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Summer at the beach in France 10 days in late May/early June

Hello community! Thanks in advance for your ideas. I am traveling to France in late May/early June and have 10 days to experience French coastal life. I have been to the South of France many times, so would like to get to know another region. My interests are food, wine, and everyday life in a coastal town. Ideally, it would be a town within a shortish train ride to one or two other places of interest.

Would appreciate your experiences and thoughts!

Posted by
2360 posts

How about St. Milo in Brittany? You can take a 1h train to Dinan, however, it does require a transfer.

Posted by
23045 posts

Do you want to go in the water? I'm sort of doubtful that would be a comfortable thing to do in Brittany at that time of year, but I could certainly be wrong. Everyone likes St-Malo more than I did; the tourist load was a bit much for me. However, the town has legit sights to see, more than most coastal tourist spots, I guess. Dinard, Rennes and Dinan are all reasonable day-trips. Dol de Bretagne is close, but I haven't been there and don't know whether it's a good place to visit.

A different experience would be had in Deauville or Trouville. Perhaps no less touristy, but I think it would be more French tourists. Deauville, at least, is newer than St-Malo and wouldn't be as appealing if you're looking for pre-19th century architecture. And it's not any faster to reach than St-Malo, nor would the water be warmer (I assume). There's bus and/or rail service to Honfleur, Cabourg, Caen, and Le Havre.

There are some nice places on the west coast of France. They're likely to take a bit longer to reach from Paris. I liked Vannes and La Rochelle. La Rochelle puts you within day-tripping distance of Poitiers and two interesting islands, Ile de Re and Ile d'Oleron.

Posted by
5165 posts

Where in the South have you been? I'm assuming Mediterranean coast, so I will suggest Biarritz and/or St Jean de Luz and surrounding areas on the Atlantic coast near the Spanish border. Great beach/surfing culture, excellent food, and busy towns year-round. Very scenic coast, too.

Posted by
1791 posts

One of the beaches along the Atlantic coast I still want to visit again is La Baule-Escoublac, a bit upmarket and very French. Every hour trains to Nantes (1hr.), St-Nazaire (20min.) and a bit lesser frequent to Le Croisic (some 15min.). The latter known for it’s seafood restaurants. Quérande is a lovely historic place still having it’s medieval walls north of La Baule, think only to reach with bus or taxi.

Combined TGV/local train from Paris Montparnasse to La Baule takes some 3½hr. and fastest train to Vannes (edit: from La Baule) a bit more as 2hr.

Posted by
6 posts

Hello all and I so appreciate your thoughts! I should have been more specific about the south -- really have spent time in Provence (St. Tropez and Nice primarily) and altho I adore it, thought seeing another region would be nice. I don't have to swim, necessarily, but would like to have a bit of beach life to observe, so warmer water is probably a good thing.

I have not been to Collioure or in fact any of the suggested spots you all have contributed. Thank you for all the good ideas!


Posted by
15 posts

Have you considered Brittany? We loved it because it was less touristy and didn't have the hustle and bustle and pace of other high profile areas. We used Quimper as our base and easily traveled to other coastal towns from there within 30 min. to 1 hour drive. Benodet, Pont L'Abbe, Audierne- beautiful coastal towns; Point du Raz, Pont de Pen Hir- outstanding scenic cliff views a beautiful, picturesque water. Concarneu a walled city to explore surrounded by great restaurants and cafes, near a castle to tour. We took TGV from Paris to Quimper about 4 hours I think. The weather was mild in July, Lots of seafood and mussels in season, tons of creperies to try crepes and galettes of all kinds.

Posted by
12062 posts

I've been to the north and south coast of Brittainy (mid-September). It's beautiful but probably won't be beach weather in the spring. I'd expect rain. Still you can see the stones around Carnac and nice port towns along the rivers. I really liked Vannes; it has a much larger medieval center than I would have expected including ramparts plus a nice port. Auray is a really nice town also but probably best on a sunny summer day.

I've also been to the Atlantic coastal area south of Arcachon (early/mid-June). The weather was decent (a little cool but dry) when I visited. They were gearing up for the summer crowds so it was lightly populated but active. Arcachon didn't impress me but I enjoyed camping in the area roughly 25km south of there. A friend visited Medoc (north of Arcachon) and really liked that it had both forests and beaches, similar to where I camped.