The most luxurious adventure of a lifetime awaits you at the French Riviera. One of the most stunning superyacht destinations in the world, the South of France is home to exceptionally beautiful landscapes, sparkling clear waters and pristine beaches. Its sweeping coastal towns, charming villages and sophisticated cities have long been on the top of the international jet setters list for a long time. With no better way to explore the South of France than via a charter yacht, here we share our top 3 reasons why you should book a charter yacht to the South of France now.
French cuisine is often listed among the richest, decadent and divine in the world and nowhere in France is this as evident as in the South. Home to some of the finest dining experiences in the world, the South of France is known for its diverse styles of dishes that titillate all the senses. The distinct flavours of the Mediterranean have impacted the various types of cuisine available in the area, making it completely unique, luxurious, and most of all, flavourful. Local produce, such as seafood, meat, vegetables, and grains, are key ingredients in the South and olive oil, butter, and herbs. Baked goods, such as bread and pastries, really shine in the South of France, so do not be afraid to sample plenty during your charter. Offering everything from upscale, fine-dining restaurants to local salon de thé cafes, the food in the South of France will leave you hungry for more.
The South of France is sure to captivate you and your guests with its rich and vast cultural heritage. Evident and full display in its Old Towns, monuments, museums as well as historical sites, the history of France will enthral even the youngest participants. From the beautiful Vieux Nice in Nice to Le Suquet in Cannes, the magnificent architecture and extravagant sites are not to be missed. Be sure to visit the smaller cities of Avignon and Arles. Explore the UNESCO Heritage Site of Palais des Papes in Avignon, a magnificent fortress that dates back to the 14th century and the Musée du Petit Palais, which showcases some of the most exquisite historical art. In Arles, stop by the 21,000-seat Roman Amphitheatre, constructed in the 1st century and see several of the other Roman historical sites in town.
Next to the array of stunning white beaches found along the coastline of the Cote d’Azur, the South of France is known for its busy events calendar. From the European Heritage Days to the Cannes Film Festival and Grand Prix in Monaco, there is a wealth of cultural, historical, sporting and social events occurring throughout the year. If you plan to cruise along the French Riviera in September, be sure to coincide your charter with the Cannes Yachting Festival and the Monaco Yacht Show to see the most spectacular motor yachts, sailboats and superyachts in person. If you are keen 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. With a plethora of events to choose from, it’s never a dull moment along the French Riviera.
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 yacht 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.
Does the French Riviera live up to its glamorous reputation? The simple answer is, yes! Yes it does. Especially if you’re exploring on board a luxury yacht. From cocktails aboard your fly deck and cosmopolitan bars to quaint towns and lavender fields, this destination truly has everything and you’ll never want to leave.
Yacht Charter on the French Riviera
Yacht charter with Incrediblue allows you to broaden your horizons and makes sailing more accessible around the world, as you are no longer limited to one yacht type or destination. So where better to start than in the stunning French Riviera? Also known as Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the Southeast corner of France, also including Monaco. There is no official boundary, but we generally consider it to extend from Cassis or Toulon or Saint-Tropez located on the West to France-Italy border in the East, where the Italian Riviera joins.
Where to start
You have heard of Nice and Cannes right? Well that’s just a couple more of the towns that make up this beautiful stretch of paradise on earth. When is comes to yacht charter you’re truly spoilt for choice of where to start your adventure. A popular route is to begin in Monaco, before heading to Nice and then onto St Tropez.
Selecting your own charter yacht
Selecting your own yacht on the French Riviera is easy with the help of a highly experienced team such as Incrediblue, who will be happy to understand and ensure your every need is catered for. As you will have a crew on board you can discuss meals plans with the chefand also the perfect route with the ckipper before you set sail for the time of your life.
Prepare to be amazed by the sheer beauty of the gleaming superyachts lined up in Monaco harbour. If you’re lucky enough to be there during an event such as the Monaco Grand Prix, you will not only enjoy the electric atmosphere but you can also gawp at more amazing yachts that will appear throughout. There were in fact over €2 billion worth of yachts attending the Grand Prix in 2016.
Any trip to the French Riviera should begin with a stop in Nice. The Port of Nice is the perfect place to moor your yacht overnight and enjoy a traditional light dinner such as salade niçoise made by your personal on board chef. If you would like to hit the town you will not be dissapointed. Especially during the summer season, nightlife is in abundance and offers many options for after dark enthusiasts.
In the morning you will appreciate the sparkles reflecting off the warm Mediterranean waters whilst you’re having your breakfast. Whether you’re there for one day or five, be sure to venture up to Castle Hill. The phrase ‘it was worth the climb’ is truly fitting in this instance. The panoramic views of the Baie des Anges are simply to die for. You may also want to visit Nice’s famous lavender fields, the verdant park which is the perfect spot to take a picnic, or simply just relax and watch the world go by before boarding your yacht again and moving onto the next divine destination.
Home to the rich and famous, Cannes should definitely be on your bucket list. With its sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and 5* restaurants there is plenty to see and do.
To add to Cannes’ glamour, this destination is very well known for the international film festival that occurs here once per year in May. If there is any event with the potential to dethrone the Oscars than this is it. If you’re lucky enough to be around during the festival you will be guaranteed to spot some famous faces strutting their stuff down the red carpet.
A short sail away from Cannes you will embark upon the Lérins Islands. The Lérins Islands are a group of four Mediterranean islands off the French Riviera, in Cannes. The two largest islands in this group are the Île Sainte-Marguerite and the Île Saint-Honorat. Here you will get away from the hustle and bustle of busy life and have the opportunity to relax in the ambience of tranquility. The islands are full of undisturbed beauty with small wild beaches and secret coves you could spend hours exploring. The panoramic views and sparkling turquoise blue waters are guaranteed to take your breath away.
If your yachting trip happens to fall on July 14th, try and spend the evening here to enjoy the famous firework night.
On your way to St Tropez be sure to soak up not only the sun but the best views of the French Riviera. It sounds only right to have a margarita in your hand whilst you enjoy these truly blissful few hours of cruising through the crystal waters. If you are coming directly from Nice it will take approximately 3 hours but if you want to take any detours you can discuss this with your captain. It might be a nice idea to stop and take a swim. If you have a diving instructor on board you should take advantage of the experience. The Mediterranean is home to some of the most colourful and interesting underwater life.
Upon arrival in St Tropez you will notice how big and vibrant this port is. With a capacity of 734 moorings there is definitely plenty of space for any size yacht. St Tropez is well known for its innovation and quality services, making it one of the most famous marinas in the world.
The height of St Tropez’ popularity comes from the 9 day regatta occuring once a year, known as “Voiles de Saint Tropez”. It begins here at the foot of the Portalet tower and bypasses the Nioulargue buoy before returning to the port. Over the duration of 9 day regatta, 300 of the finest yachts from around the world are brought together and it is a sight not to be missed!
If coffee is your thing you absolutely MUST not miss out on the famous espresso made in the even more famous bar that is Senequier. Whilst enjoying ‘the best French coffee known to man’ you can enjoy watching artists painting people or landscapes around the ports.
Whether you’re cruising down the French Riviera, floating through the sunlit seas of Sardinia, or docking in the Caribbean paradise of St Barths, a superyacht charter is the ultimate in glamour and barefoot luxury. And you’ll want to look the part, with a stylish wardrobe and designer accessories delivering just the right amount of bling for an effortless sense of superyacht cool.
But since superyachts have their own unique dress code, it’s not always easy to decide what to pack!
There are certain high-end fashion brands that are synonymous with the superyacht set and we’ll discuss these ‘brands that belong’ in detail in this guide, along with some practical insider tips on what to bring on a yacht charter, including what luggage to use, what technology to pack, and those funny old rules about shoes.
The reasons for choosing a luxury yacht charter are woven together in ways that elevate things you desire to provide unforgettable experiences – time, privacy, luxury, seclusion. And luckily, some of the top wildlife spotting destinations on the planet provide many elements to make your yacht charter the ultimate vacation.
Yacht charter destinations for nature lovers provide the feeling of liberation from busy resorts, exclusive first-class service onboard luxury vessels and adventures to far flung locations with a new view each day.
From the Mediterranean to North America and Southeast Asia, while others are dreaming of the world Bespoke Yacht Charter can help you explore some of the world’s most captivating destinations, each with something unique to offer.
Maybe you take a family holiday every year, but you want this one to be special. You’re tossing up between all the usual luxury vacation options the exclusive hotel or private villa, the high-end cruise ship or island resort.
Forget all that. There’s a much better way – one which combines all the best of these traditional holiday choices and surpasses them with ease. A luxury yacht charter beats all the other vacation options, hands-down.
So what makes a yacht so special? And how does a superyacht charter trump all other vacation options?
‘How long is a piece of string’ is the quick answer to this question. The variation in charter yacht pricing and facilities is simply breathtaking, with French Riviera yacht charters beginning at around €20,000 per week for smaller yachts, and soaring stratospherically upwards to over €1 million per week for the finest megayachts – complete with helipads, elevators, beach clubs, and infinity pools.
It’s fair, then, to say there are some gaps in pricing and facilities. And in those gaps lies your opportunity to join the superyacht set. You may have to sacrifice the infinity pool, but you don’t have to sacrifice the dream.
With more superyachts joining the charter fleet every year, yacht charters are more affordable than ever before. And once you factor in sharing the cost of your charter with a group of family and friends, yacht charter at the small to medium motor-yacht range becomes financially comparable to other luxury holiday options on the French Riviera such as high-end hotels, villas, and cruise ships. And when it comes to experiences, well, luxury yachts win that contest hands-down.
If you’re seeking a luxury yacht charter that offers an entirely different experience than traditional Mediterranean hotspots such as the Amalfi Coast, French Riviera or the Balearic Islands, then head to Corsica where you’ll be charmed by an island of diverse landscapes, vast history and robust cuisine.
Located at a maritime triangle between the coasts of northwestern Italy, southeastern France and the neighbouring island of Sardinia, Corsica is underrated and largely unspoiled by commercialism – imagine an island where herders still shuffle their mountain goats through the scented maquis of rosemary and lavender, crumbling Genoese fortifications line the wild coastline instead of glitzy resorts and wind-bent pine trees border the shores of spectacular beaches.
Inland, you’ll find an even quieter Corsica with pigs and donkeys roaming the twisting mountain roads, artisans selling almond cookies and hazelnut oil roadside and tiny villages staunchly professing their Corsican identity.