You want to know a secret of how to actually relax and enjoy the Côte d’Azur without the holiday crowds, tourist-trap beaches, St Tropez bling or Cannes-we-find-somewhere-where-there’s-more-French-than-Brits-please? Come closer and I shall whisper in your ear a small word: Agay.
The small but perfectly formed Bay of Agay, sometimes referred to as the ruby of the Côte d’Azur, lies 40 km east of Fréjus/St Raphael on the littoral D559. Its little town sits centrally on the main sand crescent of this near circular bite of a bay, with turquoise shallows and viridian pines complementing the gold red volcanic rock of the last range of the Massif d’Esterel forming a glorious backdrop. To the bay’s extremities are to be found pretty, cove like beaches such as the Plage de la Baumette on the east curve or the Plage Camp Long tucked away on the far west corner.
The modest centre ville comprises a promenade of shops, cafes and eateries and there’s a small market by the post office on Wednesdays. For those camping, the Vallée du Paradis site is not quite Paradise itself but its quiet location at the back of the town, bordering the calm river Agay, is conducive to chilling out in the evenings with a glass of rosé, contemplating the deepening shadows on the Rastel d’Agay – a rock of a hill cutting a jagged silhouette against the Mediterranean dusk sky.
Because of the bay being protected by the Esterel hills, its position on this part of the coast provides a year round temperate climate, so - and this is the best tip of all – you can enjoy all its attributes before the season kicks in, under the glow of a warm June sun… with not a lot of people in sight. Well, only those who know about the place. And they’re French. And they’re not that bothered telling us about this pleasant little resort smuggled away from the fleshpots of the Riviera. Keep it to yourself.
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