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Most Popular Beaches in France

Updated on May 5, 2013

There are many reasons why France is such a popular destination with tourists. The country has so much to offer. Art, culture, historic monuments, idyllic countryside, café terraces, fine wine and gourmet food.

One reason why sun worshippers flock to this land is the beautiful white sands. Let's take a tour of some of the most popular beaches in France.

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A markerSt. Tropez -
Saint-Tropez, France
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B markerCannes -
Cannes, France
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C markerSaint-Maxime -
Sainte-Maxime, France
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D markerSète -
Sète, France
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E markerNice -
Nice, France
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F markerPlage de Notre-Dame, Ile de Porquerolles -
Porquerolles, France
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The French Riviera

The Côte d'Azur, often known as the French Riviera, is the Mediterranean coastline of southeast France. The French Riviera is a popular yachting area and there are marinas along the coast. The largest city in the area is Nice. Nice itself has a long, pebbly beach. If you want a sandy beach, you need to head further out.

If your budget allows it and you want to mingle with the rich and famous, you should head to Cannes for the famous film festival (it usually takes place in May). A lot of the beaches in Cannes are private, as they belong to hotels. However, the Plages de la Bocca and the Plages du Midi are popular public beaches.

Similarly attracting a rich crowd is the glamorous seaside town of St. Tropez. People say that the coastline of St. Tropez shimmers like a pearl that has been dipped in gold. On the coastline, you will find expensive yachts and five-star beach resorts. Pampelonne Beach is probably the most popular beach in St. Tropez. In high season, it attracts around 30,000 people a day. Other beaches here include Plages La Glaye, La Ponche and de la Fontanette.

Not far from St. Tropez is the much more laid back port of Saint-Maxime. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants nearby for people who want to enjoy the fine French cuisine. Popular beaches there include La Nartelle, La Garonette and La Plage des Eléphants. La Plage des Eléphants was named after local author Jean de Brunhoff who wrote the series of children's stories about an elephant called Babar.

Sometimes called the Venice of Languedoc, the resort town of Sète is is the eastern starting point of the Canal du Midi. You can enjoy barge cruise holidays on the canal. It is also a good place to visit for sandy beaches. Sète also hosts a tournament of the unusual sport of water jousting during the town's annual festival.

One other particularly beautiful beach in the area is the Plage de Notre-Dame on Ile de Porquerolles. The island of Porquerolles is just off the coast near Hyères. You can get a ferry there. Most of the island is a national park. Eucalyptus and pine trees surround the bay which has beautiful sandy beaches.

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A markerLa Baule -
La Baule-Escoublac, France
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B markerQuiberon -
Quiberon, France
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C markerBelle-île -
Belle Île, France
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After the French Riviera, a popular area for beaches is the Brittany coast. Located in the North West of France, Brittany has English Channel to the north and the Atlantic ocean to the south.

The region has a mix of white-sand beaches which are fantastic for sunbathing, as well as areas of rugged, rocky coastline. There are also plenty of islands off the coast of Brittany which are well worth exploring.

One of the most popular beach destinations is La Baule. The 8km beach stretch of white sandy beach is hugely popular with both locals and tourists. The Gulf Stream keeps the waters warm and it is a great spot for sun-bathing. Full of life, the area has plenty of hotels, shops and restaurants.

Another place where you can enjoy long, sandy beaches is Quiberon. The Grande Plage is great for sun-bathing and swimming. The waters here attract many surfers and sailors. Shops and eateries are plentiful. You can along the boardwork, eating gauffres (waffles) sprinkled with powdered sugar.Further along the coastline, you can find dramatic scenery, with rocky cliffs and coves.

Just off the coast from Quiberon is Belle-île. Named 'Beautiful Island' by Greek sailors, it has some amazing beaches. The largest is Les Grands Sables (the great sands). the beauty of the island has inspired paintings and stories. It was actually a setting for The Three Musketeers by Dumas. Claude Monet also made several impressionist paintings here in the 19th century. The rocky cliffs prevent much swimming, but the views are tremendous.

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A markerBiarritz -
Biarritz, France
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B markerBiscarrosse -
Biscarrosse, France
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Atlantic Coastline

If surfing is your thing, you should probably head to the southern area of the Atlantic coastline.

This area of France, which is not far from Spain, is popular with surfers and has some beautiful beach resorts towns.

The famous resort of Biarritz is close to the Spanish border and is popular with tourists from all over the world. Le Grande Plage (Big Beach) attracts sun worshippers who settle and sunbathe on the soft sand there. Other popular beaches include Côte des Basques Beach and Milady beach. As well as shops and restaurants, there are lots of casinos to be found in this town.

For more watersports and other outdoor activities, you should head to Biscarrose. There is a beach with sand dunes which stretches for as far as the eye can see. Moving inland, you can enjoy outdoor activities like sailing on the blue lagoon lake or mountain biking and walking through the pine forests.

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A markerOmaha Beach -
Omaha Beach, 14710 Vierville-sur-Mer, France
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B markerDeauville -
Deauville, France
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Normandy Coastline

Located to to the north east of Paris and south of the English Channel is the area of Normandy.

The region has many cliffs and the area has a short summer. Even so, many people still visit this area, which is famous as being the place where Allied Troops landed on D-Day during World War II in France.

Omaha Beach attracts history enthusiasts who are keen to see where the Normandy landings happened. There are some former gun placements and underground trenches. There is also an American cemetery nearby, as well as a monument for fallen war heroes on the dunes.

The beaches of Deauville have colorful parasols and wooden boardwalks, There area is popular for a range of activities, such as jet-skiing, windsurfing, kitfe flying and sailing.


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