France is one of the most diverse countries in Europe and is home to some of the world’s dreamiest beaches; its long, sun-soaked sandbanks stretch between shallow turquoise waters, indulgent French restaurants and classic village harbours. But to truly enjoy these secluded white sands, sailing your own private yacht is the best way to go. Cruising across the open water of the French Riviera with the wind in your sails has been a classic luxury vacation for years. However, it’s no longer just celebrities and Europe’s elite who have the opportunity to experience a dream sailing holiday around the French coastline. Let our France travel guide bring you one step closer to your dream sailing holiday in France.
France’s three coasts have enormous appeal for sailing; whether it’s the cooler climate and historic towns and beaches of the west coast, the lure of the Bordeaux wine-growing villages or the sunshine and glamour of the Cote D'Azur, France has some of the most diverse countryside and coastline in the world. Along with the southeast and southwest coasts, the lush island of Corsica, which sits nestled between the south coast of France and the west coast of Italy, is also a popular sailing destination, and boats anchor in its picturesque harbours all summer and well into autumn.
The cities of France contain some of the greatest and most visited attractions in the world, and its no surprise that this beautiful country has been the world’s most popular tourist destination for over 20 years. With lush forests, mountainous Alps, grand canyons and coastlines that stretch forever, you’ll be captivated by France’s beauty. Plus, France experiences mild winters and hot summers along its Mediterranean and the southwest coastlines, which create an ideal climate for sailing.
We all know the south of France has a reputation as the summer playground of the rich and famous. The millionaires’ playground of St Tropez – where a stroll along the harbour front is every celebrity spotter’s dream – is incredibly busy during the summer months, and the glamorous atmosphere set against the backdrop of beaches full of bikini-clad guests is a sight not to be missed.
Head west along the coast from the Cote d’Azur and you’ll find Marseille, France’s largest sea port and third-largest city. The old harbour handles only small boats now and its daily fish market is famous for providing some of the most authentic and delicious bouillabaisse in the country.
But sail even further west and you’ll hit the Languedoc Riviera, which offers a more reasonably priced and peaceful sailing destination. Here lies a relaxing environment that offers a rolling countryside coloured with vineyards, along with uncrowded beaches and a laid-back ambience.
France is also a vast and diverse haven of adventure. From dazzling Mediterranean beaches to incredible glaciers, there is plenty to discover all over the country. Anchoring your boat and heading inland opens up the opportunity for hiking, canyoning, climbing, kayaking, rafting and mountain biking. And then there is the coast; France offers almost every opportunity available on water. If you fancy doing more than just relaxing on the stunning beaches, there’s plenty of diving, snorkelling, jet-skiing and kite-surfing available, and having your base as a sailing boat on the water will make all these activities more accessible.
The combination of old-world glamour, a beautiful climate and fantastic beaches makes France an irresistible destination to sail to. Each region looks and feels different, has its own style of architecture and its own characteristic food. From the abundance of outdoor activities to the plethora of urban stimuli, a sailing holiday around the coast of France will never be dull and will always be beautiful. Start planning now!