Monday, 24 September 2018

Theoule Sur Mer - a Hidden Gem

When most people think of the Cote D’Azur they picture Cannes, St Tropez, Monaco, Antibes but few will mention Theoule-sur-Mer. However, this little village about 20 minutes west of Cannes is, in my opinion, one of the Riviera’s best – kept secrets!
Theoule Sur Mer
Theoule sur Mer is a beautiful little coastal village nestled at the foot of the Esterel hills with fantastic beaches, restaurants and views back across the clear Mediterranean waters to Cannes. It has everything you need for a day out - private beach restaurants with sunbeds, beautiful sandy public beaches with calm and shallow seas, options for hiking and discovering secluded coves and some great snorkelling opportunities including an underground trail.
Lunch on the beach at Marco Polo
The best and worst thing about Theoule is the parking. There isn’t an inexhaustible supply which means if you get there too late, you’re unlikely to get a spot. However, coupled with the fact that there isn’t a plethora of accommodation in the village it keeps the area from getting overly busy.
There are two pay and display parking areas right on the seafront and then there is free on-street parking on the main road coming into Theoule from the east and also going up the hill after the tourist information office.
An early summer morning on the first beach you get to in Theoule
TOP TIP: if you are staying in Cannes, why not take the navette / boat shuttle along the coast. See my previous blog with all the details. Summer Navette Along the Coast

Once parked you will find a selection of beaches to choose from. The first beach you come to opposite the main road is very easy to get to and usually has a pontoon out at sea which entertains my kids for hours on end. The sheltered sandy beach beside the marina (around to the left) is great for little ones with its calm shallow waters.
The beach beside the marina
TOP TIP: On Mondays in high season the tourist office offers a free breakfast on their concourse of pastries, juices and coffee from about 9am.

Sunloungers at the Marco Polo
If you want to find something a bit quieter though follow the coastal promenade to the right and there are more beaches down here (Pointe D’Aiguille), as well as a couple of good restaurants – le Cabane des Pecheurs and L’Aiguille. The further you get the fewer crowds there usually are but that said it isn’t empty on an August day.
An August afternoon on the Pointe D'Aiguille beach
Here you will also find one of Theoule’s unique offerings - an underwater snorkelling trail.  You need to bring your own masks, snorkels and flippers (though we did manage to rent the odd one at the neighbouring restaurant for an hour). Flippers are not obligatory but help for the latter part of the trail. You then pick up the free waterproof map from the tourist office, 1 Corniche d’Or, Théoule sur Mer, or the lifeguard station on the beach for a security deposit.  The map will guide you around 4 buoys / markers and gives you pictorials of what fish you can expect to see in each area.  This is a great family activity even for young kids as long as they are confident swimmers. 
Snorkelling mask and trail card
If you prefer your beaches a little more rugged venture a bit further around the Pointe and you will find a pebbly exposed beach. Here you will find a cave and probably people jumping off rocks. This practice has been banned so do be careful. To access this beach you need to follow the path from behind the lifeguard station and snack bar which leads you up into the woods. You then turn left and follow the path along until you get to a paved pathway that leads down to the cove. I love this rugged beach especially in the winter months when you have it all to yourself!
Pebbly beach at the foot of the Pointe D'Aiguille
Another way to access these beaches is from the carpark or roadside parking located at 55 Boulevard de la Corniche d'Or, Théoule-sur-Mer. From here you follow the path down through the woods. Be aware you’ve got the return leg back uphill at the end of your day on the beach!
Pointe D'Aiguille
If you’ve had your fill of the beach and associated water sports, then you can venture up into the hills nearby for a hike. There are some magnificent trails and treks around. Please visit randooxygene for ideas as well as this family friendly hike which is only a few minutes drive from the centre of Theoule. Easy Family Hike to Notre Dame De L'Afrique

Other than the beach and hiking Theoule is also a bit of a gastronomy centre and hosts two special month long events every year. Many of the restaurants in the village and surrounding area participate and offer a special set menu on two different themes. During the month of Februray it’s the Fete des Poissons and in October they celebrate autumn and mushrooms. The menus can be found in the leaflet which can be picked up in the tourist office or can also be found online here. Theoule Autumn Menus October 2018  It is highly recommended to book in advance.
Will you join the beach clean on 30th September 2018?
Last but not least Theoule-sur-Mer are also doing their bit for social responsibility and are hosting a beach clean at the Pointe D’Aiguille on Sunday 30th September 2018. Meet in the Point D’Aiguille carpark at 10am and give a little back to nature by helping out in this initiative.

Visiting the French Riviera and haven't booked your accommodation yet? Why not check out our wonderful centrally-located, self catering, townhouses and apartments sleeping from 2 - 11 people. All our properties are air-conditioned and are located on pedestrian streets within 5 minutes walk of the beach. We are a small family-run company so we are on hand for anything you may need before, during or after your stay!

Chic Gites - Accommodation Cannes

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