Beach holidays in France

Because the classics never die

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Russ Sanchez

Russ Sanchez
HomeAway travel expert


French coastThere's something about the best French beaches that inevitably reminds me of the best French cuisine – varied, fresh and sensual; verging on without quite tipping into decadent. Exempli gratia: the long, soft, ice-creamy dunes of the Côte d'Argent, sprawling infinitely into the distance. Not surprisingly, this has made France an international holiday Mecca for – well, a very long time. Such a long time, in fact, that to suggest a beach holiday in France today seems almost old hat.

But you know what? It's not. It's not old hat. Or rather – it is, but it's an old hat with such a classic silhouette that, dusted off and doffed with an appropriately French touch of whimsy, it has the potential to revolutionize your summer holiday. So, ladies and gentlemen, break out those berets – and let us reacquaint ourselves with La France, prima donna of European holiday destinations! And know that, wherever it is you decide to base your vacances, HomeAway has the perfect seaside chalet to suit. 

 

Top five French beach holidays


   

Beach holidays in Poitou-Charentes: Côte Sauvage Beach holidays in Poitou-Charentes: Côte Sauvage

We start our tour of France's beaches with Côte Sauvage, in the administrative region of Poitou-Charentes. Translating into English as the 'Savage Coast', this particular stretch of coastline offers a distinctive holiday experience. Which is to say that Côte Sauvage deserves its name: craggy and dramatic, backed by the whispering pines of la Forêt de la Coubre, Côte Sauvage's untouched beaches are a nature lover's wet dream. Hiking, biking – even horseback riding is available to tempt forth your inner romance novel heroine. Just off the coast, a bridge away, is France's second-largest island after Corsica, the marshy L’île d’Oléron. And be sure to taste the mussels of nearby village, La Tremblade, before you leave – baked under pine needles, they're a local speciality.  

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Beach holidays on the Côte d'Azur: Paloma Plage Beach holidays on the Côte d'Azur: Paloma Plage

At the other end of the spectrum from the rugged Savage Coast, is Paloma Plage, east of Nice at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Aside from its lapis-blue waters and emerald hills, Paloma Plage is renowned for its abundance of, well, celebrities! Indeed, if they weren't so wealthy, they'd have been classified an invasive species here long ago. Recent sightings count Brad and Angie, for example, among visiting holidaymakers. Consequently, the villas and hotels in the area are not uniformly fit for the budget-minded – but the public beach is free, the local food is exquisite, and the ambience, both along the shore and in the village, is unrivalled.  

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Beach holidays in Corsica: Bonifacio Beach holidays in Corsica: Bonifacio

No best-of list of French beaches is complete without a nod to sunny Corsica, France's largest island. Located on the island's southernmost tip, Bonifacio itself boasts historical cites dating back as far as prehistory (such as the caves of Araguina-Sennola). But vacationers will undoubtedly want to spend at least some of their time exploring the city's acclaimed, silvery sands. Biking, rafting and diving are all on offer, as is the spectacular 'walk of the beaches', a trail beginning at the Bonifacio marina that threads together three wild, warm-water beaches that offer some of the finest swimming opportunities in Corsica. Set aside 4-6 hours to complete the walk, but be aware – shade along the trail is scarce, and summer temperatures frequently top 27°C.

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Beach holidays in Brittany: La Grande Plage de Goas Lagorn Beach holidays in Brittany: La Grande Plage de Goas Lagorn

Yes, the name is a bit of a mouthful, but La Grande Plage de Goas Lagorn in the Baie de Lannion is not to be missed, especially by holidaymakers with children. Sheltered and quiet, the broad white sands of this uncrowded spot are ideal for sandcastles, Frisbee games, swimming and picnics. Just don't forget the sunscreen! Also important: several kid-friendly eateries standing at the ready nearby, to quell the inevitable stomach rumbles that follow a successful afternoon of the fun in the sun.

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Beach holidays on the Côte d'Argent: Biscarrosse Beach holidays on the Côte d'Argent: Biscarrosse

Smack dab in the middle of the famous Côte d'Argent, a 200km ribbon of glorious and unbroken sandy beach stretching between the rivers Gironde and Adour on the French Atlantic coast, is the French commune of Biscarrosse. 'Bisca', as it's affectionately known by locals, offers two distinct beach possibilities: on one side, embracing the sea, the wide and sunny Biscarrosse-Plage; on the other, inland, the picturesque Biscarrosse Lac. Biscarrosse Lac is actually several small lakes linked by canal; they boast clear, calm waters – perfect for little ones – and a fringe of gentle pine woodland. With hiking, biking, boating, diving – and, my favourite, lazing – all activity levels can be easily catered for in Biscarrosse.  

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La Grande Plage de Goas Lagorn © bpmm.

 

Beach accommodation in France

CENTRAL SARLAT, LUXURY PRIVATE CENTRAL TOWN HOUSE, POOL, PARKING, FREE Wifi

La Maison Breuil is your perfect vacation rental. A detached and centrally located period town house with mature gardens and private pool. Only a 5 minute level walk to the Medieval City where you will find, restaurants, food markets, pavement ca...

GREAT BEACH HOUSE FOR LARGE FAMILIES / GROUPS OF FRIENDS SLEEPS 12 + 2 BABIES

Refurbished villa on 2 levels. Ground floor: Open plan living/dining room. Well equipped kitchen, dishwasher & gas oven. 2 twin/double rooms on the ground floor with outside access into the garden. A bathroom and separate toilet. Second floor wit...

Beautiful self catering holiday villa in Le Touquet France.

L'Opale Villa in Le Touquet (sleeps 10) is a comfortable 5 bedroom self catering holiday home to rent. Fully equipped kitchen, wood fire, features a south facing balcony and large secluded garden. The accommodation provides the perfect base for b...

Villa Lunetta Sleeps 8

Villa Lunetta is spread across two spacious floors, with four bedrooms (2 master suites and 2 guest rooms) and four bathroom and shower rooms. Outside you'll find nearly 1,800 sqm of gardens with olive trees that are well over three hundred years ...

Chateau Seyches Sleeps 12

Situated in a peaceful rural location of Lot-et-Garonne and adjoining Aquitaine and the Dordogne, Chateau Seyches is a light, bright and charming turreted chateau from the early 18th century with beautiful countryside views. The house sleeps up t...

Chateau de Castet sleeps 18

Perched on top of rolling hills, overlooking the Landes and Gers, stunning Chateau De Castet makes for a magical and exclusive hideaway. Chateau De Castet, originally dating from the 18th century, is unlike any other luxury chateau in the region...

Pavillon Normandie, sleeps 10

Welcome to the superb historic Pavillon Normandie! Come and discover a peaceful retreat situated in a beautiful English style park. Nested in the heart of the Cotentin, discover Barfleur, recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in France....

Villa Bidart sleeps 12

Villa Bidart is a classic Neo-Basque house overlooking the beach, with six en-suite bedrooms, heated infinity pool, huge state of the art kitchen, media room, salon and pool deck. Situated right in the centre of the idyllic ancient village of Bi...

Villa - house 6 Beds - HOSSEGOR

Semi-detached villa, contemporary construction, small private garden, situated in downtown Hossegor, quiet cul de sac close to the marine lake, this villa will seduce you with its tranquility, location 'while walking', center, marine lake ocean, g...

Villa - house 6 Beds - SEIGNOSSE

Part of a villa near the beach Bourdaines This villa of 75 m2 can accommodate 6 people and includes: - Entrance - Living room with fireplace, sitting area and party area opening onto private garden with barbecue - Part fitted kitchen - Bedroom 1 ...

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