Did you know that France has a good number of islands? When you think of this European country, you mostly focus on its iconic capital, Paris, the charming countryside towns, or the paradisical French Riviera
. Very rarely do the islands like Corsica, Mont Saint-Michel, Île Sainte-Marguerite, and Iles Lavezzi get mentioned, right? That is, until now! It's high time more people discover the most beautiful French islands out there. They're the perfect destinations to escape to when you just want to get away from it all. And when you reach any or all of them, you're sure to have a memorable time!
Let's start this list with what is perhaps the most famous island in France, Corsica. Known as the go-to vacation spot for the French, this Mediterranean paradise almost feels unreal. Charming towns
, white sandy shorelines, crystal clear waters, and lots of sunshine. Doesn't that sound like the perfect place for a summer getaway? Many would agree! As a result, lots of people head to Corsica in summer
. It's that popular! With so much to see and do on this island, you won't ever get bored if you spend the entire season here.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Right off the coast of Corsica, there's Iles Lavezzi, an archipelago of about four or five islands. They include Cavallo, Piana, Porraggia & Sperduto, and Ratino. Each more paradisical than the next, they're the perfect spots to retreat to when you just want to daily your daily life. Or when you want to spend most of your days at the beach! Though France boasts tons of great coasts and shorelines, the Lavezzi archipelago is arguably the best when it comes to enjoying beach days. Why? Because they mostly have shallow waters here. And they're even clear too! What more could you ask for?
Source: Flickr.com/ Jean-Baptiste Bellet
Iles de Lérins
Another French archipelago worth checking out is Iles de Lérins, which is near Cannes. Though the city itself, a staple among vacationers who go to the French Riviera, is world-famous, barely anyone knows about these islands in France. They're definitely among the more underrated spots in Cannes
. And weirdly enough, of the four islands that make up Iles de Lérins, the two that are more well-known are uninhabited. One of them is Île de Saint-Honorat, known for the Lérins Monastery, an abbey & winery run by local monks. It's definitely a must-see if you're into grand architecture.
Source: Flickr.com/ Photos.dan2010
One of the Lérins islands, Île Sainte-Marguerite, deserves a special mention. Why? Because it's a fairly famous destination for fans of classic French novels
. Île Sainte-Marguerite is where the infamous “Man in the Iron Mask,” an unidentified prisoner during the reign of King Louis XIV. To this day, no one knows of the prisoner's true identity. Some have speculated he may have been related to royalty, while others thought that he might have been just a simple valet who did his master wrong. Over time, he became the stuff of legends. He most famously became the main subject of Alexandre Dumas's 1850 novel, “The Man in the Iron Mask.”
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Kazimierz Mendlik
Located in the south of Provence, Iles d’Hyères is another worthwhile archipelago in the French Riviera. Translated into English as the “Golden Islands,” these are largely untouched islets worth exploring. Especially if you're into marine biodiversity. Beyond the usual stunning coasts and beautiful beaches, Iles d’Hyères is known for its underwater ecosystems. You can discover all sorts of fascinating lifeforms in the area, which is why snorkeling is the most popular activity to do in the archipelago. But if you simply just want to relax, these islands provide the perfect spots for a nice retreat.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ X-Javier
Ile-de-Ré stands out among all the islands in France in more ways than one. Firstly, there's the location of the island. While most of the destinations on this list are in the Mediterranean and the French Riviera, Ile-de-Ré is actually in the Atlantic Ocean. Secondly, the island has a considerable population as well. It's nowhere near as busy as Paris or even close to the likes of Cannes and Saint Tropez, but the charming towns here are as lively as ever. In a way, it's sort of like a slice of the French countryside
than a typical coastal paradise.
Source: Wikimedia Commons/ Pline
And finally, there's Mont Saint-Michel, the iconic tidal island in Normandy, France. Yes, despite what you think, this place is still considered an island. Though it's far from the largely underdeveloped paradises in the French Riviera, this is still worth checking out. Even from a mile away, you already know what to expect here! With its Medieval infrastructure and glorious architecture, the entire island looks straight out of a storybook. It has even inspired many Disney films
with their fairytale settings. If you're into the old-world and otherworldly side of France, don't miss Mont Saint-Michel!
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Where are the best places to escape the rest of the world? The most enchanting islands in France! They're remote paradises that offer old-world charms and the scenic beauty of the Mediterranean.