The Ultimate French Riviera Beach Hopping Itinerary
Hot off the press from the white sands of a French Riviera Beach
Seeming to be lifted from the canvas of a timeless painter are the azure waters and jagged coastline of the French Riviera’s Beaches. This vacation hotspot has served as a playground for the wealthy and famous for more than half a century. There is nothing better than relaxing in the white sand of a French Riviera Beach. Year after year, these beaches continue to draw the attention of jetsetters worldwide. Also known as the Côte d’Azur, this region offers the finest in luxury hotels, restaurants and beach clubs. Follow me, as I outline my favorite French Riviera Beaches!
Let’s start planning the ultimate French Riviera beach hopping itinerary!
Here are seven of the best beaches in the South of France:
1. Paloma Beach | Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
When I want a quiet, relaxing day at the shore, Paloma Beach beckons with its hues of calming blue. This French Riviera beach rests on the peninsula Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It is named after the Painter Picasso, who spent many leisurely days there to escape the pomp of the French Riviera. The beach opens Easter Sunday, and remains accessible through September. The best part about this beach is that you can bring this relaxing and luxurious experience to another level. Gain access to the private portion of the beach with exclusive amenities such as beach sofas, changing rooms, and warm showers. Here, the small inlet is framed by cypress and pine trees, which keep the turquoise waters calm and placid. Lounge on your sofa, and feel the sun’s warm rays on your skin. Make sure to pack protective footwear! The pebbled shore can prove challenging to the barefoot wanderer.
2. Pampelonne Beach | Saint Tropez
For a bit more bustle, I enjoy the setting of Pampelonne Beach. As one of the longest French Riviera beaches, stretching 5 kilometers along the Mediterranean, it has both public and private access. Technically, the beach belongs to the village of Ramatuelle as opposed to Saint Tropez, which is approximately 6 kilometers away. This golden beach is often associated with movie stars and A-listers. Looking beyond the golden sand, you can see that the sea is sprinkled with impressive luxurious yachts. This shoreline also hosts a selection of extravagant restaurants and some of the country’s most exclusive private clubs.
For a day of fabulous luxury, reserve a cabana at Nikki Beach. The white-themed ambiance encourages the champagne to flow! With music playing all day long, you’ll love the escape of this freshwater pool. La plage draws quite a crowd from June to July, and beach towel space comes at a premium. If you are looking for a little more privacy, try a visit in mid-September, when the crowds tend to disappear yet, the weather maintains its warmth.
3. L’Ille de Riou
Unlike our last beach hopping destination, this beach promises a secluded white-sand haven. A short boat ride south of Marseille, the hidden L’Ille de Riou rests between sheer cliffs. It is only accessible by boat or a strenuous two hour hike, but undoubtedly worth the effort! This French Riviera beach is part of an uninhabited preserve. Limestone Calanques frame the white-sand beach, and present numerous trails for hiking. Protected by stone walls, this beach creates an inviting environment for snorkeling or kayaking. After you’ve explored the marine life in the clear blue waters, take a short hike to the summit of the Calanques. This hike will lead you to the ruins of a watchtower, which dates back to the 12th century. From the peak, the sparkling blue of the water against the limestone will dazzle you with the striking contrast. Don’t forget your camera!
4. Plage de l’Espiguette
A salty scrubland with towering sand dunes separate the Plage de l’Espiguette from the nearby city. This French Riviera beach is exceptionally wide and spans 8 km long and 700 m wide. It’s also a clear choice for adventure lovers and explorers. East of Montepellier, the deserted sands of Plage de l’Espiguette remind visitors of a desolate desert. The only structures in the area are historic lighthouses. This beach is in close proximity to National Park Camargue. You can spend the day in the Park observing the rich bird life or take a tour to learn of the biodiversity of the area. One of this beaches biggest perks is that its landscape is uncharacteristic of the region. While exploring the beach, you may be surprised to find a colony pink flamingos dotting the scenery!
5. Plage des Marinières
Just a short train ride from Nice, the Plage des Marinières forms a crescent shape along the Mediterranean. This beachy floor has a unique design that is not quite pebbles, yet not quite sand. If you are looking for a family-friendly spot, this French Riviera beach is extremely popular amongst families due to the shallowness of the crisp water. Just off shore, hollowed out rocks serve as clever hiding spots for fish. Carve out your afternoon and dive into the waters to view the active sea-life darting about. Despite offering complete public access, Plage des Marinières is one of the few French Riviera beaches that rarely becomes overcrowded. This is especially rare in the summer months. So, no need to worry! You will have ample space to roll out your beach towel, and sunbathe in peace.
6. Plage de Palombaggia | Corsica
Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Plage de Palombaggia, displays a spectrum of of vibrant colors. This beach vista combines fine white-sugar sand and red granite boulders with the brilliant aqua of the sea. Corsica is a territory of the southern coast of France, and the birthplace of the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte!
If you are looking to settle here for a couple luxurious nights, consider the CasaDelMar in Porto del Veccia. This luxury hotel sits above the Mediterranean on the south side of the island. The most amazing feature of this hotel is an infinity pool that overlooks the sea with white-cushioned lounge chairs. When you need a break from the sunshine, you have your choice of stylish suites or a private, waterfront villa.
7. Calanque d’en Vau
Another hidden oasis, is a French Riviera Beach known as Calanque d’en Vau,. With privacy this tranquil, it’s no surprise that this beach is also not accessible by car. Get ready to spend the day exploring along a two-hour hike or kayak into the cove. Once you lay eyes on the beauty of this view all that exertion will be worth it! Wade into the waters and watch the narrow plane of water quickly deepen.Watch schools of fish dart through the cool blues. This is another destination you’ll want to come prepared with your snorkel gear in tow.
Given the remoteness of the area, you will also want to bring plenty of water and snacks. The region is free of commercialization, and you will undoubtedly crave a cool beverage during your hike. Although getting to Calanque d’en Vau can be tiresome, the uniqueness of the terrain will astound you. When you need to escape to nature, plan a visit this French Riviera beach.
The French Riviera beaches have something for all ocean lovers. Wide sandy shores, turquoise waters, and sheer cliffs can be found all along the coast of France. What better way to spend those sunny summer days that in any one of these numerous beach havens. No matter what type of adventure you are on, there is a beach along the French Riviera calling your name!