French Riviera Luxury is a blog about luxury travel on the French Riviera from St Tropez, Cannes, Cap d’Antibes, Cap Ferrat and Monaco. Featuring articles from the world of luxury yacht charter, property, hotels, restaurants… plus all the latest from major events on the Côte d’Azur including Monaco Grand Prix, Cannes Film Festival and MIPIM.
Many well-known car manufacturers have branched out and teamed up with boat builders in recent years to co-create some of the best machines to tackle the seas. Dream Yacht has compiled a list of their favourite collaborations between car and boat manufacturers, and the outcomes are breathtaking:
Mercedes Benz’s AMG range is jaw dropping at the best of times, but when the German car manufacturer teamed up with Cigarette Racing, the outcome was phenomenal. The two brands have set benchmarks in this sector, and to celebrate 10 years of collaboration, they released the 50’ Marauder AMG.
With both manufacturers renowned for creating machines that are focused on speed and performance, it comes as no surprise that the 50’ Marauder AMG is powered by two Mercury Racing engines, which together produce up to 3,100hp.
The boat was inspired by the breathtaking Mercedes-AMG GT R and incorporates design elements such as a sporty cabin layout, seats which were crafted by the AMG Performance Studio and not forgetting the distinctive AMG Green Hell Magno paint.
As a brand that has strong ties to the iconic James Bond movies, it only makes sense that Aston Martin would team up with a boat manufacturer to create a sought-after machine. Together, Aston Martin and Quintessence Yachts have created a speedboat fit for 007.
The 37-foot AM37 marked the prestige car manufacturer’s entry into the nautical world back in 2016 when it was debuted at the Monaco Yacht Show. The powerboat comprises design, technology, style and comfort in a unique way, making it nothing less than desirable.
Aston Martin’s bespoke personalisation service ‘Q by Aston Martin’ allowed for the interior to be completely customised. The cabin of the AM37 flaunts Baltic blue and cream truffle upholstery, which is perfectly complemented by sparks of chrome and the Mako blue hull finish. Ostentatiously displayed on iconic models such as the famous DB11 and DBS Volante, it makes sense for the powerboat to be finished in this stunning paintwork.
As part of an exclusive collaboration, Lexus and Marquis-Larson Boat Group created a 65-foot premium performance yacht. Branded as LY 650, the boat is an extension of Lexus luxury, with a maritime interpretation. It boasts advanced technology, three luxurious staterooms and several entertainment areas along with an array of amenities.
Despite its grand design and large dimensions, power is not compromised with the LY 650. The luxury yacht is expected to go into production in the second half of 2019.
The only existing superyacht with Porsche DNA, the GTT 115 is a unique and stunning creation, with only 7 ever being created. Utilising three variable-speed generators in conjunction with two 1,650hp V12 diesel engines and a pair of electric motors, power is not compromised despite the hybrid capabilities.
The triple deck superyacht is made up of subtle Porsche design elements, particularly the paintwork colours it is available in. Carrara White, Rhodium Silver, Chalk and Monte-Carlo blue exterior colours take pride of place on popular models such as 911 Turbo S and the 911 Carrera GTS. Meanwhile, the exterior is made up of classy design elements, including a seamless blend of exotic natural woods and Italian marble which is complemented by stylish furnishings and accessories.
Henrik Fisker, an automotive designer who has worked with the likes of prestige brands such as BMW and Aston Martin, branched out into the nautical world in 2016, following the announcement of a partnership with Benetti. Fisker and the Italian boat building company together created a 50-meter-long three-deck superyacht that was built on a concept of sustainability, incorporating reclaimed wood, solar panels and an optional hybrid engine into the design.
The boat has six cabins and can accommodate up to 12 guests who can spend their time utilising amenities such as the retractable ocean-view terrace, minibar, a staircase leading to a private home theater, library, curved television, walk-in closets,and a ceiling that recreates the night sky.
So, there you have it. Some of the most impressive boats built to grace the sea with unique and distinctive automotive design features from some of the most prestigious manufacturers.
The glittering coastal town of Cannes welcomes thousands of visitors every year for high profile French Riviera events. They include the Cannes Film Festival in May, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June, the Cannes International Yachting Festival in September and the International Luxury Travel Market in December.
In May, all eyes turn towards the French Riviera and its fascinating neighbour Monaco as they deliver a double dose of glamour. The month’s festivities – attended by the global glitterati – begin with the Cannes Film Festival, which will be held from 14 to 25 May in 2019. The dazzling event will coincide with the practice races of the Monaco Grand Prix, with the main race taking place on 26 May.
Cannes Film Festival: premieres and parties
The Cannes Film Festival is considered to be the world’s most prestigious film festival and has premiered most of the greatest films ever released. In the words of Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Mexican director who will preside the jury of the 72th Cannes Film Festival: “Cinema runs through the veins of the planet and this festival has been its heart.”
The world’s film industry heads to Cannes for the star-studded red carpet premieres, screenings, meetings, networking and parties that make up the event.
Many of the films selected to be premiered at the festival are in competition for the Palme d’Or (golden palm) and other awards. Films that don’t meet the competition criteria premiere out of the competition.
Although taking home a prize from what is one of the most famous French Riviera events is no guarantee of commercial or critical success, hugely important deals are sealed for funding and distribution. The festival’s nightlife is renowned: wealthy investors and producers host lavish parties in luxurious hotel suites and aboard yachts.
Although the Cannes Film Festival is an industry-only event, the public heads to the beach to enjoy the films screened there every evening. Some people queue for tickets for the Critics’ Week part of the festival to see films by emerging directors.
The Croisette, the road where the festival venue is located, attracts a public eager to see the stars stepping onto the red carpet as they arrive for the black-tie screenings.
Monaco Grand Prix: prestige and logistical acrobatics
The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix has a history that dates back to 1929 and is part of the FIA Formula One World Championship. It is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world and contributes to the image of Monaco as a glamorous destination.
The Monaco circuit challenges drivers with tight corners and elevation changes between the iconic yacht-filled Port Hercules and Monte Carlo and back. As the event approaches, the second-smallest country in the world is taken over by it and the tension begins to mount. In just six weeks – to keep disruptions to everyday life to a minimum – grandstands are erected, roads are resurfaced and kilometres of barriers are built. Some yachts are moved from the harbour to make space for floating VIP hospitality areas.
Some 200,000 spectators attend the Grand Prix in Monaco, a country that counts less than 39,000 residents. The event runs over four days, with practice runs preceding the main race and the atmosphere is electric. Balconies with views over the track are crowded with spectators, the rich and famous take to VIP terraces with gourmet catering and DJs, and invite-only yacht parties continue into the early hours of the morning.
A world of opportunity on the French Riviera
The frenzy of the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix is followed by the prestigious Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which will take place from 17 to 21 June in 2019. Monaco and the French Riviera are renowned yachting hotspots and, with a large fleet of luxury yachts available in the Mediterranean all year round, an increasingly popular choice of accommodation for attendees is a Cannes Lions yacht charter.
Attendees who are considering a luxury yacht charter for French Riviera events will find quality vessels from top yacht charter companies ranging from 24 to more than 60 metres available in Cannes and Monaco. A luxurious day charter provides the perfect setting for a critical business meeting or party, while week-long charters offer the ultimate superyacht experience.
On all luxury yacht charters for the top French Riviera events, experienced professional crew are on board to ensure a seamless experience – including a private chef trained to create only the most extraordinary culinary delights. Throughout the day the experienced chef may serve up delicious canapes and refreshments during important meetings and conferences, while at night, a feast of fine dining awaits, ready to be enjoyed under the stars with friends and colleagues.
For companies looking to make an impression, the option of a yacht charter offers unrivalled brand visibility. Many exclusive yacht charters are available in the port directly next to the Palais des Festivals, the iconic building that hosts both the Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
With luxury yacht charters in Cannes an increasingly popular accommodation option for attendees of French Riviera events, booking well ahead is essential. For those looking for a superior experience for both business and pleasure, nothing beats a taste of the French Riviera via superyacht.
The rivalry between sailors and motor yacht enthusiasts is legendary. At times fiercely competitive, (and at almost all times accompanied by humorous name-calling), the division between the sailing and motor yacht fraternities continues to divide the yachting world.
Generally, experienced yachties will display a strong preference for either sail or motor yachts, putting their lifetime loyalties in either one camp or the other. For purists, it’s either sailing yachts, OR motor yachts… and never the two shall meet. The preference tends to start early: sailing grandfathers teach their infant grandsons to shake their fist at passing ‘stinkpots’, and families on speedboats roll their eyes at slow-going ‘blow-boats’ clogging up the bay on regatta day.
And so the war continues through the generations, however good-natured it may be.
Choosing (or Changing) Your Side
Yet if you’re fairly new to the yachting experience, maybe you don’t know yet where your allegiance lies in the great civil war of seafarers. Or perhaps (just perhaps) you’re the open-minded type, looking for a different type of yachting experience this summer to suit your group – whether that’s with family, friends, or for a corporate charter.
In truth, sailing and motor yachts both have an extraordinary amount to offer a charter group, and sometimes you’d be mad not to switch and enjoy the experience of going over to ‘the dark side’. For there are some circumstances where motor yachts are better for certain types of charters and people, and the reverse is also unmistakeably true.
If you’re considering changing teams – even if just for one illicit charter – or are chartering for the first time, here are a few pointers on what separates the charter experience on the two types of yachts, and what might make you lean towards one or the other for your next vacation. Of course, there are a myriad of yacht designs within each of the two broad categories, so these are merely generalisations, with plenty of exceptions to each rule.
Sailing Yachts vs Motor Yachts: Which is Best for Your Next Charter?
Round One : The Battle of Luxury and On-Board Amenities
In days gone by, this one was much easier to call, with motor yachts easily eclipsing their smaller sailboat brethren with their multiple decks and huge volumes – allowing for plenty of glamorous amenities and accommodation space.
But sailboats have grown up in the intervening years, with huge, ultra-swanky sailing superyachts also taking to the seas. These extraordinarily comfortable cruising yachts have large volumes and wider beams, making room for stunning additions like Jacuzzis, gyms, on-deck cinemas, and even the odd beach club. Contemporary sailing yacht interiors are often just as spectacular as those found on motor yachts, with grand salons and ensuite staterooms, and are kitted out with all the mod-cons like internet and whizz-bang AV systems.
But, of course, while sailing yachts have evolved so too have motor yachts, with these grand floating palaces just getting bigger and more luxurious by the year. Spas, cinemas, helipads and swimming pools – even sports courts – are now found on the very large motor yachts, and when it comes to features like water toy storage, sailing yachts can rarely compete.
The Verdict: If you revel in space, glamour, and all the latest toys, then a motor yacht is probably your heart’s desire.
Round Two : A Yacht for all Seasons
Sailing yachts have a distinct advantage over their motor yacht cousins when it comes to encountering wild and windy weather. As long as it’s not blowing a gale, a sailing yacht crew and their charterers react to a strong breeze with glee, hoisting the sails and making their way out to sea to get the adrenaline pumping, enjoying the sheer thrill of the sport.
And when the wind drops and the sea is glassy still, a sailing yacht captain simply puts the engine on and motors to a beautiful anchorage for a day of traditional yachting pleasures like swimming and snorkelling in heavenly conditions.
Motor yachts, while eminently capable of coping with heavy weather, tend to turn tail and head for port when the weather turns grey, windy, or rainy. They are built to cross oceans, but from a guest perspective, they excel in the sunshine, and you probably wouldn’t take a motor yacht out in poor weather just for a fun cruise. A sailing yacht, in short, has more versatility in different weather conditions. Both wind and calm are happy times indeed.
Verdict: A sailing yacht is the yacht for all weathers, and soundly wins this round. This is something to think about if you’re planning to charter in a region that gets a lot of wind in the summer, such as the Aegean Greek Islands, or are chartering in the shoulder seasons when weather can be more inclement.
Round Three : The Need for Speed
Sure, a performance sailing yacht can go at a hefty clip in a strong wind, but there’s the small matter of not being in control of that wind. If the air is still (or blowing in the wrong direction), the engine on a sailing boat will still get you there…eventually. As such, you generally won’t be able to cover as much ‘ground’ in a sailing yacht charter itinerary as you would on a motor yacht.
Verdict: If you’re the type that’s always in a hurry and wants to get to the next destination quickly or cover a lot of destinations on your charter, then a motor yacht is for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy the journey as much as the destination and love being out on the water, then a sailing yacht will likely nicely suit your temperament.
Round Four : The Thrill Factor
Who wins this round will depend very much on what makes you tick.
I don’t know anyone on earth who wouldn’t get a little thrill out of entering Monaco or St Tropez on a huge motor yacht, watching the summertime crowds gather to see who’s on board. Part of the motor yacht appeal is the presence of the things: their size, their grandeur – the sheer, unapologetic showiness of it all.
But for those who enjoy the thrill of the sea and the sport of sailing– whether that’s racing in a regatta or just heeling over in a strong wind, racing down the Riviera with the backdrop of the Alps flitting by – well, a sailing yacht is the only thing that will get your blood racing.
The Verdict: Well, that depends on how you get your thrills now, doesn’t it.
Round Five : The Guest Experience
What kind of yacht you prefer will often come down – at least just a little bit – to how involved you want to be in the process of being on the water. While sailing yachts will absolutely never require you to pitch in and learn the ropes, there’s no question that for many avid sailing yacht charterers, getting involved is a huge part of the fun – and this is particularly the case if you’ve got children that you’d love to see learn a new sport on holiday. There’s nothing quite like standing at the helm of a sailing superyacht, wind in your hair, knowing you’re in control of this extraordinary vessel, or mastering a new skill as you learn about reading the weather and sea conditions.
The participation element of yacht charter is something that motor yacht guests rarely get to experience, as the navigation and operation of a motor yacht isn’t generally a collaborative effort where guests play a part. On a motor yacht charter, the guest experience tends to be more focussed on the luxury and relaxation side of things.
Additionally, because of the collaborative sporting nature of sailing yachts, the crew–guest relationship on these vessels tends to be somewhat more relaxed, with a sense of participating together towards a goal and a growing sense of camaraderie building over the course of the charter.
The Verdict: There’s nothing at all wrong with either style of holiday, but if you want to be part of the action, then a sailing yacht is a clear choice. If you’d prefer to lie back on a deckchair and drink cocktails and pay no notice to the operation of the vessel, then a motor yacht is often a better bet. (Although you can definitely do that on a sailing yacht too.)
Round Six : The Type of Charter
Here’s the most important consideration of all. What kind of yacht charter are you planning? You should definitely adapt your preferred style of yacht to each individual charter, rather than just chartering the same kind of vessel each time.
For example, if you’re planning a corporate team-building yacht charter, then a classic sailing yacht charter is a superb opportunity to get everyone bonding together while learning how to sail a century-old yacht. On the other hand, if you’re hosting a corporate yacht charter for the Cannes Film Festival or MIPIM, you’ll certainly appreciate the added deck space of a motor yacht so you can throw opulent parties and host VIP clients.
You might want an ultra-modern performance sailing superyacht to compete in the Superyacht Cup in Porto Cervo, but charter a large motor yacht with lots of interior space and water toys for that trip along the French Riviera with the extended family.
Verdict: Don’t get so wedded to one type of vessel that you completely miss the wonders of the others. You don’t actually have to choose a side. Just choose what’s best for you this upcoming trip, and embrace everything about this style of charter.
Variety is the spice of yachting, so ‘play both sides’ to your heart’s content. To figure out which type of yacht is best for your particular needs this summer, contact the Mediterranean yacht charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter. No matter what kind of charter you’re planning (or which side of the sailing/motor divide you naturally fall on) we have the perfect yacht to surpass your expectations – and possibly test your lifelong allegiances along the way.
The French Riviera may be best known for its sparkle of celebrity glamour and tranquil blue-green coves, but there’s a truly wild side to the South of France too (and we’re not just talking about the champagne-spraying debauchery of a summer’s night in Saint Tropez.)
If you’re looking for thrills of a different kind, the magnificent landscapes of the Cote d’Azur make this region a dazzling adventure playground for sport-lovers, with the rugged Alps plummeting steeply down to the sea and vast limestone canyons shearing through the hills of Provence. Rock climbers cling to overhangs suspended far above Monaco, and mountain-bikers plunge down vertiginous paths in the forested hills, where wild deer perch on red rocks that burn deep ochre against a Mediterranean sky. Kayakers and white-water rafters navigate the milky-blue rapids of Alpine mountain streams, F1 cars scream around Provencal racetracks, and paragliders soar from rocky precipices and float right down to the sea. As summer passes, snow cloaks the Alps with a heavy mantle, and skiers and snowboarders shred through powdery drifts at one of the many ski resorts within an easy drive of the sunny Cote d’Azur.
If it is active adventure you seek on holiday, you will find it in spades in the South of France.
Adventure in Luxury on a French Riviera Yacht Charter
The French Riviera is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise, and a South of France yacht charter offers the ultimate mix of adventure sports and decadent indulgence, as you drift effortlessly down the coast from Monaco to St Tropez and fill each day with a different activity.
On a Cote d’Azur yacht charter, you might start the day with an early morning swim off the aft deck in the Cannes Islands or take a quick spin on the yacht’s jet skis to get the heart racing, before fuelling up for the day’s activities with a lavish breakfast on deck. The yacht’s broker, captain and crew are on hand to tailor-make an adventure sports itinerary that will linger in your memory forever.
And when the sport is finished, there’s nothing better than returning to your yacht in the afternoon, cooling off with a swim, or soaking tired muscles in the Jacuzzi as the yacht powers across the water to the next destination. Each night, enjoy a dreamy soft bed and the sound of the water lapping gently at the hull – no packing and moving between hotels as you float along this marvellous stretch of coastline. There is no better way on this earth to adventure in luxury than on a superyacht charter.
Adventure Sports Activities in the South of France
Formula One Racing
Ever watched the Monaco Grand Prix and fancied yourself as a race car driver? Well the French Riviera is the place to tick that experience off your bucket list, with a range of motorsport experiences and track days available.
There’s a few ways you can experience the thrill of the supercar experience on the Cote d’Azur – and some are more hard core than others. There are multiple operators running both passenger and driver + instructor experiences driving supercars through the rock tunnels and street circuit of Monaco and along the open highway. You can also privately rent some pretty spectacular road cars in this neck of the woods, from the legendary Porsche 911 Turbo S to Ferrrari’s F12 Berlinetta, or experience the brutal power of the Lamborghini Aventador S. However, you will have to be content with driving within the speed limit – still a pretty intense and glamorous thrill in these extraordinary machines.
For the full-throttle experience, you’ll want a track day, and there’s no better place to do it than at the AGS Formule One Racetrack on the Circuit du Var, only 30kms from St Tropez. Running since 1992, these track days put motorheads behind the wheel of a real F1 car for a half or full day of instruction and G-Force bending speeds, as they learn with either manual or paddlebox gearboxes. If you just want the experience of travelling at Formula One speeds but don’t want to be behind the wheel, there’s also passenger experiences on offer.
You’ll be absolutely buzzing when you get back to the yacht – but chances are, you’ll want to get out to the clubs of St Tropez or Monaco to keep the adrenaline going (and maybe rub shoulders with a few real-life racing car drivers at the bar). For the ultimate motorsport vacation, ask your yacht broker to plan these experiences during a Monaco Grand Prix yacht charter.
Prefer to use your muscles than a machine to get your thrills? The French Riviera has some tremendous rock-climbing on offer, whether you want to dangle high above Monaco on the Grand Face Route at La Turbie, or head to the Gorge du Loup in the foothills for multi-pitch routes up to 300m high including the famous Divers Crag. Rock climbers also flock to Europe’s deepest gorge, the staggering Gorge du Verdon in the Provencal hills, the Caves of Peillon, and the Cliff of Geit at Mont St Martin.
For rock-climbing right on the coast in view of your yacht, there’s no better than scaling the Calanques cliffs near Cassis, where the yacht anchors in natural fjords riven into the high limestone coast, in dreamy turquoise water straight out of a travel magazine. Finishing the climb, you’ll reward yourself with a swim off the back of the yacht and a long lunch on deck, or head to La Chateau Sormiou restaurant right in the Calanques to enjoy a seafood meal by the water.
There’s also some superb wineries to visit in the area, which we’ve written about before: the perfect indulgent reward after a morning of exertion.
Kayaking, White Water Rafting & Canyoning
Because the Alps plunge so steeply towards the sea in the South of France, there are a multitude of Alpine streams and snow-melt rivers within easy reach of the coast. A day in a kayak or raft in the French high country is a thing lifetime memories are made of, as you paddle maniacally through rapids, squeeze between narrow canyon walls, and manoeuvre past giant boulders, only to pass into areas of calm water surrounded by wildflower meadows and grazing cows with tinkling cowbells. A lunch in a mountain restaurant with a terrace view is the perfect complement to the experience, before heading back down to the yacht and its waiting Jacuzzi to soothe those screaming muscles. You won’t know if you’re living the life of Bear Grylls or Heidi Klum on a day like this.
There are several locations to get your white water thrills in the South of France, with a couple of standouts. The Roya River at Breil sur Roya lies in the Pre-Alps about one hour from Monaco, and offers a huge amount of adventure, from white water rafting to hydrospeed to canyoning, canoe and kayak-rafting, and aquatic hikes.
The other rafting playground is the mighty Gorge du Verdon, where every adventure sport you can imagine takes place in the ribbon of electric blue water that tumbles through the gorge. It’s a two- hour drive from Cannes or St Tropez, but believe us, it’s a day you’ll never forget.
Bungee Jumping and Sky Diving
If you love falling from a great height while on holiday, there’s a few places to get your kicks in the South of France. For bungee-jumping, it’s hard to go past the Gorge du Verdon, where you’ll launch yourself off Europe’s highest bridge, Pont l’Artuby, 182m above the river and rocks below. For an option at the Nice end of the coast, head into the hills to the Pont de la Mariee bridge, where 80m of adrenaline-pumping freefall awaits.
For skydiving thrills head to Cannes, where you can see all the glories of the French Riviera – beaches, mountains, and yachts spread out like specks of white on the blue – spread out before you as you plummet to earth from 4000 metres. You may need to calm your racing heart with a restorative cocktail at a Cannes beach club afterwards, or stay on the yacht for glamorous drinks and canapes at sunset.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Yes, you read that right. You might be surprised to see skiing listed as an adventure sport to be combined with yacht charter, but as we wrote last winter, there are some exceptional opportunities to combine sunny seaside pleasures with snow sports during a spring yacht charter along the French Riviera.
After all, the French Riviera is quite famously one of the few places on earth where you can be making tracks down Alpine slopes in the morning, only to be sipping a rose in the spring sunshine in a Cannes beach club in the afternoon. For information on which resorts have the best spring skiing in the South of France and what you might do on a ski yacht charter, check out our article here.
Paragliding and Hang Gliding
If you look up from your yacht while in Monaco, you’ll often see the shapes of paragliders drifting down from the mountains that rise up sheer from the coast. The incredible thermal currents created at this meeting point of Alps and sea make Monaco/Roquebrune one of the best hang-gliding locations in Europe – so good in fact, that it’s chosen as the finish line of the Red Bull X-Alps Challenge.
You can launch yourself from the Roquebrune platform (there’s a great paragliding club there) and take in the monumental view of the mountains, sea and the skyscrapers of Monaco below you, before landing gently on the beach. What an experience!
However, these gliding sports are only permitted around Monaco between October to April, so this is an adventure sport for either an early-autumn or spring yacht charter.
With so many blisteringly good mountain biking trails in the South of France, you may want to bring your mountain bike onto the yacht with your luggage so you can head into the hills at any moment – although there are plenty of high-end rental opportunities available too.
The varied terrain and altitudes of the South of France makes for some simply incredible mountain biking, with a dizzying number of world-class routes.
Get your heart pumping and your endorphins soaring as you tear down the trails at Peille, the training ground of world champions, or pelt along the Balconies d’Azur track, with its majestic views of the distant sea. Sospel is a magnet for advanced mountain bikers, while the Circuit du Thonde in the stunning red rock landscapes of the Esterels is a beauty for the less experienced.
These are just a few of the adventure sport activities in the region. Immerse yourself in adventure with a French Riviera luxury yacht charter through the South of France yacht charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter.
In the heavenly landscapes of the South of France, vineyards abound. The rolling landscapes of Provence are criss-crossed with vines, some of which run right down to the blue-green sea, while other wineries sit back from the coast in gently rolling countryside, or perch high in the steep hills behind Nice.
The South of France has been blessed with the perfect wine-growing jackpot. The region is drenched in sunshine, benefits from an environment largely free of pests, and has excellent soils for vines which vary across the different areas: in the west, soil rich in limestone from an ancient inland sea, while granitic and volcanic soil dominates the east. There are also wild-growing herbs throughout the region, which are said to gently permeate the soil – and ultimately, the flavour of the wine. This variety of soil and landscapes lead to a wide variety of grapes being grown, and while the pale-blush rosés of Provence still dominate the winemaking reputation of the region, there are a growing number of exceptional red, white, and sparkling wines being produced.
Wineries and Yacht Charter : A Match Made in Heaven
From visiting the tiniest local producer to sampling famous vintages that grace Michelin-star menus, a wine journey along the French Riviera and Provencal coastline is an exercise in the good life. A French Riviera yacht charter is the ideal way to experience the spectacular wineries of the South of France, whether you’re dropping anchor off the Cannes Islands or taking a tender to a clifftop winery in Cassis. Floating slowly down the stunning coastline from Monaco to Marseilles against a backdrop of mountains and beaches, you’ll enjoy all the yachting pleasures of life on board, before coming back to land for your next winery experience. A yacht charter effortlessly avoids the hassle of daily transfers to and from your hotel (or moving between hotels as you travel down the coast), making it the ultimate luxury wine tourism experience.
You might even like to plan your South of France yacht charter for the fall, to coincide with grape harvest season and the local wine festivals of October – which is also a great time to take advantage of the reduced charter rates and blissfully quiet anchorages of the shoulder season.
Here are a few of the best vineyards to visit on a South of France wine-themed yacht charter. Our list predominantly features vineyards either on or in close proximity to the coast for effortless access; however, we have included a couple of show-stoppers that are well worth a gorgeous day trip into the Provencal interior.
Get your palates ready!
Chateau de Bellet, Nice
A day up at Chateau de Bellet is tinged with that ‘pinch yourself’ feeling a person gets sometimes on the French Riviera; that you have somehow fallen into a movie set; one where the expectation perfectly merges with the reality. Part of the appeal is the magnificent setting: elevated high above Nice with the vineyard terraces dropping away to distant views of the Mediterranean, Chateau de Bellet offers a glorious tasting room in a deconsecrated chapel, a brand new 8000m2 cellar, and tables on a sunny flagstone terrace overlooking the grand view of Alps and sea.
This centuries-old vineyard produces only organic wines, including the prestigious white wines, Cuvee La Chapelle, and Cuvee Baron G. This is a genuinely lovely place to wander among the vines, and is easily accessible from your yacht in Nice.
Abbaye des Lerins, Ile de Saint Honorat, Cannes Islands
In the pine-scented isles just off Cannes, you’ll find a vineyard out of a dream. Tended by Cistercian monks from the island’s medieval abbey, this tiny vineyard produces award-winning wines and liqueurs that appear on fine restaurant tables across the Riviera and beyond. The 8.5 hectare property grows Clairette, Chardonnay, Viognier, Syrah, Mourvedre and Pinot Noir grapes, as well as making Limoncello and the herby 19th century liqueur, Lérina. The highlight is the Saint Pierre, a Chardonnay-Clairette blend with apple and honey notes and a delicate white fruit perfume.
With no cars on the island and an exquisite sense of peace, St Honorat is a lovely island to explore on foot, taking a walk along the coastal path to visit the 10th century fortified monastery and stroll among the sweet-smelling Aleppo pines and olive groves. You’ll want to stay on the island for lunch at La Tonelle restaurant, enjoying its glorious view back across the water to the neighbouring Ile Saint Marguerite.
The monks of the Abbey take a vow to live out their days on the island and never leave, and by the end of your day on Ile St Honorat, you may just think they’re onto something.
Chateau d’Esclans, Gorge de Pennafort
A bottle of Whispering Angel Rosé, frosted with condensation as it is pulled out of a solid silver ice bucket, is perhaps one of the signature sights of the superyacht world. Vast quantities of this pale pink rosé are quaffed on yachts each summer as guests drift down the French Riviera, partying in Cannes and dropping anchor off a beach club in St Tropez.
25 kilometres inland of Frejus, you can come and taste it for yourself at Chateau d’Esclans, a breathtaking vineyard with a view back across the coast. The first glimpse of the 19th century chateau through the avenue of trees is enough to make you gasp.
With the property once used as a lookout to spot pirates entering the Gulf of Frejus, the winery’s cellar dates from the Dark Ages and is the oldest in the region. The vineyard is renowned for the age of its Grenache vines, some of which are 90 years old, lending a greater concentration of flavour to the wines.
Chateau Saint-Maur, Cogolin
Just outside glamorous St Tropez, this exceptional vineyard was snatched from obscurity in 2011, when celebrated wine maker Roger Zannier saw the potential of the 70-hectare estate. It was a gamble that paid off, with a number of their wines gaining rapid acclaim, including the Cuvee Excellence White and the superb Clos de Capelune Rosé for its white peach flavours, light perfume, and heavy-based signature bottle.
Their high-tech vineyard sits opposite the historic Grimaud Castle, surrounded by cork oak forest and the Maures hills. Chateau Saint-Maur is considered one of the standout wineries of the Provence region, and tours are by appointment only.
Chateau de Berne
An hour’s drive inland of St Tropez lies the spectacular Chateau de Berne. Located near the village of Lorgues, this five-star hotel and winery is ground zero for Provencal wine tourism. This sprawling Provencal chateau houses a Cinq de Mondes spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant, and is set in a hilly landscape of vines and forest. It is a vision.
And in case you’d thought we’d forgotten we were here to talk about wine, Chateau de Berne has plenty to remind us. 200 acres of this 1480-acre estate is dedicated to viniculture, resulting in some of most acclaimed rosés, whites and reds in Provence.
Clos Sainte Magdeleine, Cassis
The final entry on our list has another jaw-dropping location, right on the cliffs of Cassis in the Calanques National Park. The vines grow right to the Mediterranean at Clos Sainte Magdeleine, making this winery extremely accessible from your yacht. Set on a private wooded headland, this limited-production vineyard benefits from limestone and clay soils, creating exquisite rosé and white wines.
Four generations of the family have grown wine at this art deco-style chateau, stretching back to founder Jules Savon, who won the gold medal at the World Fair in 1900. It’s not hard to see why the generations continue to live out their years making wine here; it would be difficult to come up with a reason to leave this heavenly place.
Making the Dream a Reality
This list is a mere fragment of the world-class vineyards you could visit on a week-long wine connoisseur’s yacht charter on the French Riviera. In fact, you may need longer than a week! To book a South of France yacht charter taking in the best wineries of the region, contact the French Riviera Yacht Charter experts at Bespoke Yacht Charter.
Cannes Yachting Festival took the French Riviera city by storm last month, when from the 11th-16th September its ports were taken over by an array of beautiful yachts and marine exhibitors. One such attendee was blue water cruiser builder Oyster Yachts, there to boost its international presence and to interact with worldwide prospects. We caught up with company Sales Director Stephen Parkinson to find out all about Oyster’s Cannes Yacht Show 2018 experience and discover what makes Oyster yachts unique.
How have you found Cannes Yachting Festival this year?
Cannes is always very important for us. And the reason for that is a lot of international visitors come to the show. So already over the last two days of Cannes Yachting Festival 2018 we’ve had people from Australia, Jordan, Switzerland, Turkey, Greece; it really attracts quite a wide range of visitors, which is fantastic. So, it’s always a good show, and we’ve been visiting for a good few years now. It’s, I believe, one of the biggest in water shows in the world. So, it’s important for us to be here.
I think the plan for Oyster at Cannes in the future is to just grow what we do here. We’ll probably have a much bigger presence next year. We’re all very excited about the future for Oyster and love the fact that we’ve got someone like Richard Hadida (Oyster CEO) on board to take the company forward – we’re all behind him. Everybody that works for the company is genuinely passionate about the brand. We actually believe the mission statement. I really do I think these boats are the best blue water boats in the world, you know. So, I’m sure we’ll see Oyster’s presence here growing in leaps and bounds.
And when you say you’ve had an international clientele come through, are these people who know the brand already or are they coming across Oyster for the first time?
It’s a mixture, because in the lead up to Cannes Yacht Show 2018 we sent out invites to all prospects on our database. This year we have been lucky to present a newly built Oyster 745, our 75ft yacht Pitanga. When a yacht comes out the factory or is in commissioning it’s sort of in its base state, so it’s a good opportunity for potential owners to see what we can do. Our aim was to get a mixture of people that we know who are genuinely interested in the boat that we could meet and show around the vessel. But of course, it’s also important for us to get new clients, so it’s equally as important to get new people that we don’t know on to the boats and into the brand.
Can you tell me a bit more about the Pitanga yacht you had on display at Cannes?
Well as I said this is the model 745, she’s hull number 4 and is about a year old. This is really the smallest yacht that Oyster offers that allows you to have true crew separation. As we go down below, forward of the galley, you go into the crew cabin. This boat allows you to completely close off that galley area, so that the crew have their privacy while they’re cooking and the owners have their privacy when they’re in the saloon watching TV or whatever else they’re doing. In this configuration, it has four cabins, so one owner and three guest, and one crew cabin. And the design is proving to be a success – we’ve just got another of this model sold, and so we will start build on that towards the end of the year.
What’s unique about Oyster’s yacht design?
Oyster’s pretty unique in that the amount of light that we get into our yachts. A lot of boats can be quite dark as you come down, whereas these big windows are fantastic for letting light in. These two outer ones open up so the breeze can come in and you don’t have to have air conditioning running the whole time. Then when you come through to the owner’s cabin it’s the same: you don’t want to be somewhere where you feel like it’s dark and dingy, so we’ve put in three of our large seascape windows, which are a design unique to us. This came out of listening to what our clients want from our vessels.
Our yachts are also designed to be fully-functional open water cruisers, which will take you anywhere, whilst still being very luxurious and comfortable inside. I think this is what makes Oysters really stand out amongst the rest.
What next after Cannes Yachting Festival – any exciting plans for the next few months?
There are always lots of exciting things happening within Oyster, and after Cannes Yacht Show 2018 we have our series of Regattas starting with Palma in October and Antigua next year. These are both big events for us as Richard very keen to get more people to these events and bring back more of a family feel to them. So he wants the kids there, he wants everyone to make it a family event, and that will be exciting. He’s going to do a good job of that, being a family man himself. Traditionally Oyster has always been a family-friendly brand.
Then there’s other things happening within the business, such as looking at a new model, a smaller model, potentially between 45 and 50ft, which is still on the drawing boards with Humphreys Yacht Design. We also have our new Marketing Director Abigail Comber joining us in November, so we’ve got a really exciting time coming up.
Of course as well as all this, we have the current Oyster World Rally underway, due to finish next year, and have already started planning for the next one in 2021. As a rally fully organised and supported by Oyster this is a completely unique event – there’s no other yacht manufacturer that does it or potentially could even do it. We have a whole team set up to support these yachts as they travel around the world. We also have Oyster staff out travelling round with the rally fleet, showing the true meaning and strength of the Oyster Family.
The Italian Riviera is north-western Italy’s coastal showcase, a place where the Ligurian Alps meet the Apennines with a dash of la dolce vita and a well-deserved reputation alluring yachts to one of the most popular yachting hotspots in the Mediterranean, Portofino.
Decades of tourism have ensured that the beauty of the Cinque Terre and Portofino rank highly on places you need to visit and the entire coastline has bewitched royalty, writers and celebrities who have been drawn to the Mediterranean climate, beautiful towns and the blend of old and new.
There’s no denying the appeal of Portofino, tucked into a sheltered inlet surrounded by colourful buildings and olive-clad terraces it has been grabbing headlines and attracting the international jet set for decades.
In the height of peak season, the town morphs into Italy’s version of Saint-Tropez, however if you’re looking for Champagne-spraying nightclubs and hedonistic beach clubs you’ve come to the wrong place.
Many visitors to Portofino don’t venture beyond the harbour and Piazzetta (small square), but renting a yacht on the Italian Riviera will introduce you to places of quiet beauty – especially in spring or autumn, ornate villas hidden amongst the trees and gorgeous scenery with romantic restaurants sandwiched between the mountains and sea.
Portofino is not off-the-beaten path, however it’s possible to escape the crowds of day trippers and celebrities who visit Portofino for one day.
Read this Guide to Yacht Charters in Portofino to discover the best things to see and do while on a Portofino yacht charter, where you can discover some of the celebrated highlights and the charter spots less visited amidst the surrounding attractions of the Gulf of Tigullio.
Does the French Riviera live up to its glamorous reputation? The simple answer is, yes! Yes it does. Especially if you’re exploring on board a luxury yacht. From cocktails aboard your fly deck and cosmopolitan bars to quaint towns and lavender fields, this destination truly has everything and you’ll never want to leave.
Yacht Charter on the French Riviera
Yacht charter with Incrediblue allows you to broaden your horizons and makes sailing more accessible around the world, as you are no longer limited to one yacht type or destination. So where better to start than in the stunning French Riviera? Also known as Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the Southeast corner of France, also including Monaco. There is no official boundary, but we generally consider it to extend from Cassis or Toulon or Saint-Tropez located on the West to France-Italy border in the East, where the Italian Riviera joins.
Where to start
You have heard of Nice and Cannes right? Well that’s just a couple more of the towns that make up this beautiful stretch of paradise on earth. When is comes to yacht charter you’re truly spoilt for choice of where to start your adventure. A popular route is to begin in Monaco, before heading to Nice and then onto St Tropez.
Selecting your own charter yacht
Selecting your own yacht on the French Riviera is easy with the help of a highly experienced team such as Incrediblue, who will be happy to understand and ensure your every need is catered for. As you will have a crew on board you can discuss meals plans with the chefand also the perfect route with the ckipper before you set sail for the time of your life.
Prepare to be amazed by the sheer beauty of the gleaming superyachts lined up in Monaco harbour. If you’re lucky enough to be there during an event such as the Monaco Grand Prix, you will not only enjoy the electric atmosphere but you can also gawp at more amazing yachts that will appear throughout. There were in fact over €2 billion worth of yachts attending the Grand Prix in 2016.
Any trip to the French Riviera should begin with a stop in Nice. The Port of Nice is the perfect place to moor your yacht overnight and enjoy a traditional light dinner such as salade niçoise made by your personal on board chef. If you would like to hit the town you will not be dissapointed. Especially during the summer season, nightlife is in abundance and offers many options for after dark enthusiasts.
In the morning you will appreciate the sparkles reflecting off the warm Mediterranean waters whilst you’re having your breakfast. Whether you’re there for one day or five, be sure to venture up to Castle Hill. The phrase ‘it was worth the climb’ is truly fitting in this instance. The panoramic views of the Baie des Anges are simply to die for. You may also want to visit Nice’s famous lavender fields, the verdant park which is the perfect spot to take a picnic, or simply just relax and watch the world go by before boarding your yacht again and moving onto the next divine destination.
Home to the rich and famous, Cannes should definitely be on your bucket list. With its sandy beaches, upmarket boutiques and 5* restaurants there is plenty to see and do.
To add to Cannes’ glamour, this destination is very well known for the international film festival that occurs here once per year in May. If there is any event with the potential to dethrone the Oscars than this is it. If you’re lucky enough to be around during the festival you will be guaranteed to spot some famous faces strutting their stuff down the red carpet.
A short sail away from Cannes you will embark upon the Lérins Islands. The Lérins Islands are a group of four Mediterranean islands off the French Riviera, in Cannes. The two largest islands in this group are the Île Sainte-Marguerite and the Île Saint-Honorat. Here you will get away from the hustle and bustle of busy life and have the opportunity to relax in the ambience of tranquility. The islands are full of undisturbed beauty with small wild beaches and secret coves you could spend hours exploring. The panoramic views and sparkling turquoise blue waters are guaranteed to take your breath away.
If your yachting trip happens to fall on July 14th, try and spend the evening here to enjoy the famous firework night.
On your way to St Tropez be sure to soak up not only the sun but the best views of the French Riviera. It sounds only right to have a margarita in your hand whilst you enjoy these truly blissful few hours of cruising through the crystal waters. If you are coming directly from Nice it will take approximately 3 hours but if you want to take any detours you can discuss this with your captain. It might be a nice idea to stop and take a swim. If you have a diving instructor on board you should take advantage of the experience. The Mediterranean is home to some of the most colourful and interesting underwater life.
Upon arrival in St Tropez you will notice how big and vibrant this port is. With a capacity of 734 moorings there is definitely plenty of space for any size yacht. St Tropez is well known for its innovation and quality services, making it one of the most famous marinas in the world.
The height of St Tropez’ popularity comes from the 9 day regatta occuring once a year, known as “Voiles de Saint Tropez”. It begins here at the foot of the Portalet tower and bypasses the Nioulargue buoy before returning to the port. Over the duration of 9 day regatta, 300 of the finest yachts from around the world are brought together and it is a sight not to be missed!
If coffee is your thing you absolutely MUST not miss out on the famous espresso made in the even more famous bar that is Senequier. Whilst enjoying ‘the best French coffee known to man’ you can enjoy watching artists painting people or landscapes around the ports.
There are few places on earth better-suited to a golfing yacht charter than the French Riviera. With an abundance of historic, challenging, and downright swanky courses along the Cote d’Azur, the South of France really is a golfer’s paradise.
And what better way to experience the golf courses of the French Riviera than on a luxury yacht charter? You won’t have to swap hotels, carrying luggage and golfing gear, as you make your way along the coast, on a charter yacht your ‘hotel’ moves with you! This is a golfing holiday, done right.
Imagine getting a group of your golfing buddies together for a 10-day jaunt down the French Riviera on a superyacht, stopping at world-class golf courses along the way.
With views of the Mediterranean and the Alps and old hunting estates among the pines, it will be near-impossible to have a bad game. And even if you do spend half the day in the bunkers, there’s plenty of fine restaurants, watersports, and beach clubs along the Riviera to cheer you up! You might even bring a pro-golfing instructor along on your charter to radically improve your game over the duration of the charter.
When planning a holiday, you normally have to choose between snow and sand, mountain and beach, chalet and superyacht. Not on the French Riviera in spring—one of the few locations on earth where you can enjoy a sea and ski yacht charter.
In the south of France, Alpine ski fields are in close proximity to warm, sunny beaches. The French Riviera is famously known as a destination where you can be hurtling down fresh powder in the morning, only to find yourself relaxing in a Cannes beach club in the afternoon, enjoying the spring sunshine as you drink rose with your feet in the sand.
A yacht charter than involves snow skiing and beach clubs, art galleries and opera, Michelin-star dining and hill villages, après ski and boutique shopping.
Sunshine, calm seas, and snow. Where else but spring on the French Riviera?
Bespoke Yacht Charter has impacted the yacht charter market in Cannes, changing the way brands interact with clients at festivals and events. OnboardOnline caught up with Rachel Coles, Charter Broker from Bespoke Yacht Charter, to delve deep into how they’ve ascended to the niche position for Cannes event yacht charters.
The epitome of luxury and glamour, the French Riviera is the ultimate hotspot if you are looking forward to a plush holiday. Locally known as the “Côte d’Azur”, the beautiful Mediterranean coastline has always drawn tourists from all over the world for its stunning natural splendor, breezy climate, beach fun and dazzling lifestyle. From Cannes to Monaco to Nice – some of the most coveted destinations fall along the French Riviera coastline. And what better way to explore this gorgeous location than with a luxury yacht vacation?
There are a myriad of luxury yacht services available to cruise around French Riviera. Decked up in plush amenities, with splendid décor and stellar hospitality, these yachts will take you to all the prime hotspots of the coastline. You can book a luxury yacht charter for a day, a week or more.
Here is a brief summary of the different amazing locations you will be covering on your luxury yacht vacation along the French Riviera.
The paradise of glitz and glamour, Cannes is your place for that coveted a-la-Hollywood style holiday. From lavish boutiques to electrifying nightclubs to sandy beaches to even antique cobbled streets – Cannes has everything to leave you in awe and amazement. To make things more special, tourists often prefer luxury car hire services to explore the city like a star. There are several luxury car hire services available here to help in renting a Porsche in Cannes or other luxury marques like Audi or Mercedes.
After Cannes, your next stop will possibly be St Tropez. It’s a small quaint town lined up with some of the best restaurants in the world and a very vibrant nightlife scene in the summer season. The hub of the rich & famous, St Tropez will often have you stumbling upon celebs at almost every turn. And yes, St. Tropez is also the location of the most loved beach along the coastline – Pampelonne Beach. Complement your St Tropez trip with a stunning tan on the beach followed by unforgettable champagne lunch at one of the legendary beach clubs.
If you wish to experience the unspoilt natural splendor of the famous French Riviera, the island of Porquerolles is sure to win you with its stunning scenery. The place is great for water sports followed by a relaxing lunch and an after swimming. Although not as luxurious as the other more famous locations along the coastline, this lovely island is still home to some fabulous restaurants.
Monaco is certainly one of the most coveted destinations on any French Riviera cruise. Rich in royal history, the city-state is always a great tourist draw with its Prince Palace, designer boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and of course the legendary casinos for which the Principality is so well known.
No luxury holiday on the Cote d’Azur is complete without a stay in Nice. A magnificent blend of quintessential French charm and revered Italian class, the famous city and capital of the region is a treat to both the eye and the heart. You will love its buzzing boutique restaurants, while Nice’s bars and cafes command a unique elegance of their own. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities for various water sports like snorkelling, diving, swimming and much more.
Wishing you a fabulous luxury yacht charter on the French Riviera!
MIPIM 2018 will be hosted in Cannes from 13–16 March 2018 and continues as one of the world’s largest events for global property professionals.
Hosted at the Palais des Festivals, which is a key venue for other major Cannes events including Cannes Lions, Cannes Film Festival and MAPIC, over 24,000 participants will be inspired and make new discoveries during four days of intensive networking, conferences about property trends and the MIPIM Awards.
A scant 100 years ago, the idea of visiting the French Riviera in the summertime was unheard of in polite society, who deemed the South of France in July and August to be far too hot and bothersome.
Instead, the first-class trains and ornate horse-drawn carriages would start to arrive as the weather cooled and the first snows fell on the Alps, delivering queens and tsars, dukes and duchesses, writers and artists for a glittering winter season of parties and operas and promenading under the palms.
In winter at the turn of the 19th century, the Cote d’Azur was the centre of the fashionable world. In summer, the carriages departed, and the opulent villas and belle époque hotels were shuttered up once more until the haze of summer cleared and the sea again held its enchanting winter sparkle.
And that’s how the Riviera stayed—a resolutely wintertime resort— until the 1920’s, when New York socialites, Gerard and Sarah Murphy, convinced the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc to keep a wing open for them for a summer. After buying a nearby villa the next year, they invited friends F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway for decadent, endless summers of jumping off the rocks into the sea, fabulous parties, and long boozy lunches under the shade of pine trees that buzzed with cicadas.
A South of France yacht charter is a feast for the senses. There are certain sights and smells, sounds, touches and tastes that epitomize long summer days on the French Riviera. Float along the coast, savouring the breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped Alps and red rock edged by turquoise sea, the cool smell of pine forest and the sleepy sound of buzzing cicadas. Close your eyes enjoy the lap of water on the hull, the fragrance of lavender in the markets, the feel of your toes sinking into soft sand. Remember the water that sparkles in that mythical Provencal light, the sharp tang of salt in the air, and blue-green coves of perfect clarity. As your charter yacht floats along the coastline from Monaco to St Tropez, you will be transported into a sensory dream. Here are some of the experiences that will delight your five senses on a French Riviera yacht charter.
Our planet is no doubt blessed with a myriad of breathtakingly stunning scenery, but very few places compare to the luxurious blend of vintage luxury and enchanting landscapes that is the French Riviera and its legendary sun-drenched beaches. This delightfully sculpted scenery which stretches from St. Tropez up until the French-Italian border is an avalanche of hospitality; complete with sandy beaches, blue seas (and skies), trendy shopping stores and exclusive boutiques. Dazzling with historic vineyards, extravagant chateaus, and calm waters transcended by traversing yachts, the French Riviera immerses its visitors in an ethereal world of splendor and magnificence. Add a touch of style and classical French hospitality, and you see why this place leads the chart of top celebrity tourist destinations.
Cannes on the French Riviera is an action attraction sure to tickle the fancy of every tourist. The town hosts the famous Cannes Film Festival on an annual basis – providing a glistering perspective of what luxury and holiday resorting should be like. With an aura of regality and modest affluence, the sun perched Mediterranean coastline, and nearby medieval styled villages provide a lucid imagery of the rich French cultural history. It’s however not just about the scenery, as embossed in the rose gold streets of the nearby, Eze, Antibes, Saint Tropez and Menton as a firsthand historical perspective of French Sovereignty. Antibes in particular, with its picturesque streets and prestigious museums, reunites you with history; and if you have a taste for the exclusive, its impressive line up of celebrity villas will leave you craving for more of the same.
What’s the best way to explore the French Riviera; by land where you get up close and personal with its stunning architecture or via the air where you’re treated to an almost godlike perspective of its stunning scenery? How about a taste of the two; up close and personal plus a godlike view and then a serving of luxurious adventure – cue the waters of the French Riviera and its luxury yachts. Of the many highlights the French Riviera is known for, its exotic yachting and beach culture stands out as one of the most prominent in the world. Since the 18th century when its white pebble beaches were routinely toured by the likes of King Edward VII, Queen Victoria, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the French Riviera has conveyed a sense of wealth and privileged luxury; the kind that has drawn hordes of affluent visitors to its endearing yet reassuringly calm waters. So, whether you arrive on your private yacht or join the enthusiastic company of other tourists to hitch a ride aboard a cruise, ferry or boat, rest assured that you will a get a taste of the regally grand adventures of the French Riviera’s breathtaking waters.
Away from the Sea and onto the Roads of the French Riviera
Granted the sea and its frivolities pack a unique touch of adventure, but no trip to the French Riviera is complete without a day, or two spent touring its scenic landscapes and interacting with its soulful scenery. Far from the tardy definitions of a conventional tour, you too can experience the French Riviera from an elite perspective, with a custom planned tour in the supercar of your dreams. If you thought the bustling waters of the Riviera were endearing, then get set for a treat. A driving tour of the French Riviera aboard a supercar replaces the gentle sways of the adventurous sea with the high-octane pumped twists and turns of France’s greatest driving roads – it really is, the ultimate way to infuse a vibrant and spirited experience into your French Riviera adventure.
The Cote d’Azur and Provence feature a stunning landscape made for the 21st century explorer. The seemingly endless stretches of roads wiggle around the sun draped hills and snow-tipped mountains leaving in their wake Provence’s signature lavender fields and vignette olive groves. But that’s just a snippet of what lies in store; the Alpes-Maritimes, a streak of cliff-top roads snaking up the French Riviera’s daunting mountain range is length for length one of the most enthralling routes for driving in all of Europe. Its range is dotted with iconic hilltop villages, each painted with a byzantine palette of class and vintage luxury. From Gourdon, through Vence and up into Moustiers Sainte Marie, expect a visually scintillating experience that will most certainly leave an indelible imprint on your travel memories.
Planning your Car Tour on the French Riviera
Ready to delve into the French Riviera? Start off your tour from Cannes where an experienced tour guide will meet you at about 6:30 pm in the comfort of your hotel lobby. You will be provided with a detailed rundown of what to expect before the keys to your select dream car is handed over; this could be a Lamborghini, a Ferrari, a Porsche or even a Bugatti if you’re hell-bent on keeping the whole experience, French.
After your first night, spent shrugging off any accompanying bits of sea sluggishness, you should be well in tune with the magic of the French Riviera – the land version. Your first route to conquer is the long stretch of road leading from Cannes up into Provence. Do this by coasting along the famous Croisette promenade and its breathtaking view of the adjacent bay of Cannes. Make your way to the charming and eccentric village of Gourdon. This town hosts an assortment of cute small boutiques, antique and art, sumptuous cuisine, perfumes, olive oils, all reminiscent of medieval France. But all this pales in comparison to the magnificent view this hilltop village provides; Gourdon perched at an altitude of almost 760m treats you to an exclusive perspective of the Mediterranean coastline and the Alps.
From here, its onwards to the iconic Artuby bridge in all its artistic curves and silhouetted brilliance. The Verdon National park lies just ahead and nestled within its confines is the Gorges du Verdon, France’s own Grand Canyon; make sure to take some photos, the views are spectacular. After lunch, head off into Provence where your luxury hotel awaits you.
Day two and you’re back on track, only this time for a taste of the spectacular with one of Europe’s finest collection of mountain passes and twisting roads; if you are familiar with the Swiss Alps; you know what to expect with the Mediterranean Alps roads. Breeze through the legendary Route Napoleon and its nearby twin the Route de Thorenc. Both feature hanging cliffs and fast-paced straights; and while others pause to take a breather from the corners, you effortlessly conquer the road with the confidence that comes from being in your very own supercar.
Your road tour of the French Riviera comes to an end with the shimmering tarmac of Col de Vence, and its striking view of the sea. From here it’s smooth sailing via the highway back to Monte-Carlo.
The perfect French Riviera yacht charter is a tale of two glorious extremes.
On the one hand, there’s the spine-tingling glamour of docking in an exclusive marina like Monaco or St Tropez for a night of Michelin star dining and champagne-spraying decadence.
On the other, there’s the idyllic peace of sitting at anchor with a view of beaches and mountains, the only sounds the lapping of water on the hull and the soporific buzz of cicadas in the nearby pines. From your anchorage you can dive off the swim platform, get the water-toys out, or tender into one of the French Riviera’s fabulous beaches.
Being able to switch between exclusive marinas and tranquil anchorages within minutes is one of the reasons that the French Riviera continues to be one of the ultimate superyacht destinations.
To help you decide where to drop anchor on your South of France yacht charter, here are some of the best anchorage spots along the Cote d’Azur, cruising westward from Monaco to Marseille.
Less known for its wine production than the city of Bordeaux, the glamorous coastal town of St Tropez in the Cote d’Azur offers a delicious selection of celebrated wines. The region may be renowned for its refreshing range of rosé wines, which have become the de rigueur summer choice for discerning jetsetters over the past ten years. Yet, St Tropez also produces young, fruity, but full-bodied red wines, as well as light, crisp white wines.
Some of the favoured spots for wine production in the area include Gassin, Ramatuelle and Sainte Maxime. Here, a patchwork of vineyards and wineries veils the landscape, meaning real estate in Sainte Maxime, Gassin and Ramatuelle are in great demand. Some of the real estate in Grimaud even overlooks certain vineyards – such is the close proximity of the residential areas to winemaking territory. Residents and visitors to the vineyards enjoy tranquillity, sweeping vista views, and the finest local produce one could imagine.
We’ve handpicked the best wines of St Tropez – each of which is produced at wineries that offer unmissable tastings and tours of picturesque vineyards.
The quintessential rosé of St Tropez, M de Minuty Rosé is made using the lesser known Tibouren grape – a variety almost exclusively grown in this part of the France. The wine provides the perfect accompaniment to a tomato and mozzarella salad or fresh shellfish dishes, with its citrusy notes and subtle floral hints.
Domaine La Tourraque
Meanwhile, the Domaine La Tourraque vineyard produces three wine labels: Cuvée Joseph Brun, Cuvée Classic, Cuvée Harmonie – each of which consists of a white, red and rosé and all offer a myriad of gustatory delights. The real showstopper of the collections, and a regular medal winner, is the vintage 2016 white Cuvée Classic, which wows critics with its fresh aroma and slow-revealing notes of white fruit and citrus. The vintage 2016 white Cuvée Classic is the perfect partner to rich-tasting tapas.
Domaine des Tournels
With its rose petal-infused hue, the Côtes de Provence Cuvée Speciale rosé vintage is the standout diamond in Domaine des Tournels’ crown. A two-time winner of the Concours Général Agricole in Paris, the wine boasts an expressive range of ripe and exotic fruits in a well-rounded palate. It is well partnered with grilled meats or a sweet, red fruit dessert.
Château des Marres
Château des Marres refers to its Cuvée 1907 rosé as ‘an invitation to exceptional pleasures.’ And with its delicate balance of white flowers and fruits, it lives up to this promise from the first to last sip.
The exceptional level of care and dedication that goes into creating Château Volterra’s wines is second to none and is evident in every savoured mouthful. The winery produces two delicious, but very different white wines, yet it is the Château Volterra Red 2008 that steals the show with its silky, elegant taste, that is complemented by hints of spices and smoke. Partnered with spiced, red meat, this wine is pleasingly powerful as well as fresh.
For the discerning, environmentally conscious oenophiles, there are also a number of organic rosé options available in the region, including Jas d’Esclans Cote de Provence and Alpilles Rosé Longchamp – both of which summon reveries of hazy summer days spent gazing over fields of fragrant lavender and sunflowers.
With such a broad variety of grapes – reds range across syrah, grenache, cinsault, the lesser known tibouren, mourvedre, carignan, cabernet sauvignon, while whites include rolle, ugni blanc, clairette, and semillon – and such a rich selection of wines, you are guaranteed to find a tipple for every preference and taste in St Tropez.
The French Riviera is an esteemed location for luxury real estate, and the perfect setting if you’re looking for a rich lifestyle filled with entertainment, sunshine, beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures. Considered to be one of the ultimate yachting destinations in the world, the French Riviera has a perfect Mediterranean climate, as well as stunning luxury homes, whether you are looking for classic or contemporary, large or intimate.
Situated in the south-east of France, the coastal region goes from Menton (near the Italian border) to Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Saint-Tropez and Cassis. Building regulations are strict to ensure the beautiful French coastline is not ruined, therefore demand for French Riviera property is high. Consider these four prime locations when searching for property on the French Riviera.
Cannes is known for its bevy of luxury properties that attract the wealthy. The area’s plush real estate is why this is such a major hub for affluent home buyers. Homes are available in modern, bustling areas as well as in quieter historic districts and residential neighborhoods. Search for houses or apartments that are set against palm trees on the waterfront or in the heart of town near the best cafes and restaurants. If you’re seeking something more peaceful then look in the hills surrounding Cannes and benefit from stunning sea views! If you’re going to be renting your property out short- or long-term, look for an apartment in the centre of Cannes or a villa in a gated community, where you can rely on high security and peace of mind.
This villa in Cannes boasts contemporary architecture and refined décor. The entrance hall level has a large living room; dining room; fully-equipped kitchen overlooking a covered terrace; and three suites, all of which open into the garden, and that also have a dressing room and either a bathroom or shower room. The upper floor includes a master suite and a second suite, both with a large, private terrace. Outdoors, there’s a pool, pool house and driveway that leads to four garages.
Life in Cannes means easy access to a picturesque coastline and beaches, plus high-profile events, gourmet cuisine and high class shopping. The area is buzzing year-round, with a strong nightlife that includes live music, casinos and theatre. During the summer, large boats congregate on the nearby Lérins Islands.
Located between Cannes and Nice, Antibes is home to Port Vauban, the largest private marina in Europe which is filled with huge superyachts. Exclusive villas, cozy penthouses and modern homes are close to immaculate beaches that can be visited year-round. While there are plenty of turnkey properties ready for immediate move-in, there are also project properties that you can work on in order to create your own, customised dream home (many of them already have renovation permits, too). Features of Antibes property include private garages, serene pool areas, fully-fitted kitchens, rooftop terraces, expansive patios, swimming pools and guest accommodation.
This lovely, contemporary Cap d’Antibes villa has been recently renovated using high-end materials. Aside from five bedrooms, this home also has a large, bright living room as well as a cinema room. Spend an afternoon lounging by the private swimming pool, then head into the pool house when you need a break from the sunshine.
Calm and laid-back, Antibes is known for the Marché Provencal covered market, where you can head for gourmet ingredients. Don’t miss scuba diving season, which lasts from May to October. Roam around to catch glimpses of pastel architecture and medieval towers.
Though super small (less than one square mile), Monaco is a tiny principality with a huge personality – one that’s in high demand, too. Located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Southern Alps, living here gives you easy access to both the water and the mountains. Local architecture includes Belle Époque buildings, decadent palaces surrounded by manicured landscaping, and penthouses and apartments that look out onto the sea. By moving here, you’ll be amongst famous celebrities such as professional sportsmen (namely cyclists, golfers and F1 drivers), as well as models, musicians and some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
This one-bedroom apartment in Monaco is located in a prestigious building (complete with concierge service) on a residential boulevard. Bright and south-facing, this apartment has high ceilings, a lounge, a dressing room with made-to-measure units, a bedroom with terrace access, and an open-plan kitchen that leads onto a large balcony.
For a teeny, tiny place, Monaco packs in a lot to do. Head to a casino or museum, go golfing or attend a star-studded event. The area is extremely safe too, with 24-hour video surveillance of the entire principality and the world’s largest police for per capita and per square metre.
Steeped in indulgence, excess and the best that life has to offer, Saint-Tropez is delightfully lacking when it comes to tourism sights. Head to the coastal Sentier du Littoral path, which runs along the peninsula and past the locale’s best, most extravagant villas. Other types of Saint-Tropez property include luxury apartments and vineyard estates. A large number of artists live in this part of the French Riviera, and you can watch them setup every morning on the port.
This modern villa in Saint-Tropez has a dazzling, pristine interior that stretches across three levels. Five bedrooms have bath and shower rooms, the kitchen is state-of-the-art and many of the living areas are open-plan. Other amenities include a wine cellar, home cellar, electric gates and home automation system. The manicured, fenced-in garden has a variety of Mediterranean plants and trees, plus an automatic watering system.
From crystal-clear swimming holes and the rocky coast to high-end dining and designer shopping, Saint-Tropez offers the ultimate jet setting lifestyle. When the 100,000 inhabitants thin out after the summer season, the area becomes peaceful and charming. Stroll down Old Town’s narrow streets or spend an afternoon at Le Café.
One Last Thought
When you purchase a French Riviera property, you also buy into a lifestyle. Opulent housing is available along the waterfront, as well on the outskirts of town, away from the hustle and bustle. When buying such a property, consider speaking to a buyer’s agent such as French property specialists, Home Hunts, they will go out and handpick a selection of luxury properties that meet your requirements and specifications, whether you’re searching for a full-time residence abroad or a holiday home.