Popular Ports in France
Toulon (for the Cote d’Azur)
The port of Toulon, the springboard from which to explore the glamorous Cote d’Azur, is a popular destination on many a Med cruise. This place oozes glamour, from the sleek bars and beaches of St Tropez to the breathtaking countryside of Provence. The city is picturesque and has a daily market offering fresh produce, arts and crafts. There’s also a museum of contemporary art and a naval museum to enjoy.
St Raphael (for St Tropez and Cannes)
Once you dock in St Raphael you’ll have the gems of southern France, St Tropez and Cannes within easy reach. The town itself is a delight and offers a stretch of pristine coastline with a mountainous and forested backdrop. Dramont beach is a favourite, offering a sandy shore on which to sunbathe and socialise. This lively seaside resort offers some well-maintained beaches and the hills of the Massif des Maures for those interested in coastal walks and hiking.
Villefranche (for Monaco and Nice)
Gateway to Nice, Villefranche has a delightful medieval town centre where you can wander around the charming cobbled lanes and check out the 16th-century citadel. It’s easy to explore on foot and has three beaches. The Plage des Marinières is the closest to the port and offers ample space for sunbathing as well as some beachfront cafes.
Sète (for Carcassonne)
Aside from offering some of Languedoc’s best dining options, Sète offers a colourful collection of attractions including the Thau lagoon and a network of canals. There’s an eight-mile stretch of sandy beach which sits between the sea and lagoon, offering a spot for relaxation and swimming for weary travellers. Those interested in modern art may wish to enjoy a stroll up to the top of Mont Saint-Clair where the Musée Paul Valéry presents a collection of fine art as well as a display of antique shields and lances.
What are the best cruise ships for a France Cruise?
The Highlights of the Mediterranean Cruise onboard the Marella Explorer includes St Raphael on its diverse itinerary. This ship is jam packed with features to make your time spent on board as much fun as your shore visits. There are 10 bars, 10 restaurants and even a spa where you can indulge in a variety of treatments. There are also plenty of lounge areas, with floor to ceiling windows, where you can relax, plan your excursions and watch the ever changing sea and landscapes.
Shore Excursion Ideas
Wherever you dock in France, a wealth of sightseeing awaits, from fairy tale towns to chic coastal resorts, so make sure you get the most from your stay.
Cruise passengers lucky enough to stop off in Toulon during their France cruise may want to take the opportunity to visit Cassis. Once a Roman trading post this charming coastal town is well worth your time and attention. With a smattering of café-lined quays, chic boutiques and a charming mini-train to scoot you around town, this offers a laid-back vibe that’s full of seaside fun.
If your itinerary takes you to either St Raphael or Villefranche, you’ll probably want to snap up the opportunity to visit the dazzling and opulent city of Monaco. The old town has a domed cathedral and Prince’s Palace to explore, while the Oceanographic Museum is the place to cool down and marvel at the array of marine life in the huge aquarium. Exclusive boutiques, fine dining and casinos make this VIP hotspot a must for all cruisers to France.
Itineraries which feature St Raphael will usually give you the opportunity to visit Cannes, home of the famous film festival and holiday haunt of the rich and famous. There’s a great beach to enjoy and the old town offers a delightful mix of chic bars, restaurants and shops waiting for your custom. There’s also a museum to explore, housed in a former monastery at the top of Suquet Hill, which offers an eclectic mix of archaeological finds, musical instruments and ethnic art.