The beautiful seaside town dubbed ‘St Tropez without obnoxious exclusivity’

This French seaside town is like St Tropez but “without the obnoxious sense of exclusivity”, making it ideal for family getaways. Cavalaire-sur-Mer sits in the Provence region, southeast of its more snobby equivalent, built around a beautiful 3-kilometre sandy beach.

It was once a fishing village but now consists of apartments and modern streets with most of the town being built after World War 2. 

Unlike St Tropez, renowned for its exclusive beach clubs,  Cavalaire has a friendly atmosphere. There are lots of families visiting the town and its palm trees, pines and light make up for its lack of quaintness.

Destination expert Anthony Peregrine writes in the Telegraph: “The resort shares the same sun, sea and insouciance as St Tropez, 12 miles yonder, but without the obnoxious sense of exclusivity.” 

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It’s also rammed with things to do: jet skiing, snorkelling, parasailing, paragliding, scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing and so on. And of course, it also has a vast beach to explore. 

Among the adventures on offer is Tiki Dive, a long trip that takes you out to sea by a trawler for a minimum of half a day to let you explore the waters by scuba. The trawler even offers accommodation and food on board for those looking to immerse themselves in the experience.

On land, the heart of the town offers its own thrills. Adjacent to the town centre is the giant Port of Cavalaire. Its luxury marina welcomes 1200 boats, including luxury yachts in the marina.

The port also comes alive at night with restaurants, music and bars, making it a “great place to walk round in the evening,” said one reviewer.

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For those seeking something a little quieter, southwest of the town is Plage de Bonporteau. It’s a little more tricky to reach but offers something worth the trek: a golden, hidden away and well-kempt beach that’s great for swimming and snorkelling. 

Plage de Bonporteau also offers pleasant walks inside a nature reserve.

One reviewer on TripAdvisor writes: “There are many beaches in Cavalaire-sur-Mer, this one distinguishes itself because it is between two cliffs which gives it the feeling of a private beach.

“It is within walking distance of town with a 250 metre steep concrete downhill. The old folks of 70 take a rest when they come back up. The beach is accessible by bicycle as well. It has a public loo as well.”

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