Best Beaches in the French Riviera

Famous for crystal-clear waters and opulent resorts, the French Riviera is notoriously busy during the summer. However, as your travel experts, we know where to go for quieter beaches on the Côte d'Azur.

Beaches

The French Riviera has a reputation for its elegance and beauty. With smart resorts and five-star hotels scattered along the coastline and glamorous beaches interspersed with hidden gems, there's so much to uncover along this dramatic coastline. Whether you've been considering a relaxing week in St Tropez or a cultural escape to Antibes, our team can direct you to the best beaches in the south of France.

When you travel to the Côte d'Azur with us, you'll experience the 'true' French Riviera and forgo the tourist traps. Instead, we'll put together an itinerary that involves authentic local experiences and sumptuous yet traditional Niçoise cuisine. Our experts have meticulously scoured beaches from Toulon to Menton to make sure you make the most of your time on the coast.

If you’d like our expert help planning a trip that doesn't miss any of the best beaches in the Côte d'Azur, speak with our team of specialists. We'll take care of your itinerary and make sure you have time to enjoy everything the region has to offer.

Where Are The Best Beaches In The French Riviera?

Nice

There are notable private beaches in Nice, with public ones in between, stretching over four miles from the airport to the Vieux Port. It's worth noting that the beaches in Nice are pebble and can be quite steep in parts. This makes them a little tricky to navigate for younger children.

Ruhl Plage, Nice, South of France
Ruhl Plage

If you're looking for something suitable for the whole family, one of the best private beaches in Nice is Ruhl Plage. With a pleasing vintage feel, you'll be free to walk across the wooden platform and take the shabby-chic steps into the sea – avoiding any uncomfortable pebbles underfoot. Meanwhile, an attentive lifeguard will keep a watchful eye over children playing in the water.

You'll find 80 private cabins where you can take a shower, and to escape the summer heat, head to the lounge area for a delightful Niçoise salad and a glass of wine from a local vineyard.

Èze

Plage d'Èze in Èze sur mer
Plage d'Èze

Couples looking for a secluded beach to escape to on the Côte d'Azur should head to Èze-sur-Mer . The calm waters of this public beach offer some of the best swimming experiences on the French Riviera. You'll also find plenty of amenities for active couples, including scuba diving and sailing clubs.

The beach is book-ended with private beach clubs, one of which is Anjuna. Nestled at the bottom of the cliff of the hilltop medieval village of Èze-Village, this foodie hotspot serves up seafood specialities like oysters and lobster linguine.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat
Plage de Passable

Away from the bustle of Nice, the Plage de Passable sits in a little cove in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. There's a restaurant, sun loungers for hire and water sports to try, but the cherry on the cake is the view; on a clear day, you'll be able to admire the panoramic vistas across the Bay of Villefranche.

Paloma Beach
Paloma Beach

On the other side of the peninsula is the little shingle beach of Paloma. This protected cove is popular with families and boasts great facilities, including paddleboard hire, jet skiing, water skiing and even parasailing. Half the beach is private and often frequented by celebrities, while the other section is open to the public.

If you start feeling peckish, stop off at Paloma Beach Club. Serving up high-end Mediterranean cuisine, you can expect fresh seafood, delicate goat cheese salads, and tasty pasta dishes. There's also the option to add some premium items to each dish – think fresh truffles and cheeses.

Villefrance-sur-Mer

Bay of Villefranche
Plage des Marinieres

Villefranche-sur-Mer is said to be home to one of the five most beautiful bays in the world. It has retained the charm of an authentic fishing village while still having the same air of glitz and glamour you'd expect of anywhere on the French Riviera.

The water is calm and the views are incredible, making it one of the more popular beaches on the Côte d’Azur.

Cap-d’Ail

Eden Plage Mala, Cap d'Ail
Plage Mala

A small and secluded beach set in luscious surroundings, Plage Mala is well worth a visit.

There are two restaurants and a safe, shallow swimming section, making this beach ideal for groups with younger children. However, access is only possible via several steps through a pine forest. Unfortunately, this means it's not ideal for pushchairs or very young children. If you can battle through, you'll be met with one of the most calm and quiet beaches on the Côte d'Azur. Book a sun lounger at the beach club for the most comfortable sunbathing experience.

Antibes

Juan les Pins, South of France
Juan-les-Pins

The chic Juan-les-Pins was hugely popular in the 1930s and 40s, with many Hollywood stars (including Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich) visiting it. This debonair resort is renowned for sandy beaches, smart eateries and high-end fashion boutiques, but it's less flashy than Cannes and Monaco.

Cap d'Antibes, South of France
Plage Keller

If you're looking for an open, sandy beach, it's worth visiting Plage Keller. At this relaxed beach club on the Cap d’Antibes peninsula, you can reserve sunbeds on the beach, terrace or pontoon. The bay is sheltered from the wind, making it one of our favourite calm spots – especially if you have children in tow.

Cannes

Le Croisette
La Croisette

For glitz and the buzz of the south of France, nothing beats the beach along La Croisette in Cannes. You’ll need to make a reservation at one of the restaurants, but you can stay there for the afternoon topping up your glass with chilled local rosé.

Aerial view of Théoule-sur-Mer beach
Théoule-sur-Mer

Just west of Cannes, this area is popular with celebrities looking to get away from some of the crowds. There are several public and private beaches boasting golden sand and turquoise waters. And with the exceptionally fresh food and quietly luxurious hotels, this tranquil spot is one of the true gems of the French Riviera.

St Tropez

Pampelonne Beach
Pampelonne Beach

The famous Pampelonne Beach is the best one to go to for people-watching, but this means it gets incredibly busy. If you're able to bear the crowds, it has superb facilities including some exceptional restaurants.

How do we choose the best beaches in the French Riviera?

We know that choosing a beach is just as important as the hotel you stay in and the vineyards you visit. If you're looking for a place to relax and unwind next to the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean, our experts know all the best spots.

When you choose us, you don't need to worry about ending up on an overcrowded beach that's teeming with tourists. Instead, our experts use their extensive local knowledge to personally recommend the best French Riviera beaches for you. Whether you need a child-friendly bay or a strictly adult section, we'll arrange sun loungers ahead of your arrival and a table at the beach club.

FAQs about the beaches in the French Riviera

  • What can I expect at the public beaches in the French Riviera?

    Both public and private beaches in the French Riviera are sophisticated, but they have differing atmospheres.

    The best public beaches are usually tucked away, frequented only by locals soaking up the evening sunshine. Despite this, most still have well-kept changing rooms and casual dining options. Public beaches attract a more diverse clientele and are more laid-back, meaning they're an excellent choice for families.

  • What can I expect at the private beaches in the French Riviera?

    The private beaches in the French Riviera are exclusive, accessible only via beach clubs or luxurious hotels. The amenities are unmatched – comfortable sun loungers and cabanas are often provided as standard and the option to sample some fine Niçoise cuisine and fresh seafood is a given. Private beaches are more serene and often attract celebrities.

  • Can I rent beach equipment or book activities in advance?

    Yes, you can. Our itineraries are completely flexible, so you can play it by ear and choose your activities on the day if that's what you want.

    If you'd like to rent beach equipment on a particular day or don't want to miss out on any activities while you're in the French Riviera, it's usually best to book in advance – especially during peak season.

    We'll let you know which activities or beach clubs require an advanced booking and make your reservations for you. All you need to do is turn up and enjoy your day.

Lavender fields in the South of France
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