Eiffel tower, finest wines and French cuisine are some of the things that make France so adorable. However, with the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel lapping its shores, France is dotted with a variety of beaches stretching for more than 3000 miles. You just have to pick the one most appealing to you.
Normandy, Brittany, Languedoc and the famous French Riviera - you can be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing any one beach in these regions. Each of these has its own specialty and uniqueness, making them distinct from each other.
Sandy Beaches in Brittany
Small islands on the Brittany coast are great for hiking when you shed your swim gear. Belle-ile literally means “beautiful island” and was made famous by Claude Monet in his 19th century paintings and also as a couple of movie settings. Savor the Les Grands Sables or the great sands beach in a day trip or stay overnight in one of the small hotels here. Daily ferry trips from close by Quiberon takes you to this island’s stunning beaches and jagged cliffs.
Quiberon is right on the peninsula tip into the Atlantic with a long, sandy beach and the contrasting Cote Sauvage, which is full of cliffs, coves and rocky coastline, is a few kilometers away.
The La Baule beach on the Guerande Peninsula in this region is a different France altogether. Opt to stay here in the resorts to enjoy the local hospitality, which is quite popular with tourists from home and abroad, especially during summers.
Normandy beach and history
Sun tanning, lazing, swimming, exploring the rocky cliffs and coves along with visiting the historical spots in Normandy can make up a pretty schedule for this summer.
The Omaha beach is great if you like history combined with your swimming holiday. There are underground trenches to explore, sand monuments in memory of war heroes and war time gun placements – memoirs that can take you back to the strife torn past of Normandy.
The Les Salines beach is a mile stretch of un-crowded white sandy shores with swaying palm trees creating a border. This is an ideal spot for undisturbed swimming and sunbathing with your family in the calm water currents.
If you are looking for more beach activity then come to the Deauville beaches. Go for jet-skiing, wind surfing, body surfing, sea kayaking or sailing and plenty more offered by the beach clubs. The beach is lined with cafes, restaurants and great French spas so that you do not miss out on any French finesse.
Southwestern France and surfing
If you want to laze around beaches with smooth sand, visit the beaches in the south west of France. Certain parts of this coast are lined up with pine forests providing quite exclusive and secluded spots. However, you are close to human society with towns and villages like La Rochelle, Les Sables d’Olonne and Rochefort along the shoreline.
Biarritz is very close to the French Spanish border and is a hot spot for surfers who come here from all over the world. Surfing is a culture here just as the Basque culture is prominently evident everywhere in this beach resort.
The Aquitaine coast south of Gironde has stretches of sandy beaches with forests closing in on the sand dunes. In some places the beach is accessible through small tracks through the forest – remarkably adventurous. The Saint-Jean de Luz village here is right in the heart of the famous Basque Country with quaint and unique Basque architecture.
Pebbled Beaches and the French Riviera
On the western part of the Mediterranean coast is Languedoc with long sandy beaches. Less crowded than its eastern French Riviera, these beaches offer a lot of privacy and peace with warm Mediterranean waters. A little away from its capital city of Montpellier is La Grande Motte resort with its varied sporting activities. White horses, black bulls and flamingoes are to be seen at the Camargue.
Nice has beaches covered with smooth pebbles but the discomfort of walking barefoot on the pebbles is washed away with the spectacular views from the French Riviera. Visitors and tourists flock the beaches here in the summers, so you may not find any solitary area, unless you have booked into one of the classy resorts and hotels along the beach. If not, you are still close to some famous and glamorous people who come here on vacations.