Where to soak up the sun on the Cote d’Azur
By Kelly Cronin
The French Riviera is famous for its beaches, so the decision of which ones to head to can be pretty difficult. Stretching along the gorgeous coastline of the Mediterranean, the crystal blue waters will make you want to dive in head first. After all, it is called the Cote d’Azur for a reason. The beaches vary between rocky nooks, cliffside paradises, some remote island stretches and the sandy beach bar places. The following guide gives you a complete list of the best beaches on the French Riviera (according to us), whether you like popular spots or prefer to do some solo sunbathing. Here’s a list of the best beaches on the French Riviera:
Juan les Pins
Just next to Antibes, between Nice and Cannes, is a small beach town by the name of Juan les Pins. The long stretch of beach here is a hotspot for locals, who prefer this to the typical touristy beaches in Cannes and Nice. There are actually many beaches dotted along the coast of Juan les Pins with many of them adorned by beach bars and restaurants. If you fancy spending your beach day in a lounge chair and being served drinks and food, these are the places to be.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds, find one of the inlet beaches that can be a bit quieter and sheltered with warm, turquoise waters. Watch the waves splash against the rocky coastline. The sand is a bit softer here than at the Nice beach, although not quite like the Bahamas. However, the relaxing atmosphere here is incredible and will surely bring you a good time whether by yourself, with friends or family.
If you’re looking for a lively beach scene, head to the long stretch in Cannes! Along the famous Boulevard de la Croisette, the sandy beach in Cannes is a popular spot for its beautiful views, huge size and awesome beach bars. This is an awesome option if you plan to spend the whole day at the beach, but don’t feel like bringing everything but the kitchen sink with you. All around are shops, restaurants, cafés, parking and anything else you could want for a day. You could also spend half the day exploring the old town in Cannes or checking out where the Cannes Film Festival happens every year.
A popular beach bar for fun day drinking is Plage de la Mandala. Soak up the sun in their lounge beds, or dance with your feet in the sand to their lively music. Of course, the best way to enjoy is with a glass (or bottle) of chilled rosé in hand.
Isle de Sainte Marguerite
Off the coast of Cannes are two beautiful islands that you may have never even heard of. If you want a quieter, more exotic beach experience, Isle de Sainte Marguerite is the place to go. After exploring the fortress on the island, walk along the coast to find little nooks and crannies that are awesome beaches where you won’t bump into many crowds.
If the turquoise blue water convinces you to go in for a dip, you can even consider snorkeling or scuba diving around here. The water between the islands is home to many beautiful species of fish and aquatic animals, making it a spectacular view from under the sea. You can also rent a boat for the day to truly make the most of the “island getaway”.
Paloma – Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat
Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat is where the wealthy spend beautiful sunny days at the beach or in their villas. Traditionally known for being a hot spot for royals to vacation, the peninsula is a more discrete, quiet area of the Riviera with both beautiful scenery and luxury services.
Paloma is the main beach, with the famous Paloma beach bar here. Aside from the beautiful bar and restaurant, you can also enjoy a variety of water sports from Paloma. Rent paddle boards, jetskis or hire a boat for the day. Paloma is tailored to luxury, so you can be sure to have an epic beach day here.
Plage de la Mala – Cap-d’Ail
Okay I know I have mentioned Plage de la Mala before, but it is truly one of my favorite spots in the world. To get to the beach, you climb down some stairs while you take in the incredible views. When you park and walk up to the walkway, you would never expect such a stunning landscape just below. The beach is a beautiful inlet filled with turquoise waters and yachts in the distance.
The two restaurants (La Réserve de la Mala and Eden Plage Mala) have incredible dining options, drinks, sun loungers and even entertainment (there were silk dancers last time I was there!) to give a suave, unforgettable beach experience. These full-service beach bars make this little hidden beach on the Riviera feel like a luxury resort you will never want to leave, even though its just a few minutes from Monaco. Spend the afternoon soaking up the sun and swimming in the crystal clear waters at this amazing beach on the French Riviera.