What do you know about wild beaches in the South of France? Divers always know: the most exciting diving is when the water is clear. The water on the Blue Coast is very clear. On arrival you can swim and dive near fish, jellyfish, sea urchins. On the wild shores you will meet friendly dolphins. Traveling through Nice or Monaco gives the impression that there are no beautiful, wild beaches in France. That is not true. France has the most beautiful wild beaches. I’ll tell you everything soon. It is best to rent a car and drive all along the coast to see these places and truly stunning wild beaches.
THREE ILES DE HYERES ISLANDS
The first one is – Ile de Porquerolles. This tiny Island is located near to the town of Hyeres. If you drive from Nice, you will reach it in 3 hours (168 km). You will get to the Island from the Giens Ferry Terminal. From there, it is only possible to walk or cycle. The water here is clear, light turquoise. Amazing wild beaches are on the North side of the Island, and on the South – steep cliffs and secluded hiking trails near the streams.
You can enjoy sailing, kayaking, rowing or diving. The Island is home to the small, charming, Provencal-style village of Porquerolles. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants. One of the best beaches in Europe – The beach of Notre Dame is reached by a wooden staircase surrounded by pine trees. White sand and clear blue water resemble the Caribbean sea region. Nearby is “Le plage D’Argent” beach.
The second one is Ile de Port-Cros, popular with many French people because of the amazing natural beauty with over 80 percent of it being strictly protected by the National Park. It’s not allowed to smoke, fish or camp. The ticket price for a round-trip is about 30 eu. The French call this magical Island a Mediterranean paradise. La plage du Sud is the most beautiful of the beaches on this magical Island. Friendly fishes that are not scared of humans surround your feet when you step into the water.
The third Island – Ile du Levant is known as the nudist Island. All three Islands is known as Iles d’Hyeres.
SENTIER DU LITTORAL – SEASIDE TRAIL NEAR THE VILLAGE OF BORMES – LES MIMOSAS
This trail is 20 km away from Hyeres village. You will find beaches and bays here, so you can cool off on the hot summer days. There are a number of rocky places along this trail, so prepare appropriate footwear. Bormes – Les Mimosas is one of the most beautiful towns in the region of Provence, with a population of about eight thousand inhabitants. The most beautiful of the beaches is Plage de L’Estagnol. A lot of people compare it to the beaches in the Seychelles and Maldives Islands, as well as the Caribbean, where white sand and turquoise water are common sights. In the summer months, there are lots of people.
You can leave the car at L’Estagnol beach and turn left as soon as you come to the sea and walk forward for approximately 20 minutes. You’ll see another, lovely, pine-shaded la Plage du Grand Jardin, where you’ll probably be alone.
If you want to tour by the boat, look for offers in Hyeres village. There are people who organize all-day trips with lunch. While sailing you will be able to see all the secret places and beaches visible only from the water, dive near the Port-Cros Island Reserve (I have already written about it). No doubt this is the best spot for diving on the entire French Riviera. Yacht trips are costly, so plan your expenses in advance. This place is definitely worth it.
SENTIER DU LITTORAL – SEASIDE TRAIL NEAR THE VILLAGE OF LAVANDOU
This walking trail is also close to the village of Hyeres. Next to Saint-Clair Beach (La plage Saint-Clair), you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the sea and the hills. You will likely be alone if you arrive in the early morning. The trail has many stairs, so get ready to hike with comfortable footwear. Have a good trip!
GULFS NEAR THE VILLAGE OF CASSIS: CALANQUE D’EN-VAU, CALANQUE DE PORT PIN, CALANQUE SORMIOU
These bays are located very close to the city of Marseille. It’s 40 km away and you will need an hour’s drive. If you enjoy hiking, I recommend starting in the village of Cassis, near the bays of Port Miou, Port Pin and D’en Vau. In Cassis you can rent kayak or sup and swim along the rocky coast.
Another beautiful bay is about 20 km away from the village of Cassis. About 100 houses, a restaurant next to the water and a small port protected by rampart are in Calanque Sormiou – the Gulf of Sormiou. People come here to dive. On the left is the Cosquer Cave, which is currently closed for security reasons. This cave is 37 meters underwater, so you can only come to see it with diving equipment.
In the low season, you can access this bay directly from the car park. In the summer time prepare comfortable footwear and water, because it will take about an hour in the heat and sun till you reach the bay. There are no rest areas and shade on the trail, so if you decide to travel here, bring water and sun protection. It is best to walk only on marked safe footpaths.
GULF OF THE SUGITON – CALANQUE DE SUGITON
There are 24 bays in Calanques National Park, so keep in mind that I mentioned just a few of the many. This bay is located in the heart of Calanques National Park, 30 kilometers from Marseille. The beach is easily accessible. If you will be here, be sure to take a bath.
RAMATUELLE. THE BEACH OF L’ESCALET – LA PLAGE DE L’ESCALET
The beach of l’Escalet is 118 km from Nice, and 15 km from Saint-Tropez, near the old town of Ramatuelle, in the nature reserve of Cape – Cap Taillat. The town was built on a hill by the Moors to make it easier to defend against enemies. In the Middle Ages, this town was called Ramatuella. About 2,000 people currently live here. Find accommodation here and you will be able to explore this wonderful area for longer.
Nature by the sea reminds me of the island of Corsica, where you can see cacti and thyme. It is a pleasure to look at the clear blue water. From the town to the beach is 5 km. It is wise to arrive early in the morning, so that you will easily find a place to park your car. It is a great beach for families, so if you came with the kids, stay here.
Next to this beach is “Pep’s Spirit KAYAK – PADDLE – PIROGUE” bike and swimming equipment rental. You can rent an electric mountain bike, paddle board or kayak and spend the day riding or swimming.
Next to the village of Ramatuelle is a wonderful secret place protected from the wind by the Crique de la Douane, where you can bathe naked. There are also beaches – La plage de la Douane, la plage de Briande. Find these places on Google Maps.
If you are sporty and want to explore the area on foot, read on.
HIKE TO CAP TAILLAT
Only locals know the area of Cap Tallat. You can start your journey from La plage de L’Escalet. You will walk along the coast with many small coves and beautiful wild beaches. It is a long walk, so wear comfortable shoes. Pets are allowed on this wild beaches trail. It’s not allowed to smoke as in 2017 the area was affected by fire. Most of the beaches in this place are the most beautiful wild beaches in France.
While walking this trail, you won’t see any signs, but walk bravely, you won’t get lost. The hiking trail continues along the coast passing Briande Bay and beach, the Lardier, Brouis promontories, wild Brouis and Jovat beaches. You can end your trip at Gigaro’s beach. It all depends on your physical capabilities. If you are sporty and strong, this trail is for you.
If you’re not a long walk enthusiast, leave your car at the end of Cartaya Street, there are a few free parking places. You will reach the beach immediately after taking stairs and the trail is half the length of the previous one. Please note that there are only wild beaches and no amenities on the entire trail. There is a ship sailing on the coast that sells drinks and ice cream, but they have limited choice and high prices.
Nearby is another wonderful beach La plage de Bolmporteau. You can find directions on the map. Do it like the locals do. They don’t look for beaches. They just find the closest place to the shore, drop their towel on a rock and immediately dive into the beautiful Mediterranean.
POINTE DU CAP ROUX, MASSIF DE L’ESTEREL
Pointe du Maubois is an hour’s drive from Nice (53km). It is a red cape of volcanic rocks. You can walk along the coastal paths, enjoy diving, or just relax on the beach in beautiful nature. Thank you for being together! That was just a small piece of this amazing country. France really has the most beautiful wild beaches. We wish you a wonderful vacation.