France is a special country that has a bit of everything, geographically. Love the mountains? Head to the French Alps for a winter ski trip. Love big cities? There’s Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Nantes to keep you busy. And if you love beaches, France has got some of the most beautiful in the world. Here are the top beaches in France.
Aytre, La Rochelle – Kitesurfing
La Rochelle is a small city on the West coast of France that’s famous for kitesurfing. The winds off the Bay of Biscay mean that you’ll find hundreds of kites dotting the beaches all summer long. One of the best places to take lessons or to head out to sea is Aytre. This beach is a little south of La Rochelle, so you’ll probably want to rent a car to get here. Plus, it’ll make getting your board and kite to the beach a lot easier.
Vieille Ville, Nice – Rock beaches
When people think of beaches, they think of long stretches of sand. The beach in Nice, however, is covered in gray pebbles. It’s a bit more uncomfortable than sand, but that’s okay! You don’t get sand in your bag, shoes, or towel! If you have water shoes, take a dip in the ocean at any time of the day or night in the summertime. The water is always a comfortable temperature. Once you’ve finished your day on the beach, head to one of the many eateries to enjoy a traditional Nicoise meal while watching the sunset. There are also bikes for rent and a national park nearby to go hiking. It’s a steep hike, but the view at the top is worth it.
Les Calanques de Cassis
Marseille may be known as a gritty city, but if you venture out to the Calanques National Park, you’ll find yourself in another world. Calanques means coves in English, and this area outside of Marseille is filled with them. You’ll have to do a bit of hiking to get to the coves or you can take the easy route via sailboat instead. No matter how you get there, you can enjoy small stretches of quiet, isolated, sandy white beaches surrounded by cliffs and turquoise water. Spend a day out here to get away from it all.
If you prefer beaches surrounded by tall, lush grass and towering cliffs, you’ll want to visit Etretat in Normandy. The beach here looks like a scene out of a war movie without the guns. Maybe the Jedi island where Luke Skywalker retreated for years. Or perhaps the quiet fishing town where Thor hid out after Thanos disappeared half of all living things in the universe. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next novel, this just might be the place to stay for a while.
Ile de Re, Bay of Biscay
Ile de Re is a small island off the coast of Western France. It’s home to the long-haired donkeys, though the entire island is fairly isolated and empty. Tourists come in via buses, so this is a good place to go for a day trip. Relax by the beach or visit the donkeys, they’re always down for a good scratch. To get around, you can rent bikes or take the shuttles from the bus station.