Boat activities on Cote d'Azur - France
The French Riviera, also known as the Cote d'Azur, is found on France's south-east coast and overlooks the glistening Mediterranean Sea. Known for its dazzling sand beaches, upmarket resort towns, and glamorous casinos, the Cote d'Azur has been a popular holiday destination with some of the world's wealthiest travelers since the 18th century. While boutique shops and Michelin-starred restaurants are certainly points of interest on the coast, one of the biggest draws is the array of water-based activities available. From yacht rentals, private boat tours, parasailing excursions, water sport rentals, and jet ski hire, the list of aqua-excursions is endless! Our simple guide to boat rental on the French Riviera takes a look at the different watersports available along the coast and the range of yacht and boat rentals available. After all, no visit to the Cote d'Azur can pass by without a day at sea.
Sailing along the French Riviera is one of the most enjoyable activities when visiting Nice and there's plenty of international boat charters and yacht rental companies to choose from. Port de Nice is the best place for boat rental in Nice as the marina is home to several rental shops and has over 500 boats docked and ready to go. Take a stroll around the harbor front to get a feel for the yacht rentals and boat cruises on offer which include cruises to Monaco, sunset cruises, and private evening tours. Other watersports available in Nice's Bay of Angels include kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, and Jet-skiing.
Monaco is well known for its annual Monaco Yacht Show which is held in Port Hercules and is Europe's biggest in-water display of large yachts. It's no wonder then that boat rental in Monaco is one of the most popular things to do in the resort town! Charters tend to vary from day long to weekly and range from luxury 40-foot motorboats to 220-foot yachts. If you're on a budget, consider joining a group boat tour where you'll cruise the coast with a small group of guests, sightseeing as you go. Group tours departing from Monaco tend to involve a pre-planned route and will likely stop at the Bay of Monte Carlo along with hidden beaches, and secluded bays that offer participants the chance to jump overboard and swim in the crystal blue water. Another popular water sport in Monaco is scuba diving as the waters here are teeming with marine life including angler fish, scorpionfish, and nudibranchs. There are several diving centers in Monaco that rent equipment out to seasoned divers and offer boat dives off the coast.
From kayak excursions along the coast, parasailing high above the Mediterranean, and scuba diving off the Old Port of Golfe-Juan, there's plenty of watersports to enjoy in the luxury resort town of Cannes. Most of Cannes beaches are lined with watersport rental shops but Pointe Croisette is the best place to start your day at sea. This palm-shaded peninsula justs out into the Mediterranean Sea and is the launch point for most of Cannes watersports. From here you can head over to the Lerins Islands on a snorkeling adventure or rent a Stand-Up Paddleboard and paddle to Sainte-Marguerite island. If you're more interested in exploring by boat and you're traveling with a larger group, consider renting a 12-berth boat for the day from the peninsula's port. Those traveling solo or as a couple might prefer a half-day rental or an organized group boat tour that has you sailing the Mediterranean with like-minded people.
The coastal town of Saint Tropez was once a small fishing village, but today you'll find more luxury yachts than fishing boats in its glistening harbor. The town's waterfront area is lined with quaint cafes and boutique shops and is one of the most famous marinas in the world. From here, tourists depart on yacht day trips and boat tours to nearby islands and attractions including Cannes, Lerins Islands, Canoubiers Bay, and Saint Raphael. As for kayak, jet ski, and snorkeling gear rental, you'll find several equipment rental stores dotted around the harbor area.
Those who rent a boat for the day from one of the Riviera's main towns should consider asking their skipper to head to quieter areas along the coast as there's plenty of hidden gems and areas of outstanding beauty to visit. The small island of Porquerolles, the charming island of Lerins, the dramatic Esterel Cliffs, and the sublime seaside town of Villefranche should all be on your Cote d'Azur ‘to-visit' list when chartering a private boat or joining a luxury tour.
Sailing the Cote d'Azur is a seasonal hobby and even those looking to rent a boat for a day should be aware of the rental availability. In general, boats and yachts can be rented along the coastline between the months of April and October. However, for prime sailing conditions, which include hot weather and light winds, try to book your visit between June and September.
Another thing to note is that you might want to avoid renting a boat or yacht during a sailing competition, and this coastline has its fair share! While the competitions are an excellent display of skill and engineering, you might find the waters a little too crowded for your liking. The biggest events include Les Voiles de St Tropez, Cannes Yachting Festival, Cannes Royal Regattas, and the Monaco Yacht Show; all of which take place annually in September.
If you want to get a taste of living like a local on the Cote d'Azur, taking to the Mediterranean Sea is a must and there's plenty of French Riviera cruises and boat tours to choose from. Whether you hop aboard a superyacht for the day, rent a budget vessel, or you simply want to kayak your way along the coast, you're guaranteed to have a memorable day at sea. Get ready to hop aboard your vessel, sit back as the skipper takes over, and enjoy the stunning French coastline like a local.
Events and festivals on French Riviera
The Cote d’Azur is abuzz with glitz and glamour all year round but it’s the summer months that really get the party started on France’s sought-after south coast. Events and festivals are held every month and range from theatre performances and music festivals to cinematography celebrations and yacht races. A-listers, millionaires, and outright party people flock to the shores of the Mediterranean for a summer to remember as seaside towns and secluded beaches become the stomping ground for a summer of fun. Below we take a look at some of the best events and festivals on the Côte d’Azur and provide a handy event guide to help you plan your dream trip.
Shopping on Cote d’Azur
It’s no secret that the South of France is an area well known for its acquired taste in luxury living, and when it comes to shopping this affluent region has a real flair for fashion and a lot to offer for shopaholics. Dare to drag yourself away from the alluring arrondissements of Paris’s fashion district and you’ll be rewarded with a sunsoaked shopping haven on Cote d’Azur and when it comes to shopping, the French Riviera does not disappoint. From upmarket department stores like Galeries Lafayette (whose flagship store you’ll find in Paris) to independent art galleries including the Sheun Gallery in Nice, the array of shopping available on Cote d’Azur covers a variety of tastes and, believe it or not, can be tailored to suit all budgets.
Top activities on Cote d'Azur
The scenic stretch of coastline known as the Cote d’Azur winds its way along France’s south coast from Saint Tropez to Menton, encompassing the chic towns of Cannes, Nice, and Monaco along the way. The area is known as a playground for the rich and famous, and a glamorous holiday destination for those looking to soak up the very best of the French Riviera. When it comes to Cote d’Azur attractions, there are plenty of things to do and places to visit along the coast to keep all character types entertained. Whether you’re exploring Nice’s charming Old Town on a free walking tour, people-watching at Monte Carlo Harbor, or admiring 19th-century art in Cannes, the Cote d’Azur doesn’t disappoint.
South of France by car
With 71 miles of winding corniche roads, numerous quaint Provincial villages to visit, and endless soft sand beaches to stop at and enjoy some sun-soaking, France’s Cote d’Azur is one of Europe’s dreamiest road trip destinations. Rent a car on the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea and the charm of southern France is at your fingertips! On your Riviera road trip, you’ll wind your way around a variety of landscapes, soak up a diverse range of cultures, and enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. After all, there’s no better way to navigate the coast than to do so with the comfort and freedom of your own vehicle.
Nightlife on the French Riviera - Cote d'Azur
The French Riviera is renowned for its glitz and glam appeal, hedonistic summers, and over the top attitude to partying, all of which make it a popular destination with those looking for a lively social scene. Jazz cafes, trendy bars, and glamorous night clubs line the sparkling coast and visitors can choose between splashing the cash at an invite-only beach party or rubbing shoulders with A-listers at one of the best clubs in the world. Whatever your entertainment taste may be, the Cote d’Azur has a little something for everyone.
Best restaurants on Cote d'Azur - France
Famous for its designer fashion brands, rolling vineyards, and historic monuments, France is a country with a lot to offer but it’s the nation’s gourmet cuisine that draws millions of visitors year after year. French dishes, which are usually full of flavor, made using simple ingredients, and boasting great finesse, have been replicated around the globe by passionate chefs aiming to try their hand at traditional dishes and haute cuisine. Below we’ve looked at some of the best restaurants in the south of France. Whether you’re looking for fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant (France is home to the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world) or hearty French cuisine at an authentic bistro, we’ve covered all dining options to suit every taste in this restaurant guide.