Les Paillotes - Top Class 'Private' beaches on the Mediterranean coast


The Mediterranean coast runs along the south of France for hundreds of miles – of which an impressive 110 miles (or 177km) is in Languedoc-Roussillon and includes some of the most beautiful beaches in France. Over 50 of these have been awarded the ‘Blue Flag’, given each year to the communes that are committed to an overall scheme of environmental management and sustainable tourism and which includes water quality, safety and cleanliness.

The 2016 list of Blue Flag beaches can be found here :

The beaches are invariably long, wide and sandy and with tides that are very small they are generally safe for swimming.


These days many people are looking for something more than just gritty sandwiches and a lobster complexion. For those who fancy a cool place to sit in a truly relaxed environment soaking up the atmosphere, where you can get drinks all day and restaurant quality food, then the ‘paillote’ is your answer.

These open from May to September, offering sunbeds, parasols and either a bar or a restaurant or both. Invariably you can hire a sun lounger and parasol for the half or full day and some will also hire equipment such as ball games, surf boards and snorkels. Watersports on offer include windsurfing, jet-skiing, water-skiing, diving, sea-kayaking and paragliding.

Some even offer security code boxes attached to the parasol where you can leave your valuables while you go swimming and even charge your mobile thanks to solar panel technology.

Those with restaurants are normally open 12h00-14h00 and then 19h00-24h00. Some have established a reputation for excellent food, others will offer fresh seasonal and tasty menus, light meals and bar snacks .The evenings see some of them prepare for music and dancing into the small hours.

For a full list of these and a location map see here :