Now that restrictions around the world are lifting, perhaps you’re beginning to think about your summer travels! If you’re looking for a quintessential French summer, you’ve come to the right place. Some of the most beautiful scenery in the country is found along these beaches, making it one of the most popular destinations to honeymoon in France or get away for a girls’ trip. There’s nothing quite like going for a dip in the cool Mediterranean and feeling the warm sun kiss your skin. Check out our top picks for the best beaches in the South of France to help you decide where to go. Grab your sunglasses and sandals and head to the shores.
Traveling France by train? No problem! Most of these beaches are accessible by the French rail system in case you don’t have a rental car.
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Best Beaches in the South of France
This picturesque island boasts crystal clear, turquoise waters akin to those of the Caribbean. There are a number of beaches here to enjoy. The beaches on the northern shores of the island have fine sand perfect for sunbathing, whereas the southern coast is perfect for the adventurous traveler, with plenty of hiking and climbing options along the steep cliffs.
Popular beaches here include Notre Dame, Plage de l’Argent, and La Courtade. At La Courtade, you’ll enjoy the aroma of the nearby eucalyptus trees, while Plage de l’Argent is a perfect beach for families to enjoy with many amenities.
From the coast of Hyères you can catch a ferry which brings you to the island.
Ferry tickets are about €20 (roundtrip), with routes from 7:30am until 6:30pm daily.
Plage des Sablettes, Menton
In the picture-perfect, Italian-influenced town of Menton, you’ll find Plage des Sablettes, one of the best beaches in the South of France. The beach is situated in the tourist neighborhood of Les Sablettes.
The beach, though not very wide, is over one kilometer long. There are plenty of amenities including cafes and restaurants, as well as companies providing a number of beach activities and water sports. You can enjoy scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, and more.
At the lifeguard station, you can rent special chairs for people with mobile limitations, making it a truly accessible beach for all to enjoy.
In the evenings, the neighborhood comes alive with different events. Depending on the day and time of summer, you can enjoy night markets, concerts, fireworks, and other exciting performances.
Visiting Plage des Sablettes is definitely one of the best things to do in Menton.
Calanque D’En Vau, Cassis
Though this hidden gem is slowly starting to gain traction with the tourist crowd, it still maintains a bit of anonymity. A tiny cove that is nestled between two grand limestone cliffs, Calanque D’En Vau takes a bit of work to reach. It takes just over 1 hour and 30 minutes to hike to the beach along a path, so you need to be prepared with proper footwear and enough water to stay hydrated.
But the brilliant turquoise waters and soft sand are a lovely reward for your efforts.
If you’re not up for the hike but are still in the mood for activity, you can kayak from Cassis! This route takes about an hour.
For a bit of Catalan influence, head to Pyrénées-Orientales on the border of France and Spain. There are a few beaches here including Argelès Beach, which has an awesome seaside promenade complete with cafes, restaurants, shops, and bike rentals. Côte Vermeille is another popular beach in the area that sees fewer tourists if you want a little more peace, quiet, and space for yourself.
The area boasts gorgeous views of the Pyrenees mountain range, fantastic snorkeling opportunities, and even a 19th century castle in case you get tired of the beach.
Plage de la Paloma, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Paloma Beach was actually named after Pablo Picasso’s daughter, as it was one of his favorite beaches. Obviously, you can see how it gained a spot on this list of the best beaches in the south of France.
Plage de la Paloma is a little more posh than some of the other beaches on this list. Many celebs, influencers, and other A-listers love to spend summers here. There are really nice changing facilities, sunbeds available to rent, watersports, and more. Half of the beach is private, half is public.
You can enjoy gorgeous views of Eze’s beautiful coast as well as the rock of Monaco. Not to mention the megayachts that serve as the perfect backdrop as they pass.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of cash with you!
Valras Plage, Languedoc
Valras Plage is one of the most beautiful beaches in the south of France. Ideal for a seaside break in Europe, Valras Plage is located in the Languedoc region of France.
This sprawling expanse of sand is perfect for working on your tan, taking a walk along the shore, or taking a dip in the cool, clear water.
There are plenty of amenities, including changing facilities, restaurants, shops, and more.
This is definitely one of the more popular options on our list, so you can expect big crowds during the summer months. Thankfully it’s also one of the largest beaches on our list, so there’s plenty of sand and sea for all to enjoy.
There are a lot of family-friendly activities to enjoy nearby as well. There are annual fairs and theme parks that the little ones will adore.
Seafood lovers rejoice in the fresh catches of the local fishermen.
Plage de Sylvabelle, La Croix Valmer
Sylvabelle Beach boasts gorgeous white sands and crystal clear waters, making it one of the best beaches in the south of France. People with mobility issues might not be able to navigate the rocky stairs that are required to reach the beach, however.
This is more of a natural, wild beach with few to no amenities. Be sure to bring a towel or blanket, food and water, and anything else you anticipate needing on your beach day since you won’t be able to purchase anything here.
Plage des Marinières, Villefranche-sur-Mer
In the sleepy seaside town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is the popular Plage des Marinières. An easy day trip from Nice, Mariners Beach is popular with visitors from all over the French Riviera.
The shallow waters mean that taking a dip here is a little warmer than in some other beaches, but still cool enough to refresh you from the hot summer sun. The water is perfect for snorkeling, given its impressive clarity.
Enjoy an ice cream or some fresh seafood at one of the many bars and restaurants that line the beach.
For more to do beyond the sandy shore, check out Villefranche-sur-Mer’s Old Town. It’s been used in a few movies as a filming location, so it may look familiar!
Baie de Paulilles, Port-Vendres
This hidden cove is free from the throngs of tourists that visit some of the other destinations on this list, making it one of the best beaches in the south of France for those who are looking for something a bit more secluded. It offers a stunning view over the Albères, so be sure to bring your camera!
This area is highly protected and boasts a lot of marine biodiversity. That fact, coupled with the astounding clarity of the water, means it’s an ideal spot to go snorkeling!
To get to the bay, you’ll have to park your car at Bernardi Beach and then walk along the path to Cape Bear.
Plage de L’Almanarre, Provence
Plage de L’Almanarre is the perfect spot for travelers who love water sports. The winds here make ideal kite surfing and boarding conditions. There are many annual competitions as well. In case you don’t feel like participating, you will have something fun to watch.
The beach stretches over four kilometers of sandy shore perfect for sunbathing or making sand castles.
There are a number of shops that rent equipment necessary for surfing, diving, and more.
Right behind the main beach are some salt marshes that are home to a few flamingo colonies!
Plage de Portissol, Sanary-sur-Mer
Portissol Beach at Sanary-sur-Mer is a gorgeous bay just west of Toulon. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the south of France, easily reachable from different cities on the French Riviera.
The epitome of coastal living in France, Sanary-sur-Mer is a lovely town filled with tiny fishing boats and delicious, fresh seafood restaurants.
The beach itself is home to posidonia, a type of seagrass, that gives a natural, wild vibe. Plage de Portissol actually has a diving board as well! The board plunges you straight into the deepest point of the water. There are showers available to rinse off after a swim.
Point Zéro Beach, La Grande-Motte
La Grande-Motte is best known for its stunning modern architecture and unique pyramid hotels, but they also have a pretty nice beach. Plage Point Zéro boasts incredibly soft, white sand and pale turquoise waters.
It’s a great beach to take young and old alike, and there are plenty of amenities to provide any and all things you may need during your beach day. If watersports are your thing, you won’t be disappointed at Plage Point Zéro. La Grande-Motte in general has built itself quite a reputation for being a haven for water sports lovers.
Plage de la Salis, Antibes
Plage de la Salis in Antibes is a popular seaside resort due in part to the fact that it’s home to one of the most luxurious hotels in Europe – the Hotel du Cap. Don’t let the fancy hotel fool you, however. Plage de la Salis is accessible for all, even if you aren’t a celeb or influencer. In fact, you don’t need to be a hotel guest to enjoy this beautiful beach.
The swimming conditions at Plage de la Salis are near perfect, which is part of the reason for its popularity. That being said, you can expect pretty sizable crowds during the summer months. The breakwaters at the beach create gentle swimming conditions that are suitable for families with small children. The picturesque view of the lighthouse is another reason it makes the cut on this list of the best beaches in the south of France.
Plage de l’Espiguette, Gard
Plage de l’Espiguette is a unique beach in the south of France. Its rolling sand dunes, abundant beach grass, and large sand banks are attributed to the local wind conditions. That being said, it’s a great spot for wind-related water sports such as kitesurfing or windsurfing.
If water sports aren’t your thing, you can head out to the small sand bar during low tide to explore. There are also paddleboards available to rent at a small shop, as well as horseback riding.
There are a couple of beachside restaurants where you can rent sunbeds or hop in for a snack or something to drink.
In case you need a break from the sun, there’s an aquarium nearby that the kids will love.
Antibes itself is also worth a visit!