Are you dreaming of a holiday on the French Riviera? Here are the 10 most beautiful beaches and the most particular eco-sustainable accommodations (from eco-hotels, to boats) that you cannot miss!
The Côte d’Azur has always offered enchanting landscapes, which make you daydream. Let’s discover together the beaches not to be missed, in order to spend a unique holiday along the French Riviera, and some accommodation facilities, which are able to combine sustainability and sophistication.
The pleasant climate and the wonderful beaches make the French Riviera a mosaic of real corners of paradise and unmissable itineraries. The Côte d’Azur is the west extension of the Ligurian Riviera (in Italy) and corresponds to a portion of the northern Mediterranean coast belonging to the French region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
From east to west, here are the 10 most beautiful beaches of the French Riviera you cannot miss.
1. Plage des Sablettes – Menton
This wonderful beach is located in the characteristic city of Menton, also known as the Pearl of France. This locality overlooks a bay of the Ligurian Sea, eclosed by Capo Mortola to the east and Capo Martino to the west, just 11 kilometers from Ventimiglia.
The beach is located between the Garavan Port and the Vieux Port. It offers a breathtaking view of the Italian mountains and the typical colorful houses of Menton. The beach stretches for about 350 meters along the Quai Bonaparte.
Lovers of botany will be pleased to know that the city of Menton is renowned for the care and attention given to flowers and plants. So, here are some of the most beautiful gardens you can visit during your holiday:
- Jardin Serre de la Madone: realized in 19924, it boasts a unique landscaping with plants and rare species brought from all over the world
- Jardin Val Rahmeh: it hosts giant water lilies and tropical plants
- Jardins des Colombières
- Winter garden of the Riviera Palace in Beausoleil
2. Plage Paloma – Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a peninsula located between the Principality of Monaco and the city of Nice. The peninsula is known for its botanic richness and, for this reason, many environmental associations seek to protect this heritage from construction.
In addition to about 500 villas, for the most part luxurious, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat offers the beauty of Plage Paloma. Let yourself be enchanted by the crystal-clear water of this beach and admire the view of the bay and the cliffs of Beaulieu-sur-Mer. It will be an unforgettable experience.
We also recommend visiting the garden of Villa Ephrussi. Its peculiarity is that visitors can make a floral journey of 9 stages, from a French garden with water games, to the Spanish and Florentine ones.
3. Plage du Centenaire – Nice
Nice is one of the best-known and most beautiful cities of the southern French coast. Its bright colours, as in Piazza Massena, are a characteristic element of this city. Along the famous Promenade des Anglais, the elegant seafront of Nice that runs along the Bay of Angels, we also find a beach. It is the Plage du Centenaire, located in front of Albert 1st Gardens, between the Rhul casino and the Quai des Etats-Unis. The peculiarity of this beach are its pebbles.
It is the only beach in the city center which has the Handiplage stickers, given by the namesake association to the beaches adapted for people with reduced mobility. In addition, Plage du Centenaire is always guarded in the summer.
Nice is also a city with a rich history. In fact, among its treasures we find 14 museums full of works of art and history. Among these, we recommend the Marc Chagall National Museum and the Matisse Museum, which allow a journey to discover the artistic development of these two great characters. For more information about the museums of Nice visit the website en.nicetourisme.com.
If you want to get lost in the streets of Nice, we suggest you a ride on your bike. In fact, the city has invested a lot on cycle paths, just think that there are 125 kilometers dedicated to them. The Vélobleu service allows you to choose between 1750 bicycles, located in 175 stations scattered throughout the territory. In addition, the new electric bicycle rental system “E- Vélobleu” offers 200 self-service vehicles. You can take a bike ride to discover the art of Nice or parks and gardens, or you can explore the seven hills of the city, and much more besides.
4. Plage de La Gravette – Antibes
Antibes is a seaside resort located on the Bay of Angels, not far from Nice and Cannes. Victor Hugo called it the city where everything shines, everything blooms and everything sings. Along the Quai Henri Rembaud, at the gates of the Old Antibes, a door, accessible only on foot, opens in the walls. It leads to the white sand of the beach La Gravette, much loved by the locals. Enjoy the sun and the landscape of this beautiful beach.
If you want to immerse yourself in the culture instead, we recommend the tree museums of Antibes:
- Musée Picasso: located in the Grimaldi Castle, it is dedicated to the works made by Picasso during his stay in Antibes, including his famous painting “Joie de vivre”
- Musée Peynet et du Dessin Humoristique: it is dedicated to the works of the local cartoonist and satiric illustrator Raymond Peynet
- Archeological Museum (bastion Saint-André)
5. Plage de la Croisette – Cannes
And who does not know the beautiful city of Cannes, which every year hosts one of the most important film festivals? But, besides this popular event, Cannes is also famous for being a tourist destination that knows no crisis. A holiday in the French Riviera cannot but include a nice walk along the Croisette, the 2 kilometers promenade which offers an amazing view of the beach and that behind is surrounded by shops and luxury hotels.
The sea of Cannes hides many secrets, first of all the extraordinary underwater ecomuseum, inaugurated at the end of January 2021. Off the island of Santa Margherita, six two-meter-high heads, sculped by the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, have been positioned on the seabed at a depth of between 3 and 5 meters and are therefore perfectly accessible. Weighing about 10 tons, the six statues have been made of an ecological material with a neutral Ph, in order to become a refugee for fish and other marine animals. The intention was to create a museum that could also be an ecological sanctuary.
If you are passionate about history and mysteries, do not miss a visit to the castle of the Santa Margherita Island. It is a prison that Cardinal Richielieu built to “host” the mysterious character with the Iron Mask. Still here you can visit the museum dedicated to this legendary character.
6. Plage de Pampelonne – Ramatuelle
Located on a side of the Paillas Mountains, Ramatuelle is situated south of Saint-Tropez. It dominates the Bay of Pampelonne and the plain below, mainly cultivated with vineyards. This hilltop village is characterized by a medieval past and, when it comes to beaches and breathtaking landscapes, it is definitely on the list of the localities on the French Riviera not to be missed.
Plage de Pampelonne extends on nearly 5 kilometers and is divided into five sectors (from north to south): Moulins, Tamaris, Patch, Barraques and Bonne Terrasse. In the Patch sector, there is an equipped area for people with reduced mobility and an emergency health station open in the summer. In traits there are also nudist areas.
7. Plage de la Briande – La Croix Valmer
Plage de la Briande is located between the natural oases of Cap Taillat and Cap Lardier, in the municipality of La Croix Valmer. The peculiarity of this beach is the unspoiled nature that surrounds it: forests of maritime pines and rocks shaped by time are the contour to this corner of paradise, where the deep blue water bathes the sand mixed with fine gravel. This beach is accessible only by following the coastal path. For this reason, we recommend you park at the Escalet Beach in Ramatuelle and take the path that goes off to the right. You will be in Plage de la Briande in about 45 minutes walk.
8. Plage de la Fossette – Le Lavandou
Plage de la Fossette also called “la souriante” (the smiling one), embellishes the coast of Le Lavandou, a French town at the foot of the Massif des Maures, located in front of the Islands of Hyères, also known as the Golden Islands. This beach, enclosed by a Mediterranean maquis and a beautiful sea, extends for about 3 kilometers. It is partly equipped, with a private bathing establishment in the center, and reachable from the port of Lavandou, in the direction of Saint-Tropez. Near the bus stop “Fossette”, an underpass will make you come out in this corner of paradise.
9. Plage Notre Dame – Porquerolles
From the Pensisula of Giens take a ferry to Porquerolles, the largest island of the Hyères Archipelago. Plage Notre Dame, one of the many treasures of the French Riviera, is located in the northern part of the island and is quite far from the port of arrival. For this reason, it is never too crowded, even during high season periods. Its strengths are the sandy coastline, about 800 meters long, and a fragrant pine forest that surrounds it.
10. Calanque d’En-Vau – Cassis
Among the 10 most beautiful beaches of the French Riviera Cassis could not miss. Located in the department of the Bouches du Rhône, about 20 kilometers east of Marseille. The municipality of Cassis is famous for its Calanques, protected by the Calanques National Park. They consist of very particular geological formations made of limestone rocks. One of the most beautiful calanques is the Calanque d’En-Vau, reachable through a coastal footpath. The idyllic small beach that will appear in front of your eyes will leave you breathless: a worthy conclusion for your journey along the French coast.
The French Riviera boasts many other wonderful cities and islands. Just think of Valbonne, Grasse, Monte Carlo, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Saint-Tropez and much more. Do not hesitate to discover these beauties on your next holiday in the nature.
Eco-sustainable Hotels in the French Riviera
If, besides being lovers of natural beauties, you also aim to respect the environment, during your holiday to discover the French Riviera you can choose to stay in eco-sustainable accommodations. From the eco-hotel, to the historical residence by the sea, from the ecological apartment, to the accommodation on a catamaran, here are some proposals from which you can choose.
The Mortola Tower Eco Resort – Ventimiglia
It is a charming historical residence of the 16th century immersed in an amazing botanical garden overlooking the Ligurian sea, in Mortola, above the famous Hanbury gardens, a few kilometers from France and Monte Carlo. There are 4 solutions at guests’ disposal: a loft, suitable for 4/6 people, an orangery for 4/5 people, a botanical suite, ideal for a romantic stay for a couple, and lastly, a private tower.
The facility recovers rainwater, reduces energy waste and uses eco-friendly cleaning products. Guests have also access to an immense garden, an organic garden and a wellness center based on botanical research of the owner, and in particular, on the aesthetic and therapeutic use of the aloe arborescence grown in the property.
Carpe Diem Chambres d’hôtes – Callian
The owners Anne and Oliver will welcome you in Carpe Diem in their ecological rooms with authentic charm. The guesthouse is located on the heights of Callian, a small village in Provence, not far from Cannes, Nice and Saint-Tropez. It has also received the Green Key, the first international environmental label for eco-sustainable accommodations. During the whole year you can stay in one of the 3 available rooms, each of which has a private terrace overlooking the garden. Among olive trees and vegetation, you will have a beautiful view of the hills of Saint Césaire. During the summer you can also rent the entire guesthouse.
Eco-Hôtel Ellington – Nice
Ellington Hôtel is located along the elegant Dubouchage Avenue, a 10-minute walk from the historic center, the beach and shops. Inspired by the artist Duke Ellington, you will be enchanted by its Jazzy atmosphere and its 110 recently renovated rooms that blend perfectly with the refined design of an authentic house in Nice. Ellington Hôtel also cares about sustainability and that’s why it offers farm-to-table products, but not only. They use ecological cleaning products and low-energy bulbs, and they pay a lot of attention to separate collection and recovery and reusage of water.
Le Radissont Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso – Cannes
It is a beautiful and modern hotel located in the historic district of Cannes, a five-minute walk from the Palais des Festials et des Congrès. This guesthouse has 134 rooms overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the port and the Croisette. But the true gems of this impressive hotel are the organic restaurant located on the highest roof of the city, from where you can enjoy a spectacular view, and the spa with a seawater pool with walkway, hammam, sauna, Turkish bath and hot tub. In addition, since 2012 the hotel holds the eco-label La Clef Verte.
Artémis en Provence – Roussillon
We are talking about two accommodations of 40 m2, fully equipped with a terrace and a swimming pool, each able to accommodate up to four people. They are located in Roussillon, one of the most beautiful villages in France, in the heart of Luberon, between Mount Ventoux and Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy your meals or have an aperitif on the shaded terrace, looking at the stars, away from the streetlights, surrounded by a grove of centuries-old groves. In addition to the outdoor pool, there is also a vegetable garden fed with the compost of the guests and watered by the collected rainwater. In this recent bioclimatic house, they have installed some solar panels and with the produced energy they heat the water.
Unique Experience on a Catamaran
Do you want to live a different experience, ride the waves and look at the world from a different perspective? We suggest you a solution which could be right for you, that is the many sailing catamarans in Menton, where you can stay with all the required services and amenities. You can arrange a simple overnight stay with breakfast or go out to sea to discover sailing. Farm-to-table products and eco-sustainability criteria are the added value of this pearl.
For more accommodations along the French Riviera and its surroundings, take a look here! Ready to go?
Cover Image by Canva PRO