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Is There a Coastline or Beach in France?

France is known for the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, romantic cafes, and some of the best pastries in the world, but is there a beach or coastline in France?

The answer is yes! Yes, there is a beach and coastline in France and France is actually home to some of the best beaches in the world.

If you are looking for crystal clear water, small beach towns, and some AMAZING food then France needs to be your next beach destination. There is so much to see besides Paris (which is why France is now my favorite country!).

How Long Is France’s Coastline?

France has a coastline that is about 2,000 miles long or 3218 km. However, this question gets a bit complicated since there are a couple of definitions of “France” that would change your answer.

If you are just talking about the Mainland of France, then the 2,000 miles or 3218 km would be accurate.

However, there are actually three ways that the coastline of France is measured:

  • Mainland France
  • Metropolitan France
  • Metropolitan France & Overseas Territories
beach in French Polynesia
Photo from Unsplash of beach in French Polynesia

Mainland France Coastline

The length of the coastline of mainland France is 2,000 miles or 3218 km.

Metropolitan France Coastline

A phrase you’ll see often when looking at how big France actually is is “Metropolitan France” which means the parts of France that are in Europe.

Metropolitan France includes Corsica and Mainland France. The length of the coastline of Metropolitan France is 4,853 km or 3015 miles.

Since Metropolitan France takes into account the coastline on Corsica, that brings France to the 10th largest coastline in Europe.

Metropolitan France & French Overseas Territories & Collectivities Coastline

On top of Metropolitan France (which is Mainland France & Corsica island), you have the French Overseas Territories and Collectivities.

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These are French Polynesia, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, and Clipperton Island.

Here are the lengths of the coastlines of each of France’s territories & Collectivities:

  • French Polynesia: 2,525 km
  • Saint Barthelemy: 32 km
  • Saint Martin: 70 km
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon: 120 km
  • Wallis and Futuna: 129 km
  • New Caledonia: 2,254 km
  • French Southern & Antarctic Lands: 1,232 km 
  • Clipperton Island: 11.1 km

Total Coastline of the French Overseas Territories and Collectivities: 6,373.1 km or 3960 miles.

So all of that combined would make the total coastline of France 9,591.1 km or 5959 miles.

The only part of France that does not have a coastline is the East of France, which is completely landlocked.

What are the Best Beaches in France?

There are so many beaches in France that this is a hard question to answer. Also, France owns a lot of islands all over the world that all have amazing beaches. So we are just going to focus on mainland France for this post.

Nice Beach

Now I might be a little biased in this choice because we lived in Nice, France for a year and it was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen!

beach in Nice, France
Photo from Unsplash of the beach in Nice, France

The Promenade des Anglais (or the boardwalk) in Nice is 5 km (3 miles) long and stretches the length of the whole beach. It is the perfect place to take an evening stroll and see what the locals are up to.

Nice is in the South of France and is the perfect place for a beach holiday. It is also a great base to stay while exploring the rest of the Côte d’Azur.

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Etretat Beach

If this beach isn’t on your bucket list then get ready to get your pens out. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. With the cliffs, rock archways, hiking, and beach this place has it all!

beach in Etretat, France
Photo from Unsplash of beach in Etretat, France

If you are planning a trip to the North of France then add this beach to your itinerary.

Touquet Beach

Next, we have Touquet Beach in the west of France. This beach is also known as Paris Beach because back in the day it was very popular among the Persians.

If you are looking for nice calm waters and a nice sandy beach then this is the place for you.

Hossegor Beach

We had to include a surf beach! Hossegor is one of the best surf spots in France and has some of the best and consistent waves year-round.

If you are looking to get a surf session in while in France then this is definitely the place for you.

Best Islands to Visit in France

If you were to include all of the islands that France owns it would be hundreds (French Polynesia alone has over 100). Let’s break down the top 3 best French islands in the world.

Corsica

Corsica is the most popular island that is near mainland France. It has some of the best hiking in the world, along with some of the most beautiful coastline. To get to Corsica you can take a ferry or you can fly.

beach in Corsica, France

French Polynisia

French Polynesia definitely has the best beaches hands down. if you are looking for some of the best beaches in the world then these islands are for you.

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White sand beaches, waterfalls, hiking, crystal clear water, this place has it all. Also, it has some of the best surfing in the world!

Réunion

This is another island that is so amazing in so many ways. Réunion is off the coast of Madagascar and has some of the most amazing mountains and hiking of any island in the world.

There is also a famous 100-mile race that stretches across the whole island!

When to Go to the Beach in France

There are so many different beach destinations in France but we will go by region to determine when the best time to go to the beach in France is.

May to November is the best time to visit the South of France. The water temperature is around 60 (17 degrees Celcius) in the colder months (May, October, November) and gets up to the mid to high 70s (23-25 degrees Celcius) in the warmer months (June, July, August, September).

In the North of France, the best time to visit is from June to October. The water temperature is around 60 (17 degrees Celcius) in the colder months (June, July, and October) and gets up to the mid-60s (17-18 degrees Celcius) in the warmer months (August, September).

In Western France, the best time to go is from June to October. The water temperature is around 65 (18 degrees Celcius) in the colder months (June, and October) and gets up to 70 (21 degrees Celcius) in the warmer months (July, August, and September).

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