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

Wheat watermil facing the sea, in the park of a castle, for 4-6 people

Just 10 km West of Cherbourg, your gate to la Hague and Val de Saire, rugged coasts and good food. Rated 3 stars (3 épis) by Gîtes de France for its location and comfort. Gite for weekly rental in the park of the listed castle of Dur-Ecu (16thc.)...

Barley watermill facing the sea, in the park of a castle, for 2/3

Just 10 km West of Cherbourg, your gate to la Hague and Val de Saire, to rugged coasts and to good food. Gite for weekly rental in the park of the listed castle of Dur-Ecu (16th c.). 300 m from the beach… where the British navy landed in 1522.. an...

Large 2 or 3 bedroom apartment in Nice with garden

80 sq. m. apartment recently fully renovated, located in Nice, Cimiez near Valrose University area, 3 min from tramway and with easy access to Promenade des Anglais with its beaches and restaurants. Apartment is located garden level. WiFi is inclu...

Townhouse 3 bedrooms 4 bathrooms + 1 dormitory. JACUZZI. Gge 2 cars

1st level: Entry hall 30 m. Fully fitted kitchen opening onto a terrace of 13m barbecue, griddle cooking. 3 bedrooms (2 bed 140 and 2 beds 90 cm), each with its own bathroom and toilet en suite bathroom. 1 separate WC. Beautiful living room of 30 ...

Biarritz Ocean view, all center on foot. 4 rooms 82 m²

BIARRITZ VIEWS WITH DOMINANT BIG BEACH AND TOWN SQUARE SIDE IXELLE. 5 ° TO FLOOR WITH LIFT + EMG 1 CAR IN RESIDENCE NEAR, LARGE 4 BEDROOM OF 82 M. ALL FOOT. CLASS 3 STAR Between. painted kitchen refrigerator compart congélaeur new dishwasher, wash...

Biarritz Ocean view, all center on foot. 2 rooms 45 m² balcony

Biarritz FACE BIG BEACH ON THE GROUND FLOOR OF A RESIDENCE RAISED WELL HELD HIGH. PARKING SPACE IN RESIDENCE. 2 ROOMS IDEAL FOR HOLIDAYS WITH BEAUTIFUL SEA VIEW FROM THE BEACH AND LACES ALL BIG FOOT Biarritz. Entry. Living room with parquet floor ...

Biarritz 2 not great beach and center. 3 rooms renovated 2 bedrooms

Biarritz in the heart of St. Charles neighborhood near the main beach and the palace. private courtyard and terrace 3 stars. wifi range shopping center all walk Entry. Living room with TV, internet, new furniture. 1 bedroom opening onto a private ...

Biarritz Ocean view, all center on foot. 3 rooms 72 m² Terrace

Frontline and with stunning wide beach. beautiful and spacious terrace with sea view Entrance with hallway. Tiled living room with dining area 27.20 m 6.40 m with TV, large windows opening onto the terrace facing ocean with lounge rattan. Kitchen ...

Apartment Sleeps 2 - Biarritz

Biarritz UP BASQUE COAST. HALLS, CENTER, RESTAURANTS AND BEACHES IN FEET. PRETTY STUDIO 33 M AT 3 WITH LIFT. BALCONY OVERVIEW Wed Entrance hall with separate WC. Small room for storage (vacuum cleaner, iron) 1 bathroom, washing machine dry towel. ...

Quiet area 900m sea, nature area, lounge Wellness, terrace, private parking

Welcome in the enchanting 'CASTEL' beautiful Provencal house, you will be charmed by the authenticity of its old stones, the calm, the serenity of his planted a bunch of palm trees, bougainvillea and trees fruit. The 'CASTEL' you will reveal the e...

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