TOP 9 RESORTS OF THE FRENCH RIVIERA
There is nowhere quite so beautiful, alluring and totally chic as the fabulous Côte d’Azur. This part of the French Mediterranean coast is simply stunning, bringing an air of sophistication to every road trip! Choosing our Top 9 resorts of the French Riviera isn’t an easy task as there are just so many beautiful locations.
It’s a part of France that we’ve been coming back to for many years, because we really do just love it! So without further ado, here’s our pick of the Top 9 resorts of the French Riviera.
Wild Camping is a thing of the past
Where wild camping spots were once found, instead there are miles of cycle paths, along with user-friendly promenades. Of course the downside to all this, is that almost every car park seems to now have a height barrier. In short, this means that where motorhome’s once dared to roam, we are now, well and truly resigned to those dedicated campsites or Aires.
I’m not being ungrateful here, as these are most certainly fantastic improvements to the local leisure facilities. Unfortunately though, it’s a sad change for us campervan enthusiasts, after having experienced those amazing wild camping spots of years gone by.
When I think about it now, I can’t believe just how fortunate we were to experience the good old days of parking up on the beach! Can you imagine for just one moment, parking on golden sands with just the clear blue sea for company? At the end of the day, I guess all good things must come to an end!
Where to Stay – Top 9 Resorts of the French Riviera
Hold on though, it’s not all doom and gloom. If we hadn’t adapted to the changes as they occurred, we’d have had to give up on our campervan travels years ago!
So, let’s embrace the changes and enjoy this impressive part of France and all it has to offer. There’s still a choice of some really lovely campsites as well as the incredible Aire system.
Without a doubt, France absolutely loves it’s motorhome travel and no more so than those wanting to head for the coast. With that in mind, it’s time to dream so let’s get started on our Top 9 resorts of the French Riviera.
Top 9 Resorts of The French Riviera
1 – Pampelonne Beach, Ramatuelle St.Tropez
Well, it’s not all about the jet set lifestyle of those on super yachts, despite the glitzy reputation. In fact, St.Tropez is a lovely harbour town, enjoying cycle paths which curve around the coast, making it ideal to explore by bike.
In addition, there’s some really good walking routes combining coastal paths and vineyards. Perfect for taking a dip in the sea during those warm Summer days.
On top of that, if you venture slightly inland, you’ll find some sleepy hilltop villages, such as Ramatuelle, Cogolin and Grimaud.
Our visit usually involves a stay at the large motorhome Aire at Pampelonne beach. Located just a few minutes from the long white sands of the beach, where coastal walks lead along the craggy coastal path. It’s not long before you’re passing beautiful bay’s towards a lighthouse bringing fine views across the vineyards.
If you don’t fancy an Aire, don’t worry, as there’s also a good beach campsite near Port Grimaud. Here you can bag a sea front pitch, stepping out of your campervan door into the white sands.
Another bonus is how conveniently it’s situated for the cycle path leading to the centre of St.Tropez. Not forgetting, the fine views across the bay where the hub of the action takes place out on the water.
2 – Hyeres, Giens Peninsula
What a great little find this area is. To put it simply, it’s just beautiful. Being relatively low-key, with great coastal paths, stunning beaches, sleepy coves and pretty harbours, what more could we ask for?
If you like peace and quiet, then this may be the place for you! Expect plenty of relaxation, as there’s not much else going on here! Then again, a few local markets, lazy beach life and leisurely strolls may possibly make it all the more perfect!
Our chosen little find here is Camping Olbia at La Madrague. This fairly basic campsite is not only convenient for those coastal walks and stunning beaches but it’s also super low-key. In addition, a newly re-furbished toilet block and nightly rates of around 20 Euro mid-season, make it a really reasonable option.
3 – Six Fours Les Plages – Top 9 resorts of The French Riviera
This area of Six Fours Les Plages is just beautiful. There’s a good mix of cycle paths, coastal walks, quaint harbours and beautiful beaches to keep you occupied.
If you like a good old French market, then you’ll love the weekly one’s held here along the harbour-side. Selling everything you could possibly need and all within the picturesque harbour setting, it makes an ideal break when you’ve had enough of the beach!
When we’ve been out of peak season – from October, there’s a really good Aire at Port de La Coudouliere. For just 12.60 Euro a night, we were able to stay overnight and have use of hot showers and toilets. For those needing to plug in the van to a power supply, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s also electric.
4 – Cassis – Top 9 Resorts of the French Riviera
Cassis is renowned for it’s quentissentially French harbour as well as the incredible Calanques National Park. Within the town, narrow shopping streets lead to the lovely harbour, which is a great place for a stroll before relaxing in one of the harbour-side restaurants. Of course, not forgetting the people watching in this rather classy little resort.
Another great plus is that there’s a free Aire here in Cassis. It’s actually located above the town centre, next to a park and ride, at Gorguettes. Meaning, there’s no need to get into a pickle on those tiny roads to the centre!
What’s more, is that it’s all about the walking here which is on the doorstep to Cassis centre.
So, put on those walking boots, because this is where you explore the fabulous gorges of Calanques National Park. Quite frankly, it’s a walkers paradise of trails, swim spots and some rather fabulous views in the process.
If a campsite is your preferred option, then head for Camping les Cigales which we’ve visited for a 2nd time this year.
5 – Carro
Carro is another pretty harbour town with some really lovely beaches and a damn good Aire next to the port. As with any Aires here in the South of France, expect to pay and if you’re arriving in Summer, it’s a good idea to get there early to bag a space!
This sleepy little town doesn’t have much in the way of entertainment, so it’s really all about the sunshine, balmy beach days and sensational sunsets. In other words – what more could you ask for?
6 – Aigues Mortes
What can I say about Aigues Mortes? Other than this is one intriguing walled town, blissfully emerged in its cultural roots at the heart of the traditional Camargue region.
On top of this, there’s some fabulous cycle paths, linking towns along the coast, whilst the interior of the walls boasts an intriguing network of shops and restaurants, all bustling with life. It’s like its own little micro town within a town!
Best of all, just outside the walls are the salt plains and wildlife ponds so renowned in the area, along with wild ponies which roam freely between. A large motorhome Aire located just outside the walls makes parking easy, although it is a little pricey.
7 – Saintes Maries de la Mer
If you’re visiting out of season, this probably isn’t the most spectacular location. However, in the heat of the Summer, this area is superb. Not only is it true Camargue country, full of culture and strong traditions, but it also has real charm and some great stretches of beach.
The town itself is full of pavement restaurants and individual shops. From here, the town reaches the sea where a long promenade stretches alongside the sandy beaches, attracting large numbers in Summer.
Surrounding the low level landscapes, rich Flamingo ponds and wildlife habitations of the Camargue provide a truly interesting backdrop.
Incredibly, there are not one but three motorhome Aires here, hopefully you won’t be short of a place to stay! So, why not take your pick, settle down and enjoy this magical seaside town of Sainte Maries de la Mer.
8 – Gruissan Port
This is one of those really deceptive French towns, initially appearing to be just a bit of an ordinary looking Marina village, but it’s actually an intriguing area.
First of all, the old town is just super, where you’ll find narrow streets and an old castle tower which sits on a hill, above the sleepy town below.
Then, venture off outside the town and you come to Etangs or ponds, covering the low lying areas of this fascinating coastal region. Best of all, these provide ample cycling and walking routes, not to mention the beaches that are on offer.
Ultimately, the motorhome Aire is pretty good too. Located at the port and overlooking the coastal strip beyond, makes it all rather pleasant. There’s also a convenient facility of a couple of hot showers and toilets should you need them.
9 – Pavalos-Les-Flots
Located just outside the town is a super motorhome Aire, situated at the harbour. Ideally it makes taking to the cycle paths around the wildlife ponds of Camargue really easy.
Stretching as far as Montpellier, the cycle routes really are excellent and take in some lovely scenery, passing those gorgeous Flamingoes and lovely countryside.
If cycling isn’t your thing, there’s the sandy beaches and seaside town of Pavalos-Les-Flots itself. To be honest, it’s a pretty but traditional French resort, where plenty of restaurants line the canal side route to the sea.
The Aire at the marina benefits from the facilities of heated shower block and toilets. Quite frankly, it’s a super handy place to stop, even if it’s just to plug into the electric and re-charge the batteries – quite literally!
Although in our opinion it’s a really good location for a couple of days whilst exploring the area on foot or bike.