Gaze around any marina in the glamorous South of France and you’ll find that the yachting eye candy is out of this world: a plethora of beautiful boats berthed in equally impressive surroundings.
Anyone new to yachting would be forgiven for thinking that the price of keeping such boats on the Cote d’Azur would be extortionately high. But this is in fact, one of the misconceived notions about sailing on the French Riviera.
Incredible as it might seem, many marina rates in this part of the world are rather affordable, especially if you don’t own a superyacht.
Here are five of the best valued ports to remember next time you are planning a to go on your fractionally owned boat to the Cote d’Azur:
- Nice Port
Many of the cheapest berths to be found in the South of France are in the vieux ports, like Nice, at the end of the Promenade des Anglais not far from the attractive Old Town of Nice. The marina is large and well-equipped, but you do have to be careful of the massive ferries which come and go to Corsica every day. There are also lots of attractions nearby to go and visit when you feel the need to walk off your sea legs.
- St Laurent du Var
Right next to Nice Cote d’Azur Airport so great for meeting people off the plane, this recently renovate port offers great berths for surprisingly low prices. There are some excellent restaurants around the port and the odd nightclub if you fancy going on somewhere after – as well as a huge shopping centre within walking distance for those ‘rainy days’.
The Vieux Port at Cannes is also surprisingly reasonable, but it is wise to give the area a clear berth during the peak corporate season such as in May, for the Cannes Film Festival, and MIPCOM, held every year at the beginning of October. The facilities here are excellent and the Wi-Fi even stretches to most of the berths.
- St Raphael
The old port is somewhat small in this picturesque seaside resort in the Var, but it is well worth a visit if you can squeeze in. There are a host of shops within spitting distance and a huge Basilica right beside the port. Prices here are very inexpensive, which makes a welcome change from nearby St Tropez.
- La Ciotat
Another wonderful old port to check into is at la Ciotat, between Hyeres and Marseille. The marina here is huge with extensive facilities and the old town is again within walking distance where you will find a number of colourful markets being held throughout the week. The Sunday market is particularly worth hopping ashore for.