The Yacht Set
Yachting in the South of France
The home of the elite. Take The Jet Set and land your private jet in Cannes or arrive in style by Helicopter into St Tropez or Monaco. Known as, the French Riviera or Côte d’Azur (azure coast), France’s slice of the Mediterranean stretches from the Cassis to the Italian border, and has always been synonymous with glamour, celebrity, sophistication and of course, superyachts and yacht charter, and a magnet to those with means seeking sunshine and pleasure.
A long stretch of coastline is found along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, includes the magical sounding towns of Nice, Cannes, Monaco, and Saint Tropez with ports that attract stopovers for most yacht charterers. But beyond the nightclubs and casinos, superlative boutiques, hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, the ‘Riv’ retains its quaint appeal in its egalitarian beach clubs, fishing villages, produce markets, and locals going about their daily life.
For luxury charter itineraries, the Riviera also offers a coastline with sheltered bays, anchorages, marinas and pockets of pristine waterway, such as the Porquerolles, Lerin Islands and Bay d’Agay, where you can drop anchor and find a secluded beach or bay.
Nice International Airport is the hub for easy international access to the Riviera and also has convenient helicopter connections with both St. Tropez and Monaco for those wishing to embark/ disembark their charter yachts avoiding the traffic.
In fact, Monaco is considered the epicentre of luxury yachts, hosting the Monaco Yacht Show exclusively for large, lavish vessels each year in September.
Nice to Monaco
The classic part of the French Riviera is Nice to Menton, a coast of breath-taking beauty, enviable property and picturesque towns like Villefranche sur Mer, Cap Ferrat, Roquebrune-Cap Martin, Cap d’Ail and the medieval village of Èze.
Nice has undergone a recent refurbishment to restore its historic downtown to its former glory. This bustling city is considered a “must see” for its galleries, boutiques and museums dotted along the Promenade des Anglais, Vieux Nice, Château Hill and its port, built to fortify the city against invaders from the sea. The grand Opera House and swathe of elegant turn of the century hotels such as the Hôtel Negresco are testament to the extravagance of la belle époque
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a resort town adjacent to Nice, replete with medieval vestiges in the form of pretty squares, cathedral and cobblestoned streets in the vieille ville or ‘old town’.
On the waterfront are long sandy beaches, terrace cafés and restaurants.
Just a 2.5km drive south of Monaco is the medieval village of Eze, a rustic town which appears to cling to the precipice and offers unmatched views of the Med. This pedestrian-only village is filled with charming stone garrets with colourful window boxes, shady squares, ancient fountains and proudly restored relics of its fortified past. The plethora of hard to resist arts and crafts shops are dug out of the rocky hill-side.
Monuments, gardens, museums, marinas, beautiful people, glorious streetscapes and an unrivalled way of life – Monaco well deserves the title of Jewel in the Crown of the Riviera.
There is always something happening in Monaco – such as the F1 each year – a great opportunity to charter a yacht and enjoy front row seats at one of the most spectacular events in the world from the flybridge of your superyacht docked meters from the track.
Monaco is also host to numerous exhibitions, festivals, shows and product launches, in spectacular back drops such as the Casino de Monte Carlo, one of the world’s first major casinos, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, Oceanographic Museum or on a balcony or bar along the superb waterfront.
The steep streets are worth the climb for all the covetable designer boutiques along the way. The two major ports in the area for luxury yachts are Port Hercules and Port de Fontvieille.
Great for its restaurants and night life, check out Cafe de Paris, Casino, Jimmy’z, and Buddha Bar.
Menton is a town that retains a genteel, sedate pace, basking in its beautiful, clifftop setting. Considered the warmest and the most Italianate of the towns on the Riviera, boasting 316 days of sunshine each year, it’s famous for an abundance of lemon groves, manicured gardens with topiaries, mazes, roses and regal palms, and picturesque bays.
From its Mermaid and Dolphin fountain overlooking, Menton is historically a port city, welcoming yachts of all nations with an exciting calendar of events, water sports and cultural activities for visitors to enjoy.
Nice to Cannes
Dotted with villages and towns such as Mougins, Biot, Cagnes, Vallauris and Villeneuve Loubet, this stretch of coast is famous as the enclave of the great artists, sculptors, authors and philosophers of the 20th century: Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Rodin, Lêger, Cocteau and a myriad of other legendary talents all clustered in these hilltop towns, inspired by the views, sea breezes and maritime lifestyle.
St Paul de Vence
2km from Nice, this hilltop village was once the favourite spot for Picasso, Matisse and other influential artists who took up residence there. Today it is still a popular place for modern day creatives. For its markets, galleries, walks and historic sites, St Paul de Vence is probably the most visited village on the Côte d’Azur and certainly one of the most beautiful in Provence.
Antibes-Juan Les Pins
Nestled between Nice and Cannes, Antibes retains its old world charms, with its rampart and twin medieval towers. It must be one of the most picturesque towns on the Côte d’Azur and preserves traditions with pride, including the flower and fruit markets. Vieille Antibes is notable for its charming cobble-stoned streets that have preserved the aura of its artistic past, one that included artists like Picasso, Chagall, Matisse and many more.
Close by is the Cap d’Antibes, one of the most exclusive areas on the French Riviera and the more relaxed Juan les Pins, the place where in the 1920s and 30s luminaries of the likes of Scott and Jelda Fitzgerald, Rudolf Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and other Americans sought social and cultural entertainment. In fact, they say fun-seekers invented water skiing right here in the 1920s.
Cannes is famous as the host of the annual Cannes Film Festival which attracts over 30,000 official visitors plus 4,000 accredited journalists, but throughout the year, Cannes receives more shows, events, conferences and festivals than any other city in Europe.
Yacht charter is a very popular alternative to limited hotel accommodation in the city center at the time of the most important events. Favourite charter yachts for private entertaining are much sought after and are booked well in advance.
Regardless of what’s on, Cannes is ideal for strolling along the main avenue, Boulevard de la Croisette, taking in the views from the seafront and enjoying lunch at one of many beach restaurants with spectacular views.
The Iles de Lérins is a small archipelago just off the coast of Cannes with two main islands of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat. Ile Sainte Marguerite is the larger island and is known for its lovely pine and eucalyptus forests, with wide walking trails criss-crossing the island. The port area has cafés and restaurants, and is just a short walk to the Fort Royal containing the cell where the legendary Man in the Iron Mask was incarcerated. Between the islands is a shallow, protected passage, known as the Plateau du Mileu, a popular anchor point for charter yachts.
St Tropez is known for its chic boutiques and trendy restaurants and dining nooks which occupy the many little streets surrounding the main harbour. Infamous since the 1950s when Brigitte Bardot enchanted the world with her Gallic grace and bikini, St Tropez is every bit as alluring today.
As well as bistros, bars and its share of bocce grids, St Tropez is a popular stopover on any charter itinerary. From its various incarnations as fishing village, port, military stronghold and artist enclave, St Tropez is a good mix of everything the Riviera is renowned for. Place des Lices with its bountiful local produce at the markets held Tuesdays and Saturdays., the fortified Citadel, Chapelle Ste-Anne and Notre Dame de l’Assomption are places of interest.
The Hyéres Islands
The Hyéres Islands, or Golden Islands, are south of the Riviera, and ideal for Charterers looking for a peaceful stop to enjoy swimming, water sports, and perhaps bicycling or hiking.
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