The most luxurious adventure of a lifetime awaits you at the French Riviera. One of the most stunning superyacht destinations in the world, the South of France is home to exceptionally beautiful landscapes, sparkling clear waters and pristine beaches. Its sweeping coastal towns, charming villages and sophisticated cities have long been on the top of the international jet setters list for a long time. With no better way to explore the South of France than via a charter yacht, here we share our top 3 reasons why you should book a charter yacht to the South of France now.
French cuisine is often listed among the richest, decadent and divine in the world and nowhere in France is this as evident as in the South. Home to some of the finest dining experiences in the world, the South of France is known for its diverse styles of dishes that titillate all the senses. The distinct flavours of the Mediterranean have impacted the various types of cuisine available in the area, making it completely unique, luxurious, and most of all, flavourful. Local produce, such as seafood, meat, vegetables, and grains, are key ingredients in the South and olive oil, butter, and herbs. Baked goods, such as bread and pastries, really shine in the South of France, so do not be afraid to sample plenty during your charter. Offering everything from upscale, fine-dining restaurants to local salon de thé cafes, the food in the South of France will leave you hungry for more.
The South of France is sure to captivate you and your guests with its rich and vast cultural heritage. Evident and full display in its Old Towns, monuments, museums as well as historical sites, the history of France will enthral even the youngest participants. From the beautiful Vieux Nice in Nice to Le Suquet in Cannes, the magnificent architecture and extravagant sites are not to be missed. Be sure to visit the smaller cities of Avignon and Arles. Explore the UNESCO Heritage Site of Palais des Papes in Avignon, a magnificent fortress that dates back to the 14th century and the Musée du Petit Palais, which showcases some of the most exquisite historical art. In Arles, stop by the 21,000-seat Roman Amphitheatre, constructed in the 1st century and see several of the other Roman historical sites in town.
Next to the array of stunning white beaches found along the coastline of the Cote d’Azur, the South of France is known for its busy events calendar. From the European Heritage Days to the Cannes Film Festival and Grand Prix in Monaco, there is a wealth of cultural, historical, sporting and social events occurring throughout the year. If you plan to cruise along the French Riviera in September, be sure to coincide your charter with the Cannes Yachting Festival and the Monaco Yacht Show to see the most spectacular motor yachts, sailboats and superyachts in person. If you are keen to see some of these yachts in action, then be sure to stop by St Tropez towards the end of the month to watch the sailing regatta Le Voiles de Saint-Tropez. With a plethora of events to choose from, it’s never a dull moment along the French Riviera.
The first signs of spring are just around the corner, which means a plethora of world-class events will soon be arriving on the French Riviera. This idyllic area has long been the go-to destination for the world’s wealthiest, luring in the jet-set crowd with its sublime restaurants, high-end boutiques and refined beach clubs. Indeed, this exclusive area is home to the finest luxury villas to rent on the Cote d’Azur. Conveniently located on one of the most desirable coastlines, these luxury villas are perfect for a spring escape.
However, one of the French Riviera’s major draws is its calendar of year-round luxury events. April through to June are the best months to visit the French Riviera as they are the pinnacle of the 2022 spring social calendar. So, if you are planning a get-away to the Cote d’Azur in 2022, read on to discover our definitive guide to the French Riviera’s 2022 events.
The best French Riviera 2022 events
Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix
Arguably the most anticipated Formula 1 event of the year, the legendary Monaco Grand Prix is a must-see French Riviera 2022 event. From May 26 to 29, 2022, the streets of Monaco are transformed into one of the most exciting race tracks globally. The world’s most talented racing drivers make more than 78 laps of the 3.3-kilometre circuit through the hairpin streets of the principality.
This race is a delight for Formula 1 fans and those who wish to immerse themselves in the party atmosphere. Watch the race from one of the luxury yachts moored in Port Hercules or one of the dedicated grandstands for the best views. One of the oldest and most prestigious car races globally, the Monaco Grand Prix is not to be missed.
Cannes Film Festival 2022
The most glamorous French Riviera’s 2022 event will be bringing another cascade of A-listers to the South of France for the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. For 12 days, starting May 17 to 28, 2022, the chic city of Cannes is transformed from a quiet seaside resort into the densest concentration of film industry activity in the world. The best way to embrace the hustle and bustle and see which celebrities you can spot around the town is to head to Cannes’ famed La Croisette.
Alternatively, head to the Palais, home to all the major screenings during the Cannes Film Festival. While the Palais screenings are only accessible to badge holders, it is not unheard of for particularly well-dressed visitors to be given one of these coveted tickets if the spaces have not been filled. So, put on your best gown or tux and get ready to walk the famous red steps.
For prime access to this iconic event, make the most of exclusive Cap Villas accommodation in Villefranche-sur-Mer or Beaulieu-sur-Mer for an idyllic spring retreat.
Longines Global Champions Tour
From May 19 to 21, 2022, the Longines Global Champions Tour will return to the chic French Riviera town of Ramatuelle, Saint-Tropez, for the 8th edition of the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show. This fantastic three-day show jumping event is set to take place right on the Mediterranean shores of Pampelonne Beach and is expected to draw in hundreds of passionate spectators. With a total of €600,000 in prize money, the French Riviera’s 2022 event is guaranteed to create an electric atmosphere.
Combining old-world glamour with top-level sport, the events world-class facilities are fit for the occasion, including the main arena for the competitions, a warm-up arena, a village, a VIP area, restaurants, bars, shops, and more. Ticket holders are also treated to front-row seats along with finely crafted Italian dishes, delicious beverage options, and top-quality service at the Global Champions Lounge at the Longines Athina Onassis Horse Show.
To make the most of this glamorous event and the French Riviera’s illustrious charms, rent a luxury villa in Ramatuelle, complete with beautiful interiors and world-class amenities.
Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
After the missed edition in 2020, the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters will reopen its doors from April 9 to 17, 2022. This superb French Riviera 2022 event is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious tournaments globally, bringing together the top 56 players on clay in a knockout tournament with six rounds.
The Monte-Carlo Country Club is located on the shore of the Mediterranean and features superb panoramic views of the glistening blue sea. Several levels of terraces descend to the intimate Center Court, one of the most beautiful settings in tennis. Visitors can also enjoy the Super Category Courtside seats or upgrade to VIP Loge Box seats with access to VIP hospitality areas and VIP restaurants onsite for an elevated tennis experience.
There’s nothing quite like staying in one of the French Riviera’s luxury villas for a genuinely luxurious Côte d’Azur experience. From here, you will be within easy reach of these exceptional French Riviera 2022 events, as well as a plethora of other world-class offerings.
So, which luxury French Riviera 2022 event are you most excited about experiencing?
When you’re staying on the French Riviera, you’ll probably want to splurge on one or two excellent restaurants as a treat, but you’ll doubtless want to explore some of the best affordable restaurants on the Cote d’Azur too.
On its five stunning Caps, which are the best affordable restaurants on the Cote d’Azur? Here we’ll discover the hidden gems that serve up delicious food and a fun atmosphere, just with less of the formality and expense.
A look at the best affordable restaurants on the Cote d’Azur
La Joliette: This relaxed beachside club and restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine, with plenty of fresh seafood and vegetarian options too.
Le Cesar / Plage Keller: Its romantic beach setting in a small bay offers lovely views, with Mediterranean cuisine based on fresh fish and seafood.
Le Cap, Cap d’Antibes Beach Hotel: On this beautiful terrace overlooking the sea, tuck into classics such as Caesar salad or steak tartare, Thai and Asian dishes, pasta, fish and meat. They also have a children’s menu.
Les Amoureux: Just around the Cap in Nice’s old port, this understated restaurant serves up great pizzas, artisan Neapolitan beers and delicious desserts. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is cosy.
Daki-Daia: While this understated establishment might not shout about itself being the best restaurant in Nice, the Moroccan and Lebanese local offers seasonal mezze dishes and house cocktails, with friendly service in a perfect location overlooking the port.
Jasmine Grill & Lounge, Hotel Royal Riviera:This eaterie is known for its wonderful ambiance and views, welcoming and professional staff and a wide choice of dishes, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
La Goelette: At a great location overlooking the Port St Jean, this veggie-friendly restaurant also serves up big portions of seafood risotto, paella and pasta with an efficient and friendly service, while its own live DJ entertains.
La Cambuse: Overlooking the port, this unpretentious and dog-friendly restaurant serves fresh seasonal produce, including grilled seafood, fish stews and soups, burgers, charcuterie platters and omelettes.
La Grotte & L’Olivier: Located in a stunning cliffside setting in the old village, this restaurant serves great cocktails, salads, pizzas and fish, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, all with an excellent service.
To enjoy all that the French Riviera has to offer, why not rent a villa on the Cap de Nice, from where you can try the best restaurant in Nice, as well as some of the best affordable restaurants of the Cote d’Azur?
September is the best month to visit the South of France, and the ideal time to charter a luxury yacht on the stunning French Riviera. Summer has yet to come to an end and Fall has yet to start, which lets you enjoy the warm temperatures, sunshine and scenery with fewer crowds around. The stunning white beaches and turquoise waters that make up the stunning coastline of the Cote d’Azur are easily admired from the comforts of a luxury charter yacht. Evenings are pleasant balmy, offering gorgeous sunsets which can either be enjoyed from the privacy of your deck or a world-class restaurant.
As one of the most popular cruising hotspots in the world, visiting the French Riviera in September means fewer tourists and people, and more time to enjoy the number of festivals, events and parties taking place. Take your time exploring the hidden charms of Cannes, the magical city of Monaco or historical sites in Nice in peace. Be sure to take advantage of the European Heritage Days, which lets you visit unique locations usually closed off to the public. But don’t worry, there will still be plenty of locals around creating a warm, vibrant and welcoming atmosphere wherever you may go – from world-class dining to luxury shopping districts and historical sites.
If you are cruising down the French Riviera in September, then be sure to stop by the Cannes Yachting Festival, taking place from September 8 to 13 at Port Canto. See some of the most amazing motor yachts, sailboats and superyachts up close and in person. If you are looking to see some of these yachts in action, then be sure to stop by St Tropez towards the end of the month to watch the sailing regatta Le Voiles de Saint-Tropez.
The rivalry between sailors and motor yacht enthusiasts is legendary. At times fiercely competitive, (and at almost all times accompanied by humorous name-calling), the division between the sailing yacht and motor yacht fraternities continues to divide the yachting world.
Generally, experienced yachties will display a strong preference for either sail or motor yachts, putting their lifetime loyalties in either one camp or the other. For purists, it’s either sailing yachts, OR motor yachts… and never the two shall meet. The preference tends to start early: sailing grandfathers teach their infant grandsons to shake their fist at passing ‘stinkpots’, and families on speedboats roll their eyes at slow-going ‘blow-boats’ clogging up the bay on regatta day.
And so the war continues through the generations, however good-natured it may be.
Choosing (or Changing) Your Side
Yet if you’re fairly new to the yachting experience, maybe you don’t know yet where your allegiance lies in the great civil war of seafarers. Or perhaps (just perhaps) you’re the open-minded type, looking for a different type of yachting experience this summer to suit your group – whether that’s with family, friends, or for a corporate charter.
In truth, sailing and motor yachts both have an extraordinary amount to offer a charter group, and sometimes you’d be mad not to switch and enjoy the experience of going over to ‘the dark side’. For there are some circumstances where motor yachts are better for certain types of charters and people, and the reverse is also unmistakeably true.
If you’re considering changing teams – even if just for one illicit charter – or are chartering for the first time, here are a few pointers on what separates the charter experience on the two types of yachts, and what might make you lean towards one or the other for your next vacation. Of course, there are a myriad of yacht designs within each of the two broad categories, so these are merely generalisations, with plenty of exceptions to each rule.
Sailing Yachts vs Motor Yachts: Which is Best for Your Next Charter?
Round One : The Battle of Luxury and On-Board Amenities
In days gone by, this one was much easier to call, with motor yachts easily eclipsing their smaller sailboat brethren with their multiple decks and huge volumes – allowing for plenty of glamorous amenities and accommodation space.
But sailboats have grown up in the intervening years, with huge, ultra-swanky sailing superyachts also taking to the seas. These extraordinarily comfortable cruising yachts have large volumes and wider beams, making room for stunning additions like Jacuzzis, gyms, on-deck cinemas, and even the odd beach club. Contemporary sailing yacht interiors are often just as spectacular as those found on motor yachts, with grand salons and ensuite staterooms, and are kitted out with all the mod-cons like internet and whizz-bang AV systems.
But, of course, while sailing yachts have evolved so too have motor yachts, with these grand floating palaces just getting bigger and more luxurious by the year. Spas, cinemas, helipads and swimming pools – even sports courts – are now found on the very large motor yachts, and when it comes to features like water toy storage, sailing yachts can rarely compete.
The Verdict: If you revel in space, glamour, and all the latest toys, then a motor yacht is probably your heart’s desire.
Round Two : A Yacht for all Seasons
Sailing yachts have a distinct advantage over their motor yacht cousins when it comes to encountering wild and windy weather. As long as it’s not blowing a gale, a sailing yacht crew and their charterers react to a strong breeze with glee, hoisting the sails and making their way out to sea to get the adrenaline pumping, enjoying the sheer thrill of the sport.
And when the wind drops and the sea is glassy still, a sailing yacht captain simply puts the engine on and motors to a beautiful anchorage for a day of traditional yachting pleasures like swimming and snorkelling in heavenly conditions.
Motor yachts, while eminently capable of coping with heavy weather, tend to turn tail and head for port when the weather turns grey, windy, or rainy. They are built to cross oceans, but from a guest perspective, they excel in the sunshine, and you probably wouldn’t take a motor yacht out in poor weather just for a fun cruise. A sailing yacht, in short, has more versatility in different weather conditions. Both wind and calm are happy times indeed.
Verdict: A sailing yacht is the yacht for all weathers, and soundly wins this round. This is something to think about if you’re planning to charter in a region that gets a lot of wind in the summer, such as the Aegean Greek Islands, or are chartering in the shoulder seasons when weather can be more inclement.
Round Three : The Need for Speed
Sure, a performance sailing yacht can go at a hefty clip in a strong wind, but there’s the small matter of not being in control of that wind. If the air is still (or blowing in the wrong direction), the engine on a sailing boat will still get you there…eventually. As such, you generally won’t be able to cover as much ‘ground’ in a sailing yacht charter itinerary as you would on a motor yacht.
Verdict: If you’re the type that’s always in a hurry and wants to get to the next destination quickly or cover a lot of destinations on your charter, then a motor yacht is for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy the journey as much as the destination and love being out on the water, then a sailing yacht will likely nicely suit your temperament.
Round Four : The Thrill Factor
Who wins this round will depend very much on what makes you tick.
I don’t know anyone on earth who wouldn’t get a little thrill out of entering Monaco or St Tropez on a huge motor yacht, watching the summertime crowds gather to see who’s on board. Part of the motor yacht appeal is the presence of the things: their size, their grandeur – the sheer, unapologetic showiness of it all.
But for those who enjoy the thrill of the sea and the sport of sailing– whether that’s racing in a regatta or just heeling over in a strong wind, racing down the Riviera with the backdrop of the Alps flitting by – well, a sailing yacht is the only thing that will get your blood racing.
The Verdict: Well, that depends on how you get your thrills now, doesn’t it.
Round Five : The Guest Experience
What kind of yacht you prefer will often come down – at least just a little bit – to how involved you want to be in the process of being on the water. While sailing yachts will absolutely never require you to pitch in and learn the ropes, there’s no question that for many avid sailing yacht charterers, getting involved is a huge part of the fun – and this is particularly the case if you’ve got children that you’d love to see learn a new sport on holiday. There’s nothing quite like standing at the helm of a sailing superyacht, wind in your hair, knowing you’re in control of this extraordinary vessel, or mastering a new skill as you learn about reading the weather and sea conditions.
The participation element of yacht charter is something that motor yacht guests rarely get to experience, as the navigation and operation of a motor yacht isn’t generally a collaborative effort where guests play a part. On a motor yacht charter, the guest experience tends to be more focussed on the luxury and relaxation side of things.
Additionally, because of the collaborative sporting nature of sailing yachts, the crew–guest relationship on these vessels tends to be somewhat more relaxed, with a sense of participating together towards a goal and a growing sense of camaraderie building over the course of the charter.
The Verdict: There’s nothing at all wrong with either style of holiday, but if you want to be part of the action, then a sailing yacht is a clear choice. If you’d prefer to lie back on a deckchair and drink cocktails and pay no notice to the operation of the vessel, then a motor yacht is often a better bet. (Although you can definitely do that on a sailing yacht too.)
Round Six : The Type of Charter
Here’s the most important consideration of all. What kind of yacht charter are you planning? You should definitely adapt your preferred style of yacht to each individual charter, rather than just chartering the same kind of vessel each time.
For example, if you’re planning a corporate team-building yacht charter, then a classic sailing yacht charter is a superb opportunity to get everyone bonding together while learning how to sail a century-old yacht. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a corporate yacht charter for the Cannes Film Festival or MIPIM, you’ll certainly appreciate the added deck space of a motor yacht so you can throw opulent parties and host VIP clients.
You might want an ultra-modern performance sailing superyacht to compete in the Superyacht Cup in Porto Cervo, but charter a large motor yacht with lots of interior space and water toys for that trip along the French Riviera with the extended family.
Verdict: Don’t get so wedded to one type of vessel that you completely miss the wonders of the others. You don’t actually have to choose a side. Just choose what’s best for you this upcoming trip, and embrace everything about this style of charter.
Variety is the spice of yachting, so ‘play both sides’ to your heart’s content. To figure out which type of yacht is best for your particular needs this summer, contact the Mediterranean yacht charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter. No matter what kind of charter you’re planning (or which side of the sailing/motor divide you naturally fall on) we have the perfect yacht to surpass your expectations – and possibly test your lifelong allegiances along the way.
The French Riviera may be best known for its sparkle of celebrity glamour and tranquil blue-green coves, but there’s a truly wild side to the South of France too (and we’re not just talking about the champagne-spraying debauchery of a summer’s night in Saint Tropez.)
If you’re looking for thrills of a different kind, the magnificent landscapes of the Cote d’Azur make this region a dazzling adventure playground for sport-lovers, with the rugged Alps plummeting steeply down to the sea and vast limestone canyons shearing through the hills of Provence. Rock climbers cling to overhangs suspended far above Monaco, and mountain-bikers plunge down vertiginous paths in the forested hills, where wild deer perch on red rocks that burn deep ochre against a Mediterranean sky. Kayakers and white-water rafters navigate the milky-blue rapids of Alpine mountain streams, F1 cars scream around Provencal racetracks, and paragliders soar from rocky precipices and float right down to the sea. As summer passes, snow cloaks the Alps with a heavy mantle, and skiers and snowboarders shred through powdery drifts at one of the many ski resorts within an easy drive of the sunny Cote d’Azur.
If it is active adventure you seek on holiday, you will find it in spades in the South of France.
Adventure in Luxury on a French Riviera Yacht Charter
The French Riviera is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise, and a South of France yacht charter offers the ultimate mix of adventure sports and decadent indulgence, as you drift effortlessly down the coast from Monaco to St Tropez and fill each day with a different activity.
On a Cote d’Azur yacht charter, you might start the day with an early morning swim off the aft deck in the Cannes Islands or take a quick spin on the yacht’s jet skis to get the heart racing, before fuelling up for the day’s activities with a lavish breakfast on deck. The yacht’s broker, captain and crew are on hand to tailor-make an adventure sports itinerary that will linger in your memory forever.
And when the sport is finished, there’s nothing better than returning to your yacht in the afternoon, cooling off with a swim, or soaking tired muscles in the Jacuzzi as the yacht powers across the water to the next destination. Each night, enjoy a dreamy soft bed and the sound of the water lapping gently at the hull – no packing and moving between hotels as you float along this marvellous stretch of coastline. There is no better way on this earth to adventure in luxury than on a superyacht charter.
Adventure Sports Activities in the South of France
Formula One Racing
Ever watched the Monaco Grand Prix and fancied yourself as a race car driver? Well the French Riviera is the place to tick that experience off your bucket list, with a range of motorsport experiences and track days available.
There’s a few ways you can experience the thrill of the supercar experience on the Cote d’Azur – and some are more hard core than others. There are multiple operators running both passenger and driver + instructor experiences driving supercars through the rock tunnels and street circuit of Monaco and along the open highway. You can also privately rent some pretty spectacular road cars in this neck of the woods, from the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo S to Ferrrari’s F12 Berlinetta, or experience the brutal power of the Lamborghini Aventador S. However, you will have to be content with driving within the speed limit – still a pretty intense and glamorous thrill in these extraordinary machines.
For the full-throttle experience, you’ll want a track day, and there’s no better place to do it than at the AGS Formule One Racetrack on the Circuit du Var, only 30kms from St Tropez. Running since 1992, these track days put motorheads behind the wheel of a real F1 car for a half or full day of instruction and G-Force bending speeds, as they learn with either manual or paddlebox gearboxes. If you just want the experience of travelling at Formula One speeds but don’t want to be behind the wheel, there’s also passenger experiences on offer.
You’ll be absolutely buzzing when you get back to the yacht – but chances are, you’ll want to get out to the clubs of St Tropez or Monaco to keep the adrenaline going (and maybe rub shoulders with a few real-life racing car drivers at the bar). For the ultimate motorsport vacation, ask your yacht broker to plan these experiences during a Monaco Grand Prix yacht charter.
Prefer to use your muscles than a machine to get your thrills? The French Riviera has some tremendous rock-climbing on offer, whether you want to dangle high above Monaco on the Grand Face Route at La Turbie, or head to the Gorge du Loup in the foothills for multi-pitch routes up to 300m high including the famous Divers Crag. Rock climbers also flock to Europe’s deepest gorge, the staggering Gorge du Verdon in the Provencal hills, the Caves of Peillon, and the Cliff of Geit at Mont St Martin.
For rock-climbing right on the coast in view of your yacht, there’s no better than scaling the Calanques cliffs near Cassis, where the yacht anchors in natural fjords riven into the high limestone coast, in dreamy turquoise water straight out of a travel magazine. Finishing the climb, you’ll reward yourself with a swim off the back of the yacht and a long lunch on deck, or head to La Chateau Sormiou restaurant right in the Calanques to enjoy a seafood meal by the water.
There’s also some superb wineries to visit in the area, which we’ve written about before: the perfect indulgent reward after a morning of exertion.
Kayaking, White Water Rafting & Canyoning
Because the Alps plunge so steeply towards the sea in the South of France, there are a multitude of Alpine streams and snow-melt rivers within easy reach of the coast. A day in a kayak or raft in the French high country is a thing lifetime memories are made of, as you paddle maniacally through rapids, squeeze between narrow canyon walls, and manoeuvre past giant boulders, only to pass into areas of calm water surrounded by wildflower meadows and grazing cows with tinkling cowbells. A lunch in a mountain restaurant with a terrace view is the perfect complement to the experience, before heading back down to the yacht and its waiting Jacuzzi to soothe those screaming muscles. You won’t know if you’re living the life of Bear Grylls or Heidi Klum on a day like this.
There are several locations to get your white water thrills in the South of France, with a couple of standouts. The Roya River at Breil sur Roya lies in the Pre-Alps about one hour from Monaco, and offers a huge amount of adventure, from white water rafting to hydrospeed to canyoning, canoe and kayak-rafting, and aquatic hikes.
The other rafting playground is the mighty Gorge du Verdon, where every adventure sport you can imagine takes place in the ribbon of electric blue water that tumbles through the gorge. It’s a two-hour drive from Cannes or St Tropez, but believe us, it’s a day you’ll never forget.
Bungee Jumping and Sky Diving
If you love falling from a great height while on holiday, there’s a few places to get your kicks in the South of France. For bungee-jumping, it’s hard to go past the Gorge du Verdon, where you’ll launch yourself off Europe’s highest bridge, Pont l’Artuby, 182m above the river and rocks below. For an option at the Nice end of the coast, head into the hills to the Pont de la Mariee bridge, where 80m of adrenaline-pumping freefall awaits.
For skydiving thrills head to Cannes, where you can see all the glories of the French Riviera – beaches, mountains, and yachts spread out like specks of white on the blue – spread out before you as you plummet to earth from 4000 metres. You may need to calm your racing heart with a restorative cocktail at a Cannes beach club afterwards, or stay on the yacht for glamorous drinks and canapes at sunset.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Yes, you read that right. You might be surprised to see skiing listed as an adventure sport to be combined with yacht charter, but as we wrote last winter, there are some exceptional opportunities to combine sunny seaside pleasures with snow sports during a spring yacht charter along the French Riviera.
After all, the French Riviera is quite famously one of the few places on earth where you can be making tracks down Alpine slopes in the morning, only to be sipping a rose in the spring sunshine in a Cannes beach club in the afternoon. For information on which resorts have the best spring skiing in the South of France and what you might do on a ski yacht charter, check out our article here.
Paragliding and Hang Gliding
If you look up from your yacht while in Monaco, you’ll often see the shapes of paragliders drifting down from the mountains that rise up sheer from the coast. The incredible thermal currents created at this meeting point of Alps and sea make Monaco/Roquebrune one of the best hang-gliding locations in Europe – so good in fact, that it’s chosen as the finish line of the Red Bull X-Alps Challenge.
You can launch yourself from the Roquebrune platform (there’s a great paragliding club there) and take in the monumental view of the mountains, sea and the skyscrapers of Monaco below you, before landing gently on the beach. What an experience!
However, these gliding sports are only permitted around Monaco between October to April, so this is an adventure sport for either an early-autumn or spring yacht charter.
With so many blisteringly good mountain biking trails in the South of France, you may want to bring your mountain bike onto the yacht with your luggage so you can head into the hills at any moment – although there are plenty of high-end rental opportunities available too.
The varied terrain and altitudes of the South of France makes for some simply incredible mountain biking, with a dizzying number of world-class routes.
Get your heart pumping and your endorphins soaring as you tear down the trails at Peille, the training ground of world champions, or pelt along the Balconies d’Azur track, with its majestic views of the distant sea. Sospel is a magnet for advanced mountain bikers, while the Circuit du Thonde in the stunning red rock landscapes of the Esterel is a beauty for the less experienced.
These are just a few of the adventure sport activities in the region. Immerse yourself in adventure with a French Riviera luxury yacht charter through the South of France experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter.
In the heavenly landscapes of the South of France, vineyards abound. The rolling landscapes of Provence are criss-crossed with vines, some of which run right down to the blue-green sea, while other wineries sit back from the coast in gently rolling countryside, or perch high in the steep hills behind Nice.
The South of France has been blessed with the perfect wine-growing jackpot. The region is drenched in sunshine, benefits from an environment largely free of pests, and has excellent soils for vines which vary across the different areas: in the west, soil rich in limestone from an ancient inland sea, while granitic and volcanic soil dominates the east. There are also wild-growing herbs throughout the region, which are said to gently permeate the soil – and ultimately, the flavour of the wine. This variety of soil and landscapes lead to a wide variety of grapes being grown, and while the pale-blush rosés of Provence still dominate the winemaking reputation of the region, there are a growing number of exceptional red, white, and sparkling wines being produced.
Wineries and Yacht Charter : A Match Made in Heaven
From visiting the tiniest local producer to sampling famous vintages that grace Michelin-star menus, a wine journey along the French Riviera and Provencal coastline is an exercise in the good life. A French Riviera yacht charter is the ideal way to experience the spectacular wineries of the South of France, whether you’re dropping anchor off the Cannes Islands or taking a tender to a clifftop winery in Cassis. Floating slowly down the stunning coastline from Monaco to Marseilles against a backdrop of mountains and beaches, you’ll enjoy all the yachting pleasures of life on board, before coming back to land for your next winery experience. A yacht charter effortlessly avoids the hassle of daily transfers to and from your hotel (or moving between hotels as you travel down the coast), making it the ultimate luxury wine tourism experience.
You might even like to plan your South of France yacht charter for the fall, to coincide with grape harvest season and the local wine festivals of October – which is also a great time to take advantage of the reduced charter rates and blissfully quiet anchorages of the shoulder season.
Here are a few of the best vineyards to visit on a South of France wine-themed yacht charter. Our list predominantly features vineyards either on or in close proximity to the coast for effortless access; however, we have included a couple of show-stoppers that are well worth a gorgeous day trip into the Provencal interior.
Get your palates ready!
Chateau de Bellet, Nice
A day up at Chateau de Bellet is tinged with that ‘pinch yourself’ feeling a person gets sometimes on the French Riviera; that you have somehow fallen into a movie set; one where the expectation perfectly merges with the reality. Part of the appeal is the magnificent setting: elevated high above Nice with the vineyard terraces dropping away to distant views of the Mediterranean, Chateau de Bellet offers a glorious tasting room in a deconsecrated chapel, a brand new 8000m2 cellar, and tables on a sunny flagstone terrace overlooking the grand view of Alps and sea.
This centuries-old vineyard produces only organic wines, including the prestigious white wines, Cuvee La Chapelle, and Cuvee Baron G. This is a genuinely lovely place to wander among the vines, and is easily accessible from your yacht in Nice.
Abbaye des Lerins, Ile de Saint Honorat, Cannes Islands
In the pine-scented isles just off Cannes, you’ll find a vineyard out of a dream. Tended by Cistercian monks from the island’s medieval abbey, this tiny vineyard produces award-winning wines and liqueurs that appear on fine restaurant tables across the Riviera and beyond. The 8.5 hectare property grows Clairette, Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Mourvedre and Pinot Noir grapes, as well as making Limoncello and the herby 19th century liqueur, Lérina. The highlight is the Saint Pierre, a Chardonnay-Clairette blend with apple and honey notes and a delicate white fruit perfume.
With no cars on the island and an exquisite sense of peace, St Honorat is a lovely island to explore on foot, taking a walk along the coastal path to visit the 10th century fortified monastery and stroll among the sweet-smelling Aleppo pines and olive groves. You’ll want to stay on the island for lunch at La Tonelle restaurant, enjoying its glorious view back across the water to the neighbouring Ile Saint Marguerite.
The monks of the Abbey take a vow to live out their days on the island and never leave, and by the end of your day on Ile St Honorat, you may just think they’re onto something.
Chateau d’Esclans, Gorge de Pennafort
A bottle of Whispering Angel Rosé, frosted with condensation as it is pulled out of a solid silver ice bucket, is perhaps one of the signature sights of the superyacht world. Vast quantities of this pale pink rosé are quaffed on yachts each summer as guests drift down the French Riviera, partying in Cannes and dropping anchor off a beach club in St Tropez.
25 kilometres inland of Frejus, you can come and taste it for yourself at Chateau d’Esclans, a breathtaking vineyard with a view back across the coast. The first glimpse of the 19th century chateau through the avenue of trees is enough to make you gasp.
With the property once used as a lookout to spot pirates entering the Gulf of Frejus, the winery’s cellar dates from the Dark Ages and is the oldest in the region. The vineyard is renowned for the age of its Grenache vines, some of which are 90 years old, lending a greater concentration of flavour to the wines.
Chateau Saint-Maur, Cogolin
Just outside glamorous St Tropez, this exceptional vineyard was snatched from obscurity in 2011, when celebrated wine maker Roger Zannier saw the potential of the 70-hectare estate. It was a gamble that paid off, with a number of their wines gaining rapid acclaim, including the Cuvee Excellence White and the superb Clos de Capelune Rosé for its white peach flavours, light perfume, and heavy-based signature bottle.
Their high-tech vineyard sits opposite the historic Grimaud Castle, surrounded by cork oak forest and the Maures hills. Chateau Saint-Maur is considered one of the standout wineries of the Provence region, and tours are by appointment only.
Chateau de Berne
An hour’s drive inland of St Tropez lies the spectacular Chateau de Berne. Located near the village of Lorgues, this five-star hotel and winery is ground zero for Provencal wine tourism. This sprawling Provencal chateau houses a Cinq de Mondes spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant, and is set in a hilly landscape of vines and forest. It is a vision.
And in case you’d thought we’d forgotten we were here to talk about wine, Chateau de Berne has plenty to remind us. 200 acres of this 1480-acre estate is dedicated to viniculture, resulting in some of most acclaimed rosés, whites and reds in Provence.
Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Cassis
The final entry on our list has another jaw-dropping location, right on the cliffs of Cassis in the Calanques National Park. The vines grow right to the Mediterranean at Clos Sainte Magdeleine, making this winery extremely accessible from your yacht. Set on a private wooded headland, this limited-production vineyard benefits from limestone and clay soils, creating exquisite rosé and white wines.
Four generations of the family have grown wine at this art deco-style chateau, stretching back to founder Jules Savon, who won the gold medal at the World Fair in 1900. It’s not hard to see why the generations continue to live out their years making wine here; it would be difficult to come up with a reason to leave this heavenly place.
Making the Dream a Reality
This list is a mere fragment of the world-class vineyards you could visit on a week-long wine connoisseur’s yacht charter on the French Riviera. In fact, you may need longer than a week! To book a South of France yacht charter taking in the best wineries of the region, contact the French Riviera Yacht Charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter.
If you’re looking to move to Monaco, you may well already have clear ideas about the kind of luxury villa you wish to buy. However, one thing that may not have crossed your mind is the proximity to great riding schools that a Monte-Carlo postcode brings. After all, Monaco may be synonymous with extreme glamour and ultra extravagance, but this is by no means the extent of what it can offer. Monte-Carlo’s situation, tucked away in the French hillside, makes it the perfect base for excursions. And for those who enjoy nothing more than exploring the countryside with an equine friend, there are plenty of opportunities for pony trekking and horse riding near Monaco, with a range of equestrian centres which cater to every possible need. Read on to discover four of the best, and get ready for the ride of your life!
World-class spots for horse riding near Monaco
Centre Equestre Des Preisses, Peillon
Tucked away in the medieval village of Peillon, just 20 minutes from Monaco, lies a magnificent equestrian centre aimed at those with a competitive streak. As a multi-discipline school, the Centre Equestre Des Preisses offers the full range of horse-based disciplines including jumping, contests, dressage, horse-ball and more.
The club’s friendly teachers will train anyone from 4 years upwards, and its covered riding space means it is in action all year round. What’s more, the prices are extremely reasonable given its proximity to Nice and Monaco, with lessons offered from only €20. Definitely, one to visit if you think you’re little ones may be within a chance of becoming the next Charlotte Casiraghi.
Horse and Ventures, Sainte-Agnès
If you’re willing to drive a little further to find great horse riding near Monaco, a 45-minute road trip will take you to Horse and Ventures. A charming and all-encompassing equestrian centre, this Sainte-Agnès institution offers a friendly approach to exploring the great outdoors on horseback. Horses here are raised in open pasture, and their gentle nature means you can rely on them to bring you an enjoyable excursion in the Alpes-Maritimes.
Horse and Ventures offer part or full day rides in and around Sainte-Agnès, alongside longer 2-6 day trekking holidays around different areas of the rolling French countryside. The club can also provide horse riding lessons, as well as special packages that combine horse riding with a love of food or even yoga. All in all, whatever you are looking for they should be able to provide; their longer trekking holidays come particularly recommended.
Centre Equestre Monti, Menton
Just a stone’s throw away from Monaco in neighbouring Menton, the Centre Equestre Monti awaits. Run by a family of riders with a passion for everything equestrian, this club has been successfully teaching children and teenagers how to ride since 1979. It offers classes in both French and Italian teaching the main equestrian disciplines: dressage, jumping and pony games. As they progress, children have the opportunity to take the federal exams – aptly named “GALOPS.” The Centre Equestre Monti also teaches kids about the practicalities of the horse riding lifestyle, making sure they know how to groom and care for the horses, and hopefully fostering a love of these gentle animals that lasts a lifetime.
Horse Planet Equitation, Berre Les Alpes
The furthest away of all our schools for horse riding near Monaco, Horse Planet Equitation lies a 50 minute drive away, but we promise you the journey is worth it. Its beautiful setting has to be seen to be believed, known as the “Secret Riviera” because of its privileged position between Mediterranean Sea and Southern Alps and framed by the hilly Nice landscape.
Horse Planet Equitation welcomes all lovers of horses and wide open spaces, so whether you are looking for a horseback trek with a view that makes you never want to get down, or simply want to learn through group or individual classes in stunning surroundings, this is the place for you. Lessons here can be carried out in French, English or Spanish, making them suitable for holidaymakers as well as residents.
So there we have it: our top four spots for world-class horse riding near Monaco. Let us know which is your favourite, or if you have any other suggestions to add to the list. Other than that, we’ll see you out on the field!
The Italian Riviera is north-western Italy’s coastal showcase, a place where the Ligurian Alps meet the Apennines with a dash of la dolce vita and a well-deserved reputation alluring yachts to one of the most popular yachting hotspots in the Mediterranean, Portofino.
Decades of tourism have ensured that the beauty of the Cinque Terre and Portofino rank highly on places you need to visit and the entire coastline has bewitched royalty, writers and celebrities who have been drawn to the Mediterranean climate, beautiful towns and the blend of old and new.
There’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a sheltered inlet surrounded by colourful buildings and olive-clad terraces it has been grabbing headlines and attracting the international jet set for decades.
In the height of peak season, the town morphs into Italy’s version of Saint-Tropez, however if you’re looking for Champagne-spraying nightclubs and hedonistic beach clubs you’ve come to the wrong place.
Many visitors to Portofino don’t venture beyond the harbour and Piazzetta (small square), but renting a yacht on the Italian Riviera will introduce you to places of quiet beauty – especially in spring or autumn, ornate villas hidden amongst the trees and gorgeous scenery with romantic restaurants sandwiched between the mountains and sea.
Portofino is not off-the-beaten path, however it’s possible to escape the crowds of day trippers and celebrities who visit Portofino for one day.
Read this Guide to Yacht Charters in Portofino to discover the best things to see and do while on a Portofino yacht charter, where you can discover some of the celebrated highlights and the charter spots less visited amidst the surrounding attractions of the Gulf of Tigullio.
Does the French Riviera live up to its glamorous reputation? The simple answer is, yes! Yes it does. Especially if you’re exploring on board a luxury yacht. From cocktails aboard your fly deck and cosmopolitan bars to quaint towns and lavender fields, this destination truly has everything and you’ll never want to leave.
Yacht Charter on the French Riviera
Yacht charter with Incrediblue allows you to broaden your horizons and makes sailing more accessible around the world, as you are no longer limited to one yacht type or destination. So where better to start than in the stunning French Riviera? Also known as Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the Southeast corner of France, also including Monaco. There is no official boundary, but we generally consider it to extend from Cassis or Toulon or Saint-Tropez located on the West to France-Italy border in the East, where the Italian Riviera joins.
Where to start
You have heard of Nice and Cannes right? Well that’s just a couple more of the towns that make up this beautiful stretch of paradise on earth. When is comes to yacht charter you’re truly spoilt for choice of where to start your adventure. A popular route is to begin in Monaco, before heading to Nice and then onto St Tropez.
Selecting your own charter yacht
Selecting your own yacht on the French Riviera is easy with the help of a highly experienced team such as Incrediblue, who will be happy to understand and ensure your every need is catered for. As you will have a crew on board you can discuss meals plans with the chefand also the perfect route with the ckipper before you set sail for the time of your life.
Prepare to be amazed by the sheer beauty of the gleaming superyachts lined up in Monaco harbour. If you’re lucky enough to be there during an event such as the Monaco Grand Prix, you will not only enjoy the electric atmosphere but you can also gawp at more amazing yachts that will appear throughout. There were in fact over €2 billion worth of yachts attending the Grand Prix in 2016.
Any trip to the French Riviera should begin with a stop in Nice. The Port of Nice is the perfect place to moor your yacht overnight and enjoy a traditional light dinner such as salade niçoise made by your personal on board chef. If you would like to hit the town you will not be dissapointed. Especially during the summer season, nightlife is in abundance and offers many options for after dark enthusiasts.
In the morning you will appreciate the sparkles reflecting off the warm Mediterranean waters whilst you’re having your breakfast. Whether you’re there for one day or five, be sure to venture up to Castle Hill. The phrase ‘it was worth the climb’ is truly fitting in this instance. The panoramic views of the Baie des Anges are simply to die for. You may also want to visit Nice’s famous lavender fields, the verdant park which is the perfect spot to take a picnic, or simply just relax and watch the world go by before boarding your yacht again and moving onto the next divine destination.
Home to the rich and famous, Cannes should definitely be on your bucket list. With its sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and 5* restaurants there is plenty to see and do.
To add to Cannes’ glamour, this destination is very well known for the international film festival that occurs here once per year in May. If there is any event with the potential to dethrone the Oscars than this is it. If you’re lucky enough to be around during the festival you will be guaranteed to spot some famous faces strutting their stuff down the red carpet.
A short sail away from Cannes you will embark upon the Lérins Islands. The Lérins Islands are a group of four Mediterranean islands off the French Riviera, in Cannes. The two largest islands in this group are the Île Sainte-Marguerite and the Île Saint-Honorat. Here you will get away from the hustle and bustle of busy life and have the opportunity to relax in the ambience of tranquility. The islands are full of undisturbed beauty with small wild beaches and secret coves you could spend hours exploring. The panoramic views and sparkling turquoise blue waters are guaranteed to take your breath away.
If your yachting trip happens to fall on July 14th, try and spend the evening here to enjoy the famous firework night.
On your way to St Tropez be sure to soak up not only the sun but the best views of the French Riviera. It sounds only right to have a margarita in your hand whilst you enjoy these truly blissful few hours of cruising through the crystal waters. If you are coming directly from Nice it will take approximately 3 hours but if you want to take any detours you can discuss this with your captain. It might be a nice idea to stop and take a swim. If you have a diving instructor on board you should take advantage of the experience. The Mediterranean is home to some of the most colourful and interesting underwater life.
Upon arrival in St Tropez you will notice how big and vibrant this port is. With a capacity of 734 moorings there is definitely plenty of space for any size yacht. St Tropez is well known for its innovation and quality services, making it one of the most famous marinas in the world.
The height of St Tropez’ popularity comes from the 9 day regatta occuring once a year, known as “Voiles de Saint Tropez”. It begins here at the foot of the Portalet tower and bypasses the Nioulargue buoy before returning to the port. Over the duration of 9 day regatta, 300 of the finest yachts from around the world are brought together and it is a sight not to be missed!
If coffee is your thing you absolutely MUST not miss out on the famous espresso made in the even more famous bar that is Senequier. Whilst enjoying ‘the best French coffee known to man’ you can enjoy watching artists painting people or landscapes around the ports.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Here is a brief summary of the different amazing locations you will be covering on your luxury yacht vacation along the French Riviera.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wishing you a fabulous luxury yacht charter on the French Riviera!
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!
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.
EPIKdrives has indeed created an epic French Riviera Driving Tour that deserves to be tested on your next trip to France.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today you are invited to discover a very exclusive architect’s villa in the heart of Côte d’Azur! Designed by the renowned José Tauzia, this prestigious property has all the features of an authentic villa, modernised to the taste of the day. Zoom on a timeless and contemporary home on the French Riviera.
Equipped with all modern amenities and designed in the purest Azurean traditions, this exceptional villa will charm you. Welcome to Villa Méditerranée, the latest creation of the luxury real estate developer “Pride Invests”. You will literally fall in love with this house made of 516sqm of luxury and refinement. Villa Méditerranée is a true architectural masterpiece!
In the heart of Mougins, one of the most beautiful villages of the French Riviera, this elegant property is located in one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods of the village, the “Saint Barthelemy” district. This ultra-residential and historic district, is an enchanting environment hosting some of the most beautiful villas of the Côte d’Azur. Close to all amenities, the villa is surrounded by a magnificent pine forest. In addition to its beautifully landscaped garden, the villa has a heated swimming pool and a jacuzzi, that will allow you enjoy the summer sun. As the possibilities are endless, you will also be able to relax in the shade of the pine trees under the charming pergola designed by José Tauzia.
This villa will offer 5 bedrooms, a large living room and an open kitchen … Each bedroom will have its ensuite bathroom as well as its own dressing room. In addition, the villa is equipped with extra living spaces such as an office, a fitness room, a sauna …
The conditions will be more than perfect to welcome your family and friends and build incredible memories. Whether you choose it as your main residence or as your secondary home, Villa Méditerranée is the home of your dreams!
Last but not least, Pride of Côte d’Azur, wished to leave the possibility to its customers to choose between two types of interior layout. You will be spoiled with endless options and possibilities to define the floor plans of your villa as well as the finishes that make you dream!
The Villa Méditerranée is a bastide with Provencal accents, but with clean lines. Nothing comparable to what is currently available on the market. Pride of Côte d’Azur has chosen to affirm its own personality asserting itself with an identity of its own. And what a success! Elegant structure, large openings that allow the light to enter the rooms. Like a Venetian palace…. On the French Riviera!
Lovers of luxury and style will be seduced by Villa Méditerrannée and by the other projects of this company led with an international vision.
Pride of Côte d’Azur makes it a point of honour to ensure that it delivers quality work while respecting essential ethics and deontology. The company is surrounded by the best local providers to make your dream come true.