Recently the author had the good fortune of being on a day charter from Cannes to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday. We went from Port Canto to the Lerin Islands, just a few minutes sail – but what a great experience it is to get on the water and see the French Riviera unfold behind you!
We had a group of 25 people, so nearly every luxury yacht was unable to take us – maritime law limits the number of guests on a luxury yacht to 12 people. There are a few yachts, however, on the Riviera, with special licensing and safety equipment enabling them to take larger groups. We selected LADY PACA (PACA being the abbreviation for “Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur”), which is a grand catamaran with huge deck space and salon that can easily carry 30 people in comfort.
Meeting in Port Canto at 11:00 we sailed into the bay, quickly seeing all of the views that the area is famous for – the hotel lined Croisette, the Palais des Festivals (where the Cannes Film Festival is held each year), the Esterel red rock formations, Cap d’Antibes, and the two islands just off the coast named Ile St Margeurite and Ile St Honorat. Even though it was the middle of January, we had bright blue sky and weather warm enough for everyone to be in t-shirts.
We helped the captain raise the sail and toured the bay for a bit, before heading between the two islands. Because this is a peaceful, calm spot with clear water perfect for a swim, normally you will find scores of yachts moored here, making it quite festive most of the year. We docked at the pier for the Restaurant “la Tonelle” run by the Monks from the Monastery of Ile Ste Honorat (they serve their own wine that is grown and made on the island).
We took a walk to the beautiful monastery, through grape orchards and olive trees. Once at the Monastery, you can see the Mediterranean sea splashing up against an old fortress – a delightful walk! Caution, the Monastery is fully functional, please do not disturb the monks!
After touring the island, we headed back out on the catamaran, enjoying a light lunch catered on the boat. We again toured the bay to take in the sights and sun, while eating on deck and sharing the requisite rose wine. Everyone was very relaxed, and had had a chance to get to know each other better.
After a nice sail, we headed back to Port Canto, everyone feeling refreshed and glad they had a spent a day out on the water in one of the most magnificent ports anywhere!
We have a more extensive version of this Cannes, Cap d’Antibes, Iles Lerins itinerary available on Boatbookings.com. There are many day boats available for events of all types in the French Riviera – here is a selection of the best.