France – Le Sud: French Riviera and the Southern Coast

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Bienvenue at your nautical Elysium, one of the BoatPlanner’s most loved sailing destinations! France’s bipolar physiognomy as a sailing destination, from the rugged Atlantic splendor and Celtic soul of Britain’s coastline to the elegant Mediterranean allure of the French Riviera, down south, sets a diverse terrain for marine holiday adventurers to explore, with the two destinations being poles apart. So, let’s Divide and Conquer!

Le Sud: French Riviera and the Southern Coast

The French South unveils a whole different sailing experience, attracting hordes of bon viveurs. The amazing Mediterranean Sea casts its spell on the cosmopolitan shores and BoatPlanner is your trusted companion on board. Oh, la Mer…!

The French Riviera or Cote d’ Azur exerts a magnetic charm to jet-setters, celebrities, and artists from all over the world. This sun-kissed Mediterranean upper-class paradise is synonymous with glamour and sophistication.

Further to the west, high-traffic harbor towns like Toulon and Marseille unveil a distinct essence of Le Sud, where Mediterranean charm meets the vagabond mariner’s lifestyle.

Let the Mediterranean Mistral guide your vessel to the shimmering ports of Marseille, the vibrant marinas in Saint Tropez, or the timeless graceful moorings in Cannes. Along the way, you may find tens of coves and lively ports to relax and unwind.

Nice: Port de Nice is a well-equipped marina with a capacity for numerous vessels. It’s conveniently located near the city center. The Baie des Anges is also a safe spot to drop anchor.

Cannes: The Cannes Harbor is a world-famous marina that hosts numerous events and festivals year-round. Anchoring in the bay is permitted in designated areas.

Saint-Tropez: The famous Port of Saint-Tropez attracts glamorous visitors. There are anchorages available in the bay, but it can get crowded during peak season.

Antibes: Port Vauban in Antibes is one of the largest marinas in the Mediterranean, offering 1,500 berths, for vessels of various sizes. is Situated near the Cap d’ Antibes, Port de l’Olivette is a smaller and quieter alternative, providing essential amenities for boaters.

Monaco: Port Hercule, the main port in Monaco is a glamorous destination for a large number of vessels including superyachts. The harbor offers an array of services, including fine dining, shopping, and access to the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. Close to the Stade Louis II and the Monaco Heliport, the Fontvieille Harbor is known for its modern and luxurious facilities.

Corsica: The fourth largest island in the Mediterranean and one of the 18 regions of France, is accessible to sailors and yachters through the Port de Plaisance de Bonifacio, a popular and well-protected marina. Port de Plaisance in Calvi is located near the historic town of Calvi. Port Tino Rossi is Ajaccio’s marina, the birthplace of Napoleon. Porto Vecchio is a modern marina to dock near a charming town with intense nightlife.

Toulon: A little further to the west, off the French Riviera, Toulon’s harbor is a significant naval base and a leisure marina. Toulon Bay offers calm spots for anchorage.

Marseille: Marseille is France’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce, freight, and cruise ships. Vieux-Port (Old Port) of Marseille is popular among sailors, offering easy access to the city. Port Calanques is located near the stunning Calanques National Park.

Weather & Climate

Blessed with its diverse geography, southern France offers favorable sailing conditions throughout the year. The Mediterranean climate ensures longer summers and milder winters.

History & Places of Interest

The French Riviera embodies a refined cultural charm. Stroll through the streets of Cannes, Nice, and Antibes and you will feel the echoes of a glamorous past, with its Belle Epoque architecture and luxurious resorts.

Visit the Palais des Festivals et des Congres in Cannes, the very one hosting the Cannes Film Festival. A short sail away from Cannes you may find the Iles de Lerins, a group of islands with historical sites, including the Fort Royal and Saint-Honorat Abbey.

The famous ‘Promenade des Anglais’ is a stunning seaside walk along the coastline of Nice. Roman history is narrated through the amphitheater and the bathhouses of Cimiez Roman Ruins, again in Nice. If you are interested in great art, visit the Musee Matisse, and the Chagall National Museum, to explore the artistic legacy of two famous painters, before you leave Nice.

The Musee de la Annonciade, in Saint-Tropez, is an eloge to the Impressionists, and Musee Picasso, in Antibes, housed in the Chateau Grimaldi, displays works by Pablo Picasso.

Corsica: Admire the red granite buildings in L’ Ile-Rousse and the dramatic red cliffs in Calanques de Piana. Ajaccio is where you will find the Maison Bonaparte, the birthplace of Great Napoleon.

Dock your anchor in Marseille and you will be surprised with the couleur locale. La Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde offers stunning views of the beautiful harbor. Visit the Chateau d’It, a fortress and former prison located on the island of If, made famous by Alexandre Dumas in his oeuvre ‘Count of Monte Cristo’.

Beaches

Plage de la Croisette, Cannes: La Croisette is known for its glamorous atmosphere, with luxury beachfront hotels and restaurants.

Plage de Pampelonne, Saint-Tropez: Famous for its lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it is full of beach clubs, bars, restaurants, and of course celebrities.

Plage Beau Rivage: A popular private beach with sun loungers, umbrellas, and a beachfront restaurant.

Plage de Carras: A public beach with clear waters and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Plage de la Salis, Antibes: A family-friendly sandy beach, with calm waters and nearby amenities.

Plage de Palombaggia, Corsica: A rather secluded beach with clear waters and a lush backdrop of pine trees, it is considered one of the most romantic beaches in France. 

Activities

The French Riviera, known for its glamorous lifestyle, offers a wide range of activities to suit various interests. The Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco is by far an experience not to miss, if not for gambling, at least for admiring the opulence of one of the world’s most famous casinos.

A number of sailing regattas take place in the waters of Cote d’Azur. Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is an annual sailing regatta featuring both modern and classic yachts and the Cannes Yachting Festival plays host to the latest luxury yachts and sailboats. 

Festivals and events, such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Nice Carnival, Jazz a Juan, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo, are the pinnacle of the French Riviera’s peak seasons, drawing visitors from around the world to this glamorous coastal paradise.

If you are looking for an exclusive upper-class sports experience, play a round of golf in Golf de Biot, with stunning views of the French Riviera.

Of course, none of you should be prepared to leave, unless you taste the local wines and the cuisine Provencale, or go for a… wallet stretch, shopping in the luxury boutiques in Cannes!