes' ferry ride from Cannes.
Ste-Marguerite is large enough for couples to find seclusion by following the trails that lead away from the congested port, through the Aleppo pines and woods of evergreen oak that are so thick they cast a sepulchral gloom. The western end is the most accessible, but the lagoon here is brackish, so the best points to swim are the rocky inlets across the island from the port.
St-Honorat is the smaller southern island great for wandering through the pine forests on the island's western side and sunning on its beaches. Apart from a monastery, small restaurant near the landing stage, there are no bars, hotels or cars: just vines, lavender, herbs and olive trees mingled with wild poppies and daisies, and pine and eucalyptus trees shading the paths beside the white rock shore mixing with the scents of rosemary, thyme and wild honeysuckle.
In total there are approximately 40 different beaches scattered around the peninsula and within easy reach of Saint Tropez, with the most popular including Bonne Terrase, Bouillabaisse Beach (Plage de Bouillabaisse), Caneliers Beach (Plage de Caneliers), l'Escalet Beach, Salins Beach (Les Salins), Tahiti Beach (Plage de Tahiti) and also Les Graniers, close to the Citadel and the Port des Pêcheurs.
The main beaches of St Tropez are located on the Ramatuelle peninsular, a short drive out of town. Some of the best beaches in France are to be found on the stretch of coastline known as the Plage de Pampelonne. Over 40 private beach clubs rent sun loungers and serve food and drinks. The coastline east of Toulon, from Le Lavandou to Saint Tropez has many nudist beaches.
Saint Tropez French Riviera beaches
Plage de la Bouillabaisse, Plage des Graniers and Plage des Jumeaux, offer beach side playgrounds so the atmosphere is more family oriented.
French Riviera beach - La Bouillabaisse
Type: Sand - medium grain, coral/loam mix
Best for: Families with children -- offers beach side playgrounds
Location: Near town center -- Avenue du 15 Août 1944, Saint-Tropez 83990
La Residence de la Pinede in St Tropez occupies part of the beach of la Bouillabaisse, which it opens exclusively for the use of hotel guests.
French Riviera beach - Plage des Graniers
Type: Sand - medium grain, coral/loam mix
Best for: Families with children -- offers beach side playgrounds
Location: Close proximity from anywhere in the city Saint-Tropez, France 83990
French Riviera beach - Plage de l'Escalet
Type: nudist beach that is both private and secluded
Location: At Les Tournels on the St Tropez peninsula, midway between Cap Camarat and Cap Cartaya (southern side of Cap Camarat)
Access: With free access, this public beach is less crowded than the more trendy sun bathing sites.
French Riviera beach - Plage des Salins
Located outside Saint-Tropez about six miles away
French Riviera beach - Plage de la Briande
Best for: Couples -- one of the most secluded beaches a nice choice if you enjoy privacy.
French Riviera beach - Plage de la Moutte
Type: Nudist beach
Fairly untouched, this beach is as natural as they come for this French peninsula. Plage de la Moutte is extremely isolated and offers a nice beach experience.Location: The beach is located approximately three miles ( 4.5 km) from Saint-Tropez.
French Riviera beach - Plage de Pampelonne
Type: white sand
Best for: Loosing your self in the crowd or enjoying one of the many cafes
Location: about three miles from city center
French Riviera beach - Plage de Tahiti
For a magnificent sandy beach head about 4 km south east of the town. Plage de Tahiti and its continuation Plage de Pampelonne runs about 9 km between Camp du Pinet and the rocky Cap Camarat (on the south side of which is a secluded nudist beach).
Type: luxurious golden sand
Best for: Fashionable couples looking for cafés and trendy restaurants
Location: Pampelonne, North side, Saint-Tropez, France 83990
For a romantic walk take the Sentier Littoral (coastal path) which goes all the way from Saint Tropez south to the Beach Cavalaire along some 35 km of splendid rocky outcrops and hidden bays. This coastal walk allows a glimpse into the bays and rocky paths that accent the Saint-Tropez shoreline. Sentier du littoral, which is over 18 miles long, is a pleasant hike. The trip takes several hours by foot, but it is worth the time and effort. A bus that returns to the city is available when you get into Ramatuelle.
Private French Riviera Beaches:
There are dozens of private beaches all along the coast that charge about ten dollars a day for a spot with a lounger, parasol and insanely expensive drinks service. The best of the private beaches is the Nikki beach. It fills up fast and needs to be booked, sometimes weeks in advance.
Nikki Beach club
Honeymooners, movie-stars and millionaire movers ’n’ shakers alike mingle in slinky cocktail lounges – while the cream of the die-hard Saint Tropez party crop soaks each other with champagne at Nikki Beach club.
Location: Located on the bay of Pampelonne in the center of the Riviera
More French Riviera beaches and towns nearby: | Cannes 76 km | Cavalaire-sur-Mer 18 km | Cogolin 9 km | Draguignan 48 km | Fréjus 34 km | La Garde-Freinet 20 km | Grimaud 10 km | Le Lavandou 38 km | | Plan-de-la-Tour 23 km | Roquebrune-sur-Argens 40 km | Sainte Maxime 14 km | Toulon 71 km |
French Riviera beaches in Toulon
The town features several beaches just south of the Mourillon quarter. They were set up in the 1950's to develop tourism. More beautiful beaches may be found elsewhere on the coast. In any location, you should be prepared to crowd on the beach. The beaches of Toulon are associated to a park with entertainment for children of all ages. At the east of the town, the Cap Brun and Anse Magaud beaches are more isolated, far less crowded, but more difficult to reach (need to climb a little).
Bandol is a bit away from the crowds with its peaceful setting, picturesque marina and its famous rosé wine. It possesses three beaches; Plage de Casino (500m/550yd long, fine sand), Plage de Rènecros (500m/550yd long, fine sand) and Plage Dorée (also 500m/550yd, coarse sand and pebbles).
La Ciolat, with its pretty bays and cliffs is a romantic and quiet city mainly known for its thermal baths. Its approximately 13 miles from Marseille (20 min).
The numerous long French Riviera beaches (The coast of stretches over 19.5 km - 6 sandy and pebble beaches cover approximately 6 km ) the shore Green Island and the Park of Mugel make of La Ciotat a great romantic getaway.
La Ciotat has an artificial sand beach because geographically the city is itself rocky. La Grande Plage, boulevard Beaurivage, a gently sloping, sandy beach and the Capucins, Cyrnos and Lumière beaches.
Pebble beaches and creeks: The Mugel and Figuerolles creeks and the beaches of Saint-Jean, Fontsainte and Arène Cros.
Cassis is known for its cliffs dropping into the ocean and sheltered inlets, this charming port town is a great place to stop along France’s Mediterranean coast. An intimate resort town, Cassis has pastel colored buildings, scenic cliffs, a beautiful beach and excellent local wines that make this seaside town a must-see on the Cote d’Azur.
The fine sandy beach just outside the port, the Plage de la Grande mer. The French Riviera beaches Plage du Corton and Plage de l'Arène are on the coast just to the south of the village. Just west of the port are the La Plage du Bestouan and La Plage Bleue; in between are is the huge sloping stone shelf popular with nudists.
Nearby French Riviera beaches: | Aix-en-Provence 35 km (30 min) | Aubagne 12 km | Bandol 25 km | Calanques 1 km | La Ciotat 9 km | Marseille 22 km | Nice 185 km (1h45) | Toulon 42 km |
Marseilles offers visitors from the colorful and unique markets, scenic calanques (fjords), delicious seafood and busy shopping districts.
The small French Riviera beaches between La Pointe Rouge harbor and La Madrague harbor are cleaner, nicer and usually slightly less crowded. Escale Borely is a place with numerous restaurants and bars on the beach perfect to watch a romantic sunset.
Nearby: | Aix-en-Provence 31 km | Arles 90 km | Avignon 95 km | Calanques 10 km | Camargue 60 km | Cassis 22 km | Le Castellet 47 km | Martigues 35 km | Nice 189 km | Toulon 64 km |
Tips for romantic France vacations from an American who never forgot her roots even after living in France for 25 years. Diane and Jean-Pascal run a charming 17th century B&B, organize guided trips and help plan your trip. Ideas for honeymoons and romantic getaways in France, castles on the Loire, scenic sites to visit in Normandy...
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