France yacht charter
This is ‘it’ when it comes to luxury yachts. And, there are very good reasons why France, in the heart of Europe, is perhaps the world's most popular superyacht charter destination. The eastern side gives the Mediterranean hotspots like The French Riviera, Cannes, St Tropes, Cap Ferrat, Nice, Antibes, the Porquerolles Islands and then… there is the Bay of Biscay, Brittany and Normandy as well – they all have an ideal climate and diverse scenery for charter itineraries as well as stunning coastlines, culture and picturesque harbours. Also, it just happens to be where the big boats are. So, fly into France and set sail for Monaco (the neigbouring principality), Cannes or St Tropez in the Mediterranean Sea or even go the alternative trend and head north to see the amazing Mont St Michel in the English Channel. If you haven’t been sailing here yet and need more convincing, try talking to an experienced charter broker. They know France very well, as well as many other favoured yachting locations.
The luxury superyacht charter season here in this beautiful part of the world is the same as Europe, so it extends from April to October. During this period the wind is unlikely to be too strong and the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean and English Channel are usually quiet. Relax on board your yacht rental while the tidal currents help the skipper to navigate the many exotic ports. It's not surprising that world famous painters like Cezanne and Picasso chose to live in the French Riviera.
"This is ‘it’ when it comes to luxury yachts. And, there are reasons why France is perhaps the world's most popular superyacht charter destination. The French Riviera, Cannes, St Tropes, Villefranche, the Porquerolles Islands..."
There's so much to see and do here, so make sure you reserve more than one week onboard a superyacht charter. Visit Cannes Croisette and walk in the footsteps of the movie stars or choose a spot on the wonderful beach in elegant St Tropez alongside rich and famous celebrities. The quaint old port of Nice acts like a magnet for luxury yacht charter vessels while the casino in Monaco attracts people from all walks of life. If you're looking for a quiet couple of day during your yacht rental voyage, head for the beautiful Porquerolles, the Esterel Cliffs or the Lerins Islands. Don't miss out on the opportunity to visit the idyllic seaside towns of Villefranche or Eze-sur-Mer.
The French Riviera is also the ideal starting point for an exciting Mediterranean cruise which could include Corsica, Sardinia, the Ligurian and the Tuscan Italian coast. This is another reason why there are so many large mega yacht charters available in France. How about including the Spanish city of Barcelona and the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Ibiza, Minorca and Formentera? As part of your French luxury yacht charter vacation, spend a few days sailing around the Bay of Biscay in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located on the western coast of France the Bay of Biscay is very popular for superyacht charter enthusiasts who wish to visit the area's major cities like Bordeaux, Nantes, Brest and La Rochelle. Sail further north up the French coastline towards the English Channel to explore Normandy and the towns of Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre and Rouen.
Here is a quick mention of a selection of charter hotspots in France:
Antibes, Cap d'Antibes and Juan les Pins
Antibes which was once an ancient Greek and Roman fortified town, is now a bustling port town and a favorite yachting center. One of its famous landmarks is the Chateau in the Old Town which houses the Picasso Museum. Antibes also has many old winding streets, a great variety of food catering for the yachting industry. There are lots of key yachts and boat brokerages based in and around the port making it feel like a superyacht charter playground. The nearby town of Juan les Pins is a typical French seaside resort with a charming sandy beaches and exciting nightlife. More on Antibes here.
The seaside town of Bandol also has spectacular sandy beaches, cliffs and inlets. Bandol offers a spectacular natural environment surrounded by hills of pines and willows, perfect for a picnic. The port here shelters more than 1500 boats of all sizes, designs and makes. There's a good range of seaside cafes where you can grab a bite to eat, savor a French wine and watch the world go by. During your time ashore in Bandol, visit the nearby vineyards which are reputed to have the best red grapes in the South of France.
Beaulieu sur Mer
When on vacation in the heart of the French Riviera, set sail for the pretty seaside resort of Beaulieu sur Mer. Beaulieu sur Mer borders the regions of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Eze and Villefranche sur Mer, six miles east from Nice and west of Monaco. Sheltered from the cold Alps' winds, Beaulieu has luscious vegetation and is renowned for its lemons, bananas and oranges.
Cannes in the French Riviera is a must-visit destination on your luxury yacht charter holiday. This city is famous for the Cannes Film Festival which takes place every year during the middle of May. Cannes offers plenty of panache and glitz especially when the movie stars are in town. It has a gorgeous curving Croisette boardwalk that spans the entire bay which connects the two ports. Don't be surprised to see chic French ladies dressed in fur walking their poodles. Top up your tan on the golden sandy beach then experience boutique shopping, French style, in the main street Rue d'Antibes. The bay itself is quite spectacular surrounded by hills and eye-catching rock formations. Onboard your yacht rental on a clear day you can even see the French Alps, so don't forget your camera. Of course there are amazing yachts moored in the bay of Cannes many of which belong to the rich and famous. More on Cannes charters here.
Have a relaxing lunch in the charming port of Cassis, an old fishing town near Marseille. Some of the buildings date back to the 16th century and have old fountains. Buy a painting of the town and harbor at an open air artists market as a souvenir of your visit. Take a stroll past the Chateaux de la Maison des Baux, built in 1381, for spectacular views of the village and harbor. Sample some of the best wines in the region or go hiking in the hills before returning to your superyacht.
Frejus is renowned for its beautiful white long sandy beaches and Roman ruins. The old town also attracts many tourists during the summer months. San Raphael has the third largest marina on the French Riviera as well as a bustling old town which is directly opposite the beach. The kids will love a day out at Luna Park Aqualand or the Base Nature Amusement Park.
The Lerin Islands are two large islands located just off the coast of Cannes. Ile Saint-Marguerite has a pine and eucalyptus forest. Sail round the coast to Saint Honorat with its impressive monastery, the Monastere Fortifie facing the Mediterranean Sea. The monastery is still home to Cistercian monks who have inhabited the island since the 11th century.
Marseille has one of the French Riviera's most beautiful old ports. It's the perfect getaway for a Mediterranean cruise offering a spectacular coastline not too far away from Cassis, Bandol and the Porquerolles. When ashore don't miss out on trying the famous Bouillabaisse, a fish stew local to the area.
Monaco is of course not technically France at all, but as far as geography is concerned the Principality is positioned right on the French Riviera between France and Italy. Most yachts enjoying a France yacht charter will either visit Monaco (Monte Carlo) or sail right past it. When it comes to a yacht rental vacation, Monaco offers style and panache. It hosts many of the world's most impressive and largest yachts as well as providing a fabulous backdrop in the harbor. Arrange your sailing trip to Monaco to coincide with the Formula One Grand Prix which usually takes place in May. Try your luck at the casino playing blackjack, roulette or poker.
The splendid French Riviera port of Nice is a very popular boating destination. Nice is a large town that retains its worldly charm. Have a walk along the Promenade des Anglais to get the feeling of what Nice is all about. Admire the interesting architecture and explore the old town with its lively markets. More on chartering in Nice here.
Porquerolles is the largest of the three islands of Or in the Hyeres Gulf, not too far away from Toulon. It's a major French Riviera destination for all types of superyachts that drop anchor in the many bays and harbors. Try the excellent seafood available on the island and rent a bike for a day's exploration. More on the Iles d’Hyères here.
The world famous French Riviera resort of Saint Tropez is a sailing yacht charter paradise. It's a place where the rich and famous hang out especially around Pampelonne Beach or onboard their luxurious yachts in the old port. Pampelonne Beach offers lots of beach clubs which includes the famous Club 55. Buy a chair and umbrella for the day, enjoy a spot of lunch with a rose wine, relax and watch the world go by. Saint Tropez's port is brimming with classic yachts many of which are owned by movie stars or celebrities. Try some shopping therapy where you can buy exclusive labels and a huge range of top quality goods. Saint Tropez yacht charters are here.
As part of your French Riviera luxury yacht charter vacation why not stay overnight in Villefranche-sur-Mer? It's a quaint port between Monaco and Nice located along the Cote D'Azur coast. This medieval port has plenty of interesting history and beautiful views of the town, surrounding hills and cliffs. Take a stroll along the cobbled stone streets in the busy town which has distinctive houses and buildings with red tiled roofs. Enjoy a French coffee in one of the terrace cafes or a delicious meal in a restaurant in the old town before returning to your superyacht for the next part of the journey. This part of the French coast includes Cap Ferrat and here is more info on chartering there.
The climate in the French Riviera
The unique position of the French Riviera between the Mediterranean Sea and the French Alps is what makes the climate here perfect for sailing. Expect warm sunny days throughout the year even during the winter months of November to February. The temperature really rises during June to September where it's not uncommon to reach 90 degrees plus. Winter temperatures are generally in the 70s to the low 80s making the French Riviera an attractive all year round superyacht destination. The famous Mistral winds in the Var region, the western area, can produce challenging sailing conditions which will give you an idea of how exciting life at sea can really be.