Some of the best beaches in Provence

One of the many reasons I love Provence (and there are lots!) is the easy accessibility of some of the most beautiful beaches in France. With so many to choose from a brief rundown of some of the best seemed to be in order. If I’ve missed any of your favourites do let me know in the comments section!

Bandol Beaches – 2100 Route de Bandol, 83110, Sanary-sur-Mer

The town of Bandol pretty much marks the start of the French Riviera and is home to a number of beaches in the immediate vicinity. Many of these are within walking distance of the town allowing you to hire paddle boards, bodyboards and surfboards before heading to the beach.

Plage Doree

One of the most popular is the Plage Doree (‘plage’ is the French word for beach). To find it, head east out of Bandol down the coastal road a short way where you’ll come across parking for the beach. Forming a long semi-circle, this beautiful beach is frequently busy but this just adds to the holiday atmosphere rather than feeling of being crowded.

Plage Doree Restaurant

At the end of the beach is the Plage Doree restaurant which serves some amazing seafood. Take a seat on the terrace overlooking the beach to enjoy a great view whilst you eat.

St. Croix Beach – Ch de Sainte-Croix, 13500, La Couronne, Martigues

St. Croix is a beach to the west side of Marseilles (the nearest small town is Sausset-les-Pins). To reach the beach take the D9 to D49, turn left as soon as you cross the railroad tracks on Routes des Bastides and follow the beach signs. St. Croix beach is a real find.

Saint Croix Plage

Mostly frequented by just the locals the beach is split into two main sections, both of which are home to lots of lovely white sand! On our last visit we managed to park for free, just a few minutes walk from the beach. With pretty water that stays shallow a long way out, this is a fantastic family-friendly beach. Our two youngest were able to walk out into the water for many yards quite safety and enjoyed the small waves. You can rent umbrellas and pedal boats, and there are a couple of restaurants and snack bars on the bluff above.

Portissol Beach – Esplanade Frédéric Dumas 83110 Sanary-sur-Mer

Located in a residential suburb around 15 minutes’ walk from the harbour, it’s a large crescent-shaped, mainly sand beach fringed by tamarisk trees and sheltered from the wind. Access is by steps or a ramp. It has several restaurants and a snack bar, plus a children’s play area and sunshade and sun-bed hire.

Plage du Portisol

An “underwater trail” starts here. Armed with masks and snorkels (included in the charge for the tour), swimmers are taken around points of interest by a guide. The trail takes about two hours and is suitable for children accompanied by an adult. Portissol is also favoured by scuba divers and there are even ladders fitted to help divers access the water. And if you’re into surfing then the strong Mistral winds make this an ideal destination!

Port d’Alon Beach – Rte de la Calanque, 83270, Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer

An amazing beach for those who love getting in the water (or on it in the case of paddle boarding!!). This beach is located between Bandol and Madrague Port and is beautifully unspoiled. Consisting of mainly gravel mixed with some finer sand this is definitely less a sunbathers beach and more a destination for snorkelers, divers and (as mentioned!) paddleboarders.

Port d'Alon Plage

And when you get too hot out on the water you’re able to retire to the shade at the back of the beach afforded by a belt of pine trees. If you’re after a more secluded setting then head onto the coastal path to the right of the beach and follow the track through the woods. After a couple of minutes you’ll be able to spy a small beach nestling in an often deserted cove.

Renecros Beach – Rue Raimu 83150 Bandol

We’re heading back to Bandol again for the final beach pick! Renecros Beach is located in a simply stunning bay which forms a natural harbour. Fine white sand runs down to clear waters with a gentle incline allowing for splashing around in the shallows – perfect for the children.

Renecros Plage

A lifeguard is on duty during the summer months which adds to peace of mind. Much of the beach is bordered with a ring of pine trees allowing you to escape into the shade. And for those that love swimming, the waters are kept lovely and calm by the dams at entrance to the bay. Perfect!

There is a truly incredible selection of beaches to choose from along the Provence coast. This article could run to a dozen more pages and still not come close to covering them all! Without doubt, if you’re looking for a wonderful destination for your holiday which includes sun, sea and beautiful surroundings then Provence is hard to beat. If you’d like to do a little more beach exploring yourself then a great starting point is the website ‘Plages.tv’. With hundreds of beaches listed you’re sure to find the perfect one for you. Happy sunbathing, swimming and sandcastle building!!

Su Stephens is Owner of Olives & Vines.

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  1. I discovered St. Croix beach and others on the blue coast through the soap opera Paradise Camping. The entrance of Marseille scenery are great. The beach of St. Croix is ​​particularly pleasant. Sensational images to make towards the chapel that overlooks the beach.

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