Try our corporate solution for free!

Coastal tourism in France - statistics & facts

Although the coastline represents only four percent of the French metropolitan area, it is nonetheless a key space for the tourism industry in France. Indeed, with its 5,500 kilometers of coastline and beaches on three different seaboards, metropolitan France alone has enough to attract many tourists.

Leisure activities

Numerous monuments, cultural and recreational sites located all along the French coastline welcome a part of the annual tourist flow each year, thus contributing to France's international and national tourist reputation. Coastal tourism is also favored by water sports enthusiasts. Surfing, sailing, scuba diving, or simply swimming – the various French seafronts have a significant potential for attracting tourists, particularly during the summer period. When it comes to the practice of surfing itself, new forms have emerged in recent years, such as stand-up paddle, longboard, or bodyboard. Nevertheless, classic surfing was still the most practiced water sport by the surfing community in France in 2020, especially on the Atlantic coast.

Port infrastructure on all waterfronts

Recreational boating is a well-liked activity in France, which implies efficient reception facilities in the various French ports and marinas. While the Brittany coast had the most ports in 2018, the east side of the Mediterranean Sea accounted for the most berths in the same year. In fact, these are the two most popular maritime areas for private boating. The French coasts are also an unavoidable stopover for cruise ships and welcome a large number of cruise passengers every year, especially in the ports of the Mediterranean waterfront.

Finding the balance between tourism and environmental issues

Despite the pressure that intense tourist activity generates on the marine environment, particularly through the artificialization of spaces, environmental quality remains an essential factor in the attractiveness of the coastal territory, especially since it contributes greatly to employment in French coastal regions. Offering qualitative beaches and bathing areas with excellent water quality, without damaging the environment, is now a major challenge. Over the years, the French have become more sensitive to the overexploitation of maritime spaces by tourist businesses in France. On the other hand, the economic slowdown experienced by the tourism industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have potentially reduced the pressure on marine areas for a while. Indeed, overnight stays in coastal areas have dropped significantly, starting with occupancy in hotels located directly on the seafront.


Get in touch with us. We are happy to help.
Statista Locations
Contact Vianny Gutierrez-Cruz
Vianny Gutierrez-Cruz
Sales Manager– Contact (United States)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)

Contact Ziyan Zhang
Ziyan Zhang
Customer Relations– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 11:30am - 10pm (IST)

Contact Kisara Mizuno
Kisara Mizuno
Customer Success Manager– Contact (Asia)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5:30pm (JST)

Contact Lodovica Biagi
Lodovica Biagi
Director of Operations– Contact (Europe)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5pm (GMT)

Contact Carolina Dulin
Carolina Dulin
Associate Director - LAC– Contact (Latin America)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)