Best Beach: Saint-Raphael's Plage de la Pescade

French Riviera Best Beach near Saint-Raphael

The Western French Riviera offers many hidden sweet little beaches, in addition to famous ones such as Pampelonne beach behind Saint-Tropez or even La Nartelle by Sainte-Maxime or Saint-Raphael's Plage du Veillat.

You'll find many of them along the coastline between Saint-Raphael and Agay. 

One of my personal favorite is Plage de la Pescade. I'm not the only one to think so, so this isn't an entirely secret beach. 

French Riviera Best Beach near Saint-Raphael

Why is this an AzurAlive Best Beach?

First, it's environment is simply gorgeous. The rocky shores that surround this sandy beach are an auburn red color that comes to life and glow in the evening under the setting sun. The sea gently laps ahead, and purrs in the distance along the rocky sides of the beach.

It's relatively sheltered, depending on where the wind blows.

French Riviera Best Beach near Saint-Raphael, Plage de la Pescade

It's family-friendly and children often get to make friends with other beach explorers lucky enough to have found this place. You'll find all generations on this beach, from great-grand parents to the little ones.

Note the La Pescade is not overseen by lifeguards even during the summer months. If you are keen on the watchfull eyes of lifeguards, consider La Peguiere or the Veillat beach in Saint-Raphael. 

You'll find no snack bar or restaurant on the beach here, and no transat rental. This is the raw deal, the wildish beach, a non-commercial just the sea kind of a place. You will find a small "Spar Casino" grocery shop across the street towards Boulouris.

Water Shoes for the French Riviera

If you enjoy swimming out around the rocky side of the beach, I recommend you bring a pair of water shoes. These are essential for children who enjoy roaming around. They're very useful for adults too if are like me and enjoy exploring the areas such as La Pescade that are untamed and do include the region's pebbles and rocks and not just sand.

Water shoes are available at the Spar Casino close-by if you need them.

La Pescade does have one little fresh water shower so you can clean the sand off your toes before leaving. There's also a portable toilet (in a  Mediterranean light blue colour to blend with the elements).

AzurAlive: Plage de la Pescade

Where is the beach La Pescade?

You'll find it in Boulouris, just east of Saint-Raphael on the Western side of the French Riviera. 


Best beach: Plage de la Tortue turns to Metal

French Riviera Best Beach: Plage de la Tortue, Saint-Raphael under grey metallic skies

Weather was briefly overcast and heavy with imminent rain this morning, giving a shiny grey luster to sea and sky. Even our beloved Plage de la Tortue beach around Saint-Raphael was shining like polished metal under these cloudy skies.

Rain poured in a very narrow section of town early in the afternoon, giving way to clearer skies once again. Typical tropical storm of the Western French Riviera!

Plage de la Tortue in Boulouris, between Saint-Raphael and Agay on the Western French Riviera is one of our favorite beaches on the Western French Riviera. Check out our article on this fantastic little beach of fine white sand. And access information on all of our favorite beaches under "Best Beaches" in the category cloud in the right-side column.

French Riviera Best Beach: Plage de la Tortue, Saint-Raphael under grey metallic skies


Beach Bumming at Palladio

Palladio Best French Riviera Beach

The Palladio beach club is a simple, fast, friendly and non-pompous beach restaurant in Boulouris, on the Western French Riviera close to Saint-Raphael.

What makes it a best beach?

The beach is rarely crowded. You can actually spread your stuff all over the place, and it won't bother anyone.

The restaurant's atmosphere. This is a relaxed (for the customers that is, waiters go 100 miles per hour), friendly beach restaurant.

Food is very decent. The venerable cheese-burger is on the menu, with its generous helping of chips/fries and its little green salad. But Palladio also offers a half-dozen composite salads, ranging from the exotic thai salad with chicken to the carpaccio.

It's reasonable in price. A "plat du jour" costs between 12 euros for grilled sardines, to 14 for a generous salad or 20 for fish. A children's menu 8 euros. 

Palladio, Boulouris

And the beach?

The beach is of golden rough sand, not the fine white powdered stuff next door, but perfectly fine.

The restaurant rents plush lounge chairs with their parasols, for 5 euros an hour, 12 euros for a 1/2 day and 16 euros for a full day from 9AM to 6PM.

You can swim in the shallow waters which are sheltered by a reef formed by an ancient lava flow, which makes it a good choice for families. You will need to wear water shoes as rocks abound. Water is usually pristine. The only downside is when the wind blows onshore, small waves will break on the reef making the waters choppy, but that could be your thing.

The beach is not under the watch of a lifeguard. That's usually the case for smaller secretive beaches in this area. 

Palladio, Boulouris

Where is this beach?

Palladio is in the seaside resort town of Boulouris, between Saint-Raphael and Agay on the Western side of the French Riviera in the Var region of France. It is right next to Plage de la Tortue.

Reach it by train, stopping at the Gare de Boulouris  station.Reach it by bus from Saint-Raphael (AggloBus bus 5, not a very frequent line but convenient for access to lots of beaches) or of course by car (park by the seaside road if you're lucky or in the Boulouris "Parking de la Gare" open lot).

Any other beach you recommend on the French Riviera?

We have a long list of favorite beaches on the French Riviera. Consult the "Best Beach" category on the right and scroll through the list for a taste of what the region has to offer.

Adjacent to it is La Plage de la Tortue, another favorite beach, but with a different more upscale vibe. 

And if you're interested in hiking in the region between Saint-Raphael and Hyeres (short hikes from 2 hours to half-day), take a look at this unique hiking guide to the Western French Riviera: 

Hiking Guidebook to the Western French Riviera: 26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Cote D'Azur 

 


Best Beach: Boulouris' Plage de la Tortue

AzurAlive: Plage De La Tortue

The eastern side of the French Riviera is beautiful, vibrant, cultural, but the western side of the Cote d'Azur is where you'll find the best beaches...

Here's a beach we love, Plage de la Tortue. We've talked it about it before in an 2007 post, but we have to mention it again as a "Best Beach" on the Western French Riviera.

AzurAlive_PlageDeLaTortue1

What makes it a best beach?

Plage de la Tortue imports tons of fine soft white sand and the scenery is gorgeous: red rocks of the Esterel around, lush green of parasol and maritine pines, deep blue of the sea, lapping waves just beyond the tip of your toes and this powdery white soft sand. Pure pleasure for all senses.

The beach is rarely over-crowded, which is a real plus on the French Riviera in the middle of summer.

The white-sanded part of the beach is part of a private beach club. You can rent your plush lounge chair with parasol for a half-day or a full day. Current (2015 fees) = Morning 1/2 day costs 9 € from 9AM to 1PM, afternoon 1/2 day 14 € from 1PM to 7PM. Full day 19 € from 9AM to 7PM.

The restaurant next door serves decent food, especially good with seafood even if fish is inevitably the more pricy option on the menu. They often serve the day's fresh local catch with sea bream, sea bass and even swordfish on occasion. If you're looking for a simpler alternative, the restaurant serves lots of creative salads too.

Where is Plage de la Tortue?

Plage de la Tortue is in the seaside resort town of Boulouris, between Saint-Raphael and Agay on the Western side of the French Riviera in the Var region of France.

You can reach it by train, stopping at the Gare de Boulouris train station. You can reach it by bus from Saint-Raphael (AggloBus bus 5, not a very frequent line but convenient for access to lots of beaches) or of course by car (park in the Boulouris "Parking de la Gare" open lot)

 


Best Beach: Boulouris' Plage de la Tortue

AzurAlive: Plage De La Tortue

We've talked it about it before in an 2007 post, but we have to mention it again as a "Best Beach" on the Western French Riviera.

The eastern side of the French Riviera is beautiful, vibrant, cultural, but the western side of the Cote d'Azur is where you'll find the best beaches...

 

What makes it a best beach?

Plage de la Tortue imports tons of fine soft white sand and the scenery is gorgeous: red rocks of the Esterel around, lush green of parasol and maritine pines, deep blue of the sea, lapping waves ahaead and this powdery white soft sand. Pure pleasure for all senses.

The beach is rarely over-crowded, which is a real plus on the French Riviera in the middle of summer.

The white-sanded part of the beach is part of a private beach club. You can rent your plush lounge chair with parasol for a half-day or a full day. Current (2015 fees) = Morning 1/2 day costs 9 € from 9AM to 1PM, afternoon 1/2 day 14 € from 1PM to 7PM. Full day 19 € from 9AM to 7PM.

The restaurant next door serves decent food, especially good with seafood even if fish is inevitably the more pricy option on the menu. They often serve the day's fresh local catch with sea bream, sea bass and even swordfish on occasion. If you're looking for a simpler alternative, the restaurant serves lots of creative salads too.

Where is Plage de la Tortue?

Plage de la Tortue is in the seaside resort town of Boulouris, between Saint-Raphael and Agay on the Western side of the French Riviera in the Var region of France.

You can reach it by train, stopping at the Gare de Boulouris train station. You can reach it by bus from Saint-Raphael (AggloBus bus 5, not a very frequent line but convenient for access to lots of beaches) or of course by car (park in the Boulouris "Parking de la Gare" open lot)

 

 


Smart Fennel of the French Riviera

Smart Martitime Fennel on the French Riviera

Crithmum maritimum, also known as samphire, rock samphire, or sea fennel loves the rocky coastline between Saint-Raphael and Cannes, on the Western French Riviera. 

If you're ever on hike #4 of 26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Cote d'Azur, you'll see it in every little crevasse of the Esterel's emblematic red volcanic rocks.

They pick the tiniest of cracks on the best rock on the most picturesque bend in the path to grow and stare out to sea.

Smart pickle, that maritime fennel. 

The lovely Port-Cros National Park online pamphlet about plants tells us that it's forbidden to pick the plant here, but its leaves are edible. Some describe their taste as a cross between "celery and kerosene"... I find them bitter, and not anything like fennel, so I leave them alone to glow all over our seaside hiking paths.

Plants for A Future ranks them as "reasonably useful" medicinal plant as a diuretic and for digestive issues (consult a health pro before using). 

I find it an incredibly uplifting plant just to look at in its natural habitat.

Smart Martitime Fennel on the French Riviera


Thomson Dreams Big on the French Riviera

Thomson Dream in Saint-Raphael on the French Riviera
The amazing Thomson Dream cruise ship reached the bay of Saint-Raphael on the French Riviera this morning.

It anchored in the bay as part of its "Highlights Of The Mediterranean" itinerary with Ajaccio, Civitavecchia for Rome, Livorno for Florence and Pisa, Saint-Raphael for St Tropez and Cannes, Barcelona all included as ports of call. 

The Thomson Dream vessel includes 8 bars, 6 restaurants,  3 lounges, 2 whirlpools, 2 swimming pools, 1 Nightclub, 1 Casino and a partridge in a pear tree.

We did like Thomson's description of Saint-Raphael, pulled directly from their website:

"St Raphael is the girl next door of southern France. Compared to its flashy cousins down the coast, it’s more of a shy and retiring kind of place. The town sits on the edge of 36 kilometres of unspoilt coastline, and it’s overlooked by acres of natural forest and the terracotta-coloured peaks of the Esterel Mountain range..."

Welcome to all Thomson Dreamers, from the girl next door.

Thomson Dream is planning to visit Saint-Raphael again on August 13th this year. We're also expecting MS Queen Elizabeth on August 1st, and Zuiderdam on August 10th and 16th.

Very exciting visits for a shy and retiring girl!


Is Saint-Raphael Turning into a Foodies' Town?

Azuralive's Dinner at Elly's in Saint-Raphael

Continuing our week-long focus on Saint-Raphaël on the Western side of the French Riviera, we were pleasantly surprised to see more positive changes in this seaside resort-town.

As a local girl to Southern France, I have seen Saint-Raphaël improve over the years with the beautiful seaside Promenade with its palm trees, flowers and green grassy areas in front of the eastern beaches, with the renovated old port which extends this promenade in a classy way all the way to the edge of Frejus.

Saint-Raphael embellishes each year. Some say it is morphing into a little Cannes, yet unpretentious and without the paparazzi festival fuss.

What I had rarely seen in St Raphaël is a foodie scene. Well, times may be changing...

Last night, I was invited at Elly's Restaurant downtown Saint-Raphaël, close to the town's library and cultural center. It was delightful!

Only a handful of tables were busy, but that's not surprising on a Monday night. Service was attentive, quick and full of discrete smiles, all setting the stage for what was to come.

The 35 euro menu offered a choice of 2 different entrées, 2  main dish & 2 desserts. We tried them all!

Each dish was crafted between the crispy crunch of thin root vegetables and the juicy tuna tataki seared to perfection, or the chunky gambas with  Piment d'Espelette over a smooth cream of broccoli. A pleasure for all senses.

The swordfish main dish was locally fished. Elly described where it was caught in the area and by which fisherman (nice catch, Olivier!). This added to the experience. It was very tasty and complemented by the tangy taste of  confits vegetables tucked away in a little zucchini flower. 

Desserts were no let-down. I opted for the "Oh La La Chocolat" chocolate cake filled with raspberry coulis. Not heavy, just sweet and sinful.

Oh la la Chocolat at Elly's in Saint-Raphael

I could write about it for a few more pages, but it's best to try it for yourself.

Elly's isn't exactly new in town.  Chef Franck Chabod et Eléonore Marion opened the restaurant in 2011. It has since caught the attention and positive reviews of the Michelin book of fine restaurants, among others.

Rumors have reached me that St Raphael hosts a few more new little culinary treats like Elly's, besides the classics such as La Brasserie.

So yes, Saint-Raphaël may well be on its way to becoming a foodie's place.

I'll need to find new special occasions to investigate and get back to you...

Elly's,  54 Rue de la Liberté, 83700 Saint-Raphaël, France. http://www.elly-s.com/


Fires in the Var

Canadair

 

Photo - twitter screen capture.

The fire-fighting Canadair planes may be impressive to watch as they swooped into the Saint-Raphael and Frejus bay yesterday to scoop up water from the sea, but they unfortunately indicate the presence of fires in the local area.

A few fires broke out in the Var department yesterday. One of them began in Saint-Aygulf by the Villepey lagoon around lunch time and forced the temporary closure of the seaside road that links Frejus to St Aygulf. The fire was quickly under control and the road re-opened.

Another more serious fire started on the RD4 road between Frejus and Bagnols-en-Foret. This one burned from 2PM until around 6PM ravaging around 20 hectares of dry land. Despite very strong winds and dried vegetation, over 200 firefighters soon had the fire under control. It caused no human physical harm, but destroyed a number of mobil-homes in both Pin de la Legue and at Holiday Green.

Over 5000 holiday-makers were evacuated at Pin de la Legue and 3000 at Holiday Green. Most have now returned. No one has been harmed, though clearly some were shocked at how quickly this all happened.

According to firefighters, the vast majority of fires are man-started (cigarette butt flicked carelessly, BBQ  when forbidden, etc ). The dry sunny terrain and winds quickly pick it up from there.

Take a look at our quick video of the Canadairs in action yesterday in the Saint-Raphael bay, French Riviera: