Fiona Maureso is charter director at Northrop & Johnson. She discovered yachting at a young age and has now been working in the industry for more than 25 years, both as a charter manager and as a charter broker.
It’s all a bit of a cliché, but the best places in Saint-Tropez are famous because they are the best. While not exactly off the beaten path, they are great places to stop and experience the scene.
There is Le Club 55 on the Pampelonne beaches, which is the most famous beach restaurant in the South of France and is where all of the celebrities hang out.
Le Sénéquier is a little café that’s right on the harbour in Saint-Tropez and is famous for its red chairs. It’s a must-do place; you sit there and sip pastis or rosé and watch the world go by.
What can’t you do in Monaco? There’s just so much. Le Louis XV by Alain Ducasse is the most formal dining experience. You eat off gilt plates and everyone has a footman behind their chair. It might be somewhat intimidating but it is a wonderful experience and the cuisine is superb.
If you want something trendier or more relaxed, head down to the beach to Maya Bay, which is a great evening night spot bar/restaurant focusing on Japanese and Thai dishes.
In Cannes there is Le Baoli, a trendy night club that serves fusion food and has some good djs playing good music. It’s only been around for a couple of years, but has already become a very fashionable hangout for people in the South of France.
Elsewhere along the Riviera
For those who prefer something a little more authentic and relaxed than the Michelin-starred restaurants in Monaco and Cannes, I have a few recommendations for great places to dine during your charter or stay along the French Riveria.
Go where the locals go and plan to dine at Le Figuier de St Esprit in the old town of Antibes or La Tables du Mareyeur in Port Grimaud. Both are somewhat off the beaten track but both offer refined, local cuisine and a genuine gastronomic experience.
Another fun thing to do is to anchor at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes, go ashore and have lunch at the hotel, looking back on your boat in the water. You can book a cabana by the pool and dive off the edge of the swimming pool terrace into the sea. It’s a nice place to spend the afternoon.
Restaurant Bruno in Lorgues is a must-visit for truffle lovers! From Nice or St Tropez, the restaurant is about one hour by car or just 20 minutes direct by helicopter to the restaurant’s own helipad.
Nice has been recently renovated and looks beautiful, especially from the water where the pastel plasterwork on the buildings around the harbour are picture-perfect. In the Old Town, in the heart of the flower market (which is definitely worth a visit itself), there is a restaurant called La Petite Maison, which serves authentic Provençal food. You have to book in advance and it’s a nice walk short back to the marina.
When cruising between Nice and Monaco, it’s worth anchoring in front of_ La Paloma_ in St Jean Cap Ferrat and taking the tender in to enjoy lunch at this sheltered beach restaurant. The only other access is via a very steep staircase.
Villefranche-sur-Mer is worth a visit, with its medieval cobbled streets and arcades, overlooked by an imposing fortress. Dine on the water at_ La Mère Germaine_, a legendary restaurant specialising in seafood.