I have 7 days total. I am thinking paris for 3 1/2 then fly/ train to Nice?? for 3 days.. my spouse likes beaches and isnt a great traveler with lots of walking.. ( thank goodness I've done paris before:-) any ideas at all??
We really need more information before we can make reasonable suggestions. For example, where are you coming from? Have you booked an open-jaw flight into Paris and back from Nice? Does your seven days include day of arrival/departure?
That said, we did a similar thing during a three week stay in Paris. Took a really early flight on a cheapo airline from Orly to Nice, stayed two nights in an Airbnb close to the beach, and then a late flight back to Paris. Had a lovely time and got to show my bride Eze and parts of the coast I had not seen in 40 years. Great public transport makes that area easy to navigate without hiking for miles.
I think you would find the train from Paris takes much too long to be practical with only seven days total for your trip.
BTW I hope your spouse knows that sandy beaches on the Med are few and far between. Most are pebbles.
Good point! And we only have 7 days. Could 3 days Paris 1 in Normandy 1 possibly Versailles then 2 Brugge be more reasonable?
We are as of now in and out Paris
A Brittany or Normandy beach down might be good. St. Malo is gorgeous and even has a huge natural swimming pool on the beach so you can swim when the deep deep tide is out. There are sea towns in Normandy like Etretat and Deuville. I owuld not hope around with a day here and day there. I'd pick a spot and go there. From St. Malo there are nearby places to visit -- or from Normandy using a base.
If you are interested in actually swimming, you might want to have a look at a website that shows water temperatures. Brittany and Normandy aren't warm enough for me until the end of July, but I'm a Floridian.
This site will get you beach temperatures and expected weather.
What are your travel dates?
I agree that if swimming is important, Normandy/Brittany are dicey. I am not a beach person, but it was coolish and cloudy almost every day I spent in that area last July. I loved it--many charming towns, good food, etc. But for beach time on a very limited schedule so you can't wait for good weather? It gets a firm "No" from me. I don't think Belgium or the Netherlands would be any more reliable, weather-wise; probably worse.
And while the weather may be a problem in the north of France, the beaches themselves may be a problem in the south. Nice itself, and many of the towns near it, have beaches of rocks, not sand. If you want to lay on sand instead of rocks, you have to make sure your "beach town" has them. Of course, plenty of people will be on the rocky beaches, laying on towels; I just don't want you to have an unpleasant surprise.
For sunbathing for me the Atlantic Coast is not a bad place, only the seawater needs time during the summer to get warm enough for swimming. Can be a bit cold in the beginning but you get used to it if the water temperature is not too low.
To my opinion one of the best (sandy) beaches along the Atlantic Coast is La Baule-Escoublac west of Saint-Nazaire. It’s a bit posh and having a form of a bay it has kind of a micro climate. In the evening the heat is gone and temperatures can be very pleasant for outdoor dining and drinking. Stayed there in early July thirty years ago but looking around with google streetview it looks it hasn’t changed much. Nearby Le Croisic has plenty of fish restaurants and historic Guérand still has it’s medieval walls. Very pleasant place.
Brugge is a good location for a trip to the beach. Visit it early in the morning before the daytrippers arrive and take the train to Oostende and from there one of the frequent trams to De Haan. You can be there within an hour, so good for a last minute decision. It will be busy there, but the more quieter spots involves just a bit of walking. Yesterday the holidays has begun for the Belgians, so the coast is more busy as usual, nevertheless enough place to enjoy the sun.
I liked Antibes the best of the Riviera. It's relatively small and you can use the train to get up and down the coast.
I also really enjoyed the beaches south of Arcachon in June. The weather was a little rainy but mostly good. I think they'd be nice in July but the water may still be cold. North of Arcachon is the Medoc and Cap Ferrat. The beaches are supposed to be nice there also.