Your French Riviera Yacht Guide

This is your French Riviera yacht guide to ensure that you and your guests have an unforgettable cruise along the captivating French coastline. If you want to explore the French Riviera by boat, but don’t own a vessel, why not rent one? 212 Yachts offer yacht charter, motor boat rental / day-boat rental and RIBs in all ports along the French Riviera.

Marseille

With a rich history that spans over 2,600 years and a unique amalgamation of diverse cultures, Marseille has a lot to offer. Let your jaw drop as you enter the 6th century BC Old Port, surrounded by the ominous walls of Fort Saint-Jean. The museum on-site is well worth strolling around. Having soaked in the atmospheric surroundings, follow the elated sound of harping traders to the nearby fish market. Exploration of the city promises to offer a pleasant combination of dainty cobbled streets and modern avenues, home to an array of art galleries, boutiques and high-end eateries. Le Petit Nice holds a coveted 3 Michelin Stars, and is easily accessible from the Old Port. A true cultural treasure trove, the variety of allures on offer in the city will keep you feeling entertained. While many choose to skip Marseille, the pleasant combination of the buzz of a big city with ancient history and enthralling cultures earn the town a place in our French Riviera yachting guide.

Having had your fill of metropolitan Marseille, take in the dramatic rocky coastline of la Ciotat, and make sure to take advantage of Bandol’s large marina, making your way on-land to sample the world famous Mourvédre wine produced in the regions spectacular vineyards. A must see is the stunning Calanques National Park, a protected series of enchanting inlets, lined by shear limestone cliffs. Some of the Calanques remain hard to reach by land, giving you on the optimum vantage point to seek out secluded spots to explore this stunning landscape. For the more adventurous, prepare the diving gear and tackle the 574 ft tunnel that leads to the Cosquer Caves, an archaic cavern exhibiting prehistoric artwork now only gazed upon by the most privileged of eyes.

Porquerolles

The Porquerolles are an idyllic paradise, gloriously untouched by the invasive hand of modern development. Considered one of the most beautiful yachting destinations in the region, this wonderland is an overwhelming highlight of our French Riviera yachting guide. The largest of the 3 Iles d’Or, this protected island offers surreal detachment from modern stresses. Enjoy long white sand beaches and glittering blue waters in absolute silence, with the island wide car prohibition contributing to the air of serenity. The Plage Notre Dame is dreamy, with its silky sand and eloquent backdrop of pine forestry resembling a Caribbean postcard. Numerous beaches line the southern side of the island waiting to be discovered, un-spoilt by the minute population of 200. The focal point of modern construction is found in the charming village, built in 1820. Sip masterfully brewed coffee or succulent aperitifs in the sophisticated square, and marvel at the colonial looking church. Both to our surprise and immense pleasure, a Michelin starred restaurant can be found on the Western side of the island in the form of Le Mas du Longoustier. Sample some of the freshest seafood available in the region in this heavenly setting, as prepared by the team of world-renowned chefs.

Saint Tropez

No French Riviera yacht guide would be whole without the iconic Saint Tropez. At the pulsating epicenter of the French Riviera’s luxury lifestyle lies Saint Tropez. A world-famous coastal-town, it boasts some of the world’s most exclusive nightclubs, chicest boutiques, delectable restaurants and iconic beaches. The port is a sight to behold. There are some astounding mega yachts at rest here, and Michelin starred restaurants within easy walking distance, including the famous Sénéquier. The charming Old Town oozes charm and romance, with the intimate cobbled streets home to some fabulous restaurants and cafés. Hidden in the unsuspecting Rue du Docteur Boutin is the delightful Auberge des Maures. Here you can dine under enchanting grape vines in Saint Tropez’ oldest restaurant. Having soaked in the amour of the Old Town, check out the hype of Les Caves du Roy and the VIP Room, some of the world’s most ritzy and exclusive nightclubs. For art officianados, marvel at the contemporary masterpieces housed in Musée de l’Annonciade.

Seek respite from the town’s electric atmosphere on Pampelonne Beach, where luscious golden sand stretches for kilometers. The bay is one of the most popular super yacht anchorages in the world, with the most lavish vessels gently floating along the horizon. Seek a more secluded area to unwind with an astounding view of nature and wealth, or relish in the diverse selection of beach clubs that line the shore. Club 55 is the quintessential option, majestically maintaining its rustic atmosphere while serving the world’s elite. The excellent service here is perfected by the stylish tender service offered to guests. Alternatively, travel in ultimate style and luxury with one of our superyacht tendersNikki Beach and Bagatelle Beach also boast the elegance and allure of the exemplary Saint Tropez eatery.

Fréjus-Saint Raphaël

These small towns are neatly nestled along the coastline between Saint Tropez and Cannes. Roman ruins litter the landscape, and Napoleons 1799 landing in the Port of Saint Raphaël gives the area historic significance. Port Fréjus boasts 750 berths, creating a less overcrowded over-night stop than the town’s more popular neighbors. If time is limited however, we wouldn’t recommend spending too much time here due to the quantity of alternative alluring attractions in the region, as this French Riviera yacht guide demonstrates.

Instead, head to Massif de l’Esterel to marvel at this phenomenal landscape. The volcanic soils lend the jagged peaks a startling red tint, creating a marvelous contrast with the deep blue sky and turquoise sea below. Dense oak forestry adds to the mysticism of this natural wonder. Simply a must see, drop anchor here to dine or swim with this surreal backdrop, and make sure to capture some photographs as the sunset ignites the erratic slopes whose view remains preserved in all of it’s glory for those who grace the water.

Cannes

The home of the International Film Festival, Cannes is a marvelous metropolis that elegantly caters to it’s prosperous constituency. The 800 berths of the Old Port host some of the most lavish super yachts to grace the Riviera, and applications to dock here must be made well in advance. Alternatively, Port Canto is idyllically located at the end of La Croissette, offering surreal views of Cannes and the nearby Lérins Islands. It is from 212 Yacht’s office in Port Canto that the inspiration for this French Riviera yacht guide was born. The bay offers great anchorages, where you can travel by tender to the many hotel beach clubs along La Croissette. This iconic boulevard is home to a wealth of chic designer boutiques, perfect for selecting a vogue outfit to show off in the famous Baôli restaurant and nightclub, or one of the exclusive casinos.

For gastronomy enthusiasts, Cannes has a lot to offer. La Palme d’Or deservedly holds a prestigious 2 Michelin stars, with delectable cuisine served on the picturesque terrace amounting to an unforgettable dining experience. Alternatively, sample the artisan dishes of Sébastien Brode in Le Park 45, or navigate the delicate cobbled streets of Le Suquet to dine in the exceedingly popular Mantel. While in the Old Town, savor the romantic ambiance exuded by the seductively illuminated streets, clandestine cafés and panoramic views of the town below. For indulgent treats to bring back on-board your yacht, visit the Forville Market, where stunning variations of flowers and a host of fresh produce are sold, and pay one of the master chocolatiers found on Rue d’Antibes or Rue Meynadier a visit. If you’ve spend the day lounging in the magical bay and fancy taking a quick visit ashore for a light bite to eat, travel by tender to the iconic Carlton for afternoon tea.

For indulgent treats to bring back on-board your yacht, visit the Forville Market, where stunning variations of flowers and a host of fresh produce are sold

Îles de Lérins

The Îles de Lérins are a small archipelago of 4 islands just a stones throw away from Cannes. These unassuming islands offer a welcome retreat from Cannes’ animated ambiance, with remarkable tranquility thanks to the absence of cars and limited number of tourists that venture to the island. Îles Saint-Margeurite is the largest of the islands, and is home to the infamous Fort Royal where the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask was once imprisoned. View his eery cell, or saunter through the serene forestry of Allepo pine and eucalyptus, blissfully detached from preying eyes. Unwind in the tranquil gardens of La Guerite with a dish of delectable cuisine prepared by the Greek prodigy Yiannis Kioroglou, whose cooking simply had to be included in our French Riviera yacht guide. For more intriguing history and inspired cuisine, venture to the adjacent Île Saint-Honorat. Explore the mystical 19th century monastery, where dedicated clergy pray and produce delectable wines, honey, lavender oil and Lérina. If you find yourself on the island between 12:00 and 14:30, discover why Le Restaurant La Tonnelle is a favorite of island regulars.

While the islands are steeped in history and culture, the highlight of your visit to these islands will be dropping anchor in the exotic (and sheltered) Plateau du Mileu and swimming in the pristine waters. An ideal oasis for frolicking in the welcoming Mediterranean, this is a great opportunity to use your snorkeling gear or get the adrenaline flowing with seabobs or a jetski.

Antibes

Antibes is the archetypal Mediterranean town. Found here is charming old town, bustling port and delectable eateries. Port Vauban boasts an impressive 2,400 berths, home to a delightful array of vessels, including some of the world’s most impressive megayachts. Whether you have a soft spot for petite sailing boats, performance motor yachts, classic sailing yachts or lavish mega yachts, Port Vauban will keep you enthralled. The diversity of the vessels on display here is perhaps the most impressive of all the ports mentioned in this French Riviera yacht guide! The port’s backdrop is simply astounding, with the substantial stone walls of Fort Carré looming on the horizon in front of the snow capped Alps. Entry into the Port allows you to cruise past the aesthetic shape of Le Nomade that watches over the ports entrance.

Whether you have a soft spot for petite sailing boats, performance motor yachts, classic sailing yachts or lavish mega yachts, Port Vauban will keep you enthralled.

Once on-land, wander around the enchanting cobbled alleyways of the Old Town, where weathered wooden shutters and audacious flowers ooze charisma. Visit the Musée Picasso (formerly the Chateau Grimaldi) perched majestically on the town’s medieval walls, where you can marvel over the genius of Picasso in what was once his abode. A stunning place to get lost, every turn reveals chic boutiques, dainty cafés and tranquil squares. Ensure you can find your way to Michelangelo’s restaurant, whose pizza boasts Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s seal of approval. Also extremely deserving of your patronage is Le Figuier de St-Esprit, with a divine ten-course menu.

For fine dining, visit the famous Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the exclusive Cap d’Antibes. Drop anchor and reach the restaurant via tender. Here you can savor the culinary brilliance of Chef Poëtte while soaking in the spectacular surroundings, or sip cocktails at the serene Champagne Lounge. Further satisfy your fine tastes with the Jazz à Juan, a world-renowned festival held every July in the vibrant resort of Juan Les Pins. For off shore pleasure, the Baie des Anges connecting Antibes to Nice is ideal for water sports, allowing you to get the use out of your superyacht’s toys.

Nice

The largest city featured in this French Riviera yacht guide, and one of the largest in France. A city of contrast, Nice magically molds metropolitan living with the chic Riviera lifestyle. The Old Town acts as a portal back in time, where wide avenues lined with department stores are suddenly replaced with meandering cobbled streets, decorated with chic boutiques and charming eateries. Navigate the mystical alleyways as they gently climb Castle Hill, one of the best vantage points in the city. Stop for a bite to eat in Le Petit Maison, a popular stop for the cities many well-known visitors. A hub of culinary finesse, Nice boasts some of the finest restaurants in the region. Visit Le Chantecler, which boasts two Michelin stars, or discover the divine taste of truffles, prepared to supreme excellence by Chef Bruno in the delightful Diamant Noir. For a local delicacy, don’t miss out on Chez Theresa’s crêperie.

A vibrant and lively city, Nice is sure to keep you entertained. It’s wealth of bars and clubs make for an electric nightlife, with the terrace of Les Distilleries Idéales proving to be a local favorite for cocktails. Visit the Opera de Nice for a more refined excursion, where exquisite performers will inspire in the marvelous 19th century architectural setting. For art enthusiasts, the experiential exhibits of l’Atelier Soardi are a must, or saunter around the world-famous Matisse Museum for a more traditional approach.

Transfer from cultural escapism to hedonistic paradise, with the city’s irresistible shopping allure. Rue Paradis is home to some of the world’s most influential designers, with the enticing selection of boutiques reminiscent of Paris or Milan. Experience the department store experience in Galeries Lafayette, which houses some real treasures. To finish a busy day of indulgence, stroll along the wide Promenade des Anglais, where the evening sun setting over the polished pebble beach makes for a real spectacle. Whatever your indulgence, Nice promises to satisfy you and then some.

A vibrant and lively city, Nice is sure to keep you entertained.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

With one of the Mediterranean’s deepest natural harbors, this bay offers a sheltered safe haven for some of the largest super yachts to grace the region. Orange and red pastel colored houses line the old harbor. This backdrop is definitely one of the most picturesque in this French Riviera yacht guide to enjoy from anchor. Making the short journey ashore via tender is worthwhile, as the steep cobbled streets and tranquil squares of the old town make this one of the most atmospheric towns on the Riviera. To wind down and soak in unbeatable ambiance of the charming harbor, visit La Cave Nature for a glass of organic wine or champagne. If the rolling hills and precariously perched villages capture your imagination, then take advantage of the town’s safe anchorage and spend the day on land. A short helicopter ride brings you to the ancient town of Sospel, which serves as a welcome refuge from the crowds of the Riviera.

Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat

An exclusive sanctuary for the world’s elite, this enchanted peninsula hides lavish villas behind thick forestry. A safely guarded respite away from the public eye, high profile individuals such as Microsoft’s Paul Allen have chosen to take up residence here. The Port here is quite small, so drop anchor and head ashore via tender to relax in solitude in one of the many luxurious villas in the area or dine at the Michelin starred restaurant of the Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat. Sea bass served with caviar is a specialty of the artisan chef Didier Aniès. Take advantage of the restaurants curated collection of over 600 wines. If you feel the need for some pampering, le Spa on the hotel’s grounds offers the chance for rejuvenation in 5 treatment rooms that boast tranquil décor from renowned interior designed Pierre Yves-Rochon. The hotel boasts an idyllic infinity pool, surreally perched on the tip of the Cap away from the crowds of the Paloma and Passable beaches. Venture from the hotel’s grounds and discover the stunning beauty of the Italian style Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. This belle époque residence houses an astounding collection of art and porcelain, however the real magic is found in the gardens. A total of 7 gardens are open to the public, each with a different theme and are meticulously cared for. The views of the cobalt waters from these serene gardens are simply heavenly. Visit in August to attend Les Azuriales Opera Festival.

Èze

This medieval village is perched precariously atop of the bucolic landscape that rolls along the Riviera coastline. Far below the dramatic cliff faces and steep slopes lies a bay dotted with super yachts and sailing boats, ideal as a safe anchorage. To reach the village, travel by road or for the more adventurous, the 45-minute hiking path known as Nietzsche’s Way offers respite from crowds and glorious, un-spoilt views of the serene surroundings. Once in the village, get lost among the dreamy, winding streets, lined with tempting boutiques, intriguing art galleries, dainty cafés and seductive perfumeries. Follow the cobbled streets upwards, past intimate town squares that delectably contain the alluring scents from the créperies, to reach the famous exotic gardens at the village’s pinnacle. Immaculately maintained fauna lines the tranquil path to the peak, where the best views of the Riviera are found. The effeminate statues of Jean-Phillipe Richard add to the enchanting ambiance of the gardens. To further soak in the stunning views, visit Chateau Èza and savor a glass of vintage on the property’s surreal terrace. Dine here, or visit the Michelin starred restaurant in the world-famous la Chevre d’Or. The Èze experience is simply surreal, and is a contender among the 212 Yacht’s team for favorite destination in this French Riviera yacht guide.

Immaculately maintained fauna lines the tranquil path to the peak, where the best views of the Riviera are found.

Monaco

The atmospheric Port Hercules showcases some of the world’s most luxurious super yachts, with entrance to the port proving an electrifying experience that only an elite minority is exposed to. She is probably the most impressive port featured in this French Riviera yacht guide. Equally as impressive are the waters around the wealthy microstate, which become a thriving man-made archipelago in the summer months. Annually, the infamous Formula One Grand Prix sets the state alight with the electric ambiance that it carries. Undoubtedly the best vantage points for this spectacle are from the water, so secure a luxury tender or plan your yacht’s berth/anchorage well in advance! The wealthy state exhibits a delectable selection of fine restaurants and bars, deserved of your culinary review. For the ultimate dining experience, indulge at Le Louis XV- Alain Ducasse, the first hotel-restaurant to be awarded the prestigious three Michelin stars. With over 600,000 bottles of the finest vintage lining the cellars, absolutely exquisite cuisine, grandiose décor and flawless service, we cannot recommend this establishment enough. Notable mention also goes to the romantic Brasserie Columbus, Le Vistamar and Elsa. Look no further than the Buddha Bar for an evening cocktail or two.

Having indulged in the states restaurants and bars, take some time to soak in the unique culture. The district of Monte Carlo is an essential visit, with it’s chic casinos, exclusive bars and countless supercars populating the tight streets. Stroll towards Le Rocher to experience the closest thing to a quintessential old town that Monaco exhibits, however there is no guarantee to escape the seductive purring of supercars and soothing echo of heels on cobbled streets. The Palais Princier de Monaco is found on this rocky peninsula, and is home to the Grimaldi dynasty.

Visit in May for the Historic Grand prix and the Formula One Grand Prix.

Annually, the infamous Formula One Grand Prix sets the state alight with the electric ambiance that it carries.

The Italian Riviera 

From Monaco, Menton and the neighbouring Italian Riviera are within tantalising reach. While we do not go in-depth into the Italian Riviera here in our French Riviera yacht guide, 212 Yachts do offer many yacht charters on the Italian Riviera and will be delighted to advice on itineraries.

When to Visit the French Riviera on a yacht

Yachting season on the French Riviera is generally considered to kick off with the commencement of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix in May, and runs until early October. Plan your stay around the exciting events calendar, or cruise along the coast soaking in the glorious Mediterranean weather that the region enjoys during the summer months.

2016 Events Highlights

15-18th March: MIPIM

4-7th April: MIPTV

9-17th April: Monte Carlo Rolex Masters

14th-17th April: Top Marques Supercar Show Monaco

11-22nd May: Cannes International Film Festival

13-15th May: Monaco Historic Grand Prix

26-29th May: Monaco Formula One Grand Prix

10th June: UEFA Euro Football Stade Allianz Arena

18-25th June: Cannes Lions

2-5th July: Monte Carlo Polo Cup

 14th July: Bastille Day

14-24th July: Jazz à Juan

5-7th August: Cap Jazz Cap d’Ail

July-August: Fireworks Festival (Cannes and Monaco)

6-11th September: International Yacht Festival Cannes

28th September-1st October: Monte Carlo Yacht Show

17-20th October: MIPCOM

4-6th November: Monaco International Clubbing Show

Weather

Summers on the French Riviera are hot and dry, with very few days of rainfall. Be warned though, when it rains it rains hard! The days are longest in July, when the region is basked with 12 hours of sunshine a day. Average high temperatures during the peak tourist months of July and August are 26°C, while June sees average highs of 23°C. Temperatures often reach the mid 30s however, so be prepared to utilise the bimini on your yacht to keep sheltered from the sun! The evenings are cool thanks to the coastal breeze, creating the perfect temperature for relaxing on the flybridge with a glass of bubbly or canapés. On rare occasions, the mistral winds sweep across the coastline effecting sea conditions, so keep an eye on forecasts and take heed of any warnings issued. A popular tool for general weather forecasts: MeteoConsult.fr. For updates on surface winds, surface pressure and wave height, refer to Passage Weather.

Types of Yachts to Charter on the French Riviera

For a comprehensive guide to selecting the best type of yacht to charter, refer to this article. Here we discuss the pros and cons of motor yachts, classic sailing yachts, modern sailing yachts and catamarans. Contact us to find the perfect yacht to charter on the French Riviera.

Best Spots for Watersports and Swimming

Take advantage of the startling clear cobalt waters along the coast and cool off in the delightfully tepid waters. Read this guide for our insiders knowledge of the best swimming spots on the French Riviera; an essential inclusion of any French Riviera yachting guide.

Car Rental/On-Shore Transport

While relaxing on your superyacht is certainly a pleasurable pastime, the allure of the atmospheric towns and villages perched along the coastline will inevitably become too much of an urge to resist. 212 Yachts supply a wide range of luxury superyacht tenders to bring you ashore in style. Maintain your finesse and comfort with the following options for travelling once on-land:

For classic car hire, contact Anne at Riviera Classic Car Hire

For chauffeur and limousine services, along with sportscar hire, contact Kingdom Limousines or HDS

For helicopter transfers, contact Azur Helicoptere

Rent a Harley Davidson from Prestige Motorcycles

Having read our French Riviera yacht guide, we hope that you are excited to visit what is one of the most magical yacht charter destinations in the world. A yacht charter holiday is an exciting adventure to enjoy with your family and friends, and is a sure way to create memories that will be treasured for years to come. We delight in being an integral part of this journey for so many guests, and are driven by the smiles and gleeful stories from our happy clients. With years of expertise and a wealth of strong relationships in the region, we are fully equipped to finding and securing the perfect yacht for charter on the French Riviera and beyond. Contact 212 Yachts today to start the trip of a lifetime.

Adam Reynolds

Written by Adam Reynolds

Adam Reynolds left the west coast of Ireland in search of bigger and better boats, and has since become a core member of the 212 Yachts team. His love for travel and the yachting industry have made him a knowledgeable charter assistant and creative blogger. You can find him in our Port Canto office talking about yachts and his favorite travel destinations.


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