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Experience the ultimate coastal paradise with our selection of the best beaches in South of France. Sun-kissed bliss awaits you.
Welcome to our exploration of the best beaches in South of France, known as the French Riviera. This captivating stretch of coastline has a rich history and continues to attract travelers in search of beauty, culture, and relaxation. The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, has always exuded an air of glamor and sophistication, full of breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and a vibrant arts scene. From the well-known resort towns to hidden gems nestled in scenic coves, the French Riviera beaches offer a delightful blend of coastal treasures. Join us as we explore the lesser-known corners and intriguing aspects of this iconic region.
How This Region Became Home to the Best Beaches in South of France
The French Riviera’s journey to becoming a coveted destination is a tale woven with historical, cultural, and natural threads.
Once a tranquil region of fishing villages and agricultural land, its transformation began in the 19th century when wealthy British and European aristocrats discovered its pristine coastline and mild Mediterranean climate. The construction of the railway in the late 19th century further opened up the region to tourism, attracting a wave of artists, writers, and socialites who were drawn to the region’s natural beauty and vibrant cultural scene.
In the early 20th century, the French Riviera became synonymous with luxury and glamor, thanks to the patronage of iconic figures such as Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Pablo Picasso. The rise of prestigious resorts like Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez further enhanced its reputation as a playground for the elite.
Today, the French Riviera beaches continue to enchant visitors with their azure waters, golden sands, and picturesque coastal towns. Its allure lies not only in its gorgeous landscapes but also in its rich history, cultural heritage, and glamorous lifestyle.
If you are contemplating a journey to this exquisite region, delve into our selection of beaches below, and uncover the perfect coastal haven that resonates with your taste.
Where is it: Saint-Tropez
What is it: Pampelonne Beach is undoubtedly the most famous and luxurious beach in Saint-Tropez, where celebrities and athletes love to lounge under the shade of their umbrellas. It’s also the longest beach in Saint-Tropez, stretching over 5 km of soft white sand and crystal-clear water. During summer, it’s packed with people, perfect if you’re sociable or just love to people-watch.
If you’re looking for the epitome of upscale indulgence at Pampelonne Beach, head to one of the beach clubs to rent a sun lounger, sip on a refreshing cocktail, or indulge in some gourmet cuisine. One such place is Le Club 55. Established in 1955, this legendary beach club has been a favorite spot for celebrities, jet-setters, and locals alike. In fact, Brigitte Bardot herself has graced the shores of Le Club 55. It’s a chill spot with rustic decor and a bohemian vibe that’s perfect for unwinding and sipping on some vino.
And the food? Magnifique! The menu features a variety of fresh seafood, salads, and Provençal specialties, all perfectly paired with a selection of wines from the Côtes de Provence. Don’t miss the mouthwatering appetizers like tuna carpaccio, breaded calamari, and Beluga caviar. For heartier entrees, try the beef filet, roasted chicken, or pasta dishes. Reservations for tables and beach beds are highly recommended and can be made up to two months in advance.
How to get there: You can reach Pampelonne Beach by car or taxi, and there is also a bus that runs from the center of Saint-Tropez to the beach during the summer months.
Where is it: Saint-Tropez
What is it: Experience the pinnacle of sophistication at Byblos Beach, the perfect extension of the renowned Byblos Hotel. A 10-minute drive from the famous Place des Lices square, this beach provides a casual yet chic atmosphere where lounge music brings this intimate and elegant space to life.
The contemporary marine-inspired decor at Byblos Beach is breathtaking, and its shaded terraces are reminiscent of majestic boat sails. Locally sourced, fresh, and seasonal ingredients take center stage, where skilled chefs transform them into light and refined creations infused with the vibrant flavors of the region. You’ll be tantalized by sun-drenched fruits and vegetables, fresh catch of the day, and off-season specials like the Pugliese Burrata with butternut and hazelnuts, or the tuna steak with bell pepper tian and Asian ketchup.
With 120 seats, guests can dine under the shade of the sail-like canopies, while gourmets can also indulge in delicious meals on one of the 110 sunbeds available on the beach. You’ll relax in style on large sunbeds with rope umbrellas, surrounded by a luxurious hut-like atmosphere.
Byblos Beach is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and until 9 p.m. in July and August.
How to get there: Simply make your way to the heart of Saint-Tropez and head towards the Place des Lices. The beach club is just a short walk away from this famous square. If you’re coming from a little further afield, you can easily reach Saint-Tropez by car or taxi.
Where is it: Saint-Tropez
What is it: Jardin Tropézina is the newest hot spot in Saint-Tropez, located on the north end of Pampelonne Beach overlooking the stunning Pampelonne Bay. Designed as a serene beachside garden, this oasis provides a delightful setting for a tranquil and convivial break. Situated near the renowned Château de la Méssardière hotel, Jardin Tropézina welcomes you with its inviting atmosphere, characterized by pastel hues and an abundance of wooden accents. Prepare to be embraced by a warm ambiance and experience a sense of belonging from the moment you arrive.
Indulge in fresh, glistening seafood and magnums of pale-pink Château d’Estoublon Rosé as you soak up the sun on the golden sand and take in the breathtaking views of the bay. With convenient access to nearby Airelles hotels through charming electric Mini-Mokes or luxurious Rolls Royce vehicles, the experience at Jardin Tropézina is synonymous with sophistication and elegance.
The place is open for visitors throughout the year during the day, and from mid-June until the end of August, it extends its hours into the evening.
How to get there: Jardin Tropézina is easily accessible by car or taxi and is just minutes away from the Château de la Méssardière.
Plage Des Catalans
Where is it: Marseille
What is it: Marseille’s Plage des Catalans is a natural gem located in the Tyrrhenian Sea that should not be missed. The beach is famous for its fine sand and proximity to the city center, attracting many travelers who seek delightful attractions and activities.
Named after a group of Catalan fishermen who settled in a disused infirmary in the 19th century, Plage des Catalans is now open to the public for free since 2001. Its location overlooking the Frioul Archipelago Island offers enchanting views that make it a seducing destination.
The beach offers a variety of dining options, with numerous restaurants and cafes available. Additionally, during the summer season, you can enjoy the added convenience of a free beach library. Aside from lounging on the sand and taking a dip in the sea, Plage Des Catalans also offers beach volleyball, making it a great place to get active and socialize. While it may not be the most tranquil spot due to the noisy crowds of children, teenagers, and tourists, it’s always buzzing with energy and activity. Plage des Catalans is open from April to October from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and from November to March from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
How to get there: The beach is super accessible and is located just a short walk from the center from the Old Port. You can also reach the beach by public transportation – simply take the metro to the Vieux-Port station and then walk for about 10 minutes to reach the beach. If you’re driving, there is a parking lot located near the beach where you can park your car for the day.
Calanque de Port Pin
Where is it: Marseille
What is it: The Calanque de Port Pin, situated in the Vaufrèges district of Marseille in Southern France, is a picturesque haven known for its one-of-a-kind natural beauty. Located within the Calanques National Park, it is undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in Cassis near Marseille, offering breathtaking views that have captivated countless photographers.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find delight in Calanque de Port Pin, named after the abundant Aleppo pine trees surrounding the area. The trail leading to the cove is short and narrow, making it easily accessible for individuals of all ages. Alternatively, you can rent kayaks or canoes in Cassis to explore the site from the water. The tranquil waters of the small beach at Calanque de Port Pin are perfect for swimming and diving. Nearby, the Caucau peak is home to Neptune’s Nostril, a small hole above a sunken cave known for its unique sound resembling a breath.
Just be careful on those slippery pebbles. Speaking of safety, there’s no lifeguard on duty at this beach, so parents keep an eye on those kiddos. But don’t worry, with scenery this stunning, you’ll have no trouble keeping them entertained and the calanque is open to visitors all year round.
How to get there: You can reach the picturesque Port-Pin calanque from Cassis in approximately 45 minutes on foot. Alternatively, you can take the shuttle that runs between Cassis and Port-Miou calanque and then walk to Port-Pin.
Where is it: Marseille
What is it: Plage Bonneveine, also known as Gaston Deferre Beach, is a fantastic addition to the so-called Prado Beaches in Marseille and is among the best beaches in southern France. These beaches were built back in the ’70s for city slickers who needed a quick escape to the Mediterranean, and they hit the jackpot with this one!
With its curving shape and palm tree-lined promenade, Plage Bonneveine is a classic conch-shell of a beach that’s perfect for laying out your towel and catching some rays. And when you’re ready to cool off, just take a dip in the inviting blue waters of the Med.
Plage Bonneveine is also home to some awesome watersports outfitters that can hook you up with everything from kayaks to boats, so you can explore the rest of the Prado strand in style. And if you’re looking for some family-friendly fun, you’re in luck – the beach often hosts live entertainment in the evenings, and the sand is just begging to be sculpted into a sandcastle masterpiece.
And let’s not forget about the food! The kiosks at Plage Bonneveine serve up some seriously delectable churros, ice creams, and crepes, and there are plenty of restaurants nearby that are open all day long. Just make sure to bring an umbrella or rent one, because shade is hard to come by on this sunny slice of heaven.
While Plage Bonneveine is generally safe for swimming in the summer months when lifeguards are on duty, it’s always a good idea for parents to keep a watchful eye on their little ones when they’re playing in the waves. This beach is popular for a reason, so be prepared for crowds, especially during peak season.
How to get there: To reach this beach, visitors can take the metro to Ront Point du Prado and then either walk for 15 minutes or take a bus to the sea. The beach is located at the end of the wide Avenue Bonneveine, which takes about 20 minutes by car from the Vieux Port district in the old city.
Nikki Beach Monte-Carlo
Where is it: Monte-Carlo
What is it: Step into the world of Nikki Beach Monte-Carlo and you’ll be greeted with white and gold decor, lavish day beds, and signature pool parties that will take your breath away. This must-visit destination offers the perfect blend of relaxation and excitement that is sure to appeal to all kinds of visitors.
With a VIP section that caters to the most discerning of guests, Nikki Beach Monte-Carlo offers the ultimate luxury beach experience. Rub shoulders with the stars and indulge in the exclusive amenities that are available only to the VIPs.
During the summer months, Nikki Beach Monte-Carlo has a range of events that add to its already bustling atmosphere. From fashion shows and live music performances to themed parties that will keep you grooving all night long, there’s always something happening at Nikki Beach Monte-Carlo.
Nikki Beach is open daily between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., only during the summer months (April 4 – September 29).
How to get there: The easiest way to get to Nikki Beach Monte-Carlo is by car or taxi. From the airport, it’s a 30-minute drive to Monte Carlo. The Fairmont Monte Carlo hotel is located on Avenue des Spélugues, which is easily accessible by car. If you’re already in Monte Carlo, you can also take a leisurely walk from the city center to the beach club. The walk takes approximately 10-15 minutes.
Where is it: Eze
What is it: Eze shines as a top destination on the Cote d’Azur, with Anjuna Beach standing out as its crown jewel. Picture yourself lounging in the sun, umbrella by your side, while sipping on something fruity and listening to the waves. Want to kick it up a notch? Rent a boat, jet ski, or stand-up paddleboard, or be the envy of the beach on a flamingo floatie! Soak up the sun, take in the views, and enjoy a day of pure fun and relaxation.
Now, let’s talk about Anjuna Beach’s namesake restaurant and bar. While it’s a popular after-party spot for the F1 crowd following the annual Monaco Grand Prix, the beach club and restaurant are worth checking out even when the jet set is elsewhere. The lively atmosphere is infused with Copacabana meets Mediterranean nautical chic vibes, complete with a multicolored bar and tables made from recycled wood from Indian Ocean fishermen’s boats. And don’t even get us started on the food. The menu features mouth-watering local fare, including the Caesar salad, seasonal seafood, and truffle burger.
Weekends at Anjuna Beach get wild with beach parties and DJs, so make sure to reserve a spot in advance. The beach is open from April to early September, and it’s advisable to wear good walking shoes since the beach is rocky.
How to get there: If you’re driving, there is free parking available at the train station, but it can be limited. If you prefer public transportation, both the bus and train stops are just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. Just make sure to head to Eze sur Mer if you’re taking public transportation, as the walk from Eze village is about 45 minutes. There is also a helicopter landing pad nearby for those who prefer a more luxurious and scenic mode of transportation.
Where is it: Cap-Ferrat
What is it: Located in the heart of the exclusive St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, La Paloma Beach has an irresistible charm that attracts VIP guests year after year. The club offers breathtaking views of Plage de la Paloma, a pebbled cove surrounded by fragrant pine trees that protect sun-kissed bodies from the Mistral wind. This spot has captivated artists like Picasso and Matisse, fashion icons like Coco Chanel, as well as Hollywood A-listers like Elton John and Tom Cruise.
Paloma Beach Restaurant is a charming beachside restaurant known for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine and beautiful sea views. The restaurant is situated on a small pebble beach, surrounded by lush vegetation and crystal-clear waters. The menu features a variety of fresh seafood, grilled meats, and local specialties, all prepared with the finest ingredients and served in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant has been a favorite among locals and tourists for over 60 years and has been visited by numerous celebrities over the years. It has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, including “And God Created Woman,” starring Brigitte Bardot.
To fully enjoy your time at the beach, it’s a good idea to bring water shoes as the beach is made up of fine pebbles that can get quite hot in the summer. An ideal destination for the summer months, the place is open every day from May through the end of September during the high season.
How to get there: The beach is located about a 20-minute drive from Nice and about a 15-minute drive from Monaco. However, street parking can be limited. Another option is to take a bus from Nice to the port of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and walk along the scenic path for about 10 minutes to reach the beach club. While the bus ride takes approximately an hour, the picturesque views along the way make the journey worthwhile.
Where is it: Cap-D’ail
What is it: The stunning and secluded Mala Beach at Cap d’Ail, just a little further up the coast and around the bay from Monaco, is renowned for its natural unspoiled beauty and exclusive boutique atmosphere. It has been voted the best beach on the Cote d’Azur numerous times, earning it a reputation as a hidden gem of the Riviera. Alongside the public area, there are two exclusive private beach clubs – Eden and La Reserve – both gorgeous and expensive, but this is the South of France after all.
La Reserve is a luxury beach club with breathtaking views of Plage Mala. It provides high-quality service, creative and delicious cuisine, and premium cocktails that both movie stars and locals enjoy. Sipping on a glass of rosé while lounging on fresh white chairs is what dreams are made of. It’s undeniably one of the most beautiful beach clubs on the French Riviera.
Eden Plage offers a warm paradise under the Mediterranean sun, with two exclusive routes to the coveted Mala Beach – a boat taxi or a picturesque pathway. This hidden gem is tucked away on Plage Mala and plays live music until early evening.
The beach is open from April to October, which is when the weather is warmer. It tends to get pretty crowded during the summer months, so it’s best to plan your visit during the week or later in the day to avoid the crowds.
How to get there: To reach La Mala, be prepared for a little bit of a trek down a steep hill and a few sets of stairs. If you’re arriving by car, take the Roquebrune Cap Martin exit from the A8 motorway, or opt for the scenic route by taking the Moyenne or Basse corniche to Cap d’Ail. For those coming by bus, the bus from Nice to Menton makes a stop in the center of Cap d’Ail. And if you’re taking the train, simply board a train heading towards Monaco from the central station in Nice and get off at Cap d’Ail. From there, it’s just a lovely 10-minute walk to the beach.
Where is it: Cannes
What is it: Imagine if paradise were just off the coast of Cannes – that’s exactly where you’ll find La Guérite on Ile Sainte Marguerite. This exclusive hotspot is a cult favorite with the yacht set and international glitterati, drawn to its blissed-out vibe and exquisite Mediterranean views. As you make your VIP entrance via tender, keep your eyes peeled for celebrities and Hollywood sweethearts soaking up the luxury lifestyle. Relax on a beach bed while sipping a cocktail or a glass of local wine and let the sound of guitars from the live musicians transport you to a state of pure bliss.
The food is a major draw too. Fresh and refined French and Greek gastronomy is on the menu, featuring delicacies such as bouillabaisse, octopus carpaccio, and grilled lobster. The restaurant is open every day of the week during the high season (April to October). Come for the beach, stay for the food, and leave with memories that will last a lifetime.
How to get there: To get to the beach club, you can only arrive by boat – it’s that exclusive! The best way to get there is to rent a boat with a skipper. If you’re not up for driving your own boat, you can also take the ferry from the end of the harbor in Cannes. Just ask at the tourist office and they can even sell you tickets.
Captivated by the Best Beaches in South of France? Remember, Style Takes the Lead!
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Don’t Just Stop Here – Explore More in Cannes and Nice
The French Riviera is an enchanting destination with the best beaches in South of France that leave you yearning for more. Delve into our exclusive guides to the best beaches in Cannes and the glamorous shores of Nice. Immerse yourself in the distinctive allure and awe-inspiring beauty of these iconic coastal destinations, from the vibrant Promenade des Anglais in Nice to the renowned Croisette in Cannes. Whether you seek tranquility, cultural encounters, or culinary delights, our comprehensive guides have you covered.