The 15 best places to dive in France this summer

Summer has finally arrived and temperatures are rising. At Frenchly, we’re thinking about a swimming summer because experts predict this summer will be very hot, so we’ve put together a list of the best places to take a refreshing break. With such varied landscapes, France offers an array of distinct places to enjoy a dip in the water and spend an afternoon under the sun. From the seaside to lakes, rivers and more, France has a stunning collection of watering holes. Pack your Solar cream, catch a swimsuit and dive!

The Seine

We love the Seine for summer picnics and a trip on the stars, but we often forget that it is also a swimmable river (in places). Every summer, the banks of the Seine and the Bassin de la Villette are transformed into seaside resorts. Paris Plages offers free relaxation and leisure areas to Parisians and visitors during the summer heat. Fresh lawns, parasols, deckchairs, palm trees, cultural and sports activities, but also swimming: everything is there to cool off and enjoy the sunny days. And don’t forget that in the heat of summer, the Saint-Martin canal turns into a swimming pool and the bravest jump from the bridge into the water below.

If you are not looking to dive into the Seine, you can also swim in the Joséphine Baker swimming pool very close to the aquatic center on the edge of the river or at the swimming pool of the Off-Paris Seine hotel.

Lake Annecy

Lake Annecy Swimming

Annecy, located in Haute-Savoie, is perhaps the sportiest city in France, and water sports are a huge hit. Lake Annecy is a beautiful, crystal clear mountain lake with designated ‘beach’ areas as well as boat, water ski, wakeboard, paddle board and more rentals. Take your pick and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

Dordogne

Dordogne swimming

The Dordogne is a river in south-central and south-western France. Go kayaking or canoeing on the river and enjoy the view of New Aquitaine. The ride is accompanied by breathtaking scenery on the banks of the river, including the picturesque villages like Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Domme as well as the local flora and fauna near Bergerac. But if you’re not much into active water sports, parts of the river also host river cruises.

Verdon Gorge

Gorde du Verdon

The Gorges du Verdon are an ideal place for wild swimming. The Canyon is approximately 25 kilometers long and up to 700 meters deep. You can hire a canoe and paddle along the Verdon to find a secluded beach or cove just for you. Its turquoise blue waters are truly amazing.

Tarn

The Tarn is a 380.2 kilometer long river in the Occitanie region of southern France, near Toulouse. The river has created an array of magnificent canyons with towering bridges, rolling hills and Gothic architecture. Take a paddle board on the calm river and enjoy the view. You can also spread out your beach towel at the foot of Sainte-Enimie or Saint-Chély-du-Tarn and indulge in a quiet swim by the river.

Castle of Arpentis

This French chateau has an expansive swimming pool for those looking to get away from their royal duties. The Château des Arpentis is built in the village of Saint-Regle, former stronghold of the Château d’Amboise. It is surrounded by a 17th century moat and is erected at the foot of a hill, not far from the Lamasse stream. This is the perfect place for a giant pool party with all your friends and family.

Dune of Pilat

dunes of pilat

The highest sand dune in Europe is nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and a huge pine forest on the Bassin d’Arcachon. While the Dune is already a huge attraction in itself, the ocean that washes up on its shores has perfectly refreshing waves. Find a warm spot on the sand and watch paragliders take off from the dunes.

Sautadet waterfalls

Sautadet waterfalls

The Cascades du Sautadet are a series of spectacular waterfalls formed by the Cèze river in which you can bathe near Avignon in the south of France. It’s a great stopover for a day trip, away from the hot and busy cities. The expanse offers no shade from the sunlight, so bring plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Creeks

creeks

The Massif des Calanques is wild and rugged terrain in a national park that stretches from Marseille to Cassis. There are around 26 calanques, or coves, of varying sizes that visitors can access by land and/or sea. These are usually best explored via a boat trip which will make several stops for those who want to snorkel. Some of the creeks are also best accessed by kayak.

Hossegor

swimming hossegor

Are you looking to feel like in Los Angeles rather than in France? Meet in Soorts-Hossegor, a commune in the Landes department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France, 20 km north of Biarritz. It is a well-known beach resort that is renowned for its surfing with excellent waves and laid back surf vibes on the beach.

The beaches of the Côte d’Azur

We can’t pick any favorites when it comes to beaches on the French Riviera. Among the most famous are: Espiguette beach in Montpellier; Paloma Beach in St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat; Grande Plage in Biarritz; Porticcio beach in Ajaccio; Pampelonne beach in St-Tropez, and the entire beach of the Island of Porquerolles in Hyères.

Hotel Les Roches Rouges

There’s not much that can beat a glamorous pool perched on the Mediterranean in the south of France. Hotel Les Roches Rouges is elegant accommodation reminiscent of the heyday of the French Riviera with its chic poolside setting. You might even think Brigitte Bardot will drop by anytime.

Devil’s Bridge

The Devil’s Bridge, as translated, is located on the Hérault River. It’s a real favorite for swimmers and it will get crowded in the summer. You can swim just below the arched bridge, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and open sky. In high season, there is also a supervised beach on the banks. Swimming in other parts of the Hérault gorges is however not supervised and presents risks. Keep in mind that jumping or diving from the deck is strictly prohibited and extremely dangerous.

The Clue d’Aiglun

Located in Provence, in the south of France, the Clue d’Aiglun is an impressive canyon in the heart of a karstic massif. While many people choose to slide down to swim in the mini lake, many also come here to jump off the cliffs from a height of three to seven meters. It’s also a fun place to canoe with experts like Color Canyons guides.

Palombaggia Beach

To choose the best places to swim, we cannot forget Corsica and its absolutely perfect beaches. This beach in Porto-Vecchio looks heavenly with its transparent blue waters, white sand beaches and magnificent rocks. There is not much to say, it is in itself the only reason to visit Corsica.

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