Despite not always warm waters, France has world-class diving sites. Between the Mediterranean coasts renowned for their visibility and biodiversity, and the Atlantic and Channel coasts, diving opportunities around the hexagon are both numerous and varied. Tribloo has selected for you some of the best diving destinations in France…
1 – Diving in France at Port-Cros and around the islands of Hyères
The Var in the South-East of France is undoubtedly one of the destinations that attracts the most divers in France. With mostly clear and warm waters for most of the season (between June and November), abundant wildlife, protected areas, and many wrecks, it is the ideal recipe to satisfy all divers, whatever their expectations.
The Port-Cros National Park is the highlight of the region, with an extraordinary site, La Gabinière, where it is possible to dive in the company of huge dusky groupers, very friendly, who do not hesitate to come into contact with divers.
As for wrecks, they are numerous, but for experienced divers, a dive on the Donator is an unforgettable experience !
2 – Marseille and its National Park of the Calanques
Marseille… it is a little bit like the birthplace of modern scuba diving. It is here that many things began under the aegis of Captain Cousteau. With its cut limestone coasts, and its two archipelagos (Riou and Friuli), there is an incredible number of dives, accessible to all levels. Caves, drop offs covered with purple gorgonians, rocky plateaus or superb wrecks…. Diving in Marseille and its National Park of the Calanques is a great experience for divers. Despite not always very warm waters due to the North wind, the Mistral, the underwater show is always striking.
Wrecks also have a beautiful place in Marseille, such as Le Liban, le Saint-Dominique, or the famous Chaouen, located at the foot of the Planier lighthouse, and accessible from level 1 (or Open Water).
3 – Diving in the Lavezzi Islands in Corsica
Corsica, called the Isle of Beauty and located in the Mediterranean waters of southeastern France, is a real paradise for divers. The waters are warmer than on the mainland coast, with incredible clarity and a large majority of Mediterranean species.
The Lavezzi Islands are located in the South of Corsica, form an archipelago of 23 islands, representing the southernmost point of metropolitan France. Protected, the area is home to emblematic species such as corbs, sars and beautiful morays. When you dive in Les Lavezzi, you will have to go through the diving site of Mérouville ! Here, a colony of several dozen large groupers inhabit the area, and are not intimidated by the presence of divers…
4 – Normandy, a real submerged museum of the D-Day landings
Normandy is really a special destination for diving in France. Because even if subsurface conditions are generally very bad, it is still one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Because the waters of Normandy are a veritable wreck cemetery, testifying to the fighting during the landing of Allied troops in 1944.
Although less varied than in the Mediterranean, the fauna can be impressive. You will see in particular congresses, lobsters, sea spiders or even large ploughfishes and bars which watch over the ghostly atmosphere of the wrecks….
5 – The Glenan Islands
Britain is a region with a good number of divers ! With conditions that can be relatively complicated (swell, current, visibility, high tides, temperatures,…), it is not for nothing that many are struggling to brave the Ocean. Because there are places of rare beauty, such as the Glénan Islands. Located in the south of Finistère, they are bathed in clear waters of an emblematic colour, attracting divers. In the middle of the huge laminaria, crabs and lobster roam everywhere….
Située juste avant la frontière espagnole sur la côte méditerranéenne, la réserve marine de Cerbère-Banyuls est également un lieu incontournable pour la plongée sous-marine dans la Grande Bleue. Créée en 1974 lors d’une politique de protection de la côte Vermeille, ses eaux accueille plus de 1200 espèces animales. Avec des fonds rocheux formés de failles, d’arches ou encore de grottes, c’est l’endroit idéal pour observer de gros mérous bruns, mais aussi un excellent panel de la faune méditerranéenne, avec beaucoup de poissons, et bien sûr toute la faune fixée hyper colorée !
7 – Thau Pond
Located on the edge of the city of Sète in the South of France, Thau Pond is a large lagoon separated from the Mediterranean by a fine sand barrier. It is the incredible biodiversity that has made the reputation of the Thau pond, which attracts many divers and especially photographers looking for small animals. There are for example many species of nudibranchs and other sea slugs, cuttlefish, anemones, blennies peacocks very photogenic, and many other things….
But the main reason we’re going to dive in Thau is largely because of the presence of seahorses ! It is even one of the main seahorses reserves in Europe. Even if it happens to fall on a bad day, it is very rare to dive in Thau without seeing a single individual !
8 – Lake Annecy
Among the many lakes and quarries in France where scuba diving is permitted, Lake Annecy is undoubtedly one of the most famous sites. Especially for waters its waters are quite clear (especially near the surface). With a temperature of 4°C at the bottom, using a dry suit is essential. But during the summer the surface waters easily reach 24°c, and can be very pleasant for first dives.
Obviously, the biodiversity is not as great as at sea. But we can still see some species, such as freshwater fish (pike, perch, carp or Arctic char,…), crayfish… and we can also find beautiful wrecks including the famous paddle boat (the last one assembled in France), France, which is about 40m deep, so for experienced divers.