Cavalaire-sur-Mer, France: Côte d'Azur without the attitude
Lovely stretch of coast free of typical snobbery - all are welcome!
Cavalaire-sur-Mer in France is a lovely tourist destination that is not that well known but is still beautiful regardless. In fact, it has many of the same attractions and appeal of the far more famous Cote d'Azur - without the crowds and attitude. "Cavalaire is quite close to, and quite different from, St Tropez," one fan says. "Normal people are made to feel welcome, rather than damned lucky to be allowed in."
While sharing the same sun, sea and insouciance, there is no air of billionaire exclusivity. Normal people are made to feel welcome. Cavalaire brandishes its "Famille Plus" label liberally.
Located at the end of the Corniche des Maures, Cavalaire is quite close to, and quite different from, St Tropez. While sharing the same sun, sea and insouciance, there is no air of billionaire exclusivity. Normal people are made to feel welcome. Cavalaire brandishes its "Famille Plus" label liberally.
Cavalaire is missing the "quaintness" associated with villages with older buildings and character. Once a fishing village, Cavalaire, with its population of 7,000 is now mostly a creation of apartments and modern-ish streets. Palms, pines and sea here more than make it up for it -- and "quaint" is, anyway, a sign of age. Youngsters who visit here crave activity - and Cavalaire has it.
When visiting Cavalaire, use the main beach, a seductive three-mile stretch of sand, safety and summer promise. The wild Cap Lardier headland rises in the distance, the Îles d'Or shimmer offshore. A free shuttle bus runs from town along the seaside. There are beach bars and volleyball, a library and as much bronzing and bathing as anyone can handle.
Cavalaire offers just about every maritime activity known to man. You can canoe, kayak and snorkel, sail and windsurf Jet Ski, go deep-sea fishing or on catamaran outings, and dive.
Diving is a Cavalaire specialty. "There are 10 good wrecks near to hand," a local says. At any event, diving outfits around the port will take on all-comers, including novices, as long as they're aged over eight years old.
There is, of course, a requirement of creeks on the Côte d'Azur. What with mountains dropping direct to the sea, creeks are expected. Cavalaire has them. Just out of town, Bonporteau beach is as "creeky" as you like - small but perfectly encircled by rocks and vegetation, and unknown to most visitors. Le Dattier beach is similar, but a little farther along. The more adventurous might like to go the other way, right to the end of the main beach and around the corner to Gigaro beach, itself an enticing item.
Amid all the tourist activity, the area has its heroic side as well . Cavalaire beach was used during the Allied landings in Provence on August 15, 1944
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