Beaches in Nice

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Perhaps one of the most enchanting sounds in the world is that of the surf slipping through the pebbled shores of the Cote d'Azur. The legendary coastline is home to some of the world's most famously beautiful beaches, symbolizing the effortless elegance and easy living for which the French Riviera is known. Grab your biggest sunglasses and get ready to laze in the joie de vivre lifestyle.

Private and Public Beaches

Nice is the cosmopolitan capital of the Cote d'Azur and touts some of the area's best beaches; approximately fifteen private beaches are punctuated by public ones. Start your journey by strolling the coast-hugging Promenade des Anglais, scouting out the best beaches along the way. Private beaches are often owned by swank hotels like Beau Rivage, while many offer day passes, such as intimate Bambou, posh Castel Plage and kid-friendly Blue Beach. Perhaps the best private beach, Neptune offers more than just sun-bathing; guests can use pedalo boats and jet-skis, and take swim lessons. The main advantage of private beaches is the use of those blue sun lounger chairs; parasols and privacy are also a plus. If you're feeling up for extra indulges, many of the hotel's restaurants offer excellent seaside dining. Private beaches don't allow guests to bring in their own food, however, so a full day in the sun can add up quickly. If you opt to go the public route, be sure to bring water-friendly slide-on sneakers and padded mats to soften the effects of the "galets," stones, which can be toe-busting. You can hit the sweet spot in the public-private middle at Le Plongeoir, a tiny secluded beach away from the Promenade des Anglais bustle; although private, its rates are extremely reasonable.

Nearby Beaches

Outside of Nice are equally extravagant shorelines. The beaches of Cannes are the area's most pebble-free shores, but be prepared for a heafty price tag. For a taste of true luxury, head to the Pampelonne Beach in glamourous St-Tropez, where your toes will delight in sandy shores. Be sure to visit the lighthouse, France's second tallest, on the rocky Cap Camarat. For something a little livelier, head to party beach Nikki, also in St-Tropez. Antibes's Plage de la Salis beach offers views of the historic town, while nearby beaches in Juan-les-Pins are always abuzz. Menton's tiny pebbled beach offers perhaps the area's least touristy seaside escape.

Swimwear Optional

France's beaches are known for having a lax attitude towards nudity. Expect to see plenty of topless sunbathers and, outside of Nice, bottomless bathers as well. Beaches are most crowded during the summer high season in July and August; call private beaches ahead to reserve a lounger or parasol.

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