The Azure coastline is incredible, with many beautiful sceneries that I simply can’t describe here – you will have to experience these for yourself to believe me. I love staying here anytime I have a week off, and my go-to place is Villefrance-sur-Mer, where I regularly stay at Villa Hippocampo. The villa’s lovely location allows perfect views of the village below and the sparkling Mediterranean in the background, and is the perfect place to rest and recharge.
However, I’ve also found another exciting activity that helped me relax, filled up my batteries, and left me energized to face the challenges of my career, and that is a cruise along the French Riviera coastline. I’ve taken longer cruises, but today, I’ll share my experience in taking a cruise from Nice to Monaco in winter with a close friend of mine who shares my ideas for a good time.
Even though it is winter, the French Riviera weather here does not feel wintry at all, and we were fortunate to have it on our side. It was a lovely 15 degrees and sunny all day, which was perfect for our day at the sea, even though summer is a long time away. We nabbed a charter winter yacht cruise and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
We arrived at Nice in the morning, parked our car at a nearby parking lot, and had an excellent, cozy French breakfast in a small bistro: the ultimate fresh French buttery croissants, coffee, and seasonal fruit. Then we boarded the yacht at the Quai Lunel at the Port de Nice and started with a lovely breeze on our backs.
After leaving Nice behind, we sailed along the coastline, enjoying the beautiful Belle Epoch mansions perched on the cliffs along the coast. We got the chance to enjoy the fantastic view I’ve been enjoying from Villa Hippocampo, this time from the other side, looking up towards the towns and the mountains.
Time flew by as we relaxed in the winter sun and took in the panoramic views of this incredibly scenic region. We cruised along the Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beauleiu-sur-Mer, Eze, and Cap d’Ail, and we reached Monaco.
Upon arrival in Monaco, we were greeted by the impressive sight of this city-state. The majestic buildings on top of the Rock of Monaco are even more impressive when seen from the sea, especially the Oceanographic Museum, which looks like it rises from the cliffs above the sea.
Our yacht cruise included a stopover at Monaco, and my friend and I took the chance to stroll along the Quai. We found this lovely little restaurant where we had a nice light lunch while enjoying the sea and the Hercules Port. Soon, we were back on the water and cruising back towards Nice. We enjoyed every moment, marveling at the sights, and we thanked the weather as it stayed on our side the entire day. On our way back toward Nice, the sea turned a bit choppy, but hey, it is December, after all. But this did not deter us from enjoying a glass of wine with our view, as the snow-topped Maritime Alps look even more impressive when observed from the sea.
The shorter winter day meant we did not spend as much time on the water, and our cruise back took about 35 minutes, which was fine as the weather cooled down significantly and forced some of the people to sit inside. I have a deep love and appreciation for the sea, and I’ve used every chance during our cruise to be outside and enjoy the sea air, even if it meant getting a saltwater spray.
It was dusk when we arrived in Nice, and I can’t describe the view of the city during winter dusk. So much different than a summer evening, the lower winter sun caused such a romantic explosion of darker hues and colors. Since I was nicely cooled down from our yacht ride, we opted to get our car and get back to Villa Hippocampo. A mere 15 minutes later, I was having a warm shower and getting into warm, dry clothes; my friend and I had our dinner by the villa’s windows that overlook the Med, remembering our winter day spent cruising along the Cote d’Azur. An experience worth reliving, and one I hope to do again in the summer.