Among many other things; wine, amazing food, sophisticated culture, France is well-known for its beautiful beaches. And, luckily for tourists, many of the best beaches are just a short hop away from Paris.
In fact, you’ll be amazed at how many sandy delights are within 100 miles or so of the capital. If ever you’re in Paris and have a hankering for the seaside – these are the best beaches to visit if you want to enjoy an excursion for a day or two from the capital.
How to Travel to Beaches outside Paris
Getting to the beaches outside Paris is easy and convenient thanks to France’s efficient public transport system. The train service is an excellent option, with trains departing from Gare du Nord station in Paris and connecting to many of the beach destinations we’ll be highlighting.
Bus travel is also a good option, with regular services connecting Paris to major towns and cities across the country. If you prefer to drive, France’s extensive road network makes hiring a car a great way to explore the countryside and coastal regions.
Best Beaches for Tourists to Visit from Paris
Deauville Beach is a must-visit destination on the Normandy coast. Known for its picturesque boardwalk and colourful beach umbrellas, this beach is perfect for a relaxing day by the sea. In addition to the beach, the town of Deauville itself offers plenty of attractions, including upscale shopping and dining options, beautiful architecture, and a vibrant nightlife.
Located in the same region as Deauville, Étretat Beach is known for its dramatic cliffs and natural arches, which make it a popular spot for hiking and sightseeing. Visitors can take a stroll along the beach and admire the stunning views of the English Channel or explore the charming town of Étretat, which offers plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining.
Trouville Beach is another popular destination on the Normandy coast, located next to Deauville. This beach has a more laid-back vibe and is perfect for families. The town of Trouville offers a range of attractions, including a casino, museums, and art galleries, making it a great spot for those who want a break from the beach.
Located in the Seine-Maritime region, Dieppe Beach has a long history as a popular seaside resort. The beach offers a range of water sports and other activities, making it a great spot for adventure-seekers. Visitors can also explore the charming old town of Dieppe, with its narrow streets and beautiful architecture.
Cabourg Beach is known for its wide, sandy shore and charming Belle Époque architecture. Visitors can enjoy a day at the beach or explore the town of Cabourg, which offers plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining, as well as beautiful parks and gardens.
Le Touquet Beach
Located on the Opal Coast in northern France, Le Touquet Beach is known for its pristine white sand and lively atmosphere. The beach is perfect for those who want a fun-filled day by the sea, with plenty of activities and amenities available. The town of Le Touquet itself offers a wide range of attractions, including a casino, museums, and golf courses.
Berck-sur-Mer Beach is another popular destination on the Opal Coast, known for its wide, sandy beach and world-famous kite festival. Visitors can take part in water sports or simply relax on the beach, and explore the town of Berck-sur-Mer, which offers a range of attractions, including an aquarium and a cinema.
Located in Brittany, Saint-Malo Beach is known for its historic walled city and stunning views of the English Channel. Visitors can explore the beach and take in the breath-taking scenery, or explore the town of Saint-Malo, which offers plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining, as well as a beautiful aquarium.
These Normandy beaches are historically significant as the site of the D-Day landings during World War II. These beaches are popular with history buffs who want to learn more about the events of the war.
Visitors can also explore the nearby towns of Bayeux and Arromanches-les-Bains, which offer plenty of attractions, including museums and art galleries.
Plage de l’Espiguette
Plage de l’Espiguette is a long, wild beach in the Languedoc-Roussillon region that boasts unspoiled dunes and a natural setting that’s perfect for long walks and picnics. The beach is backed by a nature reserve, and visitors can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the local flora and fauna.
Nearby towns like Aigues-Mortes offer historical attractions like medieval fortifications, while the city of Montpellier is a great place to enjoy local cuisine and culture.
The beach at Le Crotoy on the Picardy coast is so picturesque, offering fine sand and stunning views over the Baie de Somme. Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the clear waters, and enjoy activities like fishing and windsurfing.
The nearby town of Le Crotoy is a charming fishing village with plenty of local seafood to try, while the historic city of Amiens is home to the impressive Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Jules Verne Museum.
Another popular beach on the Picardy coast, Quend-Plage-les-Pins is known for its safe swimming and soft sand dunes. Families can enjoy building sandcastles and playing beach games, while nature lovers can explore the nearby pine forests and nature reserves.
The town of Quend is a great place to enjoy local cuisine, while nearby Saint-Valery-sur-Somme is home to a picturesque harbour and a medieval town centre.
Cabanes en Fleurs
Cabanes en Fleurs is a charming beach on the Île de Ré, off the Atlantic coast of France, known for its unique beach huts decorated with flowers. Visitors can relax on the beach, go for a swim, and explore the quaint villages on the island.
The town of Ars-en-Ré is a popular destination, with its traditional market and historic church, while the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré boasts impressive fortifications and a beautiful harbour.
Plage de Riva-Bella
Plage de Riva-Bella in Ouistreham, Normandy, is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, offering clear waters and a wide expanse of sand. Visitors can enjoy windsurfing, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding, as well as fishing and swimming.
The nearby town of Ouistreham is a popular seaside resort, with plenty of restaurants and shops, while the historic city of Caen is home to a beautiful castle and several museums.
Plage du Veillon
Plage du Veillon in the Pays de la Loire region is known for its pristine natural setting, with dunes, cliffs, and forests providing a beautiful backdrop to the sandy shore. Visitors can enjoy hiking, cycling, and horseback riding in the nearby nature reserves, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the views.
The nearby town of Les Sables-d’Olonne is a popular destination, with a beautiful harbour and a historic old town, while the city of Nantes is home to impressive architecture and cultural attractions.
Why are French beaches so popular?
French beaches have been a popular destination for tourists from all over the world for decades, and for good reason. One of the main factors that make French beaches so attractive is their diversity. From the rocky shores of Brittany to the sandy beaches of the Côte d’Azur, France offers a wide variety of seaside experiences that cater to all tastes and preferences.
Another reason for the popularity of French beaches is their accessibility. Many of the beaches listed here are located within easy reach of Paris, making them perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. The excellent transport links and infrastructure in France also make it easy for tourists to explore different regions and beaches during their stay.
Finally, French beaches are renowned for their beauty and natural surroundings. Many of the beaches mentioned in this article are set against a stunning backdrop of cliffs, dunes, forests, and historic towns, offering visitors a unique and memorable experience.
French beaches also have a reputation for being clean and well-maintained, with strict environmental regulations in place to protect the natural beauty of the coastline.
Don’t wait any longer
France is a country that offers something for everyone, and its beaches are no exception. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day on the sand, an active holiday filled with water sports, or a cultural experience exploring historic towns and landmarks, you are sure to find the perfect beach within 100 miles of Paris.
From the dramatic cliffs and natural arches of Étretat to the colourful beach huts of Cabanes en Fleurs, each beach listed in this article offers a unique and unforgettable experience. So why not pack your sunscreen and towel, and embark on a coastal adventure from the heart of Paris? You won’t regret it!
Staying safe on French beaches
As we’ve already discussed France is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but it’s important to stay safe while enjoying them. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, there are some precautions you should take to ensure that you have a fun and safe time at the beach.
Be Aware of the Weather and Water Conditions
Before heading to the beach, it’s important to check the weather and water conditions. If the water is rough or there are strong currents, it’s best to stay out of the water. Even if the conditions seem calm, it’s important to stay alert and be prepared for any changes in the weather.
Know Your Limits
It’s important to know your limits when it comes to swimming and other water activities. If you’re not a strong swimmer, don’t go too far out into the water, and don’t push yourself too hard. Make sure to take breaks and stay hydrated to avoid fatigue.
Follow Beach Rules and Regulations
Many beaches in France have rules and regulations that visitors are required to follow. These rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety and to protect the environment. Some common rules include no alcohol or glass containers on the beach, no smoking, and no loud music. Make sure to read and follow the rules posted at the beach.
Watch Your Belongings
Beach thefts can happen, so it’s important to watch your belongings. Don’t leave valuables unattended, and consider leaving them at home or in a secure location. If you do bring valuables to the beach, make sure to keep them close by and in sight.
It’s easy to get dehydrated when spending time in the sun and water. Make sure to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks, as they can dehydrate you even more.
Protect Yourself from the Sun
The sun can be very strong in France, especially during the summer months. Make sure to wear sunscreen and reapply it every two hours, or more often if you’ve been in the water. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes, and consider wearing a rash guard or other protective clothing.
Respect the Environment
France’s beaches are home to a diverse range of wildlife and ecosystems, so it’s important to respect the environment. Don’t leave trash on the beach, and avoid disturbing plants and animals. Stick to designated paths and areas to avoid damaging the beach and its surroundings.