Katie Jones- Alicia Cranwell

A Yacht Owner’s Guide to the French Riviera POrts

Among the French Riviera ports, you are spoilt for choice. It is undoubtable that one will have all the amenities you require, from adjoined heliports to ports just a quick drive away from the airport.

Additionally, you have a fantastic choice of ambiance from small fishing villages to party towns. Naturally, when thinking about where to get a berth for your boat you contemplate convenience, amenities and price. However, when deciding upon ports in the French Riviera, you must factor in availability.

The French Riviera is one of the most popular yachting destinations in the world, so it is good to have insight into your options. Honest Marine Services have put together a short guide to the most sought after ports along the Riviera and their antechambers/run offs to help you with your decision. Split into two parts, the first part will take you from Port Hercules to Marina Baie des Anges (part two coming next week covers Port Vauban to Saint Tropez)


 


 

French Riviera – Port Hercules (Monaco)

 

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Of all the French Riviera ports, Hercules is probably the most attractive. Almost 40 acres to accommodate 700 vessels, 110 for yachts 24m+ and 50 of these for superyachts and in addition there is space for a 300m cruise ship to harbour against the sea wall.
 
Port Hercules is a natural bay situated in the Condamine, one of the few deep-water French Riviera ports. One of the best amenities in Monaco is the helipad. Please note that berths can only be rented and due to high demand a priority system is in place.
 

 

 
 

Why Choose Port Hercules?

Monaco is one of the most intriguing places to live. The principality has a great deal of positives, including but not limited to: Beautiful landscapes, security and cleanliness.
 

For restaurants, there are many options depending upon your taste and desired setting. For example, on the Larvotto beach a favourite is La Note Bleue, their salads are lovely, the wine is great and service is impeccable. Nearer the port, there is a wonderful, hidden away casual Italian restaurant,La Bionda, the steak to share is divine and it is very reasonably priced. For higher quality dining, try the Fairmont, Louis XV in the newly renovated Hotel de Paris on the place du Casino or Joël Robuchon in Hotel Metropole.

Monaco is also luxury shopping central, the Monte Carlo Pavillons opposite the Casino are no more. Visit the newly built shopping quarter, The One Monte-Carlo opposite the Hermitage where you will find the same luxury stores and new cafés or the Metropole for an indoor experience.

Our Honest Remark

With the yacht show and Grand Prix, Monaco can be somewhat of a frustration. Driving is not an option and trains are complicated. Not forgetting that Monaco’s nightlife is very much alive with Rascasse, Jacks, La Brasserie and more bars playing music until late in the Port, there is little peace of a night time, although this may well be what attracts you. The most tranquil berths in the port are owned by the Yacht Club for which you must be a member and demand is high.

Facilities:
Soft water, electricity on the quay and the pontoons (220-380V), ice (Pontoon BP), fuel by appointment, WC, showers, telephone, WiFi, used oil and battery containers, recycling, 3 fixed cranes (10 and 20t) and shipyard, as well as a good number of restaurants and bars.
Pricing: Extortionate, no weekly or annual rates.

 


French Riviera – Fontvieille (Monaco)

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Often used as an antechamber, particularly during the yacht show and Grand Prix, Fontvieille holds 275 berths with a maximum draught of 3m. It is protected by easterly winds from rock and southerly and westerly from seawall.

Why choose Port Fontvieille?

Fontvieille is somewhat the opposite of Hercules in a peaceful sense. It lacks the loud nightlife, but remains a social area with quaint bars and restaurants in the port. The scenery is quite breathtaking with the rock that shelters you from the Easterly winds rising high above the port. Visit the British pub, The Ship & Castle and Gerhard’s both at the end of the port. Take your beers or wines to the wall outside and watch the sun set with the sound of the sea behind you, there is no better Friday evening. With Monaco just a few steps away, this is a brilliant spot for a berth.

 

Our Honest Remark

Fontvieille has limited parking in the port.

 
Facilities:
Soft water, electricity (220-380 V), ice, fuel, WC, toilets, telephone, WiFi, laundrette, used oil containers, banks, bars and restaurants.
 
Pricing: Highly expensive, no weekly or annual rates

 


French Riviera Ports – Cap d’Ail

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260 berths, 10 of which are dedicated to yachts 30-65m.

Why Choose Port Cap d’Ail?

The quieter of the nearby Monaco ports is Cap d’Ail. It is renowned for its beach restaurants: Eden Plage Mala and La Réserve de la Mala. These both offer private sun-beds, brilliant views and private beaches with excellent service, drinks and food. The best way to arrive is to take the coastal walk, the wall which hides the road helps you to forget land and enjoy the sea and sun. 

Our Honest Remark

There is a lot of traffic coming from and going to Monaco, often commuters use Cap d’Ail free parking to avoid the high charges in Monaco leaving little space for anyone in Cap d’Ail to park their cars.

 
Facilities:
Soft water, electricity at quay and on the pontoons, (220-380 V), ice, fuel (welcome quay), WC, toilets, handicap access, WiFi,  parking, 24/7 security, recycling point, carrening area, lift (75t), slipway, ship chandlers, restaurants and shipyard.
 
 
Pricing: Medium to expensive day rate, very expensive annual rate

 


French Riviera Ports – Beaulieu-sur-Mer

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The belle-epoque town of Beaulieu offers 720 berths with a depth of 1.4-4.9m.

Why choose Port Beaulieu

Beaulieu Sur Mer is, just as its name describes a beautiful place. Just like Saint Jean Cap Ferrat next door, it is in close proximity to Anjuna and Mala Plage. However, it offers its own delectable dishes in restaurants such as African Queen, a renowned port-side restaurant, recommended by all who dine there. La Reserve offers Michelin class dining and is situated in the glorious sea-front hotel La Reserve de Beaulieu.

Sneaky insightThe hotel (state which hotel) has a pool that looks out over the sea where you can eat and drink with the summer sun and a delightful sea breeze in complete tranquility.

Beaulieu is situated next to Èze, an historic and exquisite ancient village up the mountain. If you can make the time to walk or drive to the village, have a glass of wine at Chateau Eza or La Chèvre d’Or and experience the French Riviera to the maximum. With views of the entire coast in such tranquility, you will not be disappointed.

Our Honest Remark

Port restaurants, even during off-season, are very popular and service can be slow. The famous African Queen being one of the busiest.

Facilities:
Soft water, electricity at quay and on the pontoons (220V/380V 32A/63A/125A) mail service, fuel at port entrance, video surveillance, WC, showers, free WiFi, parking, defibrilator, rubbish bins, used oil containers, black and grey water discharge pumps (<12m), carrening area, ravelift (40t and 100t), fixed crane (350t), mobile crane (2.5t), ship chandlers, bars and Monaco Marine shipyard.
 
 
 
Pricing: Highly competitive

 


French Riviera Ports – St Jean Cap Ferrat

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Saint Jean Cap Ferrat holds 581 berths with a depth of 1.5 – 4m. 
 

Why choose Port Saint Jean Cap Ferrat?

Just a 10 minute drive to Monaco, close location to Anjuna and Plage Mala. Saint Jean Cap Ferrat is very picturesque and being far away from the motorway, people tend not to venture there. It is an idyllic seaside resort adorned with a beautiful 12km walk and is most famous for the Rothschild villa and gardens. Enjoy a suave evening at one of Villa Rothschild’s musical soirées or opera night.

St Jean Cap Ferrat’s coastline offers everything from private, secluded beaches to watersport havens. Discover the marine life at Les Fossettes guided by the underwater trail between July and August. Alternatively, you could go scuba diving by catching Le Corto from the Old Port. St Jean Cap Ferrat is a sporty resort, offering many more watersports and walks.

Our Honest Remark

Affected quite strongly by Easterly winds. Moreover, although being a distance from the motorway is positive for tranquility, it also means that it is not as accessible as some of the other ports on the French Riviera.

Facilities:
Soft water, electricity on the pontoons (220-380 V/ 30 A) and on the quay (50 A), ice, fuel on the port, WC, showers, telephone, laundrette, used oil containers, mail service, free WiFi, travelift (30t), slip (up to 800kg), carrening area, crane (16t), ship chandlers, bars and shipyard.
 
 
 
 
Pricing: Competitive

 


French Riviera Ports – Villefranche-Sur-Mer

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One of the deepest natural harbours in the Mediterranean Sea and offers 570 berths in 2 ports (Port de la Darse (<27m) and Port de la Santé (49 <15m and one 30m) with a depth of 1.4 – 7m.

Why Choose Port Villefranche-Sur-Mer?

Villefranche is an extremely beautiful port, vibrant in colour and character. The Old Town, is a little bit of hike away but definitely worth the energy. Go to the castle for an historic dining experience or walk the streets to find some artistic and unique boutiques.

Mère Germaine on Quay Courbet offers a fantastic menu of fish and Provencal dishes. Situated in the Port with a terrace, you can enjoy a relaxing meal while looking out on the harbour. A significant benefit of this restaurant is that it caters for yacht owners and guests with a free water taxi. Alternatively, dine at Achill’s on the rooftop terrace or waterside tables.

Downfalls

Often the view is obstructed by a gigantic cruise ship anchored smack bang in the middle of the bay.
Facilities:
Port de la Darse: Soft water, electricity at quay and on the pontoon (220 V / 16-63A, 380V), ice, fuel, WC, showers, free WiFi, laundrette, used oil containers, sewage pumps, recycling point, ship chandlery, 2 slips (40+100t), 2 cranes (4 and 10t).
Port de la Santé: Water, electricity, WC, toilets, video surveillance, nearby shops, restaurants and bars.
 
 
 
 
 
Pricing: Highly competitive

 


French Riviera Ports – Port Lympia (Nice)

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Largest berth size 180m and 500 berths (<30m) and 20 for yachts (>30m) with a depth of 6m. One benefit is the helicopter that you can catch to Monaco to avoid traffic.

 

Why choose Port Lympia?

Nice is famous for its Carnival (February around Mardi Gras), it is a vibrant city in which you can never grow bored. There is something for everyone, from its quirky quartier to the city centre. It is the 5th largest city in France and by far the largest city in the French Riviera. It is home to the baroque style Opera, Provencal Open Air Market and numerous museums and galeries. Here are a few examples: Lympia Gallery, Charles Nègre Photography Museum, MAMAC, Beaux Arts Nice, Massena Museum.

 

For restaurants, the Bistro du Port comes highly rated, using only fresh local produce and offering Mediterranean cuisine it is certainly one to try. Moreover, Nice has a vast variety of restaurants outside of the port, from casual to first-class dining: JAN, Le Plongeoir, Maīdo.

For shopping, Nice has pretty much everything you could think of, right down to a quaint old bookshop filled with goodies on the outskirts of the city centre. Near the train station is the smaller of the Galeries Lafayette, you can find the larger one on Place Massena. For luxury shops, Rue Paradis is the hub.

Our Honest Remark

Nice holds the only public (there’s also Cannes airport which is private) airport on the Riviera, thus the concentration of people arriving and travelling about in Nice is high. In addition to this, the numerous events in the city, including the Carnival and Nice Marathon, driving along the Promenade des angles can be impossible. 

Facilities:
Soft water, electricity on the quay (220-380 V/ 32-125 A) and on the pontoons (220 V/ 10-250 A), ice, fuel 7/7, WC, showers, telephone, free WiFi, mobile sewage pump for small quantities, used oil collection, crane for haul outs (20t), private crane hire, carrening area.
 
 
 
 
 
Pricing: highly competitive day rate, expensive annual rate

 


French Riviera Ports – St Laurent du Var

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1089 berths (6.6-25.3m) and 247 berths for public. Very close to Nice, the airport and is used as the pick-up point for the airport as it is just a short drive away.
 
 

Why Choose Port Saint Laurent du Var?

Saint Laurent du Var is the ideal location if you like to be around commercialism. It is of course home to Polygone, the newly built outdoor shopping centre with cinema, restaurants, gym and of course and shops. Cap 3000 is situated nearby too. Moreover, the beachfront is lined with bars and restaurants rendering it a very well equipped port. 

Restaurant suggestions include: Leedy’s, Le Mesclun, Le Bayside and Au Cambodge

 
 

Downfalls

Saint Laurent du Var is found at the end of Nice runway, and can therefore be a little bit noisy.

Facilities:
Soft water, electricity (220 V monophase 10-25 A and 380 V triphase 32 A), ice, fuel in the port, WC, showers, laundrette, WiFi, paid parking, recycling point, collection of used oil and batteries, collection of black water, slipway, travelift (50t), 2 cranes (4 and 6t), shipyard, VHF 9.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pricing: Medium

 


French Riviera Ports – Marina Baie des Anges (Villeneuve-Loubet)

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474 berths (<30m) and 1 berth for 35m. Depth in the port entrance 5m and 2-3m in the basins.
 
 
 

Why choose Marina Baie des Anges?

The Marina of Baie des Anges offers numerous amenities such as stony and sandy beaches, watersports and restaurants, Baie des Anges is a port loved by many.

The large wave-like structures host plenty of restaurants, shops, bars and even a swimming pool and spa. During Summer, the beaches are filled with people enjoying festivals and activities, including: regattas, flyboarding events, festivals and more. Villeneuve Loubet also has the benefit of greenery, within its forests there are activity parks for children and 103 hectares of wood and meadow at Vaugrenier park

The Provencal village of Villeneuve Loubet also offers plenty for those intrigued by the history of towns along the Riviera, you can learn about its ancient life at the Museum of History and Art. Additionally, visit the Escoffier Culinary museum in honour of Villeneuve Loubet’s revered late chef Auguste Escoffier and taste the town’s culinary history at the Michelin star restaurant La Flibuste.

Our Honest Remark

The wave-like structure has been perplexing and dividing visitors since its construction, it can be seen as either an inspiring architectural creation or an eye sore.

Facilities:
Soft water, electricity at quay (220-380 V/16-63 A), on the pontoons (220 V/16-63 A), fuel, WC, Showers, free WiFi, laundrette, collection of used oil, cranes (5t), carrening area, small shipyard and limited parking. The large ship-like structure hosts plenty of restaurants, shops, bars and even a swimming pool and spa.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pricing: Medium to expensive

HMS travels to all French Riviera ports for your yachting needs . We will continue from Port Vauban to Saint Tropez in the next blog.

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Full Disclosure: HMS is not paid for any company names in their blogs. If we mention your company, you could drop us a thank you and even follow up with a share!

Alicia Cranwell

Marketing