Popular Activities On Beaches In The French Riviera

While you’re sure to find all of the high-end amenities and comforts of home in one of the many spectacular villas in French Riviera, the real experience begins once you hit the Mediterranean coast. The area’s famous beaches, known to attract A-listers, water daredevils and teeny bikinis, are as fun to people watch as they are to swim in.

We’ve rounded up some of the most popular ways to spend your time at one of the world’s top beach destinations.

wakeboarding in France

by padraicwoods on Flickr

Wakeboarding

A cross between snowboarding and water-skiing, this thrilling activity is one of the fastest growing water sports, and seems to especially appeal to young men. The participant steps onto a single board secured by non-release bindings and holds onto a rope attached to a cable skiing lift or the back of a boat while skimming along the water’s surface at speeds between 30-50 km/hr. While no previous experience is necessary to try it out, it’s common to see more advanced riders perform tricks (like air flips).

Rent a Yacht or Sailboat

Why not live it up like the rich and famous for a day and splurge on a yacht? Imagine lounging on the deck sipping on cocktails with your loved one while a skipper and crew take care of the details. Businesses such as Dream Yachting rent boats and yachts—from inflatable dinghies to 50-foot-long luxury yachts. With bases located in Juan les Pins and Golfe-Juan, you’ll be nearby hot spots like Cap d’Antibes, Lerins Islands, Cannes, and Massis de l’Esterel.

Go Water-skiing

This classic water activity was first invented in 1922 in Minnesota, but has since grown into a highly popular recreational sport. The journey begins out in deep water, where riders crouch behind a motorboat. The skis are about three times as wide as snow skis, and beginners are strapped into two blades, while experienced riders go at it with just one. Once a rider feels ready, the boat takes off, and the skier is pulled out of the water and takes a squatting position while holding onto a rope tied to the back of the boat. Speeds generally start around 22 km/hr, though racers can get up to 190 km/hr. A spotter watches to ensure skiers stay on their feet.

Kayaking

Get up close and personal with the tropical waters of the Cote d’Azur while kayaking along its coast. These uniquely shaped one- or two-man boats feature a covered deck and a hole large enough for you to sit in, but your legs will be covered. You operate the boat with a double-bladed oar, which allows you to maneuver and proper yourself forward. If you’re not venturing out into rough waters, this can be a relaxing activity.

Windsurfing

If you love to sail or surf, this activity is for you. Started in California back in the ‘60s, the sailor stands on a modified surfboard that’s typically two- to three-meters long. They are then able to control the board by directing a moveable mast and sail to catch wind and move forward. Advanced sailboarders can reach high speeds and even perform tricks like jumps and spins. While it helps if you have a good sense of balance as well as a sailing background, even beginners will have a good time with the right teacher.

Soak up Some Rays

Flocking to beaches along The French Riviera may have started as a winter activity for British high society, but it has since become a popular tourist attraction for beachgoers around the world. It’s silky sands and turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, people watching, participating in water sports or just sunbathing. Many are private so be prepared to shell out some dough.

Some of the area’s most popular hot spots are found in Saint-Tropez, known for its glitzy celebrity spottings—be sure to check out Plage de Pampelonne, Plage Port Grimaud and Plage de Tahiti, famous for its topless sunbathers. Plage de Notre-Dame and Plage de la Courtade on the Ile de Porquerolles offer up lots of sunshine (an average of 275 days of sun a year); the areas of Antibes and Juans les Pins, once an inspiration for Monet and Picasso, boast close to 50 spectacular beaches, and Blue Beach along Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is a hot spot for water sports (even parasailing!), while La Plage Publique de Beau Rivage is equally nice and is free. In Cannes, try Z-Plage or Plage du Mourre Rouge.

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