Situated between France and Italy, the island of Corsica seems to belong to two nations at once. In Porto-Vecchio, on the south coast looking out towards Italy and the Tyrrhenian Sea, visit Palombaggia, sublime with its clear, luminous waters; its pink-tinted rock; and the gentle afternoon breeze.
Located along the Côte d'Albâtre, the pebble beach of Étretat is popular with sailors and surfers alike. But most visitors come to this part of the Haute-Normandie coast for one reason: the famous chalk cliffs and curved rock formations. Here you will discover natural sculptures that have inspired travellers and artists (notably Claude Monet) for centuries.
Halfway between Cannes and Nice, Antibes is a peninsula of magnificent seascapes.
The peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat near Nice is a renowned location, home to a Rothschild estate, with extensive gardens and a beach named after Paloma Picasso, daughter of the artist Pablo. Descend a steep staircase to the rocky shore and be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the ocean.
Although very close to the south coast of France, the Island of Porquerolles seems much further away. The whole island is car-free, which lends all its beaches a relaxed and casual atmosphere, ideal for picnics and cycling.
A must for any Breton road trip, Cap Coz is abundant with small, quiet beaches. Take the peninsula's hiking trail along the Breton Riviera to gaze upon the rocky coastline, with sheltered bays ideal for afternoon swims.
The calanques are long, thin coves bordered by natural rocks and turquoise waters. It is worth noting that this beach is better known for sightseeing than for swimming.
A popular summer getaway for royalty and celebrities, the 'wild beaches' of Biarritz in the Basque country along the Bay of Biscay are also a favourite with surfers thanks to gentle waves that are safe for beginners.
Deauville's reputation is closely linked to Coco Chanel, who opened her first clothing boutique here in 1913. Her casual-chic, beach-inspired looks have made her and the town's pretty promenade one of the country's most elegant seaside locations.
If you want a beach holiday combined with a city break, head to Marseille (France's second largest city) and spend a day on the beaches of Prado, a cluster of three beaches easily accessible from the city centre and ideal for families with children. The replica of Michelangelo's David is a favourite spot for selfies.
There is no place in northwest Brittany as breathtaking as the Pink Granite Coast (or Côte de Granit Rose), a coastline dotted with spectacular granite rock formations, which contrast beautifully with the silver foam of the sea.
Another favourite of Claude Monet! Donnant is a cliff and dune lined beach with tide pools that can be explored at low tide.
Surrounded by Europe's first national maritime park, Port-Cros Island is a paradise for yachtsmen, hippy bathers and divers. Visit in September for the best weather and water conditions.
One of the most iconic sites in France is undoubtedly the rocky island of Mont Saint-Michel. While the iconic Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is the most eye-catching site, the surrounding bay of Mont Saint-Michel is just as spectacular, with a variety of wildlife and the highest tides in Europe. For an unforgettable experience, book a guided walk across the bay.
The name Saint-Tropez is synonymous with elegance and glamour, but you don't have to don a dinner jacket or evening gown to set foot there. Head to the windy beach of Pampelonne, which offers everything from five-star resort accommodation to a secluded stretch where you're more than welcome to swim naked.
Off the west coast of France, in the Bay of Biscay, the Ile de Ré is nicknamed L'Ile Blanche (the white island) by the locals because of both its soft, light sand and elegant waterside houses. Stroll along the long, flat stretches of beach and encounter an abandoned German bunker from World War II.
On a narrow peninsula about six kilometres from Montpellier is Palavas-les-Flots, a beach so popular with the French that a song is dedicated to it in the Triplettes de Belleville. Here you can hire a kayak, sign up for sailing lessons or try your hand at kitesurfing.