Ruling the Riviera
Fans of living the high life apply here. Berths available on yacht HMS Geckos, set to chart the French Riviera. Stops to be made in Cannes, Saint Tropez, Île du Levant and other places of distinction. Fun times supplied; BYO bling and bubbles.
Day 1 - Marseille - Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer
Bonjour! Welcome to France.
The rousing port of Marseille, France's oldest and second-largest city, leant its name to country's national anthem during the French Revolution. Today, still one of Europe's most important ports, Marseille is a dazzling fusion of cultures, with souq-style bazaars alongside Provence produce stalls and local artisan shops. Don't leave without slurping a bowl of bouillabaisse, the local fish stew.
Amble around the pedestrianised Le Panier. Once the site of a Greek market, it was dynamited in 1943 and rebuilt, today it is the perfect place to find food and artisan products handmade in Marseille. Take a break (and maybe a picnic) in the Jardin du Pharo, which overlooks the Mediterranean. At Vieux Port, watch boats dock with the day's catch as they have for thousands of years
We depart from the meeting point promptly at 3pm so please ensure you are there at least 10 minutes prior. Additional accommodation is available if you wish to arrive earlier and take in some of the sites of Marseille.
We use private vehicles or a mini bus, depending on the group size, to transfer from Marseille to Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer. For the transfer you will be unaccompanied, meeting up with the Skipper on arrival at the Marina. If you have any issues with making the meeting point at the assigned time you will need to contact the Skipper (see arrival complications for contact details). The drive from Marseille to Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer will take just over an hour – dependent on traffic (72.4km). Once located on the Isle de Sepet until a causeway was constructed linking the island to the mainland in the 17th century, Saint-Mandrier-sur-Mer has had a long history with Phoenicians, Ligurians, Rhodians and Romans all setting foot on the island.
Our Skipper will be waiting at Port Pin Rolland, the private marina where our yacht is moored, to greet you on arrival. From here you will be taken to your ‘home’ of the next 8 days for a detailed briefing and allocation of cabins. Before setting sail we will make a quick visit to the supermarket, located close by, to buy supplies for breakfast and afternoon snacks. These will be bought from the kitty fund. The kitty amount is based on feedback from past travellers and most find that they do not spend the whole amount quoted and put any leftover funds towards a dinner on the final night.
It's time to set sail!
Day 2-7 - Cote d'Azur
What better way to experience France than from the relaxing viewpoint of the Mediterranean. Our first destination is the Iles d’Hyeres Archipelago and a group of islands that is rich in woodlands, idyllic beaches, walking paths and Roman history.
IIles d'Hyeres Archipelago
Ile de Porquerolles
Our first stop is the largest and most westerly of the islands. Declared as a national park, centuries old oak forests, a ban on automobiles and smoking outside, the island is one of the most environmentally protected areas in the Mediterranean. The best way to get around the islands is to hire a bike and take to one of the many well marked tracks. For those wanting a more leisurely pace you may want to retire to one of the white sandy beaches and discover for yourself why this coast is called the Cote D'Azur.
Ile de Port-Cros
The smallest of the islands it does have a big history, with Roman coins and tombs discovered on the island, the establishment of a monastery in the 5th century, raids by Barbary pirates in the 16th century, the founding of an artists’ colony after WWI and the site of the ‘Battle of Port Cros’ during WWII. In 1963 the island it became France’s first marine national park. Flora and Fauna abound on the island and it is a snorkelling paradise. No automobiles are permitted on the island and smoking is not permitted beyond the small village.
Although not as well known as its neighbours along the Cote d'Azur, Cavalaire-sur-Mer won’t disappoint! For starters there’s 3 km’s of fine white sandy beach to discover offering a multitude of water sports, jet skis, windsurfing, water skiing and there’s also mountains dropping into sea offering stunning coastal walks and cycling paths. In the evening the bars and restaurants around the harbour are the place to be with ‘plateau de fruits de mer’ a popular choice among the locals.
Once a modest fishing village Saint Tropez is now at the heart of the French Riviera and a holiday paradise for the rich and famous. If celebrity spotting is your thing head to Pampelonne Beach (which is made up of smaller beaches like Plage de Tahiti where part of ‘And God Created Woman’ was filmed). All of the beaches have facilities like toilets and change rooms and the hire of sun lounges. Water activities like jetskis, paddleboards and water skiing are available and if you’re a naturist there’s also a number of nudist beaches. If the ‘jetset’ lifestyle is not your thing a visit to the old fishing quarter of La Ponche might be in order. Made up of traditional paled hued homes and cobbled streets La Ponche will give you an idea of what Saint Tropez was like pre becoming a celebrity hangout. If you want to stretch your legs then there are a number of well marked coastal walking trails that will take you out along the rocky coast offering spectacular views.
At night time Saint-Tropez really comes alive. If you are thinking of heading to one of the many bars, restaurant or clubs make sure you have the appropriate clothes, shorts and sandals won’t cut it here!
Just off the coast of Cannes is the Iles de Lerins, a group of 4 islands. One of those islands is Ille St Marguerite, familiar to those that know the story of the Man in the Iron Mask. There is a small museum on the island and some lovely white beaches. Another island is Ile St Honorat. It has been continuously occupied by monks from as early as the 5th century AD. Visitors are welcome at the small church and the small chapels found around the island. The monks run a restaurant that is open to the public where they serve wine from their own vineyard.
Cannes is most well known for the Le Festival International du Film de Cannes [Cannes International Film Festival] and you can share in a little bit of the limelight by walking the red carpet on a tour of the Palais des Festivals. Or if glitz and glamour isn’t your thing you can take a tour to the Massif de I’Esterel and either walk or ride through the forest to the highest point with affords beautiful views of the Cap.
***The beauty of sailing is that each day is unique and, while we have a destination to reach, if the weather changes or something takes the group’s fancy, we are flexible on the day's itinerary***Breakfast | Lunch
Day 8 - Nice
Our last stop is Nice, where we arrive early morning and where for you, sadly, your trip comes to an end. However the adventure does not have to stop. We recommend booking a couple of extra nights to discover Vieux Nice (the old town), or head to Grasse ‘the worlds capital of perfume’, the beautiful beach of Villefranche-sur-Mer or try your luck at the Casinos of Monte Carlo.
With the glistening Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Alps on the other, Nice has something for everyone. Any visit to Nice should start with a stroll along the ‘Promenade des Anglais’ (Promenade of the English – named after the English aristocratic families who took to holidaying in Nice in the 19th century). The promenade runs along the ‘Baie des Agnes’ or Bay of Angels and it is the perfect place for an evening stroll and watching the stunning sunsets.
Vieux Nice is a kaleidoscope of pastel coloured buildings lining paved streets filled with cafes, bars, artists and the must visit Cours Saleya Markets. Sitting above Vieux Nice is the Parc de la Colline du Chateau which offers the best vantage point to take a panoramic photo of Nice and offers a refreshing break from the day time heat.Breakfast
What to Know
• expert English-speaking skipper throughout the tour
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, trip kitty, tips and items of a personal nature.
Water safety at sea: Travellers that are able and confident swimmers will be able to enjoy swimming & snorkelling off the boat, but please always note the skipper's advise and instructions on when and where to swim and what precautions to consider. Travellers that are not able to swim are certainly welcome on this trip, but you will be required to wear a life jacket when we are sailing.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
What to know
Like all sailing trips, at the end of the day ours are ultimately at the mercy of the elements. So while the above itinerary is a pretty good indication of what you'll get to see on this trip, the course isn't set in stone. After all, who really wants to spend a full day battling headwinds if there's another option for smoother sailing? Likewise, your skipper may suggest a secret spot to drop by. And if everyone's on board with the idea... well, why not?
A trip kitty of EUR80 will be collected by the skipper on day 1.