This summer, know the difference between private and public beaches in France.

All along the coast, private waterfront is roped off and advertised by color-coordinated awnings, parasols, and mattresses. For a fee, you can access some of these private beaches—which often have full restaurant and bar service—and rent mattresses, umbrellas, and lounge chairs by the day or half day. But interspersed between these commercial beaches is plenty of public space, with open access and (usually) the necessary comforts of toilets and cold-rinse "showers." See our France coverage.