Guide to France's Best Coastal Spots
As an island nation with a similarly proud maritime past, visiting France immediately makes you feel at home.
With no fewer than three distinct coastlines to choose from, it’s no wonder that it remains such a firm favourite for UK and Ireland travellers looking for sun, sea and sand.
Seaside nostalgia and cultural charm
Perfectly situated for self-drive family getaways, a short ferry journey across the channel sees you arrive on the immaculate beaches of Normandy, backed by traditional promenades and 19th century mansions.
After walking in the footsteps of Allied forces along historically vital D-Day landing beaches such as Utah, Omaha and Juno, venturing over to western Brittany’s jagged coastline may remind you of Cornwall’s wild coast, as you explore a region proudly wearing both local and Celtic cultural influences on its sleeve.
Glitz and glamour combine when journeying further south towards the Mediterranean coast, where guaranteed sunshine and exotic beach lifestyle sets in; lose yourself amongst the palm trees, celebrity yachts and gentle waters.
To help you decide which coast you want to lay your hat on your trip to France, we have come up with a definitive list of the top 5 beaches in the country:
Pentrez Plage - Brittany
Nearest Al Fresco Park - Le Domaine du Ker Ys
A truly magical spot beside the sea can be found when staying at Le Domaine du Ker Ys. The tranquil town of St Nic complements this 3-mile stretch of smooth golden sands primed for strolling as much as it is renowned for great surf.
Children and parents alike can while away hours here, with novel pastimes to observe (or partake in!) including sand yachting. There’s also plenty of opportunity for more conventional beach activities such as hunting for crabs among the numerous rock pools, while you’ll each be holding your breath in the spooky and secretive sea caves!
A weekly seafront market also sells some great fresh produce for you to take back to your accommodation.
Plage du Sardinal - Roussillon
Nearest Al Fresco Parks - La Brasilia, Les Peupliers
With direct access from our La Brasilia campsite and a short walk from Les Peupliers, Plage du Sardinal is an enviable beach spot occupied mostly by park guests only, meaning you have the space to enjoy kite flying, paddle tennis or football without having to worry about bumping into anyone.
Separated by the estuary of Le Têt from the remainder of the 5km coastal stretch and framed by glorious sand dunes, there is a sense of exclusiveness that can be hard to beat. If you need a bite to eat you can jump back to the restaurants along the promenade, while there is plenty of parking near the harbour.
Serignan Plage - Languedoc
Nearest Al Fresco Park – Yelloh Village Le Serignan Plage
Regarded as one of the finest beach spots in southern France, as noted by a Telegraph journalist who commented: “There you may breathe, bathe and laze free, like pioneer settlers” - direct access to Serignan Plage is reason enough to visit Languedoc and our Yelloh! Village campsite.
Expertly adapted over the years for families with children and teens while preserving the untamed natural beauty in which Languedoc is known, you will find soft sands suitable for less experienced beach goers, as well as the chance to paddleboard and canoe for those more confident exploring the med.
With the 3km beach stretch having maintained its Blue Flag status since 2009 and regarded as one of the less crowded beaches in the south of France, there really isn’t anywhere better to soak up the sun.
Plages des Mouettes - Vendee
Nearest Al Fresco Park - Sol à Gogo
Having previously covered the virtues of Vendee and its total sun hours to rival regions to the south, the western coast location was bound to have a top beach space given its 140km sprawl of golden sands.
Why Plages des Mouettes? Well, resting half way between St Jean and St Gilles, our Sol à Gogo park, which broadly translates as ‘sun on tap’, enjoys a desirable campsite position closest to the waves - so close, in fact, that you will often hear them lapping against the shore from your mobile home!
There is also plenty for kids when keeping them occupied on long days at the beach, with a playground, climbing wall, good picnic spots and seasonal lifeguards lending itself to a fun-filled and worry free seaside holiday.
Prairies de la Mer - Cote d’Azur
Nearest Al Fresco Park - Les Prairies de la Mer
We couldn’t leave out a beach recommendation from one of Europe’s most famous resorts in St Tropez and its silver screen worthy forest and mountain backdrop.
Harness your inner Brigitte Bardot as you step out onto the powder white sands of Les Prairies, where swaying palms and tamarisk trees set the scene amongst the terracotta-clad Roman style houses.
However, a visit Prairies de la Mer allows you to delve beneath the larger-than-life glamour, where nature chimes well with a laid back atmosphere attracting both locals and tourists alike.
Looking to savour lunch with a view? Try the aptly named Sun restaurant, before rounding off the day with a sundowner at Les Pieds dans I’Eau, which is a well-known rattan beach bar serving great value tropical cocktails.
Want to find out more about the regions these beaches can be found? Head over to our France destination page to discover more.
DISCOVER FRANCE - VENDEE
France's Vendee has been a family favourite for many decades now, and with total sunshine hours to rival the south, it's easy to see why! Find out more about this throwback seaside getaway
EXPLORING FRANCE'S BEST REGIONS
This is Al Fresco Holiday's pick of some of France’s best regions for a family getaway, along with the best places to stay from our top European holiday parks, so as the French say, 'click ici!'
REMEMBERING OUR D-DAY VETERANS
To mark the 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings we took a trip to Normandy to attend the remembrance services and meet some of the veterans, including 95-year-old Reg. Follow our journey here.