French Riviera Yacht Charter Guide
THE PERENNIAL FAVORITE DESTINATION FOR THE YACHTING CROWD, THE CÔTE D’AZUR IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL SUMMER PLAYGROUND FOR SUPERYACHTS
The chic coastline of the Côte d’Azur has been luring visitors for centuries, but it was not until the 1950s that it became populated with yachts. The best-loved cruising ground in the world, it is particularly busy between July and August as the yachting crowd flocks to the Med’s most celebrated spots that lie between St. Tropez and Monaco. From sweeping bays with pine-fringed beaches backed with Belle Époque villas to fishing villages that harbor some of the most glamorous nightclubs in the world, this perennial favorite delivers again and again.
From the legendary beach clubs of Pampelonne to the renowned haute cuisine of St. Tropez, Cannes and Monaco, the sun-soaked corner of southeast France is the epicenter of yachting, attracting some eighty percent of the charter fleet during the summer months.
Once a quiet fishing village, St. Tropez shot to fame in the 1950s when director Roger Vadim made the film Et Dieu…Créa La Femme (And God Created Woman) starring the stunning Brigitte Bardot. The film itself sealed the fate of St. Tropez, which has shimmered in the spotlight with its star appeal ever since. The sun-drenched Îles d’Hyères lies just west of St. Tropez and offers unpretentious charms. Along the coast, both Cannes and Antibes are illuminated with a glow that goes beyond ethereal sunlight; they boast culture, restaurants and elegant boutiques ashore. Further along still, the pretty villages of Villefranche, Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu offer idyllic backdrops to a peaceful anchorage.
Fast cars, superyachts and designer boutiques are all part of the Monte Carlo lifestyle, but there is more to the principality of Monaco than extravagant. Look beyond its manicured streets and you will find a dose of culture at every turn. Step ashore to soak up the decadent glamor, and most importantly, enjoy some of the finest dining in the world.
Northrop & Johnson’s charter experts reveal how to make the most of this summer playground as you cruise from St. Tropez to Monaco, soaking up market-fresh cuisine and a spritz of glamour as you go.
- Indulge at the Spa Metropole by Givenchy, Hôtel Metropole, Monte Carlo
- Hang out at the hip Anjuna Beach, Eze-sur-Mer
- Jump in at Bay d’Agay, St. Raphael
- Take the tender ashore to the exclusive Paloma Beach, St. Jean Cap Ferrat
- Enjoy drinks at Jimmy’z or Twiga, Monte Carlo
- Culture spy Musée Picasso, Antibes
- Have fun in the sun at Le Petite Plage, Juan les Pins
- Experience gastronomic delights at Le Louis XV, Hôtel de Paris, Monte Carlo
- Feast in spectacular style at La Vague d’Or, Cheval Blanc St. Tropez
If you have time, spend a few days at either end of your charter exploring the unspoiled villages in the heights of the hinterlands. With dramatic gorges for kayaking and canoeing, they offer ample opportunity for active adventures.
ST. TROPEZ TO PAMPELONNE BAY (6 NAUTICAL MILES)
Step on board your luxury yacht in the elegant port of St. Tropez and spend the day acclimatizing to life on board. Take a dip in Pampelonne Bay, followed by lunch at the legendary Le Club 55 or the ever-popular Bagatelle Beach. Head back to town for a top up at the Maison Blanche Champagne Bar before dinner in the stunning La Vague d’Or. Finish off the day with cabaret at L’Opera Saint-Tropez or Brasserie des Arts. If cabaret isn’t your thing then the famous Les Caves du Roy is a fabulous A-list haunt where you can trip your dancing shoes until the early hours.
DAYS 2 & 3
PAMPELONNE BAY TO ÎLES D’HYèRES (30 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise west and drop anchor off Îles d’Hyères. Low-key in every way, snorkel around the coves of Île de Porquerolles (island rules – no scuba diving or Jet Skis allowed) or discover the Porquerolles by bicycle (private cars also are forbidden) enjoying the bougainvillea and windswept pines as you ride along. After a leisurely evening on board rise early morning and step ashore for a walk along the winding paths of Île de Port-Cros. As the sun reaches its full height, take the tender to La Palud. Jump in and cool off as you discover the signposted marine flora and fauna that lies beneath the surface.
ÎLES D’HYèRES TO CANNES (42 NAUTICAL MILES)
Glide into the glittering Bay of Cannes. Head to the Old Town for a spot of culture at the Musée de la Castre in the remains of a medieval castle, or the Bellini Chapel Museum. In the early evening, take a stroll past the boutiques that line the stylish Croisette, followed by dinner at the two-Michelin-starred La Palme d’Or in the Hôtel Martinez. Those looking for something a little more low-key will find some of the best Provençal cuisine in the tiny cobblestone back streets.
CANNES TO CAP D’ANTIBES (12 NAUTICAL MILES)
Lying just off Cannes, Île Saint-Honorat is the place to head for a peaceful lunch at anchor. Resident monks live in the Abbaye de Lérins, and you can stock up on their award-winning wines to enjoy on board. Ease towards Cap d’Antibes and enjoy an afternoon of watersports in the bay of Juan-les-Pins. Take the tender ashore to the private jetty of the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc for dinner on the terrace of the Eden-Roc Pavilion. Renowned for its star-packed deck, the Belle Époque landmark is one of the glitziest celebrity hotspots for Riviera splendor
CAP D’ANTIBES TO ST. JEAN CAP FERRAT (12 NAUTICAL MILES)
Anchor in the horseshoe bay of Villefranche and discover the medieval village of Eze and the ravishing gardens at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Back on board, cruise around the headland to the tranquil Baie des Fourmis. Take the tender to Anjuna Beach in Èze-sur-Mer. Enjoy the beach club’s Indian Ocean style in a stunning Mediterranean setting with cuisine to match.
CAP FERRAT TO MONACO (11 NAUTICAL MILES)
Anchor in the Port of Monaco and discover one of the most glamorous capitals in the world. Venture up to the Prince’s Palace of Monaco and explore the boutiques of Monte Carlo. The Principality is also home to some of the finest restaurants in the world, including Louis XV – Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon.
Cap off a stunning charter with a fun evening ashore. Watch the sun set from the Sea Lounge at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel. Even if you don’t feel like wagering, the famed Casino de Monte Carlo is well worth a visit. After dark, the legendary Jimmy’z is just a five-minute stroll away.