An Insider’s Guide: Exploring Monaco’s Best Kept Secrets

Panorama of the Principality of Monaco

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.

Guards at the Prince's Palace in 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.

Casino de Monte-Carlo

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.

Local History 

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. 

Old houses in narrow street in Monaco

Regional Delicacies

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.

Barbajuan - a regional speciality of Monaco

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!

View over Port Hercule from Le Rocher in Monaco

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. 

Blue Mediterranean sea in Monaco

Japanese Gardens

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.

The Japanese garden in Monaco

Evening Entertainment

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.

Monaco open air cinema

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.

Portofino Yacht Charter Guide

Portofino panorama of the port

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.

Waterfront villas in Portofino, Italy

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.

Superyachts in Portofino

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.

Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy

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.

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Chartering a yacht on the French Riviera

Superyachts in the Port of Monaco

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.

Yacht cruising off St Tropez, France

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 chef  and also the perfect route with the ckipper before you set sail for the time of your life.

Monaco

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.

Monaco Grand Prix

Nice

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.

The view from Castle Hill in Nice, France

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.

Cannes

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.

Beach in Cannes, France

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.

Lérins Islands

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.

The Lerins Islands in Cannes, France

If your yachting trip happens to fall on July 14th, try and spend the evening here to enjoy the famous firework night.

St Tropez

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.

View over the Old Port of St Tropez

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!

Senequier cafe in St Tropez, France

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.

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Golf on a French Riviera Yacht Charter

The Old Course golf course at Mandelieu on the French Riviera

There are few places on earth better-suited to a golfing yacht charter than the French Riviera. With an abundance of historic, challenging, and downright swanky courses along the Cote d’Azur, the South of France really is a golfer’s paradise.

And what better way to experience the golf courses of the French Riviera than on a luxury yacht charter? You won’t have to swap hotels, carrying luggage and golfing gear, as you make your way along the coast, on a charter yacht your ‘hotel’ moves with you! This is a golfing holiday, done right.

Golf de Saint Donat in the south of France

Imagine getting a group of your golfing buddies together for a 10-day jaunt down the French Riviera on a superyacht, stopping at world-class golf courses along the way.

With views of the Mediterranean and the Alps and old hunting estates among the pines, it will be near-impossible to have a bad game. And even if you do spend half the day in the bunkers, there’s plenty of fine restaurants, watersports, and beach clubs along the Riviera to cheer you up! You might even bring a pro-golfing instructor along on your charter to radically improve your game over the duration of the charter.

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“Sea and Ski” Yacht Charters on the French Riviera

Sea and ski yacht charters on the French Riviera

When planning a holiday, you normally have to choose between snow and sand, mountain and beach, chalet and superyacht. Not on the French Riviera in spring—one of the few locations on earth where you can enjoy a sea and ski yacht charter.

In the south of France, Alpine ski fields are in close proximity to warm, sunny beaches. The French Riviera is famously known as a destination where you can be hurtling down fresh powder in the morning, only to find yourself relaxing in a Cannes beach club in the afternoon, enjoying the spring sunshine as you drink rose with your feet in the sand.

A yacht charter than involves snow skiing and beach clubs, art galleries and opera, Michelin-star dining and hill villages, après ski and boutique shopping.

Sunshine, calm seas, and snow. Where else but spring on the French Riviera?

 

Read More: Sea and Ski : Spring Yacht Charters on the French Riviera

A Luxury Yacht Vacation to Explore the Stunning French Riviera

Superyachts in Cannes on the French Riviera

The epitome of luxury and glamour, the French Riviera is the ultimate hotspot if you are looking forward to a plush holiday. Locally known as the “Côte d’Azur”, the beautiful Mediterranean coastline has always drawn tourists from all over the world for its stunning natural splendor, breezy climate, beach fun and dazzling lifestyle. From Cannes to Monaco to Nice – some of the most coveted destinations fall along the French Riviera coastline. And what better way to explore this gorgeous location than with a luxury yacht vacation?

There are a myriad of luxury yacht services available to cruise around French Riviera. Decked up in plush amenities, with splendid décor and stellar hospitality, these yachts will take you to all the prime hotspots of the coastline. You can book a luxury yacht charter for a day, a week or more.

Mangusta 130 yacht for charter in Port Canto, Cannes, France

Here is a brief summary of the different amazing locations you will be covering on your luxury yacht vacation along the French Riviera.

Cannes

The paradise of glitz and glamour, Cannes is your place for that coveted a-la-Hollywood style holiday. From lavish boutiques to electrifying nightclubs to sandy beaches to even antique cobbled streets – Cannes has everything to leave you in awe and amazement. To make things more special, tourists often prefer luxury car hire services to explore the city like a star. There are several luxury car hire services available here to help in renting a Porsche in Cannes or other luxury marques like Audi or Mercedes.

View of Cannes, France

Saint Tropez

After Cannes, your next stop will possibly be St Tropez. It’s a small quaint town lined up with some of the best restaurants in the world and a very vibrant nightlife scene in the summer season. The hub of the rich & famous, St Tropez will often have you stumbling upon celebs at almost every turn. And yes, St. Tropez is also the location of the most loved beach along the coastline – Pampelonne Beach. Complement your St Tropez trip with a stunning tan on the beach followed by unforgettable champagne lunch at one of the legendary beach clubs.

Helicopters over Port of St Tropez

Porquerolles Island

If you wish to experience the unspoilt natural splendor of the famous French Riviera, the island of Porquerolles is sure to win you with its stunning scenery. The place is great for water sports followed by a relaxing lunch and an after swimming. Although not as luxurious as the other more famous locations along the coastline, this lovely island is still home to some fabulous restaurants.

Beach on Porquerolles, south of France

Monaco

Monaco is certainly one of the most coveted destinations on any French Riviera cruise. Rich in royal history, the city-state is always a great tourist draw with its Prince Palace,  designer boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and of course the legendary casinos for which the Principality is so well known.

Ferraris in Casino Square, Monaco

Nice

No luxury holiday on the Cote d’Azur is complete without a stay in Nice. A magnificent blend of quintessential French charm and revered Italian class, the famous city and capital of the region is a treat to both the eye and the heart. You will love its buzzing boutique restaurants, while Nice’s bars and cafes command a unique elegance of their own. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities for various water sports like snorkelling, diving, swimming and much more.

Baie des Anges in Nice, France

Wishing you a fabulous luxury yacht charter on the French Riviera!

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The 5 Best Sporting Events in Monaco

Cars lined up at the Monte Carlo Rally

Sibuet Benjamin – Shutterstock.com

The Principality of Monaco has long attracted those with a penchant for sporting excitement, hosting an action-packed sporting calendar that boasts illustrious events of historic prestige. From F1 racing drivers to internationally acclaimed tennis stars, many sporting greats choose to live and train in Monaco and are attracted by the prospect of a Mediterranean lifestyle and a spectacular sporting infrastructure. It seems that the glamour of the region is fuelled by its sporting activity. We spoke to Laurent Locchi – a Property Negotiator at Miells & Partners, a sports enthusiast, and a resident of Monaco – to find out which sporting events are most eagerly anticipated in the Principality.

The Rolex Masters

With such a glitzy name, the Rolex Masters is one sporting event that is right at home amidst the renowned glamour of Monaco. Having celebrated its 100th birthday back in 2006, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters is the first of three ATP World Tour Masters that is held on clay courts. It is a renowned favourite of both fans and players alike. Taking place at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, the event welcomes many champions from across the world – most notably Rafael Nadal, the winner of a record eight successive titles.

Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters at Monte-Carlo Country Club, Principality of Monaco

Laurent says: “It might not offer the Pimms and lemonade of Wimbledon, but sunshine and cocktails more than make up for it.”

The Monte Carlo Rally

Officially dubbed the ‘Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo’ but commonly referred to as the Monte Carlo Rally, this high-octane race is an annual event that is organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco. The rally leaves Monaco’s iconic casino each January, before snaking through the Alps and culminating in the Principality’s Port Hercules. Devised by Prince Albert I back in 1911, the event has long been a means of demonstrating the grandeur and innovation of the automobile world.

Monte Carlo rally in the snow

Laurent says: “Expect drama, excitement, and adrenaline-inducing action.”

AS Monaco Football Club

Commonly known as AS Monaco, this Monegasque football club is one of the most well-known in the world. Founded in 1924, the club competes in the equivalent of the UK’s premiership – Ligue 1 in France. The club’s home is in the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille, Monaco – a standout stadium that’s certainly worth a visit. Each week, the Principality of Monaco attracts football enthusiasts from across France, each of whom leaves with widened eyes and a satiating dose of sporting fun. One of the most successful clubs in France (it competes in the French league even though it is based in the Principality), the team has won eight league titles in its time, plus five Coupe de France trophies.

AS Monaco football club

Laurent says: “One might say the club’s silverware brings even more glamour to Monaco.”

Monte Carlo International Show Jumping

Home to one of the most difficult show jumping courses in the world, this international equestrian event has long attracted the world’s top-ranking riders. Occupying the pride of place in Monaco’s Port Hercules, the arena is set in a scenic spot and makes for a memorable experience. The defining feature of the unique course is that it is very short, extremely narrow, and filled with all sorts of tricky twists and turns. All riders must possess a high level of agility and technique to succeed, not to mention a high level of skill from the horse itself.

Monte Carlo International Show Jumping

Laurent says: “This show is exceptionally exciting to watch, for both horseriding enthusiasts and those with no experience.”

 The Monaco Formula One

Last but far from least is the famous Monaco Grand Prix – the most intriguing, prestigious and challenging course for the majority of racing drivers. But what is required to win? Well, precision driving, technical excellence, and a large dose of bravery are all said to be requirements of any driver attempting this difficult course. Experts say that the Monaco circuit leaves no margin for error, more so than any other Formula One track in the circuit. Look out for the Tunnel Larvotto – one of the few straight sections of the track and arguably the most iconic sights in Formula One racing. Monaco has been a regular fixture of the Grand Prix circuit since 1955, with very few changes made to the circuit over the years.

Monaco Grand Prix

Laurent says: “If you’re into events such as these and if you’re not, don’t miss out – the Monaco Grand Prix is a Principality-altering event that sparks parties, events, and celebration.”

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Monaco Oceanographic Museum

Monaco Oceanographic Museum

The Oceanographic Museum (Musée Océanographique de Monaco) is one of the most visited Marine Science museums in Europe, occupying 6,500m2 of exhibition zones.

Built on the cliffside 85 metres above the sea, the museum is one of Monaco’s top attractions and home to over 350 fish species and 6000 specimens including rare or endangered marine life.

We share our Ultimate Guide below to visiting the spectacular Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, known as the Temple of the Sea.

Read More: The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco – The Ultimate Guide

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Winter on the French Riviera

Antibes and the snow covered Alps with the Mediterranean sea in the foreground

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.

The Duke of Windsor in Cap d'Antibes, France

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.

Read more: The French Riviera in Winter : A Return to Winter Sun and Elegance

Winter Tipples on the French Riviera : Where to Enjoy Vin Chaud and Other Wintery Treats

Vin Chaud

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.

Roasting chestnuts on open flame

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.

Vin Chaud

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.

Mulled wine in the pan

And on the French Riviera, there are so many places to enjoy this wintery beverage!

Christmas Markets

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.

Christmas market in Valbonne on the French Riviera

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.

Making crepes

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.

Vin Chaud in French cafe

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.

Ski Resorts 

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.

Panoramic Alpine Ski View

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!

Hot Chocolate

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?

Chocolat chaud in French hotel

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.

Casino Square in Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Chocolatiers

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.

Cafés

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!)

Hot Chocolate in French Cafe

Chocolate Festivals

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.

Hot Chocolate

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.

Bar at Hotel Negresco in Nice, France

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!

Absinthe Bar in Antibes, France

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!

Monte-Carlo Music Masters showcases outstanding musical talents

Monte-Carlo Music Masters festival

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 Salle des Etoiles concert venue in Monaco

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.

Winner of Monte-Carlo Voice Masters 2017

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.

The Principality of Monaco by night

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.

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Exploring the 5 Senses on a French Riviera Yacht Charter

Aft deck on Pershing 115 yacht MISTRAL 55

A South of France yacht charter is a feast for the senses. There are certain sights and smells, sounds, touches and tastes that epitomize long summer days on the French Riviera. Float along the coast, savouring the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped Alps and red rock edged by turquoise sea, the cool smell of pine forest and the sleepy sound of buzzing cicadas. Close your eyes enjoy the lap of water on the hull, the fragrance of lavender in the markets, the feel of your toes sinking into soft sand. Remember the water that sparkles in that mythical Provencal light, the sharp tang of salt in the air, and blue-green coves of perfect clarity. As your charter yacht floats along the coastline from Monaco to St Tropez, you will be transported into a sensory dream. Here are some of the experiences that will delight your five senses on a French Riviera yacht charter.

Read More: Exploring the 5 Senses on a South of France Yacht Charter

Ultimate Luxury on Land and Water

Ferrari tour on the French Riviera at Gorges du Verdon

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.

The Carlton beach in Cannes, France

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.

Èze Village

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.

Port Vauban marina in Antibes, France

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.

View over the Old Port of St Tropez

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.

Grande Corniche road on the French Riviera

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.

Ferrari and Lamborghini cars in southern France

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.

Stunning scenery in the south of France on driving tour

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.

Ferrari crossing bridge in the south of France

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.

Route de Thorenc, south of France

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.

EPIKdrives has indeed created an epic French Riviera Driving Tour that deserves to be tested on your next trip to France.

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Discover the most beautiful anchorages of the French Riviera

Superyacht at anchor at Cap Taillat on the French Riviera

The perfect French Riviera yacht charter is a tale of two glorious extremes.

On the one hand, there’s the spine-tingling glamour of docking in an exclusive marina like Monaco or St Tropez for a night of Michelin star dining and champagne-spraying decadence.

On the other, there’s the idyllic peace of sitting at anchor with a view of beaches and mountains, the only sounds the lapping of water on the hull and the soporific buzz of cicadas in the nearby pines. From your anchorage you can dive off the swim platform, get the water-toys out, or tender into one of the French Riviera’s fabulous beaches.

Being able to switch between exclusive marinas and tranquil anchorages within minutes is one of the reasons that the French Riviera continues to be one of the ultimate superyacht destinations.

To help you decide where to drop anchor on your South of France yacht charter, here are some of the best anchorage spots along the Cote d’Azur, cruising westward from Monaco to Marseille.

Read More: Stunning Anchorages along the French Riviera

4 Luxury Locations For Yacht Lovers To Invest In French Property

Luxury property and yachts on Cap Ferrat

The French Riviera is an esteemed location for luxury real estate, and the perfect setting if you’re looking for a rich lifestyle filled with entertainment, sunshine, beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures. Considered to be one of the ultimate yachting destinations in the world, the French Riviera has a perfect Mediterranean climate, as well as stunning luxury homes, whether you are looking for classic or contemporary, large or intimate.

Menton on the French Riviera

Situated in the south-east of France, the coastal region goes from Menton (near the Italian border) to Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Cassis. Building regulations are strict to ensure the beautiful French coastline is not ruined, therefore demand for French Riviera property is high. Consider these four prime locations when searching for property on the French Riviera.

Cannes

Cannes is known for its bevy of luxury properties that attract the wealthy. The area’s plush real estate is why this is such a major hub for affluent home buyers. Homes are available in modern, bustling areas as well as in quieter historic districts and residential neighborhoods. Search for houses or apartments that are set against palm trees on the waterfront or in the heart of town near the best cafes and restaurants. If you’re seeking something more peaceful then look in the hills surrounding Cannes and benefit from stunning sea views! If you’re going to be renting your property out short- or long-term, look for an apartment in the centre of Cannes or a villa in a gated community, where you can rely on high security and peace of mind.

Villa for sale in Cannes

This villa in Cannes boasts contemporary architecture and refined décor. The entrance hall level has a large living room; dining room; fully-equipped kitchen overlooking a covered terrace; and three suites, all of which open into the garden, and that also have a dressing room and either a bathroom or shower room. The upper floor includes a master suite and a second suite, both with a large, private terrace. Outdoors, there’s a pool, pool house and driveway that leads to four garages.

Port de Cannes view from Le Suquet

Life in Cannes means easy access to a picturesque coastline and beaches, plus high-profile events, gourmet cuisine and high class shopping. The area is buzzing year-round, with a strong nightlife that includes live music, casinos and theatre. During the summer, large boats congregate on the nearby Lérins Islands.

Antibes

Located between Cannes and Nice, Antibes is home to Port Vauban, the largest private marina in Europe which is filled with huge superyachts. Exclusive villas, cozy penthouses and modern homes are close to immaculate beaches that can be visited year-round. While there are plenty of turnkey properties ready for immediate move-in, there are also project properties that you can work on in order to create your own, customised dream home (many of them already have renovation permits, too). Features of Antibes property include private garages, serene pool areas, fully-fitted kitchens, rooftop terraces, expansive patios, swimming pools and guest accommodation.

Villa for sale Cap d'Antibes

This lovely, contemporary Cap d’Antibes villa has been recently renovated using high-end materials. Aside from five bedrooms, this home also has a large, bright living room as well as a cinema room. Spend an afternoon lounging by the private swimming pool, then head into the pool house when you need a break from the sunshine.

Old Antibes / Vieil Antibes

Calm and laid-back, Antibes is known for the Marché Provencal covered market, where you can head for gourmet ingredients. Don’t miss scuba diving season, which lasts from May to October. Roam around to catch glimpses of pastel architecture and medieval towers.

Monaco

Though super small (less than one square mile), Monaco is a tiny principality with a huge personality – one that’s in high demand, too. Located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Southern Alps, living here gives you easy access to both the water and the mountains. Local architecture includes Belle Époque buildings, decadent palaces surrounded by manicured landscaping, and penthouses and apartments that look out onto the sea. By moving here, you’ll be amongst famous celebrities such as professional sportsmen (namely cyclists, golfers and F1 drivers), as well as models, musicians and some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Apartment for sale Monaco

This one-bedroom apartment in Monaco is located in a prestigious building (complete with concierge service) on a residential boulevard. Bright and south-facing, this apartment has high ceilings, a lounge, a dressing room with made-to-measure units, a bedroom with terrace access, and an open-plan kitchen that leads onto a large balcony.

Casino Square in Monte-Carlo, Monaco

For a teeny, tiny place, Monaco packs in a lot to do. Head to a casino or museum, go golfing or attend a star-studded event. The area is extremely safe too, with 24-hour video surveillance of the entire principality and the world’s largest police for per capita and per square metre.

Saint-Tropez

Steeped in indulgence, excess and the best that life has to offer, Saint-Tropez is delightfully lacking when it comes to tourism sights. Head to the coastal Sentier du Littoral path, which runs along the peninsula and past the locale’s best, most extravagant villas. Other types of Saint-Tropez property include luxury apartments and vineyard estates. A large number of artists live in this part of the French Riviera, and you can watch them setup every morning on the port.

Villa-St-Tropez

This modern villa in Saint-Tropez has a dazzling, pristine interior that stretches across three levels. Five bedrooms have bath and shower rooms, the kitchen is state-of-the-art and many of the living areas are open-plan. Other amenities include a wine cellar, home cellar, electric gates and home automation system. The manicured, fenced-in garden has a variety of Mediterranean plants and trees, plus an automatic watering system.

View over the Old Port of St Tropez

From crystal-clear swimming holes and the rocky coast to high-end dining and designer shopping, Saint-Tropez offers the ultimate jet setting lifestyle. When the 100,000 inhabitants thin out after the summer season, the area becomes peaceful and charming. Stroll down Old Town’s narrow streets or spend an afternoon at Le Café.

One Last Thought

When you purchase a French Riviera property, you also buy into a lifestyle. Opulent housing is available along the waterfront, as well on the outskirts of town, away from the hustle and bustle. When buying such a property, consider speaking to a buyer’s agent such as French property specialists, Home Hunts, they will go out and handpick a selection of luxury properties that meet your requirements and specifications, whether you’re searching for a full-time residence abroad or a holiday home.

Monaco Yacht Show 2017

Aerial view of the Monaco Yacht Show

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.

Superyacht VERTIGE built by Tankoa Yachts

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.

Monaco Yacht Show 2017 : The Ultimate Guide

“Extraordinary World”: The Concert by Duran Duran at Monaco Yacht Club

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.

Duran Duran concert at Monaco Yacht CLub

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.

Riva 100 Corsaro Yacht

“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.

Luxury Shopping on a French Riviera Yacht Charter

Chanel boutique in St Tropez, France

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.

Louis Vuitton Damier travel bagIt’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.

Ferrari in the port of St Tropez, France

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.

Casino Square in Monte-Carlo, Monaco

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.

Pavillons Monte Carlo luxury shopping in Monaco

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.

Chanel store in Monte-Carlo, Monaco

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.

Town Centre

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.

La Condamine

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.

Rue Princess Caroline in Monaco
Shopping Malls

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.

Metropole shopping mall in Monaco

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.

Markets

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.

Food market in Monaco

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.

The Hotel Carlton in Cannes, France

The Croisette

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.

Dior boutique in Cannes, France

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.

Rue d’Antibes

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.

The Rue d'Antibes shopping street in Cannes

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.

Rue Meynadier

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.

Maison Bremond in rue Meynadier, Cannes

Shopping Malls

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.

Markets

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.

Forville market in Cannes, France

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.

View over St Tropez rooftops and superyachts in the bay of Saint-Tropez.

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.

Local Boutiques

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.

Vilebrequin Rolling Stones album cover swimming shorts

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.

Market in Place des Lices, St Tropez

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.

What to Wear on a Luxury Yacht Charter

Girl in bikini on yacht charter
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.

Vilebrequin navy blue linen shirtBut since superyachts have their own unique dress code, it’s not always easy to decide what to pack!

 

Louis Vuitton Damier travel bag

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.

Vilebrequin father and son swimming trunks

Read the full article: What to Pack (and Wear) on a Superyacht Charter