The French Riviera is seemingly overflowing with amazing beaches to visit. But to find the crème de la crème, that perfect combination of the most-golden sands, azure seas and a flawless beach restaurant (or two!) takes some looking. Luckily, we have done the hard work for you, rounding up the three best beaches on the Cote d’Azur. Grab your sunglasses, order a glass of champagne and get ready for a perfect South of France summer…you’re welcome.
Agay Bay, Agay
Nestling under the Esterel mountains is a secluded string of beaches, unaffected by the popularity of the French Riviera and with their natural beauty remaining intact. These lie in the quiet village of Agay, a much smaller and more tranquil place than neighbouring towns but nevertheless charming, with an impressive range of eateries for its size. Try the elegant La Belle Vie, which has a wide selection of delicious dishes ranging from seafood to steak. Request a table in the garden terrace, and soak up the last of the rays as you enjoy a sundowner aperitif.
Agay is backed by a string of small cafes and shops offering all the amenities needed for a week’s stay, and there are a number of villas near this French Riviera beach running up the steep hill behind. Numerous sporting activities such as kayak and jet-ski are also available on the water, yet somehow the tranquility remains unspoilt in this little spot of heaven. Be sure to explore all of Agay’s beaches during your stay; we promise it’ll be worth it.
Plage de Notre-Dame, Ile de Porquerolles
This car-free island can get busy in the height of summer, but it’s definitely worth the trip. Take a trip to the Northern side of Porquerolles, described by some as France’s own mini Caribbean. Here you will find the white sands of Plage de Notre-Dame, surrounded by beautiful pine trees and uniquely scented by the near growing herbs. After spending a day in full relaxation, dine at the quirky Le Jardin des Coquillages, open from 18.30 every evening and offering a sumptuous selection of shellfish. Best enjoyed with a chilled glass of white wine…
If you can’t get enough of Plage de Notre-Dame, you can also stay the night on the idyllic island. For accommodation choose between Le Mas du Langoustier, a peaceful hideaway with excellent cooking and a relaxing spa, and Villa Sainte Anne, a centrally-located family-friendly hotel. Make the most of the balmy evening there as the last of day trippers trickle away, leaving you to enjoy the picturesque beach all to yourself.
Garavan Bay, Menton
Menton is considered to be the one of the warmest places on the Côte d’Azur, thanks to wind-protection from the surrounding mountains, so what better place to have a beach? And Garavan beach in Menton really is a triumph. The backdrop of its beautiful old town and stunning views of the rockface more than make up for its status as a pebble beach. Indeed, Garavan was artificially created out of very small pebbles, which are very comfortable to lie and walk on. Beach-goers will also notice that there are almost no waves here compared to neighbouring Baie du Soleil, which is prone to strong wave conditions, making Garavan much more ideal for anyone who loves to swim.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite in the ocean you only have to go a few steps to reach Port Garavan, a high-end restaurant offering the very best of French and Italian Riviera cuisine. Enjoy your meal on one of the restaurant’s two terraces and take in beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Relax and soak in Menton’s unique atmosphere as you watch the sun set, before laying your head to rest at one of the nearby villas with beaches on the South of France. It’ll be a holiday you’ll never forget.
Author: Colette Flowerdew-Kincaid