Top 3 cool destinations on the sea
L'Estagnol, The best beach
The best beach of fine sand and shade that you get from the pine trees is the Beach de l'Estagnol, near Bormes Les Mimosas, further west than St Tropez towards Hyeres. It is just minutes from Fort Bregancon and you can understand why French Presidents like Chirac and now Macron like to come to this part of the coast in the summer !
Since 2017 you can now go for a day trip on a boat for a very reasonable rate of beween 20 to 50 Eur per person for a day thanks to the new web platform called www.cobaturage.fr
Once you register for free, you can reserve a trip on one of 30 boats available on the site for the Cote D'Azur. To stay cool, make sure you select a boat that has a good cover from the sun !
Kyanos, the classic boat in Ste Maxime
This classic boat can take parties of 8 people and make you discover some of the best spots to cool off for a swim from the boat around the bay of St Tropez. The young 84 year old skipper* of Kyanos has a few stories to tell, as you will discover in the July issue of Motor Boat and Yachting magazine, including how at eight years old he drove motor boat launches for the Royal Navy in the Caribean !
Top 3 cool destinations inland
Saint Cassien Lake near Les Adrets and Fayence
Just half an hour inland from Cannes, and a few minutes from the Les Adrets motorway exit is Lake Saint Cassien. There are several nice beaches like plage de l'Americain with its pedalos and restaurant, where you can cool off for a swim in the lake, but arrive early to get a good parking spot near the beach. www.visitvar.fr/noesit/!/fiche/le-lac-de-st-cassien-619526/
Lac Sainte Croix near the Gorges de Verdon
Higher up, within an hour from the Var coast you can reach the Lake St Croix and its less crowded beaches, in a wonderfull setting at the end of the Gorges of the Verdon which is the deepest valley in Europe. Here you can also hire sailing boats and pedalos and swim in the cooler waters of the lake fed from Alpine valleys. www.visitvar.fr/en/have-fun/in-the-water/rivers-and-lakes/
Puget Thenier for closest walks at higher altitudes
At mid altitude (400-1400m), easier than the Southern Alps and closer than the Mercantour, Puget Thenier has 17 different footpath trails. Choose one that runs along a mountain stream, to cool off from an energetic walk - www.visorando.com/randonnee-puget-theniers.html
The cool urban destination - Cap 3000
Just next to Nice airport, for the less adventurous you can always spend a day in a pleasant fully airconditioned shopping center. Cap 3000, the first large shopping centre of the French Riviera has been revamped and extended recently and has over 150 shops, from Gallerie Lafayette to Apple store. The full list of shops and restaurants are here.