Yacht Charter France
From the stunning coastlines of the Cote d’Azur and French Riviera in the south of France to the island of Corsica or feisty Atlantic coast, this is a diverse and beautiful country for a sailing holiday. Though everywhere you sail is distinctively French the country’s culture is as different from end to end as Norman calvados and fine champagne.
Whether the cool and busy seaways of Biscay and la Manche or the warm and comfortable Mediterranean you will be spoiled for choice as to what you could want from sailing France’s seas. A famed and tough seafaring nation in its own right, the country lionises and dominates the world of extreme solo sailing. Crowds at least as big as those watching the Tour de France see off and welcome its heroes on races like the Golden Globe and Vendee Globe.
You will find some ports extremely crowded at certain times of year but can soon find somewhere to hide away from the babbling rabble thanks to the nature of the country’s vast and wonderful coastline. So what are you waiting for? Get a yacht charter in France with Borrow A Boat today!
Hiring A Yacht In France
With most European and many international sailing qualifications accepted by France yacht charter companies you can organise a boat rental easily through Borrow A Boat. You will need insurance or a security deposit before you go but that isn’t different to the rest of the world.
Many people choose to have a skippered or fully crewed yacht to sail aboard – effectively letting go of all responsibilities to focus on rest and relaxation. Whether on a superyacht or a smaller affair you are on a mini-cruise ship and can just enjoy being in the moment wherever you go.
There are stretches of coastline with a few hours of travel required between ports but you can find plenty of opportunities to wander around markets, drink the local alcohol and enjoy the world-renowned food that might come from a Michelin-starred restaurant or a small bistro. There is so much to explore and enjoy in France that many never tire of it.
Best Areas To Charter A Yacht In France
There are three broad areas in which to charter a yacht in France – Southern France, Corsica, and Biscay and the Channel.
A French Riviera yacht charter has to be on the bucket list of everyone who enjoys luxury yacht charter regularly. Whether Cannes, Nice or the principality of Monaco on the Cote d’Azur you will be beguiled by the great sailing conditions and the fun to be had ashore. This is one of those Departements of France that is both French and uniquely its own in culture.
Not far off the south of France are Les Iles d’Or, small paradise islands just offshore near Cap d’Antibes. The slightly larger island Porquerolles is close too – a worthy pause on an island and coastal hopping boat rental in France.
The Mediterranean island of Corsica is also very much of its own kind in terms of culture. Mountainous, rocky Corsica is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte who led the country in wars around Europe in the late 18th and early 19th Century. Pop across the sea to Italian Sardinia too! Being in EU waters you will only need your passport to land there.
Bay of Biscay and the Channel
The Bay of Biscay and the coastline of La Manche (Brits call it the Channel) shouldn’t be ignored either thanks to their challenging sailing conditions and very different vibe to that of southern France. Don’t forget the wines of the Loire or the exquisite Norman calvados apple brandy!
Best Towns To Charter A Yacht In France
At the ultra-luxury yacht charter end of the scale you can get a superyacht from Cannes or Monaco. These come with full crews and often tenders and toys that will keep you entertained away from the stress of life ashore. Eat, drink and party to your heart’s content and only see those you want around you.
On the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes you will find a range of yacht rentals available from 50 metre plus mammoths to modest 40ft plus sailing yachts that will still be comfortable for you and your group.
Marseilles, Nice and Toulon are among many other yacht charter centres on the Mediterranean coastline.
In Corsica you have Calvi and Maccinagio.
Biscay France has Les Sables d’Olonne, Brest, Bordeaux and la Rochelle amongst others. On the coast of La Manche you have Cherbourg, Le Havre and Caen as well as Calais, Dieppe and of course the nearby Channel Islands that are far closer to France than their owner, the UK!
Whether flying or driving, you can be in most French yacht charter locations in just a day.
Travelling to Southern France
There are regular flights to Nice Airport from the UK. You can then take a train, taxi or bus to your yacht charter destination.
For those in less of a hurry and who want to start their journey without all the pressure and bureaucracy of flying, you can jump on a Eurostar to Paris and then take a connecting train to your destination. The 180mph TGVs cross large distances in very little time, and with all the security checks and shoe X-rays of flying can be competitive in actual time of home to boat.
For those who want to get there in their own time, you can take a ferry and then drive on the Autoroute network across France to your yacht charter. Do be aware that the tolls will cost about £100 there and back and the fuel is a little more expensive than in the UK. That said it could be cheaper and more convenient, especially with the autoroute speed limit being about 80mph – on a good run you can chew up the miles very quickly.
In summer there are flights directly from the UK to Ajaccio and Bastia. As a cheaper alternative you can fly via Paris to these two airports as well as Calvi and Figari.
Northern France and inland waterways
It can make a lot of sense for shorter hops to take a car ferry and then drive to your yacht charter. You can get from Southern England to Les Sables d’Olonne in about 15 hours via Portsmouth and Caen, perhaps having a beer and a sleep on the ferry overnight. Do be aware of the tolls that can set you back an additional £70 for a return trip on a run to Biscay.
The train network is efficient though for smaller destinations can be slow, taking a similar time to Biscay France as by car on the commuter train network. TGVs don’t go everywhere!
Types Of Yachts To Hire In France
There are a wide variety of yachts to charter in France according to your wants, budget and needs. Let’s have a look at a few types and discuss them.
Ranging from fully crewed luxury 70 metre giants to something a family of four can handle on their own, a motor cruiser could be your choice. You’re not limited by the wind, though you will pay for the fuel to get you everywhere. At speed they can be thrilling and you can sit inside should the weather change and still get where you’re going!
Often better appointed with luxuries than their monohull equivalents of the same size, motor catamarans have shallower drafts and more space for entertaining aboard. Thanks to their draft you can explore shallower waterways too.
Unless you go for a fully crewed larger vessel, sailing catamarans are the height of luxury you and your group of sailing types can enjoy. Many will have en-suite showers and heads in every stateroom and of course plenty of entertaining space in the saloon.
Thanks to often having two engines these are far manoeuvrable in port, but having shallow drafts and greater leeway these charter yachts are more suited to the constant winds of the Mediterranean than the changeable conditions of Biscay and the Channel.
Monohull sailing yacht
The workhorse of yacht charters these are good in most sailing conditions from beating into a Biscay gale to blasting downwind on the Mistral. You can pay for something extremely comfortable and spacious but a family of four on a smaller budget can enjoy a week or two for a fee that competes with an all-inclusive holiday in the Balearics.
Built to get under bridges, though a lot more spacious and comfortable than British narrowboats, these craft are great for exploring France’s extensive inland waterway network. The Loire and Seine are two rivers that are navigable for hundreds of miles inland and allow you to see parts of France that you never could either by car or on a yacht.
Skippered or Bareboat Yacht Hire in France
What do you want from a dream yacht charter in France? Just to relax and have every need catered to? Or to go on a self-supported holiday where you are in charge of your own adventure?
Skippered yacht hire
For an extra fee on top of that for the yacht charter itself you can have a skipper sailing the boat for you. You need no sailing experience or qualifications and the skipper will know the best places to take you. You just focus on having fun and relaxing in luxury.
If you want to learn seamanship and sailing while you’re at it you can participate as much or as little in getting from A to B as you want.
You will have to pay for the skipper, their food and a tip at the end of the boat rental period.
If you just want to cut loose and have the sailing qualifications to do it then a bareboat rental may be your best bet. You will decide where to go and what to do. You will navigate, sail and run the vessel.
You also get the privacy with your friends and loved ones – and don’t have to pay for the skipper or their meals!
Crewed barge rental
Lie back and chill out with everything taken care of from food to getting about France’s inland waterways. This is a fantastic way to tune the modern world out and relax while everything is taken care of, watching the world go by as someone else sets about giving you time without responsibility!
Self-driving boat hire
Unlike chartering a yacht on the sea, you don’t need any boating qualifications to set sail with your friends and or family on a trip like this. All you need is an idea where you’re going! Inland waterway self-drive boat hire is one of the best ways to explore France and its extensive network of canals and rivers.
Do you need a licence to hire a Yacht in France
For a bareboat charter you need the appropriate sailing qualifications required to take charge of a vessel.
This can be the International Certificate of Competence (ICC)
All yacht charter companies recognise RYA qualifications from the Day Skipper and up.
Many yacht charter companies also recognise national qualifications from outside Europe such as the ASA 104 Bareboat certificate.
If you have a CEVNI qualification then it will be very easy to do a self-drive inland waterway boat hire and you will be able to explore more of the waterways involved. However you will be shown the rules of navigating French waterways and issued with a Carte de Plaisance if not.
If you are on a skippered charter however you don’t need any license.
Best Times To Hire A Yacht In France
The summer school holiday season is the most popular time of year to hire a yacht in France but isn’t always the best. Come July and August it can be fiercely hot on the French Riviera but there again you could always sail in more northern climes at that time of year.
It is quieter outside of school holidays and a lot cheaper too. Try May or September in Corsica or Mediterranean France where the weather is cooler and the crowds aren’t so intense.
Sailing Weather In France
Mediterranean France is often placid and warm in the summer months – expect temperatures in the 30s and nice sea breezes at times. The Atlantic and Channel coasts are very pleasant most of the time too. Expect cooler temperatures (high 20s and low 30s) and a steady northerly or easterly in cyclonic conditions that tend to mark the summer months in this region.
It isn’t all gin clear days and calms though! The NW Mistral wind that blasts down the Rhone Valley can build to quite dangerous levels throughout the summer, with the strong and steady wind blowing along the French Riviera remorselessly for days on end. That said in summer you can expect a calmer and gentler wind most of the time. As ever when sailing, keep an eye on the weather for the next 24 hours every day.
Atlantic westerlies thrash through the Channel and barrel through the Bay of Biscay throughout the year – this does mean you need to keep an eye on the weather. In mid-summer it can be almost flat calm and so gentle as to be frustrating depending on the location of the Azores High.
How much does it cost to hire Yachts in France
What’s your budget? A charter fee of €2000 for a group of up to six adults sailing on a bareboat arrangement will get you a comfortable 12 metre sailing yacht for a week. Expect to pay €2000 a day for a luxury sailing catamaran in peak season. You can pay €20,000 a day and up for no-holds-barred luxury!
Remember you will have to pay either a non-refundable damage insurance premium or leave a refundable security deposit from your credit card with the yacht charter broker before you cast off.
You will also need a budget for food, fuel and nights out. You don’t always have to moor in a marina (€20 a night and up) but can drop the hook and anchor in a secluded anchorage. In some places you may pay a fee to moor on a buoy though these are more secure than anchoring in unfamiliar waters.
Explore France By Renting A Yacht
France in all its glory and eccentricities is a country that families never tire of, visiting time and again to taste, feel, hear, see and smell this wonderful country in all its ways. Whether the beautiful beaches of the south of France or the mountainous coastline of Corsica, the challenging sailing of Biscay or the Raz du Seine, or playful luxury of Monaco you will get everything you could possibly want from a French yacht charter.
Take time to explore the markets and perhaps challenge yourself with the local cuisine – the French eat every bit of most animals except their squeaks! The wines and beverages are different in every region and often have Appellation Controlee status, be it Calvados in Normandy or Champagne in the Champagne region. The country is justifiably proud of its rich and varied culture and in exploring it you will find delights at every turn.
So what are you waiting for? Find a yacht to rent on Borrow A Boat today!