The beaches of the Languedoc-Roussillon region are huge and sandy, much less crowded than those on the Cote d’Azur and often much less developed too.
They run all the way from the southern edge of the Camargue down south to the Spanish border. Right at the top is the Espiguette, the longest beach in the south of France. This is a large area of sand dunes that dip into the Mediterranean, with not a building in sight.
From there endless, flat stretches of sand stretch all the way south in a mixture of salt lagoons, dunes, hideously ugly modern developments and picturesque villages until you get to the very pretty village of Collioure, near Perpignan.
The coastline down south from Coullioure towards Spain is the Vermillion Coast (Côte Vermeille), a stunning series of coves and turquoise waters with intimate beaches. It stops abruptly where the Pyrenees fall into the sea.
Le Fort Pouzols-Minervois to the beach at Valras near Béziers is a 45-minute drive. Different stretches of the coast attract different audiences. Cap d’Agde, for example, has the largest naturist beach in Europe.
The beaches at Narbonne and Gruissan are popular with families as well as with windsurfers and kitesurfers. Our tip is Leucate Plage. An extensive review of the best beaches in the region is available on the www.creme-de-languedoc.com website.