Blog all about Luxury Travel on the French Riviera and Côte d'Azur
Author: Alex Coles
I am cofounder and senior yacht charter broker at Bespoke Yacht Charter. We are a London and French Riviera based yacht brokerage offering crewed luxury yacht charters and boat rentals in the south of France, throughout the Mediterranean and beyond.
When you’re staying on the French Riviera, you’ll probably want to splurge on one or two excellent restaurants as a treat, but you’ll doubtless want to explore some of the best affordable restaurants on the Cote d’Azur too.
On its five stunning Caps, which are the best affordable restaurants on the Cote d’Azur? Here we’ll discover the hidden gems that serve up delicious food and a fun atmosphere, just with less of the formality and expense.
A look at the best affordable restaurants on the Cote d’Azur
La Joliette: This relaxed beachside club and restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine, with plenty of fresh seafood and vegetarian options too.
Le Cap, Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel: On this beautiful terrace overlooking the sea, tuck into classics such as Caesar salad or steak tartare, Thai and Asian dishes, pasta, fish and meat. They also have a children’s menu.
Les Amoureux: Just around the Cap in Nice’s old port, this understated restaurant serves up great pizzas, artisan Neapolitan beers and delicious desserts. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is cosy.
Daki-Daia: While this understated establishment might not shout about itself being the best restaurant in Nice, the Moroccan and Lebanese local offers seasonal mezze dishes and house cocktails, with friendly service in a perfect location overlooking the port.
Jasmine Grill & Lounge, Hotel Royal Riviera:This eaterie is known for its wonderful ambiance and views, welcoming and professional staff and a wide choice of dishes, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
La Goelette: At a great location overlooking the Port St Jean, this veggie-friendly restaurant also serves up big portions of seafood risotto, paella and pasta with an efficient and friendly service, while its own live DJ entertains.
La Cambuse: Overlooking the port, this unpretentious and dog-friendly restaurant serves fresh seasonal produce, including grilled seafood, fish stews and soups, burgers, charcuterie platters and omelettes.
La Grotte & L’Olivier: Located in a stunning cliffside setting in the old village, this restaurant serves great cocktails, salads, pizzas and fish, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, all with an excellent service.
To enjoy all that the French Riviera has to offer, why not rent a villa on the Cap de Nice, from where you can try the best restaurant in Nice, as well as some of the best affordable restaurants of the Cote d’Azur?
September is the best month to visit the South of France, and the ideal time to charter a luxury yacht on the stunning French Riviera. Summer has yet to come to an end and Fall has yet to start, which lets you enjoy the warm temperatures, sunshine and scenery with fewer crowds around. The stunning white beaches and turquoise waters that make up the stunning coastline of the Cote d’Azur are easily admired from the comforts of a luxury charter yacht. Evenings are pleasant balmy, offering gorgeous sunsets which can either be enjoyed from the privacy of your deck or a world-class restaurant.
As one of the most popular cruising hotspots in the world, visiting the French Riviera in September means fewer tourists and people, and more time to enjoy the number of festivals, events and parties taking place. Take your time exploring the hidden charms of Cannes, the magical city of Monaco or historical sites in Nice in peace. Be sure to take advantage of the European Heritage Days, which lets you visit unique locations usually closed off to the public. But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of locals around creating a warm, vibrant and welcoming atmosphere wherever you may go – from world-class dining to luxury shopping districts and historical sites.
If you are cruising down the French Riviera in September, then be sure to stop by the Cannes Yachting Festival, taking place from September 8 to 13 at Port Canto. See some of the most amazing motor yachts, sailboats and superyachts up close and in person. If you are looking to see some of these yachts in action, then be sure to stop by St Tropez towards the end of the month to watch the sailing regatta Le Voiles de Saint-Tropez.
Nestled between France’s Maritime Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, Monaco mixes astonishing coastal cliffs and utopic beaches with mountainous zones and lush greenery. Not sure where to go to appreciate the wide variety of trails, viewpoints and gardens around Monaco? Here are our top 4 Monaco nature spots.
Here’s where to appreciate nature in Monaco & beyond
The Sentier Littoral
The Sentier Littoral is a long coastal path outlining the rugged Cote d’Azur coastline. A favourite of Winston Churchill and Greta Garbo, the path is family-friendly, safe and signposted all along the way. The Sentier Littoral also crosses some of the best of Monaco’s gardens and landmarks – such as the Japanese gardens and the Grimaldi Forum – meaning you can sneak a peek as you wander.
Start out at Plage Marquet in Monaco and make your way to Cap d’Ail. For hiking aficionados, the path continues all the way up to Menton. The crystal-clear Mediterranean is the perfect blue backdrop for this scenic route that will show you the best of Monaco’s nature. Discover rare flora and fauna, volcanic rock and lush wooded areas along the way, and don’t forget to pack a towel in case you decide to take a cool dip in a secluded beach.
The Gorges du Loup
Spectacular waterfalls, thrilling wooded trails and steep limestone canyon views await you in the Loup Valley, at the feet of the Gourdon. This must-see spot, although located roughly 50 kilometres from the Principality, will amaze all those looking for nature near Monaco. Make sure you stop by the impressive Cascade de Courmes, a freefalling waterfall that lands on mossy rocks and turquoise pools.
The small medieval villages and picturesque towns in the surrounding Provence are worth a visit as well!
The Dog’s Head of Monaco
If you don’t want to leave the Principality, the Chemin Romain is a fantastic path that mixes panoramic urban views with stunning Monaco nature. Start the hike in Cap d’Ail and climb your way up to the Dog’s Head, a 550-meter-high rock historically used as a military strategic base that overlooks the French Riviera and beautiful Monaco gardens.
From wildflower patches to vistas of the glittering sea and views of luxurious Monaco real estate, this 6.5 kilometer walk is worth breaking a sweat for. The signposted path can be quite steep and climbing may be required in some areas.
The Massif de l’Esterel
Roughly 80 kilometres away from Monaco, the Massif’s rugged landscapes, sharp cliffs and arid red rock almost feels like an other-worldly experience. The Massif offers many marked paths for all levels of hiking and biking. From deep ravines, secluded coves and sunny peaks to dry lands, coastal views and beautiful lush greenery, the range of microclimates and landscapes are representative of the wide variety of nature near Monaco.
The Massif offers year-round spectacular views of the Mediterranean but only a few lucky ones will be able to spot Corsica on extra-clear days. Don’t miss out on the vistas from the Pic de l’Ours and Pic du Cap Roux.
In the late 19th century Britain held a foreign policy known as ‘Splendid Isolation.’ It has always seemed a fitting name for a luxury private yacht (MY Splendid Isolation, anyone?). And never so much as now. In the age of coronavirus, isolation has never been so splendid.
A charter yacht is perfectly equipped for riding out or recovering from a pandemic, all the while still offering the glamorous surroundings, exquisite food, and pampering one can expect of the world’s most elite vacation option. Days on a yacht charter are spent diving and snorkelling, swimming off the yacht, and exploring quiet beaches and hidden forest paths. The yacht has WIFI, an abundance of onboard entertainment and watertoys, and a professional crew including a private chef. There is no need to go ashore at all.
A yacht is a floating luxury island with its very own drawbridge. In times like these, it is a fortress.
With many yachting regions in lockdown, it’s clear that right now is not the time to charter in much of the world. But when quarantine ends, people will desperately want to go on holiday with their loved ones again – to feel the sunshine on their faces, the water on their skin, and revel in the heady rush of newfound freedom. Families will be looking for safe, low-risk holiday options– ones which don’t involve crowds, hotels, or cruise ships. Vacations where they can leave the world and its worries behind.
In times of uncertainty, there is no safer vacation option than a private yacht.
Looking forward: Charter in Summer 2020
The peak of the virus in Europe is expected sometime in the next month, and it is predicted that life will begin to look more like normal in July. The fact that we are now in mid April means that the Mediterranean yacht charter season can likely be salvaged. It may start in July and run a little later than usual, but as the charter season has been extending further into autumn with each passing year, we can reasonably expect a good number of September and October charters in addition to those in July and August.
Of course, there is no certainty, but those clients feeling cautious have no need to delay making a booking, as new MYBA charter contracts are being drawn up with an addendum allowing the client to cancel or postpone their charter in the event that the situation becomes dangerous or the charterer cannot get to the yacht due to border closures. In fact, those who act now might even get a bargain on charter rates and have their pick of popular charter yachts which would normally be booked out a year in advance. There’s another upside too: for those chartering early in the recovery as countries just start to open up again, they may experience a Mediterranean yacht season quite unlike any other, with quiet anchorages, crystal clear waters, and crowd-free beaches.
Here are some reassuring reasons why a yacht charter in summer 2020 is still a good idea.
Yachts have enviable self-sufficiency
A well-stocked yacht is the perfect place to be during a pandemic, or as Europe begins its recovery.
The reason for this is what is referred to as a yacht’s ‘autonomy’: the self-sufficiency of a yacht in regards to its water, fuel, and food supply. Because any yachts with transatlantic range need to be self-sufficient for a minimum of two weeks, these vessels can conduct long charters without needing to return to port. Explorer charter yachts are particularly well-suited, as they are built for long-range and remote cruising with high levels of self-sufficiency.
Yachts have their own watermakers and sewerage systems, refrigeration and storage capabilities. Garbage disposal can be done via tender runs to port, and the yacht’s fuel supply is also used to run generators to power the yacht’s electricity needs. When the yacht does need to be restocked, it doesn’t even have to come into a marina; crew can order what they need through dedicated yacht provisioners, who deliver the supplies to the dock or to the boat at anchor. Packaging contamination isn’t a concern either, as yacht crews are already in the habit of disposing of cardboard and extra packaging on the dock before loading.
In fact, yacht brokers and captains have been engaging in these kinds of logistics for years, organising for seaplanes to drop off caviar and rare wines in the Maldives and Alaskan King Crabs to be flown to yachts in Mykonos or St Barts. No new systems are required, as their networks of provisioners are already in place. The yachting industry is already in good practice for this event (even though we didn’t know it!)
A small group of guests and a screened crew
In a hotel, you cannot help but come into contact with strangers – in the restaurant, at the pool, in the lobby. When you venture out to explore, it will be by taxi or bus. The staff of hotels are enormous – many of whom you will never see, but will in some way touch your things – from the laundry staff to housekeeping to the chefs that handle your food. Add in the people you do have direct contact with – the concierge and receptionists, the porters and the wait staff – and you have hundreds of potential infection points. As for cruises, they have always been known as a hotbed of contagion, with vast numbers of people mixing together and rushed cleaning schedules.
Yachts are the polar opposite: with very small groups, no strangers, and hyper-clean environments. On a yacht, you have a small group of crew who will be tested for COVID-19 before each charter. You know each of their faces, and you know they are healthy. As a precaution, guests will also be screened before boarding, so that no outbreak can happen on board and you can cruise into your holiday without fear.
On a yacht, cleanliness is (always) next to godliness
People planning holidays in the aftermath of the lockdowns will be seeking one thing above all: a low-risk holiday that is far from crowds and germ-filled environments. Which is where a yacht excels beyond all other forms of holidays.
A luxury yacht is astonishingly clean – almost certainly the cleanest space you will ever spend time in – and far, far cleaner than hotels, with their daily turnovers and rushed housekeeping staff. Before the charter starts, the yacht crew spend several days cleaning, with an army of cotton buds and toothbrushes, sprays and polishes. Air conditioning vents are swept out with cotton buds, and every fabric is laundered and vacuumed, freshened and ironed. Even the walls are washed. When the charter commences, your cabin and ensuite is cleaned a minimum of twice daily – all fingerprints gone, every droplet of water wiped out of sinks and showers, fluffy fresh towels appearing as if by magic. On the exterior, it is the same standard: every surface soaped and squeegeed, buffed and shined, until it gleams in the Mediterranean sun.
On a yacht, dust is not welcome. Yacht windows rarely open, and doors are kept shut to preserve the pristine, almost hermetically sealed cleanliness of the interior. No soil or street dirt is walked onto the yacht, as shoes are taken off at the passerelle.
Remember, this is normal procedure. Yachts are always this immaculate. Additional steps have been taken during the COVID-19 crisis to step up these cleaning regimes even further, with the addition of disinfectants and even air filters which remove pathogens.
When it comes to cleanliness, there is no vacation option than even comes close. And with thousands of crew currently in lockdown on their yachts across the Mediterranean and having nothing else to do but clean, charter yachts will never be cleaner than in the summer of 2020. Crew will be well-rested after a long break from charters and keen to get back to work.
Charter yachts are required to have impressive medical supplies on board (often including defibrillators), large yachts have an appointed health officer, and all crew are required to have some degree of first aid training, with the captain also trained in Advanced First Aid. There’s also a remote health service expressly set up for yachts to access medical support over the phone. In the unlikely event someone did get ill on board, the crew would act professionally and swiftly to contain the situation. All charter yacht crews have been required to implement new emergency procedures and systems to be ready for any COVID-19 cases.
Able to ‘raise the drawbridge’ at the first sign of trouble and power away from land, a yacht is one of the most secure holiday types imaginable. Additionally, charter yacht crew are required to have undertaken a module of security training, and when in port, there is someone to guard the passerelle at all times, as well as CCTV cameras stationed around the decks. Yachts are also accustomed to accommodating additional security personnel on board. Your captain will be running risk assessments of every anchorage and town the yacht visits; if there are any health developments, you will simply return to the yacht and retreat to safety.
Any risk is further minimised where charter clients arrive at the yachting destination by private jet at a private terminal, followed by private transfer to the yacht. A yacht charter broker can assist with organising private jet transport that radically minimises your contact points.
It’s a place your children can be safe, have fun, and be ‘yacht-schooled’
For charter clients with children, this situation has brought about a whole new set of challenges. At this stage, no-one knows when schools will reopen across Europe, but there’s every chance that the school break will extend through the six-week summer holiday. Which means that children are going to go a long, long time without traditional schooling.
A yacht always offers lots of fun for kids, but it can also provide a different kind of education – one where the chef can give cooking lessons, the captain teaches kids to read the radar or plot a course, and the engineer gives a tour of the engine room, explaining how the generators and engines work. The stewardesses might help the children dress the dinner table and do crafts, and the deck crew can continue teaching the kids fishing and watersports.
You may be surprised at some of the degrees your yacht crew hold, (don’t be surprised if they tell you they studied in marine biology, politics, or even astrophysics) so there may also be an opportunity for some really interesting lessons. The places a yacht cruises can lead to some fascinating history projects, while a dive or snorkel can be followed by looking through a fish identification book, or drawing what they’ve seen. From birdwatching to learning to gut a fish, your child could discover new passions and skills, and come out with a more varied education.
Please do note that crew aren’t employed as babysitters, and important to realise that crew daily schedules are already extremely full. However, these are unconventional times, and parents who are willing to accept some trade-offs (for example an easy, fuss-free lunch in exchange for the chef having time to give their kids a cooking lesson) will find that their children’s education may well be enriched in new ways. We would, however, strongly encourage that a tutor or nanny is brought on board, and that any crew-led activities with children are considered merely supplementary.
After a time of fear and quarantine, it will be high time to make happy memories. At Bespoke Yacht Charters, we’re not underestimating the scope of this crisis. But we will be here to provide the holiday of a lifetime on the other side.
You have never truly seen the French Riviera, until you have seen it from the sea – that stupendous view of towering Alps and red-rock hills rising up above the blue-green Med, all in a spectacular built landscape of medieval villages, grand villas, and skyscrapers topped with waving palms. The experience of being on a boat gives an entirely different perspective on what is perhaps the most famous stretch of coastline on our planet.
Alas, not everyone has the time (or the budget) to spend a week or more floating along the Cote d’Azur on a superyacht. But it’s a grave mistake to discount the boat hire experience altogether, for a single day at sea on the French Riviera is worth a month in other places. If a day is all you have, it will be a day to remember.
Luxury Day Boat Hire on the French Riviera
Day boat charters are a superb way to explore this enchanting stretch of coastline. There are a multitude of places to hire a boat along the Riviera to indulge in the Mediterranean yachting dream – if but for a single, perfect day. Whether you’re exploring the dreamy Cannes Islands, anchoring off the exotic island of Porquerolles, or rubbing shoulders with celebrities at a Saint Tropez beach club, renting a boat affords you the most stylish access to all of the Cote d’Azur’s best spots.
Here are some of the perfect day charter locations for a French Riviera day boat charter. Note that many crewed day boats for rent do have luxurious cabin accommodation on board and can also be hired for overnight trips.
Monaco & Cap Ferrat
Cast off from the infamous Port Hercules, and head out beyond the cliffs of Monaco. Drop anchor briefly to dive off the yacht into the deep, cool sea, surfacing to admire one of the great views of the Riviera – the city of Monte Carlo spilling down its steep hillside, its crowd of grand hotels and casinos and the Prince’s Palace sitting proudly above the port.
After your refreshing swim, the captain will motor around to Cap Ferrat where you’ll spend a blissful morning snorkelling around the headland and using the yacht’s watertoys. Lunch on board at anchor, followed by a walk through the famous Villa de Rothschild Gardens. Spend a lazy hour on a deckchair at Paloma Beach club (Picasso’s old hangout), sipping cold rose from an icy-cold ice bucket and watching for celebrities. Enjoy canapes on deck as you head back around to Monaco, disembark your charter boat and head into one of the world’s most glittering cities for a night at the Casino de Monte Carlo.
Cannes & Cannes Islands
Just off the palm-lined boulevards of Cannes lies the other face of the French Riviera: the quiet, enchanting islands of Les Isles de Lerins. Idyllic and timeless, this little archipelago offers the perfect day out on a boat, with its rocky, crystal clear coves shaded by pine trees and winding forest paths leading past medieval monasteries and vineyards.
St Marguerite is the largest of the four islands and the most-visited, with wonderful walking trails and the fort where the real ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was imprisoned. Across the water on Ile St Honorat you’ll discover an ancient monastery with a working vineyard, more lovely coves, and La Tonelle restaurant, with a view looking back across the water to the French Riviera. After snorkelling, picnicking, and exploring the day away, return to Cannes refreshed and sun-bronzed and ready for a big night out.
Saint Tropez & Pampelonne Beach
Join your day charter boat in St Tropez, enjoying the summer buzz of one of the prettiest ports in the world. Get settled on deck as you head out of the marina and across to Pampelonne Beach, where 23 beach clubs promise a day of decadence on five kilometres of golden sand. Club 55 remains the legend of the scene for its history of Hollywood glamour, but there are some hot contenders, including Bagatelle, Loulou à Ramatuelle and the Phillipe-Starke-designed La Réserve à la Plage. In 2019 there’s was a shakeup forcing the retirement of some of the more tired clubs, and the opening of some new ones making the St Tropez beach club scene ritzier than ever.
With St Tropez’ traffic issues snarling up the road to the beach, there’s no better way to arrive at Pampelonne than by boat, anchoring off the beach and diving off the deck into the sea. Spend a day swimming off your boat and doing watersports, lazing on the beach, drinking cocktails and engaging in some of the world’s finest celebrity-spotting. Return to St Tropez as the light turns golden and the Provencal buildings glow a burnished red, feeling the thrilling energy of the summer night as you step ashore into the beautiful crowd.
Ile de Porquerolles
Hire a day boat in St Tropez or Toulon and set off for Porquerolles, an island often compared to the Caribbean for its exquisite white sand beaches and startling turquoise sea. Sparsely inhabited and blissfully car-free, there is an unmistakeable sense of the exotic about this island, but its bewitching landscape of vineyards and wildflowers, olive groves and Aleppo pines is pure, timeless Mediterranean.
Anchor off Plage Notre Dame – voted Europe’s best beach in 2015– or head to one of the beach bar-restaurants at Plage d’Argent or Plage de la Courtade. Hire a bike or stroll the rocky cliff paths in the island’s north, snorkel or scuba dive in the gin-clear sea, or visit one of the island’s 16th century forts. Take a seafood lunch on the boat or head ashore to one of the islands’ excellent restaurants, and walk it off with a wander among the exotic palm trees and cacti at the botanic garden. Art lovers must visit the Fondation Carmignac, a spectacular pop art gallery featuring works by Andy Warhol and others, lit from above by water refracting through a glass-bottom pool. Deeply contented after a day in paradise, head back across to the mainland.
Stretching from Marseille to Cassis, the Calanques National Park is a magnificent stretch of cliff coastline indented with tiny fjord-like inlets, creating some of the most spectacular anchorage spots in the South of France. With deep turquoise water so crystal clear that you can see the yacht’s anchor on the sea bed far below, and tiny, dreamlike coves under limestone cliffs, this rugged terrain is France at its most wild and beautiful. Given that road access to the national park is often closed during summer due to fire risk, a day boat charter is the ideal way to explore this astonishing coast.
Pick up your crewed day boat from Cassis, Marseilles, or Toulon, and make your way along the 20 mile coast, finding the perfect calanque to drop anchor in. This is a chance to indulge in the true Mediterranean idyll-swimming off the boat, lunching at anchor, and sunbathing in pretty coves. Active charters will enjoy a hike along the cliff paths, while experienced rock-climbers can scale the limestone calanques. There’s also Le Chateau restaurant in the Calanque Sormiou – the perfect spot to end your day charter with a delicious bowl of seafood bouillabaisse and a glass of Provencal wine, basking in that shimmering, almost nostalgic glow of a perfect day on the French Riviera.
Monaco life offers its residents luxury at every turn. Indeed, the French principality is a compact city-state that offers the very best in luxury living and is renowned the world over for the lavish life its residents and visitors enjoy. Whether you are seeking world-class cuisine, ritzy nightlife, world-famous events, or luxurious shopping, check out why living in Monaco offers the very best of the good life.
Here we round up some of the best things to enjoy about Monaco life.
Luxurious Shopping at Every Turn
With one of the highest density of millionaires in the world, there’s no shortage of luxury shopping hot spots when it comes to living in Monaco.
One popular spot is the Metropole Shopping Centre in Monte Carlo, featuring a smorgasbord of some of the world’s most luxurious brands such as Gucci and Versace. Alternatively head to the Carré d’Or district, where exclusive brands jostle for the attention of those with ultra-deep pockets.
Join the High-Rollers
Monte Carlo’s famed casino – or the Casino de Monte-Carlo as it is officially named – is where high-rollers, celebrities, and VIPs go to gamble. Here you’ll find all the traditional gambling games, including English and European roulette and Texas hold-em poker, alongside a dazzling array of slot machines. Remember to dress to impress.
Gourmands will not be disappointed when living in Monaco. Indeed, Monaco life offers a delicious choice of some of the finest restaurants in the world to choose from. Top restaurants include Restaurant Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo, which boasts an open Teppanyaki-style kitchen, and Le Vistamar, which serves up mouth-watering European cuisine coupled with some of the best views in Monte Carlo.
Party The Night Away
Exclusive parties at some of the world’s best clubs is all part of the fun of Monaco life. Jimmy’z is a local celebrity hot spot and one of the most renowned destinations to party the night away. Dubbed the temple of clubbing, here revellers can enjoy some of the best beats by a roster of celebrity DJs, a stunning terrace coupled with a spectacular sea view, lush gardens, hookah, and some of the world’s best Champagne.
Other notable hot spots include Le Bar Americain, a swanky jazz club renowned for its live music programme, lust worthy cocktails and fabulous sea views.
Living in Monaco includes the opportunity to join in the fun of some of the world’s most exclusive events. The Monaco Yacht Show and the Monaco Grand Prix are two of the most eagerly awaited events on the annual Monaco social calendar and are both an intrinsic part of Monaco life.
The Monaco Yacht show is held annually at the end of September and is the world’s leading superyacht event boasting more than 100 yachts and mega yachts. Some 30,000 visitors join in the revellery of the event, which spans four fabulous days.
Held every May, the Monaco Grand Prix is the slowest and most difficult of all circuits in the Formula 1 World Championship and offers four-days of spectacular racing and wraparound events. Thousands of spectators gather to watch the world’s best racers speed through the streets of Monaco, offering a not-to-miss spectacle.
So, if you’re looking to enjoy a luxurious life, investing in Monte Carlo real estate will enable you to enjoy Monaco life at its very best.
It’s very nearly that time of year again – when we get a chance to see the latest eagerly-awaited yacht launches and catch up with everyone in the boating community, all the while soaking up that early autumn Mediterranean sun. If you are new to the industry and don’t yet know the must-attend events, the French Riviera in September 2019 is the place to be. Read this guide to the best boat festivals in France in September – from French Riviera yacht charter inspiration to exhilarating sailing races, these shows have it all.
Here are Four of The Best Yachting Events on the French Riviera in September 2019:
Cannes Yachting Festival
When? Tuesday 10 to Sunday 15 September 2019, 10am to 7pm
What? The Cannes Yachting Festival (CYF) has been an institution of the Cote d’Azur boating crowd since its opening in 1977. It kicks it off in style as the first yacht show of the season, bringing hundreds of global pleasure yacht builders to the South of France to exclusively launch their new vessels. Often referred to as Cannes leading in-the-water boat show, expect a vast array of motor yachts, sailing yachts, multihulls, tenders and day boats on display – making it perfect for prospective buyers of any kind. This year, attendees can look forward to a new dedicated sailing area, alongside pre-existing highlights such as the Luxury Gallery, Concours d’Elegance and VIP program. It’s truly one of the coolest boat festivals in France in September 2019.
Where? Port Canto (the newly-appointed sailing port, as well as the place to find second-hand brokerage boats and toys) and the Vieux Port (dedicated to new motor yachts and the Luxury Gallery).
Cannes Royal Regattas
When? Sunday 22 to Saturday 28 September 2019
What? Since 1859 the world’s sailing yacht elite have flocked to Cannes to enjoy an exhilarating race, with the Lérins Islands, the Esterel and Mercantour massifs as their backdrop. And with near-perfect sailing conditions and a stunning racecourse, who can blame them? Take part in racing one of 150 beautiful yachts, measuring from 10 to 50 metres in size, or watch in awe from the Bay of Cannes – either way, you are in for an incredible week at one of the most adrenaline-fuelled events on the French Riviera in September 2019. Evenings spell free music shows and plenty of delicious food and drink, so you’ll always be entertained.
Where? Quai Saint Pierre and Quai Lebœuf
Monaco Yacht Show
When? Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 September 2019, 11am to 7.30pm
What? The Monaco Yacht Show (MYS) represents luxury in its finest form. Be awed as you stroll past and explore dazzling custom superyachts, each one more lavish than the last. With over 125 to see and only four days to do it, planning ahead of time is a necessity if you want to make the most of the show – don’t forget that the 2019 event will also see forty new yacht launches in a worldwide debut. However, MYS is about more than just the yachts, with the luxury car deck a recent addition to tempt classic automobile connoisseurs, and a selection of evening soirees at which to blow off some steam. Look out for His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, an ongoing supporter of the MYS, frequently sighted at the show.
Where? Port Hercules, Monte-Carlo
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez
When? Saturday 28 to Sunday 6 September 2019
What? This year will mark the 20th anniversary of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, so guests can look forward to an even more exciting regatta than usual. Bringing together an incredible 300 classic and modern yachts and filling the harbour with sailors, enthusiasts and eager onlookers, Les Voiles is an unforgettable event on the French Riviera this September 2019. Twentieth birthday highlights will include moving the Wally Class modern yacht race from the usual Windward-Leewards to a series of the coastal races, with three state-of-the-art Wallycentos competing. Get ready to be on the edge of your seat!
Where? Port de Saint-Tropez
So there we have it – four must-attend yachting festivals in France in September. With all this to look forward to, bring on autumn!
We live in an era where everything is constantly changing; developments in technology allow the ability to innovate and enhance just about any sector. Because of this, it goes without saying that the way we do (almost) everything is being impacted as a result.
The boating industry is no exception – sailing has come a long way since the days of celestial navigation and wooden and steel structures, but what does the future of this popular leisure activity look like? It is an industry that has been operating the same way for a long time, but Dream Yacht have looked into how aspects such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), electrification, wearable technology and other big technological developments will be impacting and enhancing the way we glide along the seas.
AI and Autonomous Sailing
AI is transforming and changing the world around us, and is expected to play a huge part in the future of the maritime industry. It is not uncommon for boat builders to team up with car manufacturers – who are increasingly implementing machine learning algorithms which use data to mechanise the way a vehicle is driven. These particular algorithms can provide onboard computers with methods of solving problems that are typically encountered and can therefore be predicted, allowing autonomous driving capabilities.
This is a technique which will be incorporated more often in the future when building boats, allowing them to have autonomous systems or a remote human operator. This capability will help ease navigation, improve safety and save fuel. Large organisations such as Rolls Royce are funding and carrying out research which will support autonomous ship research.
Smart-Home Integration Capabilities
Intelligent solutions used in homes such as security and access controls, home theatres and temperature control systems are more frequently being incorporated on luxury yachts. This modern movement allows voyagers to seamlessly connect their on-board and off-shore lives, thanks to technological developments.
The smart technologies can be used to control lights and room temperature as well as open and close blinds dependant on time and weather – this reduces energy consumption and allows optimum levels of natural light. Other technology can provide and display GPS and navigation data on various screens, allowing onboard guests to be kept aware of current locations and ETAs.
Another development which will transform sailing experiences is Project Loon; Google’s ‘internet in the sky’. The network of high altitude balloons situated on the edge of space work together to provide an internet connection to remote locations across the world. This will allow people on the sea to remain seamlessly connected to those on the land, as well as allow the installation of even more advanced systems onboard to enhance the living space.
Electrification of Vessels
A popular automotive trend that is being applied to the boating industry is the electrification of machines. It goes without saying that electric boats are more complicated than electric cars – one of the main implications being that the boat battery life is very hard to predict. Aspects such as weather, wave height and currents aren’t very predictable and all impact the power needed from the boat battery.
Recreational boating has become really popular in recent years, and amongst the people who have taken up this pastime are environmentally-conscious seafarers. People want to enjoy themselves without harming the aquatic ecosystem; which has added more pressure on the capabilities of electrifying boats.
Green technology firms and scientists have introduced several innovations that will change recreational and commercial boating in the near future. Hybrid and electric propulsion systems have many benefits; in addition to reducing emissions and optimising fuel consumption, they are lighter and more compact and have reduced maintenance costs. The use of sustainable technology is currently being tested and on the highest end global race boat programs and there are now many boat builders out there that have embarked on the electric journey.
Almost all of these are already in use in other industries and therefore it is just a matter of time before they are fully adopted in maritime. The boating industry will need to innovate and roll with change or risk being left behind as these technologies will have major impacts and revolutionise experiences.
Anyone who’s walked around the Principality in the last few years will have noticed several new developments. Monaco’s most recent properties are strikingly contemporary, embellishing a skyline dominated by 1970s buildings like invitations to a life of 21st century luxury.
The Tour Odéon has caused a lot of ink to flow in the world’s media and the same goes for the fascinating Portier Cove land extension project, whose only visible elements for the moment are a few gigantic concrete caissons that will form the perimeter of the future eco-district.
Monaco’s Le Stella Complex Embodies 21st Century Luxury
Less has been said about Le Stella. The magnificent white structure built on a corner plot in the vibrant Condamine district is immediately recognisable because of the undulating bands of concrete that wrap around its facade like ribbons. Daylight plays on the curves and apertures of the facade, giving it a rippling effect.
Monaco-born Alexandre Giraldi and Frenchman Jean-Pierre Lott were the architects behind this most mesmerising of new developments Monaco offers to home-hunters.
The complex, which was completed in 2018, is composed of two villas and two residential blocks, which rise to 39 metres from a common base.
Luxury Villas and Apartments
Le Stella’s lower floors house retail and office space and a school. In the summer of 2019, the International University of Monaco will leave its premises in Fontvieille and take over 2000m2 of the building.
The higher levels comprise 99 apartments, mostly duplexes, which are split between two buildings. The apartments face Port Hercules and their rear rooms offer views of the Prince’s Palace on the Rock.
Bathed in daylight, the elegant duplexes have between one and three bedrooms and tall sliding windows. Each floor has a loggia, which extends the living space. The first floor of a typical one-bedroom duplex (priced at more than 4 million euros) is composed of an entrance hall with in-built cupboards, a guest toilet and a fitted kitchen opening onto a spacious living room. The second floor comprises a bedroom that opens onto the loggia, a large bathroom and a back room that offers different possibilities. Residents can enjoy a fitness area and have a 24/7 concierge service at their disposal. The luxurious villas (rarities in Monaco) come with indoor cinemas, saunas and swimming pools.
All the properties in Le Stella have tasteful fixtures and fittings, underfloor heating, air-conditioning and underground parking spaces.
With its new developments, Monaco has changed and will continue to do so. The bold, creative design of Le Stella writes a new page in the city-state’s architectural history, while its apartments tick all the boxes for anyone looking for a sophisticated and refined living environment.
Many well-known car manufacturers have branched out and teamed up with boat builders in recent years to co-create some of the best machines to tackle the seas. Dream Yacht has compiled a list of their favourite collaborations between car and boat manufacturers, and the outcomes are breathtaking:
Mercedes Benz’s AMG range is jaw dropping at the best of times, but when the German car manufacturer teamed up with Cigarette Racing, the outcome was phenomenal. The two brands have set benchmarks in this sector, and to celebrate 10 years of collaboration, they released the 50’ Marauder AMG.
With both manufacturers renowned for creating machines that are focused on speed and performance, it comes as no surprise that the 50’ Marauder AMG is powered by two Mercury Racing engines, which together produce up to 3,100hp.
The boat was inspired by the breathtaking Mercedes-AMG GT R and incorporates design elements such as a sporty cabin layout, seats which were crafted by the AMG Performance Studio and not forgetting the distinctive AMG Green Hell Magno paint.
As a brand that has strong ties to the iconic James Bond movies, it only makes sense that Aston Martin would team up with a boat manufacturer to create a sought-after machine. Together, Aston Martin and Quintessence Yachts have created a speedboat fit for 007.
The 37-foot AM37 marked the prestige car manufacturer’s entry into the nautical world back in 2016 when it was debuted at the Monaco Yacht Show. The powerboat comprises design, technology, style and comfort in a unique way, making it nothing less than desirable.
Aston Martin’s bespoke personalisation service ‘Q by Aston Martin’ allowed for the interior to be completely customised. The cabin of the AM37 flaunts Baltic blue and cream truffle upholstery, which is perfectly complemented by sparks of chrome and the Mako blue hull finish. Ostentatiously displayed on iconic models such as the famous DB11 and DBS Volante, it makes sense for the powerboat to be finished in this stunning paintwork.
As part of an exclusive collaboration, Lexus and Marquis-Larson Boat Group created a 65-foot premium performance yacht. Branded as LY 650, the boat is an extension of Lexus luxury, with a maritime interpretation. It boasts advanced technology, three luxurious staterooms and several entertainment areas along with an array of amenities.
Despite its grand design and large dimensions, power is not compromised with the LY 650. The luxury yacht is expected to go into production in the second half of 2019.
The only existing superyacht with Porsche DNA, the GTT 115 is a unique and stunning creation, with only 7 ever being created. Utilising three variable-speed generators in conjunction with two 1,650hp V12 diesel engines and a pair of electric motors, power is not compromised despite the hybrid capabilities.
The triple deck superyacht is made up of subtle Porsche design elements, particularly the paintwork colours it is available in. Carrara White, Rhodium Silver, Chalk and Monte-Carlo blue exterior colours take pride of place on popular models such as 911 Turbo S and the 911 Carrera GTS. Meanwhile, the exterior is made up of classy design elements, including a seamless blend of exotic natural woods and Italian marble which is complemented by stylish furnishings and accessories.
Henrik Fisker, an automotive designer who has worked with the likes of prestige brands such as BMW and Aston Martin, branched out into the nautical world in 2016, following the announcement of a partnership with Benetti. Fisker and the Italian boat building company together created a 50-meter-long three-deck superyacht that was built on a concept of sustainability, incorporating reclaimed wood, solar panels and an optional hybrid engine into the design.
The boat has six cabins and can accommodate up to 12 guests who can spend their time utilising amenities such as the retractable ocean-view terrace, minibar, a staircase leading to a private home theater, library, curved television, walk-in closets,and a ceiling that recreates the night sky.
So, there you have it. Some of the most impressive boats built to grace the sea with unique and distinctive automotive design features from some of the most prestigious manufacturers.
The glittering coastal town of Cannes welcomes thousands of visitors every year for high profile French Riviera events. They include the Cannes Film Festival in May, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June, the Cannes International Yachting Festival in September and the International Luxury Travel Market in December.
In May, all eyes turn towards the French Riviera and its fascinating neighbour Monaco as they deliver a double dose of glamour. The month’s festivities – attended by the global glitterati – begin with the Cannes Film Festival, which will be held from 14 to 25 May in 2019. The dazzling event will coincide with the practice races of the Monaco Grand Prix, with the main race taking place on 26 May.
Cannes Film Festival: premieres and parties
The Cannes Film Festival is considered to be the world’s most prestigious film festival and has premiered most of the greatest films ever released. In the words of Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Mexican director who will preside the jury of the 72th Cannes Film Festival: “Cinema runs through the veins of the planet and this festival has been its heart.”
The world’s film industry heads to Cannes for the star-studded red carpet premieres, screenings, meetings, networking and parties that make up the event.
Many of the films selected to be premiered at the festival are in competition for the Palme d’Or (golden palm) and other awards. Films that don’t meet the competition criteria premiere out of the competition.
Although taking home a prize from what is one of the most famous French Riviera events is no guarantee of commercial or critical success, hugely important deals are sealed for funding and distribution. The festival’s nightlife is renowned: wealthy investors and producers host lavish parties in luxurious hotel suites and aboard yachts.
Although the Cannes Film Festival is an industry-only event, the public heads to the beach to enjoy the films screened there every evening. Some people queue for tickets for the Critics’ Week part of the festival to see films by emerging directors.
The Croisette, the road where the festival venue is located, attracts a public eager to see the stars stepping onto the red carpet as they arrive for the black-tie screenings.
Monaco Grand Prix: prestige and logistical acrobatics
The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix has a history that dates back to 1929 and is part of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world and contributes to the image of Monaco as a glamorous destination.
The Monaco circuit challenges drivers with tight corners and elevation changes between the iconic yacht-filled Port Hercules and Monte Carlo and back. As the event approaches, the second-smallest country in the world is taken over by it and the tension begins to mount. In just six weeks – to keep disruptions to everyday life to a minimum – grandstands are erected, roads are resurfaced and kilometres of barriers are built. Some yachts are moved from the harbour to make space for floating VIP hospitality areas.
Some 200,000 spectators attend the Grand Prix in Monaco, a country that counts less than 39,000 residents. The event runs over four days, with practice runs preceding the main race and the atmosphere is electric. Balconies with views over the track are crowded with spectators, the rich and famous take to VIP terraces with gourmet catering and DJs, and invite-only yacht parties continue into the early hours of the morning.
A world of opportunity on the French Riviera
The frenzy of the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix is followed by the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which will take place from 17 to 21 June in 2019. Monaco and the French Riviera are renowned yachting hotspots and, with a large fleet of luxury yachts available in the Mediterranean all year round, an increasingly popular choice of accommodation for attendees is a Cannes Lions yacht charter.
Attendees who are considering a luxury yacht charter for French Riviera events will find quality vessels from top yacht charter companies ranging from 24 to more than 60 metres available in Cannes and Monaco. A luxurious day charter provides the perfect setting for a critical business meeting or party, while week-long charters offer the ultimate superyacht experience.
On all luxury yacht charters for the top French Riviera events, experienced professional crew are on board to ensure a seamless experience – including a private chef trained to create only the most extraordinary culinary delights. Throughout the day the experienced chef may serve up delicious canapes and refreshments during important meetings and conferences, while at night, a feast of fine dining awaits, ready to be enjoyed under the stars with friends and colleagues.
For companies looking to make an impression, the option of a yacht charter offers unrivalled brand visibility. Many exclusive yacht charters are available in the port directly next to the Palais des Festivals, the iconic building that hosts both the Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
With luxury yacht charters in Cannes an increasingly popular accommodation option for attendees of French Riviera events, booking well ahead is essential. For those looking for a superior experience for both business and pleasure, nothing beats a taste of the French Riviera via superyacht.
The rivalry between sailors and motor yacht enthusiasts is legendary. At times fiercely competitive, (and at almost all times accompanied by humorous name-calling), the division between the sailing and motor yacht fraternities continues to divide the yachting world.
Generally, experienced yachties will display a strong preference for either sail or motor yachts, putting their lifetime loyalties in either one camp or the other. For purists, it’s either sailing yachts, OR motor yachts… and never the two shall meet. The preference tends to start early: sailing grandfathers teach their infant grandsons to shake their fist at passing ‘stinkpots’, and families on speedboats roll their eyes at slow-going ‘blow-boats’ clogging up the bay on regatta day.
And so the war continues through the generations, however good-natured it may be.
Choosing (or Changing) Your Side
Yet if you’re fairly new to the yachting experience, maybe you don’t know yet where your allegiance lies in the great civil war of seafarers. Or perhaps (just perhaps) you’re the open-minded type, looking for a different type of yachting experience this summer to suit your group – whether that’s with family, friends, or for a corporate charter.
In truth, sailing and motor yachts both have an extraordinary amount to offer a charter group, and sometimes you’d be mad not to switch and enjoy the experience of going over to ‘the dark side’. For there are some circumstances where motor yachts are better for certain types of charters and people, and the reverse is also unmistakeably true.
If you’re considering changing teams – even if just for one illicit charter – or are chartering for the first time, here are a few pointers on what separates the charter experience on the two types of yachts, and what might make you lean towards one or the other for your next vacation. Of course, there are a myriad of yacht designs within each of the two broad categories, so these are merely generalisations, with plenty of exceptions to each rule.
Sailing Yachts vs Motor Yachts: Which is Best for Your Next Charter?
Round One : The Battle of Luxury and On-Board Amenities
In days gone by, this one was much easier to call, with motor yachts easily eclipsing their smaller sailboat brethren with their multiple decks and huge volumes – allowing for plenty of glamorous amenities and accommodation space.
But sailboats have grown up in the intervening years, with huge, ultra-swanky sailing superyachts also taking to the seas. These extraordinarily comfortable cruising yachts have large volumes and wider beams, making room for stunning additions like Jacuzzis, gyms, on-deck cinemas, and even the odd beach club. Contemporary sailing yacht interiors are often just as spectacular as those found on motor yachts, with grand salons and ensuite staterooms, and are kitted out with all the mod-cons like internet and whizz-bang AV systems.
But, of course, while sailing yachts have evolved so too have motor yachts, with these grand floating palaces just getting bigger and more luxurious by the year. Spas, cinemas, helipads and swimming pools – even sports courts – are now found on the very large motor yachts, and when it comes to features like water toy storage, sailing yachts can rarely compete.
The Verdict: If you revel in space, glamour, and all the latest toys, then a motor yacht is probably your heart’s desire.
Round Two : A Yacht for all Seasons
Sailing yachts have a distinct advantage over their motor yacht cousins when it comes to encountering wild and windy weather. As long as it’s not blowing a gale, a sailing yacht crew and their charterers react to a strong breeze with glee, hoisting the sails and making their way out to sea to get the adrenaline pumping, enjoying the sheer thrill of the sport.
And when the wind drops and the sea is glassy still, a sailing yacht captain simply puts the engine on and motors to a beautiful anchorage for a day of traditional yachting pleasures like swimming and snorkelling in heavenly conditions.
Motor yachts, while eminently capable of coping with heavy weather, tend to turn tail and head for port when the weather turns grey, windy, or rainy. They are built to cross oceans, but from a guest perspective, they excel in the sunshine, and you probably wouldn’t take a motor yacht out in poor weather just for a fun cruise. A sailing yacht, in short, has more versatility in different weather conditions. Both wind and calm are happy times indeed.
Verdict: A sailing yacht is the yacht for all weathers, and soundly wins this round. This is something to think about if you’re planning to charter in a region that gets a lot of wind in the summer, such as the Aegean Greek Islands, or are chartering in the shoulder seasons when weather can be more inclement.
Round Three : The Need for Speed
Sure, a performance sailing yacht can go at a hefty clip in a strong wind, but there’s the small matter of not being in control of that wind. If the air is still (or blowing in the wrong direction), the engine on a sailing boat will still get you there…eventually. As such, you generally won’t be able to cover as much ‘ground’ in a sailing yacht charter itinerary as you would on a motor yacht.
Verdict: If you’re the type that’s always in a hurry and wants to get to the next destination quickly or cover a lot of destinations on your charter, then a motor yacht is for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy the journey as much as the destination and love being out on the water, then a sailing yacht will likely nicely suit your temperament.
Round Four : The Thrill Factor
Who wins this round will depend very much on what makes you tick.
I don’t know anyone on earth who wouldn’t get a little thrill out of entering Monaco or St Tropez on a huge motor yacht, watching the summertime crowds gather to see who’s on board. Part of the motor yacht appeal is the presence of the things: their size, their grandeur – the sheer, unapologetic showiness of it all.
But for those who enjoy the thrill of the sea and the sport of sailing– whether that’s racing in a regatta or just heeling over in a strong wind, racing down the Riviera with the backdrop of the Alps flitting by – well, a sailing yacht is the only thing that will get your blood racing.
The Verdict: Well, that depends on how you get your thrills now, doesn’t it.
Round Five : The Guest Experience
What kind of yacht you prefer will often come down – at least just a little bit – to how involved you want to be in the process of being on the water. While sailing yachts will absolutely never require you to pitch in and learn the ropes, there’s no question that for many avid sailing yacht charterers, getting involved is a huge part of the fun – and this is particularly the case if you’ve got children that you’d love to see learn a new sport on holiday. There’s nothing quite like standing at the helm of a sailing superyacht, wind in your hair, knowing you’re in control of this extraordinary vessel, or mastering a new skill as you learn about reading the weather and sea conditions.
The participation element of yacht charter is something that motor yacht guests rarely get to experience, as the navigation and operation of a motor yacht isn’t generally a collaborative effort where guests play a part. On a motor yacht charter, the guest experience tends to be more focussed on the luxury and relaxation side of things.
Additionally, because of the collaborative sporting nature of sailing yachts, the crew–guest relationship on these vessels tends to be somewhat more relaxed, with a sense of participating together towards a goal and a growing sense of camaraderie building over the course of the charter.
The Verdict: There’s nothing at all wrong with either style of holiday, but if you want to be part of the action, then a sailing yacht is a clear choice. If you’d prefer to lie back on a deckchair and drink cocktails and pay no notice to the operation of the vessel, then a motor yacht is often a better bet. (Although you can definitely do that on a sailing yacht too.)
Round Six : The Type of Charter
Here’s the most important consideration of all. What kind of yacht charter are you planning? You should definitely adapt your preferred style of yacht to each individual charter, rather than just chartering the same kind of vessel each time.
For example, if you’re planning a corporate team-building yacht charter, then a classic sailing yacht charter is a superb opportunity to get everyone bonding together while learning how to sail a century-old yacht. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a corporate yacht charter for the Cannes Film Festival or MIPIM, you’ll certainly appreciate the added deck space of a motor yacht so you can throw opulent parties and host VIP clients.
You might want an ultra-modern performance sailing superyacht to compete in the Superyacht Cup in Porto Cervo, but charter a large motor yacht with lots of interior space and water toys for that trip along the French Riviera with the extended family.
Verdict: Don’t get so wedded to one type of vessel that you completely miss the wonders of the others. You don’t actually have to choose a side. Just choose what’s best for you this upcoming trip, and embrace everything about this style of charter.
Variety is the spice of yachting, so ‘play both sides’ to your heart’s content. To figure out which type of yacht is best for your particular needs this summer, contact the Mediterranean yacht charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter. No matter what kind of charter you’re planning (or which side of the sailing/motor divide you naturally fall on) we have the perfect yacht to surpass your expectations – and possibly test your lifelong allegiances along the way.
The French Riviera may be best known for its sparkle of celebrity glamour and tranquil blue-green coves, but there’s a truly wild side to the South of France too (and we’re not just talking about the champagne-spraying debauchery of a summer’s night in Saint Tropez.)
If you’re looking for thrills of a different kind, the magnificent landscapes of the Cote d’Azur make this region a dazzling adventure playground for sport-lovers, with the rugged Alps plummeting steeply down to the sea and vast limestone canyons shearing through the hills of Provence. Rock climbers cling to overhangs suspended far above Monaco, and mountain-bikers plunge down vertiginous paths in the forested hills, where wild deer perch on red rocks that burn deep ochre against a Mediterranean sky. Kayakers and white-water rafters navigate the milky-blue rapids of Alpine mountain streams, F1 cars scream around Provencal racetracks, and paragliders soar from rocky precipices and float right down to the sea. As summer passes, snow cloaks the Alps with a heavy mantle, and skiers and snowboarders shred through powdery drifts at one of the many ski resorts within an easy drive of the sunny Cote d’Azur.
If it is active adventure you seek on holiday, you will find it in spades in the South of France.
Adventure in Luxury on a French Riviera Yacht Charter
The French Riviera is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise, and a South of France yacht charter offers the ultimate mix of adventure sports and decadent indulgence, as you drift effortlessly down the coast from Monaco to St Tropez and fill each day with a different activity.
On a Cote d’Azur yacht charter, you might start the day with an early morning swim off the aft deck in the Cannes Islands or take a quick spin on the yacht’s jet skis to get the heart racing, before fuelling up for the day’s activities with a lavish breakfast on deck. The yacht’s broker, captain and crew are on hand to tailor-make an adventure sports itinerary that will linger in your memory forever.
And when the sport is finished, there’s nothing better than returning to your yacht in the afternoon, cooling off with a swim, or soaking tired muscles in the Jacuzzi as the yacht powers across the water to the next destination. Each night, enjoy a dreamy soft bed and the sound of the water lapping gently at the hull – no packing and moving between hotels as you float along this marvellous stretch of coastline. There is no better way on this earth to adventure in luxury than on a superyacht charter.
Adventure Sports Activities in the South of France
Formula One Racing
Ever watched the Monaco Grand Prix and fancied yourself as a race car driver? Well the French Riviera is the place to tick that experience off your bucket list, with a range of motorsport experiences and track days available.
There’s a few ways you can experience the thrill of the supercar experience on the Cote d’Azur – and some are more hard core than others. There are multiple operators running both passenger and driver + instructor experiences driving supercars through the rock tunnels and street circuit of Monaco and along the open highway. You can also privately rent some pretty spectacular road cars in this neck of the woods, from the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo S to Ferrrari’s F12 Berlinetta, or experience the brutal power of the Lamborghini Aventador S. However, you will have to be content with driving within the speed limit – still a pretty intense and glamorous thrill in these extraordinary machines.
For the full-throttle experience, you’ll want a track day, and there’s no better place to do it than at the AGS Formule One Racetrack on the Circuit du Var, only 30kms from St Tropez. Running since 1992, these track days put motorheads behind the wheel of a real F1 car for a half or full day of instruction and G-Force bending speeds, as they learn with either manual or paddlebox gearboxes. If you just want the experience of travelling at Formula One speeds but don’t want to be behind the wheel, there’s also passenger experiences on offer.
You’ll be absolutely buzzing when you get back to the yacht – but chances are, you’ll want to get out to the clubs of St Tropez or Monaco to keep the adrenaline going (and maybe rub shoulders with a few real-life racing car drivers at the bar). For the ultimate motorsport vacation, ask your yacht broker to plan these experiences during a Monaco Grand Prix yacht charter.
Prefer to use your muscles than a machine to get your thrills? The French Riviera has some tremendous rock-climbing on offer, whether you want to dangle high above Monaco on the Grand Face Route at La Turbie, or head to the Gorge du Loup in the foothills for multi-pitch routes up to 300m high including the famous Divers Crag. Rock climbers also flock to Europe’s deepest gorge, the staggering Gorge du Verdon in the Provencal hills, the Caves of Peillon, and the Cliff of Geit at Mont St Martin.
For rock-climbing right on the coast in view of your yacht, there’s no better than scaling the Calanques cliffs near Cassis, where the yacht anchors in natural fjords riven into the high limestone coast, in dreamy turquoise water straight out of a travel magazine. Finishing the climb, you’ll reward yourself with a swim off the back of the yacht and a long lunch on deck, or head to La Chateau Sormiou restaurant right in the Calanques to enjoy a seafood meal by the water.
There’s also some superb wineries to visit in the area, which we’ve written about before: the perfect indulgent reward after a morning of exertion.
Kayaking, White Water Rafting & Canyoning
Because the Alps plunge so steeply towards the sea in the South of France, there are a multitude of Alpine streams and snow-melt rivers within easy reach of the coast. A day in a kayak or raft in the French high country is a thing lifetime memories are made of, as you paddle maniacally through rapids, squeeze between narrow canyon walls, and manoeuvre past giant boulders, only to pass into areas of calm water surrounded by wildflower meadows and grazing cows with tinkling cowbells. A lunch in a mountain restaurant with a terrace view is the perfect complement to the experience, before heading back down to the yacht and its waiting Jacuzzi to soothe those screaming muscles. You won’t know if you’re living the life of Bear Grylls or Heidi Klum on a day like this.
There are several locations to get your white water thrills in the South of France, with a couple of standouts. The Roya River at Breil sur Roya lies in the Pre-Alps about one hour from Monaco, and offers a huge amount of adventure, from white water rafting to hydrospeed to canyoning, canoe and kayak-rafting, and aquatic hikes.
The other rafting playground is the mighty Gorge du Verdon, where every adventure sport you can imagine takes place in the ribbon of electric blue water that tumbles through the gorge. It’s a two- hour drive from Cannes or St Tropez, but believe us, it’s a day you’ll never forget.
Bungee Jumping and Sky Diving
If you love falling from a great height while on holiday, there’s a few places to get your kicks in the South of France. For bungee-jumping, it’s hard to go past the Gorge du Verdon, where you’ll launch yourself off Europe’s highest bridge, Pont l’Artuby, 182m above the river and rocks below. For an option at the Nice end of the coast, head into the hills to the Pont de la Mariee bridge, where 80m of adrenaline-pumping freefall awaits.
For skydiving thrills head to Cannes, where you can see all the glories of the French Riviera – beaches, mountains, and yachts spread out like specks of white on the blue – spread out before you as you plummet to earth from 4000 metres. You may need to calm your racing heart with a restorative cocktail at a Cannes beach club afterwards, or stay on the yacht for glamorous drinks and canapes at sunset.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Yes, you read that right. You might be surprised to see skiing listed as an adventure sport to be combined with yacht charter, but as we wrote last winter, there are some exceptional opportunities to combine sunny seaside pleasures with snow sports during a spring yacht charter along the French Riviera.
After all, the French Riviera is quite famously one of the few places on earth where you can be making tracks down Alpine slopes in the morning, only to be sipping a rose in the spring sunshine in a Cannes beach club in the afternoon. For information on which resorts have the best spring skiing in the South of France and what you might do on a ski yacht charter, check out our article here.
Paragliding and Hang Gliding
If you look up from your yacht while in Monaco, you’ll often see the shapes of paragliders drifting down from the mountains that rise up sheer from the coast. The incredible thermal currents created at this meeting point of Alps and sea make Monaco/Roquebrune one of the best hang-gliding locations in Europe – so good in fact, that it’s chosen as the finish line of the Red Bull X-Alps Challenge.
You can launch yourself from the Roquebrune platform (there’s a great paragliding club there) and take in the monumental view of the mountains, sea and the skyscrapers of Monaco below you, before landing gently on the beach. What an experience!
However, these gliding sports are only permitted around Monaco between October to April, so this is an adventure sport for either an early-autumn or spring yacht charter.
With so many blisteringly good mountain biking trails in the South of France, you may want to bring your mountain bike onto the yacht with your luggage so you can head into the hills at any moment – although there are plenty of high-end rental opportunities available too.
The varied terrain and altitudes of the South of France makes for some simply incredible mountain biking, with a dizzying number of world-class routes.
Get your heart pumping and your endorphins soaring as you tear down the trails at Peille, the training ground of world champions, or pelt along the Balconies d’Azur track, with its majestic views of the distant sea. Sospel is a magnet for advanced mountain bikers, while the Circuit du Thonde in the stunning red rock landscapes of the Esterels is a beauty for the less experienced.
These are just a few of the adventure sport activities in the region. Immerse yourself in adventure with a French Riviera luxury yacht charter through the South of France yacht charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter.
In the heavenly landscapes of the South of France, vineyards abound. The rolling landscapes of Provence are criss-crossed with vines, some of which run right down to the blue-green sea, while other wineries sit back from the coast in gently rolling countryside, or perch high in the steep hills behind Nice.
The South of France has been blessed with the perfect wine-growing jackpot. The region is drenched in sunshine, benefits from an environment largely free of pests, and has excellent soils for vines which vary across the different areas: in the west, soil rich in limestone from an ancient inland sea, while granitic and volcanic soil dominates the east. There are also wild-growing herbs throughout the region, which are said to gently permeate the soil – and ultimately, the flavour of the wine. This variety of soil and landscapes lead to a wide variety of grapes being grown, and while the pale-blush rosés of Provence still dominate the winemaking reputation of the region, there are a growing number of exceptional red, white, and sparkling wines being produced.
Wineries and Yacht Charter : A Match Made in Heaven
From visiting the tiniest local producer to sampling famous vintages that grace Michelin-star menus, a wine journey along the French Riviera and Provencal coastline is an exercise in the good life. A French Riviera yacht charter is the ideal way to experience the spectacular wineries of the South of France, whether you’re dropping anchor off the Cannes Islands or taking a tender to a clifftop winery in Cassis. Floating slowly down the stunning coastline from Monaco to Marseilles against a backdrop of mountains and beaches, you’ll enjoy all the yachting pleasures of life on board, before coming back to land for your next winery experience. A yacht charter effortlessly avoids the hassle of daily transfers to and from your hotel (or moving between hotels as you travel down the coast), making it the ultimate luxury wine tourism experience.
You might even like to plan your South of France yacht charter for the fall, to coincide with grape harvest season and the local wine festivals of October – which is also a great time to take advantage of the reduced charter rates and blissfully quiet anchorages of the shoulder season.
Here are a few of the best vineyards to visit on a South of France wine-themed yacht charter. Our list predominantly features vineyards either on or in close proximity to the coast for effortless access; however, we have included a couple of show-stoppers that are well worth a gorgeous day trip into the Provencal interior.
Get your palates ready!
Chateau de Bellet, Nice
A day up at Chateau de Bellet is tinged with that ‘pinch yourself’ feeling a person gets sometimes on the French Riviera; that you have somehow fallen into a movie set; one where the expectation perfectly merges with the reality. Part of the appeal is the magnificent setting: elevated high above Nice with the vineyard terraces dropping away to distant views of the Mediterranean, Chateau de Bellet offers a glorious tasting room in a deconsecrated chapel, a brand new 8000m2 cellar, and tables on a sunny flagstone terrace overlooking the grand view of Alps and sea.
This centuries-old vineyard produces only organic wines, including the prestigious white wines, Cuvee La Chapelle, and Cuvee Baron G. This is a genuinely lovely place to wander among the vines, and is easily accessible from your yacht in Nice.
Abbaye des Lerins, Ile de Saint Honorat, Cannes Islands
In the pine-scented isles just off Cannes, you’ll find a vineyard out of a dream. Tended by Cistercian monks from the island’s medieval abbey, this tiny vineyard produces award-winning wines and liqueurs that appear on fine restaurant tables across the Riviera and beyond. The 8.5 hectare property grows Clairette, Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Mourvedre and Pinot Noir grapes, as well as making Limoncello and the herby 19th century liqueur, Lérina. The highlight is the Saint Pierre, a Chardonnay-Clairette blend with apple and honey notes and a delicate white fruit perfume.
With no cars on the island and an exquisite sense of peace, St Honorat is a lovely island to explore on foot, taking a walk along the coastal path to visit the 10th century fortified monastery and stroll among the sweet-smelling Aleppo pines and olive groves. You’ll want to stay on the island for lunch at La Tonelle restaurant, enjoying its glorious view back across the water to the neighbouring Ile Saint Marguerite.
The monks of the Abbey take a vow to live out their days on the island and never leave, and by the end of your day on Ile St Honorat, you may just think they’re onto something.
Chateau d’Esclans, Gorge de Pennafort
A bottle of Whispering Angel Rosé, frosted with condensation as it is pulled out of a solid silver ice bucket, is perhaps one of the signature sights of the superyacht world. Vast quantities of this pale pink rosé are quaffed on yachts each summer as guests drift down the French Riviera, partying in Cannes and dropping anchor off a beach club in St Tropez.
25 kilometres inland of Frejus, you can come and taste it for yourself at Chateau d’Esclans, a breathtaking vineyard with a view back across the coast. The first glimpse of the 19th century chateau through the avenue of trees is enough to make you gasp.
With the property once used as a lookout to spot pirates entering the Gulf of Frejus, the winery’s cellar dates from the Dark Ages and is the oldest in the region. The vineyard is renowned for the age of its Grenache vines, some of which are 90 years old, lending a greater concentration of flavour to the wines.
Chateau Saint-Maur, Cogolin
Just outside glamorous St Tropez, this exceptional vineyard was snatched from obscurity in 2011, when celebrated wine maker Roger Zannier saw the potential of the 70-hectare estate. It was a gamble that paid off, with a number of their wines gaining rapid acclaim, including the Cuvee Excellence White and the superb Clos de Capelune Rosé for its white peach flavours, light perfume, and heavy-based signature bottle.
Their high-tech vineyard sits opposite the historic Grimaud Castle, surrounded by cork oak forest and the Maures hills. Chateau Saint-Maur is considered one of the standout wineries of the Provence region, and tours are by appointment only.
Chateau de Berne
An hour’s drive inland of St Tropez lies the spectacular Chateau de Berne. Located near the village of Lorgues, this five-star hotel and winery is ground zero for Provencal wine tourism. This sprawling Provencal chateau houses a Cinq de Mondes spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant, and is set in a hilly landscape of vines and forest. It is a vision.
And in case you’d thought we’d forgotten we were here to talk about wine, Chateau de Berne has plenty to remind us. 200 acres of this 1480-acre estate is dedicated to viniculture, resulting in some of most acclaimed rosés, whites and reds in Provence.
Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Cassis
The final entry on our list has another jaw-dropping location, right on the cliffs of Cassis in the Calanques National Park. The vines grow right to the Mediterranean at Clos Sainte Magdeleine, making this winery extremely accessible from your yacht. Set on a private wooded headland, this limited-production vineyard benefits from limestone and clay soils, creating exquisite rosé and white wines.
Four generations of the family have grown wine at this art deco-style chateau, stretching back to founder Jules Savon, who won the gold medal at the World Fair in 1900. It’s not hard to see why the generations continue to live out their years making wine here; it would be difficult to come up with a reason to leave this heavenly place.
Making the Dream a Reality
This list is a mere fragment of the world-class vineyards you could visit on a week-long wine connoisseur’s yacht charter on the French Riviera. In fact, you may need longer than a week! To book a South of France yacht charter taking in the best wineries of the region, contact the French Riviera Yacht Charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter.
If you’re looking to move to Monaco, you may well already have clear ideas about the kind of luxury villa you wish to buy. However, one thing that may not have crossed your mind is the proximity to great riding schools that a Monte-Carlo postcode brings. After all, Monaco may be synonymous with extreme glamour and ultra extravagance, but this is by no means the extent of what it can offer. Monte-Carlo’s situation, tucked away in the French hillside, makes it the perfect base for excursions. And for those who enjoy nothing more than exploring the countryside with an equine friend, there are plenty of opportunities for pony trekking and horse riding near Monaco, with a range of equestrian centres which cater to every possible need. Read on to discover four of the best, and get ready for the ride of your life!
World-class spots for horse riding near Monaco
Centre Equestre Des Preisses, Peillon
Tucked away in the medieval village of Peillon, just 20 minutes from Monaco, lies a magnificent equestrian centre aimed at those with a competitive streak. As a multi-discipline school, the Centre Equestre Des Preisses offers the full range of horse-based disciplines including jumping, contests, dressage, horse-ball and more.
The club’s friendly teachers will train anyone from 4 years upwards, and its covered riding space means it is in action all year round. What’s more, the prices are extremely reasonable given its proximity to Nice and Monaco, with lessons offered from only €20. Definitely, one to visit if you think you’re little ones may be within a chance of becoming the next Charlotte Casiraghi.
Horse and Ventures, Sainte-Agnès
If you’re willing to drive a little further to find great horse riding near Monaco, a 45-minute road trip will take you to Horse and Ventures. A charming and all-encompassing equestrian centre, this Sainte-Agnès institution offers a friendly approach to exploring the great outdoors on horseback. Horses here are raised in open pasture, and their gentle nature means you can rely on them to bring you an enjoyable excursion in the Alpes-Maritimes.
Horse and Ventures offer part or full day rides in and around Sainte-Agnès, alongside longer 2-6 day trekking holidays around different areas of the rolling French countryside. The club can also provide horse riding lessons, as well as special packages that combine horse riding with a love of food or even yoga. All in all, whatever you are looking for they should be able to provide; their longer trekking holidays come particularly recommended.
Centre Equestre Monti, Menton
Just a stone’s throw away from Monaco in neighbouring Menton, the Centre Equestre Monti awaits. Run by a family of riders with a passion for everything equestrian, this club has been successfully teaching children and teenagers how to ride since 1979. It offers classes in both French and Italian teaching the main equestrian disciplines: dressage, jumping and pony games. As they progress, children have the opportunity to take the federal exams – aptly named “GALOPS.” The Centre Equestre Monti also teaches kids about the practicalities of the horse riding lifestyle, making sure they know how to groom and care for the horses, and hopefully fostering a love of these gentle animals that lasts a lifetime.
Horse Planet Equitation, Berre Les Alpes
The furthest away of all our schools for horse riding near Monaco, Horse Planet Equitation lies a 50 minute drive away, but we promise you the journey is worth it. Its beautiful setting has to be seen to be believed, known as the “Secret Riviera” because of its privileged position between Mediterranean Sea and Southern Alps and framed by the hilly Nice landscape.
Horse Planet Equitation welcomes all lovers of horses and wide open spaces, so whether you are looking for a horseback trek with a view that makes you never want to get down, or simply want to learn through group or individual classes in stunning surroundings, this is the place for you. Lessons here can be carried out in French, English or Spanish, making them suitable for holidaymakers as well as residents.
So there we have it: our top four spots for world-class horse riding near Monaco. Let us know which is your favourite, or if you have any other suggestions to add to the list. Other than that, we’ll see you out on the field!
Cannes Yachting Festival took the French Riviera city by storm last month, when from the 11th-16th September its ports were taken over by an array of beautiful yachts and marine exhibitors. One such attendee was blue water cruiser builder Oyster Yachts, there to boost its international presence and to interact with worldwide prospects. We caught up with company Sales Director Stephen Parkinson to find out all about Oyster’s Cannes Yacht Show 2018 experience and discover what makes Oyster yachts unique.
How have you found Cannes Yachting Festival this year?
Cannes is always very important for us. And the reason for that is a lot of international visitors come to the show. So already over the last two days of Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 we’ve had people from Australia, Jordan, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece; it really attracts quite a wide range of visitors, which is fantastic. So, it’s always a good show, and we’ve been visiting for a good few years now. It’s, I believe, one of the biggest in water shows in the world. So, it’s important for us to be here.
I think the plan for Oyster at Cannes in the future is to just grow what we do here. We’ll probably have a much bigger presence next year. We’re all very excited about the future for Oyster and love the fact that we’ve got someone like Richard Hadida (Oyster CEO) on board to take the company forward – we’re all behind him. Everybody that works for the company is genuinely passionate about the brand. We actually believe the mission statement. I really do I think these boats are the best blue water boats in the world, you know. So, I’m sure we’ll see Oyster’s presence here growing in leaps and bounds.
And when you say you’ve had an international clientele come through, are these people who know the brand already or are they coming across Oyster for the first time?
It’s a mixture, because in the lead up to Cannes Yacht Show 2018 we sent out invites to all prospects on our database. This year we have been lucky to present a newly built Oyster 745, our 75ft yacht Pitanga. When a yacht comes out the factory or is in commissioning it’s sort of in its base state, so it’s a good opportunity for potential owners to see what we can do. Our aim was to get a mixture of people that we know who are genuinely interested in the boat that we could meet and show around the vessel. But of course, it’s also important for us to get new clients, so it’s equally as important to get new people that we don’t know on to the boats and into the brand.
Can you tell me a bit more about the Pitanga yacht you had on display at Cannes?
Well as I said this is the model 745, she’s hull number 4 and is about a year old. This is really the smallest yacht that Oyster offers that allows you to have true crew separation. As we go down below, forward of the galley, you go into the crew cabin. This boat allows you to completely close off that galley area, so that the crew have their privacy while they’re cooking and the owners have their privacy when they’re in the saloon watching TV or whatever else they’re doing. In this configuration, it has four cabins, so one owner and three guest, and one crew cabin. And the design is proving to be a success – we’ve just got another of this model sold, and so we will start build on that towards the end of the year.
What’s unique about Oyster’s yacht design?
Oyster’s pretty unique in that the amount of light that we get into our yachts. A lot of boats can be quite dark as you come down, whereas these big windows are fantastic for letting light in. These two outer ones open up so the breeze can come in and you don’t have to have air conditioning running the whole time. Then when you come through to the owner’s cabin it’s the same: you don’t want to be somewhere where you feel like it’s dark and dingy, so we’ve put in three of our large seascape windows, which are a design unique to us. This came out of listening to what our clients want from our vessels.
Our yachts are also designed to be fully-functional open water cruisers, which will take you anywhere, whilst still being very luxurious and comfortable inside. I think this is what makes Oysters really stand out amongst the rest.
What next after Cannes Yachting Festival – any exciting plans for the next few months?
There are always lots of exciting things happening within Oyster, and after Cannes Yacht Show 2018 we have our series of Regattas starting with Palma in October and Antigua next year. These are both big events for us as Richard very keen to get more people to these events and bring back more of a family feel to them. So he wants the kids there, he wants everyone to make it a family event, and that will be exciting. He’s going to do a good job of that, being a family man himself. Traditionally Oyster has always been a family-friendly brand.
Then there’s other things happening within the business, such as looking at a new model, a smaller model, potentially between 45 and 50ft, which is still on the drawing boards with Humphreys Yacht Design. We also have our new Marketing Director Abigail Comber joining us in November, so we’ve got a really exciting time coming up.
Of course as well as all this, we have the current Oyster World Rally underway, due to finish next year, and have already started planning for the next one in 2021. As a rally fully organised and supported by Oyster this is a completely unique event – there’s no other yacht manufacturer that does it or potentially could even do it. We have a whole team set up to support these yachts as they travel around the world. We also have Oyster staff out travelling round with the rally fleet, showing the true meaning and strength of the Oyster Family.
Golfing is possibly the most relaxed you can be whilst playing a sport. This is because whilst golf can be a very challenging game, you can always rely on a beautiful location, with rolling fields and abundant wildlife setting the tone for a peaceful game. However, the golf courses in St Tropez and the South of France are on another level. From dazzling sea views to idyllic forestry, discover three of the most stunning golf courses on the French Riviera.
Golf Club Saint-Tropez
Drive just five minutes out of central St-Tropez to find this exquisitely-designed golf course, crafted by the combined genius of golf course architect Thierry Sprecher and French golfing legend Gery Watine. Together they built a veritable haven for golfers, with an 18-hole course that overlooks four villages and offers incredible views of the sparkling Med. All this beauty explains why villas near Golf Club Saint-Tropez are in such high demand, the luscious environment also making for a great place to set up home.
This is a club that can cater to any level of player, also offering a 9-hole executive golf course and a golf academy with a driving range, so feel free to bring any newbies along. Finished your round? Why not head to the clubhouse for a drink, or even better indulge in a 3-course meal at its highly-acclaimed restaurant. The perfect end to the perfect putt, at one of our favourite golf courses in St Tropez.
Golf Club de Beauvallon
If you’re looking for striking panoramas over the Gulf of St-Tropez, look no further than Beauvallon Golf Club, an 18-hole course set between the Mediterranean and the mountains. These views mean it is often thought of as one of the golf courses in St Tropez, when in fact it is in nearby Grimaud. However, when the sights do such justice to their name (Beauvallon translates to beautiful valley) who’s to quibble?
Make sure you have your camera ready at the 11th, 12th and 15th holes, which offer the best views of the bay, and prepare for some tough spots where you’ll have to clear a roadway, water hazard and also avoid a bunker right of the green. An incredible mixture of serious golf and sightseeing.
Cannes-Mougins Golf Country Club
The Golf Club of Cannes-Mougins is blessed with an unbeatable location, tucked away in Valmasque National Park. Golfers flock here from all over the Cote d’Azur to take advantage of the jaw-dropping mountainous backdrop, with its lush green forestry providing a great place to spot birds. This club is one of the French Riviera’s most famous due to its hosting of the Cannes Open, with the course dating all the way back to the 1920s.
An impressive 72-par 18-hole course incorporating the Bouillide River as a natural water hazard, the Golf Club of Cannes-Mougins is over an hour’s drive away from Saint Tropez. However, trust us when we say the journey is worth it.
These are just three of the best golf courses in St Tropez and the surrounding area, with many more awaiting your visit. However, for a beautiful game in an even more beautiful setting, don’t miss these golfing treasures.
The natural location of Monaco provides the perfect setting; a miniature city set into the hillside, overlooking the glistening Mediterranean Sea, where historic buildings sit side by side with modern Monaco real estate and an impressive collection of mega yachts are moored in the bay between Casino Square and the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
Best known for being a tax haven and playground of the uber rich, Monaco is the smallest country in the world (excluding Vatican City) yet it packs a whole lot into its 2km². Famous landmarks, luxury resorts, exclusive nightlife and a calendar of major events, such as the Rolex Monte Carlo Master’s Tennis tournament, Formula 1® Grand Prix and the Monte-Carlo Sporting Summer Festival draw visitors from all over the world to experience the unique location and its glamourous atmosphere.
Yet Monaco has much more to offer than simply a luxury lifestyle. Step off the beaten track to explore Monaco and you will find a place that the locals love, with plenty of unique sights and experiences to take you from morning until night, without venturing onto the tourist circuit.
Enjoy a gentle stroll through the colourful, pedestrian streets of Monaco-Ville, Monaco’s old town located high on a headland and home to the Prince’s Palace. Pause for coffee in one of the many welcoming cafes, or take in the impressive and beautifully preserved architecture in Le Rocher, where on Rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette the homes date back to the 16th Century.
In La Condamine, the daily market is open from 6am until 2pm and offers a range of stalls selling regional produce, while at the indoor food court it is possible to sample the renowned barbajuan, a kind of giant ravioli stuffed with Swiss chard, cheese and meat, most often served as an appetizer. You will also find truffle pasta and socca, a traditional flatbread made with chickpea flour, originating from the neighbouring city of Nice.
Terrace with a View
If you’re keen to hang out with the locals, head for Club Bouliste du Rocher, situated above the port at the Fort Antoine gardens. There you can experience a game of pétanque and a cold beer on the terrace at the small restaurant which offers a panoramic view of the city. Looking back across the port, the vista features part of the Grand Prix circuit, from the tunnel under the Fairmont Monte-Carlo and the Nouvelle Chicane towards the piscine, making it a fantastic spot from which to observe the race action, even if you’re not fortunate enough to have a ticket. Just don’t forget your binoculars!
Escape the Crowds
Below the popular Oceanographic Museum is the secluded Fisherman Cove. This hidden gem is reached via narrow steps leading down to a shallow, shingle beach and the cool, clear waters of the Mediterranean. Rarely occupied by more than a handful of Monegasque locals, it offers a peaceful suntrap and respite from the vibrant city.
If the beach doesn’t appeal, there are several gardens in Monaco that can provide a sense of escape and the chance to absorb natural beauty amidst the backdrop of the bustling city; the Princess Grace Rose Garden is probably the most traditional, while the Jardin Exotique de Monaco the most famous, but just a short walk from the centre is the lesser known, but no less beautiful Japanese Gardens. This Japanese-inspired garden strictly adheres to Zen principles, seamlessly harmonising stone, water and vegetation in the most serene and tranquil setting.
Not all evening entertainment in Monaco is about the glitz and glamour. For something a little more low-key, during July and August, those in-the-know head for the Monaco Open Air cinema behind the Oceanographic Museum. Here it is possible to spend a balmy summer evening watching the latest movie blockbuster with a glass of chilled rosé from the comfort of a cushioned lounge chair, as seagulls fly overhead and the sound of the sea rises from the rocks below.
From morning until night Monaco has something to offer for those keen to follow the path less travelled. If you are keen to explore the real Monaco, you’ll quickly come to appreciate the uniqueness of this compact principality as observed through the eyes of the locals.
The Italian Riviera is north-western Italy’s coastal showcase, a place where the Ligurian Alps meet the Apennines with a dash of la dolce vita and a well-deserved reputation alluring yachts to one of the most popular yachting hotspots in the Mediterranean, Portofino.
Decades of tourism have ensured that the beauty of the Cinque Terre and Portofino rank highly on places you need to visit and the entire coastline has bewitched royalty, writers and celebrities who have been drawn to the Mediterranean climate, beautiful towns and the blend of old and new.
There’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a sheltered inlet surrounded by colourful buildings and olive-clad terraces it has been grabbing headlines and attracting the international jet set for decades.
In the height of peak season, the town morphs into Italy’s version of Saint-Tropez, however if you’re looking for Champagne-spraying nightclubs and hedonistic beach clubs you’ve come to the wrong place.
Many visitors to Portofino don’t venture beyond the harbour and Piazzetta (small square), but renting a yacht on the Italian Riviera will introduce you to places of quiet beauty – especially in spring or autumn, ornate villas hidden amongst the trees and gorgeous scenery with romantic restaurants sandwiched between the mountains and sea.
Portofino is not off-the-beaten path, however it’s possible to escape the crowds of day trippers and celebrities who visit Portofino for one day.
Read this Guide to Yacht Charters in Portofino to discover the best things to see and do while on a Portofino yacht charter, where you can discover some of the celebrated highlights and the charter spots less visited amidst the surrounding attractions of the Gulf of Tigullio.