French Riviera has the glitz and glamour rivalled by few places on earth. The Côte d’Azur is famous for the glamour of St. Tropez, Monaco and the Cannes Film Festival. The Riviera and the adjacent autonomous Monaco together are the world’s most popular destination for summer yacht charters. As much as 75 percent of the global charter industry’s business happens here during summer season, with all sizes yachts and sailing yachts and styles available to participate in the fun. Monaco, in fact, officially ushers the start of the Mediterranean season with the Grand Prix each May. The coastal towns are gems and the backcountry beyond is well worth exploring. Take a trip to the villages perched in the mauve‐coloured hills for authentic village life. Have a lovely stay in the city of Antibes, where one of the marina docks is memorably known as “Billionaire’s Row.” A stop in Saint‐Tropez is a must for fine dining and late‐night dancing, while walking the narrow stone streets in Nice almost always results in an encounter with meandering artists. Downtown Monaco remains a fantastic destination with architectural gems such as the Casino, Hôtel de Paris and the Hotel Hermitage.
The principality of Monaco is built into the sweeping hills that surround the coastline, home to elite events such as the Monaco Grand Prix, it attracts the rich and famous to it’s great number of designer shops, vibrant bars and top restaurants. A must visit for those wishing to sample some of the best nightlife in the Riviera. Monaco is almost synonymous with style, money, gambling and Formula 1 in many people’s minds, and deservedly so. It also hosts many of the worlds largest and most amazing yachts. But beyond the glitz, Monaco is a stunningly beautiful town/country with the Grimaldi Palace, impressive mountainous backdrop, and architecture
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the most famous of the `Caps` in the French Riviera, and home to exclusive villas, the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat, the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild with its incredible gardens, and a nice Zoo. This stunning peninsula features a picturesque port, and has a delightful stone path that allows you to hike the entire peninsula by the sea. There`s a small beach near the port, but Cap-Ferrat is famously jagged, making for excellent picture taking opportunities.
Nice is both a very popular boating destination, as well as the main entry point to the French Riviera because of the Nice/Cote d’Azur airport. It is a fairly large town, with approximately 400K inhabitants, but also retains its old world charm in the beautiful Old Port and the Old Town with its excellent markets. From the Promenade des Anglais, which is a long boardwalk curving along the entire waterfront, you still get a feeling for its early 1900’s beautiful architecture. You can find all kinds of restaurants and activities, as befits a town of its size. One warning, the beach is pebbled, not sandy.
Both an ancient Greek and Roman fortified town, today Antibes is a bustling port town and yachting centre. The most notable landmark is the chateau in the Old Town, housing the Picasso Museum. Antibes has many old winding streets, a good variety of food, and is today heavily influenced by the yachting industry, as many key Yachts and Boat Brokerages are based there, and “yachties” abound. The adjacent Juan‐les‐Pins town is a typical French seaside resort, offering sandy beaches and a good night life
The “Iles de Lérins” are two large islands that lie just off the coast of Cannes. Ile Sainte-Marguerite is the larger island and is covered by a pine and eucalyptus forest. There are a few cafes and restaurants, and history buffs can visit the cell where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned. Ile Saint-Honorat, just south, has a Cisterian abbey that still produces a local wine. The passage between the islands is a popular anchor point for many of the yachts of the region, and a great place to stay for the night if you’ve been visiting Cannes or Antibes.
After your time on the Lerin Islands rise with the glorious Mediterranean sun and sail down the coast to Cannes. Once a small fishing village, Cannes is now a glamorous and expensive seaside town considered to be one of the social hubs of Europe. Its moment to shine arrives in May as the venue for the Cannes Film Festival, entertaining the rich and famous. Stroll the Croiseje for a few new treasures then head to Le Marais for a casual bistro with much Rue de Faubourg chic. See the beautiful, red volcanic mountains called Massif de l’Estérel as you go further down the coast.
FREJUS & SAINT RAPHAËL
Frejus is well known for its beautiful long and wide white sandy beaches and the nearby Roman ruins. It also boasts a nice old town, is a very popular tourist destination in the summer for French and visitors from all over Europe. Saint Raphaël offers a bustling old town directly on the beach, and the third largest marina on the French Riviera.
POMPELONNE BAY & ST. TROPHEZ
Go down the coast to glamorous St Tropez and anchor in the sprawling Port de Saint Tropez. Once ashore, opportunities abound: work up an appetite with some shopping along the Place de la Garonne then head to the beloved Tropesian institution Club 55 where the cuisine is rivalled only by the sea view and flamboyant clientele.
ILE DU LEVANT, PORT CROS & ILE DE PORQUERROLES
Legend has it that the gods transformed three swimming princesses into these islands, and the results are stunning when viewed from the sea. Ile du Levant and Port Cros are best viewed from the sea, as Port Cros is a national park and Ile du Levant is a nudist colony. The largest of the three islands, Porquerolles, offers some beautiful bays for swimming and taking lunch. Despite its tourist pull, it is surprisingly unspoilt with white sandy beaches and beautiful woodland covering the island. Well worth an extended lunch to explore this island.
Finish your great trip along the French Riviera in Hyères. Once considered the Côte d’Azur’s premier resort, Hyères has managed to retain its charm and colonial air. The Port of Hyères is located near the beach of la Capte, and is a short walk from the centre of town. Travel back to St. Tropez and end your journey with a lovely dinner at Résidence de la Pinède.
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