Nice beaches start right at Nice airport and continue for several miles along the waterfront until the Old Port. You will notice right away that the beaches here are not composed of soft white sand as in other parts of the French Riviera, but are instead made up of round pebbles, or galets, as they are known in French. This hasn’t stopped thousands of tourists from crowding onto the pebbly beach stretches of Nice France, and at some of the more popular beaches you will see a sea of loungers and sun umbrellas reaching in either direction.
As with most of the tourist beaches in France, the best Nice France beaches have been claimed by private parties, who will charge you a fee to rent a sun lounger for the day. A sun umbrella and towel can also be rented, for an additional fee. You’ll also be obliged to buy food and drinks from the restaurant should you desire refreshment.
Located at the foot of the historic castle off the Promenade Anglais, the waterfront promenade, Castel Plage is probably the best-known of the private Nice beaches. It is trendy, crowded, and tends to be expensive as you cannot bring your own food and drink. The beach is pebbled, so you may wish to bring swimming shoes if you want to go in the water, and the ocean floor drops away steeply, so it’s not the ideal place for children to swim. Nevertheless, this popular beach offers a typical European beach experience, with food and drinks brought straight to your sun lounger and your tab tallied at the end of the day. If you don’t mind sunbathing with crowds, it may be worth it to spend a day here and partake of a tasty, though overpriced, lunch.
Plage Beau Rivage
Just a short walk from Castel Plage, the Beau Rivage beach is one of the nicest private Nice France beaches, associated with the Beau Rivage Hotel. Even if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can enjoy a day on the beach here for a fee, and a nice drink on the teak terrace overlooking the waterfront. There are lifeguards, and showers and bathrooms that you can use.
The posh Lido beach is located in the center of the stretch of beaches lining the Bay of Angels, and offers a variety of classy dishes at its waterfront restaurant and terrace. It also has the competitive advantage of having a sports center and a pontoon deck. Here you can partake in water sports such as parasailing, sea kayaking, canoeing and more.
Plage Publique de Beau Rivage
If you like the atmosphere of Beau Rivage but aren’t prepared to pay the price, just go a few steps over to the other side of the fence to the public beach of Beau Rivage, right next to the private concession. You can have a very pleasant time at the public beach, although be sure to bring some kind of padded beach mat, as the pebbles can get uncomfortable. Clean toilets and showers are available for less than a euro, making this a much more affordable option, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time at the beach.