There's a beach for you in Cote d'Azur
There are some beautiful beaches along the Cote d'Azur (the coast of azure) which stretches for 115 kilometres and is fringed by the Mediterranean. Many of the beaches are large golden stretches of sand where you can lie out and feel the warmth of the beautiful sun. If you prefer you can relax in the shade of a palm tree with a book or find a beach with good water sports. Wherever you choose, the gorgeous azure waters of the Mediterranean are just a stone's throw away, tempting you to enjoy a cooling dip or to explore the fascinating world that lies beneath the waves.
Family fun or peaceful solitude.
The beaches vary greatly from large expanses of fine white sand to small bays with wave- polished pebbles. Some of the beaches are fringed by lawns and others by soaring cliffs. There are private coves for two and large sandy beaches with designated swimming areas for family safety and fun. There are many beaches offering facilities such as showers, toilets and restaurants, and others simply the shade from a palm tree. Some beaches are private and either not accessible at all or only on the payment of an entry fee, many others are public, and some have special facilities for those with mobility problems. Dogs are allowed on many (note to owners: please take your bags with you to keep the beach pristine) and on others, barbecues are allowed as long as the beach is left in a good condition afterwards - for others to enjoy.
Or find a quieter corner.
Whilst the beaches of Saint-Tropez can get very busy in the summer, the lovely beaches of Sainte-Maxime situated just across the bay, remain quieter and the main sandy beach – Casino Beach - is within walking distance of the town. Situated right next to the marina, Casino Beach has fine sand which is kept really tidy. The beach has showers, a restaurant and water sports and importantly, offers good access for those with reduced mobility. The town's other main beach is Plage de la Nartelle which is a great family beach with two kilometres of sand, sun parasols and water sports. The private beach close by is considered very chic, as are the little coves of Pointe des Sarinaux. Further along the coast is a lovely narrow sandy beach called Plage des Eléphants. The beach gets its name because Jean and Cécile de Brunhoff, creators of the popular children's character, Babar, used to live in a villa overlooking the bay. If it is peace and serenity that you are seeking, somewhere like Les Issambres is the perfect choice as it is small and has a handful of quiet beaches. Situated 24 kilometres from Saint-Tropez and 13 km west of Fréjus, it is the favoured destination by those 'in the know'. Its main beach is Plage de la Gaillarde which stretches 150 metres along the coast. There is a place to rent beach equipment and in the summer it is supervised, but basically it is just a fine sandy beach with beautiful water for swimming. The other beaches in the area are smaller but all have fine sand and of course, the sea for a tempting dip.
Or a rich history...
If you are heading towards Monaco, do build in some time to stop at Mala Beach in Cap d'Ail. Access is either down about 100 steps or along what is commonly known as the ‘Chemin des Douaniers’ (Path of the customs officers). The effort is well worth it as it is a pretty beach surrounded by cliffs. There is a large private part that is sandy and has two tempting restaurants to relax over a meal and cool drink and there is a large pebbly public area. Swimming is good here and it is fun to swim out to the rocks or around into one of the neighbouring bays. If you prefer somewhere quieter, continue along the cliff path as there are several quite coves. The Larvotto Beach in Monaco offers a sharp contrast to the Grand Prix circuit and the lively casinos and has a relaxing tempo. La Note Bleue is an attractive jazz club that is open all day with a menu of good fusion food. In Antibes, the public beaches are extremely popular and Plage de la Salis is definitely one of them, as it is well known for its beautiful white sand beach and good views of the old town. In July and August it really does feel like peak season and can get a little too hectic, but during the rest of the year it is simply lovely. There is a very special and intriguing beach at Beaulieu-sur-Mer called La Petite Afrique – Little Africa. The reason for this is that this area has its own microclimate with some of the highest temperatures in France. The setting is very exotic with a large beach with fine white sand and fringed by an array of lush exotic trees. It is the perfect place to stretch out on a towel and day dream.
Beach life – perfect all day through at the french riviera.
With so many different beaches in the Cote d'Azur, it is fun to explore a number to find the one that suits you best for daytime relaxation or the adrenalin rush from good water sports. Each of the beaches takes on a completely different character as the dawn breaks. A stroll along the sand gives a great feeling of peace and solitude, with just the sea birds and fishing boats as company. At the other end of the day, as the sun begins to sink, the beach is a perfect place for a sunset stroll with two glasses and a bottle of wine, to enjoy the full magic of the Cote d'Azur...