Top 25+ France Beaches

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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 Brittany and Normandy to the long stretches of golden sands and warm waters of the Mediterranean in the South of France.

The Best French Beaches...

  • 1. Calanque d'En-vau // Cote d'Azur

    Calanque d'En-vau
    © 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-vau.

    Set at the end of a deep canyon is a small stretch of pristine white pebbles… read more »

  • 2. Plage de Morgat // Finistère

    Plage de Morgat

    Set on a sheltered section of the picturesque Crozon peninsula, the wide golden sand Plage de Morgat is one of the finest in Finistère. The beach is backed by the popular little holiday town of the same name. Once a sardine port, the village of Morgat grew into an elegant seaside resort over the 19th century and many fine beachfront buildings still exist from this period.

    The beach itself is over… read more »

  • 3. Baie de Trépassés // Finistère

    Baie de Trépassés

    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 faces the full wrath of the Atlantic Ocean. The wide sandy beach is flanked by… read more »

  • 4. Plage de L'ile Vierge // Finistère

    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 - unfortunately it's about as cold as it looks! This… read more »

  • 5. St Malo Grande Plage // Ille-et-Vilaine

    St Malo Grande Plage
    © 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, at Parame is the Plage la Hoguette followed by Plage de Rochebonne at the… read more »

  • 6. Dune du Pilat // Aquitaine

    Dune du Pilat
    Arseni Mourzenko

    Creating an impressive contrast to the surrounding Atlantic pine forests, Dune de Pilat is named after the largest sand dune in Europe. Located immediately behind the beach, around 40 miles south of Bordeaux, it forms an integral part of Arcachon Bay at La Teste-de-Buch. It is of such importance that the dune has been declared one of France's natural monuments.

    Measuring more than 1.5 miles (2.7 km) in length, the dune… read more »

  • 7. Lostmarc'h // Finistère

    © 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 cliffs.

    Lostmarc'h is well known as a surf spot, picking up… read more »

  • 8. La Plage Saint Guirec // Côtes-d'Armor

    La Plage Saint Guirec

    Saint Guirec Beach in Ploumanac'h, one of France's most attractive villages, has a length of around 200 metres (700 feet) and a depth that makes it more than just a ribbon of fine golden sand. Dotted with large boulders which typify the region's coastline, it has a good balance between tranquil seclusion and access to facilities that make it a family favourite.

    While popular with bird watchers and hikers, it's also… read more »

  • 9. Pampelonne Beach // Cote d'Azur

    Pampelonne Beach
    © Daniel Kaesler

    In the playground for the rich and famous that is St Tropez, it is Pampelonne Beach that has been at the centre of this glamorous scene since the 1950s. This stretch of coast was made famous by Brigitte Bardot in when she appeared in a gingham bikini on Tahiti beach in the 1956 film "And God Created Woman". In the years that followed the dress code became even more casual… read more »

  • 10. Île-Tudy // Finistère


    Set just across the River Odet from the popular beach resort of Bénodet is this great crescent of white sand beach, backed by low dunes and lapped by clear blue ocean. Stretching nearly 5km from the upmarket yachty village of Sainte Marine to the sleepy seaside village of Île-Tudy this is well known as one of the best family friendly beaches in Brittany.

    The ample sand here gently slopes into… read more »

  • 11. Plage de Pen Hat // Finistère

    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 what are locally referred to as "baïnes" - these… read more »

  • 12. Plage de l'Écluse - Dinard // Ille-et-Vilaine

    Plage de l'Écluse - Dinard
    © 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's four main beaches it is the Plage de l'Écluse that stands out. A broad crescent of gently sloping sand, this… read more »

  • 13. Plage du Môle - St Malo // Ille-et-Vilaine

    Plage du Môle - St Malo

    Plage du Mole is the southernmost of St Malo's beaches. The name comes from the french word for breakwater (not the small furry animal) and the beach sits in the shelter of the Mole des Noires jetty which protects the entrance to the main harbour behind. There are good views across the bay towards Dinard less than 1 km away.

    This small sandy beach is seperated from neighbouring Plage de Bon… read more »

  • 14. Plage d'Herlin // Morbihan

    Plage d'Herlin
    © 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 usually plenty of room though and the beach manages to retain some… read more »

  • 15. Plage Baluden // Morbihan

    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 sheltered from much of the wind and waves. However, the currents on… read more »