I'll be in France at the beginning of August for 5-6 days, on the way to Barcelona from Amsterdam. I'm looking for a cheaper city with nice beaches and interesting places to see (science/maritime history, art, good photo ops). Most importantly, I'd like to visit a place that's relatively free of tourists in August. I know that's a long shot, but if anyone can give me a hint as to whether it's better to go to the north or south of the country for sandy and people-free beaches, or can suggest a particular city on the Mediterranean, that would sure help to narrow things down!
Pontorson is a quaint lttile town with good B7Bs. From there you can get a bus to Mont St Michel - mind blowing! Also there is a bus to Arromanches and Omaha Beach, where one of the D day landings occurred. There is a good museum there and a huge, unspoiled beach which still has the concrete artificial floting harbours. I think they were called blackberries (?) about 10 years ago
About two hours north of Barcelona are a few villages in the south of france that are well known for their beauty, history, art museums and also have some great diving and snorkelling routes underwater as there is a huge marine reserve there. we have a cottage in collioure but this is now quite expensive so i would suggest you stay in camping (they are hi quality) in Argeles or in cheaper accommodation there or alternatively stay further south in Banyuls which is where the underwater snorkelling route is located - plus a great marine aquarium. if you visit our webiste at www.collioure.com.au you will find loads of ideas for days trips in the area that will cover all your needs. we snorkel just with a face mask in any of the villages and you see heaps of marine life. hope this helps - i promise you this area of the Med is sensational.
all the best
L about 10 years ago