Top 15 Most Beautiful Beaches on the French Riviera

Do you fancy a road trip on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur in French) or just looking for a nice quiet beach to spend a few hours or even the day? Here is our selection of the most beautiful beaches on the coast. With turquoise waters, forests, cliffs and breathtaking views, a change of scenery is guaranteed.


Plage de la Mala (Cap d’Ail)

plage mala
Mala Beach – Credit: Thierry Ilansades under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

Often considered to be the most beautiful on the French Riviera, discover the Mala beach and its crystal clear water in the Cap d’Ail. Between Monaco and Nice, it offers a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean and the island of Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat.

Accessible by the customs path, the beach is well worth the effort. There are two private beaches to relax and enjoy a cocktail as well as a public beach to spend a day with the family.

For the more sports-oriented ones, the surrounding cliffs offer excellent spots for diving.

For the public beach, don’t hesitate to come early to have space to lay down your towel.


Plage de la Calanque d’En-Vau (Cassis)

Calanque d'En Vaut à Cassis
Calanque d’En-Vau – Credit: Bastien Guigue, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the heart of the Calanques National Park, admire the high white limestone cliffs and the crystal clear waters. The pebble beach is located at the bottom of the canyon after a hike.

The place is perfect for kayaking as well as for the more curious of you since wild boars can be seen cooling off in the water.

Access is regulated to limit the risk of fire in order to preserve the natural beauty of this place. Don’t forget to bring enough water.


Plage de la Réserve (Nice)


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Relax on the Plage de la Réserve in Nice. Located just after the port on the way to the Cap de Nice, this beach is one of the people’s favourite spots in Nice.

Here you can see the Cap de Nice, Mont Boron and the port while enjoying the incredibly clear and clean water.

Due to erosion, the beach is made up of a succession of small creeks.

Enjoy the sun and the light to experience the dolce vita of Nice on the beach of the Reserve.

Remember to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon as the beach is quite small.


Plage de l’Estagnol (Bormes-les-Mimosas)

Estagnol beach in Bormes les Mimosas
Estagnol beach – Credit: Benoit Mouren via creative commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

This white sandy beach has a wild look and is well shaded by the pine trees that surround it.

There are generally few people here out of season and you can enjoy an incredible view of the Cap de Léoube, the island of Porquerolles and the peninsula of Giens.

Considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Var, the Estagnol beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas will provide you with a pleasant moment of relaxation, swimming and games with family, friends and lovers.

The beach is very busy so make sure you arrive early enough to enjoy the day.


Plage de Pampelonne (Ramatuelle)

Pampelonne beach
Pampelone beach – Credit: avu-edm, via creative commons, via wikimedia

Just a stone’s throw from Saint Tropez, Pampelonne beach in Ramatuelle, made famous by Brigitte Bardot, offers 5 kilometers of fine white sand.

Don’t hesitate to bring walking shoes as the beach offers a pathway to the Escalet beach.


Plage du Château (Mandelieu)


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Discover the Château de la Napoule and its beach in Mandelieu. This small, beautiful and clean beach offers a magnificent view of the Lerins Islands. Visit the castle before going down to enjoy the shade it provides and sit on the beach for a relaxing moment or a picnic.

The beach is small but less crowded than other beaches in French Riviera. However, don’t hesitate to come early enough to enjoy the best spots.


Plage des Anglais (Saint Raphaël)


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The Plage des Anglais or Calanques des Anglais in Saint Raphaël stands out. Its three red pebble coves surrounded by red cliffs are what gives the calanque its charm. The crystal clear water and the red stones offer a breathtaking view.

Enjoy an intimate setting in a paradise-like setting. It is perfect for an outing with your family, friends or lover.

The access to the beach is quite difficult but worth it, so don’t forget to bring good shoes.


Plage de la crique des Pêcheurs (Monaco)


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Just a stone’s throw from Monaco, the narrow pebble beach of Creek des Pêcheurs is ideal for those seeking peace and quiet in a breathtaking setting.

The beach is relatively uncrowded but access is forbidden during difficult weather.


Plage du Débarquement (Saint Raphaël)


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Here’s a bit of history with the landing beach in Saint Raphaël. This pebble beach offers a little sand 20 meters from the shore for sensitive feet.

This beach is steeped in history and was the scene of the Provence landings on August 15th 1944, but today it offers a magnificent view of the Île d’Or.


Plage de l’Eléphant (Lavandou)

Much quieter than the Promenade des Anglais, the beach of La Garoupe in Antibes offers you turquoise water and a breathtaking view of the bay. At the foot of the mountains, you can see the peaks of the Alps.

Consisting of a main part and a small, very accessible cove, the Garoupe beach welcomes you for a relaxing day with your family or your friends.


Plage du midi (Cannes)

Midi beach
Midi beach – Credit: MOSSOT, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This fine sandy beach, far from the shops and the hustle and bustle of the town, offers you one of the most beautiful views of the Esterel and the Lerins Islands.

A magnificent view and a calm atmosphere; everything is gathered for a successful afternoon or evening for love.

The beach is usually very busy. Make sure you come early enough to find the perfect spot for your day of relaxation and fun.


Plage de Saint-Estève (Îles du Frioul)


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This half-sand, half-pebble beach, sheltered from the mistral, offers a total change of scenery thanks to the turquoise waters which are typical of the Mediterranean sea. A terrace is available during the summer.

Located on the island of Frioul, access is by boat. Remember to check the schedules and prefer the month of June to the high season, the beach is less busy.


Notre Dame Beach (Porquerolles)

Notre Dame Porquerolles
Notre Dame beach – Credit: PQR, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on the island of Porquerolles, the fine sandy beach of Notre Dame has been voted as the most beautiful beach in Europe. With its wood bay surrounding crystal clear waters, the change of scenery is guaranteed to move you and the view is unforgettable.


 Calanque de Sormiou (Marseille)

The Calanque de Sormiou is one of the most beautiful beaches in Marseille. Discover the “cabanons”, houses built to store boats, which have now become very popular holiday resorts.

Enjoy the sandy and pebbled beach as well as the cooled-down water due to a freshwater spring that flows into it.

Beware of the opening hours of the access by car, the journey on foot is difficult under the sun, especially for children.