Five dreamy holidays to France you would never have thought about before

The Languedoc beaches have been bespoke designed for families. From Sète to Gruissan, they are endless, flat, sandy and safe – you’re almost in sight of Algeria before you’re out of your depth – and they boast record levels of happiness-per-acre. And that’s what matters.

Why is it special?

This long coast was developed for tourism only in the 1960s, to rival Spanish costas. So it doesn’t have the high-rolling past of 19th-century nobs and 20th-century celebs which bathes the Côte-d’Azur over towards Italy. The Languedoc littoral is Everyman’s holiday destination, punctuated by a zillion campsites, new resorts characterised by a permanent look of impermanence, old fishing ports adapted to sea-sidery and, on the fringes, a certain ramshackle charm as the writ of the republic apparently runs out. It was here that my kids did their summertime roaming and where, shortly, their kids will, too. We’re not alone. The cries of children are borne on the sea breeze, and joy is widespread….