With its picturesque coves and its rocky or sandy beaches, the Mediterranean coastline is a sure thing for swimming. But to track down the unexpected spots, don’t think twice about heading into the hinterland to the lakes and rivers. Provence holds many surprises for swimmers!
Protected by the Parc National des Calanques, Les Calanques de Marseille, a series of pine-tree spotted limestone hills that spill into a cobalt blue sea, are not to be missed if you want to swim in Provence. They are accessible by foot from the centre of Cassis, via the GR 98. On the Côte Bleue side, make a splash in the wild, tree-lined Calanque de Méjan. With its island jewels of the Îles d’Or, Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Le Levant, the Parc national de Port-Cros, has plenty of turquoise calanques which will enchant swimmers and lovers of lazy days. To enjoy their beauty in total tranquility, dive in off-season.
From Toulon to the Côte Bleue
A Coastline That Gets You Hooked
A few kilometres west of Toulon, two of the finest beaches of the Var coastline await you at Six-Fours-les-Plages: La Gabrielle and the Plage des Allemands – both Natura 2000 registered. You can access the first by a little, steep and rocky path. The second, the largest of the Îles des Embiez, offers a brilliant view of the Île du Rouveau. On the Camargue side, head to the Plage Crin Blanc, a beautiful and huge expanse of sand bordered by dunes. Try also the Côte Bleue beaches, like that of Sainte-Croix in Martigues, with its fine sand and lush green setting.
Esparron and Sainte-Croix
Near Gréoux-les-Bains, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Lac d’Esparron-de-Verdon has many charms. With its bright rocks scattered with pine trees and its turquoise waters, it provides a perfect spot for a swim or a break in nature. Further East, the Lac de Sainte-Croix, formed by a dam on the Verdon, offers an ideal aesthetic combination of river and mountain. Accessible by the villages of Salles-sur-Verdon, Bauduen and Sainte-Croix, it can also be reached by lesser-known paths. Or visit the waters of Digne and Sisteron.
Sillans, Barjols, and the Sources de l’Huveaune
Want a moment to cool off? In Sillans-la-Cascade, in the Var, you’ll find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Provence. In a leafy setting, a high waterfall springs from the rocks, plunging into a vast, turquoise basin below. In the same vein, the Vallon des Carmes in Barjols, a haven of peace, is ideal for a break immersed in nature. You should also visit the Sources de l’Huveaune, at Plan-d’Aups-Sainte-Baume. They will take you by surprise with their streams that look like stairways!
A Fun Break
Only 15 minutes from Avignon, in Monteux, Wave Island plunges visitors into a world of tropical fun and festivity. Come and try out the brand-new attractions, including the highest water slide in Europe and a surf simulator that is featured in the Guinness Book of Records! In a different style, Aquavillage in Hyères and Aquapark Aix-en-Provence-Lac de Peyrolles serves up inflatable fun on the water. Ready to test your balance?