From the easily reached north coast to the dramatic Atlantic and sun-drenched south, here we ask our agents to pick some of France’s best beaches.
Plage de Pampelonne, St Tropez, PACA
We could not fail to mention southern France’s most mythical beach, Pampelonne. A bikini-clad Brigitte Bardot put it on the map in the 1950s and it’s still one of the most glamorous summer playgrounds. Nearly five kilometres of fine white sand backed by scrub-covered dunes that rise gently behind. There’s no seaside promenade, no snack stands, and the best way to reach Pampelonne is via private helicopter or yacht, but for the rest of us, there’s the free shuttle bus that runs from central St. Tropez. Apartments in central St. Tropez start from €299,000, or the sky’s the limit for a luxury villa.
For sale: Large 1-bedroom garden flat in St. Tropez, €378,000. Ref: 60379MMC83
Plage d’Hendaye, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
A great 3km-long sandy beach for all the family, with waves for surfing – Hendaye is a crowd-pleaser. It is located between the border with Spain and the chic seaside town of St-Jean-de-Luz, but the beach is less busy and the water is cleaner. Hendaye has some lovely Basque style properties and for a seafront villa, you’ll need to pay €1 million and upwards, suggests Charlie Ellis, our agent. “Family houses or large apartments cost from €300,000 to €500,000, but you can get a smaller apartment for €80,000 to €200,000.” You can also choose to avoid the traffic and tourists on the coast by owning a home a little inland – in for example, the rural Basque town of Cambo-les-Bains, famous for its spas and only 40 minutes from Hendaye.
For sale: Splendid 5-bedroom villa with private pool and sauna in Cambo-les-Bains, €1,050,000, Ref: 77474RBU64.
On the southwest coast of La Manche sits a beautiful 5km stretch of sandy beach running from Carolles Plage to the coastal town of St. Pair-sur-Mer. The stylish resort of Jullouville-les-Pins occupies the central part of this stretch of coast, with its regal villas, once the seaside homes of wealthy chatelaines from Paris and the Loire. “The tide goes out up to 4km leaving a vast expanse of exposed seabed popular with fishermen for the pêche à pied at low tide,” says agent Lisa Greene. “The long sandy stretch is perfect for training racehorses and race meetings. On windy days, the kite surfers take over, performing impressive acrobatics while zipping back and forth in the waves. At high tide, you can take a boat ride round the point of Carolles to the Mont Saint Michel.” In town, two-bedroom apartments range from €160,000 to €230,000 for one with a with sea view.
For sale: Cute 2-bedroom property 10 minutes from the coast, €129,000, Ref: 92965CMR50.
Paloma Beach, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Alpes-Maritime
Named after Paloma Picasso, exclusive St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat’s best hidden beach is a favourite of the jetset. Surrounded by greenery, the shingle beach with crystal-clear water offers uninterrupted views of the cliffs at Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Eze. Eat grilled fish, sip chilled rosé and people-watch at this exclusive beach club with valet parking and sun loungers for hire. “Prices in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat typically start from around €500,000, however you can buy apartments in Nice, which is only 8km along the coast, from €100,000,” says Jennie Tombs, our local agent.
For sale: Modern studio apartment in central Nice, €198,000, Ref: 84237GCA06
Grande Plage, Ile d’Oléron, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes
With a long coastline, and fantastic islands such as the Île de Ré and Île d’Oléron, not to mention a microclimate, the Charente-Maritime is beach lovers’ heaven. Whether you want a surfing beach, family-friendly beach clubs, or Belle Epoque promenades, there is something for everyone! To pick just one, perfectly suited to those that want to get away from everything, there’s Grande Plage, a 12 km-long stretch of beach that is backed by sand dunes and pine forests. It’s rough enough for surfing, and the southern part suits naturists!
For sale: Pretty 4-bedroom farmhouse just 25 minutes from the beach, €230,000, Ref: 93101TM17