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The beach at Villefranche-sur-mer | © bogitw/Pixabay
The beach at Villefranche-sur-mer | © bogitw/Pixabay
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The Most Beautiful Beaches in Nice, France

Picture of Alex Ledsom
Updated: 8 February 2017
Nice is one of the few cities in France that has beautiful beaches right on its doorstep. In fact, it has four miles of them, stretching as far as the eye can see. Before you head off with your towel and sunscreen though, it’s worth knowing what’s on offer. Whatever your choice, this guide will help you find the perfect beach for your needs.

The main decision you need to make is if you want to go public or private. The public beaches are obviously free of charge and they let you get closer to a more natural beach experience, lying on the rocks surrounded by locals. However, they can get supremely crowded and are a goldmine for thieves in the summer. The private beaches are more central, often attached to the main hotels, and offer lockers and showers to make your experience a little more exclusive.

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La Reserve (public beach)

This is a great little public beach, close to the center of Nice, full of locals and fearless teenagers who use the old diving board to somersault into the water (even though it is technically not allowed).

diving boardWatch the locals dive into the water at La Reserve | © Ryan Blyth/Flickr

There are no real snack/eating options so take a picnic with you from the local markets to eat while you watch them dive in. It is small so it can get crowded but it’s a real local gem.

la reserveLa Reserve is walking distance from Nice and has a diving board for the fearless | © Chris230/ Flickr

La Reserve, Nice

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Coco Beach (public beach)

Coco Beach is similar to La Reserve in that it is public, small and very popular with locals. It’s a little bit further along from La Reserve but it does have showers and one restaurant (closed Sunday) although you might prefer to take a picnic. Like many of the beaches along this part of the coast, it’s often better to stretch a towel out on a big rock (if there’s one free) to escape the hordes of people. In the summer months, there is a lifeguard but always take care, as the currents can be quite strong and the water very deep. Sometimes you can get lucky and have the place practically to yourself, listening to the current and gazing at the perfectly clear waters.

Coco Beach, Nice

coco beachCoco Beach offers a more local beach experience | © Chris230/Flickr

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Villefranche-sur-mer (public beach)

This is technically the next town along to Nice but it’s an easy 15-minute bus ride along the coast. It has very small, fine pebbles (closer to sand) and is probably the most popular of the public beaches. It offers a good choice in restaurants and ice cream kiosks just on the other side of the road.

Villefranche-sur-mer

villefrancheThe beach at Villefranche-sur-mer is public, sandy and has a good choice of restaurants |© fhwrdh/Flickr

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Castel Plage (private beach)

Castel Beach is considered by many to be the best private beach in Nice. It’s at the end of them all, tucked under the headland and away from the hustle and bustle. The loungers are comfortable, the food is great, the service is generally considered good — which isn’t true of every other beach restaurant in Nice — and the clientele calm. It’s a little oasis.

Courtesy of Castel

Castel Beach, 8 Quai des États-Unis, Nice +33 (0)4 93 85 22 66

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Ruhl Plage (private beach)

Ruhl Beach is definitely the pick for families as it has its own swimming pool beside the sea complete with its own lifeguard, so parents can relax on their loungers in relative comfort. It’s directly in front of the Ruhl Casino and Le Méridien Hotel and is one of the oldest beaches, established in the 1920s. As with all the private beaches, it has waiter service, showers, lockers and a beachfront restaurant.

Hôtel_RuhlRuhl Beach is central, great for families and dates back to the 1920s | © Archive des Alpes Maritimes/WikiCommons

Ruhl beach, Promenade des Anglais, Nice +33 (0)