a child I spent almost all my summers scouting the French countryside, but my
favourite summers by far involved running around on the sandy beaches of
southern France. The French Riviera is an incredibly popular destination,
especially during summertime, so I’ve gone through some of my all-time
favourite beaches, to help you choose where to lay down your towel this summer.
Plage des Salins
you think of Saint-Tropez, you might picture the three-mile-long sands at
Pampelonne, the area’s most famous, and longest, beach. Having attracted the
uber-chic holiday crowd of the 1960s, Saint-Tropez is still popular with
creatives and the yacht-owning elite today. While Pampelonne is beautiful, you
don’t have to travel far to find a beach of equal beauty, with significantly
fewer people. Plage des Salins features gorgeous white sands, which stretch out
for around 600 metres, and is lined with pine trees. There’s even a fantastic private beach restaurant! To get there, you
can follow the Route des Salins, which will take you to the restaurant’s free
parking, and from there you can walk around the corner to reach the southern
end of the beach.
favourite of many for a bit of celebrity spotting, Paloma Beach can be found
just southeast of Nice, at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. A small shingle beach, Paloma
is banked by thick trees and overlooked by the exclusive Paloma Beach Restaurant,
which, it’s said, frequently plays host to the likes of Tom Cruise and Angelina
Jolie. For me, though, this beach is a brilliant place to swim, with its calm
waters protected by the crescent-shaped bay. I love diving off the beach’s
pontoon, and you can take a jet ski or rent a wakeboard from the restaurant.
For a truly relaxing experience, simply rent a sunbed and parasol and enjoy the
Calanque d'en VauGo hiking around France’s stunning Calanques.
© Flickr user Fred Bigio
beach is not easy to get to, but once you’re there, the views and serenity of
your surroundings make the trip well worth it. Part of France’s famous Calanques, you can
see the beach by taking a boat tour from Cassis, although you won’t be able to
step foot onshore. If you’re prepared with good hiking shoes and plenty of
water and snacks, I highly recommend setting off for an early morning hike from
Cassis, and spending the day at this incredible beach. Weather conditions can
change the accessibility of the Calanques, so it’s best to check conditions the
night before. You can walk down to the beach from the car park at de la
Fontasse by following the marked walking route, but prepare for a bit of a
Plage de l'Almanarre
great option for families with kids, Plage
de l'Almanarre can be found alongside the Route du Sel (Salt Road), south
of Hyères. The position of this beach means it gets a lot of coastal wind,
which naturally makes it a popular spot with windsurfers, and on the opposite
side of the road you’ll find a brilliant nature reserve in the form of a salt
marsh, where you can see many different species of birds, including the bright
flamingos which nest there. The gently-sloping sands at Plage de l'Almanarre
make it a good swimming spot for kids, although the tide can be quite strong
during high winds. The south of France is popular with windsurfers.
© Flickr user Julie Missbutterflies
wide open sands at Valras-Plage are popular at summertime, but large enough to
accommodate everyone. Near to the historic town of Béziers, I love this beach
because it’s got great amenities and makes for a really easy day out. There are
some brilliant restaurants lining the beach, and I love watching boats as they
leave the harbour. Like the rest of the beaches along the southern French
coast, the water is warm enough for a dip, even in late summer. This beach is
perfect for a long day out, as you’ve got everything you need nearby. The wide open sands at Valras-Plage are ideal for a day of relaxation.
© Flickr user Henrik Anderson
to the south of France this summer?
Le Shuttle you can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes. Ready,