Let’s go to the beach!

1 July 2023

The first spell of hot weather on the Côte d’Azur coastline and the call of the deep blue sea can be felt!
Whether it’s on the edge of a creek or on a deckchair in a private establishment, we get out the sun creams, the swimming costumes and we leave to bask (but not only) on our favourite beaches. It’s also an opportunity to try out new water sport activities and to awaken the sportsman in us!

From Cap d’Ail to Cagnes-sur-Mer, the coastline of the metropolitan area is an invitation to travel between creeks with crystal clear waters and more urban beaches.

1 – Nice, a history of sea bathing

Swimming in the sea is something natural for us, but we must remember a time when sea bathing was not at all fashionable! It is difficult to imagine our coasts and beaches without experienced swimmers or sunbathers… and yet!

Plage de Nice
Plage de Nice

The first sea baths 

It was the Scottish doctor Tobias Smollett who largely contributed to the fame of Nice and the benefits of sea baths against lung diseases.

The regular visits of the British royal family allowed the town to become a centre of interest for the aristocracy who came to Nice and its surroundings to enjoy the benefits of the sea air. One can imagine the amazed look of the locals when faced with the gentlemen crossing the Promenade des Anglais in their bathrobes and going up to their hotel!

La Baie des Anges – 7 km of beaches in the heart of the city

Renowned for its beauty but also for its turquoise and azure waters which contrast with its urban environment, the Baie des Anges (which owes its name to a species of harmless shark) offers an exceptional setting for swimming in the heart of the city! Here there is no sand but pebbles, lots of pebbles! They have become the emblem of Nice. If you are a fan of fine sand beaches, you will be surprised!

Walking on the pebbles can be a sport in itself… You need to have well-trained feet; for the less hardy, we advise you to wear good old swimming shoes, it’s less glamorous but very practical. Yes, you will see!

Vue des plages de Nice

Our good reasons to go to the beach in Nice:

1. Because with a length of 7 km, your towel will never be too close to that of your neighbour!

2. Because if you like your comfort, you can choose among the private beaches spread along the Promenade des Anglais. Each establishment is separated by a public area. Some of them are real institutions like Opéra plage, or Castel plage labelled “Nice, a natural iridescence“.

3. Because there is the Club de Li Rateta, a space of more than 1000 m2 reserved for children from 6 to 12 years old, where they can try all sorts of water activities and beach sports. The whole family will be delighted (especially the parents who will be able to enjoy their beach day in complete peace of mind…).  

4. Because there are tobacco-free beaches (Centenaire, Lenval and Sainte-Hélène for the promenade and Les Bains Militaires) 

5. Because even our dog friends have their own dedicated beaches! A new beach for dogs has opened on the Lenval side. It is delimited by 2 works of art created by the Nice artist Stéphane Bolongaro: “Totor the swimmer” and “Totor the surfer”! Not to be missed!

Note that 2 beaches have the Handiplage label (Plage de Carras and Plage du Centenaire).

2 – West of Nice, the beach in active mode!

Ideal for families but also for water sports enthusiasts, the beaches of Cagnes-sur-Mer and Saint-Laurent du Var stretch for several kilometres along the seafront promenades.

Plages de Saint Laurent du Var
Plage de Saint Laurent-du-Var

Direction Saint-Laurent du Var, a “Family Plus” destination

The town of Saint-Laurent du Var is ideal for family outings.  With its pedestrian promenade lined with numerous restaurants, bars and shops, it is a very friendly and lively place which makes it an excellent holiday destination.

With several water sports areas, it is easy to learn to sail, paddle, jet-ski or flyboard! No time for sunbathing on your towel, you can opt for one of the many activities offered by the various infrastructures on the seafront.

The town has 5 public beaches, including a beach with the Handiplage label (Plage des Flots Bleus), a dog-friendly beach (Plage Vespins) and a non-smoking beach (opposite the Centre Nautique).

(Please note that the Landsberg beach is not accessible for swimming).

Two private establishments can be found along the seafront, on the Flots Bleus beach: Bay Star Beach and Beach Club (photo opposite): sandy beaches, restaurants, music, lounge and activities are on the programme!

Also note the presence of the natural aquarium of the blue waves, where a marine universe has been recreated in an artificial cove. An opportunity to see humans and animals living together!

A few meters away from there starts the Promenade de Cagnes-sur-Mer over 3km.

We advise you to go to the public beach in front of the Côte d’Azur racecourse which benefits from a “protected marine zone”, ideal for admiring the sea bed! On your masks, ready? dive!

For paddle boat lovers, a walk in the bay of Cros is a must! This is an opportunity to admire the view from the medieval village of Haut-de-Cagnes to the Baou of Saint-Jeannet in complete peace of mind.
6 private establishments are spread out along the seafront to be found here

The town has a beach with the Handiplage label.

Plage de Cagnes sur Mer
Plage de Cagnes-sur-mer

Our good plan :

Many water sports activities are included or on special offer in the French Riviera Pass. From Cagnes-sur-Mer to Cap d’Ail, classic or more original, you will be spoilt for choice.

Go to www.frenchrivierapass.com to discover all the possibilities!

3 – Change of scenery, to the east of Nice

We leave the large pebble beaches for wilder and more intimate coves. A few kilometres east of Nice, the panorama of the towns gradually changes, the road winds along the sea, between cliffs and craggy rocks. Prized for their idyllic setting and crystal-clear waters, these beaches are a must on the French Riviera…

Base Nautique Cap d'Ail
Base nautique Cap d’Ail

Cap d’Ail:

Not to be missed: La Mala beach (cover photo).
Nestled in the heart of a small cove with turquoise waters, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches on the French Riviera! It is located at the start of the customs path.
You will have to go down (and back up) more than a hundred steps before reaching it.
The most: discover the bay by paddle or kayak and go to the small cave located at the foot of the Pissarelles cliff.
On site, two private establishments: L’Eden and La Réserve de la Mala. The Uvita establishment opened on the Marquet beach side (photo opposite). This beach on the border with the Principality of Monaco offers numerous water sports activities and is also labelled Handiplage.

Eze bord de Mer

Don’t miss: the small cove of Saint Laurent d’Eze (photo opposite). Almost secret, this small beach is located in the district of Saint-Laurent d’Eze before arriving at Cap d’Ail.
The advantage: We advise you to go there in the morning to take full advantage of the site and its clear waters.
A 2km long beach, located at Eze-bord de Mer, offers an exceptional view of Cap Estel and the peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
On site, private establishment: Anjuna 


Don’t miss: the Petite Afrique beach! As its name suggests, the climate here is warmer than elsewhere on the coast thanks to the sun’s rays reflecting off the cliff face that dominates the beach. Palm trees and maritime pines complete this exceptional setting.
There are two private establishments on site: Baia Bella – an eco-friendly and committed beach, the first in France to be carbon-neutral and Batik Plage.
Also worth a visit is the Baie des Fourmis beach at the entrance to the town. On site, a private establishment: Anao plage.

Plage d'Eze sur mer
Plage, Eze-sur-mer
Plage de Villefranche-sur-mer


Not to be missed: La Paloma beach. Located on the Pointe Saint-Hospice in the Scaletta cove, it is one of the most emblematic beaches of the Côte d’Azur. Nestled between the maritime pines and the crystal clear waters, it offers a clear view of the cliffs of the three cornices.
The plus: the peninsula is bordered by 5 beaches and creeks along its paths.
You can find the private establishments of Paloma Beach in the cove of Scaletta and Passable on the western side of the peninsula.


Not to be missed: the Marinières beach (photo opposite). It is one of the rare beaches where you will find some sand! Located in the heart of the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, it is synonymous with holidays.
The advantage: it is very accessible (the station is located a few metres away).
On site, a private establishment: Les Bains

4 – The beach, yes, but at your own pace!

For the early risers, we head to the beach in the cool of the morning and take advantage of the first rays of the sun for an invigorating swim! This is an opportunity to meet the regulars who swim here all year round and to enjoy the beach in solitary mode!

Coucher de soleil sur la plage

For afterwork, we like the seaside lounge-bars! 

Private beaches compete with each other to offer us a holiday break worthy of the name.
Nothing is more exotic than sipping a cocktail in a Balinese, tropical or trendy setting!

For the night owls, enjoy the beach under the stars! At the end of the day, we meet for a picnic facing the sea, without forgetting our pan bagnat or pissaladière. The opportunity to enjoy the last rays of the sun and to admire the sunset which offers a unique spectacle.

In another atmosphere, we take advantage of the evening to find the most animated places! DJs, music groups and themed evenings are all opportunities to party in private establishments.

Click here to see the list of private beaches in Nice Côte d’Azur

After this tour of our beaches, it’s hard to resist the call of the big blue! Why not go for a swim and rent a paddle to take full advantage of the landscapes that surround us until the end of the night!

Reach out to new horizons


Manager of the Tourist Information Office of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat at the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan CVB