Top 5 Places to Dive in France

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking underwater world of France, where a plethora of dive sites await.

From the awe-inspiring Calanques National Park in Marseille, with its vibrant marine life and captivating gorgonian-covered walls, to the iconic French Riviera, renowned for its wreck diving opportunities, France offers an unparalleled diving experience.

Discover the pristine Scandola Marine Reserve in Corsica, explore the historical shipwrecks in Brittany, or embark on a thrilling ice diving adventure in the French Alps.

Prepare to be enthralled as you explore the top 5 places to dive in France.

Key Takeaways

  • Marseille & Calanques National Park offers a variety of diving spots for all levels, with vibrant gorgonian-covered walls at Riou Islands and the best visibility during summer months in Calanques National Park.
  • The French Riviera provides crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and wreck diving opportunities from Porquerolles Island to St-Tropez, with the best time to dive being from May to October.
  • Corsica offers dive sites for all levels, including the UNESCO marine world heritage site at Scandola Marine Reserve, and is home to colorful corals, fish, dolphins, and whales.
  • Brittany offers the opportunity to spot seals in their natural habitat, explore WWII shipwrecks, and dive in the rich biodiversity of Iroise marine nature park in Crozon Peninsula. Additionally, cold water diving in Brittany showcases stunning rock formations and marine life.

Marseille & Calanques National Park

Located in the southern region of France, Marseille & Calanques National Park offers divers an exceptional underwater experience. Marseille, known for its superb diving, boasts a variety of diving spots that cater to divers of all levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, Marseille has something to offer.

One of the highlights of diving in Marseille is the Riou Islands, where divers can explore walls covered in vibrant gorgonians. For those looking to dive in Calanques National Park, the best time to visit is during the summer months when the water visibility is at its best. Pointe Rouge Harbour serves as the main dive center, providing easy access to the park's dive sites.

Additionally, within recreational diving depths, there are two historical shipwrecks waiting to be explored. With its diverse marine life and stunning underwater landscapes, Marseille & Calanques National Park is a must-visit destination for diving enthusiasts.

French Riviera

Stretching from Hyères to Menton, the French Riviera offers divers a wealth of stunning underwater sites to explore. Here are the top dive sites in the French Riviera:

  • Port-Cros National Park: This is the first marine park in Europe and is known for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. Divers can explore vibrant coral reefs and encounter colorful fish species.
  • Porquerolles Island to St-Tropez: This area is famous for its wreck diving opportunities. Divers can explore sunken ships and discover the fascinating history hidden beneath the sea.
  • Esterel area: Perfect for beginner divers, the Esterel area offers calm and shallow dive sites. Divers can enjoy beautiful rock formations and encounter marine creatures such as octopuses and seahorses.
  • Golfe-Juan: This area offers quirky dive sites, including underwater statues and artificial reefs. Divers can expect unique and memorable underwater experiences.
  • Best time to dive in the French Riviera: The best time to dive in the French Riviera is from May to October when the water temperatures are comfortable and visibility is at its best. However, diving is possible year-round with suitable gear.


Corsica, known for its stunning coastline and rich marine biodiversity, offers divers a myriad of dive sites to explore. One of the highlights is the Scandola Marine Reserve, a UNESCO marine world heritage site. Located in the northwest of the island, this protected area is home to an incredible array of marine life, including colorful corals, schools of fish, and even dolphins and whales.

Diving around the island of Corsica is a delight for divers of all levels, with sites ranging from shallow, calm coves to deeper, more challenging dives. In addition to the Scandola Marine Reserve, there are numerous other dive sites to discover, each offering unique underwater landscapes and encounters with fascinating marine species.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, Corsica has something to offer everyone.


With its diverse marine life and captivating underwater landscapes, Brittany offers divers an unforgettable experience. Here are five reasons why diving in Brittany should be on every diver's bucket list:

  • Seal spotting: The northern coast of Brittany is home to a population of seals, providing divers with the opportunity to observe these graceful creatures in their natural habitat.
  • WWII shipwrecks: Brittany is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts. Divers can explore the wreckage of a WWII German submarine and other historical shipwrecks, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past.
  • Iroise marine nature park: Located in the Crozon Peninsula in Finistère, this newly established marine park is a haven for marine biodiversity. Divers can explore its rich ecosystem and encounter a variety of marine species.
  • Cold water diving: While the waters of Brittany may be chilly, they offer a unique diving experience. Drysuit divers can explore the underwater world surrounded by stunning rock formations and vibrant marine life.
  • Underwater landscapes: Brittany boasts stunning underwater landscapes, including rocky reefs, kelp forests, and underwater caves. These diverse environments provide a visually captivating experience for divers of all levels.

Ice Diving in the French Alps

The French Alps offer a unique opportunity for divers to experience the thrilling adventure of ice diving in altitude lakes during the winter months. Tignes and Val Thorens are popular ice diving locations, providing divers with a breathtaking experience beneath the frozen surface. To undertake this extreme sport, divers need to be equipped with ice diving equipment such as a dry suit and full-face mask. These specialized gears are designed to keep divers warm and provide clear visibility underwater. However, ice diving also requires strict safety precautions. Divers must undergo proper training and be aware of the potential risks, such as hypothermia and entrapment under the ice. It is crucial to dive with a trained professional and always have a safety line attached to the surface. Despite the challenges, ice diving in the French Alps promises an unforgettable experience with the mesmerizing blue glow of light through the ice.

Ice Diving Equipment Ice Diving Safety Precautions
Dry suit Proper training
Full-face mask Awareness of risks
Safety line Diving with a professional

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Time of Year to Dive in Marseille & Calanques National Park?

The best time of year to dive in Marseille & Calanques National Park is during the summer months, from June to September. This period offers ideal diving conditions, with warm water temperatures and good visibility for exploring the underwater wonders of the park.

Are There Any Specific Diving Certifications or Qualifications Required to Dive in the French Riviera?

Diving qualifications and certification requirements to dive in the French Riviera vary depending on the dive site and the level of experience. It is recommended to have an Open Water Diver certification or higher, and some sites may require additional specialty certifications.

What Are Some Unique Marine Species That Can Be Found in Corsica's Dive Sites?

Corsica's dive sites are home to unique marine species such as the red coral, dentex fish, and the elusive dusky grouper. The best time to dive in Marseille & Calanques National Park is during the summer months when visibility is optimal.

Can Beginners Participate in Ice Diving in the French Alps, or Is It Only for Experienced Divers?

Ice diving in the French Alps is typically not recommended for beginners due to the unique challenges and risks associated with diving beneath ice. It requires specialized training, equipment, and knowledge of ice diving safety protocols.

Are There Any Dive Operators or Centers in Brittany That Offer Guided Dives to the Historical Shipwrecks?

There are several dive operators in Brittany that offer guided dives to the historical shipwrecks. These dives provide a unique opportunity to explore the collection of wrecks, including a WWII German submarine, and uncover the rich maritime history of the region.

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