Yacht Charter Itinerary: The South of France (French Riviera)
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Why choose the South of France (French Riviera) cruising grounds?
The South of France is the summer destination of choice for a Mediterranean luxury yacht charter because of the spectacular array of summer events, child-friendly venues and glamorous evening entertainments from bustling nightclubs to elegant galas and casinos that can be packed into a single week-long charter itinerary.
The melting pot of ancient cultures has left behind distinctive architectural styles that blend seamlessly with the natural environment, and star-studded events such as the Cannes Film Festival give the region contemporary appeal. Lastly, the crooked coastline has all sorts of bays and islands for an escape from the cities and into the wilds, where you and your group can focus on hobbies and having quality time together without any distractions.
Take life at your own pace along the French Riviera with this sample itinerary going from the peaceful surroundings of the Îles d'Hyères to the bright city lights of Monaco.
Day 1: Îles d'Hyères
The five Îles d'Hyères are a peaceful retreat from the busy mainland that will appeal to families and romantics looking to spend the day on pristine beaches, walking the grassy tracks along the coast and exploring the carefully preserved villages. Porquerolles and Port Cros are the largest and most popular destinations, the former having a variety of boutiques and restaurants and the latter a national park where rare flora and fauna thrive.
Notre Dame Beach, Le Pelagos Restaurant, The Olivier Restaurant
Day 2: Saint Tropez
Pontillist Paul Signac captured the cafe culture and easy-going nature of Saint Tropez inhabitants and visitors alike, and its fame with libertine lifestyle-lovers the world over was cemented following the film 'And God Created Woman'.
Today, Saint Tropez is still a haven for artists and photographers while party-goers have a myriad of exclusive bars and clubs to unwind during the day and dance through the night: Les Caves du Roy has maintained its status as France's most prestigious night club for over 40 years. While waiting for the night life to kick off, Pampelonne Beach stretches for miles and is the ideal place to get out the motorised water toys.
As the most famous beach resort in the French Riviera, visiting by luxury yacht ensures that you can skip the crowds at the height of summer and visit the hotspots of this idyllic location.
Pampelonne Beach, Graniers Beach, Salins Beach, Club 55, Tahiti Beach, Les Caves du Roy, Gaio, VIP Room
Day 3: Cannes & Îles de Lérins
There is always something to do and see in Cannes, arguably the most iconic luxury yachting destination in the Western Mediterranean: Celebrities arrive each year in May for the Cannes Film Festival which commences a summer of galas and parties after sundown. During the day there are numerous galleries and museums to visit, of which Musée de la Castre is a short stroll from the marina into the picturesque old district of Le Suquet.
When you want an escape from chic city living for tranquil wilderness, the Îles de Lérins are just a short cruise south. Île Sainte-Marguerite boasts numerous little coves ending in sandy shores for private beach escapes, and the area is a haven for superyachts who want to try out all their water toys. The historic old Fort Royal held 'the Man in the Iron Mask' during the 17th Century and is an entertaining day out for families of all ages.
Cannes Film Festival (14-25 May 2019), Cannes Yachting Festival, International Games Festival (22-24 February 2019), Pyrotechnic Fireworks Festival, Musée de la Castre, Île Sainte-Marguerite
Day 4: Antibes
Luxury yachts will pass by the Cap d'Antibes as the group cruises east from Cannes to Monaco, and among the stunning cliff-side residences is the famous Eden Roc Hotel where guests can take in panoramic views of the sea from the Michelin restaurant La Passagère.
Experience life as a local and wander through the early morning market (open every day but Monday), take in the artwork of Picasso and stroll through the rose-lined gardens of Exflora Park. Rest on Garoupe Beach or cruise around to the secluded coves for a spot of sunbathing in private on your sundeck. Spend the afternoon shopping for luxury goods as you explore more of the old Roman architecture, then treat loved ones to a special meal at the Michelin restaurants Le Figueur de St-Esprit or Le Bacon Restaurant.
Hotel du Cap Eden Roc, Picasso Museum, Absinthe Museum, La Garoupe Beach, Grotte de Miro dive site, Le Figueur de St-Esprit Restaurant, Le Bacon restaurant
Day 5: Nice & Villefranche-sur-Mer
Cosmopolitan Nice has long been a holiday destination for the rich and famous, including Russia's elite who built the colourful Russian Orthodox Cathedral and its golden iconoclast wall. After visiting the Picasso Museum in Antibes art aficionados should also stop by to view the works of Matisse; the museum has work from his entire lifetime and draws inspiration from the local surroundings as well as from abroad.
The beach stretches along the whole of the waterfront for family fun in the sun, and choice boutiques, cafes and Michelin restaurants such as Le Chantecler line the road known as 'Promenade des Anglais'. Scuba divers and snorkelers have a choice of sites in the nearby bay on the way to the more tranquil Villefranche-sur-Mer: Cave dives, wrecks and little lagoons along the coast filled with fish, octopus and even the occasional sea horse. Once moored in Villefranche-sur-Mer, the group can relax with a traditional freshly-caught meal at one of the restaurants before sunbathing on the beach or visiting the museums hidden away within Citadel St Elmo.
Musée Matisse, Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Le Chantecler Resturant, Citadel St Elmo
Day 6: Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat & Eze
On a cruise between Nice and Monaco, Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is perfect for and afternoon break from cruising for more fabulous sandy beaches great for family activities and fun with the water toys. In addition to the beautiful clean seaside, there are numerous places of interest, including the Villa and Gardens of Ephrussi de Rothschild and every August music lovers can be serenaded by the Les Azuriales Opera Festival.
Snorkelers and Scuba divers have the chance to see amazing coral structures and octopus while deeper depths hide sea fans and colourful nudibranchs, and fishing enthusiasts have an abundance of species to catch.
The hill-top village of Eze is a visual delight: Purple bougainvillea tumbles over pale stone villas that hide boutique shops, cafes and galleries within. Amble through the Exotic Garden and marvel at the views out to sea, then dine out and watch the sunset from Michelin restaurant La Chèvre d'Or. Take home a special souvenir of your visit - or a gift for a loved one - from Parfumerie Fragonard.
Villa and Gardens of Ephrussi de Rothschild, Michelin restaurant La Chèvre d'Or, Parfumerie Fragonard
Day 7: Monaco
No trip along the French Riviera would be complete without a visit to Monaco, which offers utter indulgence from the moment you arrive in Port Hercule or Port de Fontvieille just the other side of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
Monte Carlo is the place to see and be seen, where your group will be inundated with Michelin restaurants (booking advised), and where big spenders and party-goers can spend the night in revelry at the opulent Casino de Monte Carlo.
As host to the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix, it will come as no surprise that there is a Monaco Top Cars Collection to visit amongst the parks, zoos and nearby Naval Museum and Maritime Museum, giving culture-seekers plenty to take in while taking a break from the beaches and sunshine.
Monaco Grand Prix (23 - 26 May 2019), Casino de Monte Carlo, Louis XV
Other Noteworthy destinations:
Cassis and the Calanques National Park