The French Riviera is a destination for vacationers, celebrities, couples and families. Like beaches of Italian Riviera, beaches of French Riviera are gorgeous, with sparkling blue waters easily identified by line of beautifully striped beach umbrellas and brightly colored sun loungers.
Combining classic French elegance, delicious cuisine and a warm Mediterranean climate, sunny south of France is perfect getaway if you're looking for relaxation, good food and wine, beautiful scenery or fascinating history.
While famous beaches of Cannes and Saint-Tropez offer plenty of entertainment, French Riviera also has hidden coves, high cliffs and beautiful islands, as well as sandy beaches.20 best beaches on French Riviera
Villefranche-sur-Mer is an idyllic French seaside town with beautiful French beaches in Alpes-Maritimes region.1 – Little African Beach
The name of this beach translates as "Little African Beach", and even if you have not been to any of African coasts, rest assured, they are amazing.
This small beach is located on eastern edge of Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
The water here is exactly what you would expect in south of France: blue and clear, and you can see fish.
The beach with soft golden sand, umbrellas, plenty of space and calm waters is perfect for families.
The beach is surrounded by huge reddish limestone cliffs that protect beach from strong winds, which means that it is often very hot here.
In addition, there is no shortage of amenities: showers, lifeguards and a nearby train station.
There are also plenty of places to eat, drink or stock up on snacks for a picnic on the beach.2- Sailors
Villefranche-sur-Mer is an idyllic French seaside town in Alpes-Maritimes region.
The stunning Les Marinières beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer, just a short walk from Nice, is often considered one of best beaches on French Riviera.
The beach is about 1 kilometer long, so it won't be difficult for you to find a place to lay your towel on soft loose sand.
It is popular with both locals and tourists, not least because train stops right behind beach and is very easy to get to.
Still, it's the perfect day trip if you're staying in Nice with its warm, clear waters and plenty of activities like snorkelling.
There are also a number of seaside restaurants and cafés serving French cuisine. Moules marinières is undoubtedly a popular dish. You may also like this tour.3- Paloma Beach
Paloma Beach is another great French Riviera beach to enjoy.
The stunning Paloma Beach in Sant Jean Cap Ferrat is named after daughter of famous artist Paloma Picasso.
This is one of most famous beaches on French Riviera. Pebbles, sand and pebbles on it are not really suitable for placing towels. You can choose from a variety of couches or umbrellas to make it comfortable for people to watch. .
The beach is well known but still most popular with wealthy residents who have their own private beach for members of nearby beach clubs.
However, in common areas, you can usually find a place where you can stay for a few hours, and even have a picnic.
The activities on offer range from water skiing and sailing to snorkeling and rafting. There are many bars and restaurants nearby.4- GARUPA BEACH
Plage de la Garoupe has one of best beaches on French Riviera.
Plage de la Garoupe is located on southern peninsula of famous coastal town of Antibes.
It takes about 45 minutes to get here from city.
The beach here is a huge bay with enough space for everyone, but on weekends, when locals flock here from nearby towns, it gets very crowded.
Unfortunately, most of summer beach is closed to public. However, it is open to public from October to April, during months when temperatures remain warmer.
Because it is a bay, clear water is calm and perfect for swimming.
You can rent an umbrella or sun lounger and set up camp, or if you get hungry, head to one of many beachfront restaurants.5- Mara Beach
Plage de la Mala is one of coolest beaches on French Riviera.
Although Plage de la Mala on Cap d'Ail is considered one of best beaches not only on Riviera, but in all of France, you might be surprised to learn how relatively quiet it is.
That's because it's located between two famous places, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat and Monaco.
Take train or bus to area and then walk 15 minutes to beach, which means it's secluded and peaceful.
Upon arrival you are greeted by a small pebbly and sandy beach with plenty of sun loungers, several excellent restaurants and a water sports rental center where you can go jet skiing, snorkeling, kayaking or pedal boats.
You can even sit on beach and enjoy beautiful view of Cap.6- Boca Beach
Pick up a chair on Croisette in Cannes
Plage de la Bocca, widely regarded as one of best beaches outside of Cannes, is one of area's sandy beaches, as opposed to pebbly beaches found elsewhere.
Despite fact that many major hotel chains have made their beaches private, Bocca is free and big enough for everyone.
The beach is a postcard-worthy place with a few swaying palm trees and sapphire waters that are warm and calm for swimming.
The beach is most popular with families who bring their children here to kayak and soak up sun, but you can also indulge in water sports and relax at beach cafe or restaurant with fresh seafood or a glass of chilled wine.7- Pampelonne Beach
Boats in port of Bandol, French Riviera.
Saint Tropez is undoubtedly most colorful and famous place on French Riviera, and Pampelonne has best beaches.
Everyone goes to Pampelonne, even as it becomes more and more popular with tourists.
Famous for hosting birthdays of Brigitte Bardot and other famous stars, beach itself is open to public with beautiful umbrellas, sun loungers, soft sand and gentle waves.
However, along beach there are expensive hotels, trendy restaurants, bars and clubs that are open until morning.
While summer is usually best time to visit, beaches can get crowded so weekday visits are highly recommended, especially outside of July and August.8- Calvi Beach
Calvi is a colorful seaside town on French island of Corsica. According to legend, Christopher Columbus was supposed to be born here.
When you think of French Riviera, Saint Tropez and Cannes come to mind first, but there are over 200 beaches in Corsica.
Calvi Beach stretches four miles long on north side of island, which means you'll find soft white sand deserted at any time.
This doesn't mean beach is deserted, but it is popular with locals and families.
In addition to swimming and snorkeling, there are plenty of water sports available here such as kayaking, jet skiing, sailing and more.
After sun and surf warm you up, head to one of many restaurants for a bite to eat or some delicious French cuisine.9- Notre Dame Beach
Enjoy sun, sand and sea on French Riviera for a vacation of a lifetime.
Notre Dame Beach is located on small island of Porquerolles, making it far less well-known than its better-known names.
The island is remote and beautiful, but that also means there aren't many amenities here, including restaurants and cafes.
You can find a few local spots in nearby villages, but a picnic might be a good option if you spend day at this beach.
To get to beach, you can take a high-speed ferry from Toulon or Saint-Tropez, and you can walk to beach in a few minutes.10 – Esclamandra Beach
There is something for everyone at Escclamandes restaurant, located in Fréjus region of France.
This is one of longest beaches on French Riviera, over a kilometer long.
The beach is divided into three different parts depending on your interests.
The first part is for families, with breakwaters and pretty calm waters for kids to swim safely.
The more open beach is popular with kitesurfers and windsurfers due to higher waves and stronger winds.
Finally, a small area at one end of beach is set aside for a longtime love of French naturism.
Stick to main sections and enjoy plenty of space, fun activities, and a selection of places to eat.11- Escalet Beach
Another beautiful beach in Saint-Tropez, Plage de l'Escalet, is a bit wild and remote, which makes it even more worth visiting.
Arrive early as car park fills up quickly in summer and you still have to take easy path to beach from there.
The beach is a small cove that goes into sea and ends in a small tree-covered outcrop that can also be explored if you want to take a walk.
In summer, water is warm and usually calm for swimming, but sometimes waves and currents can be strong, so keep an eye on sea conditions.
Outside of summer, water can be cooler, but you can still sunbathe, relax on beach, and go kayaking or kayaking to explore area.12-SEAT RAIOL CANADEL
One of most exclusive and beautiful beaches on French Riviera, this beach is located on Cape Negre and is almost entirely owned by Carla Bruni's family.
Here, bay is a hidden gem surrounded by high rocky cliffs, isolated from outside world, with soft golden sand and stunning views of Cap.
Because it's popular with upper class, you might want to arrive early to find a place to throw your towel.
Or, for a lovely day in sun, head to nearby Tropicana Club to rent a (overpriced) solarium.13-Palm Beach
Menton, France, is located on Cote d'Azur of French Riviera and has several beautiful beaches.
Palmes Beach is main beach in Menton, located next to beach.
Although very similar to more popular cities of Riviera, Cannes and Nice, with its towering palm trees, elegant buildings and excellent pastry shops, this city is very quiet, which is great for those who want to go to beach. Good news for people.
The beach may not be as glittering with golden sand as elsewhere, in fact quite rocky in places, but long, with clear water and plenty of water sports.
This town is typically French and you will not find a shortage of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.14 - Gravett Beach
Antibes is a charming historic city, reminiscent of a forgotten time.
Plage de la Gravette is located right in middle of coast of old town and is possibly one of most beautiful beaches in Antibes.
Backed by ramparts of old town, it is protected from big waves and safe for swimming, making it popular with families.
It's quite small, but equally surrounded by buildings and city walls, sun heats up beach and keeps it warm all day long.
The beach here is more like small pebbles, but soft enough to walk on.
For food, picnics are encouraged (even encouraged!) and ingredients can be purchased at local markets.
Otherwise, you can walk short distance to Antibes for many great culinary establishments.15- WALKING BEACH
In addition, in aforementioned area of St. Jean Cap Ferrat, Plage de Passable is another unique beach, divided into two private areas.
The beach is small, but people are not afraid to feel comfortable: bright umbrellas and towels are placed along coast.
The surface also consists of small pebbles, but water is worth money - crystal clear water, almost no waves, it is great for swimming and snorkeling.
For a bite to eat, or if you want to access a private part of beach, head to Passable Plage, which manages this stretch of sand.16 — SABLETTES BEACH
The beautiful sandy beaches of French Riviera are located in colorful old town of Menton.
Plage des Sablettes is another Menton beach just a stone's throw away from Monaco, vacation spot of rich and famous.
This is a strong contender for best beach in area, along with palm trees, however this beach has a beautiful backdrop with colorful Menton houses and old buildings.
The beach is long and sandy, and same warm and calm waters can be found on this stretch of coastline.
In addition, there are more than enough amenities to start your day right.
You can easily spend a whole day on beach if you have a picnic and use charging booth and shower.
To find out more, head to center of Menton with its shops and restaurants.17-Blue Beach
Nice has some of most popular beaches on French Riviera.
The blue beaches of Nice look like Instagram photos of sunbathing influencers in south of France.
The classic blue ocean stretches out in front of you, while rows of photogenic black-and-white-striped beach umbrellas line popular, one of best public beaches in area.
There are plenty of activities such as parasailing, water skiing and kayaking; equipment can be rented at main watersports center on beach.
Like many other beaches, beach has private areas.
This is run by Blue Beach Restaurant, where you can eat well and pay for a sun lounger or umbrella for day.18- Taila Point
If you find time to go to Cap Thaya beach on French Riviera, you will most likely have it all at your disposal.
Cap Tayla is located in Ramathay, south of Saint-Tropez and beyond.
Because this is one of few undeveloped areas of French Riviera, there are not many hotels and restaurants here, but you will find many natural beauties.
To get here, you have to walk 3 kilometers along coast, and if you can't get to Tayrat, you have to go through many other coves and sandy beaches.
All beaches in area have perfect white sand and soft waters, but other than a few outdoor showers, there are few amenities, so pack your essentials and have a nice, relaxing day.19 - Camp Long Beach
Agay is a picturesque unexplored bay in south of France, surrounded by lush green hills dotted with local houses, and waters are dotted with small private sailboats and yachts.
A haven for experienced locals and elite, secluded cove forms an almost circle, turning waters into a lagoon with almost no waves.
The sea water here is immaculately clean. Although beach is small, if you avoid peak periods like weekends, you can still find a place to sleep.
It's also great for water and land sports, as well as walking and hiking in surrounding mountains if you're into sports or want to watch sunset on coast.20- Inverter
En Vau along Calanques is one of most inaccessible beaches on French Riviera.
En Wau is probably one of most difficult, but also most attractive beaches.
The beach along Calanques, a long stretch of limestone cliffs and caves between Marseille and Cassis, will be reward of your hike.
The beach is at very bottom of cliffs, which means you have to climb a steep path, which is not usually recommended for younger children.
However, setting is stunning, with towering rock formations rising above sand that are completely isolated from outside world.
There is a place to relax and enjoy clear water, but only if you arrive outside of July and August, preferably on weekdays.
During high season weekends, you might be out of luck to find beach surrounded by locals, Instagrammers, rock climbers and tour boats eager to catch a glimpse of this picturesque bay.