Visiting St Tropez by Private Yacht
Is there a place describing "the ritz" of the South of France more than St.Tropez? And nothing lives up to "the ritz" more than a luxury private yacht charter with a full crew and personal chef.
St. Tropez has to be one of the best places to start a luxury yacht charter. Surrounded by a centuries-old wall, the town has small, intimate restaurants lining the harbor that specialize in seafood and Provencale cuisine. Behind the waterfront restaurants you'll find a maze of streets and alleys ("chemins") with countless little shops selling everything from traditional Provencale foods and brightly colored linens to designer gear and hand-made accessories.
It should be mentioned that St. Tropez has more than yachts, nightlife, and beaches. There is also the Maison des Papillons, which showcases 250 varieties of butterflies that used to live in the surrounding areas. And if you are looking for athletic action, you can hit the courts at the Tennis Club de St. Tropez or even rent your own boat to explore the Mediterranean if you have not arrived on a charter yacht.
St. Tropez has several points of interest that you can fit into a day stop on a yacht charter. SPA Pure Altitude at La Villa Marie is the place to go for personalized beauty treatments. Plage de Pamplonne is an absolute favorite of beach goers, and Maison Ocoa is its resident bar/club if you're interested in seeing and being seen. As a former military stronghold, St. Tropez has a historic air that comes to life if you manage to visit the Zitadelle von St. Tropez. Long ago St. Tropez transitioned from military outpost to fishing village, and then further to sailing hub for the rich. The port hosts Les Voiles de St. Tropez, a sailing regatta, at the end of each September.
A final attraction worth mentioning is the Musee de L'Annonciade, which houses the works of many French painters. This is integral to the St. Tropez experience because art has played an important role here for many years. Pointilist Paul Signac's pieces personify the energy of St. Tropez, and it was his interest in the wonderful light here that brought the likes of Matisse, Bonnard, and Marquet to the St. Tropez scene. French New Wave artists came through St. Tropez and ultimately influenced cinema as well as music. St. Tropez also saw fashion designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli add to the art community in the 1920's. Nearly 100 years later St. Tropez still asks what inspiration it can offer you.
These three islands, also known as Iles d'Or (Islands of Gold) due to the yellow color of their rock, provide a special contrast to the rest of the Riviera. Just a short cruise away from St. Tropez, each has its own distinct characteristics. Poquerolles, the largest of the islands has an excellent selection of sandy (and often empty) beaches, as well as a truly colonial feel to its villages. The smallest island, Port-Cros, is a National Park. The island has a wild feel to it and is a great place to hike and picnic.
This town is famous for its events, luxurious hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Lining the beach are dozens of restaurants, some of which morph into funky nightclubs when the sun goes down. For shopaholics, rue d'Antibes runs parallel to la Croisette and is crammed with everything from typical French high street fashion to designer shops. One of the charms of Old Town is a covered market selling local produce and flowers; a must to include on your yacht charter vacation.
The town hosts several events throughout the year so plan accordingly if you're interested in seeing the town bustle with energy. First of all, there is the Carnival on the Riviera, which is a Mardi Gras celebration. Then there's the lesser-known International Luxury Travel Market (for all things jet set) and the International Festival of Games, which includes backgammon, bridge, and chess. And considering Cannes is on the Mediterranean, there is the requisite event for boating enthusiasts: Festival de la Plaisance at Vieux Port. Read more about Cannes.
Antibes by charter yacht
You'll find the resort town of Antibes primly situated between Cannes and Nice. Antibes provides some respite from these two more bustling towns though, ironically, it was once the only major stop on journeys from Marseilles to Italy. The reason for this is that Antibes has ancient ramparts that have kept it safe from destruction for centuries. Also, Antibes stayed relevant throughout history as its naturally protected port proved quite important for trade. Antibes has stood the test of time as its Roman aqueducts can attest; though the 5th Century saw Antibes overrun with barbaric tribes. The past century saw Elizabeth Taylor choose Antibes as a honeymoon destination. Antibes is at once historically interesting and presently beguiling.
How to explore Antibes
When choosing how best to experience Antibes from your charter yacht, you should know that walking through the town center is absolutely necessary. You'll get your bearings on foot and also be able to wander better this way since the streets tend to be very narrow, your yacht charter crew will be able to guide you if you wish. Antibes has 48 beaches, and the Plage de la Salis is the starting point for a hike up to Garoupe Lighthouse, which will afford you some fantastic views. Other stops on your Antibes outdoors itinerary should include visits to local gardens. Exflora Park is a wonderful mix of different styles of Mediterranean gardens, and it also features fountains and ponds. There is a rose bush path leading to the sea, a maze with sculpted hedges, an orange grove, a winter garden, and a vegetable garden. Eilenroc Gardens are located well above sea level, playing host to traditional Mediterranean species and housing a whole part dedicated to the plants of Antibes.
Once you are ready to head indoors, you will have several museums to choose from. Juan des Pins is the part of Antibes that has the nightclubs, shopping, and a casino. Antibes proper has nice restaurants, chic boutiques, and fancy accommodations. However you want to spend your time relaxing, you should at least consider the cultural aspects of Antibes.
Antibes has many music festivals and outdoor concerts in the summer, and Jazz is a favorite with the Jazz a Juan fest leading the way in attendance. There is also the Festival of Sacred Music at Antibes Cathedral, which is as heavenly as it sounds. Other fests include the Antique Show of Antibes, the Festival of St. Peter (patron saint of fishermen), Antibes Yacht Show, and the popular Voiles d'Antibes Mediterranean Regatta. Come to Antibes to experience opulent lifestyle as Liz Taylor did, to embrace the art scene as Picasso did, or just to live comfortably on the Med as fishermen do even today.
Villefranche and Cap Ferrat
Villefranche-sur-Mer and St. Jean Cap Ferrat are two idyllic seaside villages hiding superb restaurants, secret bays, and excellent anchorages. Short inland trips arranged from your charter yacht can include ancient hilltop towns complete with picturesque passageways and countless galleries. Many yachts anchor off either harbor, and guests use the yacht's tender to go ashore.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is a wonderful destination on the French Riviera that offers visitors the requisite view of the Mediterranean, as well as many hotel choices and restaurant options. Fewer than 10 miles away are the following towns and villages: Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Nice, Eze, Cap-d'Ail, La Turbie, Monte Carlo, Beausoleil, Peillon, and Saint-Laurent-du-Var. The area of Villefranche-sur-Mer is home to Acropolis museum, Jean Bouin Sport Palace, and the Palais Nikaia theater. You may sail into Villefranche on a yacht charter and find yourself adrift in historic ambience that allows you to imagine life as it used to be.
Sailing and deep sea diving are popular here, and La Darse harbor provides docking for boats. The bay at Villefranche is an unusually deep harbor, as Mediterranean ports go, so it is safe for large ships and charter yachts of all sizes. The Russian Navy used Villefranche as a base at one point; meanwhile it has become the most visited port in France ever since cruise ships started bringing people here in the 1980s. The Old Town and bay at Villefranche have been featured in the films Captain Horatio Hornblower, To Catch a Thief, The Jewel of the Nile, and several more. There is real old world charm here and proximity to many other renowned destinations. Don't forget a trip up to the tiny medieval village of Eze!
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