▷ Top 12 places to snorkel in France (Part 1/2)
Did you know that France is the biggest tourist destination not only in Europe, but also on the whole planet ? This is a fact that is also true for snorkeling. We will see in this series of 2 articles (1st part ranked from 12 to 7) which are the best snorkeling spots in the Mediterranean basin.
France has a lot to offer its visitors, including great food, a vibrant culture and stunning natural scenery. From the mosaic fields of the Loire Valley to the alluring coastlines of the Côte d'Azur, to the historic port towns of Normandy, this magical land always has something to offer for all tastes and at all ages. Those who love the sea and aquatic activities will certainly find superb diving and snorkeling sites in the south of France and on the French Riviera. In this article, we take a look and rank the best places to snorkel along the Mediterranean coastline !
12. Battery Range
You will absolutely fall in love with the Plage des Batteries which is located in Collioure, not far from the Plage de l'Ouille and which offers ideal conditions for diving. The atmosphere there is magical. In addition to the stunning beaches, you have the world-famous Les Aigles de Valmy animal park, as well as a Venetian park.
Argeles Adventure Park and Luna Park are two theme parks worth visiting when you're not busy snorkeling. Other outdoor activities available here include cycling, hiking and mountain biking.
11. Peyrefite Beach
Located in the center of the first marine reserve in France, Peyrefite Beach is the most popular dive site on the entire Côte Vermeille. It encompasses a rocky and sheltered cove. The snorkeling trail has been marked out here where the seabed is both well protected and inhabited by many fish.
Here you will see bream and sea bream surrounding you. You may also spot octopuses, cuttlefish and moray eels hiding in the rocks. Peyrefite Beach is located between the Spanish border and Banyuls-sur-Mer, in the heart of the Cerbère-Banyuls National Nature Reserve.
The best way to enjoy this snorkeling gem is to follow the marked snorkeling trail that borders the north shore of the bay. It is made up of five buoys that contain small panels with some information. These buoys also provide a great place to hang out and when you need to rest.
10. Ouille Beach
Ouille beach is located in Collioure. The best feature of the city is undoubtedly the convenient access to this wonderful beach and snorkeling site in the south of France. The name means a hollow pot, which defines the sunken nature of the beach itself.
The beach is only about 100 meters long. The place is sheltered between cliffs and feels truly empty even in the traditionally busier summer months. As the beach is difficult to access by car, it is mostly frequented by locals. From there, the view of the Côte Vermeille is breathtaking. Besides snorkeling, you can go kayaking and diving here.
9. Pond of Thau
The Etang de Thau is magnificent. It offers some of the best snorkeling sites in France. There is a saltwater lagoon here which is separated from the sea by sand dunes. In the lagoon, many incredible creatures find refuge.
The Bordelaise pontoon is a great place to start exploring the Etang de Thau. Planning your visit in advance will increase your chances of seeing the unique seahorses that frequent these waters, as well as pen shells nobles, nudibranchs, pipefish and a few other species of rockfish that frequent the area.
Your best chance of getting good visibility and seeing the unique creatures that live here is to go in the spring, from April to May. Visibility is best when the water is cooler. At the end of May and beginning of June, algae invade the lagoon and destroy the visibility of the water.
8. Island of Saint Margaret
Sainte-Marguerite Island is located near Saint-Honorat Island and only a few minutes from the port of Cannes, in the south of France. For those who like to combine a boat trip with water activities, this is an ideal place for snorkeling in the south of France. We find the island as magical as Cannes in general.
The beaches closest to the small port will naturally be the busiest. The further away you go, the fewer people you will encounter. Many dinghies and private yachts ply these beaches as the island is only accessible by boat. The island can boast of having a floating bar that circles the island. All you have to do is wave to the captain. He'll come as close to shore as he dares. It's up to you to wade out to retrieve your drink.
The island also has two restaurants, one of which, La Guérite, is a popular place for seafood. The Provençal market will supply you for a picnic on the beach. The beaches are reached by hiking through the fragrant pine forests.
The sea is simply amazing with colors ranging from all shades of blue to crystal clear water. Beneath the surface you can see the reason for this with the combination of alternating rocks, plants and seaweed on the bottom. The end result is an almost surreal appearance of the water here as a backdrop for your snorkeling adventure in France.
7. Paloma Beach
Paloma Beach is located in a small cove of limestone rocks in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, near Nice. This incredibly peaceful location offers unrivaled views of the French Riviera and transparent waters. If you want to snorkel in Nice, this is an idyllic place. The umbrella pines have been there for hundreds of years and make the atmosphere magical and intimate.
A significant part of this beach is owned by the Paloma Beach restaurant, but there is still enough public and free beach access to enjoy snorkeling. The cove is sheltered, making it an ideal place to enjoy the sun and the sea during the summer months. You will see sea urchins, starfish and various fish species from the Mediterranean Sea along the grassy bottom of Neptune.
The beach is a 35-minute drive from the center of Nice or 30 minutes from Monaco. It is essential to arrive in the morning to obtain parking and a place on the beach. You can enter the water directly from either end of the beach. The best areas for snorkeling include the rocky sides at both ends of the beach, but the right side is the most fascinating. As the water darkens and the seagrass rises, you'll see salps and sea bream hiding in the Neptune grasses. Red starfish are also common.
Hoping that this first part of the ranking will have won you over, we will discover in our next the 6 best snorkeling spots in France