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5 Beautiful Beaches in France for your Bucket (and Spade) List

Notre-Dame-Ile-de-Porquerolles

Notre-Dame, Ile de Porquerolles

The Iles d’Hyères group, include the little known island of Porquerollesoff the coast of southern France. It isn’t big but it is unbelievably beautiful. Just four miles long and two miles wide, it is a place of scented pine and eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary and other Mediterranean flora and fauna. A magical place that is take your breath away pretty. Popular with the French it can get busy in the summer but it’s worth a visit all year round. “I have heard” wrote Leo Tolstoy in 1860 “that at times, it is still possible to swim in December. The climate here is fantastic”…

You won’t find noisy cafés or souvenir shops on the beach, building regulations are strictly enforced, retaining the natural look and feel is fiercely protected by the owners – the French state.

Rondinara, Corsica

rondinara-corsica

A white sandy beach with clear turquoise waters, a beautiful secluded bay, Rondinara Beach (below), on the island of Corsica is magnificent. It does get crowded in the summer, there are plenty of rentals and a camp sites here which make it popular with holiday makers. Find it in the south east of the island, half way between Bonifacio and Porto Vecchio on the N198 road that winds its way down to a car park by the beach…

If it’s too busy, drive round the bay to find your own quiet piece of Paradise on Corsica’s exquisite coastline…

Cancale, Brittany

cancale-brittany

This pretty little port is not far from St Malo, famous for its oysters! the magnificent molluscs have been cultivated in this attractive fishing village for hundreds of years. There are also breathtaking views over the Baie de St Michel and scenic walks around the coast.

Saint Palais-sur-Mer, Charente Maritime

palais-sur-Mer,-Charente-Maritime

This resort on the Atlantic coast close to Royan, is well-known for its sandy beaches and mild, sunny climate. With beautiful architecture reminiscent of the Belle Epoque, and Carrelets (traditional wooden fishing huts on stilts) Saint-Palais-sur-Mer is a magnificent area for cycling, hiking, or to just chill out.

Etretat, Normandy

etretat-normandy

Massive natural stone arches at both ends of Etretat Plage inspired  impressionist painters Boudin, Monet and Manet. This stretch of Alabaster Coast,  is wrapped in dramatic cliffs  Two arches,  Porte d’Aval and  Porte Amont, can be seen from the town; the third, known as Manneport,  reveals itself after a walk at low tide when 17th century oyster beds emerge from the sea.

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