A scant 100 years ago, the idea of visiting the French Riviera in the summertime was unheard of in polite society, who deemed the South of France in July and August to be far too hot and bothersome.
Instead, the first-class trains and ornate horse-drawn carriages would start to arrive as the weather cooled and the first snows fell on the Alps, delivering queens and tsars, dukes and duchesses, writers and artists for a glittering winter season of parties and operas and promenading under the palms.
In winter at the turn of the 19th century, the Cote d’Azur was the centre of the fashionable world. In summer, the carriages departed, and the opulent villas and belle époque hotels were shuttered up once more until the haze of summer cleared and the sea again held its enchanting winter sparkle.
And that’s how the Riviera stayed—a resolutely wintertime resort— until the 1920’s, when New York socialites, Gerard and Sarah Murphy, convinced the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc to keep a wing open for them for a summer. After buying a nearby villa the next year, they invited friends F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway for decadent, endless summers of jumping off the rocks into the sea, fabulous parties, and long boozy lunches under the shade of pine trees that buzzed with cicadas.
Winter on the French Riviera is an absolute delight, as the summer crowds thin out, the snow gathers on the Alps behind the coast, and the landscape is covered in a vivid yellow carpet of mimosa flowers.
Whether it’s a crisp blue sky day with endless views of sparkling sea, or a blustery afternoon where the palm trees bend and wave along the seafront at Cannes, there’s nothing quite as lovely as warming up after a walk with a steaming cup of vin chaud, a mug of rich hot chocolate, or a paper cone full of roasted chestnuts.
And with the Cote d’Azur lighting up with Christmas markets, and the ski resorts within easy reach of the coast, the French Riviera offers a winter experience with just the right amount of joie de vivre.
Here are some delicious wintry drinks and treats to enjoy in France, as well as a few select places to enjoy them.
Whether you want to call it vin chaud, mulled wine, or gluhwein, the fact remains: the first sip of this warm red wine spiced with cloves and cinnamon is pure Christmas in a glass.
And on the French Riviera, there are so many places to enjoy this wintery beverage!
Is there anything more festive than wandering around a brightly-lit Christmas market on a dark winter’s night, cold air on your face and a warm cup of mulled wine in your hand? We think not. Wonderful Christmas markets spring up all along the French Riviera in the wintertime, as well as in the pretty hill villages behind the coast. The Christmas markets at Nice and Antibes even have a giant Ferris wheel on site, giving dizzying views across the city, sea and mountains.
All of these Christmas markets have pretty little Christmas stalls with pitched rooves dusted in fake snow, their stallholders wrapped up tight in scarves dishing out steaming cups of vin chaud—as well as other warming treats like roasted chestnuts wrapped in paper, gooey Nutella crepes, and unbelievably moreish slices of socca sprinkled with pepper and wrapped in tinfoil.
The Christmas markets (and the yummy food and drink to be found at them) is one of the best things about a winter holiday in the South of France. Every time you drink mulled wine in future, you’ll be instantly transported back to that holiday feeling of winter on the French Riviera.
Local Cafés and Bars
If you’re looking for vin chaud outside the Christmas market experience, our best tip is to go local. Find a café or bar displaying the sign ‘maison vin chaud’, which means they make the drink in house. Perhaps even more importantly, look for a bustling café full of locals, because you want a busy place where the vin chaud isn’t allowed to get old, as it becomes bitter when it’s reheated.
Besides, the experience of walking into a warm, noisy French café on a cold winter’s day and taking a table to watch the comings and goings is so utterly French that you really can’t miss it when on holiday! Avoid the sophisticated bars aimed at tourists and go somewhere with a bit of local heart and colour if you can.
In Antibes, try one of the cheap and cheerful local bars up near the market, or Le Vieil Antibes café by the fountain on Rue Republique. In Cannes, you might like to enjoy the cosy atmosphere of 72 Croisette, sipping vin chaud as you look out across the boulevard to the superyachts in the port. In Nice, Bistrot Chaud Vin really ought to be a winner for mulled wine given the name, and in Monaco, try the unpretentious Monte Carlo Bar in La Condamine, any time of day or night.
One of the most incredible aspects of a winter holiday on the French Riviera is the proximity to the ski-fields, with the closest ski resorts only an hour away. And vin chaud is an unmissable part of the French ski field experience!
You might like to stop at one of the mountain terraces for a steaming cup of the mulled wine between ski runs, or get into the spirit of things with an après ski session, with hot mugs of vin chaud, spiked hot chocolate, or shots of schnapps warming up the chill in your bones.
Of the ski resorts within 2 hours of Nice airport, Isola 2000 has the most bars and nightlife if you want to get into the après ski spirit after a brisk day on the slopes, but you’ll find that all the ski fields in the area offer vin chaud and a welcoming buzz in the evenings.
Again, the key is to look for a busy place that won’t let the vin chaud sit around for long enough to get bitter!
The first question you must decide on: what is your perfect hot chocolate? Is it the powdered stuff you have at home, laden with marshmallows? Or is it French hot chocolate, with its dark and silken combination of real bitter chocolate and milk? Or perhaps your idea of perfect hot chocolate is Italian, which is so thick and gooey you can almost stand your spoon up in it?
You can find all three kinds of hot chocolate on the French Riviera, all coming under the title of ‘chocolat chaud’. You’ll generally find the powdered cocoa version at your cheaper cafes, but we urge you towards the decadent drinking chocolate experience to be found at the finer establishments of the Riviera.
Famous Luxury Hotels
Drinking top quality hot chocolate in one of the world’s most opulent hotels is not a bad way to spend a leisurely hour or two. A hot chocolate at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco is a memorable, refined affair, as is the hot chocolate served during high tea at the glamorous Hotel Carlton Intercontinental.
Perhaps the very best hot chocolate, however, is to visit one the French chocolatiers along the Riviera, whose thick delicious concoctions are pure bliss on the tastebuds. Jean Luc Pele’ has flagship stores in both Cannes and Antibes, where you can sit in the little nook overlooking the street and drink your hot chocolate and feast on their heavenly pastries and artisan chocolates.
As mentioned, many cafés now use cocoa powder in the American or British style, which results in a fairly thin, not particularly chocolatey drink. If you’re looking for thick, Italian style chocolate while on holiday, one very good option is Caffe Lalu in Cannes, which incidentally, also does very good coffee (not an easy thing to find in France!)
If you’re visiting the coast in February, you’re guaranteed to get a superb hot chocolate at the Antibes Chocolate Festival, ‘Bread, Love, and Chocolate’, which begins, rather fittingly, on Valentine’s Day. Warm your hands with a hot chocolate and take a wander through the port, where you’ll see crew on deck of the beautiful yachts, beginning to ready them for the spring yacht charters.
Make your own spiked hot chocolate
If your accommodation is self-catering, you can experiment by buying top quality chocolate and milk, with pouring cream to add if you like.
If you’re looking to really get in the spirit, add a glug of alcohol into the mix for a spiked hot chocolate. Boozy hot chocolate is utterly, utterly Christmassy and very warming on a cold night. A splash of dark rum adds a wicked depth, while liquors like Kahlua, Baileys and Amaretto are huge crowd pleasers.
People are getting ever more creative with their spiked hot chocolate creations, whether it’s the recent trend for red wine in hot chocolate, a dash of Guinness, or the magical combination of Nutella and Frangelico for the perfect hazelnut hot choccy.
Other Wintery Drinks to Enjoy in France
A glass of Armagnac, cognac, or calvados will light the fire in your belly, and are perfect tipples for a cold winter’s evening. Whatever your favourite liquor is, we suggest that you head to a bar with an atmosphere of French Riviera glamour, and preferably some classy live music. Think Bar Americain in Monaco, where live jazz and soft armchairs will put you in the mood, the historic bar at Nice’s stunning Hotel Negresco, or the piano bar at Bar l’Amiral at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes.
If you fancy something a bit more lively and a good sight less salubrious, it’s hard to go past the famous Absinthe Bar in Antibes, where you head downstairs into a vaulted cellar bar festooned with art deco posters and silly hats. Once you take a seat, you’ll choose off a vast absinthe menu, and a glass absinthe fountain is delivered to your table, along with ornate spoons and cubes of sugar. The absinthe is beautifully warming…and very alcoholic. Be warned!
On some nights there’s a musician playing piano, and this often leads to rowdy sing a-longs and much hat swapping. It’s a fabulous night out, but check before heading there, as winter hours can be wildly undependable.
Of course, there’s also the option of heading to a local café and enjoying a laid back glass of pastis, diluted with just the right amount of water. This is best drunk in a café with a nice warming fug and lots of activity for people watching.
With these decadent warming drinks on the menu, winter on the French Riviera will warm the cockles of your heart. Happy indulging!
Each year the Principality of Monaco plays host to a unique musical event, which showcases some of the most accomplished and celebrated musicians in the world. The Monte-Carlo Music Masters is a renowned annual competition that was founded by Jean-Marie Fournier and first took place in Monaco in 1992.
In October of each year, music lovers flock to Monte Carlo from every corner of the globe in order to attend the various rounds of this breathtaking musical contest. One of the very best ways for musical aficionados to experience this superb event is by staying in their very own villa for rent near Monaco. When you rent a luxury villa on the French Riviera, in close proximity to Monte Carlo, at this time of year, you’re able to not only enjoy the many sophisticated pleasures of this perpetually sun-drenched coastline, but you’re also only a short and convenient hop away from one of the globe’s most exciting musical competitions.
The Monte-Carlo Music Masters sets forth several distinctive regulations that inevitably elevate the quality and standards of the musicians that compete here and the music they produce. One of these rules allows only musicians who have already won other competitions in the past to participate in the Monte-Carlo Music Masters.
Another unorthodox specification of this illustrious competition is that, each successive year, the Monte-Carlo Music Masters focuses on only one discipline, alternating between piano, violin or voice, so as to be certain to devote the requisite amount of attention and focus that each musical category deserves. In turn, this particular quirk benefits those spectators or fans who have a specific affinity for any of these three musical specialties. So, fans of the violin can choose to attend the Monte-Carlo Violin Masters and get completely carried away by the strains of their favourite compositions.
Monte-Carlo Voice Masters 2017
In 2017, it was the turn of the singers to compete at the Monte-Carlo Music Masters. Those blessed with magnificent voices travelled to Monaco from all around the planet to compete, to offer their very best operatic arias and to try and earn the coveted €30,000 Prince Rainier III Prize. The riveting elimination rounds of this year’s event were no doubt as gruelling for the competitors to participate in, as they were compelling for those gathered to watch.
In the thrilling final, which took place on Saturday the 14th of October at the Auditorium Rainier III, two South Korean singers duelled musically. Eventually it was Gil Byeong-Min who prevailed and earned the title of winner of the Monte-Carlo Voice Masters 2017.
However, there’s an argument to be made that the true winners on this day (and indeed throughout the entire competition) were the music lovers fortunate enough to attend, and witness the incredible levels of vocal virtuosity that were on display at this year’s Monte-Carlo Voice Masters.
If you’d like to find out what it feels like to listen to some of the world’s best musicians, all at the top of their games, competing against one another, then you should plan on attending the Monte-Carlo Music Masters 2018 by renting a luxury villa on the French Riviera.
Our planet is no doubt blessed with a myriad of breathtakingly stunning scenery, but very few places compare to the luxurious blend of vintage luxury and enchanting landscapes that is the French Riviera and its legendary sun-drenched beaches. This delightfully sculpted scenery which stretches from St. Tropez up until the French-Italian border is an avalanche of hospitality; complete with sandy beaches, blue seas (and skies), trendy shopping stores and exclusive boutiques. Dazzling with historic vineyards, extravagant chateaus, and calm waters transcended by traversing yachts, the French Riviera immerses its visitors in an ethereal world of splendor and magnificence. Add a touch of style and classical French hospitality, and you see why this place leads the chart of top celebrity tourist destinations.
Cannes on the French Riviera is an action attraction sure to tickle the fancy of every tourist. The town hosts the famous Cannes Film Festival on an annual basis – providing a glistering perspective of what luxury and holiday resorting should be like. With an aura of regality and modest affluence, the sun perched Mediterranean coastline, and nearby medieval styled villages provide a lucid imagery of the rich French cultural history. It’s however not just about the scenery, as embossed in the rose gold streets of the nearby, Eze, Antibes, Saint Tropez and Menton as a firsthand historical perspective of French Sovereignty. Antibes in particular, with its picturesque streets and prestigious museums, reunites you with history; and if you have a taste for the exclusive, its impressive line up of celebrity villas will leave you craving for more of the same.
What’s the best way to explore the French Riviera; by land where you get up close and personal with its stunning architecture or via the air where you’re treated to an almost godlike perspective of its stunning scenery? How about a taste of the two; up close and personal plus a godlike view and then a serving of luxurious adventure – cue the waters of the French Riviera and its luxury yachts. Of the many highlights the French Riviera is known for, its exotic yachting and beach culture stands out as one of the most prominent in the world. Since the 18th century when its white pebble beaches were routinely toured by the likes of King Edward VII, Queen Victoria, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the French Riviera has conveyed a sense of wealth and privileged luxury; the kind that has drawn hordes of affluent visitors to its endearing yet reassuringly calm waters. So, whether you arrive on your private yacht or join the enthusiastic company of other tourists to hitch a ride aboard a cruise, ferry or boat, rest assured that you will a get a taste of the regally grand adventures of the French Riviera’s breathtaking waters.
Away from the Sea and onto the Roads of the French Riviera
Granted the sea and its frivolities pack a unique touch of adventure, but no trip to the French Riviera is complete without a day, or two spent touring its scenic landscapes and interacting with its soulful scenery. Far from the tardy definitions of a conventional tour, you too can experience the French Riviera from an elite perspective, with a custom planned tour in the supercar of your dreams. If you thought the bustling waters of the Riviera were endearing, then get set for a treat. A driving tour of the French Riviera aboard a supercar replaces the gentle sways of the adventurous sea with the high-octane pumped twists and turns of France’s greatest driving roads – it really is, the ultimate way to infuse a vibrant and spirited experience into your French Riviera adventure.
The Cote d’Azur and Provence feature a stunning landscape made for the 21st century explorer. The seemingly endless stretches of roads wiggle around the sun draped hills and snow-tipped mountains leaving in their wake Provence’s signature lavender fields and vignette olive groves. But that’s just a snippet of what lies in store; the Alpes-Maritimes, a streak of cliff-top roads snaking up the French Riviera’s daunting mountain range is length for length one of the most enthralling routes for driving in all of Europe. Its range is dotted with iconic hilltop villages, each painted with a byzantine palette of class and vintage luxury. From Gourdon, through Vence and up into Moustiers Sainte Marie, expect a visually scintillating experience that will most certainly leave an indelible imprint on your travel memories.
Planning your Car Tour on the French Riviera
Ready to delve into the French Riviera? Start off your tour from Cannes where an experienced tour guide will meet you at about 6:30 pm in the comfort of your hotel lobby. You will be provided with a detailed rundown of what to expect before the keys to your select dream car is handed over; this could be a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, a Porsche or even a Bugatti if you’re hell-bent on keeping the whole experience, French.
After your first night, spent shrugging off any accompanying bits of sea sluggishness, you should be well in tune with the magic of the French Riviera – the land version. Your first route to conquer is the long stretch of road leading from Cannes up into Provence. Do this by coasting along the famous Croisette promenade and its breathtaking view of the adjacent bay of Cannes. Make your way to the charming and eccentric village of Gourdon. This town hosts an assortment of cute small boutiques, antique and art, sumptuous cuisine, perfumes, olive oils, all reminiscent of medieval France. But all this pales in comparison to the magnificent view this hilltop village provides; Gourdon perched at an altitude of almost 760m treats you to an exclusive perspective of the Mediterranean coastline and the Alps.
From here, its onwards to the iconic Artuby bridge in all its artistic curves and silhouetted brilliance. The Verdon National park lies just ahead and nestled within its confines is the Gorges du Verdon, France’s own Grand Canyon; make sure to take some photos, the views are spectacular. After lunch, head off into Provence where your luxury hotel awaits you.
Day two and you’re back on track, only this time for a taste of the spectacular with one of Europe’s finest collection of mountain passes and twisting roads; if you are familiar with the Swiss Alps; you know what to expect with the Mediterranean Alps roads. Breeze through the legendary Route Napoleon and its nearby twin the Route de Thorenc. Both feature hanging cliffs and fast-paced straights; and while others pause to take a breather from the corners, you effortlessly conquer the road with the confidence that comes from being in your very own supercar.
Your road tour of the French Riviera comes to an end with the shimmering tarmac of Col de Vence, and its striking view of the sea. From here it’s smooth sailing via the highway back to Monte-Carlo.
Monaco Yacht Show 2017 is set to take place from 27 to 30 September 2017 at Port Hercules where around 34,000 attendees will congregate to see, share and admire innovations, trends, luxury yachts and nautical products within the yachting sector.
Undeniably the most significant yachting show for the Mediterranean, the 27th edition of the Monaco Yacht Show under the patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco will be THE place to find the largest yachts, the biggest industry launches and the leading cutting-edge developments across tech, marine accessories, tenders, toys and yacht services.
The show attracts yacht buyers, major shipyards, brokers, designers, equipment manufacturers and other luxury companies and continually adapts to attract players within luxury markets with annual restructuring and improvements. This year, Quai Antoine 1er will be a focal point with relocation of the Car Deck, a new lounge – Starboard, and the Tenders and Toys exhibition zone.
When Duran Duran appeared on a stage that seemed to skim the water’s surface and surrounded by magnificent boats, the Ferretti Group’s guests must certainly have felt that they could identify with the sentiment expressed by the title of one of this legendary British band’s famous songs: All You Need Is Now.
The spectacle and glamour of this memorable event were made tangible in the enchanting Monégasque night.
A live performance full of hit songs and energy once again proved Duran Duran’s boundless talent, as they switched between irresistible dance rhythms and the pop songs that have made music history for the last thirty years.
The Ferretti Group and the Yacht Club De Monaco renewed a partnership that is unique worldwide and capable of producing an unforgettable event for the third year in a row. “Extraordinary World”, a name inspired by Ordinary World, one of the British band’s most famous hits, was the name given to this private concert celebrating the Ferretti Group’s unique and extraordinary ability to design and build yachts that go far beyond the ordinary.
“I have followed Duran Duran’s career since they first started out, and I have always loved their songs as well as their ability to change and experiment without ever losing their identity or their inspiration”, commented the Ferretti Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Alberto Galassi.
“Duran Duran agreed to put on this one-time, one-of-a-kind concert for our yacht Owners and for the members of the Yacht Club de Monaco. They are an extraordinary band, which, like our yachts, has style, personality, and that ability to innovate and experiment which always puts you a step above the rest, in music as in shipbuilding.
It’s no coincidence that they have come through diverse eras but always remained at the top. Thanks to their music and our guests, the Ferretti Group Private Preview 2017 has once again been an evening to remember.”
The set list, which elicited an enthusiastic response from the over 500 guests, was a triumphant parade of hits ranging from Ordinary World to the songs that first made the band famous, like Wild Boys, Notorious, Hungry Like a Wolf, Girls on Film, A View to a Kill and the more recent Pressure Off and White Lines. The encore was marked by the legendary hits Save a Prayer and Rio.
“We are happy that our renewed partnership with the Ferretti Group was able to produce this fabulous private concert”, declared Bernard d’Alessandri, Secretary General of the Yacht Club de Monaco. “And we were delighted to welcome Simon Le Bon, who is passionate about yachting. I also remember well his participation in the 1985/1986 Whitbread on Drum, a truly unique sailing adventure.”
A fleet consisting of a full 25 vessels, moored in front of the Yacht Club and representing all of the Ferretti Group brands provided a luxurious backdrop for the concert, rendering even more extraordinary this event that opened the third edition of the yearly Private Preview.
From their privileged positions in seats on the Quai Louis II and from the terraces of the Yacht Club, guests were able to admire 6 new yachts that are making their international première: the new flybridge boats Ferretti Yachts 780 and Ferretti Yachts 920, the Pershing 9X, the new Riva flybridge yacht 100’ Corsaro and the most recent addition to the open fleet, the 56’ Rivale, along with the Navetta 33, the second semi-displacement ship in the Custom Line fleet.
All are available until tomorrow afternoon, along with the rest of the fleet, for exclusive tours and sea trials, and are ready to set sail, upon conclusion of the Preview, for Cannes, where, from Tuesday the 12th to Sunday the 17th of September, they will be the stars of the 40th Cannes Yachting Festival.
The 40th anniversary of Cannes Yachting Festival will run from 12th to 17th September and continue its dynamic reputation as one of the world’s largest in-water shows.
Dubbed ‘The Ultimate Rendezvous,’ the Cannes Yachting Festival has cemented itself as an epicentre for yachting excellence, where the best of yachting connects over 6 days of nautical inspiration and innovation.
Last year, the show boasted a record of 191 new models and 630 yachts, so the 40th anniversary edition is forecast to be even more spectacular and ground-breaking.
You know the South of France summer is in full swing when celebrities and their bodyguards are popping in and out of boutiques, and charter guests speed back to their yachts, their tenders laden down with shopping bags full of designer gowns and swimwear from the world’s great fashion houses.
It’s far from unknown for superyacht guests to drop a cool €100,000 on a morning’s shopping trip in the glamorous boutiques of Saint Tropez, Cannes, or Monaco. But that’s not to say you need to have a spare hundred grand to enjoy the shopping experience during your South of France yacht charter.
Our Riviera shopping guide takes you from the haute couture fashion houses and elite ready-to-wear designers, through to local boutique gems and colourful local markets. And as no-one fancies giving money to the tax-man unnecessarily, we’ve also included some information on how to shop duty-free on the French Riviera.
Shopping in Monaco
If you begin your yacht charter in Monaco, there’s no better way to start than taking an afternoon stroll through the Principality to find a stunning designer outfit for your first evening on the yacht.
The Cercle d’Or & Summer Pavilions
The haute couture designers and luxury jewellers hang their shingles around the famous Cercle d’Or, where it’s just one prestigious fashion brand after another, including Prada, Gucci, Valentino, Cartier, Bvlgari, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Dior, and Chanel.
During summer 2017, 40 ultra-luxe brands will be displaying in the ‘Promenade Monte Carlo Shopping’: an exclusive installation of summer pavilions near the Place du Casino. The ideal route for a Cercle d’Or shopping tour begins at the Pavilions before carrying along the famous Avenue de Monte Carlo and onto Allée Francois Blanc.
If you’re a bargain-hunter roaming this part of town, slip behind the casino and away from the Cercle d’Or to Avenue Saint Michel, where Stock Griffe boutique offers big name brands for up to 70% off.
In the town centre, Boulevard des Moulins, Boulevard d’Italie, and Avenue Princesse Grace showcase many high end boutiques, including local offerings such as Monegasque luxury brand, 209 Mare.
The Condamine area down by the marina has more than 200 boutiques of dazzling variety and budget – from fashion and homewares to gourmet stores. For those shoppers who love to explore, La Condamine holds many treasures, including Le Dressing: a vintage designer shop featuring second-hand beauties from designers like Chanel.
Monaco even does shopping malls with exceptional style. Galerie du Metropole is one of the most luxurious malls on the planet, with acres of marble, porters to help with your bags, and 80 luxury stores including Armani and Brunello Cucinelli.
If you’re after a more low key or practical shopping experience, head to Fontvieille shopping mall, where you’ll find electronics, fashion stores, and a large Carrefour supermarket.
Finally, despite its high-end shopping reputation, Monaco also does a wonderful daily market in La Condamine featuring Mediterranean produce and local crafts, and a funky little flea market at Fontvieille on Saturdays.
Things worth knowing
There’s a 20% VAT surcharge on goods you buy in Monaco: it may be known as a tax haven, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to the shopping experience! However, if you’re a visitor from a country outside the EU, you will be eligible for a VAT refund on purchases over €175 made in a single store.
Shopping in Cannes
Cannes is one of the world’s ultimate shopping destinations, and you’ll feel the excitement in the air as you skip from Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent to Dior, passing celebrities carrying little dogs in their Hermès handbags.
Cannes Croisette is a byword for luxury shopping, with flagship haute couture boutiques lining the boulevard beneath the palm trees and ornate Belle Epoque hotels. As well as the big global names such as Dior and Chanel, there are also some very fine French boutiques worth knowing about, such as Paule Kar, Chacok, and Leonard Fashion.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a glamorous evening gown for your night out in Cannes but have a bit of an eye on your budget, try MyAnnika, a boutique specialising in evening dresses at affordable prices.
During the Cannes Film Festival, there’s even a red carpet laid out along the shopping strip, and the Croisette is largely pedestrianised on summer evenings as of 2017, making this prestigious shopping destination even more drop-dead gorgeous than ever. And if you’re in the mood to get a head-start on the summer crowds with a spring yacht charter, the Croisette hosts a shopping festival each April, with fashion shows and season previews. Be still, my beating heart.
If you must drag yourself away from the Croisette, Rue d’Antibes is the place to do it. This famous street just behind the Croisette is the other fashionable place to shop in Cannes, with a succession of luxury brands like Vilebrequin and famous high street brands like Zara, as well as sunglass stores and decadent chocolate shops for gifts to take home.
And as if it couldn’t get any better, the block between the Croisette and the Rue d’Antibes completes the famous Carré d’Or, where fine jewels are laid out in the window displays between chic bars and swimwear stores.
Rue des Etats-Unis
This recently-updated shopping street features high-end interior design shops to find that perfect French piece to ship home.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to shop like a Cannois local, then Rue Meynadier is for you, with its eclectic mix of affordable fashion and artisan food stores.
If you’re still hungry for more, the Galerie Gray d’Albion shopping mall is located just by the Croisette, featuring a range of high-end stores including La Perla. If you’re looking for more practical shopping, head to the neighbouring town of Cannes La Bocca.
To get the true Cannes experience on your yacht charter, a visit to the local markets is a must, and Marche Forville delights with its bustling atmosphere, and colourful stalls of fruit and flowers, cheese and fish.
Things worth knowing
Like Monaco, you can claim a VAT refund on purchases over €175 in a single store if you hail from a country outside the EU. If you’re planning a South of France shopping spree, apply for a Global Blue ‘shop tax free card’ so you can automatically be refunded at participating stores, or just ask in the store for a detaxe’ form to claim at the airport upon departure.
Shopping in Saint Tropez
Welcome to little boutique heaven, where the towering names of the fashion world sit on cobbled laneways next to unique Saint Tropez boutiques. The village of Saint Tropez isn’t big and all its boutiques are a leisurely stroll from each other, so just grab your credit card and explore to your heart’s content, with a focus on the luxury triangle between Place des Lices, Rue Gambetta, and Rue Allard.
Global Fashion houses
You’ll find the instantly-recognisable names of Hermès, Armani, Dior, and Louis Vuitton emblazoned above the doorways of Saint Tropez’ pastel facades, as well as Zadig et Voltaire, Lanvin, Swarovksi and Eres, just to name a few. However, it’s worth noting that the luxury shopping scene is just as much about the local as the international in enchanting St Tropez.
Arguably the most famous item in a Saint Tropez wardrobe is the iconic Tropezienne sandal, which was established by the Rondini family in 1927, with stiff competition from the K.Jacques family who set up shop 5 years later.
As you might expect, swimwear is also a hot item in sunny Saint Tropez, where the local Vilebrequin and Kiwi St Tropez boutiques began their meteoric rise on the superyacht fashion scene.
For jewellery, Gas Bijoux delights with its chunky, colourful designs, while Au Soleil de Saint Tropez is the last word in boho chic (as worn by the stars.)
There’s something for everyone in fashionable St Tropez. If you’re feeling nautical, Blanc Blue is a local boutique full of sailor-style stripes and scarves, while those up for a spot of polo at the St Tropez polo club will find all the right attire at La Martina. Bla Blas is an absolute treasure trove of quirky labels, while Be Shorts— well, you can guess what they sell.
Markets and Cellars
One St Tropez shopping experience which is not to be missed is a Saturday morning at the Place des Lices market, where Provencal produce, gifts, and clothing are spread out in stalls underneath the shade of century-old plane trees.
And finally, if you’re wanting to take home some excellent Provencal wine for a gift or to cellar, head to La Cave de Saint Tropez or Terre de Mer.
Things to know
The same tax free opportunities exist in St Tropez as in Cannes, with a Global Blue card definitely the way to go if you’re planning on splashing some cash.
A yacht charter is the perfect way to make the most of a luxury shopping adventure along the French Riviera. Where land-locked tourists have to battle with summer traffic in the South of France, you just float along between the great shopping destinations of the Riviera, falling ever deeper in love as you go.
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?
The coolest label to join the international fashion market in recent months, 209 Mare is redefining men’s luxury beachwear in 2017. The company’s innovative and dynamic apparel can be spotted in the chicest beach destinations around the world, worn by discerning gentlemen who are not afraid to play by their own rules. Men’s beach club attire that brings the elegance of the art deco period to the in-vogue destinations of today, the 209 Beach Blazer and the 209 Swim Shorts merge style with functionality. As the fashion label is headquartered in the Principality of Monaco, the sophisticated blazers are increasingly popular on the Cote d’Azur. We sat down with Gabriel and Federico Uribe, the Owners of the brand, to find out which beachfront establishments they recommend in the town of Cannes – one of the South of France’s most glamorous summer hangouts.
The first words uttered from the Uribe brothers were . The sister venue of Cannes’ most exclusive nightclub of the same name, the beach club and restaurant encapsulates the glitz of Cannes and the Cote d’Azur. Serving fine sushi and Mediterranean cuisine, and an array of thirst-quenching cocktails, Baoli Beach is located between the Carlton and the Majestic hotels on Cannes’ Croisette. It benefits from the largest pontoon in the area – the perfect place to witness Cannes’ majestic sunsets.
What 209 Mare said: “Visiting Baoli Beach is a very unique experience. It is the best place to understand why 209 Mare was born on the Cote d’Azur.”
Set on a long stretch of Cannes’ golden sands, Riviera Beach offers the quintessential beach experience. Relaxation is the top priority at this pet-friendly, private beach club. From 9am until late, seven days a week, Riviera Beach caters for a distinguished clientele, serving fresh seafood dishes with an Italian twist. Once your food has digested, there is a swim platform out at sea, which offers the perfect spot to look back and admire Cannes. Recline on the club’s blue and white striped sunbeds and understand why so many likeminded travellers enjoy Cannes each year.
What 209 Mare said: “The sunbeds at Riviera Beach are set roughly 2m from the water’s edge. Make the most of the impeccable service on offer by ordering a cocktail to be delivered to you, as you bronze under the warm summer sun.”
A legendary venue on the Cap de la Croisette, Gotha enjoys the reputation of being among the best of Cannes’ nightclubs. It is surrounded by sea on three sides, meaning it is a magnificent sight to behold. With a line-up of celebrity performers that is consistently impressive, you are guaranteed a great time at Gotha. Noteworthy performers to grace the venue with their presence include David Guetta, French Montana, Martin Garrix, Lil Wayne, Justin Bieber, Wiz Khalifa, A$AP Rocky, Akon, Bob Sinclair, and Paris Hilton, but the list goes on. This is the place to see and be seen in Cannes.
What 209 Mare said: “Gotha Nightclub needs no introduction. Its events regularly push the boundaries of entertainment, setting the standard for the international party scene. This is the ultimate place to break the rules in style in our 209 Beach Blazer.”
‘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.
One of the best ways to experience a yacht charter destination is immersing yourself into its gastronomic pleasures – regional food, good wine, harvest festivals and local markets. On the French Riviera, discovering the food markets ashore highlights a Provençal ritual and the link between farm, orchard, ocean and table. With a fabulous climate that sustains agriculture, to experience any French town or city at its core it’s worth being there on market day.
The French Riviera is the most glamorous stretch of coastline in the world, and as such, is probably not the first place that comes to mind when planning a family yacht charter. Yet there’s actually so much great stuff to do with kids on the Cote d’Azur that you’ll struggle to fit it all in a 7-day charter! From tropical beach treasure hunts and underwater villages to zip-lining, firework shows and rollercoasters, the French Riviera is a children’s playground.
We’ve written before about why yacht charters are so great for the whole family, and how to make sure they’re a brilliant success.
Every summer season, Monaco and Cannes host some incredible fireworks displays that are truly spectacular and a must-see if you’re lucky enough to be on the French Riviera when one is taking place! These displays are held as International Fireworks Competitions with teams from various countries competing for prizes. The performances are truly magnificent, on a par with what you might see on New Year’s Eve in London, New York or Sydney. Set to thunderous soundtracks, the displays last as long as thirty minutes, the bright lights of Monaco and Cannes reflecting in the Mediterranean, create a truly stunning backdrop!
The Bay of La Napoule is a stunning stop on a French Riviera yacht charter, with the rich red rocks of the Esterel mountain range contrasting vividly with the turquoise sea, and the gloriously pretty Cannes islands sitting just offshore with their quiet pine forests, secluded coves and sunny vineyards.
There’s an abundance of superb nature activities on offer in the surrounding hills, from mountain biking to horse riding and hiking, while the town of Mandelieu-La Napoule offers a very famous golf course and some stellar Michelin-star dining.
Let’s get what must be said out of the way early. Marseille—that maligned, magnificent port city—is rarely included on a French luxury yacht charter itinerary, with the majority of charter yachts floating down the coast as far as St Tropez, before turning back to cruise back up the French Riviera to glittering Cannes and Monaco.
Yet what are yacht charter guests missing by not venturing a little further down the Var coast to Marseille? A whole lot, as it happens. Marseille is located on one of the wildest, most magnificent stretches of coastline in the Mediterranean: a region of towering limestone cliffs and turquoise fjords, Caribbean-like islands, and ancient villages surrounded by rolling vineyards. With the appeal of pretty Cassis and Bandol, the astonishing Calanques National Park, and the exotic Islands of Gold off Hyeres, the Marseille coast is simply unmissable.
High season on the French Riviera starts with a spectacular event that puts the region into the international spotlight and into the glare of flashing cameras. The Cannes Film Festival 2017 will take place from 17th-28th May, transforming the coastal town into the heart of the world’s movie industry for 11 days. Despite the billion dollar deals and networking taking place, you don’t have to be a member of the film industry to enjoy the glamour of Cannes Film Festival. There are three things to get right to ensure you’ll enjoy the most luxurious experience possible while in town for the festival.
1. A VIP Helicopter Transfer
Those who have attended the Film Festival before know that there is only one way to arrive in Cannes: by helicopter. A helicopter transfer to Cannes from Nice will reduce travel time from an hour on a traffic-packed road to the length of two movie trailers. The population of Cannes triples to a peak of 210,000 people during the Cannes Film Festival, meaning that land access can be frustratingly slow. Why waste precious time in traffic when you could be enjoying the festival and networking with like-minded people? This year is also the festival’s landmark 70th birthday, so it is set to attract even more attention and visitors.
The helicopter to Cannes leaves from Nice International Airport and flies over the stunning Riviera landscape. It lands at the Croisette Helipad a mere 7 minutes later. Once on the helipad, visitors are only a 10-minute walk from the red carpet of the Palais des Festivals and the heart of the action. Alternatively, a shuttle service is available to take festival participants to the hotel, or drop-off point, of their choice. A Cannes helicopter flight is a VIP experience that shouldn’t be missed and it’s undoubtedly the most convenient and stress-free way to arrive in town.
2. A Luxury Hotel
While attending the Cannes Film Festival, it’s best to stay somewhere close to the screenings, awards, parties and press events. The Hotel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes is situated in an enviable position on La Croisette, across the road from the Palais des Festivals. Not only does it provide instant access to the Cannes Film Festival, but the 5-star hotel is a two-minute walk from the beach and 1 km from the Musée de la Castre in the historic Old Town. Built in 1926, the Belle Epoque palace has an abundance of character and offers exceptional Mediterranean views.
The hotel’s 350 guest rooms are decorated with understated glamour and sophisticated designs. They are furnished with work desks, sitting areas, minibars and designer bathrooms. There are also two penthouse suites with butler service. When you want a break from films and meetings, go and lounge at the outdoor pool or enjoy a cocktail on the private jetty and beach. For those moments of utter relaxation and de-stressing, the cutting-edge Spa can attend to your aching joints and over-burdened mind.
3. Top Restaurant
Cannes has some fantastic restaurants from which to choose, but the 2-Michelin-starred La Palme d’Or is one of France’s finest. It is located in the exclusive Martinez Hotel on La Croisette. It benefits from a magical setting with a large terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean – the very sea which influences its gourmet flavours. The restaurant attracts a high-profile clientele who enjoy the innovative and delicious food that Chef Christian Sinicropi prepares in a chic art deco-inspired interior. Large windows overlook the Croisette and the hotel’s pool deck.
Popular dishes include Dublin Bay prawns with beetroot, sweetbreads with a duck foie gras stuffing and Mediterranean bass with green pea ravioli. The delicate and refined taste of the food blends perfectly with the surroundings and makes any meal a special occasion. The impeccable service at La Palme D’Or will ensure you have the ultimate festival experience while in Cannes.
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.
A French Riviera yacht charter is not complete without a visit to one of the flowery hill villages of Provence, and Valbonne is a very lovely example within easy reach of the Mediterranean coast.
There’s an enchanting appeal to Valbonne that sits perfectly between ‘medieval charm’ and ‘Riviera chic’. Located in the rolling hills behind Antibes, Valbonne is a desperately pretty 16th century town of cobbled streets and fashionable boutiques, sun-drenched squares and ancient abbeys. What makes Valbonne so special is that it has the feel of a living, breathing Provencal village rather than a tourist attraction, with its village squares dotted with shady plane trees and boules players, and its bustling pavement cafes full of locals enjoying the good life under the Mediterranean sun.