Paris is many things, but a beach destination is not one of them. While the French capital is still great to visit in the summer, you won’t be spending your time at any city beaches, unless you count the annual Paris Plages.
These man-made beaches are set up by the River Seine every year, offering the chance for visitors to escape the heat.
However, there are also plenty of real beaches near Paris, France, that you can visit on a day trip. Check out some of my personal favorites below!
The 9 Best Beaches Near Paris, France
1. Dieppe Beach, Normandy
Normandy’s Dieppe Beach is an important destination suffused in history. The port was used as a departure point for European merchants and explorers setting off to explore Africa and has been used for cod fishing and trade since the 15th century.
According to the official website, it was also visited by the Vikings and serves as the location of France’s very first seaside resort, which was established in the 1800s.
The popular strip of beach is lined with pebbles rather than soft sand, but the spot is particularly popular among water sports enthusiasts (via The Good Life France). The seafront promenade is also filled with lively restaurants and bars, and there are lots of shops where you can purchase souvenirs.
The easiest way to reach Dieppe from Paris is by train, and there are often around 12 trains per day traveling this route. The journey of 93 miles can take anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
2. Plage Le Crotoy, Le Crotoy
Where to Stay: La Gravaline
Located in Northern France on the Picardy Coast, Le Crotoy is nestled on the Bay of Somme. Unlike other famous European beaches, the beach here is made of soft sand, making it perfect for beach walks.
Along with the beach, the commune of Le Crotoy itself is worth exploring. The fishing village was one of the biggest and most active ports in the 17th century. While it’s no longer a busy port, it is still one of the best places in France to sample ocean-fresh seafood.
Going back further in history, the port was the launching point of several ships belonging to William the Conqueror as he embarked to conquer England and make world history.
The train to Le Crotoy from Paris takes about three hours, while driving should take you just over two hours.
3. Deauville Beach, Normandy
If you’re dreaming about spending your European summer relaxing on a white-sand beach overlooking a deep-blue expanse of ocean, Deauville Beach in Normandy may be the destination for you.
Known for being one of the best beaches in the world, Deauville tends to attract large crowds in the summer. It’s sometimes called “the Parisian Riviera” for containing so many seaside homes of the Parisian elite.
There are lots of things to do at Deauville, so you could easily spend more than a day here, even though it’s around two hours from Paris and makes the perfect day trip.
After you’ve explored the beach and snapped a photo of the iconic boardwalk, be sure to visit the Casino Barrière de Deauville and do a little luxury window shopping.
You can join a guided day trip tour from Paris to see Deauville if you’re pressed for time and looking for the most convenient option, but many visitors take the SNCF train from Paris or drive there.
4. Berck-sur-mer, Côte d’Opale
A stunning destination on the Côte d’Opale, Berck-sur-Mer offers a delightful seaside environment. The beach is quiet and sandy, ideal for relaxing and swimming. Because of its large size, it’s never a struggle to find space to set yourself up here, even in the high season.
Despite not being crawling with tourists, the beach is well-serviced with regular cleaning, and it has a charming promenade with plenty of places where you can stop for a coffee or crepe (or both!).
Like many coastal locations in France, Berck-sur-Mer was once a prominent fishing village, from the Middle Ages until the 1950s
Today, one of the most exciting things that takes place there is the annual International Kite Festival, which happens over nine days in the spring.
Beyond the beach, the town is home to a few museums and is surrounded by nature reserves, so this also makes a great two or even three-day trip from Paris.
You can drive yourself, or take a train or bus (the latter being the most time-consuming option). Driving or by train, it will take you around two hours and five minutes to reach the beach.
5. Plage-Baignade Yport, Normandy
A picturesque seaside destination on the Alabaster Coast, Plage Yport features a small strip of pebble beach and several amenities. While it lacks soft golden sand, it boasts impeccable views of the surrounding cliff sides and mountains and is worth visiting for the pictures alone.
Just beyond the beach, which is home to a row of traditional beach huts, you’ll find several shops and cafes, where you can wander at your leisure. The town is nestled between the ocean and the woods, making it a nature lover’s paradise.
One of the greatest appeals of Yport is that it flies under the radar of most international tourists, so you can come and enjoy the natural beauty without having to fight off crowds for a view.
You can visit Yport from Paris either by driving or traveling by rail, which will take around 2.5 hours for a one-way journey.
6. Calanque d’En-Vau, Cassis
Many consider the Calanque d’En-Vau to be a must-see tourist attraction for every visitor coming to France. Imagine white rocky cliffs soaring over the turquoise-blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea—a heavenly reward after a challenging hike that’s totally worth it.
The beach is located in the Parc National des Calanques in the south of France, to the east of Marseille. There are several calanques (a Mediterranean-specific narrow and steep-walled inlet) in the area, but Calanque d’En-Vau is widely recognized to be the best.
The hike takes around two hours from Cassis Harbour, and features colored markers along the way to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. And to be honest, it’s easy to get distracted by the sublime views of the coastline you’ll get as you hike.
The best time to visit is between October and June, as the deep summer months sometimes see closures in the trails due to the risk of fire.
While only hikers can explore the beach, you can take a boat from Marseille or Cassis and enjoy amazing views from the ocean if you’re not up to the physical activity.
Though Marseille and Cassis are significantly further from Paris than beaches in the north of the country, you can still travel to Calanque d’En-Vau relatively quickly by train. The journey takes between 3.5 and 4.5 hours, and though the route is a little longer, it’s well worth it for the mesmerizing views!
7. Étretat, Normandy
Another coastal destination in Normandy with several centuries’ worth of history behind it, Étretat is known for its round pebbles and surrounding white cliffs that rise out of the sea.
The views at the beach are so beautiful that they even attracted and inspired French impressionist Claude Monet, of course, the best vistas are found along the footpath of the cliffs.
The history of Étreat is believed to date back to the Vikings, who founded a settlement in the area during an invasion. It evolved into a tourist hotspot after serving as a fishing village and is now one of the most photographed beaches in Europe.
You can drive to Étreat from Paris, or else there are buses and trains that will take you there from the French capital. Driving takes just over two hours, while bus and train options can take anywhere from 3.5 to 4 hours.
8. Plages du Prado, Marseille
These are a charming collection of beaches near Marseille, so don’t let the fact that they’re man-made put you off. These are some of the best beaches in France for traditional beach and aquatic activities, including playing beach sports and windsurfing.
Different designated beaches lie adjacent to different amenities, but you can find everything you need somewhere among the Plages du Prado, from restaurants and cafes to museums and parks.
The beaches are around 15 minutes from the center of Marseilles, which is easy and relatively quick to reach from Paris if you travel on the high-speed train. It should take around three hours, though it will take you considerably longer to drive from Paris to Marseilles.
9. Plage de Pennedepie, Calvados
Where to Stay: Hôtel L’Ecrin
If you’re looking for a quiet beach to enjoy during the French summer, Plage de Pennedepie is a hidden gem. Located just south of Le Havre on the Normandy coast, Plage de Pennedepie is known for its sand rather than its pebbles and is a great location for surfing and kite-surfing.
The beach is just 15 minutes from the quaint fishing village of Hornfleur in Normandy, which is brimming with historic houses.
Settled as a port in the 17th century, the village is home to an iconic fish market, where you can taste delicious fresh seafood—although make sure you also get a chance to visit some of the cafes on the promenade.
Driving is the quickest way to reach the beach, which you can do in just under two hours. Otherwise, you can also get to Plage de Pennedepie by bus and rail, but those journeys usually take around 3.5 hours.
FAQs About Beaches in France
What is the prettiest beach in France?
There are several stunning beaches in France, so it’s impossible to pick just one. A definite contender for the top position is Calanque d’En-Vau near Marseille, which is so beautiful that travelers hike for hours just to see it. Other pretty beaches in France include Berck-sur-mer and Étreat.
What are the best beaches in France for surfing?
It may surprise you, but France is a great location for a surfing vacation. Lacanau in southwestern France is thought of as one of the best surfing beaches thanks to its frequent breaks. As a bonus, the beach itself is more than eight miles long.
The quickest way to get to Lacanau from Paris if you are visiting for a day trip is by train and bus, which takes just under five hours (via Rome2Rio). Given its distance from the French capital, this might be better to visit as a multi-day trip.
Other surfing beaches to look out for in France include Les Cavaliers, also in the southwest of the country, and La Grande Plage near Biarritz on the Basque Coast.
Which side of France has the best beaches?
You can find great beaches on all of France’s ocean-facing sides, depending on what you’re looking for. Those in the south, such as those near Marseilles, have a distinct Mediterranean feel.
Meanwhile, those on the northwestern coast in Normandy are known for their signature stunning views and white cliffs rising out of the sea, similar to what you’ll find across the channel in England.
On the southwestern coast facing the Atlantic Ocean, the beaches tend to be the best for surfing, with typically larger waves.
Where are the best family beaches in France?
The best family-friendly beaches are spread right throughout France.
The beaches at Nice come to mind as they offer amenities the kids will appreciate, such as a playground and bathroom facilities, although some of these will be attached to a fee. As a major French tourist destination, though, Nice can be crowded in the high season.
In the north of France, you can choose from family-friendly destinations like Le Touquet, which is a good choice for families thanks to its expanse of soft sand, perfect for playing all day and making sandcastles.
There are also several other activities and attractions nearby that the kids may enjoy, including a water park, Le Petit Train, a carousel, and sand dunes!
Though it also makes a good surfing beach, La Grande Plages on the Basque Coast also serves as a top family beach.
Here, you’ll find tents and beach clubs which cater to children, who can enjoy the sandy shore or play in the ocean (just make sure to always keep an eye on them, as the area is known for breaking waves).
Which French beach is best for snorkeling?
If you’d like to snorkel during your French vacation, your best bet is to visit the south of the country and the French Riviera.
Calanques National Park, home to one of the prettiest beaches in the nation (Calanque d’En-Vau), is a great spot for snorkeling as it’s a marine bio-preserve. With the clear light water, it’s one of the best places to view the workings of the underwater world.
What beach has the clearest water in France?
The beaches in the French Riviera are often credited with having the clearest water in France.
If you plan on heading to the picturesque area during your French trip, it’s definitely worth visiting Plage de la Mala in the Cape d’Ail between Monaco and Nice.
The crystal-clear turquoise-tinged water attracts visitors from all over the world. Otherwise, Calanque d’En-Vau also offers spectacular clear water.
Are there beaches in Paris?
Unfortunately, the answer to the question, “Does Paris have a beach?” is no. You won’t find any natural beaches in Paris. The land-locked city has plenty to offer in the way of architecture, culture, history, food, and fashion, but it shouldn’t be your pick if you’re craving a European beach holiday.
That said, you will find the man-made Paris Plages along the banks of the Seine, which are opened every summer to give Parisians a break from the city heat. They were created primarily with lounging or sunbathing in mind rather than swimming and water sports.
Of course, there are many beaches to explore just a few hours outside of Paris! If you’d like to visit at least one beach during your travels, it’s worth incorporating a day trip, or adding a few days to either the beginning or end of your time in Paris.