The French Riviera otherwise referred to as the Cote d’Azur is the most popular cruising ground for luxury yacht charters. This area of the south of France coastline includes famous destinations such as St Tropez, Cannes, Nice, and Antibes the base for most of the superyachts when they are not out on charter. To find out if this area is the perfect destination for your dream yacht vacation, read our descriptions below for each port that you could visit on your Western Mediterranean yacht charter.
St Tropez is still the number one yachting destination along the famous Cote d’Azur coastline and high on the list of places to visit in the whole of the Western Mediterranean. This tiny fishing village was transformed after the 1956 film starring Brigitte Bardot ‘And God Created Woman’ was filmed here. Soon afterwards the jet set arrived desperately seeking the same lifestyle.
The village of St Tropez consists of narrow cobble stoned street filled with tiny shops and numerous French cafes plus an excellent museum.
The harbour is lined with excellent restaurants and bars, all with the perfect vantage point looking out over the marina. Here you can look out over your charter yacht and watch newcomers to the marina maneuver in this tight spot into their stern to berth. Multimillion dollar superyachts are intermingled with fishing boats. The harbour is the location to watch the sunset and to party into the small hours.
There is a good selection of beautiful beaches here where the beautiful people go to be seen, including the stunning Pampelonne Bay located just to the east of the village. It also has numerous trendy beach bars that you can visit and hire a lounger on the stunning white sand.
St Tropez is host to one of the most famous classic yacht sailing regattas called Les Voiles de St Tropez, which takes place at the end of September annually. Yachts are available for charter to take part in this event. This internationally famous sailing regatta attracts yachts and crew from all over the world to enjoy outstanding racing in the Golfe de St Tropez with great parties hosted every evening.
Iles d’Hyeres are located south of St Tropez, just off Toulon on the main coast France. A Cote d’Azur cruise would not be complete without a visit to these stunning islands. These tiny islands offer beautiful sandy beaches and tall trees and quiet bays to anchor in, in total contrast to the main land of France.
There are four islands in this tiny archipelago however the two main islands are Ile de Porquerolles and Ile de Port-Cros. Ile de Porquerolles is the busiest island receiving many day tourists during the summer months. This island offers protected anchorages along it’s sheltered north coast, the sea here is crystal clear azure blue water. The main form of transportation on the island is bicycle and you will spot the locals playing boules in the village square. Ile de Port Cros is a protected nature reserve ‘Parc national de Port-Cros’ with strict rules prohibiting road traffic and fishing within 50m of the shore. This is the quieter island of the two.
If you are looking for an escape to enjoy what nature has to offer, this is the place to sail to for a few days on your Mediterranean yacht charter.
Cannes is one of the more famous French Riviera yacht charter destinations, which is favoured by the rich and famous. With two yacht harbours Vieux Port or Old Port as it is also referred to, and Cannes Marina Mandelieu-la-Napoule to visit during your cruise, you then have an excellent choice of numerous French restaurants and great beaches. Cannes also has a great selection of world-class hotels. This location is famous for the Cannes Film Festival, which is held every May just prior to the Monaco Grand Prix. It is normal for the jet set to visit to be seen at both events.
A French Riviera yacht charter would not be complete without a visit to Cannes.
Unlike St Tropez that was a tiny fishing village, Nice is very much a large city located on a long sandy beach, it is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean coast. Nice became very popular during the Victoria times. It was recognised during this era as being a good destination for the wealthy aristocratic families to visit during the winter months for medicinal purposes, with its mild winters compared to England. The main promenade along the seashore is aptly named Promenade des Anglais as a reflection upon the visitors that used to stroll along it. Nice has a lovely old port located at the eastern end of the Promenade des Anglais. Superb Genoese-style old pink and yellow ochre buildings surround the port.
The city has a lot to offer if you are able to spend a little time ashore. It has excellent shops without the price tag of Monaco, lovely cafes and patisseries and numerous markets selling their local wares including flowers and museums. The old town also referred to as Vieux Nice dates back to the 16th century. The restaurants in Nice are excellent with so many to choose from all within easy access of your charter yacht. You will see local culinary specialties such as Niçoise and Provençal being offered.
Nice has the second largest airport in France after Paris, and as a result of this it has become very popular. You will most likely fly into Nice Airport prior to joining your charter yacht. Starting your luxury yacht charter from Nice is a possibility because it is centrally located.
Antibes is located just to the east of Nice, and it is one of the most famous yachting destinations. Port Vauban is home to the majority of superyachts and luxury charter yachts, when they are not on charter. The old town remains unspoiled and it is a beautiful example of an old French village with lots of tiny back streets to explore, offering a good choice of shops and restaurants.
Due to the large selection of yachts that are based in this port, Antibes is an excellent starting point for your luxury yacht charter along the French Riviera.
Cap Ferrat is located in-between Nice and Monaco along the French Riviera coastline, and it is considered to be one of the destinations that you should visit during any Cote d’Azur yacht charter. This peninsular has been a favourite holiday destination for wealthy European’s over the year.
The scenery here is beautiful and the peninsular has a picturesque port. Port de Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat offers protected marina facilities for 560 yachts amidst the fishing port. Ashore there are numerous restaurants to choose from both surrounding the port and in the town, with the main theme being seafood. There are several stone paths that you can walk along which enables you to take in the amazing views fro this rocky enclave. There is also a small beach near to the port, again with an excellent restaurant. There are numerous larger beaches to choose from in this vicinity including the popular Paloma beach that is located to the southeast of the port.
When To Visit
The main Mediterranean yachting season runs from April until the end of October, however the peak time is July and August when all of the ports that you will visit on your cruise will be very busy with tourists both on land and on other luxury yachts. For a quieter vacation you may want to consider chartering in either June or September when the water temperature has warmed up slightly, however the summer crowds have not yet arrived.