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Beach towns to visit in France in early August

My son is traveling abroad this summer with his college and has a break from school the first week of August. He is seeking recommendations for an inexpensive and pleasant beach town experience. Any recommendations? Thank you so much!

Posted by
6996 posts

From your previous posts, I gather that your son is in Paris.
Train tickets might be expensive at this stage, but the coast of Languedoc between le Grau-du-Roi and Argelès-sur-Mer has dozens of beach resorts that have good beaches and are affordable. Palavas, La Grande Motte, le Grau du Roi are easiest to access (from Montpellier for the first two, Nîmes for the latter).

Closer to Paris (so with less certain weather), Berck-Plage has a huge beach (stretches all the way to bourgeois Le Touquet, 10 miles to the north), a good vibe, and low prices.

Normandy could be an option, but the only sandy beach resorts I've been to are Deauville and Cabourg, which are expensive - there may be options further west.

Brittany, not so sure without a car. The more accessible beachy towns (La Baule, Quiberon...) tend to be fancy.

I have never been to the coast between Nantes and Bordeaux.

And, last but not least, the coast west of Bordeaux all the way south to Bayonne has some of France's best beaches, but also some of France's most dangerous surf, so caution is advised. Capbreton,m or Hossegor could be fun for young people, not that cheap though, and public transport isn't great.

Posted by
6113 posts

Beach towns in August aren’t going to be cheap, particularly booked so late in the day. Anywhere on the Med coast is going to be particularly pricey.

I returned to the U.K. last week from France - I visited Royan and Oleron on the west coast - supposedly this area has the most number of sunshine hours after the south coast. These locations and the towns up to La Rochelle would fit your bill. Avoid Re - very expensive. The beaches of the Vendee around Les Sables d’Olonne are long and sandy.

Accommodation owners said bookings were much higher than pre pandemic.

The weather on the coast south of Bordeaux isn’t as good as it’s affected by the Pyrenees.

The weather won’t be as good in Normandy and Brittany won’t be as good, but somewhere like Vannes may suit. These areas will be cheaper.

Posted by
561 posts

If you go to Collioure, bring your swimming shoes. The beaches are painfully Stone-ney!
Surprisingly, I found only one store that sold swimming shoes.

Posted by
5901 posts

I was just reading up on beaches in Southwest France. I believe I read that the surf in St Jean de Luz is calmer than Biarritz. As stated in following comment, TGV goes to Bordeaux and on to St Jean de Luz.

I don't think you can get there via public transportation, but Arromanches in Normandy had a nice beach and the coast line was beautiful. Accommodation for us was quite reasonable.

Posted by
9766 posts

The TGV goes straight to St Jean de Luz after Bordeaux, Dax, Biarritz etc. No need to change to a bus.

I agree with others that "inexpensive" doesn't go together very well with "August," "France," and "beach."

Posted by
14580 posts

If he intends to stay up north, then I suggest also La Touquet as well as Stella Plage. La Touquet is a more pricey. I wasn't there in August but in July before heading to Paris. This was in the late 1990s.

Posted by
6996 posts

The first week of August is almost over; I wonder where the OP's son went in the end.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you all for your excellent suggestions! They ended up going to Etretat! I don’t know how it was but I presume great because they’ve been having a great trip all around. Thank you again everyone I love this for him!

Posted by
6996 posts

Etretat is beautiful! The pebbles aren't conducive to lounging on the beach, but some people (including myself) don't mind that much.
Thanks for reporting back.