Please refresh the page and retry. As required, it has the lazy sunshine zest, two vast beaches of sand and shingle, unambiguous light and Alps dropping direct to the sea - but without the airhead assumptions of more ring-a-ding spots farther west. Wintering British nobles long ago set a tone, establishing gardens, good manners and Belle-Epoque elegance. These flourish on Mediterranean roots. The labyrinthine Latin old town climbs around Baroque churches steeply up its hill. Thus we have the best of all worlds - and art in the Jean Cocteau Museum, should the sand, sun and sea fail to supply an aesthetic challenge. To the south of Narbonne, the flat, unkempt Languedoc littoral suddenly sprouts the rocks of the Clape Massif. This is a most welcome development.
Palombaggia Beach, Porto-Vecchio, Corsica
The first rule on finding the best beaches in France? Don't assume they're all on the Riviera. While the famed stretch of coastline does have some unforgettable beaches, you won't want to discount the Normandy shore or the Bay of Biscay when planning your French summer getaway. From historical hotspots and hidden islands to the playgrounds of Europe's elite, here are the 17 best beaches in France. This gallery was originally published in July It has been updated with new information. Located between France and Italy, the island of Corsica feels like it belongs in two nations at once. At Porto-Vecchio, on the southern coast facing Italy and the Tyrrhenian Sea, visit Palombaggia Beach for bright, clear water; pink-tinted , rock-free sand; and gentle afternoon breezes.
The beaches of the Atlantic
This narrow beach is a perfect home base for travelers hoping for sun, sand, and a host of activities to choose from. History buffs should make a beeline to the site of the Normandy landings on D-Day. Start with a trip to the Memorial Museum in town for context, then head to the beach itself. The experience is a sobering one, but not to be missed. Photo ops abound in this tiny seaside town, which has some of the prettiest coastline in the country. This hamlet just a few miles from the Spanish border may not have the white-hot nightlife of its more famous neighbor, Banyuls-sur-Mer. But with brightly-colored wooden boats in the harbor, rows of pastel buildings overlooking the ocean, and the 17th-century Eglise Notre Dame des Anges jutting right up to the waterfront, Collioure takes the cake for Instagram-readiness. But if you have to settle on one spot, the salt air, endless stretches of sand, and minimal crowds make this the perfect all-purpose beach. Start with a stop at the morning market in town to pick up snacks and a bottle of wine from a local vineyard.
It might be better known for pioneering gastronomy and world-class museums — plus that ineffable eyeful of a tower. We have some ideas. So plop on that beret, grab a baguette, some boursin and a bottle of red — and head down to spend the day at one of these idyllic coastal destinations. Seeking the ultimate romantic getaway? Take your significant other to the wild and wonderful Massif des Calanques, a series of narrow limestone coves between towering cliffs spread along 20 kilometres of rugged coastline between Cassis and Marseille. Beach clubs, beautiful white sand and a boho vibe are on offer at this world-famous strand in chic and sunny Saint-Tropez, a resort basically synonymous with one Brigitte Bardot. These days the A-listers you can expect to spot rubbing sun oil on their buff ish bodies include Bono, Leonardo DiCaprio and Naomi Campbell.