The Côte d’Azur, its mild climate all year round, its turquoise waters… From Cap-d’Ail to Porquerolles, our selection of the most emblematic beaches where to lay down your towel until September.
The Côte d’Azur is a mythical region with blurred contours. It stretches from Menton to Bandol. No, from the Italian border to Cassis. It starts in Hyères. No, in Toulon. Dictionaries don’t agree, whatever. Traveling between Marseilles and Genoa, Italy, Stephen Liégeard, a French politician at the end of the 19th century, described a beach in Hyères “ bathed in rays which deserves our baptism of Côte d’Azur “. So named in 1887, the region acquired its notoriety thanks to its beaches. At the time, it was the favorite resort land of queens and kings. Then that of writers, painters and movie stars. Everyone comes here to find the light, the mild climate, the sea and the beaches. Today, the Côte d’Azur is the most touristic region of France, its beaches are among the most emblematic of the country. Brigitte Bardot, Pablo Picasso or Sean Connery popularized them. It is true that they are special. They stretch for several kilometers or are lodged at the foot of a cliff. They are fine sand or pebbles. Popular or exclusive. All border warm, clear, blue-green waters reminiscent of the color cyan. From Porquerolles to Saint-Tropez, from Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to Théoule-sur-Mer, here are our five favorite beaches.
La Mala beach, queen of Cap-d’Ail
It is reached by a steep path. Or after a hundred steps. Once down, it’s a creek, a horseshoe, a cradle. She sinks into the cliff. What a view ! Unreal, turquoise and crystalline waters. 200 meters of pebble beach surrounded by cliffs. The skyline? Infinite blue. The rankings, we can be wary of them. Too personal, too emotional. But there, it must be said, the beach of La Mala is one of the most beautiful on the Côte d’Azur. It nestles in the bay of Saint-Laurent, in the town of Cap-d’Ail, in the Alpes-Maritimes. From the shore, you can see the peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and the tip of Cabuel. Behind him, we imagine Nice. Behind is Monaco.
Paloma beach, star of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
She spent her days there, lying on the beach. His father used to take him there on vacation. He was a painter, sculptor, a little more than that. He was Spanish. His name was Picasso. She was Paloma. She gave her name to the beach. Others followed: Winston Churchill, Roger Moore, Sean Connery or Elton John. Paloma beach has long been considered the beach of the stars. They met at a table at Paloma Beach. We come here for that, to enjoy the services of a luxury establishment and the view of the coast, where we can see the perched village of Èze and the cliffs of Beaulieu-sur-Mer. One part is always private and the other public. We come here for the shade of the pines and its transparent waters. Its 150 meters of polished pebbles and its prestige. We also come here for a walk. It is from here that the path to Pointe Saint Hospice starts.
The Aiguille beach, beautiful of Cannes
They are there, just in front, the Lérins islands, two spots of beauty on the sea. Around, rocks, but not like the others, red, the Estérel massif. Behind, a wooded hill and the freshness of the trees. Welcome to the Aiguille beach, 200 meters of fine sand in Théoule-sur-Mer, in the Alpes-Maritimes. We are just below on the Corniche d’Or, the panoramic road between Saint-Raphaël and Cannes. To get there, go down the André Pradayrol promenade and put your things on the westernmost part of the beach, the sand is pleasant there. A little further, a restaurant, its private beach, its deckchairs, its cocktails and its shuttle service. Ideal for lazing around. Even further east, several secluded coves and the Gardanne cave. For diving enthusiasts, think of the mask, flippers and snorkel, there is an underwater trail, marked by buoys. Stay a little longer, until evening, the bay of Cannes lights up.
Pampelonne beach, Saint-Tropez pin-up
It is in the shape of a crescent moon, brackets. Yes, there are parentheses. It stretches like a dream, between Cap Saint Pierre and Cap Camara, in the Var. It is located in the town of Ramatuelle, whatever. Pampelonne beach is considered the most beautiful in Saint-Tropez. In any case the most famous. Brigitte Bardot used to come there in the 1950s. Stars from all over the world followed. Why ? Four kilometers of fine sand, clear waters and mythical establishments. Boaters come to anchor there for the day. Pampelonne, world famous, is the rendezvous of the jet-set. We come there to jet ski and drink champagne, show off a little. But not only. Since 2019, the municipality of Ramatuelle has renewed its concessions: fewer private establishments, more public spaces. Pampelonne beach is also reeds, vines and umbrella pines.
Nearly five kilometers long in the town of Ramatuelle, Pampelonne beach has several accesses. Here are the main ones, from north to south: the route de Tahiti and the chemin des Moulins (beach of Tahiti), the chemin des Tamaris, the chemin de la Matarane, the access by the Kon Tiki, the boulevard Patch, the chemin des Barraques, the chemin de l’Épi, the chemin Garonne, and the route de Bonne-Terrasse.
Notre-Dame beach, diva of Porquerolles
I am iconic. Known in the entire world. I was voted the most beautiful beach in Europe in 2015. I am a diva, a lady. Sheltered from the mistral. Lined with pine and oak groves. I am tall, very tall, I am 800 meters long. I’m not shy, just a little out of the way, but I’m easy to find, after a short walk, not much, 30 minutes in the middle of the strawberry trees. When they discover me, people think they are in the Pacific. I am on an island, in Porquerolles, facing Hyères. My waters are clear before they are blue, but I also wear cyan and all the shades of the sea. Jean-Luc Godard shot scenes from Pierrot le fou with Belmondo there. You can still see the ruins of the house and the boat there. I’m proud, but tired. I’m very busy, come see me in the morning or evening when I’m alone and in a better mood. I am Notre-Dame beach in Porquerolles.
- To get there, a shuttle boat can be taken, for example, from Giens (€24 round trip for an adult in high season). Regular trips. To access the beach, count 50 minutes of walking at a moderate pace or better, opt for the bike. Please note that attendance on the island is limited in high season.
SEE ALSO – What are we allowed to pick up on the beach?
Published August 2021, this article is being updated