Top 10 beaches in France

What makes France such a popular beach holiday destination is that there is such a diverse selection of beaches from stretches of golden sands to rocky bays back by dramatic cliffs. Whether looking for safe waters for the family, soft white sands for sunbathing, rocky coves to explore or shallow waters for snorkelling, there is something for everyone.

Boasting around 1,200 miles of beaches along three stretches of coastline, beaches make up 35% off France's coastline running from the dramatic cliffs in Normandy to the long stretches of golden sands and warm waters of the Mediterranean in the South of France.

  • Baie de Trépassés // Brittany

    Baie des Trépassés - Brittany Foudebassans / CC BY

    The beautiful unspoilt beach of Baie de Trépassés is tucked away behind the rugged Pointe du Raz, France's most westerly point. These jagged 70 metre cliffs not only provide a stunning backdrop but help protect the beach from the south-westerly winds. However, there is no getting away from the fact this is an exposed beach which often... read more »

  • St Malo Grande Plage // Brittany

    Grand Plage - St Malo Pline / CC BY

    Stretching from the Intra Muros (walled town) to Pointe de Rochebonne the aptly named "Big beach" consists of over 2 kilometres of gently sloping golden sand. This north facing beach can be divided up into several sections, the longest, and most popular of which is the Plage du Sillon which backs onto St Malo itself. Further along,... read more »

  • Plage de L'ile Vierge // Brittany

    Plage de L’ile Vierge Frédérique Voisin-Demery / CC BY

    Quite possibly the most stunning beach in Brittany, if not France, Plage de L’ile Vierge was once voted the "7th Most Beautiful beach in Europe". Set on the sheltered eastern side of Brittany's Crozon Peninsula the beach here is mostly pebbles backed by high white cliffs to which pine trees cling. The water here is a crystal clear turquoise -... read more »

  • Calanque d’En-vau // Cote d'Azur

    Calanque d'En Vau, France Michmuch06 / CC BY

    Set on the 10 mile stretch of coastline between Marseille and Cassis in southeast France are various stunning beaches, inlets and hidden coves. The calanques are fjord-like inlets carved into the white limestone by ancient rivers that have long since disappeared underground. Of all these deep inlets none is more beautiful than Calanque d'En-... read more »

  • Plage de Kloukoury // Brittany

    Plage de Kloukoury beach

    This secluded little beach is backed by the extensive sand dunes of Sainte Marguerite in Landéda. It sits towards the end of the Penn Enez headland and is almost always quiet. Despite the lack of crowds this is a beautiful sandy crescent of sand backed by the gently sloping grassy dunes. There are views out over the numerous rocky... read more »

  • Plage d'Herlin // Brittany

    Plage d'Herlin - Belle Ile Patrice78500 / CC BY

    The sandy cove of Plage d'Herlin lies on the south coast of the island of Belle Île. It was formed by the confluence of three river valleys and is now a beautiful beach protected from the wind by low cliffs to all sides.Plage d'Herlin is a popular family beach and does get reasonably busy during the summer holidays. There is... read more »

  • Lostmarc'h // Brittany

    Lostmarc’h menhir Louboutinj / CC BY

    This sandy, Atlantic facing beach sits on the Crozon Peninsula barely a kilometer away from the Plage de L’ile Vierge on the opposite coast, yet the beaches could hardly be more different. You won't find any shelter from the ocean swells here and there are no trees to the back of the beach, just windswept dunes and heather strewn... read more »

  • Plage de l'Écluse - Dinard // Brittany

    Plage de l'Écluse chisloup / CC BY

    The seaside resort of Dinard still retains much of its belle-époque charm leading to it being referred to as the "pearl of the Emerald Coast" by some. Dotted with literally hundreds of elegant turn-of-the-century villas and a number of grand hotels the town makes a fantastic backdrop to some wonderful sandy beaches.Of Dinard... read more »

  • Plage de Pen Hat // Brittany

    Plage de Pen Hat

    The beach of Pen Hat is one of the most exposed on the Crozon Peninsula. Facing directly into the full force of the Atlantic Ocean the rolling waves can be very impressive. Whilst this is often great news for the surfers it adds to the beaches already dangerous reputation for swimming. In fact bathing here is prohibited due to the presence of... read more »

  • Plage Baluden // Brittany

    Plage Baluden Frédérique Voisin-Demery / CC BY

    The Plage Baluden is located on the south coast of Belle-Île-en-Mer in the same bay as the bigger Plage d'Herlin. The beach here is somewhat smaller than its neighbour but arguably even prettier. Fine golden sand and clear blue water with gently sloping gassy dunes to the rear.Sheltered by rocky outcrops to either side this little cove is... read more »

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