After visiting Carcassonne, our next stop was the beach. Our host at our airbnb emailed us a ton of great information on the area before we came down and one thing it mentioned was all the closest beaches.
After looking at what he sent me and then doing a bit of research online, we decided on Leucate in Narbonne. It was supposed to be a little less windy and have a beach town feel to it. It also had plenty of soft sand (as opposed to pebbles like what many of the beaches have). One warning: around the corner from this beach was a nudist beach (we never ventured that far so it wasn’t an issue for us). Also, just an FYI – all beaches in France (as far as I know) allow women to go topless. It wasn’t too big of a deal since we knew what to expect, but I could imagine that being a bit of a surprise for those who live outside of France.
Leucate was a wonderful beach. The water was crystal clear and the sand was perfect for building sand castles. We got there pretty early and the kids loved playing in the sand and in the calm ocean. After living in Southern California and the North Shore of Hawaii, I was pleasantly surprised at the lack of waves (at least for our two little girls)!
It really did have a bit of a beach town feel to it. I also loved the hills behind us and the lack of big resorts/hotels. It seemed a bit more off the beaten track and wasn’t terribly crowded. It was really nice.
Oh, also there’s a beach club for kids ages 4 and up where they can take swimming lessons, jump on trampolines, and play with other children. Our kids were too young, but it looked interesting.
We packed a lunch, but there were a few places on the beach to buy meals or snacks. There was also a little playground for the kids to play on.
My only big piece of advice would be to check the weather beforehand. It can get really windy and it definitely hurts a bit with all the sand blowing around. Our morning was perfect, but by the afternoon, it got a little uncomfortable with all the wind that started up.
It was still a great day overall though and the perfect beach for families!
The second beach we visited on the Mediterranean was in the Provence area. This was later in our trip, once we were staying at our second Airbnb in Avignon.
We decided on Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer after hearing great things about from friends and people in the area and also because it’s part of the Camargue, which is a natural reserve and is home to flamingos and other birds along with horses and bulls. We thought we might try and see some animals while in the area.
The beach is close to where the Rhone delta empties into the ocean. The wetlands were literally just behind where we parked. This was cool for when we went on a nature walk later, but it did make the ocean water a little cloudy (it was still beautiful though, just not as clear as the last beach!).
This was another perfect beach for families. The sand was super soft and the water was very calm. Our girls loved sitting right where the water met the sand and splashing around. There were also a ton of seashells that we had fun collecting as well. Also, there was no wind! 🙂
While the town had some restaurants, the beach itself did not have any sort of restaurant or snack bar. We had packed a lunch again so it wasn’t an issue for us, but something to keep in mind.
After spending the morning and afternoon at the beach, we decided to check out the wetlands before heading home. There was a little path just behind where we parked, so we got the girls dressed and headed over to see if we could find some flamingos.
We were only walking for maybe 10 minutes when we spotted a handful of flamingos! We continued to walk down to the delta to get as close as we could and snap a
hundred few photos. 😉
I know there are flamingos in the United States in Florida, but this was our first time seeing wild flamingos and it was so cool! It really made such a fantastic end to our day.
We also saw people exploring the Camargue by horseback which looked awesome. We only spent about an hour total in the Camargue, but it seemed like an area that one could spend a whole day at.
Our second day at the beach was a success. We loved the area and would definitely recommend it to others.
We really enjoyed both Mediterranean beaches and especially appreciated how sandy and uncrowded they were. Both were perfect for our little family.