The Beaches of Provence.

Notre Dame Beach, Ile de Porquerolles

No cars are allowed whatsoever on this island, so it is very safe to walk or ride a bicycle along the rocky , 3 km ( 2 mile) track from the port to the loveliest beach in France. Surrounded by pines, it boasts white sand, calm waters, no commerce and few people. Your very private slice of paradise.

Pampelonne Beach, St Tropez

Everyone has his or her “place” in St-Trop largest beach. The very famous beach clubs cater to the super- rich and glamorous, to nudists, to gays, as well as to everyday families. This 5- km ( 3 mile) sandy stretch across the headland from the town also has extensive public areas. There is enough space to escape the crowds and appreciate real beauty. I do not recommend Saint-Tropez in the summer time, way to crowded.

Calanque d’en -Vau, Cassis

“Calanques” are inlets formed where the chalk cliffs plunge into the sea. Many of them are found between Marseille and Cassis. En-Vau is very pretty one of the prettiest and one of the most accessible. It is about 90 -minute walk from the nearest Cassis car park. At the foot of the white, pine- clad rocks, the setting of white sand and sea is intimate, wild and quite unforgettable.

Elephant Beach , Le Lavandou

Le Lavandou has a total of 12 beaches, from the great sandy stretch of the Grande Plage to the nudist creek of Rossignol. The most attractive is L’elephant. The approach is only by sea or by climbing over rocks, a feature that ensures tranquility.

Calanque de Figuerolles, La Ciotat

Steps lead down to this  extraordinary creek. On both sides are cliffs, while further back are terraces of fig-trees and pines. Out front the blue sea laps around weird rock formations and onto the pebble shore.

La Garoupe Beach, Cap – d’Antibes

Between them, Antibes and Juan-les-Pins have 25 km ( 16 miles) of coast and 48 beaches, slotted into rocky creeks or opening into sandy beaches. One that is the prettiest goes by the name of La Garoupe, on an inlet of the peninsula. Very fashionable and very crowded in the summer time.

Agay beach, St-Raphael

As the red rocks of the Esterel hills tumble into the blue sea, they give the coast around Saint Raphael an untamed allure. The small creeks are much more accessible, bigger, sandier and equally alluring. The Bay of Agay is perfect for families with children.

Saint-Honorat beaches, Iles de Lerins

A short ferry ride leads from the crowded beaches of Cannes to this island, owned by Cistercian monks. The presence of a monastery kind of discourages the holidaymakers so the pretty rock outcrops and very small beaches remain calm and unusually for Provence, it is under populated.

St-Aygulf beach

Long, wide, sandy and safe, the beach at St-Aygulf, near Frejus has the additional advantage of being in a Nature Preservation Area. This protects the Etangs de Villepey – great, wild, freshwater lagoons on the other side of the road, where 217 bird species have been noted. A very beautiful setting.

Piemancon beach, La Camargue

A very beautiful beach, beyond civilization. You must walk around salt -flats and lagoons before arriving at the flat exposed sands. Life is a little rugged , but totally ideal for wilder beach elements.

Anne Suire