From chic coastal towns with archaeological ruins to fishing villages clinging to cliff sides, from lemon groves and vineyards nestled on lush hillsides to unspoiled beaches with aquamarine water, Luxury Today delves inside 4 stunning Mediterranean yacht charter destinations that are hard to match for a luxury escape.
Motor Yacht VANINA V is a superb example of the Princess V70 Yacht built by Princess Yachts on the south coast of England. This stunning yacht has been superbly maintained by a professional crew. In our opinion, the Princess V70 Yacht is perhaps the finest looking of all the yachts designed by Princess Yachts with sleek lines, great volume and fabulous entertaining space. The yacht’s garage houses not just a Williams 325 jet tender but also a 3 man jet ski! Motor Yacht VANINA V is based in the port of Sainte-Maxime on the French Riviera, just 5 minutes from Saint-Tropez and she is the ideal yacht for a charter in Saint-Tropez and the Côte d’Azur.
Alexander Coles is the Owner and Senior Yacht Charter Broker at Bespoke Yacht Charter, a company he founded in 2014 after 13 years’ experience arranging luxury yacht charters in the south of France, throughout the Mediterranean and worldwide. More than half of his bookings are repeat clients or referrals from existing clients that include ultra high net worth individuals, celebrities, royal families and large corporations. His aim is to deliver beyond all expectations – whether he arranges a charter booking for a two week Summer holiday for a family looking for the last word in discretion, through to corporate yacht charters for companies looking to present an extremely high profile at an important event.
What is it that you do exactly?
I arrange luxury yacht charters for highly discerning individuals from all over the world. I specialize in all Mediterranean yachting destinations but with particular emphasis on the Côte d’Azur and French Riviera, such places as St Tropez, Cannes and Monaco. The yachts I offer are from 25-100m in length and are all fully crewed by highly professional crew, offering the ultimate in floating luxury. In addition to yachting holidays, I also rent yachts to companies attending prestigious events in the south of France such as the Cannes Lions, MIPIM and the Cannes Film Festival.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the fact that I spend my days arranging experiences designed to give others pleasure! My clients are usually very busy business people and they want their holidays to be absolutely perfect in every way. Working very closely with each yacht’s Captain and crew, I aim to ensure an absolutely seamless luxury experience for each client.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
I absolutely adore this legendary hotel on the luxurious Cap d’Antibes peninsula between Antibes and Cannes in the south of France. The hotel is incredibly private and set in beautiful gardens with fabulous views of the Mediterranean. The staff are utterly AMAZING! It’s incredibly luxurious but in a very discrete and unpretentious way. If you haven’t stayed there, I strongly recommend it. It is to my mind and many others, the best hotel in the world!
I first discovered this wonderful villa on the island of Korcula in 2007 and booked it for two weeks. It was my first visit to Croatia and I have been going there ever since. The house is surrounded by the sea on three sides with the most stunning views. It has a private pontoon for swimming and taking a boat or kayak out into the bay. It’s an extremely private place and you could stay there for weeks without seeing a soul! This villa is a place to truly lose yourself and switch off. The nearby town of Vela Luka has plenty of shops and restaurants if you ever feel like going out!
I often go to concerts in Milan in the summer months and discovered this fabulous hotel on the internet completely by chance. This hotel is truly unique, part loft apartment, part gentlemen’s club… each suite is themed around something different, motor racing, tennis etc. It’s not often you have Louis Vuitton trunks in your room, unless they’re yours of course! Truly fabulous decoration and beautiful objets d’art to be found throughout. The bar and terrace are also stunning! As the name implies, the hotel is set around a beautiful courtyard right in the centre of Milan, my favourite city in Italy.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
I have been lucky enough to have dined at some of the best restaurants in the world, Le Louis XV in Monaco, Le Gravroche in London etc. But the one that really stands out is The Five Fields in London. I went there with my wife for my birthday last year and was truly blown away. Chef Marguerite Keogh is incredibly talented and uses beautiful ingredients in very creative ways. The food is rare in that it is incredibly stylish but definitely not style over substance. We had the tasting menu and every course was a triumph. The restaurant has been receiving rave reviews and I am sure it is only a matter of time before the Michelin inspectors give the restaurant the recognition it deserves!
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
Yes absolutely! The vast majority of my clients are rather wealthy to say the least, and some of them pretty famous too. I certainly won’t name any names but celebrities certainly love chartering yachts!
I always attend the Monaco Grand Prix and have seen lots of famous faces there, both from the world of F1 of course but also music and cinema. I also love the restaurant Cipriani in Monaco, owned by Flavio Briatore, there are always lots of famous people in there and at the nearby club Twiga! The same is true of some of the beach clubs at Pampelonne near St Tropez.
Funnily enough, for all the celebrities I see on the Côte d’Azur, I actually probably see more famous people in London, specifically around Kensington and Chelsea where I spend a great deal of time.
There is an Italian restaurant called La Famiglia in Chelsea that I’ve been going to since I was in nappies. I must have been there hundreds of times and there is always a famous actor or musician eating there every time I go! As a child, I had my photo taken there with Clint Eastwood and the photo stills hangs on the wall in the restaurant.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
I can’t wait to go to India! I have heard so much about the country and people! Those I know that have been, absolutely rave about it – the food, the colours, the vibrancy. I want to do it justice though and go for a couple of months so I am waiting until I have the time. Spare time is a bit of a luxury at the moment!
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Alex. Good luck with your quest to get to India – I was lucky enough to be there for a couple of days in 2013 but, like you say, it was sadly definitely nowhere near long enough to remotely do it justice!
This interview was originally published on A Luxury Travel Blog and can be found here
M/Y BLUE MAMBA is an exceptional yacht, now available at an exceptional price. With sleek lines and an attractive blue hull, this 38.7m (127′ 1″) motor yacht streaks across the water at a top speed of 28 knots. Offering six staterooms that cater for up to 12 guests, BLUE MAMBA superyacht for sale is a rare find for her size range.
Custom built by Oceanline Shipyard in 2008, the elegant vessel is also an excellent proposition as a charter yacht. Her above-average guest capacity proves a distinctive selling point in the charter market, but her top-end design and performance confirm her pedigree. With clean lines and a gleaming silver superstructure, the superyacht’s stylish exterior was designed by Frank Mulder, while the yacht’s contemporary interior is courtesy of Art Line Interiors from the Netherlands.
M/Y BLUE MAMBA is a superyacht of unrivalled design and performance. She is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system, which reduces roll motion effect, comfortably and smoothly cruising between your desired locations. She also features bow thrusters, which enable better manoeuvrability at low speeds.
The stunning yacht’s spacious interior offers a level of comfort and style that is unsurpassed. The layout is unique and includes a sumptuous forward master cabin, which is positioned up on the yacht’s main deck. The bedroom has large windows, which let in abundant light and an impressive sunken bathroom down a short flight of steps. A very comfortable VIP Stateroom with a queen-sized double bed is located on the lower deck and four more cabins, accessible by a spiral staircase, complete the well-considered accommodation. Additionally, the stylish yacht is capable of carrying up to six crew on board.
The decor is elegant yet inviting, consisting of neutral tones with rich brown sofas and seating that complement the dark teak and grey marble finishes. The overall effect is ultra-modern yet effortlessly chic. Amenities include a 52” Sharp Aquos TV, high-quality sound system, air Conditioning, Wi-Fi connection and a deck Jacuzzi.
The yacht is perfect for entertaining guests due to the large dining table for up to 12 people which can be converted into a bar. The main deck aft has fixed seating, a large table and occasional chairs for larger groups. M/Y BLUE MAMBA offers a good selection of water toys, a tender and a swim platform.
Initially on the market for EUR 6,250,000, this yacht is now a brilliant buyer’s opportunity at EUR 4,900,000 through Worth Avenue Yachts. BLUE MAMBA is currently in Saint-Tropez.
With 2015 drawing to a close, it’s time to start planning your luxury yacht charters for 2016. We have compiled a list of the best 5 yacht itineraries on the planet, factoring in the key ingredients for an unforgettable yacht charter: crystal clear seas, white sand beaches, fine dining and luxury, modern marinas.
There are of course, many other superb yacht itineraries on our planet, but these handpicked destinations posses the all-Important glamour that draws luxury yacht charters to drop anchor year after year.
The Virgin Islands, Caribbean
The Virgin Islands are quite staggeringly beautiful, with rainforests meeting sugar white sands and turquoise seas. The diving is exceptional, whether you’d prefer the coral reefs of Anegada or exploring the sunken ships of Wreck Alley. Those who like a bit more action might want to head to St Thomas for its chic shopping malls and fascinating shows, or you can head to one of the Virgin Islands’ sailor bars, such as Tortola’s famous Bitter End.
This tranquil Mediterranean isle offers beaches of immense beauty, where clear sapphire seas meet vast expanses of blinding white sand and rolling dunes. The Costa Smerelda is one of the most popular charter destinations on earth for its glamorous marinas, fine dining, and lively nightlife. The peaceful ambiance, excellent diving, and coastal walks offer a more leisurely pace on your Sardinia luxury yacht charter.
This iconic coastline, with its volcanic range rising out of the Mediterranean, is one of the most spectacular luxury yacht charter destinations in the world. Have lunch at a cliff-top restaurant on Capri, where pink sprays of bougainvillea contrast vividly with the sparkling blue sea. Shop in Positano’s glamorous boutiques, or relax in the famed hot springs of Ischia. Spend your days in the water or visiting the ethereal Blue Grotto, and when night falls enjoy dining and dancing in the warm summer air from the comfort of your luxury yacht charter.
From the French-chic vibe of St Barts to the stunning beaches of Antigua and Barbuda, this chain of islands is the hottest luxury yacht charter destination in the Caribbean. Exclusive Anguilla increasingly draws the superyacht set, while the plantation hotels, pristine reefs and cloud forests of St Kitts and Nevis are putting these gorgeous twin islands on the yachting map.
Number one simply must take us back to where luxury yachting began: the sunny, sparkling shores of Southern France. From the ritzy casinos and grand hotels of Monaco to the wide sandy beaches of glamorous Saint Tropez, this is an itinerary that combines natural beauty with fine dining, fine art, and fine living. From the quiet forests and crystal clear coves of Porquerolles to the chic piano bars and superclubs of Cannes, the Cote d’Azur is the quintessential luxury yacht charter destination.
The possibilities are endless. The list of dreamy itineraries goes on and on: how do the happy isles of the South Pacific strike you? Or perhaps Thailand takes your fancy – one of the rising yacht charter destinations? Or maybe you’d like to venture deeper into the Caribbean, to the quiet isles of the Grenadines, or the jungles and reefs of stunning Costa Rica? Once you’ve decided on your dream itinerary, you must choose from the broad range of luxury superyachts to charter, which are offered across the globe. Get in touch with a luxury yacht charter company to plan the itinerary of your dreams.
All holidaymakers know that other than beautiful surroundings, luxurious accommodation and the much-deserved opportunity to relax, no holiday would be complete without good food. Luckily the South of France has the culinary prowess to make fine dining a certainty on your Mediterranean escape. Naturally, French Riviera Helicopter Transfer and gourmet cuisine go together like champagne and caviar. That’s why so many restaurants have exclusive helicopter landing spots, which allow for quick and luxurious transfers directly to their grounds. We spoke to the leading helicopter transfer company on the French Riviera, Heli Securite, who have recommended the following five restaurants with landing spots for direct landing.
Tahiti Beach is one of the best-located restaurants in Saint-Tropez and perfectly represents the joie de vivre for which the seaside town is universally famous. Fortunately, the food is wonderful, the atmosphere is relaxed and the friendly staff make you feel at home. Tahiti’s food is consistently good and served by the sea with the selection of freshly caught fish and tasty pizza straight from the oven being highlights. In fact, it’s difficult to know what you’ll enjoy more: the delicious food or spectacular sea views.
Chez Bruno, Lorgues
Famed for its truffles, the one-Michelin-star Chez Bruno serves more of this exquisite delicacy than any other restaurant in the world. Bruno has been running this iconic restaurant set in the pretty Provençal town of Lorgues for many years and it’s a truly local family business, which has started to expand internationally.
The outdoor setting of idyllic gardens and a terrace is lovely in the summer and during winter a roaring fire gives the cosy interior a magical feel. This really is truffle heaven, and Bruno’s signature dish, a potato and truffle combination, has people returning for more. Most of the produce is found within two hours of the restaurant, so diners are guaranteed the finest quality.
La Bouitte, Saint Martin de Belleville
La Bouitte is a charming hotel located at the foot of the Saint-Marcel ski slopes in Saint–Martin de Belleville. However, it’s the hotel’s restaurant that really draws the crowds. René and Maxime Meilleur are a father and son team whose impeccable cuisine has been granted three Michelin stars and classified among the ‘great gables of the world’ since 2012. The restaurant is set in an authentic mountain chalet with a cosy yet chic decor befitting an establishment that prides itself on creating cuisine that respects the quality of local products and the art of cooking. The outside terrace nestled amongst the trees is perfect for apres ski drinks or a pre-flight lunch, since the helipad is located 50 metres away.
Les Gorges de Pennafort, Callas
Les Gorges de Pennafort is one of Provence’s unmissable highlights set in a beautiful setting close to the Cote d’Azur. Chef Philippe Sa Silva and his wife took over management of the restaurant twenty years ago and haven’t looked back, even receiving a Michelin star in that time. His innovative use of regional produce combined with a contemporary twist, such as foie gras and Parmesan ravioli, have won the loyalty of international customers. Chef Da Silva’s flavoursome menu also extends to an impressive cocktail list, including their unique speciality: champagne with grapefruit cream. The sensationally sublime cuisine can be enjoyed in the elegant and light-infused dining room or outside on the terrace under a bioclimatic pergola, which adapts to the weather conditions.
La Bastide de Moustiers, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie
La Bastide de Moustiers’s restaurant serves provençale cuisine in a wonderfully rural country setting. The lovely country house is an upscale inn owned by Alain Ducasse, a noted chef famous for his three Michelin star restaurant in London’s Dorchester hotel among others. Nestled in the Provence village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, the restaurant sits amid ancient olive trees and vibrant lavender bushes. The menu changes daily in accordance with the products available in the hotel’s vegetable garden and is served under a shaded terrace. Chilled pea and fava bean bouillon, steak, chimney baked lamb, and a cocotte of spring vegetables are all mouth-watering favourites prepared with care and attention.
It’s that time of the year again, where the ports between Imperia and St Tropez start to fill up with incoming yachts returning from tropical off-season adventures in the Caribbean or further afield.
As we prepare for another summer season, charters are booked, itineraries are created, and preferences sheets are filled out. When it comes to the wine selection onboard, many guests understandably stay true to tried and tested favourites: Champagne (a pre-requisite), a good Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) or white Burgundy (Chardonnay), a mix of Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot), Burgundy (Pinot Noir) and Rhône (Syrah/Grenache) for the reds, and a crisp, dry rosé from Provence.
Spring, or printemps, is an ideal time of the year to visit the French Riviera where people are feeling invigorated with the start of longer days after daylight savings moved the clocks forward the last Sunday in March.
Yachts are preparing ahead for the busy Mediterranean season, with many crossing back from the Caribbean, and the last remnants of winter in the south are slowly fading with dusk.
Spring on the French Riviera
The French Riviera had origins as a winter resort, where convalescing patients would stay for the health benefits of the mild climate, and aristocrats would visit to forget the grey skies of the northern winter. Almost one hundred years ago, luxury yachts were not common place here with the preferred transport being trains especially the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM) expresses.
The PLM launched their first-class-only service to the French Riviera in 1922 and Le Train Bleu opened up the region and brought with it distinguished passengers over the years including Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Somerset Maugham.
The attractions of good weather and sunny skies flipped the coin for the French Riviera as hotels began to extend their season to cater for wealthy visitors – Gerald and Sara Murphy convinced the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc to stay open in summer, and Coco Chanel startled everyone with her suntan when she stepped ashore in Cannes in 1923 from Flying Cloud, the yacht belonging to Hugh Grosvenor, the Second Duke of Westminster.
Today, the French Riviera’s popularity continues – it’s a great destination to charter a luxury yacht year round and while summer is often handed the glory of ‘best time of the year to visit’, spring is just as ideal with less traffic than summer, luxury hotels having off-season specials, attractions reopening after Easter and clear, crisp days perfect for cruising the Mediterranean coast.
The French Riviera is a great destination for driving with over 300 sunshine days a year it’s no wonder one of the main highways feeding into south-eastern France, the A7 from Lyon to Marseille, is christened the ‘Autoroute du Soleil’.
Some of Bespoke Yacht Charter’s favourite self-drive road trips are located not far from the French Riviera’s ports and marinas meaning a spectacular journey on wheels is easy to combine with your Cote d’Azur yacht charter – imagine rambling into vineyards to buy wines direct from the producer, visiting perched villages for a leisurely Provençal lunch beside a heritage-listed fountain and traversing beautiful National Parks with wildflowers and wildlife.
If you happen to be on the Côte d’Azur, you’ll no doubt have noticed that it’s beginning to look a lot like summer. It’s hard not to be dazzled by the clear blue skies, delighted to rediscover the warmth of the sun on your skin and excited by the array of new vintage rosé wines starting to appear on wine shop shelves.
Yes, yet another yachting season is amongst us. Whilst many Mediterranean yacht charters start on our sparkling coast before undertaking journeys to Corsica, the Amalfi Coast and beyond, many charterers don’t feel the need to leave the Côte d’Azur; whether cruising between St Tropez and Monaco and all the bays in between, or using one port as a base for an array of entertaining. The latter is especially the case during premier events such as the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.
The French Riviera is home to some of the most magnificent real estate in the world. Combining cutting edge design with traditional Provençal charm, spectacular settings and unbelievable views, many of these properties are available to rent by the week. As a land base, these rentals offer the perfect complement to a Mediterranean Yacht Charter, enabling you to combine seafaring adventure with land-based luxury.
With such an incredible selection of villas to choose from, it’s tough to name our favourites. We’ve narrowed down a selection of the finest, basing our decision on those villas that replicate the luxuriousness of superyachts.
Here are our five favourite villa rentals on the French Riviera:
Best for Waterfront:
It’s easy to fall in love with Villa Amourai, located in the prestigious ‘Les Parcs de Saint Tropez’ private domain. This waterfront villa has unobstructed views of the Mediterranean, which are best enjoyed from the heated swimming pool or master bedroom, and allows direct access to the beach. The property has five bedrooms, including one boasting a glass ceiling under the swimming pool, a fitness room and helipad.
This ultra modern villa is furnished to the highest of standards and makes for a secluded and spacious getaway, accommodating 10 people in five en-suite bedrooms. Special features include a roof garden, swimming pool and pool house, and a private chef.
Best for Corporate:
Located in the heart of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, within easy reach of Monaco, Nice and Cannes, Domaine Mareeba offers an exclusive setting for corporate retreats. The domain has the capacity to accommodate up to 24 guests in three recently constructed luxury villas. This contemporary estate is light and spacious, offering a swimming pool, immaculate gardens and private access to the harbour. It is a complete package for professional escapes.
Best for St Tropez:
Villa Tennessee is an idyllic retreat, offering a unique insight into real St Tropez living, situated within a very short driving distance of the town’s main square, Place des Lices. A modern villa, this charming rental offers landscaped gardens, plenty of outside entertaining areas, a swimming pool and seven luxurious bedrooms. What’s more, you’ll only be a stone’s throw away from the glamorous nightlife, for which this pretty settlement is world-famous.
Best for Family:
La Bergerie in Tourettes is a property that will appeal to all members of the family. The 1.4 hectare estate is set within the renowned Terre Blanches golf resort, a mere 25 minutes from the famous Croisette in Cannes.
The property boasts a cinema room, summer kitchen, swimming pool and boules court. With a live-in chef and hostess included in the rental rates, and a capacity to sleep 12 guests, it’s safe to say that all the family will enjoy a holiday at this exclusive retreat!
If you are an experienced yacht charterer, you will no doubt have indulged in one of yachting’s simplest, yet most exquisite pleasures: a glass of chilled, salmon-hued rosé on a hot Mediterranean summer’s afternoon, with some of the coastline’s most stunning scenery as a backdrop. This crisp, fruity wine is dangerously easy to drink, especially when on holidays!
It’s rather fitting, therefore, that the home of this current flavour of the month in the wine world just happens to be the vineyards that fan out from the yachting mecca that is St Tropez. It’s like yachting and the pink drink were always meant to be!
Walking in the south of France offers the ideal opportunity to explore a diverse and beautiful landscape whether you are a casual stroller or an ardent hiker. From coastal promenades to mimosa-covered hills, Mediterranean oak forests to alpine valleys, the French Riviera really is a walker’s paradise.
As the weather turns autumnal, a road trip in a convertible might not be top priority that is, unless it’s to have a spin in the new Huracan Spyder sports car, launched in September by Lamborghini.
This head-turning roadster was the star attraction of the Frankfurt motor show, where it was unveiled by Lamborghini’s CEO, Stefan Winkelmann, at the VW group preview night.
More formally known as the Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder, due to its metric horsepower output and its four-wheel drive, this sensational supercar succeeds the Gallardo Spyder, to date the best-selling open-top car in the manufacturer’s history.
However the Gallardo Spyder’s success is not expected to last. “We expect the Huracan Spyder to exceed its predecessor in every way,” says Mr Winkelmann.
What’s so special about this particular soft-top supercar? It’s 5.2-litre V10 makes 610 horsepower at 8,250 rpm and 413 pound-feet or torque at 6,500 rpm. The ten-cylinder engine torpids the Spyder from zero to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 201 mph.
But it is not just the wheels on the roadster, which turn superfast. The Huracan Spyder also has a fabric roof, which is electrically operated at speeds of up to 31mph. According to its manufacturers, it takes just 17 seconds for the soft top – available in black, red or brown – to disappear behind a discrete cover.
The interior of this sensational new Spyder is very similar to the Huracan coupe, although it does benefit from innovative ducts that reduce air turbulence in the cockpit, as well as detachable glass rear windows. These lateral wind guards allow the driver and his companion to talk even when the top is down, or can be opened to let the guttural sounds of the engine pour into the cabin when the roof is on.
The Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 Spyder is, like its coupe version, a four-wheel drive with the driver being able to choose between three driving modes – Strada, Sport and Corsa. A simple switch of a button on the steering wheel, known as Anima (advanced network intelligence management), will allow the motorist to select the mode he wishes.
The Huracan Spyder, which has been built out of aluminum and carbon fiber ensuring it is as light as possible, is scheduled to go on sale next spring for approximately £205,000.
If this has wet your appetite to drive a Lamborghini, Luxury Car Rent has three from which to hire: An Adventurer Roadster, an Adventurer Coupe and a Huracan LP 610-4. Luxury Car Rent hire elite, supercars in Monaco, the French Riviera and the Alps. You can also reserve the new Lamborghini for 2016, or perhaps a new Mercedes or Ferrari, from Luxury Car Rent, in Cannes, Monaco or Saint Tropez.
Imagine zooming along curving mountain roads with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair – there’s no better way to explore the south of France than on a driving tour. This part of the world is sexy, sophisticated, sun-drenched and irresistible.
This road was cut through the rock in the 1920s and takes drivers from the seaside town of Nice past the Col de Villefranche to Menton. It was constructed to provide for an increase in aristocratic tourism to the French Riviera in the 1910s and 20s. On this gorgeous road you’ll drive alongside the cliffs and enjoy breath-taking views of the coast. Stop in Eze, a tiny medieval village perched on a rocky peak that is a jewel in the crown of the French Riviera.
This is a beautiful road for enjoying glimpses of the coastline of Southern France, so take your time and allow yourself the chance to stop at many parking areas to observe the gorgeous views and glimpse the amazing luxury yachts at anchor.
The Col de la Bonette
The most amazing road to drive in Southern France is the Col de la Bonette – a famous route through the Alps that is among the highest mountain roads in Europe. As spectacular as the road is, it is actually quite a smooth and pleasant drive. The road surface is well maintained and the gentle sweeping cures of the road are easy to follow. As you climb up from sea level to the higher altitudes you will find yourself leaving the greenery and entering a barren, almost volcanic landscape. At the peak of the route you will have climbed to an altitude of 2807 m.
The road descending the Col de la Bonette is a little more thrilling, feeling more like a race circuit than a normal driving route.
If you’re looking to take in the road as part of a driving holiday, why not include a stay in nearby Nice or Monaco? The Lamborghini Gallardo, with all its power, is a great vehicle by which to summit the road.
La Grande Corniche
This picturesque drive takes you between Nice and Marseille on a stunning sea view route between the two. La Grande Corniche hugs the coastline of the glittering blue Mediterranean and was called the “World’s Most Romantic Road” by The Independent. The road was designed by the L’Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees, in order to provide for the ambition Italian campaign of Napoleon in 1796.
The most beautiful section of the road comes between Eze and Nice, where you will be able to see the jagged Alps in the background, the endless blue sea and the Maures Massif.
Why not take one of these French Riviera driving routes through the stunning scenery in Southern France – an adventure on four wheels that will thrill and enchant you.
The French Riviera is famous the world over as the summer playground of the international jet-set and celebrities. From the beaches of St Tropez to the exhilaration of the Monaco Grand Prix, here are 5 Things You Must Do On The French Riviera!
1. Experience the Monaco Grand Prix
The most famous race on the Formula 1 calendar takes place on the streets of the Principality of Monaco during the last weekend in May. Whilst the race may not appeal to racing purists, there is no doubt that this is a spectacle not to be missed. For five days, the F1 circus completely takes over this glamorous micro-state. The race itself can be watched from various stands around the circuit or from the balconies of hotels and apartments trackside, but the ultimate way to experience this legendary event is from the deck of a luxury yacht berthed in the Port of Monaco! Imagine the fastest cars and drivers in the world flying past at huge speeds, literally metres from you, whilst you sit on the deck of a glamorous superyacht experiencing some of the finest service and cuisine known to man. If you are lucky enough to be on a yacht charter at Monaco Grand Prix, you’ll also experience some of the best parties that take place on GP weekend. Also be sure to visit Amber Lounge, the star studded club owned by Sonia Irvine (sister of former Ferrari driver Eddie) that sets up shop in Monaco each year for the Grand Prix. Book a table and mingle with drivers past and present and the world’s international jet-set!
You simply haven’t lived until you’ve stayed at this temple to all that is luxurious on the stunning Cap d’Antibes peninsula, between Nice and Cannes. Set in stunning landscaped gardens with panoramic views of the Mediterranean, the hotel consists of two distinct parts, the palatial Hotel du Cap and the seafront Eden-Roc pavilion. Both buildings feature lavish rooms and suites offering the ultimate in luxury and unparalleled standards of service. Dine in the fabulous Eden-Roc restaurant, recently voted as one of the 100 best restaurants in the world by Elite Traveller, or at the more casual but equally glamorous Grill by the pool. Sip cocktails on the terrace of the hotel’s fantastic new champagne bar, or pamper yourself in the divine Sisley Spa. This hotel is incredibly famous, and not just because it is here that stars flock during the Cannes Film Festival, the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc is truly the definitive luxury hotel experience on the French Riviera and one of the best hotels to be found anywhere in the world.
The French Riviera is without doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world and what better way to appreciate it in all its’ glory than to see it from the air! You get some amazing views from your plane as you come into Nice Airport, but to really appreciate the amazing scenery of the region, you need to get into a helicopter. Regular helicopter flights operate between Nice Airport, Monaco, Cannes and St Tropez offering stunning views of the Côte d’Azur and reducing journey times greatly. It can take hours to get from Cannes to St Tropez by road in the middle of the summer, by helicopter, it takes less than 20 mins and offers fabulous views over the Esterel mountains. The helicopter service from Nice Airport to Monaco takes just 6 mins! It’s also surprisingly good value at €130 per person, only slightly more than a single taxi fare.
Luxury yachts are synomous with the French Riviera, but you don’t need to be a billionaire to enjoy one! Yachts of all sizes can be rented for the day, week or longer and there is something to suit (almost) all budgets. From a 20m motor yacht for the day to a 50m for a two week family holiday. As one of the most famous stretches of coastline anywhere in the world, it goes without saying that the very best way to experience the French Riviera is from a luxury yacht charter. Imagine arriving in such famous ports as Cannes, Monaco and St Tropez on your very own yacht, with a crew there to spoil you, and only you. No other method of travel offers such sublime luxury, privacy and the possibility to have breakfast in Antibes, lunch off Cap Ferrat and dinner in Monte-Carlo! All luxury yachts are fully crewed and offer service equal to that found in the world’s finest hotels and restaurants. Book your yacht with a charter broker specialising in the French Riviera. They will help you plan the perfect Cote d’Azur yacht charter itinerary and use their local knowledge and contacts to secure the best berths and get you reservations at all the best beach clubs and restaurants.
Those looking for the ultimate Côte d’Azur holiday often choose to rent a villa in the Golf of St Tropez. This area encapsulates what the French Riviera is all about, from the superyachts and restaurants in the Port of St Tropez to the legendary beach clubs at Plage de Pampelonne, a luxurious villa makes the perfect base to experience all that the area has to offer. The best villas are located in St Tropez itself or in nearby Ramatuelle, Pampelonne, Gassin or La Croix Valmer. It goes without saying that these villas do not come cheap, but there are villas available at all price points. Consider renting in June or September to get the best deal. These months either side of the High Season are the perfect time to holiday on the French Riviera with great weather but without the huge crowds found in the major holiday months of July and August.
The French Riviera is an ideal getaway for any golf enthusiast with courses blessed with spectacular fairways with backdrops of the Mediterranean, mountainous countryside and forested hinterland.
Many of the region’s golf courses have been designed by top golf course architects including Robert Trent Jones Snr and Robert von Hagge, and have superb clubhouse facilities and on site resorts. Most French Riviera golf courses have prime locations and close proximity to beautiful perched villages, vineyards, yachting ports and top Provençal restaurants so it’s easy to combine other pursuits with a round of golf or two.
The French Riviera on France’s Mediterranean coast is the definitive luxury yacht charter destination and to this day remains the most popular place in the world to charter a luxury yacht. The fabulous climate, stunning landscapes and legendary resorts offer endless variety and continue to impress even the most seasoned of charterer. It is often said that the original is the best, and when it comes to the finest luxury yacht charters, the French Riviera shows no signs of losing its’ crown and is THE place everyone wants to be on a luxury yacht charter each summer! The French Riviera really is the perfect place to enjoy some time on a fabulous yacht!
The yacht charter season on the French Riviera runs from May through to the end of September, beginning with the world renowned Cannes Film Festival in mid May and running through to the Monaco Yacht Show in late September. The climate is fabulous with long sunny days and temperatures between the mid twenties and low thirties for most of the summer months. Occasional thunderstorms never last long, the same is true of the Mistral winds (usually!). The Mediterranean warms up as the season goes on, at its’ warmest in the latter part of the summer, but it is ideally suited to swimming and water sports throughout the yachting season. July and August are the very busy months when everyone wants to be on the French Riviera, ports such as Cannes, Monaco and St Tropez are packed and berths are very hard come by, meaning that many yachts spend much of their time at anchor either outside the ports or off beaches. The same is true ashore where restaurants are full and the roads are crowded. If you do wish to charter a yacht on the French Riviera during July and August, it is definitely worth thinking ahead. Not only will you have the best choice of yachts but your yacht charter broker will also be able to secure you berths in all the ports you want to visit and get you reservations at the best restaurants and beach clubs from St Tropez to Monaco. If your calendar allows it, then by far the best time to visit the French Riviera on a yacht is in the off season of June and September. The ports are much quieter making it a great deal easier to get a prime berth position in the Port of St Tropez or Cannes, the restaurants are less busy, but there is still a great buzz about the place, and of course that fantastic weather for which the French Riviera is renowned. And as an added bonus, most luxury yachts offer considerably lower charter rates in June and September than they do in the high season of July/August.
Here are some key yacht charter destinations on the French Riviera:
Port Vauban in Antibes is the Mediterranean Superyacht Capital and home to some of the world’s largest yachts. As so many yachts are based in Antibes, it is highly likely that your charter may begin here. The Old Town of Antibes is a maze of beautiful medieval streets with great restaurants and cafes. Antibes also has an excellent Provencal Food Market. A visit to the Picasso Museum in the Château Grimaldi is highly recommended!
Les Vieux Murs – 25 Promenade Amiral de Grasse, 06600 Antibes, France
Excellent French cuisine in a beautiful location on the ramparts of the Old Town of Antibes.
The name says it all! Beaulieu-sur-Mer is a very beautiful little town to the east of the Cap Ferrat peninsula. Beaulieu-sur-Mer has a fantastic marina that can accommodate yachts up to 30m in length.
The African Queen – Port de Plaisance, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France
By no means the finest food available on the French Riviera, but a great atmosphere on offer here. The African Queen has been an institution in the South of France for years and attracts many famous faces. Well worth a visit if you decide to visit Beaulieu on your yacht.
Cannes is perhaps the most famous of all destinations on the French Riviera, well known for its’ annual Film Festival and the palatial hotels that line the Boulevard de la Croisette that runs along the seafront. Berth your yacht in the Port of Cannes and explore Le Suquet, the historical part of Cannes that occupies the hillside next to the port.
Mantel – 22 Rue St Antoine, 06400 Cannes, France
Fabulous modern French cuisine in this beautiful restaurant in Le Suquet. Highly recommended!
Cap d’Ail is a French town that borders the Principality of Monaco to the east. There are really two parts to Cap d’Ail, the modern Port of Cap d’Ail right on the border with Monaco and the beautiful residential peninsula to the west that is home to some of the most impressive villas on the French Riviera. Cap d’Ail is also home to Plage Mala, one of the most beautiful beaches on the French Riviera. Plage Mala is a stunning anchorage and very popular with yachts of all sizes. There are two beach clubs at Plage Mala, both of which will collect you from your yacht by dinghy and take you ashore for a long, lazy lunch.
Eden Plage – Plage Mala, 06320 Cap d’Ail, France
Beach restaurant in the most stunning location at Plage Mala. Food is not amazing but the atmosphere is great and views are to die for!
Cap d’Antibes is a very glamorous yet understated peninsula nestled between the towns of Antibes and Juan Les Pins. Largely hidden amongst the thick pine trees are some of the most spectacular properties on the French Riviera. There are some great beach clubs at La Garoupe that offer beautiful swimming as well as great food right on the sand. Cap d’Antibes is home to the world famous Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, an amazing hotel right on the waterfront that is consistently voted as one of the finest hotels in the world. The hotel has a dock so you can come ashore from your charter yacht for lunch or just a drink by the pool with the most spectacular views over the Bay of Juan Les Pins towards Cannes.
Les Pecheurs – 10 Boulevard Marechal Juin, 06160 Antibes, France
Berth your yacht in Port Gallice and head to this beautiful restaurant for stunning 1 Star Michelin cuisine in a truly fabulous setting right on the water.
Of all the prestigious peninsulas on the French Riviera, Cap Ferrat is the most glamorous and it is here that you’ll find some of the most expensive real estate in the world. The town of St Jean Cap Ferrat has a pretty port where you can moor your yacht as long as it’s not too big. If not you’ll be at anchor, like hundreds of other superyachts that anchor off Cap Ferrat every summer. Great walks and swimming are on offer all around the Cap! A visit to the beautiful Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and its’ gardens is highly recommended.
Paloma Beach – Av. Jean Mermoz, 06230 St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
Fabulous beach restaurant with excellent fresh fish and plenty of chilled rose wine! A very popular destination with yacht charterers.
Eze is located between Cap d’Ail and Beaulieu sur Mer. In consists of two distinct parts, the seaside Eze Bord de Mer where one finds the beautiful and very popular Anjuna Beach, and Eze Village, a fantastic perched medieval village with stunning views of the Mediterranean below.
Cap Estel – 1312 Avenue Raymond-Poincare, 06360 Eze, France
Fantastic restaurant at the Cap Estel hotel, one of the most glorious locations on the entire French Riviera! The stunning gardens are surrounded by the Mediterranean on three sides. Chef Patrick Raingeard has created a wonderful menu of beautifully inventive dishes. The food is truly worthy of the location.
Juan Les Pins is the resort of Antibes, separated by the Cap d’Antibes peninsula. Thanks to its’ beautiful sandy beach, it became popular as a holiday resort in the 1930s and is also home to the famous Jazz à Juan Jazz Festival. Charter yachts can berth in Port Gallice or anchor in the beautiful Bay of Juan Les Pins.
Le Festival de la Mer – 146, Boulevard du President Wilson, 06160 Juan Les Pins, France
Great fish restaurant right in the heart of Juan Les Pins. A real people watching spot! A drink at the Crystal bar next door is also a must when in Juan Les Pins.
Sadly Now Closed
The beautiful city of Menton is located east of Monaco, just before the Italian border. Often overlooked by those on yacht charters which is a pity as Menton is very much worth a visit! Some of the architecture in both modern Menton and the historic Vieux Menton is simply stunning! Mention has two ports where you can berth your yacht, the Old Port right in the centre of Menton and Port Garavan to the east, close to the Italian border.
Mirazur – 30 Avenue Aristide Briand, 06500 Menton, France
Exquisite 2 Star Michelin cuisine by Chef Mauro Colagreco in beautiful location just moments from Italy.
No luxury yacht charter on the French Riviera would be complete without a visit to the glamorous Principality of Monaco! Berth your yacht in Port Hercule which is home to some of the world’s largest yachts. There is a great deal to do in Monaco, but at the very least, ensure that you see the Grand Prix Circuit and visit Casino Square where you’ll find the Hotel du Paris and of course the legendary Casino de Monte-Carlo!
Blue Bay – 40, avenue Princesse Grace, Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Monte-Carlo 98000, Monaco
Chef Marcel Ravin offers some of the best food to be found anywhere in Monaco at the Blue Bay at Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. Truly fabulous cuisine that equals anything on offer at the more illustrious establishments of Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon!
Nice is the Queen of the French Riviera and its’ capital city. Many people coming to the French Riviera arrive at Nice Airport and that’s all they see of Nice. This is a mistake as Nice is truly one of France’s great cities. Imagine Paris with great weather and palm trees, Nice is a wonderful city with strong Italian influences and some fabulous architecture. Great shopping is on offer, from simple food markets to high end designer boutiques. The Port of Nice is a great place to berth for a night during your yacht charter and to enjoy all that this great city has to offer.
Le Chantecler – 37 Promenade des Anglais, 06000 Nice, France
Le Chantecler is the restaurant at the palatial Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais. This is French fine dining at its’ very best in truly opulent surroundings.
Roquebrune Cap Martin, like nearby Eze is made up of two distinct parts, the hilltop Roquebrune Village and the beautiful Cap Martin Peninsula. Cap Martin lies just east of Monaco and is one of the finest places to anchor you yacht. Crystal clear water is great for swimming and the views of Monaco to the west and Menton to the east are just breathtaking!
Restaurant l’Hippocampe – 44 Avenue Winston Churchill, 06190 Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Fantastic waterfront restaurant offering incredible views over the Mediterranean towards Menton. The restaurant has been run by the same family since the 1950s, a rarity on the French Riviera. Food is unpretentious and of high quality.
St Tropez is legendary as a yachting destination and is the number one requested destination in the world for luxury yacht charters. From the quayside cafes and restaurants to the luxurious shops in town and the stunning beach at Pampelonne, St Tropez truly has it all as a destination for the ultimate luxury holiday in the sun.
Cristina Saulini – 13 rue des Feniers, Saint-Tropez, France
Truly exceptional authentic Italian cooking in a beautifully decorated little restaurant tucked away in a pretty old street in the Old Town of St Tropez. Highly recommended!
Villefranche lies just east of Nice at the western base of the Cap Ferrat peninsula. Villefranche is one of the deepest natural harbours in the Mediterranean which has meant it has been very important location on the French Riviera throughout history. Pretty colourful houses and restaurants run along the quayside. This is a wonderful place to anchor your yacht, with the vibrant Old Town of Villefranche on one side and the beautiful Cap Ferrat peninsula behind you.
La Mere Germaine – 7 Quai Amiral Courbet, 06230 Villefranche-sur-Mer, France
Great fish on offer at this institution on the waterfront in Villefranche. You can arrive by yacht!
Bespoke Yacht Charter are a London and French Riviera based company offering crewed luxury yacht charters on superyachts, motor yachts and sailing yachts from 25-100m. Our charter brokers know the French Riviera like the back of their hands and working with you and the Captain of your yacht, we will create the ultimate south of France yacht cruise carefully tailored to your individual needs!
The south of France, Corsica and Sardinia are considered as three of the most luxurious holiday destinations in all of the Mediterranean, if not the world! Why be forced to choose which one you want to go to this summer? On a luxury yacht charter, it is possible to visit the French Riviera, Corsica and Sardinia all in ten days!
On arrival, you will be welcomed onboard your yacht by the Captain and crew and offered a glass of champagne! Once you have settled in, the vessel will slip its moorings, depart the Port of St Tropez and follow the coast round to the internationally renowned ‘Club 55’ restaurant, situated on Pampelonne Beach in neighbouring Ramatuelle. You will be transported by tender from your yacht to the restaurant’s private pontoon. Reservations for this restaurant must be made weeks in advance, giving you an indication of its incredible and lasting popularity! After lunch, your yacht will set off towards the picturesque Island of Porquerolles situated a few hours south of St Tropez. Porquerolles is one of the four islands known as Iles d’Hyeres. Porquerolles is the largest at over four miles wide. Around the islands is a marine reserve – one of the very best places to swim in all the south of France. It is here that you will spend your first night at anchor. There are several options for eating ashore or you can enjoy a meal prepared onboard your yacht.
Day 2 – Porquerolles to Calvi
After a delicious continental breakfast, the yacht will set sail for Calvi, one of the most beautiful towns in Corsica. You will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the five-hour cruise to Corsica. Although the journey takes a few hours, when you are relaxing in the sunshine, with the wind in your hair, the time will pass quickly. You may even be fortunate enough to see some dolphins! You will know when you have arrived at Calvi, as the town sits on a ledge of rock which seems to rise up out of the sea. After the yacht has docked in the picturesque marina, you may like to visit the old town, steeped in history, with wonderful, quaint narrow cobbled streets. It has a great citadel which dates from the thirteenth century, although the site was fortified around 500BC. In the evening, why not experience some local Corsican live music or visit Chez Tao, the chic piano bar which also serves fantastic food?
Day 3 – Calvi to Girolata
After a relaxing morning, your yacht will cruise gently southwards to the bay of Girolata. This is a brilliant place to snorkel in the beautiful clear water or you may prefer to take out the tender and water ski – the choice is yours! After a full day spent enjoying water sports and breathtaking views, the yacht will moor for the evening in the village of Girolata, located at the head of the bay. This is definitely the place to be for those who love seafood, and in particular langoustines! You may want to try the restaurant Le Bel Ombra, renowned for its seafood gastronomic delights. Everything in Girolata has to be brought in by boat, as it is shut off from the rest of Corsica by the steep mountains and ravines; this gives Girolata a truly unique atmosphere.
Day 4 – Girolata to Ajaccio
Your yacht will head out of the bay southwards, hugging the fabulous coastline, before stopping to visit the Gulf of Porto for full water sports action. Others may want to visit the old fishing village of Porto itself. This area is one of the most spectacular and scenic places on the Corsican coast, offering a unique and dramatic beauty. Later in the day, the yacht will explore the area around Cap Rossi, before finally berthing for the night in Ajaccio. The town of Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. Its hustle and bustle is set in stark contrast to the tranquility of the surrounding areas. However, it still retains the picturesque Riviera town feel. In the evening, you will be able to visit Le 20123. This restaurant, offering superb food, has been built to resemble a small hill village. It even has a fountain and a Vespa scooter parked on the ‘street’!
Day 5 – Ajaccio to Propriano
After a restful night, you will make your way to the old town of Propriano – a beautiful town, surrounded by green hills which slope gently up to the mountains behind, encircled like a necklace by the white, sandy beaches which stretch around the gulf. En route to the town, you will stop over at Porto Pollo which sits on a golden stretch of beach under gentle, wooden cultivated hills. This once fishing village is now a popular tourist resort. Later in the afternoon, you will cruise to Propriano to visit one of the great restaurants which surround the bay.
Day 6 – Propriano to Bonifacio You will spend the early part of the day anchored off Campomoro, with its tall palm trees dotted about giving the feel of a North African town. In the afternoon, your yacht will head south to Bonifacio, passing some of the most dramatic coastline in Corsica on the way. Bonifacio is one of the Mediterranean’s most dramatic and memorable natural harbours. It is famous for its fish soup and views from the citadel, with its commanding position on top of the cliffs. In the evening, you may wish to try the elegant restaurant at the Hotel Residence du Centre Nautique, specialising in seafood and pasta.
Day 7 – Bonifacio to Porto Vecchio In the morning, you will take a slow, relaxing cruise past the most southerly tip of Corsica. This area offers beautiful scenery, as well as the view of the multitude of boats passing through the strait. The yacht will cruise past the beautiful islands of Lavezzi and Cavallo, before arriving at the old Roman galley port of Porto-Vecchio – which is literally carved out of the rock. Here, you will spend a tranquil afternoon. It is a great place to explore, and the countryside in this area is revered throughout Corsica. For dinner, why not try Tamaricciu, located right on the stunning beach and specialising in beautiful seafood.
Day 8 – Porto Vecchio to Porto Cervo Today, you will head south again – this time to the Italian island of Sardinia. On the way, you will stop to anchor off the gorgeous island of Maddelena for lunch, then on to Porto Cervo. This port was originally built by the Aga Khan as a playground for Europe’s glitterati. It is the main town on the Costa Smeralda – one of the most prestigious tourist resorts in the Mediterranean. Porto Cervo is a shopping paradise, with all the world’s big-name stores. Every evening, the people throng the pretty streets and restaurants – to see and be seen. Ristorante Il Pescatore with its superb views from the sea terrace is highly recommended!
Day 9 – Porto Cervo to Porto Rotondo Near to Porto Cervo is a fantastic anchorage in the bay of the famous Hotel Cala di Volpe. Here, the water is clear blue and the beaches whiter than white. This is a great place in which to snorkel or relax in the water. You may prefer to mix with the jet-set and perhaps take lunch in the hotel itself, before going into Porto Rotondo. Porto Rotondo is a very attractive marina with a great atmosphere. This is known as one of the best marinas anywhere in Europe, and there are numerous boating regattas going on throughout the summer.
Day 10 – Porto Rotondo to Bonifacio
Today, you will head north, to complete the last day of the charter in Corsica and Sardinia. Before reaching Corsica, you will stop for lunch off the Sardinian islands of Isola Razzoli and Isola Spargi. These islands are part of the Maddalena Archipelago National Park and Marine Reserve. There are few inhabitants, and the islands remain unchanged – as they were when they formed part of the Roman Empire. The sea bed is of beautiful white sand interspersed with rock – a wonderful place to snorkel. After lunch, you will again sail through the strait between Sardinia and Corsica, before reaching Bonifacio where you disembark your yacht.
Bespoke Yacht Charter are specialists in Mediterranean luxury yacht charters on crewed superyachts, motor yachts and sailing yachts in yachting destinations including the French Riviera, Corsica, the Italian Riviera and Sardinia.