The French Riviera is certainly one of the most famous places in Europe. The ideal destination for all lovers of the sea, beaches, nature, nightlife, but also for lovers of art and history.
If you too have chosen this splendid tourist destination, you may be wondering which are the best places to go to the beach on the French Riviera.
The Côte d'Azur is full of beautiful towns or ancient villages (Nice, Cannes, Montecarlo just to name the most famous) perfect for spending a holiday or even a weekend. To choose the area that best suits your needs is important learn more about this beautiful stretch of coast.
With this guide I have decided to clarify the French Riviera: first we will see where it is, then we will understand which countries are part of it and then we will go to know in detail the main tourist areas.
In particular we will see which are the best seaside resorts on the coast Blue, which offer sandy or pebble beaches, we will discover the most suitable for entertainment and evening life, and we will see how to choose the perfect base to sleep on the Côte d'Azur.
Where is the Côte d'Azur located
The Cote d'Azur is a coastal area in the south of France belonging to the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is not a real region, but it is more of a literary name, which is why its borders are not so clear.
It is actually quite certain where the Côte d'Azur begins, i.e. on the border with Italy, with Menton identified as the far eastern point. On the contrary, it is not as clear where the Côte d'Azur ends. For some sources the western border coincides with Hyères for others it extends up to Cassis.
In this article we will go to see the best villages in the stretch from Menton to Cassis.
Cote d'Azur Location: Which to Choose
Now let's see how to choose the right place to go on holiday on the Côte d'Azur. The choice certainly depends on your main interests but several factors should be considered such as the budget, the types of beaches and the time available.
For example, if you have a few days and decide to spend a weekend and plan to reach the Côte d'Azur by car, it would be better to choose some of the places closest to the border with Italy, one above all Nice.
Those who choose the Côte d'Azur do so above all for its beaches, which is why it is very important understand which are the beaches with the most beautiful sea.
So let's make a clarification: in the stretch that goes from Menton to Saint Tropez, the best sea is in Nice or in some beaches in the Villefranche area.
The truly beautiful and crystal clear sea begins after the promontory of Saint Tropez, where the most beautiful seaside area of the Côte d'Azur.
Another matter if you are by boat, with which you can reach splendid coves almost everywhere.
It is also necessary to consider the period of travel, if you decide to leave in high season, know that the most famous places are very crowded and the area will be particularly busy, so better to prefer smaller and less chaotic villages.
After this general overview, let's now see in detail the best tourist resorts and towns on the Côte d'Azur.
1. Menton: Ideal for a Weekend
Menton is the first town on the Côte d'Azur located on the border with Italy. It is a pretty town where you can breathe a quiet air, also ideal for a weekend or a weekend, given the proximity to our country.
Menton can be a good base for exploring the area and visiting some of the more famous cities such as Monte Carlo, Nice, or Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
There are two main beaches in Menton, one sandy located between the two ports and the other pebbly along the Promenade du Soleil.
The sea is not the most beautiful on the Côte d'Azur, as I have told you better in Nice or the area after Saint Tropez. In any case, for a few days it is a very valid solution, thanks also to the beauty of the old city, a real gem.
Located between Menton and Nice, Villefranche is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the area. The old town is a real charm with alleys, shops and an unforgettable view of the sea. Also not to be missed is the marina with its many restaurants and colorful buildings.
The main beach of Villefranche is La Marinière Beach, a small beach of sand and gravel bathed by fairly clean waters, even if it is close to the port. Plage De La Marinière is very popular with families with children.
3. Nice: The Best Choice
Nice is in my view the best resort on the Côte d'Azur where to spend the holidays, for several reasons.
First of all from a logistical point of view, it is located near the border with Italy and therefore easy to reach by car. It also has its own airport on which various low-cost airlines operate.
The location is perfect for visiting its surroundings and the most beautiful places on that stretch of the French Riviera: Eze, Menton, Monaco, Antibes, Mougins, Vallauris. You can also move by public transport, by train or bus you can reach the best places.
The big plus in Nice is that it comes with the place to go the best sea in the area, unlike other well-known places, in fact, the port is far from the beach. Even if the beach is pebbly the waters are transparent and clean.
In addition to the sea, Nice offers a lot in the way of cultural attractions as well as a vibrant nightlife. In short, Nice is the perfect place for every type of need.
4. Antibes Juan-les-Pins: For the youngest
Antibes is a town on the French Riviera located between Cannes and Nice, famous for its fortified Old Town. The promontory of Cap d'Antibes divides Antibes and the elegant resort of Juan-les-Pins. The latter is certainly one of the best destinations for evening life and entertainment.
Juan-les-Pins is ideal for the youngest, it can be compared a little to Mykonos for both the locals and the people who frequent it.
Juan-les-Pins beach is sandy and the sea is quite clean. Close to the beach there are many restaurants, bars and clubs.
5. Cannes: Glamorous Entertainment
Cannes is a beautiful city on the French Riviera, located in the Alpes-Maritimes department. All over the world it is known for its annual Film Festival, trendy clubs and its lively glamorous evenings. Cannes is full of things to do: from a walk on the very long Croisette to a view of the medieval village, Le Suquet.
As for the sea and the beach, they are quite clean, but very crowded especially in the high season. For the best sea I recommend a day at lerino islands: Santa di Margherita and Sant'Onorato.
6. Saint Tropez: Classy Holidays
Saint Tropez is the fashionable resort of the Côte d'Azur par excellence. Here you will find the best clubs in all of France. However, it is a rather exclusive and elegant town and particularly frequented by VIPs and famous people. Compared to Juan-les-Pins, Saint Tropez is less suitable for the very young, better for a target over 30 years old.
The sea is not the strong point of Saint Tropez, I recommend moving to the beach of Pampellone, located 5 km from the city, here the sea is transparent and the beach is of fine sand.
7. Lavandou: For Sea Lovers
Perhaps the most beautiful seaside resort on the entire Côte d'Azur. With its 12 splendid beaches it offers a wide choice and crystal clear and transparent waters.
From Lavandou it is possible to go on day trips to the islands of Port Cros and Porquerolles, which are truly unmissable.
If you lovers of the sea and beautiful beaches, if you are looking for a place with all the services and a minimum of evening life, Lavandou is the one for you.
8. Cassis: Relax from the Sea
Cassis is a delightful fishing village located in the far west of the French Riviera about 20 km from Marseille. It is the best choice for those looking for a place to spend a quiet stay in full contact with nature.
The big selling point of the area is the Calanques National Park, a wonderful place with rocks overlooking the sea.
It is possible to visit the park on foot through paths that lead to the sea. Alternatively, it is possible to take part in boat excursions and admire the view directly from the sea.
In this guide I am committed to giving you all the information you need to organize a trip to the French Riviera and to choose the perfect place for what you are looking for.
I took a really long time to write this mini guide, if you liked it and you found it useful, I invite you to share it on your social channels, it's worth a lot to me!