Mention the South of France and instantly visions of sun soaked luxury and sophisticated living will be conjured up. The whole idea of a Mediterranean cruise which takes in the South of France has long been seen as an ideal way to take in the stunning coastline in this region and for good reason!
Popular Mediterranean cruise ports in the South of France are numerous and as this part of the world was home to what was the first ever influx of resort-based tourism, you can be certain that it is one of the most stunning and elegant places to visit in the western world.
The French Riviera
To envision the South of France properly, you should see it in two stretches…the first being the East Coast…known as the Côte d’ Azur or The French Riviera. Long the playground of the British, Italian, Russian and French aristocracy, the Côte de’ Azur is still known for its contingent of rich and famous visitors at its main resorts of Cannes, Nice, Antibes, Frejus and St. Raphael. Close by these resorts is the glamorous home of the super yacht, the port of Monaco (also the Principality).
The West Coast
The second section is the West Coast with Marseille being the main port and Toulon close behind it. The whole region is well known for its thriving fishing industry and cruises along this coastline will be certain to take in the bustling scenes along the way.
There are so many stunning places along the coastal region of the South of France that it’s difficult to choose a favourite. A brief run-down of the main ports and their attractions is therefore a must before you plan your Mediterranean cruise around the South of France.
Famous for far more than its film festival, Cannes is synonymous with glamour and fame; it is impossible to visit Cannes without feeling something of its old-world enchantment. Cruise ships are too big to get into the old port of Marseille so they dock further out whilst passengers are ferried into Le Vieux Port. From Le Vieux Port you may wander at your leisure and take in the promenade as you stroll to town.
Once in town you are spoiled for choice in terms of fine hotels and restaurants or more homely traditional French bakeries. This is a town for seeing and for being seen and there’s something for everyone in Cannes, with a selection of luxury shops to visit as well as a stunning old quarter with historical buildings.
The beauty of Antibes is that it has a number of stunning beaches in addition to some real culture. This means it’s possible to enjoy some relaxing time on the beach and still visit places of artistic importance such as the Musée Picasso – which boasts breath-taking views of the Mediterranean – as well as see plenty of art and sculpture.
Toulon is a real mishmash of the best of France; the old town has some stunning traditional squares lined with intricate alleyways, where geraniums form a backdrop on almost every wrought iron balcony. The seafront is lively with shops where you may buy anything, from a bucket and spade to a pastry, whilst the Trompe l’Oeil murals are surely amongst the most impressive ever done. Keep an eye out for the galleon mural at the Place Vatel where the old ship appears to be sailing right out of the wall!
Cruises which take in the South of France are always memorable because the landscape and ports are so varied. It is a place of the unexpected which is simply teeming with history, culture and style and has to be seen to be believed.
An article by Lindsay who loves writing about travel and visiting the south of France. For offers on Mediterranean cruising visit http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-destinations/mediterranean-cruises/