7 of France's best beach resorts for summer

With more than 4,800 km of coastline, France offers a dizzying range of places for a seaside holiday. The Mediterranean is an obvious choice, but there's plenty of appeal among the towns and villages along France's Atlantic and Channel coasts as well.

France's best beach resorts for summer 2024/2025
France's best beach resorts for summer 2024/2025 © Gaël Chardon - Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Given its proximity to the UK, it's no wonder that France continues to be one of the most popular holiday destinations for families. If you're planning your summer getaway, look no further than Pierre & Vacances*, which has a wide selection of beautiful resorts, apartments and villas dotted around the French coastline. Not sure where to start? Have a look at of these much loved resorts for inspiration.

1. Antibes, Côte d'Azur

Between Antibes and its neighbour, Juan-les-Pins, you have an enticing blend of ancient and modern. Lose yourself in the historic streets of Antibes' old town and its 16th-century ramparts.

Eventually you'll find your way to the tantalising food stalls at the Marché Provençal before admiring some of Picasso's paintings in the impressive chateau that houses the Picasso Museum.

Ramparts of the old town of Antibes, Côte d'Azur
Ramparts of the old town of Antibes, Côte d'Azur © Hop Phan - Flickr Creative Commons

Then head over to Juan-les-Pins, where ghosts of the Jazz Age haunt the elegant art deco hotels. Pull up a sunlounger in one of Juan-les-Pins' wide sandy beaches, or pitch up on one of Antibes' intimate coves.

At the Pierre & Vacances Résidence Premium Port-Prestige*, you're seconds away from the marina at Port Vauban as well as the narrow lanes of the old town. There's a large outdoor pool, and the residence is only a few minutes from the sands of Plage de la Gravette.

2. St Tropez, Côte d'Azur

Beyond the glittering yachts in St Tropez's port - which make for great people-watching - there's plenty to enjoy in the Riviera's most famous resort that doesn't require an oligarch's income.

Take in the panoramic views of the Bay of St Tropez from the roof terrace of the Citadelle de St Tropez, a 17th-century fortified castle that also features the Museum of Maritime History.

The colourful port of St Tropez, Côte d'Azur
The colourful port of St Tropez, Côte d'Azur © Nicolas Vasse - Flickr Creative Commons

Relax on the family friendly Plage de la Bouillabaisse and Plage des Salins, or the charming little Plage de la Ponche. Come on a Tuesday or Saturday morning to browse the large outdoor market in the Place des Lices.

Set in the hills above St Tropez is the Pierre & Vacances Village Les Restanques du Golfe du St-Tropez*, where you can bask in the views of the bay and make use of the giant outdoor pool and kids' club.

3. Calvi, Corsica

Corsica's rugged northwestern coast harbours one of the most attractive towns in France. Calvi stands out for its distinctive 13th-century citadel, which commands a lofty position on a promontory.

Cosy cafés are squeezed into its cobbled alleyways, but you'll find an even greater number of places to eat and drink along the lively promenade facing the marina. Carry on walking towards Calvi's broad sweep of sandy beach, surely one of the best city beaches in France.

Cycling in the hills of Calvi, Corsica
Cycling in the hills of Calvi, Corsica © Lettas - Fotolia.com

For a change of scene, take the little train that chugs along the Balagne coast to l'Ile Rousse, stopping at beautiful beaches along the way.

About a 20-minute walk from Calvi's city beach, you'll find Pierre & Vacances Domaine Villas Mandarine*, a smart collection of single-storey villas with their own private pools.

4. Collioure, Roussillon

Take one look at this enchanting village on the western Mediterranean coast and you'll instantly see why it attracted Matisse and other artists in the early 20th century.

Collioure marks the start of French Catalonia's heavily indented Côte Vermeille - the vermilion coast - and its deep-red sunsets against the vivid turquoise of the sea will make you want to take up painting.

You'll soon be charmed by its 13th-century Chateau Royal, sloping narrow streets, an antique lighthouse that's now a church bell tower, as well as cute little sandy beaches lined with restaurant terraces. Art lovers can check out paintings by Matisse and his cohorts at the Museum of Modern Art.

Facing Collioure's bay, Pierre & Vacances' apartments at Les Balcons de Collioure* offer wonderful views of the village, as well as a heated pool.

5. Biarritz, Pays Basque

Chic and bohemian at the same time, Biarritz has some of the best beaches in France along its long stretch of the Atlantic coast.

Join the surfers on the Plage de la Côte des Basques, or flop on the huge expanse of the aptly named Grande Plage.

La Grande Plage at Biarritz, Pays Basque
La Grande Plage at Biarritz, Pays Basque © Angela Guedes - Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the marine life at the Biarritz Aquarium, where seals frolic in the outdoor pool.

After a trawl through the food stalls at Les Halles, stop by one of the lively market cafés for the Basque version of tapas.

At the Pierre & Vacances Haguna Apartments*, you're only a five-minute walk from the Grande Plage. Chill out on the roof terrace after relaxing in the sauna and steam room.

6. Deauville, Normandy

Enjoy a taste of Hollywood in Deauville, one of the most elegant beach resorts in France.

As you stroll along its 1920s boardwalk, Les Planches, you pass bathing cabins marked with names of Hollywood stars who have come to the annual American Film Festival held in late summer.

Deauville's distinctive multi-coloured umbrellas on the wide sandy beach make a pretty sight, along with its fairy-tale half-timbered Norman architecture full of turrets and gables.

As a bonus, you have its near neighbour Trouville within a short walk - with another huge beach to relax on, as well as a celebrated fish market.

Stay in the heart of the town but within a few minutes' walk of the beach at the Pierre & Vacances Résidence Le Castel Normand*. You'll be close to Deauville's legendary Casino Barrière, as well as its central square, Place de Morny.

7. St Malo, Brittany

Stately St Malo combines a fascinating history with fabulous long sandy beaches. Wander through the Intra-Muros, the ancient walled centre that's home to St Malo's impressive gothic cathedral as well as a warren of cobbled streets.

At low tide, you can walk to the island of Grand Bé, resting place of the French writer Chateaubriand.

For sweeping views of the coast, walk around the ramparts, where you can see the town's seemingly endless sandy beaches.

The historic port city of St Malo, Brittany, France
The historic port city of St Malo, Brittany, France © Antoine2k - Fotolia.com

Take the seafront promenade that leads to Grande Plage du Sillon, or treat yourself to a seawater treatment at a thalassotherapy spa.

Just south of the town is the pleasant suburb of St Servan, which has its own sandy beach and marina. Choose one of the airy apartments at Pierre & Vacances Résidence Ty Mat*, which also has an outdoor pool.

This selection of French beach resorts is barely even the tip of sand castle. There are countless spots where you can expect a warm welcome for that dreamy beach holiday along the French coast, be it in the Med, Channel or along the Atlantic.

Check out the latest deals on stays at Pierre & Vacances properties, to find a great value place to call home that won't break the bank this summer. Remember, you can also find out more about the weather in France's beach resorts, and see when we think is the best time to go.

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Mary Novakovich

Mary Novakovich

Mary Novakovich is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and author. She often writes about Croatia, France, Italy and Greece for the likes of The Independent, The Guardian and The Telegraph. Mary has also written numerous guidebooks and a travel memoir, "My Family and Other Enemies: Life and Travels in Croatia's Hinterland".

Posted on Tuesday 20th March 2018 in: Beach Europe Summer

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