In the common imagination, the French coastal stretch overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is dominated by the Côte d’Azur and its renowned tourist resorts such as Antibes, Cannes, Saint Tropez, or better the Principality of Monaco.
In reality, this is only a small part of the French coast stretch that separates Spain from Italy. In this short article, we will tell you about Marseille, the most important city in the south of France, and the tourist destinations that can be reached from here on a boat trip.
Where are Provence and Occitanie located?
We are talking about the two southernmost regions of France that share the outlet on the Mediterranean Sea. Provence dominates the eastern side and borders with Savoy to the north and Italy to the east. On the contrary, Occitanie occupies the western part of the border with the Pyrenees and Spanish Catalonia.
How to reach Marseille?
Marseille-Provence international airport, the fifth largest French airport for passenger traffic, is located about 25 kilometers northwest of the city and is certainly the best way to reach it from abroad.
Alternatively, Marseille is easily accessible within a day from major French cities via high-speed trains or the motorway network.
What attractions are not to be missed in Marseille?
Although Marseille does not boast internationally renowned attractions, the so-called “Naples of France” holds interesting treasures of culture, history, and archeology.
Toda the most important Marseille focal point is certainly the old port, a natural inlet where a succession of bars, restaurants, and terraces was born. A center teeming with people, as well as fishing boats and yachts arriving from all over the world. The old port is set between the Saint-Jean fort (an old prison) on the right bank and the Saint-Nicolas fort on the left bank.
Thanks to the pedestrianization project, the port has been fully redeveloped for the use of its inhabitants and embellished by Miroir Ombrière or the work of art of the architect Norman Foster consisting of a mirrored stainless steel canopy that allows you to admire unpublished city images
A stone’s throw from the Porto Antico is also the “Major”, as the Marseillais call it, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore, wanted by Napoleon III between 1852 and 1896 and immediately recognizable thanks to the white and black marble and its imposing 146 meters heights.
Below is one of the possible itineraries organized by us at Your Boat Holiday, this one in particular lasting 7 days. Let’s start:
- Day 1: If Castle
Our first stop is not very far from the port of Marseille. Set sail from the old port we head offshore for a few miles until we reach the famous fort that stands on an islet in the middle of Marseille bay. Known throughout the world also thanks to the novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo, which set some scenes here, this fortress dates back to 1524 and was built by King Francois I.
- Day 2: Cassis
Cassis is a small fishing village of nearly 8,000 inhabitants in Provence that has been able to maintain an authentic atmosphere as it is little frequented by mass tourism. For those looking for an authentic and suggestive corner of the Provençal coast, Cassis and its naturalistic wonders are the ideal destinations.
The old port area is perhaps the town most evocative. Here you can see the local fishermen in small colorful boats. In the alleys around the old quays, there are famous clubs and popular taverns that offer delicious dishes based on fresh fish caught in the day.
The most famous and visited location in Cassis, however, is undoubtedly the spectacular formation of the Calanques, a national park located along the coast where the sandstone has been sculpted by the force of the tides.
- Day 3: Bandol
Bandol is one of the largest and oldest seaside resorts on the Provençal coast and there are numerous sandy beaches that line its bay such as Lido Beach to the east, Casino beach to the south, and Renecros beach located at the bottom of a cove.
A natural refuge known since ancient times, the Bandol port, with its 1,600 berths, is today one of the main French tourist ports.
Its main attraction, however, is its fine wines made from about fifty estates awarded with the AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) designation in 1941. It is, therefore, possible to follow the “Bandol Wine Route”, stopping and tasting the famous red, rosé, or white Bandol’s wines.
- Day 4: Espiguette (Le-Grau-du-Roi)
Espiguette beach in Grau du Roi is one of the most beautiful dune systems in the north of the Mediterranean basin with dunes that can reach up to 12 meters in height.
It is a tongue of natural sand not affected by any construction and is also distinguished by the quality of the waters that bathe it, really clear and clean.
Holder of the European blue flag for more than 20 years, the Espiguette beach is a natural environment rich in a particular flora and fauna protected by various local authorities.
- Day 5: Port Leucate
Port-Leucate is located at the foot of the Corbières Maritimes and is one of the largest French marinas in the Mediterranean. It offers a stopover in the midst of wild nature in the Gulf of Lion.
Port-Leucate is a true haven of peace for yachtsmen who wish to take a break from their maritime journey and offers many services and assistance 24 hours a day.
However, its highlights are its more than 18 kilometers of fine sandy beaches and turquoise blue water.
- Day 6: Collioure
This town is considered the Vermilion coast pearl, so much so that it has become a postcard location immortalized by many painters, complete with a royal castle by the sea, typical boats moored at the port, pebble beaches, and cafes with outdoor tables. An old town with buildings with colorful facades and a very particular bell tower with a pink dome.
The church of Notre-Dame-des-Anges, dating from the seventeenth century, holds real treasures of Baroque art while the imposing royal castle of Collioure, built between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, was the summer residence of the Majorca King.
- Day 7: Sentier Sous-Marin de Cerbère-Banyuls
We dedicate the last part of the tour to the discovery of the underwater world with a day spent swimming in the sea near the Peyrefitte beach, a sheltered bay where an underwater path is set up and allows even the less experienced to explore its rocky shallows to discover the beauty of the local underwater life.
Contact now YBH Charter Brokers:
You can contact us by sending an email at [email protected] or by phone, calling +39 33436 00997, available also on WhatsApp for both calls and texting.
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