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The indented coastline of Cap d'Ail, sandwiched between Monaco and Beaulieu-sur-Mer is decorated with a necklace of fine beaches linked by a coastal path. The high cliffs that reach from the sea to the sky add a dramatic backdrop to the beaches, especially on the western end. The geologically inclined will want to know that the western portion of the path features unique breccia conglomerates formed with the collapse of the overhanging sea cliffs about 150 million years ago.
Beach access is not for the fainthearted. The tiniest and most remote beach is the Pissarelles Plage at the extreme west of town just before the tunnel. The narrow path is difficult to find and winds down from the Basse Corniche. Once there you'll find strange rock formations pressing in from both sides and only a sprinkling of people.
Heading east, the next beach is the magnificent Mala Plage, an exceptionally scenic curve of sand at the bottom of massive cliffs. Although difficult to access from the nearest road (count on 100 steps), the exertion is well worth it. It's the best beach in Cap d'Ail, and one of the best on the Cote d'Azur. More.
From Mala Plage the coastal path leads the Plage Gramaglia with large flat rocks for sunbathing, showers and sea access via a miniscule stretch of pebbles. The beach is directly below the restaurant La Pinede and a shaded picnic table. Continue to two tiny beaches on the Pointe des Douaniers. Composed of large, sharp rocks these beaches have a nice view but are unsuitable for sunbathing or swimming.
From the Pointe des Douaniers walk about 1/2 hour to Plage Marquet on a protected cove with water as calm as a bathtub. The Marquet beach is also the easiest beach to access. No stairs! And there's plenty of parking. More.