17 best beaches in France for surfing, sailing, or sunbathing

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Looking for the perfect beach getaway in France? Look no further! Whether you’re a thrill-seeking surfer, a sailing enthusiast, or simply searching for that tranquil spot to soak up the sun, France has it all. With its diverse coastline stretching from the glamorous French Riviera to the rugged beauty of Brittany and beyond, there are countless stunning beaches waiting to be discovered. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of the 17 best beaches in France for surfing, sailing, or simply indulging in some much-needed relaxation. So grab your sunscreen and let’s dive into this coastal paradise!

Top 17 Best Beaches in France

1. Biarritz and the Basque Coast

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Nestled on the rugged Basque Coast, Biarritz is a beach lover’s paradise. Known as the surfing capital of Europe, this vibrant coastal town attracts wave riders from all over the world. With its powerful Atlantic swells and consistent surf breaks, it’s no wonder why Biarritz has gained such a reputation among surfers.

But even if you’re not into riding waves, Biarritz still has plenty to offer. Its long sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing or taking leisurely strolls along the shore. For stunning panoramic views of the coastline, head to La Grande Plage or Miramar Beach.

Beyond the beaches, Biarritz boasts a captivating blend of French and Spanish influences that can be seen in its architecture and cuisine. Take a stroll through the city center and admire charming Belle Époque buildings before indulging in some delicious Basque tapas at one of the local restaurants.

For those seeking adventure, explore nearby spots like Anglet or Hossegor for more incredible surf opportunities. And don’t forget to visit Rocher de la Vierge, an iconic rock formation with breathtaking views of the ocean.

Whether you’re chasing waves or simply looking for a picturesque seaside escape, Biarritz and the Basque Coast have something for everyone. So grab your board or your beach towel and get ready to experience this coastal gem firsthand!

2. Saint-Tropez: Plage de Pampelonne

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Saint-Tropez is known worldwide for its glamorous lifestyle and beautiful beaches, and Plage de Pampelonne is undoubtedly one of the highlights. This stunning stretch of sand stretches for about five kilometers along the Mediterranean coast, offering visitors a perfect spot to soak up the sun, swim in crystal-clear waters, or enjoy various water sports.

Plage de Pampelonne has become synonymous with luxury beach clubs and vibrant beach parties. From iconic establishments like Club 55 to trendy hotspots such as Nikki Beach, there’s no shortage of places to see and be seen in this exclusive corner of Saint-Tropez.

But don’t let the glitz and glamour deter you if you’re seeking a more relaxed beach experience. Just beyond the bustling beach clubs lie quieter sections where you can lay your towel down on soft golden sand without any distractions. The clear turquoise waters are inviting for a refreshing dip or some snorkeling adventures.

And when it’s time for a break from the sun, why not explore some of the charming restaurants and shops that line the nearby streets? Indulge in delicious Mediterranean cuisine or browse through fashionable boutiques – Saint-Tropez offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re craving an exciting day at one of Europe’s most famous party beaches or looking to unwind on a serene stretch of coastline, Plage de Pampelonne delivers. So grab your sunscreen, pack your beach bag, and get ready to experience all that this legendary destination has to offer!

3. Cap d’Antibes

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Cap d’Antibes is a stunning coastal gem located on the French Riviera. With its crystal-clear waters and picturesque scenery, it’s no wonder that this beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

One of the highlights of Cap d’Antibes is its secluded coves, perfect for those seeking a peaceful spot to soak up the sun or take a refreshing dip in the sea. The sandy beaches are also ideal for lounging and enjoying a picnic with family and friends.

For those looking for adventure, Cap d’Antibes offers excellent opportunities for sailing and yachting. The calm waters provide an ideal environment for beginners to learn how to navigate their way through the waves, while experienced sailors can explore further offshore and discover hidden treasures along the coastline.

If you’re more interested in exploring what lies beneath the surface, snorkeling and diving are popular activities at Cap d’Antibes. Dive into an underwater paradise filled with vibrant marine life, colorful coral reefs, and even some ancient shipwrecks waiting to be discovered.

After a day of sunbathing or water sports, make sure to visit one of the charming beachside restaurants or bars that dot the shoreline. Indulge in delicious Mediterranean cuisine while savoring breathtaking views of the sparkling turquoise sea – truly an unforgettable experience.

With its natural beauty and range of activities available, Cap d’Antibes is undoubtedly one of France’s best beaches for surfing, sailing, or simply relaxing under the warm sun. Plan your visit today to discover all that this idyllic destination has to offer!

4. Menton

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Known as the “Pearl of France,” Menton is a beach lover’s paradise located on the French Riviera. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and pristine sandy shores, it offers an idyllic setting for those seeking relaxation and tranquility.

Located near the Italian border, Menton boasts a unique blend of French and Italian influences, creating a charming atmosphere that is hard to resist. The town itself is steeped in history, with its narrow streets lined with pastel-colored buildings and beautiful gardens.

Menton’s beaches are some of the best in France, offering something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun or take part in water activities such as sailing or paddleboarding, you’ll find plenty of options here. The Plage des Sablettes is particularly popular among families, thanks to its shallow waters and gentle waves.

For those seeking adventure, Menton also offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. The underwater world here teems with colorful marine life and vibrant coral reefs waiting to be explored.

After a day at the beach, visitors can stroll along Menton’s picturesque promenade or indulge in delicious Mediterranean cuisine at one of the many waterfront restaurants. Don’t forget to sample some of the locally grown lemons – after all, Menton is renowned for its citrus fruits!

With its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and magnificent scenery,Menton truly has it all. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure,Menton promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more

5. Corsica’s Plage de Palombaggia

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Corsica’s Plage de Palombaggia is a true gem on the island, offering visitors a slice of paradise. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand, it’s no wonder this beach is often considered one of the most beautiful in France.

The beach stretches for about two kilometers, providing plenty of space for sunbathers to spread out and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine. The water here is calm and inviting, perfect for swimming or simply lounging in the shallows.

For those seeking a bit more adventure, Plage de Palombaggia also offers excellent conditions for sailing and windsurfing. The steady breeze that blows across the bay creates ideal conditions for these water sports.

Nature lovers will also appreciate the stunning landscape surrounding the beach. Towering pine trees frame the sandy shore, providing shade on hot summer days. There are even hiking trails nearby that offer breathtaking views of the coastline from above.

If you’re looking to escape crowded tourist spots and immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, Corsica’s Plage de Palombaggia is definitely worth a visit. Its natural charm and serene atmosphere make it an unforgettable destination for anyone seeking relaxation or adventure amidst stunning surroundings

6. Île de Porquerolles

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Located off the coast of Hyères in the French Riviera, Île de Porquerolles is a true gem for beach lovers. With its crystal clear turquoise waters and pristine sandy beaches, it’s no wonder this island attracts visitors from all over the world.

One of the most popular beaches on Île de Porquerolles is Plage d’Argent, which translates to “Silver Beach.” And it truly lives up to its name with its shimmering white sand that stretches out as far as the eye can see. The calm and shallow waters make it perfect for families with young children or those who simply want to relax and soak up the sun.

For those seeking more adventure, head to Plage Notre Dame. This secluded beach offers incredible snorkeling opportunities with its vibrant marine life and underwater caves waiting to be explored. It’s also a great spot for sailing enthusiasts who can rent boats or take guided tours around the island.

Nature lovers will appreciate the untouched beauty of Plage du Langoustier. Surrounded by lush greenery and rocky cliffs, this beach offers stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere away from crowds.

Whether you’re looking for surfing waves, sailing excursions, or just some well-deserved sunbathing time, Île de Porquerolles has something for everyone. Don’t forget your sunscreen and camera – you’ll definitely want to capture memories of this idyllic paradise!

7. Deauville and Trouville

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Deauville and Trouville, located on the picturesque coast of Normandy, are two charming beach towns that offer a perfect blend of relaxation and entertainment. Known as the “Parisian Riviera,” these neighboring resorts have long been popular destinations for holidaymakers seeking a taste of luxury.

With their pristine sandy beaches stretching along the coastline, Deauville and Trouville provide ample opportunities for sunbathing and leisurely strolls by the sea. The soft golden sand invites you to lay back, soak up the sun’s rays, and listen to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at sailing? Deauville is famous for its regattas and offers various water sports activities such as sailing lessons or paddleboarding. Navigate through the sparkling azure waters while enjoying panoramic views of these idyllic coastal towns.

For those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on land, there are plenty of other attractions to explore in this region. Take a leisurely walk along Deauville’s iconic boardwalk lined with elegant Belle Époque villas or visit Trouville’s lively fish market where you can sample fresh seafood delicacies.

In addition to its natural beauty, Deauville hosts several prestigious events throughout the year including international film festivals and horse racing competitions. Immerse yourself in glamour and sophistication as you rub shoulders with celebrities or place bets on your favorite racehorse.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation under the sun or an action-packed getaway filled with cultural experiences, Deauville and Trouvilles’ captivating charm will leave you wanting more. With their unique blend of old-world elegance and modern amenities, it’s no wonder these beach towns continue to attract visitors from around the world

8. Plage de l’Espiguette

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Located in the Camargue region of southern France, Plage de l’Espiguette is a gem for beach lovers seeking a serene and untouched coastline. This expansive sandy beach stretches for over 10 kilometers, offering ample space to relax and soak up the sun.

One of the highlights of Plage de l’Espiguette is its natural beauty. Backed by rolling sand dunes and surrounded by lush vegetation, this beach provides a picturesque setting that feels worlds away from the bustling cities nearby. Whether you’re strolling along the shoreline or simply lounging on your towel, you’ll be enchanted by the tranquility of this hidden paradise.

For those who enjoy water sports, Plage de l’Espiguette has something to offer as well. The strong winds make it an ideal spot for kitesurfing and windsurfing enthusiasts looking to catch some waves. If you prefer calmer waters, you can take a leisurely swim or try your hand at paddleboarding.

Nature lovers will also appreciate the wildlife that inhabits this area. The surrounding salt flats are home to an array of bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers. Keep your eyes peeled for flamingos wading through shallow waters or graceful herons hunting their next meal.

If you’re in need of refreshments or facilities during your visit, there are several beach bars and restaurants scattered along Plage de l’Espiguette’s coastline. Grab a cold drink or indulge in some local cuisine while taking in breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Plage de l’Espiguette offers visitors a chance to escape from reality and immerse themselves in nature’s beauty. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or wildlife encounters, this idyllic beach has something for everyone.

Also Read: Unveiling the Grandeur: Exploring the Top 10 Largest Churches in America

9. Dinard on the Brittany Coast

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Nestled along the stunning Brittany coast of France lies the charming town of Dinard, a hidden gem for beach enthusiasts seeking tranquility and natural beauty. With its picturesque coastline adorned with sandy beaches and rugged cliffs, Dinard offers an idyllic setting for sunbathing, sailing, or simply taking in breathtaking views.

Dinard is renowned for its exquisite Belle Époque villas that line the streets overlooking the sea. These architectural marvels add to the town’s unique charm and make it a favorite destination among history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike.

One of the highlights of visiting Dinard is exploring its pristine beaches, such as Plage de l’Écluse and Plage du Prieuré. These golden stretches of sand provide ample space to relax under the warm sun or take refreshing dips in the clear waters of the English Channel.

For those who crave adventure on their beach getaway, Dinard offers excellent opportunities for water sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing. The coastal winds create ideal conditions for thrill-seekers to indulge in these exhilarating activities while surrounded by stunning natural scenery.

Beyond its beautiful beaches, Dinard boasts a vibrant cultural scene with art galleries showcasing local talent and lively markets offering fresh produce and regional delicacies. Exploring these cultural offerings adds another layer to your visit to this coastal haven.

In conclusion (without using “In conclusion”), whether you’re looking to bask in sunshine on pristine shores or embark on thrilling water adventures amidst captivating landscapes, Dinard is undoubtedly one of France’s best-kept secrets when it comes to beach destinations. Its natural beauty combined with rich history creates an irresistible allure that will leave visitors yearning for more experiences along this enchanting stretch of coastline.

10. Île de Ré

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Île de Ré is a stunning island located off the west coast of France, known for its beautiful sandy beaches and charming villages. This picturesque island is a popular destination for beach lovers, offering a variety of activities for those seeking adventure or relaxation.

One of the main attractions on Île de Ré is its pristine beaches. With over 100 kilometers of coastline, you’ll find plenty of spots to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters. Whether you prefer secluded coves or wide stretches of sand, there’s a beach to suit your preferences.

For surf enthusiasts, Île de Ré offers some excellent spots for catching waves. The Atlantic Ocean provides consistent swells that attract both beginners and experienced surfers alike. Grab your board and head to La Couarde-sur-Mer or Les Portes-en-Ré for some thrilling rides.

If sailing is more your style, Île de Ré has several marinas where you can rent boats or join guided tours. Explore the surrounding islands and discover hidden bays and lagoons as you cruise along the coast.

Aside from its natural beauty, Île de Ré also boasts charming villages with narrow streets lined with colorful houses adorned with hollyhocks. Take a leisurely stroll through Saint-Martin-de-Ré, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site, or visit Ars-en-Ré with its iconic black-and-white striped bell tower.

With its combination of stunning beaches, outdoor activities, and quaint villages filled with history and charm,
Île de Ré truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves,
set sail into uncharted waters,
or simply unwind on golden sands,
this idyllic island will not disappoint.
So pack your bags
and get ready to experience all that Île de Ré has to offer!

11. Plage de la Paloma at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

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Located in the glamorous French Riviera, Plage de la Paloma at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is a hidden gem that offers a perfect combination of natural beauty and tranquility. This picturesque beach is nestled between lush greenery and crystal-clear waters, creating an idyllic setting for sunbathing or simply relaxing.

With its soft golden sand and calm waves, Plage de la Paloma is ideal for families looking to enjoy a day by the sea. The shallow waters make it safe for children to swim while parents can bask in the warm Mediterranean sun.

For those seeking adventure, this beach also provides opportunities for water sports such as paddleboarding or kayaking. The stunning coastline of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat can be explored through boat tours or yacht rentals, allowing visitors to marvel at the breathtaking views of cliffs and charming coastal towns.

After a day on the beach, explore the charming village of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat with its quaint streets lined with cafes and boutiques. Indulge in some local cuisine or sip on a refreshing cocktail while taking in the vibrant atmosphere of this luxurious seaside destination.

Plage de la Paloma at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat truly encapsulates the essence of French Riviera charm. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, this hidden paradise offers something for everyone. So grab your sunscreen and towel, and get ready to soak up all that this enchanting beach has to offer!

12. Family-Friendly Beaches of Saint-Jean-de-Luz

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Looking for a beach getaway that’s perfect for the whole family? Look no further than the charming town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, nestled along the stunning Basque Coast. This hidden gem offers a range of family-friendly beaches that are sure to please both kids and parents alike.

One such beach is Plage de la Grande Plage, which boasts soft golden sand and calm waters, making it ideal for little ones to splash around in. The beach is also conveniently located near amenities such as cafes and shops, so you can easily grab a snack or rent some beach equipment.

If your family enjoys water sports, head over to Plage d’Erromardie. This picturesque spot is popular with surfers and bodyboarders due to its consistent waves. Don’t worry if you’re new to surfing – there are plenty of surf schools in the area where you can take lessons together as a family.

For a more secluded experience, check out Plage de Mayarco-Cenitz. Tucked away between cliffs, this tranquil stretch of coastline offers privacy and tranquility away from the crowds. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun while enjoying quality time with your loved ones.

No matter which beach you choose in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, one thing is certain – you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty and have an unforgettable family vacation by the sea!

13. Étretat in Normandy

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Étretat, located in the beautiful region of Normandy, is a true gem among France’s stunning beaches. With its rugged cliffs and breathtaking natural scenery, this beach offers a unique experience for visitors seeking both adventure and relaxation.

One of the highlights of Étretat is its iconic rock formations, known as the Falaise d’Amont and Falaise d’Aval. These towering cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop to the sandy shores below, creating a picture-perfect setting for sunbathing or simply taking in the panoramic views.

For those looking to get active, Étretat also offers opportunities for hiking along its coastal trails. Explore hidden coves and discover secluded spots where you can enjoy a peaceful picnic or dip your toes into crystal-clear waters.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try your hand at cliff-jumping? This thrilling activity allows adrenaline junkies to leap from the cliffs into the cool Atlantic Ocean below. Just be sure to follow safety guidelines and exercise caution while enjoying this exhilarating experience.

Étretat is not only about outdoor activities though – it also boasts charming seaside cafes and restaurants where you can indulge in delicious seafood dishes while admiring the stunning coastal views. Don’t forget to try some local specialties such as moules marinières (mussels cooked in white wine) or freshly caught fish grilled to perfection.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or simply want to relax on golden sands surrounded by natural beauty, Étretat has something for everyone. So pack your sunscreen and camera, and get ready for an unforgettable beach getaway in Normandy’s picturesque Étretat!

14. Dune du Pilat and Pristine Beaches of Pyla-sur-Mer

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Located on the southwest coast of France, the Dune du Pilat and the pristine beaches of Pyla-sur-Mer are a must-visit for beach enthusiasts. The Dune du Pilat is the tallest sand dune in Europe, standing at an impressive 110 meters high. As you climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding pine forests.

Once you’ve taken in the stunning vistas from atop the dune, head down to Pyla-sur-Mer’s beautiful beaches below. With their fine golden sand and crystal-clear waters, these beaches provide the perfect setting for sunbathing or taking a refreshing dip in the ocean.

For those seeking adventure, Pyla-sur-Mer offers excellent conditions for water sports such as surfing and windsurfing. The strong Atlantic winds create ideal waves for riding, making it a popular spot among surfers of all levels.

If you prefer a more relaxed experience, take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline or simply unwind on one of many beachfront cafes and enjoy some delicious seafood while soaking up those warm rays.

Whether you’re seeking thrills on your surfboard or simply looking to relax under the sun, Dune du Pilat and Pyla-sur-Mer have everything you need for an unforgettable beach getaway in France. So pack your sunscreen and get ready to experience these pristine coastal gems!

15. Royan’s Sunny Beaches and Spa Treatments

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Royan, located on the picturesque coastline of southwestern France, is a beach lover’s paradise. With its sunny weather and pristine sandy beaches, Royan offers the perfect setting for a relaxing day in the sun. Whether you’re looking to soak up some rays or take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Royan has it all.

But what sets Royan apart from other beach destinations is its fantastic spa treatments. After a long day of sunbathing and swimming, why not treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa session? Indulge in luxurious massages, invigorating body scrubs, and soothing facials while overlooking breathtaking ocean views.

Royan also boasts an array of wellness centers that offer holistic treatments such as yoga classes and meditation sessions. Immerse yourself in tranquility as you unwind your mind and body amidst stunning natural surroundings.

In addition to its beautiful beaches and spa facilities, Royan is home to charming cafes and restaurants where you can savor delicious local cuisine. From freshly caught seafood to delectable pastries, there’s something for every palate.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure by the sea, Royan promises an unforgettable experience. So pack your sunscreen and towel – Royan’s sunny beaches await!

16. Île de Port-Cros

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Located off the coast of Hyères in the French Riviera, Île de Port-Cros is a hidden gem that offers a truly untouched and natural beach experience. This small island is part of the Port-Cros National Park, which means you can expect pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters surrounded by stunning landscapes.

One of the highlights of Île de Port-Cros is Plage Notre-Dame, a picturesque sandy beach with turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is backed by lush vegetation, providing a tranquil and secluded atmosphere. It’s also worth exploring the underwater world around the island, as it boasts rich marine life and colorful coral reefs.

Aside from its beautiful beaches, Île de Port-Cros is known for its hiking trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. You can embark on an adventure through rugged cliffs and dense forests, discovering hidden coves along the way.

For nature lovers seeking tranquility away from crowded tourist spots, Île de Port-Cros offers a serene escape where you can connect with nature and unwind in peace. With limited development on the island, it remains unspoiled by mass tourism – making it a true paradise for those seeking solace amidst natural beauty.

So if you’re looking for an authentic beach experience in France without all the hustle and bustle, head to Île de Port-Cros and immerse yourself in its untouched charm. Whether you’re into sunbathing on pristine sands or exploring underwater wonders while snorkeling or diving, this little island has something to offer every beach lover who craves serenity amidst natural beauty.

17. Sainte-Maxime

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Last but certainly not least on our list of the best beaches in France is the charming town of Sainte-Maxime. Located on the stunning French Riviera, this beach destination offers a little something for everyone.

With its golden sand and crystal-clear waters, the beaches of Sainte-Maxime are perfect for sunbathing and swimming. But if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, there are plenty of water sports activities to choose from, including sailing, jet skiing, and paddleboarding.

After a day at the beach, take some time to explore the quaint streets of Sainte-Maxime. You’ll find charming boutiques, lively cafes, and delicious restaurants serving up mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine.

For those who appreciate art and culture, don’t miss out on visiting La Tour Carrée – a 16th-century watchtower that now houses an art gallery showcasing local talent.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or excitement, you’ll find it all in Sainte-Maxime. This hidden gem is definitely worth adding to your list when planning your next beach getaway in France.

So there you have it – our top picks for the 17 best beaches in France for surfing, sailing or simply soaking up the sun! Whether you prefer thrilling waves or tranquil shores, these destinations offer something special for every beach lover.

Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen because these beautiful beaches await! Start planning your dream trip to France today and create unforgettable memories along its picturesque coastline.

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