Côte d'Azur: elegant beach holidays
Seaside resort:
Côte d'Azur - French Coast
Map:

Côte d'Azur in brief

 

Visit the Côte d'Azur for white sand beaches, sophisticated nightlife, centuries of history, excellent water sports, top restaurants and scenery.

Location:

Southern France

Nearest airport:

Nice Côte d'Azur

Key resorts & areas:

Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Menton, St Tropez, Monaco

Major sights & activities:

Sailing, wine tasting, nature walks, windsurfing, diving, waterskiing, coastal drives, Vieux Nice, Calanques National Park, Route du Baroque Nisso-Ligure

Best time to go

June to September; July and August is the peak season

Did you know?

The Côte d'Azur has over 3,000 restaurants, 38 of which have picked up around 50 Michelin stars between them, ensuring top-quality dining.

 

Beach holidays in Côte d'Azur

 

The Côte d'Azur (also known as the French Riviera) is a byword for glamorous sun-soaked beach holidays. One of the most popular travel destinations in Europe, the region is made up of the part of the French coastline that runs from Théoule-sur-Mer in the west to Menton, right next to Italy.

The region is most famous for attracting A-list celebrities to events such as the Cannes film festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, but there’s much more to the Côte d'Azur than its high-profile guests. The area is rich in history and has some truly stunning natural scenery that complements the gorgeous beaches along the coast.

These are some of the most popular beach destinations for holidaymakers visiting the Côte d'Azur:

 

Nice

Nice is the capital of the French Riviera and offers both 7 km of luxurious beaches and plenty of historical and cultural attractions, as well as some fantastic sports and dining. One top draw for tourists is Vieux Nice, the city’s fascinating old town. These are some of the main highlights of a beach holiday to Nice:

  • Castel (Castle) beach - This is a spacious, lively beach located at the foot of Nice’s Castle Hill. There are both private and public sections.
  • Plage Beau Rivage - This is a wide public beach with easy access to the water. It’s a popular destination thanks to its high-quality restaurants and good mix of budget and luxury dining options.
  • Blue Beach - This is the beach to visit if you’re interested in watersports such as parasailing, water skiing and wakeboarding.

 

Cannes

As you might expect, Cannes is highly popular thanks to its celebrity visitors. The city has an interesting old town (Le Suquet) and around 7.5 km of fine white sand beaches, including:

  • Boulevard du Midi - This cluster of beaches is particularly popular with the locals. The public beaches include Plage du Midi and Plage Laugier, and there are several more private beaches.
  • Le Croisette - This is the most popular set of beaches in Cannes, with many sections reserved for celebrities when the film festival starts in May. Plage Macé is a municipal beach with free and paid sections, and there are many more private beaches.
  • Port Canto - A mixture of public and private beaches can be found here, with reasonable prices. Bijou Plage has the only non-smoking beach in the area.

 

Antibes

Antibes is a scenic port town with several beaches nearby and a fascinating history, including visits from high-profile names such as Picasso. The beaches here include:

  • Plage de la Gravette - This is a beautiful white sand public beach located close to Old Antibes. The waters are child-friendly thanks to their shallow nature.
  • Ponteil - This is a lovely, accessible curved beach ideal for sailing and kayaking, and is family-friendly. 
  • La Garoupe - The La Garoupe set of beaches is seen as a rather glamorous destination and is sometimes argued to be the birthplace of sunbathing. The beaches are increasingly popular and are close to some excellent restaurants.

 

Menton

Menton is a picturesque medieval town characterised by narrow winding lanes, orange and lemon orchards and, of course, its pretty beaches. Its location next to Italy means it enjoys the best of the Mediterranean climate in the region. These are the beaches to head to:

  • Plage de Fossan - This sheltered beach is one of the few sandy stretches in Menton, and is wide and child-friendly. The fact that it’s non-smoking should also appeal to families.
  • Plage Sablettes - Another family-friendly sand beach, Plage Sablettes features shallow waters, a trampoline and some good nearby restaurants.
  • Plage Rondelli - This is a sandy, wide beach that can get busy in the peak season. Volleyball enthusiasts will want to put Plage Rondelli on their list of places to visit.

 

St Tropez

Perhaps the most well-known resort in Europe, St Tropez is famous for its glamorous appeal as created by Brigitte Bardot back in the 1950s. While its beaches are the most popular attraction, the town also has its fair share of interesting things to see and do. These are the main beaches in St Tropez:

  • Pampelonne - This is the most famous beach in St Tropez and boasts almost 5 km of fine white sand. It enjoys both stunning natural surroundings and a sophisticated nightlife.
  • Plage des Salins - Situated 7 km from St Tropez, this beach is a favourite of the locals and is somewhat quieter than other beaches in the area. Another much smaller and even more tranquil beach can found further north.
  • Plage des Canoubiers - This is a town beach situated 4 km from the town that is among the best of the local beaches. It measures 400 m long. St Clair beach is also nearby.

 

Monaco

The principality of Monaco is another glamorous part of the Côte d'Azur, with top attractions including the casinos of Monte Carlo and the celebrities who frequently visit the area. Its beaches are largely man-made and include:

  • Larvotto - This pebble beach is the most popular in Monaco - and the only public one. It can get particularly busy in the peak summer season but is still attractive for the nearby restaurants and watersports facilities.
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