France has three different bodies of water along its coastlines, giving it enough water-front space for beautiful beaches. The picturesque coastline of the English Channel and sandy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean are popular destinations however, the most exotic are those of the Mediterranean Sea which is a great place take South of France holidays. The beaches in the south of France, nestled on the Mediterranean Sea, are typically warmer, sandier, and generally more exclusive to visit compared to other seaside areas of France. Read on for four of the best, and most popular beach holiday destinations in Provence.
Nice’ coastline consists of both private and public beaches. It is easy to spot which bits of the coast are private concessions as they are the fenced off areas with flags and menus with neat and orderly sun beds and parasols. The free beaches in Nice are all the bays in between the several private beaches. Everything else is free and usually named 'Plage Publique’.
Facts on Nice:
• Nice is the fifth largest city in France and is the capital of the French Riviera.
• It is believed to be one of the oldest human settlements in the world after evidence of the usage of fire was found.
• Nice became part of France in 1860, before this, it was an Italian dominion.
• With Nice now being a major transportation hub in Europe, low-cost airlines now offer frequent flights to the Nice Cote d'Azur Airport from London, Paris and other cities. A High-speed rail service is also available to Nice from Paris.
The city of Cannes is centred on the old port, with the central part being quite compact. Most of Cannes beach areas are reserved for guests of the hotels that run along the beachfront on Boulevard de la Croisette. However, many of Cannes beach areas can be accessed by the public for a fee and there's also a public beach located near the Palais des Festivals.
Facts on Cannes:
• 150 years ago Cannes was nothing more than an unimportant fishing village.
• Cannes is host to the annual Cannes Film Festival.
• Cannes is home to The Musée d'Art et d'Histoire de Provence which houses artefacts from prehistoric to present, in an 18th century mansion.
• From medieval castles to Roman villas, nineteenth-century Cannes can still be seen in its grand villas that reflect the wealth of their owners.
The most famous beach in St Tropez is Nikki beach. This is an exquisite location and favourite holiday place for the world’s most celebrated celebrities and rich-list. The remainder of beaches at St Tropez boast plenty of bars, cafes and a range of waters-ports and is popular with everyone from jet set wannabes through to families.
Facts on St Tropez:
• This is the place that has been dubbed as the playground for jetsetters, models and millionaires.
• Each year, in early October, a regatta is held in the bay of Saint-Tropez (Les Voiles de St. Tropez).
• St Tropez beaches are especially popular with naturists.
• One of the first celebrities to graze the golden san in St Tropez was artist Paul Signac in 1892.
• Today St Tropez is a popular wedding destination for celebrities.
The “norm” when relaxing on a beach in Monaco is topless sunbathing. The most famous for this is the Monte Carlo Beach Club, which has been an integral part of the social life of this town for decades. The only public beach in Monaco is Larvotto. This is a man-made beach and comprises three concrete jetties, protected by large boulders and gravel.
Facts on Monaco:
• Monaco is the name of the country and its capital (and only) city.
• After Vatican City, Monaco is the smallest country in the world.
• Foreigners make up over 80% of the principality's 'permanent' population due to laws which exempt citizens from taxes.
• Monaco's most famous destination is the Monte Carlo Casino.
• For visitors wishing to bask in some Monaco glitz, there are big annual events such as the Tennis Masters Series in April and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in May.
Whether your a family or couple, young or old, Provence offers a holiday beach destination for everyone. Whether you'r visit is for star-spotting or to re-live the steps of famour artists, there will always be a glorious beach nearby.
If you want to find out more information about what Provence has to offer, take a look at our expert Anthony Peregrine's pages. Here you can find a range of information from the best hotels in Cannes to the most glamorous place to go shopping in Nice.
And finally, feel free to leave your own useful tips and comments below!