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Best Beach Town in South(east) France?

Hello! We will be traveling with another family and will be in the South(east) of France for 4 days during the first week of July. We will be 4 adults and 6 children (ages 3-13). We are trying to decide which beach town (Cannes? Nice? Elsewhere?) would be the best for us to stay- our main criteria is a clean and beautiful beach. Nightlife isn't very important, but touristy things to do and see in the area would be nice. We'd also love to find an apartment/condo/house we could all stay in together (beachfront or beach view would be a bonus!). ANY suggestions for town and/or specific rental property are welcome - thanks in advance!

Posted by
7254 posts

Juan-les-Pins and Antibes (Picasso lived here the house is museum overlooking the Med sea) have nice beaches. Nice is kind of pebbly. Oh you are going to miss this great festival at Juan

Posted by
1945 posts

As the previous comment implies, if you want to actually run and play on the beach then pick Juan or Antibes or even Menton, because Nice is indeed clean and beautiful but very pebbly (almost rocky). It's a tradeoff: blue water means rocky beach, soft sand means dark green water.

A condo / apt is a good idea, but then you either have to pay for day use at a beach club or limit yourself to an open public stretch -- those are more likely to have people still wearing bathing suits, though, if that is a concern. The clubs are very clubby, and people paying big euros feel free to let it all hang out, so-to-speak.

Check out the apartments near Place Massena on AirBnB etc., which contrast the budget accommodations farther up the slope -- although if you could score an entire multi-bedroom rental for yourselves that might be just the ticket. Look carefully, though: the 10 of you won't want to split a house/complex with 3 couples there to party.

Posted by
510 posts

Antibes and Juan Les Pins do have the sandy beaches, Nice has pebbles but more public stretches. (JLP has disenfranchised many of the private clubs for this summer -- I have not heard what is to be expected this summer). Villefranche has a large grain beach, but it is small. Look at TripAdvision/Homeaway/VRBO, or directly at private agencies in order to book a villa, many in the area don't list on AirBnB (different market). Just make sure you have air conditioning if you get a city location, as it is nice to close the windows as some areas can get noisy at night in the summer. You might be able to find two apartment units in the same complex.

Menton is also smaller pebbles and puts you pretty far down from excursions.

Posted by
28069 posts

To emphasise - if you want the kids running on the beach it needs to be a sandy one, and they are rare around there. The grains at Villefranche sur Mer are large and sharp - water shoes needed for many people.

The rocks at Nice - except at the private beaches which pay large amounts to truck lots of sand in - are bigger and no more comfortable although a little smoother. Waler shoes still needed.

There's a sand public beach at Monaco.

Price point?

Posted by
11975 posts

I stayed in Juan les Pins but Antibes was, by far, my favorite in the area. It had the nicest sand, a great marina, medieval walls, medieval center, area with lots of restaurants, art museum and a train station to get you up and down the coast (not too far from Nice airport).

There is a stretch of what looked like sandy beaches between Juan les Pins and Cannes called Golfe Juan, but I didn't get out and look closely.