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There are literally hundreds of places along the French Riviera coast where you can throw down a towel or rent a beach chair and relax. A day at the beach is never bad! But sometimes you want a truly memorable experience. Here are the hidden places where local beach connoisseurs go to revel in spectacular scenery and clean, calm water.

Mala Plage, Cap d'Ail

Mala Plage, Cap d'Ail
This stretch of sandy beach along a protected cove is everyone's favorite hideway in summer. The Mediterranean scenery is divine and the two beach restaurants live up to the spectacular setting. Best of all, the stairway access keeps the crowds down. More about Mala Plage.

Plage de la Garoupe, Antibes

Plage de la Garoupe, antibes
This storied beach on the Cap d'Antibes was a favorite playground for Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and the glamor has never entirely disappeared. The view east to Antibes and beyond from this sheltered cove is unforgettable. More about Plage de la Garoupe.

Pampelonne Plage, Saint-Tropez

Pampelonne Plage, St Tropez
Five kilometres of wide, sandy beach is what attracts celebrities, politicans and thousands of beach buffs each year. The beach clubs are legendary but expansive stretches of the coast are open to the happy public. More about Pampelonne Beach.

Marinieres, Villefranche-sur-Mer

Plage Marinières, Villefranche

Plage des Marinieres in Villefranche-sur-Mer is everyone's favourite beach to throw a party or have a picnic. The gravel is easy on the feet, the cove is calm, and, best of all, the view of Villefranche bay is outstanding. More about Plage des Marinieres.

Paloma Plage , St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

Paloma Beach, Cap Ferrat

This sheltered cove on classy Cap Ferrat is a calm place to contemplate the majestic hills over Beaulieu which lies to the east. Morning is for sunbathing and afternoon is the time to relax in the shade. More on Paloma Plage.

Theoule-sur-Mer
Theoule-sur-Mer beach

The red-tinted Esterel mountains dip down to the Riviera's most beautiful stretch of sandy coast at Theoule-sur-Mer. There are seven public beaches here linked by a promenade and dotted with a few beach restaurants and snack stalls. Plage de l'Anguille (above) is the widest and sandiest. More on the beaches of Theoule-sur-Mer.

Plage du Buse, Roquebrune-Cap Martin
La Buse, Roquebrune

Magical Plage du Buse (Hawk Beach) has been left almost entirely in its natural state with only a small beach restaurant to animate the quiet beach. The 400m of sand, gravel and pebbles has some pine trees and the stairway access keeps crowds sparse. More about Plage du Buse.

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