Chosen France for your next camping holiday? Get the best of both worlds when it comes to culture and scenery by picking one of the country’s glorious coastal regions. From vast sandy stretches to idyllic golden coves, you’ll find many brilliant spots for a week of sun and sea – most of which are public and won’t cost you a penny to visit.
Here we round up the 10 best beaches in France, from Normandy to the Cote d’Azur, that are completely free to visit:
1. Plages du Prado, Marseille
If you’ve selected the southern city of Marseille as your camping destination, you’re in luck. Not only is the port city packed with historical gems, but it’s also home to the Prado Beaches. The trio of manmade sandy stretches sit just outside the city centre and are ideal for families looking for plenty of space to relax and swim.
2. Côte de Granit Rose, Brittany
Named after the pink granite rocks that surround it, this magnificent coastline should definitely be on your bucket list if you’re camping in Brittany. It stretches for over 30kms and is fringed by clear blue waters perfect for a refreshing dip. Explore it on foot along the Côte de Granit Rose coastal path or drive to one of the blue flag beaches at Tregastel or Testratou.
3. Ile de Ré, Royan
If you’ve opted for a camping trip in the Royan, a day trip to Ile de Ré is a must. The tiny island is awash with pretty white houses, tranquil sandy coves and cycle paths that snake through a peaceful nature reserve. Why not stay at Camping La Côte Sauvage that’s walking distance from two of the island’s best beaches?
4. Plage du Veillon, Vendee
If wilder beaches are more your thing, check out Plage du Veillon near the Payre River estuary. The Vendee beach is around 1.5km long and home to scenic sand dunes and an attractive lagoon. During the busier season the beach is lifeguarded, plus you’ll find a couple of good restaurants to enjoy snacks and drinks with sea views.
5. Côte des Basques, Biarritz
Considered one of the best beaches in France, Côte des Basques is a real haven for nature lovers and those after big waves. It sits inside the Bay of Biscay and is widely thought of as the birthplace of the European surf scene. Hire or bring your own board and test out your skills on the water, or have fun playing with the kids in the sand.
6. Deauville Plage, Normandy
Normandy’s Deauville has been a popular seaside resort for decades and it’s not uncommon to spot a celebrity or two in its fashionable hotels. Not just boasting a spacious sandy beach fringed by the refreshing waters of the Atlantic, Deauville also has an attractive promenade dotted with restaurants, coloured beach huts and elegant villas.
7. Plage d’Hendaye, Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Another must-see French beach is in Hendaye, a traditional Basque Country coastal town that’s right on the Spanish border. The beach itself has fine sand and shallow waters for little ones as well as sections with bigger waves for those keen to surf. If you fancy a break from the sun, you’ll spot the pretty Château d’Abbadie just beyond the east end of the beach.
8. Plage de l’Espiguette, Camargue
This relatively untouched beach in the Camargue is another option that’s often considered one of the best beaches in France. It’s over 20km long and surrounded by lush vegetation, plus you’ll find very few buildings to spoil the views. Swim in Plage de l’Espiguette’s shallow waters, play on the shoreline or explore its vast dunes. There’s also a free car park, too.
9. Argelès Plage, Pyrénées-Orientales
This huge beach in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon is actually split into multiple sections, running from the coastal town of Argelès-sur-Mer to the Réserve Naturelle du Mas Larrieu. With lots of space to spread out and ample opportunities for snorkeling, swimming and water sports, it’s ideal for family groups. Plus, you’ll find a handful of Canvas Holidays campsites nearby that are within walking distance of the beach.
10. Palombaggia, Corsica
The dreamy island of Corsica sits just off France’s south coast and is packed with serene sandy coves. Many can be a challenge to reach, but you’ll find Palombaggia near Porto-Vecchio easy to access by car. As well as turquoise waters and golden sand, it’s surrounded by dramatic cliffs and is only a short distance from Camping Cupulatta.
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