Sailing the French Riviera
With a nickname like Cote d’Azur, or azure coast, it’s easy to see why the French Riviera is a dream destination for many. As well as boasting impressive natural beauty, the reputation of the French Riviera has been steadily bolstered throughout the twentieth century by famed artists and writers, including Picasso, Matisse, Edith Wharton, and Aldous Huxley, who took residence in its idyllic cities. Fortunately, with a relatively short coastline of approximately 560km-640km, the French Riviera is the perfect sailing destination for those wanting to experience its tranquil coast. Here we explore some of the most popular destinations that charterers seek out on the French Riviera, as well as some lesser known gems.
Some key favourites along the Riviera
After preparing your yacht, or hiring one from a digital platform like Ahoy Club, it’s time to start planning your French Riviera adventure. With so many beautiful places to visit, it’s often hard to know where to start – if this is the case for you, you could do worse than Nice, the capital of the Riviera. As you approach Nice from afar, you’ll be able to see the Alps run into the sea, helping shelter the coast from unpleasant weather and giving the city a mild climate year-round. For charterers looking for more cultural hotspots, the city of Marseille is very readily considered the cultural capital of southern France. Here, after settling into one of the yacht clubs’ pontoons on the south side of the Vieux Port, make sure to try the incredible Provençal fish stew bouillabaisse complimented by a glass of famed Provence rosé. After you’ve made the most of these popular cities, it’s time to keep to keep an eye out for some less appreciated gems!
Hidden treasures for you to discover
Those with a penchant for art culture will likely seek out the city of Collioure near the Spanish border. It is here that renowned artists such as Henri Matisse, Raoul Dufy, Juan Gris spent a great deal of time, making Collioure feel much like an artist’s colony. This is best exemplified in the Hotel des Templiers – the owner of the hotel during the city’s artistic heyday accepted paintings as payment for rooms, and the hotel to this day maintains an impressive selection of 20th-Century art. Unlike Collioure, the city of Sète reflects more of a working-class atmosphere, and is still very much a working port. It is here in the Gulf of Lion where you can explore the Canal du Rhône à Sete and its beautiful vistas. St-Raphaël Vieux Port is a harbour with a similar feel, where you can stroll by worn fishing boats and their crew to the fish market itself, where you’re sure to be greeted by an overwhelming scene.
Why not visit the Riviera today?
There are many, many more places to visit along the beautiful Côte d’Azur, including popular yacht destinations such as Cannes (why not even pop in during the festival!), Antibes, Juan-les-Pins and St-Tropez. The versatility of the Riviera is another of its strengths – you can just as easily stop off for a lazy lunch in a charming bay as you could join in the hustle and bustle on the beautiful beaches. On the French Riviera, you have the good fortune to be able to do it all, and the consistently approachable weather will make it easy to do so.