• Plage de Deauville (Normandy): Coco Chanel used the chic resort of Deauville to propel herself to stardom and then added greatly to the town’s sense of glamour. Revel in the sun-kissed sense of style and nostalgia with a stroll along the elegant Les Planches boardwalk, which skirts the edge of Deauville’s silky, sandy, parasol-dotted plage for 2km (1.25 miles).
  • Plage de Pampelonne St-Tropez (French Riviera): Any blonde feels like Brigitte Bardot in sunny St-Tropez. And the scantily clad satyrs and nymphs splashing in the surf at Plage de Pampelonne can perk up the most sluggish libido. The real miracle here is that the charm of this 5km (3-mile) crescent of white sand still manages to impress, despite its celebrity hype and hordes of A-list visitors.
  • Paloma Plage Cap Ferrat (French Riviera): Tucked into one of Cap Ferrat’s sheltered bays, petite Paloma Plage is part chic beach club and part family-friendly stretch of pebbly shoreline. In the afternoon, fragrant Aleppo pines shade much of the beach.
  • Plage de Arromanches-les-Bains (Normandy): This immense beach is dotted with the mammoth, otherworldly remains of Winston, a prefabricated port essential for the D-day landings. At low tide, the sandy expanse is firm (you can push a stroller or cycle along it!) and truly vast, rendering it ever-popular with families. 
  • Calanque d’En Vau (Provence): Nestled into the heart of Parc National des Calanques, Calanque d’En Vau wouldn’t look out of place in the tropics. Imagine an ice-white pebbly sands and transparent turquoise waters. Sitting at the base of limestone cliffs, it’s accessible only on foot (for experienced hikers), by kayak or boat.
  • Plage des Marinières Villefranche-sur-Mer (French Riviera): A seemingly endless sweep of honey-hued sand, this popular beach sits at the base of a giant sun-kissed bay. It’s perfect for families, as the sea shelves slowly and waves are seldom. 
  • Plage de la Garoupe Cap d’Antibes (French Riviera): The sun rises at dawn over the Cap d'Antibes’ most mythical beach. Views pan out over Antibes to the Alps beyond; beach bars serve chilled rosé behind. And a coastal footpath around the secluded peninsula starts to your right. What more could you possibly want?
  • Plages de Dinard (Brittany): The poshest plage along Brittany’s Emerald coast, this historic seaside resort features 10 easy-access beaches, the best being la plage du Prieuré.
  • Plage des Grand-Sables Belle-Ile-en-Mer (Brittany): Gorgeous beaches line the wild coast of Quiberon peninsula near Carnac. Take the ferry out to Belle-Ile and set your towel down on the nice sandy beach of Grand-Sables. The tropical waters will make you doubt you’re in France.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.