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Spots to drop anchor on the French Riviera

featured in News & reviews Author Tracy Wise, Destination Editor Updated

Best places to reach by yacht charter from Saint-Tropez

The French Riviera ranks as one of the world's premier destinations with luxury superyachts, Belle Époque hotels and casinos, magnificent health spas and sumptuous restaurants.

Year after year, the Mediterranean climate attracts visitors for days of leisurely rounds of golf, world-class events and lounging at beach clubs. Where else can you enjoy breakfast in St Tropez, an afternoon of designer shopping in Cannes finishing with Michelin-star dining in Monaco, all in the same day?

If you're planning on traveling to Saint-Tropez, chartering a private yacht and exploring the coastline, here are some of the highlights of this wonderful region.

looking over the old port of cannes and along the bay


Originating as a fishing village, Cannes is the French Riviera's premium resort for glamour and indulgence. Stroll along the Promenade de la Croisette with boutiques from top designers or opt for a sun lounger at one of the exclusive beach clubs whilst being served fresh seafood and chilled rosé.

Le Suquet is the old quarter of Cannes with superb restaurants – walk to the top by the Musée de la Castre for fabulous panoramic views across the Vieux Port, Lérins Islands and Ésterel Mountains. On the way, browse the market stalls at Marché Forville with a tempting selection of cheeses, meats and produce.

Each year, Cannes hosts major events and festivals that give the town a certain buzz and air of excitement. If you’re in Cannes in May, don't miss the red carpet show and atmosphere at the Cannes Film Festival.

For a great getaway just a short boat ride from Cannes, the Lérins Islands offer a relaxed pace with island walks and snorkelling in clear waters. There are plenty of options to rent a day boat in Cannes or if you want to hire a boat to cruise to Antibes, Cap d'Antibes or Nice.

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Port Vauban Marina, Antibes


Antibes is a picturesque town with medieval ramparts and a major port that hosts the world’s largest superyachts, Port Vauban. With a backdrop of the Mediterranean and mountains in the distance, Antibes is one of the French Riviera's most popular places to visit.

It's easy to understand the charm of Antibes - flower-bedecked narrow streets, fountains and the excellent Marché Provençal at the Cours Massena. Many artists lived in Antibes including Picasso, who now has a museum here that houses many of his artworks.

Nearby, the Cap d'Antibes is a headland of fine villas and mansions with a splendid coastal walkway. The world-class Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc welcomes celebrities and royalty and is well known for luxury accommodation, an iconic swimming pool, a fabulous Champagne bar and many star-studded events.

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Port de Nice, Nice


Nice is the largest city of the French Riviera with a diverse range of cafés, bars and restaurants. The city has a truly continental vibe with French, Italian, Middle East and North African influences.

Top attractions in Nice include the market at Cours Saleya, Castle Hill, shopping in Vieux Nice and wonderful museums including MAMAC, Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Matisse Museum. The Promenade des Anglais is ideal for sunset strolls and admiring the beautiful turquoise sea, though it should be noted that unlike other parts of the French Riviera to the west, the main beach in Nice is stony rather than sandy.

Throughout the year, an entertaining calendar of events make Nice a thrilling destination including opera concerts, Nice Carnival and Nice Jazz Festival. Don't miss the luxurious vintage charm of palace hotels including Hotel Negresco and admiring the yachts beside the fishing boats at Nice Port.

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View of Villefranche sur Mer with Blue Skies


Villefranche-sur-Mer is a harbourside town set in a beautiful bay between Nice and the Saint Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula. The harbour has some excellent seafood restaurants with some of the prettiest views on the coast that have played backdrop to many movies including Bond films.

The town has a lot of history and interesting sights such as the Citadelle, rue Obscure and Chapelle St Pierre that was painted by artist Jean Cocteau. Popular in summer with cruise ships, you can easily rent a private yacht in Villefranche where the views across the bay are spectacular.

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Port Fontvieille Marina, Fontvieille


Monaco is a bucket list destination with elegant shopping, premium restaurants and excellent sightseeing as well as top events such as Monaco Grand Prix.

To flex your credit card with the crème de la crème of luxury shopping in Monaco, head to Metropole Shopping Centre, the Carré d'Or and Les Pavilions where you'll find everything opulent and haute couture.

Famous Monaco landmarks include Place du Casino and the immaculate Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco Oceanographic Museum and the magnificent Palais Princier sandwiched in between Port Fontvieille and Port Hercules.

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