French Riviera has a mixture of public or private beaches, sandy beaches, rocky coves and pebble beaches so there really is something for everyone.
As well as a huge variety of beaches to suit all ages and preferences, there’s a few helpful tips I can share that may help you on your next visit.
The Côte d’Azur is known for sunny days and a rather glam image of sun loungers, crisp glasses of beachside rosé and long lunches. This is partially true as not everyone can spend 2 weeks hiring beach loungers and drinking Champagne in St Tropez!
For visitors to the French Riviera, one of the best tips I can share is to look for ‘plages en régie communale’ (or municipale). These are beaches managed by the town that offer equipment for rent at reduced prices than what the private beaches offer; the downside is you won’t have access to that wonderful beach service where a server brings you food and ice cold buckets of drinks 🙂
In Cannes, Plage Zamenhoff on the Croisette is a municipal beach. It’s located next to the Square du Mai 1945 park at the Port Canto end of Cannes.
You can rent beach chairs, umbrellas etc and of course there are lifeguards (from 01 Jul-31 Aug) a first aid post, lockers, shower and toilet facilities. BYO Sandwiches and non-alcoholic drinks are accepted.
Hours: Saturday 15 June to Sunday 15 September, open 7 days a week from 8.30am to 6.30pm.
Price: A full day chair rental is €8.
Also in Cannes, Plage Macé is a public beach and situated right near the Palais des Festivals. There are public toilets nearby as well as plenty of snack kiosks and food options.
Plage Richelieu in Juan les Pins is one of the municipal beaches in the Antibes/Juan les Pins area. This sandy beach is accessed via the Pinède Gould (where the Jazz à Juan Festival is held), on the end of Juan les Pins closest to the Provençal and Hotel Belles Rives.
The water is relatively shallow so fine for families with kids (the bonus is the local playground is just across the road) and nearby are hire options for water sports.
Plage Richelieu has 118 loungers for hire, plus there are 6 loungers reserved for people with disabilities and their accompanying carer.
Tip: Look for the yellow and green sign, and the blue and white beach umbrellas.
On the Cap d’Antibes, La Garoupe is the other municipal beach in the Antibes/Juan les Pins area. A lovely setting for a day at the beach, this small beach area is a great place and the coastal walkway is fantastic.
There are a few great beach restaurants here including the popular spots Plage Keller and Plage Joseph, plus Le Rocher snack kiosk is right by the loungers. There are 78 loungers for rent, plus 3 for people with disabilities and their carer.
Hours for both beaches: Saturday 01 June to Sunday 15 September, open 7 days a week from 10am to 7pm
Price: €10 for walk-ups / €11 pre-booked online. There is a limit of 2 loungers per online booking.
For these two beaches, you can just arrive on the day and try your luck with the sun loungers though be warned that it is very busy in summer and they only allocate a limited number of loungers for walk-up customers, plus the locals are there early!
It’s best to pay in advance and reserve your loungers for these 2 public beaches on the Antibes Juan les Pins tourism website. Note: You can’t reserve the loungers online for people with mobility problems. For all other loungers, I’ve included the link to book because it’s not particularly clear to tourists how to do it. Go to https://ticketing.antibesjuanlespins.com/ and click on ‘Plages en Regie’ and follow the instructions.
Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan: You may notice there is a fresh crop of new beach restaurants which came about from a law regulation for zoning of public beaches. I’m yet to try them all out, so feel free to comment if you have any you recommend! Sadly, some of the older establishments have been demolished such as Moorea and Tetou.
Monaco: Visitors to Monaco usually stop by Plage Larvotto at some stage. However, from October 2019 until June 2021, Larvotto beach will be closed for a multi-million euro redevelopment which will include new shaded areas, a bike pathway to the new Anse du Portier district and a children’s playground. Larvotto beach will temporarily open in summer next year (July and August 2020) with restaurants and shops set to reopen in 2021.
Saint-Tropez : The infamous beach scene at Pampelonne has also been reworked this summer. There are now 23 beach clubs (previously 27) with 5 new ones opening. All 23 clubs have to be collapsible set-ups; so think those flat-pack, IKEA-style designs to meet the coastal laws.
The concessions extend to 2030 therefore the new clubs have a commitment to stay. Gone will be some historic spots – Key West, Bagatelle, Plage les Jumeaux (sad for families!), Eden Plage, Pago Pago, Manoah, Shellona, Maison Bianca and Tabou.
Three of the new beach clubs are run by upmarket hotels La Reserve, Byblos and Hotel de Paris, one is run by Christopher Artis and the other is Loulou Beach (a collaboration between the owners of Hotel Ermitage and Loulou restaurant in Paris). This map below from St Tropez House shows the line-up:
Looking for more information about French Riviera beaches? Take a look at some of these resources below:
- Some of my recommendations for family-friendly beach spots on the Côte d’Azur here: Family-friendly beaches on the French Riviera
- Cannes Estate has compiled a giant list of 104 beaches on the French Riviera.
- Lou Messugo shares their 12 favourite beaches on the French Riviera with a great post including family-friendly beaches and lesser known spots to visit.
- Bespoke Yacht Charter has information about top beach clubs on the French Riviera.
- Gaia’s Villas highlights their recommendations for 10 of the best beaches on the French Riviera here.
- Crab in the Air travel blog includes their pick of 7 top French Riviera beaches which has a mix of busy spots such as Larvotto in Monaco and off-the-tourist track locations such as the Esterel beach.
- For information about accessible beaches on the French Riviera and throughout France, refer to the Handiplage site. Plage Salis and Plage le Ponteil in Antibes have onsite staff in summer months to assist people with motor, visual, intellectual or auditory problems. There are accessible toilets, showers and adapted equipment for water access. Plage le Ponteil also offers a transmitting bracelet for beach goers with hearing difficulties.
- Plages.tv is one of my favourite resources to find out more about beaches in France including the Alpes-Maritimes region – the site has useful advice such as photos, maps, parking, recreation, facilities. Visit their website here: Plages.tv
What do you think of these beach suggestions? What is your favourite beach on the French Riviera and why?