Three great coastal regions in France for a fun holiday

Written by on April 30, 2019 in Holidays & Things to do, Places to Go

Mont Saint Michel, a medieval town on an island topped by an abbey in Normandy

It’s hard to know where to start when it comes to picking a seaside base in France for a brilliant holiday. We asked Donna Sloane, general manager at to pick three locations where you not only have great beaches but stunning countryside too…


Normandy is a marvellous mix of seaside resorts and glorious countryside, peppered with historic and enchanting towns and villages. The look and feel of the coast varies enormously. From the craggy wild granite coastline of the northern Cotentin to the Pink Granite coast and the long sandy beaches and white cliffs of the south. Rouen, lies on the left bank of the Seine and is the capital of Normandy. It’s dominated by the great cathedral of Notre Dame which captivated impressionist poster boy Claude Monet whose house and garden you can visit in Giverny – it’s utterly gorgeous.

There’s nothing that prepares you for the sight of the almost one thousand year old Bayeux Tapestry in person. Be prepared for a truly memorable wow moment when you visit Mont-Saint-Michel. This breath-taking medieval town winds its way helter-skelter like on an island until you reach the top with an ancient abbey and incredible views over the bay.

Go inland to discover ancient beech forests, apple orchards and meandering valleys where dairy herds proliferate. Normandy is a foodie paradise – Camembert, cider, apple tart and Calvados, what more is there to say?

Pretty gite with a garden full of lavender and white and red flowers on a sunny day in Normandy, France

Where to stay: You’ll find plenty of options in Normandy from pretty little cottages for two to chateaux that will sleep families and large groups. French Connections have a huge choice of accommodation in Normandy though we do find the Gite le Jonquet in Calvados rather irresistible!


Two small sailing boats with colourful sails on a white sandy beach in Brittany

Brittany is a brilliant blend of country and coast, beautiful beaches. There are historic and authentic cities and picture postcard villages with loads for the whole family to do.

Spectacular coastal towns, secluded islands, the Pink Granite Coast with its rose-tinted rocks beaten by the sea into amazing shapes. And the bustling port towns of Saint-Malo and Brest are more than enough for even the most ardent of seaside fans. The west coast is characterised by dramatic cliffs and rock formations, the north by pretty coves and tiny harbours. To the south there are wide estuaries and long sandy beaches. Take the coastal road that links St. Malo and Dinard to St.-Brieuc and discover enchanting harbour towns and authentic cafés plus amazing scenery.

A very different landscape awaits you inland, with valleys and forests, rivers and canals. Don’t miss Dinan which lies at the mouth of the River Rance. Its old town, cobbled streets and city walls are magical.

Beautifu white house with pointy roof right on the edge of a beach overlooking the ocean in Brittany

Where to stay: Whether you want sea views, a bijou villa for a couple,  a fabulous mansion house for bigger groups, on the coast, inland or in a city – there’s a vast choice on French Connection’s website. We love Villa Kastell in Finistere for its simply stunning views over the sea…

Charente Maritime

Pretty harbour with lots of small boats at La Rochelle in southwest France on a sunny day

Charente Maritime is another department with both a brilliant beach base and fabulous countryside. La Rochelle has a unique mix of charm and style, steeped in history and rich in architectural Treasures. The seaport town is in southwest France on the Atlantic coast, and it’s the capital of Charente Maritime department.

In the Vieux Port, with its historic towers which seem to watch over the city, you’ll find many good bars and restaurants. There’s also excellent shopping in arcaded streets lined with ancient buildings. Its all about boats here, it’s a major port and sailing centre. It’s also great for water sports and bobbing about, with speed boat, sailing boat and catamaran trips on offer. There are a couple of beaches in the city. But, for the best beaches, head round the coast to towns like Fouras and Chatelaillon-Plage.

Go island hopping and cross the bridge to Ile de Re or take a ferry to Ile d’Aix. Discover the historic towns of Royan and Rochefort, once the site of Louis XIV’s naval dockyards.

Head inland for glorious countryside. The Parc Naturel Regional du Marais Poitevin is especially pretty,  a land of marshes, canals and picturesque villages. Cognac, in the neighbouring department of Charente, is just over an hours drive from La Rochelle.

swimming pool surrounded by sun beds with sun umbrellas, lots of trees give shade

Where to stay: There are some fabulous holiday homes in the Charente-Maritime including on the islands of Re, Aix and Oleron. Countryside, seaside, city stays, you’re really spoiled for choice with French Connections listings in the area but we’re very partial to the Villa Foret holiday resort which offers four gites on the lovely Ile d’Oleron, right by the gorgeous sandy beaches.

Related Articles

Best things to do in Dordogne for families

Dordogne really does have something to please everyone. And, when it comes to families, there’s heaps to do for the kids too. Accommodation for families When taking kids on holiday, choosing the right accommodation right is a big part of a successful break. Chateau de Sadillac near Bergerac is the perfect holiday home for families […]

Continue Reading

The perfect gite in Dordogne

Vanessa Howard and partner William gave up their jobs, sold their home and vintage clothing shop in Suffolk, England and arrived in France in June 2017. They had over several previous trips, built up a wish list for their perfect home. They wanted a house that came with potential for a gite or two, a […]

Continue Reading

Spotlight on the Alpes-Maritime department | French Riviera

The Alpes-Maritimes department is in the far south of France in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur bordering Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. Think long hot summers, year round temperate climate, the French Riviera and impossibly pretty villages and historic towns in the interior – this is an area that makes for a great holiday destination. What to […]

Continue Reading

South Coast of France: what to see and where to stay

When the summer comes, there are few countries with better beaches than France. The Mediterranean coast in the south of France for example has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Here are ten of the most picturesque seaside resorts in the south of France. Saint Tropez This famous seaside holiday destination attracts […]

Continue Reading

5 places to enjoy sun, sea and sand holidays in France

France is a wonderfully diverse and fascinating country that makes a great destination whatever type of holiday you enjoy. There’s a huge range of accommodation from cosy cottages, gites, country houses, villas or historic chateaux. Whether you’re looking for your perfect holiday home for two or twenty, there’s something for ever taste and every budget. […]

Continue Reading


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.