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best beach to just relax and kick back for 2 weeks?

best beach to just relax and kick back for 2 weeks?

Old Oct 7th, 2003, 01:08 PM
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best beach to just relax and kick back for 2 weeks?

Our family of 4 is taking three months to travel around Europe. My kids, 13 and 14, are fluent in French, and we wanted to go to a beach in France where we could just "plop" as my husband says. I really want more "peace" than I do night life, but a beautful sandy beach is a must. I've been searching the internet, but can't decide between Cannes, Villefranche Sur Mer, Nice, Cap de Adge. These are all places I found villas I could afford. I would appreciate any advise! Thanks, M
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 01:48 PM
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Sounds like a great idea! My only concern would be how "sandy" those beaches really are. I know that some I've seen would be better described as "gravel-laden" than sandy, but I could (hopefully) be wrong. Am sure others will comment.
 
Old Oct 7th, 2003, 02:30 PM
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Nice is all rocks. Cannes does have sand but most of the beaches are privatetly operated and there will be a high cost for months on the beach. Most importantly is when are you going? Southern France is not a winter resort.
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 02:37 PM
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I only want to spend two weeks on the beach. the rest of the time I will be moving around. OK Nice is out. What about Cannes or Villefranche sur mer?
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 02:40 PM
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In general, from (and including) Cannes and west is sandy, east of Cannes is pebbly. The beach in Villefranche is small but I think sandy. One of the nicest beaches is in Juan les Pins but this is a BUSY town at night where all the nightclubs are. I'm not familiar with Cap de Adge but I think there's a nudist colony there (called naturalism in French) just FYI for the kids. I would try looking in Cap D'Antibes. It's a good beach & not too busy, not too quiet. Even though I'm not usually a fan of Cannes, I'd pick that of the options you provided.
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 04:16 PM
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Thank you for the response. If there is any other beach town worth considering, please let me know. I am not limited to those few I mentioned. Thanks
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 05:09 PM
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Would you consider Brittany or Normandy instead of the Riveria which has few areas with sandy beaches? If so, post again. Thanks!
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Old Oct 7th, 2003, 06:09 PM
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We didn't spend that long (I wish!) several summers ago, but we rented a place in Le Cannet (just outside of Cannes) with a pool, and easy access to all of the French Riviera. From there, we sort of drifted from day to day, beach to beach, with kids, so we got a pretty good feel for the beaches. Generally, west of Juan les Pins (including JLP) the beaches are sandy. East, they're rocky.

The best beach for kids (IMO) and the best place for what you want would probably be Ste. Maxime. There's tons of families that go there, and I remember there were lots of rental homes to choose from. They have boat and paddle boat rentals, along with windsurfing and waterskiing. Really good beaches. A couple of blocks north of the beach are a ton of good restaurants in all price ranges and evening market stalls to walk around and browze. We had the best paella in one of these restaurants!

Ste Maxime is close enough to San Tropez that you can get in the car, and drive there for a day at the beach (Tahiti beach was incredible!)or just a walk around town.

It's also not really that far from Cannes, which has great public and private beaches, with lots of kids.

We loved Pirates Beach at Juan les Pins; they have pretty good food at the restaurant there as well.

The private beaches are cool, because they give you a mattress and umbrella, and bring drinks and food to you. They also have changing and showering facilities as well. But if you want to do the public beach thing, you can buy a cheap umbrella and towel along any of the streets in each town by the ocean.

Have a great trip!
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 01:29 AM
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Cap d'Agde is a gloomy, 70s, complex that not only accommodates Europe's largest nudist camp, but is also infamous for being swingers' paradise, be it indoors in dedicated clubs or informally in the dunes ! So if it's your scene, why not, but for a family holiday, there might be a problem...
 
Old Oct 8th, 2003, 03:51 AM
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Nice and points east the beaches are rocky...but go west the beaches are sandy - St Maxime is a good choice as is St. Tropez - beautiful beaches there - although a bit pricey to stay at the private beaches everyday (for us). We stayed last summer in Cavalaire-sur-Mer just west of St. Tropez and really enjoyed it. Nothing glamorous about it - you'll be truly able to practice your french - no english speakers to be found when we were there!

A lot of rental proerties in the area - I would say from St. Tropex to St. Maxime to Port Grimaud, Cavalaire - easy to find and less expensive.

There are quite a few local wineries in the area as well as olive farms.

We visited Cannes for the day - spent it at the beach - although the private beach we stayed at was very nice, friendly and acomodating it was our least favorite city on the Cote D'Azur - we enjoyed Nice much more although the beaches are very rocky (wear swim sandals and it is no big deal - it is actually kind of nice not getting sand all over you.)

Have fun!
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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The best French Med beaches, with the best climate and the most scenic nature around are to be found in Corsica. This island is a gem so far frequented by European tourists. It might make an interesting alternative. The tourist office has a website: http://www.visit-corsica.com
 
Old Oct 8th, 2003, 05:59 AM
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Spent a month in Southern France and Juan les Pins definitely has the best beaches!
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 06:07 AM
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If it's sand you want, and you don't care about nightlife, consider Sète. It has miles of sandy beaches, is the last of the "real" fishing villages (well, it's a lot bigger than a village now, but that's how it likes to think of itself), and has plenty of local color.

I just traveled along the Med from Sète to Le Grau-du-Roi and, apart from La Grande Motte, which is a rather architecturally bizarre resort, was pleasantly surprised at the nice beach towns and the endless stretches of sand.
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 06:57 AM
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I like Juan Les Pins; it has nice beaches and is not as 'snobby' as Cannes; your children will like it too; it is very lively. Some of the best beaches are near St Tropez. Lovely place to stay too, but very expensive. If you stay in St Maxime you can take the boat to St Tropez; much faster and more convenient than car. Cap d'Antibes has a sandy beach at Plage de la Garoupe; mostly private beach clubs (you pay for a sunbed). There is a sandy public beach in Antibes itself too. My children are 9 and 11, and they really like Juan les Pins.
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 07:19 AM
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Thank you for all of this great information. I think I'll stay away from the nudist thing. My daughter would happily throw off her clothes, but my son would have nothing to do with that! Maybe we will check it out for a day, that is if we could stop giggling! Great point about Nice being rocky. That might actually be nice for a change. I forget how annoying that sand can get! I will definately check out Ste Maxime. How do you know if the beaches are public or private? Can anyone go onto a private beach if they are willing to pay? How much does it usually cost to rent the chairs and umbrellas? (i'm really going to need that for a long day at the beach) Is Juan les pins public or private? Keep all this great info coming. I really appreciate it!
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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Many of the private beaches are attached to restaurants. You can rent chairs/umbrellas for half day or whole day (& sometimes by the hour). In general, private beaches are open to anyone if you pay. The exception would be a beach owned by a hotel that might only allow their guests. I don't remember prices but it can get steep for 4 if you're going every day (maybe 10e/day/person) but there might be weekly passes.

The beach in Juan les Pins is public but I think there may have been a parking fee (can't remember). I also think there were chairs you could rent there.

As an alternative to renting a villa, you might want to check out the Hotel Castel Garoupe in Cap D'Antibes. http://www.hotel-castel-garoupe.fr/htfr/ow2.htm

I've not been there but another Fodor's poster had mentioned it a while ago and it sounded very interesting although not fancy. It's an apt. style hotel in Cap D'Antibes right on or near the beach & very close to the posh Hotel du Cap. The apartments have kitchenettes & the top price listed for an apt for 4 in high season is 240e/night (which I think includes continental breakfast & free parking)but there are some cheaper apts as well. Cap D'Antibes is not far from Juan les Pins if you wanted to go beach hopping. I think it may also have a/c which would be a major benefit (for me LOL) vs renting a villa. Most private villas don't have a/c (even the most luxurious). If you're going to be there in July/August, it can get VERY hot.
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 08:14 AM
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Marcym; it's easy to tell if the beach is private; there are sunbeds and umbrellas in the same colour, whereas on a public beach you bring everything yourself. In Juan les Pins/Cap d'Antibes, they charge up to 15 euros for a sunbed and umbrella per day. These beaches have restaurants and bar service; this is very nice to do a few times! There are lots of these beaches in Juan les Pins as well. I am not a fan of Cannes; it is very expensive, service can be rude, and there are quite a few "undesirable" people around at night. But if you want to experience Cannes; get beach chairs at the beach of one of the big hotels; Martinez, Carlton, Majestic. You may have to reserve chairs in advance if you go in August. Then just sit back and enjoy watching the people on the beach. You can order drinks on the beach, but if you want to keep down costs, I would advise you to eat a sandwich or pannini on the boulevard at lunchtime. We go to the south of France every summer with our children (I live in Belgium).
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Old Oct 8th, 2003, 08:20 AM
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And about the costs of these beaches; a club sandwich served on the beach at the Martinez will set you back 25 euros. Often beaches will charge more for sunbeds if you are on the first row by the sea (very sought after on the Martinez beach). The people watching on these beaches is great though! St Tropez has some really fabulous beaches with very popular restaurants too. Try booking beach chairs and a table for lunch at Club 55.
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Old Oct 9th, 2003, 01:41 PM
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OK, I have narrowed it down to the Ste Maxime /San Tropes/Le lavendou area to stay for two weeks, but after 3 days of searching, I have been unable to locate any rental properties with three bedrooms. There are tons in Cannes and Nice. Any suggestions?
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Old Oct 10th, 2003, 01:01 AM
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Marcym, I don't know how useful these are, but I have a magazine here with rental properties, and some of the agencies are:
www.blatge.com
www.champs-elysees-immo.com
www.burger-davis.com
www.nova.fr/faidherbe
These are just a few offering villas near St Tropez, but I have no idea of the price range. If you go to that area, try and book at one of the beach clubs, like Club 55, at least once; it's great fun.
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