Once the Monaco Yacht Show (September 27-30) has finished there's no need to race away from the French Riviera. Make the most of the autumn sunshine and a more relaxed atmosphere with our guide to four routes to finish of the Mediterranean season in style.
1. To embrace the elements
After a long season of partying, eating and drinking, you may find that you need some fresh air and exercise to rejuvenate your spirit. Find your energy again by taking part in some of the outdoor activities on offer, from hiking in Eze to paragliding in Provence.
Head to Nice for stunning seaside scenery, best enjoyed in the great outdoors. Moving away from the main port, the surrounding countryside offers extraordinary hiking and cycling paths over the rambling terrain. The Nietzsche path is reputedly the best, named after philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who walked it on a daily basis during the summer when he lived there. The path takes about an hour and half and makes for a good workout with its steep ascent. For something a little different, explore the paths on horseback before embarking west to continue your invigorating trip.
Off the coast of Hyères is a collection of small islands known as the Golden Isles. Îles d’Hyères has some beautiful anchorages and is only 7.5 nautical miles from the Port-Cros National Park. Snorkelling in the sanctuary, which covers about 13 kilometres, will reward you with sightings of live coral fans, tuna or jellyfish. There are plenty of wreck dives to explore, including a couple of submerged aircrafts. This is also the place to get out any water toys and practice your water skiing or kayaking skills. Port-Cros is one of the best secret islands in the French Riviera and the waters of the Côte d’Azur will surely be welcoming and warm for whatever aquatic activity you have planned.
Only half an hour from the port of Marseille is the town of Aix-en-Provence, famed for its vibrant lavender fields. The locals know that this picturesque area is best seen from up top, so there are many opportunities available for enjoying the coastal area from a birds-eye-view. Hire a private helicopter for an exhilarating, open door tour, or enjoy a romantic sunset trip in a hot air balloon. Paragliding and skydiving are also options for the real thrill seekers, with this region boasting the biggest skydiving centre in Europe. If you want to scale heights a little closer to the ground, you can engage in any of the crag climbing activities.
Top 4 ways to end your season in the French Riviera
For some peace and quiet
Head west along Côte d’Azur
If you are looking to wind down after the excitements of the the summer then you can ditch the hustle and bustle of Monaco for a leisurely five-day cruise to the western side of the Côte d’Azur.
The first stop is Èze-sur-Mer, a medieval town perched atop a rocky peak. The ocean views from its upper reaches are a calming pleasure — although they are even better with haute cuisine from one of the top restaurants in the French Riviera, the two-Michelin-star La Chèvre d’Or.
Hotel Majestic Barriere
In the morning continue to Cannes, leave your superyacht and visit the spa at the Hotel Majestic Barriere to revive yourself from your wild nights in Monaco. Considered to be one of the best spas in the Mediterranean, it has four treatment rooms, a pedicure-manicure room, a hairdressing space, a sauna, a hammam, an "experience course" (for multi-sensory stimulation), and a relaxation room.
Cruise overnight on your superyacht and the next day drop anchor among the Îles d’Hyères to spend time on the Notre Dame beach which offers white sand fringed with pine and eucalyptus trees. It is a favourite destination for superyachts as it is a 50-minute walk or 20-minute cycle ride from the port.
For a little more action — just a little more — continue west the next day to the pretty fishing town of Sanary-sur-Mer, with palm-treed promenade and a selection of neat little beaches, the pick of which is Portissol. The surrounding woodlands, olive groves and fields also offer a romantic stroll.
For true peace there’s little to rival the final superyacht stop, the delta of briny lagoons and sandbars at Camargue. Explore by foot or bicycle to meet the bountiful wildlife, including semi-wild Camargue horses and flamingos. Back aboard, fall asleep to the sound of crickets and absolutely nothing else.This itinerary is guaranteed to leave you feeling revitalised and ready for the Caribbean season.