Our Pick of the Best Beaches in the French Riviera
Wouldn't it be Nice: How you Cannes mix it with the celebs on these beaches
Who’s to say we’re not cosying up to the stars on the beach as we write up this blog post? Imagine us there, lotioned up to the neck (and beyond), splayed out on the sand and praying to our sun-god like Ray Winstone in the opening credits of Sexy Beast. We’re going to take you on a journey along the ritzy beaches of the South of France, and help you appreciate why it's called the Côte d’Azur (the Blue Coast). You’ll lie in the sandy spots once occupied by the jet setters and film stars of the 1960s (or more likely, you'll relax in sun loungers spread across the sandy strands). So, whether you’re here for the slot machines in Monaco, the water parks in Fréjus or the historic vestiges of most of these coastal villages, you can always do with a bit of sand and sea. And we’ll make sure that whatever you do, you'll have a great time doing it, because here at Plum Guide, we've done extensive hard work to ensure that the expert advice we give you is everything you could ever need. So without further ado, here's our list of the best beaches in the French Riviera.
Petite Afrique Beach
French (because we’re in France) for Little Africa Beach, this is one of the top spots in the Côte d’Azur for a bit of sun, sand and sea, undoubtedly making it one of the best beaches in the French Riviera. It lies at the eastern edge of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, which literally translates to ‘Beautiful Place on the Sea’, so you know you’re in the right place. And with a name like that, you'd be forgiven for thinking it may not live up to the hype, but it really is impressive, with rugged cliffs backing onto a sandy stretch and turquoise bay. Bring a snorkel and check out the fish swimming about your feet in the water with your little ones in the famous family beach.
Just to shake things up a little, we’re going with a pebbly strand next. Sand has a way of burrowing its way into nooks and crannies of your body that you didn’t know you had, so pebbles are a safe bet. And these pebbles in the affluent St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat are famous…or at least they have been trampled by famous feet. Try the jet skiing and tubing in this active hub, and stop for a picnic amid the rocks in a quiet and secluded part of the beach.
Gallop on down to Garoupe Beach on the Antibes Peninsula, and stretch out like a cat on the soft white sand in this charming cove. Walk out to the end of the rocky outcrop and go snorkeling in the crystalline water with your kids. You can also rent a sun lounger and enjoy some of the succulent Mediterranean cuisine in the upmarket beach restaurants, such as Plage Joseph and Le Rocher.
So, you’re in Cannes. You’ve just popped your festival awards for best film and what-not back at your Plum Guide home. But where will you go now? Well, just follow your fellow film stars to the exclusive Bocca Beach, a wide sandy strand on which palm trees sway in the breeze. Perched on the edge of the town, it’s a little quieter than the central beaches, so you might just get that peace and quiet you deserve.
We’ve talked for hours now (depending on how long it's taken you to read this essay - and it is an essay) about sun, sand and sea. But now it’s time for some chat about wind, and we don’t mean your digestive system after all that upscale French food. Join the kite surfers down on Almanarre Beach. Bring your binoculars and look up to the skies to see the eclectic array of birdlife between the kites.
For something a little different, we’re rounding off our list of the best beaches in the French Riviera with the Porquerolles Island, at the southern tip of Hyères. And this picturesque sandy haven is every bit as beautiful as its ecclesiastical namesake in Paris. Away from restaurants, it makes for a pleasant escape from the crowds and the idyllic spot for a picnic. Rent a bike from the harbour to cycle along the rear of this beach.