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Trip Report

Beaches in the South of France between Marseille and Perpignan

Don’t put your towel in between overcrowded beaches but walk along the shore and you will find space and more to explore

by joostAbout Me:Hello, welcome to my profile, I’m a Dutch guy from Amsterdam, currently in my sabbatical year enjoining South America and Mexico so far, will definitely go for a road trip in the US and back in Europe. I have 20 years experience as a lands... read more

EuropeFrance10 days / June - July - August 2021

Highs & Lows

A dive into the Mediterranean and after visits to historic cities of Aigues Mortes and Montpellier to

Traffic jams to the beach

Itinerary Overview

On my way to Barcelona to meet up with friends I decided to take two extra weeks to explore French beaches at the Mediterranean. This small coast strip between Italy and Spain has the best ‘beach climate’ in France and has to serve the whole country so it can get ridiculously busy at places. This was the reason I never visited the beaches over here. 

A great way to avoid the crowd is to walk along the shore and you will find (almost) empty beaches. Clothing optional (nudism) is common at most French beaches, this is something to consider or just to enjoy, up to you.

I started in Marseille, at the tip of the city where the spectacular ‘Calanques’ national park begin. A hidden gem of stunning nature and  rocky coastline waits for you to explore.

After that I went to Aigues Morte with it’s historic town walls and huge sandy beach strip of ’Espiguette’ is situated. A big parking lot can handle crowds, only walk away from there where everyone puts their stuff at the beach and walk along the beach to the east, after 20 minutes walking you will find almost empty beaches. After a day at the beach you can enjoy dinner in Aigues Mortes or Montpellier (where you can find some exiting nightlife too) and wind up or down from an exhausting day at the beach.

Beaches south of Montpelier are crowded and often occupied by campings or hotels but there is another strip near Perpignan which can be windy but empty at some places.

  • 3 Nights: Marseille
    Beach and Calanques
  • 5 Nights: Aigues-Mortes
    Espiguette beach
  • 2 Nights: Montpellier
    Having French dinners and going out

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Marseille is just a big and loud city, it’s beautiful but there are better cities to visit in France like Lyon or Paris (or Montpellier). The traffic jams to parking at L’espiguette can be frustrating, go either early or in the afternoon (or take or rent a bike).

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Rent a bike in the Aigues Mortes and/or Montpellier area

  • Packing tips?

    Bring an umbrella against too much sun and wind

  • Transportation Tips?

    Cycle and car are a must

Lodging

  • La Villa D’Orient (Villa in the east) - great location near beach and hike trails. Beautiful tropical garden and rooftop terraces for you to relax

  • Hotel les Templiers, great location in the heart of the historic city within the city walls, rooms with Middle Ages feel

  • Hotel Oceania Le Metropole, great rooms, disappointing swimming pool. Good located near old town