Guest Post by Nicolas Le Berre
If you find yourself on the coast of France, it is well worth your while to take a luxurious boat ride to a charming French island. With golden beaches and authentically quaint French towns, these islands are the epitome of French leisure and are a perfect setting for bonding time with the whole family, or a romantic getaway with your partner.
Family Activities: hiking, water sports, sunbathing, dining, history, sightseeing.
Corsica, an island between France and Italy in the Mediterranean Sea, truly has something for everyone. This beautiful 8,680 square km island is rich with history and charm and is astoundingly diverse geographically.
From rolling beaches, sparkling bays, and coastal cities to jutting peaks, magnificent valleys, and dense forests with hilltop villages—this island truly has it all. Corsica is a perfect vacation destination for exploring singles, honeymooning couples, and families of all ages.
Relax on the beaches and sample the local specialties, or hike in the mountains and partake in the various water sports available on the island.
Corsica is a big enough island to boast four international airports, although the seaports make it easily accessible by boat.
The official language of Corsica is French, although it does have its own language—Corsican. Public transportation in Corsica is poor, and most tourists choose to rent a car when visiting this charming island.
Ile de Re
Family Activities: Sunbathing, biking, dining
This popular island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle is 30 km long and 5 km wide. In 1987, with the building of the 3 km bridge connecting the island to the mainland, the charming area became a popular vacation destination for people from major cities in France.
The real estate has sky-rocketed, making buying a home on this island nearly impossible for most. Rumor has it Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis considered buying a vacation home on Ile de Re.
Ile de Re is surrounded by perfect sandy beaches, making it a popular tourist destination for families with children of all ages. Flat as a pancake, it boasts 62 miles of well-marked biking paths that run through salt marshes, pine forests, dunes, and planted fields. The Island is spotted by charming villages and excellent food, making it a must-see for tourists.
Ile de Groix
Family Activities: sunbathing, strolling on sandy beaches, authentic French cuisine
With only eight square miles, Ile de Groix is surprisingly not bursting with tourists. Until 2003, natives outnumbered tourists, making the island atmosphere generally low-key and down-to-earth. The snail farm, one of the few attractions on this island, presents a tour every evening of the cultivation process, followed by a menu featuring various dishes of escargots, true French cuisine.
Family Activities: sightseeing, beautiful beaches
Found 14 km from the Quiberon peninsula, the name of this island literally translates to ‘beautiful island in the sea.’
Lined with rugged cliffs and rock stacks on the west coast, beautiful pastel ports on the eastern side, placid beaches on the northeast side, and rolling countryside throughout, it is no wonder that this island has served as an inspiration to many famous artists for years.
The island’s sheer beauty and quaintness separate it from the other French islands because of its unique combination of urban liveliness and rural calm. The dramatic beach of Plage de Donnant is a deep horseshoe of sand surrounded by exquisite rock formations.
The small and beautiful harbor of Sauzon at the northern tip of Belle-Ile is a picturesque and sophisticated example of the intellectual bourgeoisie atmosphere. Whether you want to whisk your partner away, or bring your kids to a picturesque beach, this island is worth visiting.
Family Activities: hiking, biking, sightseeing, beaches
Porquerolles is the largest of the four Mediterranean islands of Iles d’Hyeres. The other three islands are Port-Cros, Ile du Bageud, and Ile du Levant.
Porquerolles is 7km long and 3 km wide and offers steep cliffs and secluded creeks on the southern side, and sandy beaches on the northern side. In the middle of the island, you will find a botanical conservatory with unique species of plants.
The island is protected by a nature reserve and stays quiet throughout the year. Families can enjoy hiking and biking together on this small island.
Family Activities: nature, history
Also located just off Cannes, this island is covered in pine and eucalyptus forest and surrounded by beautiful coves and beaches with crystal clear water. On the island, you will find just 20 houses and a museum and fort where you can learn all about the island’s Roman and Crusader history.
This is an exciting way to bring history alive for the whole family!
Family Activities: sightseeing
Ile-de-Brehat, an island and commune a mile off the coast of Brittany, is famous for its pink granite rocks. The main tourist attractions of this island include the Paon & Rosedo lighthouses, the St-Michel chapel, and the Guerzido beach among many others.
Ile-de-Brehat is pedestrian-only, and you’ll find palm trees, fig trees, camellias, and hydrangeas populate the whole island.
Certainly, all types of vacationers will find themselves entranced by the quaint charm, the overwhelming beauty, and rich history that these islands have to offer. A slow boat ride over to a leisurely town is exactly what you and your family need to complete your trip to France.
Author Bio: Nicolas Le Berre is a writer for Alternative Sailing, an international online peer to peer boat rental company.