Are the French Riviera – also called the Côte d’Azur – and Monaco sophisticated, wealthy and stunningly lovely? Yes, they are, and with yacht shares available in the area it’s very hard to resist. Here’s why a boat share in the jewel of the French Med, the coast of south-east France, delivers something seriously special.
About Monaco and the Côte d’Azur
The glamorous beach resorts of Saint-Tropez and Cannes are at your fingertips here, as well as the super-rich independent state of Monaco. The Cote D’Azur started life in the 1700s as a health retreat for the rich and has remained a favourite destination for the wealthy ever since, a hugely popular stamping ground for the international jet-set and brilliant for celebrity-watching.
The coast remains a dazzlingly good holiday destination, with gorgeous hiking trails connecting many of the pretty coastal villages and towns. There’s so much to do there, as diverse as sailing to explore the remarkable Lérins Islands, wandering the attractive beach resorts at Mandelieu-la-Napoule in Menton, and discovering the extraordinary Mercantour National Park, along with 13 more national parks in the region.
This is a marvellous playground for walks and hikes, horseback riding, mountain biking, canyoning, rock climbing, and caving as well as superb international shopping, magical eating out, and luxury entertainment. The region also offers 15 ski resorts with well over 400 miles of ski slopes, 18 golf courses, plus around 3000 restaurants to choose from.
All about the Cote D’Azur
There isn’t a border to cross. The Cote D’Azur runs roughly from Cassis in the west – sometimes Toulon – to the French-Italian border to the east, where it joins the Italian Riviera (a riviera, by the way, is simply a coastal region with a subtropical climate and vegetation). This wonderful 70 mile long coastline falls in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, and Monaco sits within it, facing the Med with France on the other three sides.
The artistic nature of the coast dates back to the times of painters like Picasso, Matisse, and Francis Bacon, who adored the exotic light, colours, sounds and scents. Novelists like Edith Wharton and Aldous Huxley also flocked here to add an extra creative edge. Elton John, Brigitte Bardot and many more celebrities have homes here. In fact the riviera as a whole is populated by people from all over the planet, some say as many as 163 different nationalities, which makes it a genuinely cosmopolitan destination.
The biggest city in the French Riviera region is Nice, home to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, France’s third-busiest. The A8 autoroute motorway makes is easy and fast to traverse the area, and you can catch high speed trains from there including the super-fast TGV Sud-Est, which takes just 5.5 hours to reach Paris.
You’re spoiled for resorts here. There’s Cap-d’Ail and Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villefranche-sur-Mer, Antibes and Juan-les-Pins, St-Raphaël, Fréjus, Sainte-Maxime, plus Saint Tropez and Cannes to discover. And, of course, numerous massive marinas, home to around half of the world’s superyachts. No wonder yacht spotting is so good here!
About Monaco and Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo is the city at the centre of the tiny Principality of Monaco, a place that has been ruled by one powerful family – the Grimaldis – since the 1200s. It offers one of the planet’s best casinos and has the highest per-capita GDP in the world. The people there don’t pay income tax but it isn’t tax-free. You still pay the same VAT as France. It’s a place packed with amazing international shopping, luxury shops, exclusive brands and designer clothing, and the history of the place is fascinating.
8 great places to visit on the French Riviera
- Eze village, overlooking super-wealthy St Jean Cap Ferrat
- Marseilles, France’s 3rd largest city with its markets, seafood and calanques, stunning coastal valleys
- Menton, near the Italian border, with its extraordinarily hot micro-climate and annual Lemon festival
- Cagnes sur Mer with its ancient old quarter, racecourse and Renoir museum
- Antibes, a classic Riviera resort and once home to Picasso
- Cannes, famed for its international Film Festival
- St Tropez, the gorgeous old port city
- Cassis, with its sheltered inlets and massive sea cliffs, pretty pastel-painted buildings and great local wines
French Riviera weather and sea conditions off the Cote D’Azur
As far as the weather goes, the French Riviera boasts anything from 310 to 330 days of sunshine every year, often accompanied by pleasing sea breezes. The climate is typically Mediterranean featuring mild, relatively wet winters and warm, sunny summers. Atlantic frontal systems are common from October to April, rare in summer.
In winter you sometimes get snow on the coast and frost inland, but it’s fairly unusual. To the west, from Marseilles to Toulon, it’s less warm in winter thanks to the Mistral wind, which funnels hard and fast through the Rhone Valley. In summer it can get very hot indeed. To the east, bordering the Ligurian Riviera in Italy, it’s the mildest of all, although the summer heat is less intense than Marseilles.
The sea is cooled by the Mistral, reaching a maximum of 22 °C (72 °F) in August, and that means the best time for swimming and water sports tends to be mid-June to August. City visits are best out of the searing heat of midsummer, which means they’re most comfortable to enjoy in May, June, and the first half of September. Just look out for the occasional rain shower or afternoon thunderstorm.
Want to boat share on the French Riviera?
If all that sounds good you’re right. It’s a fabulous destination on a boat, and once you’re there there’s an endless stream of great things to do, see and experience. Let’s talk yacht share on the Med!