Do you long to travel to exotic destinations but don’t have the time or budget? Or perhaps you want to experience the European culture but aren’t ready to give up your exotic summer holiday? Luckily, France is home to some stunning locations, that are sure to make you feel more like you’re in the Caribbean than Europe. Check out these amazingly exotic destinations that we have discovered on our travels around France
Maubuisson and Lac d’Hourtin-Carcans
Lac d’Hourtin-Carcans is the largest freshwater lake in France and despite having miles of uninhabited waterfront, there are various different beaches, swimming spots and ‘resorts’ to hunt out; you won’t be hard pushed to find your own tropical paradise.
We discovered the resort of Maubuisson, on the lake’s south-western tip, quite by accident one year (lost whilst on the way to somewhere else) and loved it so much that we ended up returning for our family holiday the following two years.
With white sands, shallow clear water, pine trees and water sports, you wouldn’t be blamed for mistaking it for a Caribbean island! And with a small selection of cafes, bars, ice-cream parlours, fun fair rides and seaside type shops, it has a real holiday vibe about it.
Also venture to the north-west of the lake (either by car or hire boat) to Piqueyrot, a tiny spit where you will find more tropical scenes, a cafe, restaurant and water sports.
Lac de Sainte-Croix
Lac de Sainte-Croix is actually a man made lake in the Verdon area of France which was created when the Verdon river was dammed in the early 1970’s by Électricité De France. The result is this vast, beautifully turquoise lake with pretty villages and secluded beaches dotted along it’s shores.
For clear waters, water sports, cafes and restaurants, head to Baudeun, a village to the South-East of the lake. Hire a boat for the day and explore the lakes hidden gems.
For an unexpected taste of the jungle, take a walk from the tiny village of Sillans-la-Cascade and find this beautiful waterfall and its magnificent pools.
The walk starts on a flat, designated path but develops into a bit of an adventure if you want to make it down to the pools. But it is totally worth it, it really is like being transported from the French countryside to a tropical rainforest!
Pine trees, sand dunes and vast golden sandy beaches will greet you at Cap Ferret, which you will find just to the west of Bordeaux.
This beautifully sandy peninsula is a fairly exclusive French holiday destination yet it is wonderfully underdeveloped. With laid back restaurants (check out Chez Fred on the drive in), fishing boats, oyster baskets and the warm waters of the Bay of Archachon on one side, you will feel a million miles away.
The whitewashed and pastel buildings, terracotta roofs and the old port make St-Tropez reminiscent of Greece or Granada.
If you have the budget, and want to enjoy the clear waters and sandy beaches, you can spend the day at one of the private beaches. But there are a few small beaches around the old town which are well worth a visit and on a beautifully sunny day, you could feel transported much further afield.
Porquerolles is a small island in the south of France, between Marseille and Cannes, accessible via ferry. We spent a wonderful week on the island, and found the most amazing beaches . As well as being off the scale beautiful, they were also wonderfully exotic!
Have you visited any exotic places in France? I’d love to hear about them. And I will be sure to report back any further destinations that we come across.