Atlantic Coast Islands: Ile de Ré

If you think French islands, you might think of Guadeloupe or Tahiti. Many French islands can be found in Caribbean or Pacific waters. But did you know there are dozens of islands around the entire coastal outline of mainland France? Two such treasures are Ile de Ré and Ile d’Oléron, both close to the port city of La Rochelle, on France’s Atlantic coast.  I’ll do a separate post on La Rochelle. For now, we’ll think…. Islands. If you’re in the…

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Coastal Secrets #4: Juan-les-Pins and Antibes

Maybe you’ve heard of Juan-les-Pins…or not…but it has the charm and energy of Nice, its nearby neighbor. It even has a curved beach which hosts many hotels, quite a few of them high-rises on the waterfront. This popular beach town sits just west of Antibes, on the Cap d’Antibes, a rounded peninsula jutting into the Mediterranean, somewhere between Cannes and Nice. The towns of Juan-les-Pins and Antibes are often grouped together on brochures and websites, as if they are one…

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Coastal Secrets #3: Cavalaire-sur-Mer

Like many small beach towns on France’s southern coast, Cavalaire-sur-Mer began as a fishing village. It didn’t achieve tourist status until the 50s, but even today it’s a lesser-known treasure on the Cote d’Azur. This is a place I really liked and would love to go back. Since my first visit I have learned a lot more about things to do there! It’s not far from St. Tropez but the resemblance stops there. Cavalaire-sur-Mer is a delightfully different and down-to-earth…

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Coastal Secrets #2: Sanary-sur-Mer

Nestled between the larger towns of Toulon and Marseille you’ll find another seaside treasure, Sanary-sur-Mer. If you’re making a trip to Marseille, it’s not very far to visit Sanary, La Ciotat, and Cassis. Don’t you just love these small French beach towns?! Sanary was established as a fishing village in the 16th century but really became a tourist destination around the 1980s. it’s a place to enjoy the beach life on a village scale. There are small beaches, with an…

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Coastal Secrets: #1 La Ciotat

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the Riviera without the price and snob-appeal? To taste the South of France coastline without the packed beaches, the secret is to aim smaller. The next few posts will feature French coastal towns you might not have ever heard of. You can discover many of them tucked in between renowned destinations like Nice and St. Tropez. They are hidden treasures along the French Riviera, worth a serious look if you want a slower pace…

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St. Malo: A Treasure on the North Coast

St. Malo is an intriguing walled city perched on the northwest coast of France. I’d heard of it for years (people pronounced in French like: Samma-low), and I finally had the chance to go. It faces England across the Channel, and sometimes the winds of the Atlantic will make it chilly, even in summer. Still it is SO worthwhile to visit. It isn’t far from Dinan and Dinard, two nearby towns worth seeing. You can hit all 3 on a…

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