OK, so you have your enormous designer sunglasses and know how to order a croissant and café au lait, totally French-ified, right?
Hate to burst your bubble, but there is much more to France than Parisian cafe culture, so trade your book of Sartre for swimwear and hop on a train to the coastline of Southern France. Here, you can channel Brigitte Bardot or pretend you’ve been invited onto a mega yacht by P-Diddy.
Known colloquially as Le Midi, the region’s beautiful beaches (and the Cannes Film Festival in May) have made it a haven for jet setters, filmmakers and celebrities. But you don’t have to be rich or famous to enjoy the idyllic scenery. Anyone can enjoy the golden beaches, deep blue Atlantic Ocean, pine-lined headlands, and aspirational yachts bobbing in the sea. For indulgence, relaxation and a glimpse of the European high life, check out our picks of the best beaches in Southern France.
- Cap Ferrat, Paloma Plage
Located in Cap Ferrat, one of the richest areas in Europe, Paloma Plage is a tree-lined stretch in a small shallow cove. Swim out in the crystal clear waters for a great view of the area’s palatial mansions, where people like composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, make their summer homes.
- Argeles-sur-mer, Le Racou
Situated at the top of Cote Vermeille, France’s only eastern coastline, Argeles-sur-mer is the sun-drenched region where you’ll find Le Racou, a small bay set against a mountain. Despite its deep blue water and wide sandy stretches, Le Racou tends to attract fewer crowds, making it the perfect beach hideaway.
- Villefranche-sur-mer, Plage des Marinières
Just outside of Nice is Villefranche-sur-mer, a picturesque old fishing village that is largely undisturbed, even in summer. Plage des Marinières is the village’s main beach and a popular spot for snorkelers and families. You may also recognise Plage des Marinières from films such as Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, Never Say Never Again or The Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas.
- Sete, La Corniche
Just east of the port Sete, La Corniche is a large, deep beach with stunning views of the Sainte-clair hill. Come nighttime and the beach is still buzzing – with the night clubs and restaurants along its sandy shores.
- Beziers, Portiragnes plage
For a remote and wild beach experience, visit Portiragnes plage, a beach with unbroken views down the Languedoc coastline. For relaxation, it simply can’t be matched, This is the ultimate place to disconnect from all the hustle and bustle.
Sunglasses? Check. Parasol? Check. Swimsuit, sunscreen, beach towel? Check! Get off the computer and onto the sand!