You know the South of France summer is in full swing when celebrities and their bodyguards are popping in and out of boutiques, and charter guests speed back to their yachts, their tenders laden down with shopping bags full of designer gowns and swimwear from the world’s great fashion houses.
It’s far from unknown for superyacht guests to drop a cool €100,000 on a morning’s shopping trip in the glamorous boutiques of Saint Tropez, Cannes, or Monaco. But that’s not to say you need to have a spare hundred grand to enjoy the shopping experience during your South of France yacht charter.
Our Riviera shopping guide takes you from the haute couture fashion houses and elite ready-to-wear designers, through to local boutique gems and colourful local markets. And as no-one fancies giving money to the tax-man unnecessarily, we’ve also included some information on how to shop duty-free on the French Riviera.
Shopping in Monaco
If you begin your yacht charter in Monaco, there’s no better way to start than taking an afternoon stroll through the Principality to find a stunning designer outfit for your first evening on the yacht.
The Cercle d’Or & Summer Pavilions
The haute couture designers and luxury jewellers hang their shingles around the famous Cercle d’Or, where it’s just one prestigious fashion brand after another, including Prada, Gucci, Valentino, Cartier, Bvlgari, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, Dior, and Chanel.
During summer 2017, 40 ultra-luxe brands will be displaying in the ‘Promenade Monte Carlo Shopping’: an exclusive installation of summer pavilions near the Place du Casino. The ideal route for a Cercle d’Or shopping tour begins at the Pavilions before carrying along the famous Avenue de Monte Carlo and onto Allée Francois Blanc.
If you’re a bargain-hunter roaming this part of town, slip behind the casino and away from the Cercle d’Or to Avenue Saint Michel, where Stock Griffe boutique offers big name brands for up to 70% off.
In the town centre, Boulevard des Moulins, Boulevard d’Italie, and Avenue Princesse Grace showcase many high end boutiques, including local offerings such as Monegasque luxury brand, 209 Mare.
The Condamine area down by the marina has more than 200 boutiques of dazzling variety and budget – from fashion and homewares to gourmet stores. For those shoppers who love to explore, La Condamine holds many treasures, including Le Dressing: a vintage designer shop featuring second-hand beauties from designers like Chanel.
Monaco even does shopping malls with exceptional style. Galerie du Metropole is one of the most luxurious malls on the planet, with acres of marble, porters to help with your bags, and 80 luxury stores including Armani and Brunello Cucinelli.
If you’re after a more low key or practical shopping experience, head to Fontvieille shopping mall, where you’ll find electronics, fashion stores, and a large Carrefour supermarket.
Finally, despite its high-end shopping reputation, Monaco also does a wonderful daily market in La Condamine featuring Mediterranean produce and local crafts, and a funky little flea market at Fontvieille on Saturdays.
Things worth knowing
There’s a 20% VAT surcharge on goods you buy in Monaco: it may be known as a tax haven, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply to the shopping experience! However, if you’re a visitor from a country outside the EU, you will be eligible for a VAT refund on purchases over €175 made in a single store.
Shopping in Cannes
Cannes is one of the world’s ultimate shopping destinations, and you’ll feel the excitement in the air as you skip from Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent to Dior, passing celebrities carrying little dogs in their Hermès handbags.
Cannes Croisette is a byword for luxury shopping, with flagship haute couture boutiques lining the boulevard beneath the palm trees and ornate Belle Epoque hotels. As well as the big global names such as Dior and Chanel, there are also some very fine French boutiques worth knowing about, such as Paule Kar, Chacok, and Leonard Fashion.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a glamorous evening gown for your night out in Cannes but have a bit of an eye on your budget, try MyAnnika, a boutique specialising in evening dresses at affordable prices.
During the Cannes Film Festival, there’s even a red carpet laid out along the shopping strip, and the Croisette is largely pedestrianised on summer evenings as of 2017, making this prestigious shopping destination even more drop-dead gorgeous than ever. And if you’re in the mood to get a head-start on the summer crowds with a spring yacht charter, the Croisette hosts a shopping festival each April, with fashion shows and season previews. Be still, my beating heart.
If you must drag yourself away from the Croisette, Rue d’Antibes is the place to do it. This famous street just behind the Croisette is the other fashionable place to shop in Cannes, with a succession of luxury brands like Vilebrequin and famous high street brands like Zara, as well as sunglass stores and decadent chocolate shops for gifts to take home.
And as if it couldn’t get any better, the block between the Croisette and the Rue d’Antibes completes the famous Carré d’Or, where fine jewels are laid out in the window displays between chic bars and swimwear stores.
Rue des Etats-Unis
This recently-updated shopping street features high-end interior design shops to find that perfect French piece to ship home.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to shop like a Cannois local, then Rue Meynadier is for you, with its eclectic mix of affordable fashion and artisan food stores.
If you’re still hungry for more, the Galerie Gray d’Albion shopping mall is located just by the Croisette, featuring a range of high-end stores including La Perla. If you’re looking for more practical shopping, head to the neighbouring town of Cannes La Bocca.
To get the true Cannes experience on your yacht charter, a visit to the local markets is a must, and Marche Forville delights with its bustling atmosphere, and colourful stalls of fruit and flowers, cheese and fish.
Things worth knowing
Like Monaco, you can claim a VAT refund on purchases over €175 in a single store if you hail from a country outside the EU. If you’re planning a South of France shopping spree, apply for a Global Blue ‘shop tax free card’ so you can automatically be refunded at participating stores, or just ask in the store for a detaxe’ form to claim at the airport upon departure.
Shopping in Saint Tropez
Welcome to little boutique heaven, where the towering names of the fashion world sit on cobbled laneways next to unique Saint Tropez boutiques. The village of Saint Tropez isn’t big and all its boutiques are a leisurely stroll from each other, so just grab your credit card and explore to your heart’s content, with a focus on the luxury triangle between Place des Lices, Rue Gambetta, and Rue Allard.
Global Fashion houses
You’ll find the instantly-recognisable names of Hermès, Armani, Dior, and Louis Vuitton emblazoned above the doorways of Saint Tropez’ pastel facades, as well as Zadig et Voltaire, Lanvin, Swarovksi and Eres, just to name a few. However, it’s worth noting that the luxury shopping scene is just as much about the local as the international in enchanting St Tropez.
Arguably the most famous item in a Saint Tropez wardrobe is the iconic Tropezienne sandal, which was established by the Rondini family in 1927, with stiff competition from the K.Jacques family who set up shop 5 years later.
As you might expect, swimwear is also a hot item in sunny Saint Tropez, where the local Vilebrequin and Kiwi St Tropez boutiques began their meteoric rise on the superyacht fashion scene.
For jewellery, Gas Bijoux delights with its chunky, colourful designs, while Au Soleil de Saint Tropez is the last word in boho chic (as worn by the stars.)
There’s something for everyone in fashionable St Tropez. If you’re feeling nautical, Blanc Blue is a local boutique full of sailor-style stripes and scarves, while those up for a spot of polo at the St Tropez polo club will find all the right attire at La Martina. Bla Blas is an absolute treasure trove of quirky labels, while Be Shorts— well, you can guess what they sell.
Markets and Cellars
One St Tropez shopping experience which is not to be missed is a Saturday morning at the Place des Lices market, where Provencal produce, gifts, and clothing are spread out in stalls underneath the shade of century-old plane trees.
And finally, if you’re wanting to take home some excellent Provencal wine for a gift or to cellar, head to La Cave de Saint Tropez or Terre de Mer.
Things to know
The same tax free opportunities exist in St Tropez as in Cannes, with a Global Blue card definitely the way to go if you’re planning on splashing some cash.
A yacht charter is the perfect way to make the most of a luxury shopping adventure along the French Riviera. Where land-locked tourists have to battle with summer traffic in the South of France, you just float along between the great shopping destinations of the Riviera, falling ever deeper in love as you go.
Saint Tropez, originally a sleepy fishing village catapulted into the realm of the international jetset from the 1950’s and has remained the essential summertime playground for the famous and wealthy, where superyachts and sophistication bring savoir faire to the shores of the Mediterranean.
A must-visit stop for yacht charters on the glittering Côte d’Azur, the town has an unrivalled energy during busy months and a genteel charm of true Provençal ambience in the off-season.
Immerse yourself in our ‘Luxury Guide to Yacht Charter in St Tropez’ with practical advice on top places to dine, where to find the best shopping and useful tips about how to book a French Riviera luxury yacht charter.
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
Geographically located between Nice and Monaco, Cap Ferrat is dotted with splendid villas hidden behind stately gates and sub-tropical gardens; a haven in the past and today to the world’s rich and famous including singers, actors, politicians and royalty such as Somerset Maugham, King Léopold II of Belgium, American film director Otto Preminger, Charlie Chaplin, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Cocteau, David Niven and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
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.
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.
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 prestigious Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the Cap d’Antibes, between Cannes and Nice, is one of the finest 5-star hotels in France and epitomises the style and elegance of the French Riviera, featuring regularly on Tatler and Conde Nast Traveler lists as one of the best hotels in the world.
Part of the Oetker Collection of elite luxury hotels, it is set amidst 22 acres of gardens with palms, Aleppo pines, citrus, cypress and olive trees, wisteria, roses and magnolia. The hotel grounds embrace the coastline and offer marvellous views of the Mediterranean and the Íles de Lérins.
The hilltop village of Mougins was once more popular than Cannes and served as a Roman staging post for the Via Aurelia; evidence is recorded in old Roman tombstones displayed in the town’s Musée Municipal. Today, the Roman influence has slipped into the pages of history books but step inside the Porte Sarrazine – the last intact gateway in the medieval village fortifications – and you’ll discover a picturesque village that still retains lots of appeal.
An attractive town that name drops Yves Saint Laurent, Catherine Deneuve and Picasso as past residents, Mougins is pleasantly Provençal with streets that curl around in a spiral layout showcasing cosy art galleries, street sculptures, restored houses carpeted in jasmine and enough renowned restaurants to pack a gastronomic punch for diners that come from near and far.
Saint-Paul-de-Vence, located 15 minutes’ drive inland from the coast, was once a refuge from Saracen raiders and even today, the well-preserved town ramparts built by François I in the 16th century give a nice medieval ambience and offer lovely views to the sea and across a landscape of olive and cypress trees and red-roofed villas.
The surrounding countryside and Mediterranean climate allowed the village to flourish thanks to orange trees, olives, vines and figs and now tourism brings throngs of visitors to this picturesque hillside town. In spite of the high season crowds, it is one of the most famous – yet loveliest – village perché in the French Riviera region.
Beaulieu-sur-Mer is situated between Nice and Monaco, a seaside resort that is blessed with a picturesque setting and history books that are dotted with tales of royalty, movie stars and politicians visiting to enjoy the mild climate.
It is here that you will find Villa Kérylos, one of the French Riviera’s cultural gems that was previously managed by Culturespaces but from January 2016 is now under the management umbrella of the CMN (Centre des Monuments Nationaux). The villa was historically listed in 1966 and becomes the 99th national monument in France to be overseen by the CMN.
It would be hard to imagine a more spectacular setting for a country club that that of the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Set high on the sheer Monaco coastline near the Hotel de Paris, the Monte-Carlo Country Club overlooks the glittering Mediterranean Sea, offering sensational views to players and spectators. All around the club, palatial villas and majestic apartment buildings cling to the cliffs among the fragrant pines, and cooling sea breezes blow over the club’s courts and stands.
The Monte-Carlo Country Club is rich in history and fame. It has been the home of a grand tennis tournament since the late 1800’s, and the country club has hosted some of the towering names of tennis: Becker, Ferrero and Nadal, to name just a few. Since 2000, this glittering Tournament of Monte-Carlo has become part of the ATP Masters Series and is now called the Rolex Masters Monte-Carlo: a truly magnificent event on the French Riviera social calendar.
The prestigious Monte-Carlo Country Club offers 21 clay courts and 2 hard courts, arranged in a ‘staircase’ leading down towards the sea. Of these, two of the courts are covered, and 9 are flood-lit.
The Monte-Carlo Country Club is also home to two squash courts, as well as an array of other activities. Yoga classes are offered on a columned terrace overlooking the sea, and massage treatments in the sumptuous wellness centre and spa. Golf enthusiasts can work on their game, and snooker and bridge are also available at the club. Monte-Carlo Country Club has a state-of-the-art gym and (one of the great attractions of this club) a stunning mirrored pool, where you can also take aqua-gym classes and swimming lessons.
For those wishing to improve their tennis game, or even compete, there are tennis lessons, competitions and tournaments on offer at the club. Afterwards, you might wish to dine at one of Monte-Carlo Country Club’s two clubhouse restaurants, or take a cocktail at the club’s bar. The Monte-Carlo Country Club also has a Pro shop onsite.
Membership and Prices
Membership at the Monte-Carlo Country Club is by application with sponsorship, although visitors are also welcome at the club. Some areas, such as the pool, are restricted to those visiting under a member’s invitation. Tennis clothes and shoes suited to clay courts, all preferably white, are required on the courts.
A one-time membership admission for those wishing to play tennis begin at €200 for children under 18, rising to €400 for young adults from 18 to 21 years, and €7,000 for adults.
If you seek membership but only want to participate in the other ‘leisure sports’ rather than tennis, then the membership admission fee is €4,800. If a second person is joining, the fee will be reduced to €3,000.
In addition, annual fees range from €500 per year for those under 18, to €1,355 for adults. There are discounted prices available for students and veterans, as well as a second person.
There are day tennis tickets available ranging from €34-€46, and carnets of tennis tickets for seniors, juniors and invitees. There are also day tickets for leisure sports from €24-€30.
For a full range of the Monte-Carlo Country Club’s fee schedule including pool entry, swimming lessons and massages, please click here.
Honeymoons have come a long way over the years, and today anything goes from an around-the-world adventure trip to a luxury resort holiday in the tropics to a staycation taking advantage of local honeymoon options.
One of the increasingly popular honeymoon choices is chartering your own luxury yacht, giving newlyweds the ultimate experience in romance and privacy.
Bespoke Yacht Charter understands honeymoons are one of the most special and memorable holidays of your life and with our expert knowledge of our charter fleet and advice about breathtaking destinations we would be privileged to assist you find the ideal charter yacht for your dream honeymoon.
6 benefits of booking a honeymoon on a luxury yacht
Everything is arranged in advance saving you time and stress and allowing you maximum opportunities to relax, sightsee, swim and enjoy your honeymoon.
Full service professional crew will ensure you have everything you need and also incredible privacy on your yacht.
Flexibility with where you go unlike land-based honeymoons. Imagine waking up for a refreshing swim before breakfast, then cruising to a beautiful secluded beach for a romantic lunch before ending your day at sunset with champagne and strawberries in the yacht’s jacuzzi!
Exceptional gourmet cuisine and fine wines and liqueurs to your exact preferences.
High standard of on board amenities for recreation and relaxation such as saunas, spas, entertainment systems, fitness equipment, water toys (differs per yacht) meaning you can choose to do as much or as little as you please.
Anything is possible! Enjoy an on board massage at sunrise, or canapés at midnight by hurricane lamp on the aft deck.
Where to charter a yacht for your honeymoon
Bespoke Yacht Charter are full of great insider tips about gorgeous places to go and romantic things to do. Whether your personal interests lend towards beaches, history, art, culture, shopping or food experiences we can recommend ideal honeymoon destinations in the Mediterranean and beyond.
Here are some of Bespoke Yacht Charter’s top charter destinations for honeymoons:
Croatia – History and hidden islands
Croatia is a popular destination that’s ideal for your first important voyage together! Filled with beautiful, historical cities to explore such as Split and Dubrovnik and a lengthy coastline dotted with over 1400 islands, the best known being Hvar and Korcula, you’ll have no problem finding a secluded haven where you can lose yourself to create your own oasis of privacy and romance.
The French Riviera attracted famous painters for good reason, there is a wonderful evening light that shimmers off the sea that creates conditions perfect for romantic sunset cruising. From trendy St Tropez in the west to the lemon-scented sea breezes of Menton in the east, you can join the glitz of the rich and famous for a glass or two of Dom Perignon or find a quiet bay for some solitude as the sun sets.
Italy – Culture and cuisine
A country that oozes romance, Italy has ports set in gorgeous locations, amazing World Heritage-listed sites and delicious food and wine that will ensure adoption to a strict fitness regime afterwards. Enjoy the bliss of a honeymoon destination perfect for ‘la dolce vita’ and drop anchor at the famous Cinque Terre coastline, paintbox-hued Portofino, the cliffside towns of the Amalfi Coast and the stunning islands of Capri, Sardinia and Sicily.
Spain and her Islands – Sunshine and siestas
Take advantage of high sunshine hours year round and head to Spain and the Balearic or Canary Islands. Whether you prefer the interesting history of Andalucia, beautiful beaches in the Balearics or fresh tapas and a sip of sangria amidst the volcanic landscape of the Canaries, you’re certain of a fantastic honeymoon yacht charter destination that will leave plenty of time for a well-deserved siesta.
This article was written by Rebecca Whitlocke, who with over 10 years travel industry experience loves to share ‘must-do’ destination tips and hidden spots to discover in France and beyond.
To discuss luxury yacht charter options for your honeymoon, please contact:
Ever wondered what it’s like to charter a luxury yacht on the French Riviera. In just seven days, take in such fabulous destinations as St Tropez, Cannes, Antibes, Nice, Cap Ferrat and Monaco, as well as visits inland to Eze Village and St Paul de Vence.
Have you ever wondered where all the stars stay during the Cannes Film Festival? The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is actually not in Cannes at all, but located on the lush and highly prestigious peninsula of Cap d’Antibes a few kilometres east of Cannes. This legendary hotel is famous the world over and widely considered as one of the finest and most exclusive hotels on the planet! The hotel was originally built in 1869 as the Villa Soleil by the founder of France’s Le Figaro newspaper. In 1887, it was purchased by an Italian hotelier and opened in 1889 as the Hotel du Cap. In 1914, the Eden-Roc building was added on the seafront forming what we now know as Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Despite forming part of the same hotel, the two buildings have their own distinct atmospheres. The main hotel is a Napoleon III château with a very refined feeling. The Eden-Roc pavilion is more casual and focused around the iconic swimming pool, built into the cliffs. This swimming pool with its’ spectacular views over the bay of Juan Les Pins, Cannes and the Esterel mountains has to be one of the most fabulous places anywhere on earth to take a dip! The hotel has its own private jetty for guests arriving by luxury yacht.
Here’s a great film that gives an insight into this amazing hotel – in French:
For years, the hotel was renowned for not accepting credit cards. Right up until 2006, guests had to wire funds in advance of their stay or arrive with an extra Louis Vuitton suitcase full of cash! The Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is part of the Oetker Collection, a small and super exclusive group consisting of some of the world’s finest hotels, including:
Inheriting a vast fortune upon the death of her father, and being separated from her husband, Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild decided in 1906 to purchase a plot of land. Nothing more at the time than an arid rock, she fell in love with the view as many people visiting Cap Ferrat today also do. In 1907 after much debate and discussion from an apparently temperamental and demanding owner, work began on the villa that is today one of the most important properties along the Riviera – Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
Béatrice passed away in 1933 but her distinctive gardens were as yet incomplete. She insisted only the gardens visible from the house were completed first. Using staff to stand in place of plants and waterfalls, moving around to emulate the flow of water, she designed the French garden, closest to the house, herself. The Baroness bequeathed the entire Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and all of its contents to the Institut de France and in 1934 Louis Marchand was commissioned to complete the remaining gardens. During the second world war Cap Ferrat was entirely vacated and so the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild and gardens left unkept. However all survived and in 1945 Louis Marchand who thankfully survived the war returned to restore and complete these magnificent gardens. For such a vast space reaching completion under the same watchful eye of the man who designed them was quite a feat and adds to the beauty of these gardens and they are kept more or less the same today.
Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild inherited a love of art from her family and collected the best of the best from each era, including furniture, paintings and fabrics. Not always matching and being equally aesthetically appealing to the eye when combined, this monumentally valuable and unique collection has been under the ownership of the Institut de France since the death of the Baroness. Under the careful management of Culturespace, this amazing art is curated and cared for, for the benefit of everyone and is one of the most important collections still intact.
The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is open year-round.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, 1 Avenue Ephrussi de Rothschild, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
With the temperatures rising, restaurant terraces and beach clubs are getting busier by the day and the pink elixir of the Côte d’Azur is being consumed in ever increasing quantities! Rosé wine just doesn’t taste right anywhere but in Provence and on the Côte d’Azur, and if you’re anywhere on the Riviera then consumption is a must! Provence is renowned for producing the best rosé in the world, the warm climate and sandy soils are perfect for the vines. Rosé is growing in popularity in part perhaps due to the purchase of several well known vineyards by celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. However rosé has kept its classless, elegant appeal and is the drink of choice for the summer season for everyone from clientele of the local bar tabac to guests of prestigious beach clubs, villa garden parties and superyachts. From St Tropez beach clubs to yachts anchored at Plage Mala, all you will see are bottles and bottles of Rosé, from Magnums of Chateau Rasque at Paloma Beach to Domain Ott on the huge yachts anchored off Cap Ferrat.
It’s a fact that the paler the colour, the better the taste, but apart from the world famous Garrus from Chateau d’Esclans, which is perhaps the best rosé ever produced with a price tag to match at €99 per bottle, the most expensive isn’t necessarily always the best!
Here’s a look at 5 of my favourites:
Château Rasque – Famously served in magnums rather than regular sized bottles in many a beach club, this rosé is one of my favourites and perhaps has one of the highest consumption rates throughout the summer season. Robust enough to be served with anything and equally great as an aperitif. Served as the house rosé in some of the most elegant establishments on the Côte d’Azur this has to one of the highest contenders for the most elegant and consistently brilliant rosés.
Château Sainte-Marguerite – The cru-classé from the Fayard family run vineyard is wonderfully delicate and pale, with subtle flavours, it makes a fabulous companion to a fresh Mediterranean summer lunch, or to just enjoy on its own. A true classic!
Domain Ott – Château Romassan – Affectionally named “Over The Top”, this is perhaps the most famous rosé in the world and certainly a favourite with celebrities, often to be discovered in large quantities at many flamboyant parties, especially during the Monaco F1 Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival. This is indeed an excellent rosé, slightly more robust than the very pale rosés and therefore a superb all rounder. This wine is as perfect served with red meats as it is grilled prawns and fresh fish. Not the best value rosé on offer, but certainly one of the most popular.
M de Château Minuty – Not the most prestigious rose from this legendary Château but one of my all time favourites and a first choice for me every time if available. This wine is light, fresh and easy to enjoy with food or on its own. As the Château states “The M range is a real moment of pleasure and happiness to share with good friends and extend that holiday feeling.” This for me explains the wine perfectly and makes it my all time favourite!
Miraval – The only rosé wine in Wine Spectator’s Top Wines of 2013, this is considered by many to be the best of the best. First released as a 2012 vintage by new owners Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in partnership with the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel, the wine sold out in a matter of hours and has now become “THE” rosé. It is delicious and certainly in my humble opinion a serious contender as the best of the best. Previously released as “Pink Floyd” for many years by the former owners as the legendary rock band recorded their seminal album “The Wall” at the Château back in 1979.
The town of St Tropez on the Côte d’Azur is one of the original summer holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, and today it is even more famous than it ever has been. So what turned the little Provençal fishing port of Saint-Tropez into the legend that it is today? What was once a sleepy and rather quaint town had already begun to attract famous faces like Coco Channel as early as the 1920s, but it was the Brigitte Bardot film “Et Dieu Créa la Femme” (And God Created Woman) that marked the birth of St Tropez as a summer holiday destination for the international jet-set. The year was 1955 as reflected in the name of the beach restaurant “Club 55” at nearby Pampelonne beach in Ramatuelle, which began life as a humble seafront canteen for the film’s cast and crew!
Love it or hate it, there is no denying that this little town is well and truly on the map! Up there with the big boys, London… Paris… New York… St Tropez! Perhaps the most famous town on the French Riviera, St Tropez is invaded in July and August, with over 100,000 visitors a day pouring into the town from all directions. Traffic is a total nightmare in the high season, it can take two hours just to get from the St Tropez autoroute exit into the town itself. As much of a cliché as it may be, it really is better to come to St Tropez by yacht or by helicopter from Nice or Cannes! The French jokingly refer to St Tropez as “St Trop”… “trop” meaning too much, or excessive. And it is true that when you come to St Tropez, all the displays of excess that you have read about in newspapers and magazines, really are there for all to see. But St Tropez is fun, really good fun! No yacht charter on the Côte d’Azur is complete without at least a day spent here and you really don’t need to be a billionaire to enjoy it, though it certainly helps!
Here’s how to do St Tropez in style!
Arrive by yacht mid morning, the view of the old town crowned by the Citadel of St Tropez is utterly beautiful! Moor your yacht sternto on perhaps the most famous quay in the world, outside the legendary Sénéquier if you can get the berth, as it’s the one everybody wants! (Saint Tropez luxury yacht charter)
Have coffee in one of the cafes on the Old Port followed by some shopping. St Tropez has it all when it comes to shopping, from a genuinely good food market, through to rather tacky gift shops, to the high end designer boutiques of Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Prada and Gucci. Christian Dior and Chanel are particularly special, both boutiques being housed in fabulous turn of the century villas right in the centre of town.
After some shopping, head to the gorgeous Place des Lices, a fabulous square near the centre of St Tropez, where the locals play pétanque under the shade of the plane trees. There are some great cafes here and it is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a glass of champagne before heading back to the yacht in the old port.
Around 1pm, St Tropez sees something of a exodus as yachts of all shapes and sizes throughout the port start up their engines. They’re all heading for the same place… the beach clubs at Pampelonne in nearby Ramatuelle. Nearly thirty beach clubs occupy a pristine 4.5km stretch of golden sand that is perhaps the most famous beach in the world, certainly one of the most photographed! Unlike beaches elsewhere on the French Riviera, Pampelonne beach is not overlooked by ugly apartment buildings but instead by gentle rolling hills dotted with vineyards and spectacular luxury villas. It is to these beach clubs, that the famous.. and the not so famous flock to in summer months. With names like Tahiti, Nikki Beach, Les Palmiers and Bagatelle, each one of these beach clubs has its own unique vibe with great food, water sports and live music. You need to arrive by yacht… that’s just the way it’s done! Plenty of swimming, sunbathing and a long lazy lunch from 3pm to 6pm is the way to do it!
Back to St Tropez for sundowners on the port! Sénéquier is the place to be. This cafe and its quirky triangular red tables feature in almost every photo taken of St Tropez. In many ways, Sénéquier is St Tropez! People watching is the order of the day as the afternoon morphs into the evening and St Tropez really comes alive. The Bar du Port is also great fun, with excellent music!
The best place to eat in St Tropez is on the deck of your own yacht in the port. You choose the time, the food and always have the best table in the house! There is a certainly satisfaction that comes from sitting on the deck of a yacht, glass in hand, surveying the amazing food before you as scores of tourists glare at your every move, their eyes looking like they are about to detach from their heads at any moment. Should you not wish to dine aboard, there are some superb restaurants in St Tropez. Highlights include chic fine dining at La Vague d’Or at La Residence de la Pinede and great food with a brilliant atmosphere at Le Quai, a fabulous hybrid restaurant/club on the port that puts on a fabulous dance cabaret show that you really need to see!
After dinner, head to the VIP Room in the new port or to Les Caves du Roy at the Byblos Hotel. Both of these clubs have great music, great crowds and epitomise the hedonistic vibe of St Tropez. The perfect way to end your day in St Tropez!
St Tropez is one of the most popular destinations on a French Riviera Yacht Charter!
Situated just 7km east of Cannes, the Château de La Napoule is a fabulously unusual Château that has been classified as a historic monument of France since 1993. Views from its stunning gardens over the bay of Cannes have to be seen to be believed. It is no wonder that the Château is a very popular venue for weddings and fabulous parties. The Château has a very interesting history, originally erected in the 14th century by the Countess of Villeneuve, it has been rebuilt several times and has believe it or not also been a glass factory. The Château we see today was largely the work of Henry and Marie Clews, an American couple who purchased it in 1918. Mr Clews was amongst other things a sculptor, and his pieces adorn much of the facade. His wife Marie who was passionate about gardens worked hard to turn the abandoned garden she inherited into one of the most impressive gardens anywhere on the French Riviera. The gardens today are a mix of French garden styles and the English formal garden with beautiful fountains. There are also three smaller Italian gardens. Henry’s studio was located in the main building and today it houses a museum of his works as well as playing host to various art workshops and exhibitions throughout the year. The couple were buried in their very own mausoleum in one of the towers. This fascinating building is a very worthwhile visit for anyone that is in the Cannes area. It is now owned and operated by the La Napoule Art Foundation set up by Mrs Clews in 1951 and information can be found here www.chateau-lanapoule.com/en/