The French Riviera is considered one of the most prestigious places to stay. The picturesque regions in South of France with a mild climate and stable tailwinds have won the recognition of yachtsmen. On Cote D’Azur resorts occupy about a third of the coast. Today, the French Riviera coast is the center of luxury villas, white yachts, and luxury hotels. But holidays to Cote D’Azur means not only gorgeous beaches. The region is famous for its beautiful landscapes, colorful villages, historical sights, and interesting festivals.
Information about the region
The Cote D’azur refers to the Mediterranean coast of France, which stretches for 150 km from Toulon to the border with Italy. The conditional capital of the Cote D’Azur - Nice. Major cities in the region are Cannes, Hyeres, Antibes, Saint-Raphael, and Toulon. They are connected by rail and bus. The nearest international airports are nice and Marseille. They accept flights from different cities in Europe. There is Toulon-Hyeres airport, but it only serves domestic flights from Paris, as well as seasonal charters.
As for the yacht charter Cote D’azur is famous for its excellent infrastructure and rich yacht fleet. It offers tourists sailboats, catamarans, and motor yachts. Charter companies are based in Port Grimaud, Marseille, Toulon, and Saint-Tropez. There are more than 100 marinas in the region, and there are many protected bays. There is a shortage of available seats, especially during the peak season.
For a long trip, it will be impractical to rent a motor yacht due to fuel costs. Most yachtsmen prefer sailboats, which are characterized by autonomy and good maneuverability.
The French Riviera is located in the Mediterranean climate zone. Winter on the coast during the day the thermometer rises to 15°C. On some days, the indicator reaches 18-20°C, but in the evening it becomes cool. Summer is not hot, the temperature is kept at 26-28°C. The sun shines at least 300 days a year. Most of the precipitation falls in October-November and March-April. The sea temperature is 20-22°C in May, and 25°C in high season. The prevailing wind in the South France is westerly, its strength does not exceed 3-4 knots. In summer, a warm and humid madder blows, and with the arrival of winter, it is replaced by the Mistral.
Holidays on the French Riviera
The main a Cote D’Azur attractions are located in Nice, Toulon and Cannes. Toulon is famous for its elegant fountains, the garden of Alexander the First, the Royal tower, and the observation deck on mount Pharon. In Cannes, you should visit the old quarter of Le Suquet. In fact, this is the Old town, located on the slopes of mount Chevalier. During the walk, you can see the Cathedral of our lady of Hope, the castle De La Cast and the watchtower. Well-known sights of nice – place Garibaldi, Regina mansion, the monastery of Cimiez, the Lascaris Palace, the chapel of Mercy. Guests can climb the Roman hill, which offers a panoramic view of the old town. Each city has themed bars with live music, discos, night clubs and shops to suit every taste.
Diving on the Cote D’azur is as common as yachting. The season lasts from May to October, but advanced divers also dive in winter. Popular dive sites are located in the vicinity of nice (Bay of Villefranche), Saint-Raphael, Cassis. Fans of disaster sites prefer to dive in the area of Marseille, where the sunken wreckage of the Exupery plane is located. Family travelers can visit the Marineland zoo in Antibes. Its hallmark is a 30-meter tunnel with tiger sharks.
In the suburb of Antibes there is a water Park "Aquasplash", it is a leader in terms of a variety of attractions.
The Cote D’Azur beaches are sandy and pebbly, and they are divided into municipal and private territories. In Toulon sandy beaches are concentrated in the district Mourillon. In Cannes and nice, most of the beaches are paid, but they are clean and have the latest infrastructure. Those who expect a budget holiday should go to small towns and villages. The shallow La Ciotat beach is ideal for families with children. The beaches of Menton are well established, and you can also visit the Museum of fine arts. There are many beaches to suit every taste in Saint-Tropez. This is the most" party” resort on the French Riviera, and you need to go here for those who cannot imagine a vacation without fashionable clubs and incendiary discos before dawn.
When traveling on a yacht, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Hyères archipelago. It consists of three Islands — Porquerolles, Port Cros and Levant. There is no abundance of attractions and entertainment in the archipelago. Its peculiarity is the preservation of a unique ecosystem. There is no fuss inherent in resorts, but there are quiet beaches with clear water, fragrant meadows, citrus and eucalyptus groves. Port-CROs, part of Porcaro considered a national Park and protected by the state. On the island of Levan there is the oldest nudist colony.
Not less interesting place is Lerins archipelago. A fortress built in the XVII century on the initiative of Cardinal Richelieu has been preserved on the island of St. Margaret. At various times, it served as a defensive structure and prison. Now the Fort has a chapel, a Museum of the sea, viewing platforms and several prison casemates where excursions are conducted.
On the island of Saint-Honore is located Lerins Abbey, which is home to about 30 monks. They are engaged in the cultivation of olives and the production of wine that you can buy. Monks keep a vow of silence, which does not apply to Church chants.
Also noteworthy are the kalankas in the area of the village of Kassis. They are snow-white rocky ledges that form small bays, which is why they are called "Provencal fjords". Many coves hide wild beaches with turquoise water. From June to September, local authorities may restrict access to kalankas due to the fire situation in the region.
Cuisine and traditions
For centuries, the people of Provence have celebrated religious festivals, carnivals, and festivals with great gaiety, and some of them are still remembered today. In Marseille, in August, they celebrate the process à la Madone. A statue of the Virgin Mary is taken out of the main Cathedral and carried solemnly through the streets of the Old city. The procession is accompanied by thousands of people, and everyone can tie a handkerchief to its mantle, or put a rosary on the hand of the statue. It is believed that after this, the mother of God will patronize the city for a whole year, but next summer it is necessary to repeat the ritual.
Echoes of Christmas traditions have also been preserved. According to the Provencal tradition, each family burned a log of fruit tree before sitting down to the Christmas table. The log was watered with sweet wine, sprinkled with bread crumbs and salt to attract prosperity, happiness and prosperity to the house. Today, the tree was replaced by a sweet log-Bûche de Noel, without which the festive table is not complete. In the run-up to Christmas, you can find dozens of dessert options in pastry shops, and some prepare a log on their own, according to a family recipe.
Another essential symbol of Christmas on the Cote D’azur is santons, or figures of saints, which are used to complement the Christmas composition. Now they are made in the form of people representing various professions (cook, driver, fisherman, doctor, etc.). Local residents and even tourists annually buy new figures, collecting a collection of santons.
The cuisine of the Cote D’azur combines Italian and Provencal traditions. It is based on fish, seafood, vegetables and aromatic Provencal herbs. Regional dishes include baked artichokes, zucchini flowers and sea urchin fillets. Marseille's signature first course is Bouillabaisse, or fish chowder with seafood. Any restaurant offers fish and seafood cooked on coals. The menu includes mussels, squid, oysters, octopus, mullet, and sea rooster. On the coast, they grow melon "Cavaillon", it is used with smoked ham.
Memo to tourists
Preparing for a trip is the key to a successful and comfortable trip, as well as the ability to avoid unnecessary expenses and lost time. Employees of hotels, shops, Charter companies and gastronomic establishments understand English. But the French are distinguished by their patriotism and love for their native language, so it is recommended to learn a few basic phrases in French. In some establishments, service at the counter will be cheaper than at the table. Lunch or dinner at a table on the street will cost 15-20% more than a similar order inside the establishment. Cycling in cities is quite comfortable. But if you are planning a trip to the countryside, it is recommended to rent a mountain model.
Agricultural parts of the region are characterized by the absence of paved roads, winding paths, steep descents and ascents.
If you are interested in shopping, it is better to go to nice or Cannes, where the best shopping centers are concentrated. Prices for things, shoes and accessories are highly inflated, and it is not advisable to make purchases without seasonal discounts. You should pay attention to organic cosmetics based on lavender and Marseille soap. It makes sense to buy cheeses with mold, Provencal wines and herbs. Grocery supermarkets are open until 19: 00-20: 00, most of them are closed on Sunday. This should be taken into account in order not to be left without drinking water and food.
The mild climate makes it possible to sail comfortably for about 6 months of the year. The main influx of tourists and yachtsmen is observed in July-August. Those who are going to sail for the first time without a skipper should come in September-October or April-May. During the summer months, the water area is crowded with yachts and boats, and heavy traffic can cause difficulties with management. Due to high demand, it is recommended to book a yacht 3-5 months before the trip. This will allow you to save money and choose a suitable vessel.
In winter, the wind is cold and stormy, and only experienced yachtsmen sail at this time. But a nice bonus of winter will be low Charter rates.
The Cote D’azur is a well-known resort and popular yachting region of the Mediterranean. For many, it is synonymous with expensive luxury villas and super yachts of millionaires. In fact, the trip will cost no more than a similar format of recreation in neighboring countries. Here, luxury hotels coexist with medieval attractions, and bustling cities alternate with colorful villages. It is in the Provencal villages that you can feel the unusual atmosphere of the South of France, enjoy the Provencal cuisine, and relax on the sparsely populated beaches. To save money on a Charter, it is better to book a yacht several months in advance, and plan your vacation for spring or autumn. At this time, the weather is comfortable on the coast, and the streets and beaches are not crowded with tourists.