The Beach Lifestyle, a How-to-Guide

The beach life is undoubtedly a good one. Here is a roundup of places, activities, equipment, and attitudes you should adopt to help you get your feet wet.

  • Meet all your needs and desires from the comfort of your beach chair. En vogue since the Roaring Twenties, beaches all over France are now reinventing themselves in order to remain the undisputed queen of all successful holidays. So whether you prefer a wild or private stretch of water, a trendy or sporty beach, find the one that will win your heart, and help you make the most of your seaside pleasures.
  • Head out to the pier, like to the one at Estacade beach in Saint-Jean-de-Monts, on the Vendée Coast. This 400-metre long wooden dock juts into the sea and brings about an immediate sense of freedom. The oversized teakwood long-chairs scattered along the beach are just as sought-after by walkers.
  • Go grab a book, because this waterfront library now comes to you! There are more and more formulas for "reading on the beach": make your way to the literary yurts in Carnon or Frontignan, to the blue cabins in Nice, or the number of different types of book-huts all along the Seine-Maritime coast. Or why not visit an exhibition on the beach in Le Havre? The walls of these waterfront cabins are dressed up in mythical snapshots - a veritable open-air museum!
  • Tell your own nautical adventure, with a story set amongst one of the many beach clubs competing to win you over. The choices are endless, with catamaran rides in Dinard, sand yachting in Boulogne-sur-Mer, surfing in Lacanau, kite-surfing in Leucate, kiting in Chatelaillon, canoeing in Porquerolles, or stand-up paddling in Saint-Maxime...
  • Select your beach headquarters, preferably on a designer terrace somewhere between sea and city, divided into three different areas à la Hi-Beach-Nice-style. Are you feeling more sociable, relaxing, or playful today? As you switch from cushiony banquettes to reclining beach chairs and water games, don't forget your late afternoon rendez-vous at the beach bar for cocktails and tapas.
  • Savour a gourmet meal facing the sea. For a relaxed yet refined lounge-style experience, head to Carré Mer in Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone to try a dish concocted by the renowned Montpellier duo, the Pourcel brothers. Fancy a chic, revamped burger?
  • Be very green and environmentally friendly, like the waste-sorting areas that are becoming more and more visible, helping to make beach-goers' lives easier. In Montalivet, the six wooden lookout towers, inspired by those in Florida, ensure quicker rescue interventions. And with the lifeguards' new eye-catching fluorescent outfits, it's like Malibu in Medoc!
  • Increase your wellness capital. Revisiting your favourite gym class in the great outdoors changes everything! Combine the virtues of endurance with the benefits of seawater in an aqua-bike session in Nice. In Arcachon and Saint-Jean-de-Monts, make your fitness-filled morning hard-core in the soothing outdoors. On the Cap Ferret peninsula, partake in a yoga class for an instant upsurge in positive energy.
  • Simply take the time, and change your internal rhythm. Take off your shoes and focus on the natural, vivifying movement of the waves. From Contis beach in the Landes department, make yourself comfortable on the wooden belvedere, where the view at nightfall is especially incredible. Locals say that in clement weather, you can even see the bow of a boat that sunk here 125 years ago!