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9 best beaches in France

Waves crashing on a pink granite coast Sentier des Douaniers (old customs officers Path) and a view of the Ploumanac'h lighthouse

France has endless sun-and-sand potential. In the far north, there are white cliffs and the old-fashioned seaside resorts of the English Channel (Manche in French), and over on the Mediterranean coast, the conditions are perfect for snorkeling, with warm waters and rocky coves.

Powerful North Atlantic storms rip apart the rugged coast of Brittany, while surfers pull into heaving tubes in the southwest. With so many places to lay down your towel, it can be hard to know where to begin but don’t worry – here’s our pick of the best beaches in France.

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1. Palombaggia, Corsica

Best beach in Corsica for families, paradise seekers, and honeymooners

There’s nowhere in the Mediterranean quite like Corsica. Thanks to fierce local resistance, strong environmental protection and tight building rules, the coastline of this rugged, mountainous island has been spared the rampant tourism overdevelopment that has scarred so many Mediterranean beaches. The result is an island where ancient coastal forests still dominate, and dusty footpaths lead to serene white sands

The island has a beach for every mood, but none can be more classically beautiful than Palombaggia, in the sun trap southeast. Rose-tinged granite boulders, electric-blue waters, stumpy olive trees and sugar-white sands make it look like the French stole this beach from the Seychelles.

Planning tip: Although it’s generally undeveloped, Palombaggia is far from undiscovered, and in July and August, it can be a struggle to find anywhere to put your towel down. Come in June or September and early October for some peace.

 The Côte de Granit Rose is one of the most enticing seascapes in France © Manfred Gottschalk / Getty Images

2. Côte de Granit Rose, Brittany

Best beach in northwest France for families, sailors, and seals

Thanks to a succession of secluded bays and milky blue waters, linked together by orange-pink granite boulders piled one upon the other like squashed strawberries, the Côte de Granit Rose is one of the most enticing seascapes in France.

It’s also a coastline seemingly custom-made with beachside fun in mind. You can paddle a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard toward rocky outcrops, build sand castles with the kids on low-tide sand bars, hike a family-friendly coastal path and eat shellfish in the pretty harbor village of Ploumanac’h. 

3. Les Calanques, Cassis

Best beach in…

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