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Sun, sea and sand in Provence

There are lots of reasons why Provence makes such a good holiday destination. Great food, lovely towns and vibrant cities set in a geographically beautiful landscape are just some. But one of the top reasons people visit is to enjoy the stunning coastline that meanders for miles and the sunshine and warmth which makes time spent relaxing on a beach or out on the water particularly pleasant. With this in mind I’ve listed five fantastic towns with noteworthy beaches for you to visit this summer (not long to go now!) and five activities to get you out on the azure waters of the Medditeranean. Happy Summer Holiday planning! Bandol Whether it is peace and quiet, family friendly or adventurous water sports you’re after, Bandol pretty much has something to cater for all within walking distance of the town. If you find yourself walking along the Eastern end of Quai Charles de Gaulle, the stretch of beach, with a series of restaurants and souvenir shops are just perfect for families. Moving west, the enormous Marina in the centre of Bandol finds itself home to an amazing array of fabulous yachts… and enough to make any keen sailor more than a little envious! Beyond, the sandy coast line stretches out with a quieter atmosphere, perfect for relaxing away from the hustle and bustle. Should you be after real seclusion, the island of Ile de Bendor is a short boat ride away (or swim if you’re feeling active)! Noteworthy beaches Plage du grand Vallat – east of Bandol, perfect for families with sunbed rental and plenty of shade about a 15-minute walk from the town centre. Plage Centrale – in the heart of the town with easy parking and access to shops. Again, perfect for families with a dedicated lifeguard. Dog beach – on holiday with the faithful canine family member? Then this is the beach for them! The only beach suitable for our four-legged friends, opposite the island of Bendor. Plage du Capélan – further west from the town, more secluded and rocky with two restaurants serving simple but tasty food. Plage Delos – on the island of Bendor, perfect for those adventurous swimmers! Water activities Pirat Croisieres – based in the main marina, this boat tour company allows you to explore the Bandol coast line. Whether it be a day trip or romantic sunset cruising, they are able to offer something for everyone. Remember to pack your swimming gear as there may well be opportunities to swim or snorkel from the boat! Sanary-sur-Mer This classic Provencal port village is just a short drive away from Bandol. With beautiful beaches and a lively atmosphere it’s a ‘must visit’ during your holiday. Not only are there some great beaches to enjoy but the port is home to a large collection of traditional wooden fishing boats. The local fishermen sell their catch at the harbourside every morning – and directly to the many nearby restaurants.  Sanary is considered the birthplace of modern scuba diving and several underwater movie sequences have been filmed in the bay and beyond. Noteworthy beaches Plage Portissol – busy in the summer but definitely the most beautiful! With easy access for all and located in the heart of the town, this stretch of sand is the perfect location for a day trip with several restaurants nearby. Plage Dorée – this huge stretch of sand is the last beach before Bandol and safely supervised in the summer Water activities What SUP Sanary – based at the west end of Plage Dorée, this water sports rental service is the perfect place to equip yourself with paddle boards or kayaks! With rental from 10 euros it offers an affordable array of activities to enjoy during an afternoon. La Seyne-sur-Mer Famous for its harbour, La Seyne-sur-Mer is a popular choice for holiday goers. Looking out on the Toulon bay, this fishing port also hosts an impressive fish market every morning on the quayside. The town centre is pleasant, with welcoming shops and lively pedestrian streets. Noteworthy beaches Plage du Jonquet – no need for swimsuits here! Recognised as the most beautiful beach in the south of France for nude bathing, Plage du Jonquet might not be for everyone but if you feel like getting a true all-over tan then this is the beach for you! Plage des Sablettes – located near the town centre and with lifeguard supervision, this beach is more suitable for families and those wishing to get out on the water. Water activities Sports Nautiques des Sablettes – if adventure is what you’re looking for, this is the place for you! With everything from banana boating to parasailing, there are lots of activities designed to get the adrenaline flowing! Prices vary on activity but start from 20 euros. Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer Another resort with accessible beaches and sea front restaurants, Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer offers a perfect place to stop and explore along the Provence coast. Surrounded by picturesque pine forests and vineyards it’s really rather beautiful. Noteworthy beaches Plage des Lecques – the largest beach along the coast here, Plage des Lecques is split into three areas with a mixture of sand and pebbles. Towards the port of Madrague you’ll find the sandiest bit of beach which is handily close to restaurants and snack bars. Lifeguards are reassuringly present during the summer months. Water activities Aqualand Cyr Sur Mer – the ultimate destination for water slide enthusiasts! From 18.50 euros, it offers the perfect day out for all the family. If you can, purchase your tickets online to save some money. La Ciotat The scenery in this part of Provence is out of this world. Get ready with the camera as you head on in to the quirky little town of La Ciotat – steeped in history, this Provençal harbour town is bordered by the stunning Calanques National Park. Wander in to take a look at the old port which is home to plenty of private yachts and fishing boats. Want to relax with a coffee or glass of wine? You find rows of cafe and restaurant terraces along the quayside. Noteworthy beaches Plage des Capucins – with a lifeguard station and a sandy, shingle beach, this is a great spot for families including a ramp for wheelchair users. There is even a ‘fitness zone’ for those who want to stay active in the sunshine! Plage Lumière – named after the film making Lumière brothers, this beach could be argued as the best in La Ciotat. There are also entertainment areas around the beach including trampolines. Grande Plage – slightly busier, this fine sandy beach is close to local amenities making it a great choice for a family visit. Water activities Jetsurdmassilia – this rental establishment holds a wealth of equipment for you to go out and enjoy the water. Their unique ‘jetsurf’ boards however are what truly make them stand out… intrigued to find out what jetsurfing is all about? You’ll just have to visit! Prices start from 75euros. Sun, sea and sand certainly go a long way towards making a holiday memorable. And there is no shortage of any of these key ingredients in Provence. Whatever you do though, my top tip would be to crack on and organise your summer holiday now… as with any popular destination, hotels, hire cars and flights all get booked up quickly. I’d hate for you to miss out on the perfect Provencal holiday so get planning now! Su Stephens is Owner of Olives & Vines. Olives & Vines is a luxury holiday company based in the South of France offering stays at their beautifully designed holiday house and boutique hotel in Le Castellet. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Su Stephens

Stephens is Owner of Olives & Vines. Olives & Vines is a luxury holiday company based in the South of France offering stays at their beautifully designed holiday house and boutique hotel in Le Castellet.

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  1. I never need any persuading to travel to Provence. My parents, after a long drive down through France, somehow managed to take 3 weeks off work during the school summer holidays so that we had a long lazy holiday. This was so long ago that the beaches and roads were far quieter than they are today. We are almost talking Provence before Peter Mayle. Wonderful memories.

  2. For me a gite somewhere along the Provençal coastline is always a perfect summer holiday. I love going to the fish markets, selecting some odds and ends to have a go at my end version of bouillabaisse, it costs just a few Euros and is great with a fresh baguette.

  3. In the past our kids have always been happy playing along the beautiful beaches of Provence. I suppose that as they get older and head into the troublesome teenage years it ain’t going to be so easy or so cheap. It is useful to know about these activities that are now around on this beautiful patch of France. Who knows? Dad might even have a go with them.

  4. You really can’t go wrong with Provence. My wife and I, with and without kids, have dropped in on Provence many times over the last 30 years, it’s classic French holiday territory. Beautiful landscapes, warm seas, great food and superb wine – what more do you want?

  5. I’ve holidayed in both European and tropical destinations during summer seasons. They’re a different vibe altogether, and very interesting experiences. I agree that Provence is your quintessential French summer escape with amazing weather, lots of activities, and superb food. The wife and I especially like sailing because when you get to a certain age, you just want a quiet and relaxing vacation most of the time.

  6. I strongly agree! I’ve visited Provence a few years ago and I must say, their seas and beaches are very beautiful. The pictures of the stunning sceneries says it all. Their food are also scrumptious! Wait till you get a bite of their famous stews and ratatouilles. Great people, relaxing ambiance, and a stay you won’t forget awaits you.

  7. There’s so much to do in the south of France, it’s almost overwhelming. I think one of the things I’d like to do most is just to take walks very early in the morning and maybe see how the fishermen start their days. I’m sure it’s very peaceful at that time.

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