Plage de Pampelonne, St-Tropez: Any blonde feels like Brigitte Bardot in sunny St-Tropez. And the scantily clad satyrs and nymphs splashing in the summertime 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.

Hi-Beach, Nice: A day along the Riviera seaside may be a little different from home: Most beaches here feature private clubs with mattresses, parasols, and chilled Champagne on demand. Nice’s Hi-Beach certainly offers all of the above. Yet its contemporary design, organic restaurant, and stellar cocktails set it apart from the crowd.

Paloma Plage, Cap Ferrat: 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. Brad and Angelina have been known to stop by for drinks.

The beaches of Juan-les-Pins: In the resort that invented waterskiing, it’s little surprise that all the summertime action centers around Juan-les-Pins’ golden shores. Spread your towel on central Plage de Juan-les-Pins. Or follow the locals to the unnamed sandy suntrap of beach pinched between the Hôtel Belles-Rives and Port Gallice.

Calanque d’En Vau: 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 pairing of pebbly sands and transparent turquoise waters. Sitting at the base of a limestone cliffs, it’s accessible only on foot (for experienced hikers) or by kayak or boat.

Plage des Marinières, Villefranche-sur-Mer: 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 seen.

Plage de la Garoupe, Cap d’Antibes: The sun rises at dawn over the Cap d'Antibes’ most mythical beach. Views pan out over Antibes to the Alps beyond; beach bars served chilled rosé behind. And a coastal footpath around the secluded peninsula starts to your right. What more could you possibly want?

The 12 beaches of Le Lavandou: Snaking along the coastline west of St-Tropez, Le Lavandou’s dozen beaches range from family friendly (Grand Plage) to utterly exclusive (Plage du Cap Nègre—summer getaway for France’s former First Lady, Carla Bruni). All boast fine golden sands and Blue Flag quality waters. 

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.