Pellegrin Beach, Wine & Olives
Down a dusty road, surrounded by olive orchards and grapevines that roll on for as far as the eye can see, you’ll find one of the South of France’s local treasures: Pellegrin beach . Not far from the summer residence of a generation of French presidents, the Fort de Bregançon , this coastal area is awash in natural beauty. Rocky coves give way to pine-studded forests and golden-sand beaches that carry day-trippers from one sparkling seaside port to the next.
The undisputed gem of this protected strip along the Mediterranean Sea is Pellegrin beach. Bringing together all of the elements that make this corner of the world so spectacular—fantastic scenery, unbeatable wines, and gourmet French dining—it’s become a favorite spot with locals and tourists alike.
Some of the top wineries in the region can be found just around the corner: Domaines Ott , Domaine de la Sanglière , and Domaine des Bormettes —all producers of some of Provence’s finest whites and crisp rosé wines. After a day at the beach, the options for wine-tasting are near endless, with many preferring to go with the folks who elevated the Pellegrin beach experience to an art form: Chateau Léoube winery .
Léoube (which is owned and operated by a British lord) owns the land surrounding Pellegrin and crafts its fine organic wines, and high-quality olive oils, a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean Sea. As their slogan, La vie en Rosé, suggests, life is pretty good in this corner of southern France.
Nestled in Cap Bénat , Château Léoube is the largest private estate in coastal Provence. On a hilltop crowned by a chapel, the estate stretches down to the sparkling sea with tumbling vistas of olive groves, vineyards, parasol pines and lavender. It’s a protected site overlooking the Iles d’Or islands, with a rocky shoreline and white-sand beaches. This is how the Riviera used to look before the builders moved in.
Seduced by this potential and, of course, by the rarity of this exceptional environmental heritage, the English industrialist Sir Anthony Bamford acquired this jewel in 1997, and operates it according to the rules of organic farming in order to preserve all of its fragile wealth. In addition to the 62 hectares of vines, the estate includes an olive grove of 4,700 trees from 3 successive generations. The harvest is carried out gently, thanks to nets and electric combs, then is quickly transferred to the Moulin de La Londe to be crushed. Like a great wine, the oils are made up of a blend of several varieties of olives and therefore boast a complex variety of flavors. Precious and sun-kissed, the oils from Château Léoube do not undergo any filtration.
The chateau also operates a gourmet organic restaurant, Café Léoube , and a stand-alone bar perched along the sandy dunes of Pellegrin. Reservations are recommended for Café Léoube (phone: +33498076988), which also hosts summer concerts and open-air cinema nights.
Considered a private beach, you can reach Pellegrin on foot or pay €11 to park directly in front of Café Léoube. Since its “hideaway” location and paid parking can be a deterrent, if you play your cards right, you might have this idyllic strip of sand all to yourself. Set up camp under a shady pine tree, sip take-away organic espressos, and take in the morning’s stunning sights as the gentle waves roll into the calm turquoise shore. The water is warm, and it would be easy to confuse this little strip of paradise with a tropical island.
If you’re feeling active, take the coastal path (Sentier Littoral) from Pellegrin beach eastward. The 8 km route takes you all the way to Cabasson beach in the town of Bormes-les-Mimosas . This pleasant walk goes through pretty undergrowth brushing past the coastline, as well as the beaches of Estragnol and Léoube.
Back at Pellegrin beach, head to Café Léoube for a light lunch of burrata and tomato salad served with homemade baguettes and the Chateau’s signature olive oil. Top off your meal with a few glasses of rosé and a duo of fig tarts, then head back to the beach for a small siesta and a bit of “farniente“—doing a bit of nothing at all.
You can access Pellegrin beach by car—around a 20-minute drive from the hilltop town of Bormes-les-Mimosas , which also warrants an afternoon stopover. The nearest international airport is Marseille-Provence, with a few domestic flights available in nearby Toulon-Hyeres airport . The beach tends to get quite busy during the summer months, so the best times to visit are in early June and at the start of September.