‘Enticed through the gates of heaven’: readers’ best French beaches

1 month ago 40

Winning tip: As seen from a bid window, Côte d’Azur

We spotted the formation astatine Èze-sur-Mer connected the bid backmost to Nice aft a blistery sweaty time travel to Monaco – we couldn’t defy jumping disconnected the bid and heading down for a dip successful the wide h2o we saw. A agelong wide bay, framed by mountains felt a cardinal miles distant from the crowded beaches successful Nice – and arsenic an added bonus for anyone who has astir breached their ankles connected the rocks astatine Nice, this formation is of tiny creaseless pebbles. A tiny portion of paradise connected the busiest conception of the Côte d’Azur.
Jake A

Pining for the Vendée

Noirmoutier has respective  large  beaches specified  arsenic  Dames (pictured).
Noirmoutier has respective large beaches specified arsenic Dames (pictured) and Barbȃtre. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

The land of Noirmoutier, disconnected the Vendée coast, is simply a cyclist’s and beach-lover’s paradise. The Noirmoutier Bridge is toll-free, spectacular and has a motorcycle lane. Time your travel close and you tin besides transverse via the beauteous Passage du Gois causeway. Once connected the land determination is simply a assortment of beaches to take from. Our favourite is the seven-kilometre-long Barbȃtre beach. It has a agelong long of good aureate sand, backed by conifer forests, and you tin find solitude and relaxation, oregon instrumentality portion successful activities including sand-yachting and windsurfing. The adjacent quality reserve, Sébastopol Polder, offers large birdwatching.

Hive of activities, Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Contis-Plage. Photograph: Alamy

With a humble hipster, surfer beingness but retaining the quaint qualities of the French coast, Contis-Plage, successful the Landes section astir 110km southbound of Bordeaux, is simply a large beach. With a ample but alternatively upmarket camping, a comparatively swanky edifice and tons of rentals, Contis caters to all. As good arsenic surf and 2 superb beaches (the main 1 and the somewhat much distant Contis Sud) it offers a calm stream for paddleboarding and a conifer wood to rhythm in..

Plonk yourself successful a calanque, adjacent Marseille

Calanque d’En Vau.
Calanque d’En Vau. Photograph: Janos Gaspar/Alamy

Tucked distant successful the sheltered bays betwixt Marseille and Cassis are Les Calanques (defined arsenic constrictive steep sided coves) and my favourite beach: Calanque d’en Vau. The hr hike from Cassis on cliff tops connected pine-perfumed paths offers a heavenly reward – a descent down steps chopped into limestone cliffs to a celestial cove of pebbles and soil and wide turquoise waters. It’s similar being enticed done the gates of heaven. Take plentifulness of h2o and a bully publication and descend into the soil for the remainder of the day, enjoying the views of the jagged cliffs, the lush vegetation and the air.

Untamed and glittering, Provence

Plage Notre-Dame
Plage Notre-Dame, Île de Porquerolles. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

East of Toulon is Île de Porquerolles, largest of the Îles d’Hyères. A distant agelong of soil separates the untamed trees from the glittering oversea – Plage Notre-Dame. Stepping disconnected the €24 ferry from Hyères the lone mode to scope the formation is connected ft oregon by bicycle; determination are nary cars allowed connected the island. This makes for a peaceful travel done a conifer forest, easy traversed successful trainers oregon flip-flops. As you attack the formation from the cliffs supra determination is simply a breathtaking presumption of the unspoiled sand. It’s besides a precise harmless formation – shallow h2o caused by a sandbank means you tin locomotion retired to oversea for astir 300 metres.
Alexandra Richards

Fauvism and sand, Côte de Vermeille

Collioure has a beauteous bay but our tipster recommends a formation a abbreviated locomotion away. Photograph: Stefano Politi Markovina/Alamy

Imagine St Ives but connected the stunning Côte de Vermeille, connected the Med adjacent the borderline with Spain. Galleries, cafes and restaurants enactment car-free shady alleys. Collioure wraps itself astir the cleanable arc of the bay and brightly coloured houses bent connected hillsides. You tin rotation successful the footsteps of Matisse and Derain, who invented fauvism here. Take a java successful 1 of the portside cafes and past consciousness the lukewarm soil betwixt your toes and paddle connected 1 of the 4 beaches. But if the bustle is excessively much, my concealed extremity is simply a 30-minute hike north-east implicit the cliffs to sand-and-pebble Plage de l’Ouille. No roads travel to this enchanted spot.


Readers' tips: nonstop a extremity for a accidental to triumph a £200 voucher for a Sawday's stay


Guardian Travel readers' tips

Every week we inquire our readers for recommendations from their travels. A enactment of tips volition beryllium featured online and whitethorn look successful print. To participate the latest contention sojourn the readers' tips homepage


Oysters and cider, Carantec, westbound Brittany

Plage du Kelenn, Carantec
Plage du Kelenn. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

There are countless fabulous near-deserted beaches each implicit Brittany but our family’s favourite is the beauteous Plage du Kelenn successful Carantec. It has everything youngsters could perchance need. Golden soil but with a scattering of stone pools, a spot of surf but not excessively unsmooth and a cracking diving board. For the grownups I tin heartily urge the oysters and Breton cider astatine the affable Paradiso Plage restaurant.
Matt Croxall

Beach of my dreams, Dinard, eastbound Brittany

Plage du Prieuré
Plage du Prieuré. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

I recovered the idyllic formation of my dreams astatine Prieuré, conscionable southbound of Dinard connected the Côte d’Émeraude. It’s casual to get to: conscionable drawback a ferry to Saint-Malo from Portsmouth past transverse the Rance estuary by ferry successful 20 minutes, oregon thrust circular (also 20 minutes). Plage du Prieuré is simply a ace sandy crescent with a mildly sloping shore, a flowery promenade, stone pools to the west, foodie delights to the east, and adjacent beachcombing treasures.
Kate Harris

Hulot’s haven, southbound Brittany

Saint-Marc-sur-Mer and Plage de Monsieur Hulot
Saint-Marc-sur-Mer and Plage de Monsieur Hulot. Photograph: Andia/Getty Images

When the large French movie manager Jacques Tati was looking for the cleanable formation mounting for the adventures of his endearing clown, Monsieur Hulot, helium was thrilled to find Saint-Marc-sur-Mer. On Brittany’s Atlantic Coast and casual to get to from Nantes, the formation itself is the star. Not a batch has changed since 1951. We stayed successful the edifice that served arsenic the film’s backdrop, walked on the accessible clifftops to adjoining beaches suitable for solo travellers, families and adjacent nudists, and paused for selfies with the lifesize statue of Hulot, inactive casting a quizzical oculus implicit this magical spot.
Robert Massey

Family affair, Normandy

Plage de Carolles
Plage de Carolles. Photograph: Herve Lenain/Alamy

A household favourite formation successful Normandy is Plage de Carolles, successful the bay of Mont Saint-Michel adjacent Granville (which provides an fantabulous back-up successful bedewed weather). With fantabulous sandy stretches and stone pools overlooked by cliffs and the occasional bent glider, we’ve spent galore blessed days connected vacation present searching for cockles, mussels and different shellfish earlier eating moules-frites astatine its cafes oregon picnicking with caller baguettes and crockery earlier driving backmost to a cottage successful the beauteous Normandy countryside, sun-baked and sandy.

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