Be warned that during July and August, you may find the beaches very busy. If it fits with your schedule, off season may be a better time to travel to Provence.

Although on the map it appears that we're quite a way from the beaches, we're not. It's only a short drive to some of the most famous beaches in the world.

Bandol - if you're visiting the vineyards at Bandol (some of the best Provencal reds are to be found there), you may want to relax afterwards on one of the sandy beaches.

The beach at Cannes is superior to that of Nice as it has real sand, not pebbles. Along the fabled promenade, La Croisette, the white sands are dotted with sun beds and parasols that you can rent at the beach concessions. The best public beach is in front of the Palais des Festivals.

Cassis is a lovely fishing village. It's a great place to spend the morning sightseeing in. Then, in the afternoon, sun on one of the lovely beaches just outside the town.

Ile de Porquerolles (by Toulon)
Only 15 minutes by ferry from the Giens peninsula east of Toulon. There are several Iles d'Hyères. Porquerolles, a national park, is only 8.1km (5 miles) long and some 2.4km (1 1/2 miles) across. There are several white-sand beaches. The best of these are Plage d'Argent, Plage de la Courtade, and Plage de Notre-Dame.

Plage de Tahiti is famous since the days of Brigitte Bardot. You will see many topless or bottomless sunbathers and swimmers on this beach. If you bother to wear a bikini, it should be only the most daring.

Plage Port Grimaud is a long golden-sand beach facing St-Tropez. Some of the Riviera's most expensive yachts are tied up in the harbor. If you're too shy for the Plage de Tahiti and some of the other beaches but still want to be daring, this is your beach.