Guide to sailing holidays in France

Written by on August 19, 2019 in Active Holidays, Cruise holidays

Sailing boats in a harbour in southern France

Take a tour of France that doesn’t involve a bus or multiple hotel room changes. Discover the most beautiful beaches of France and go sailing without millionaire prices. Have an adventure on your own, with friends or with family. A sailing holiday is a lot of fun and a great way to make new friends…

The answers to all your sailing holiday in France questions.

Are sailing holidays affordable if you have a budget? What is included in the booking price?

There are several different types of sailing holidays. The sort where you relax and cruise or holidays where you get more involved and become part of the crew. Some ships offer an individual berth or cabin, meaning guests can share their sailing holiday with like-minded people, and in doing so, share the cost. Some companies add on general boat expenses such as fuel and mooring fees. Each holiday is unique – you can even find experiences with a hostess and a dedicated chef.

Do I have to share a cabin with someone on a sailing holiday?

Many holidays offer the option to book a single spot (or berth), a whole cabin, or the entire boat! So, depending on whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, a family, or group of friends – there is a form of reservation to suit you! Many solo travellers do share cabins. But, if you’re looking for a little more privacy, and would like a cabin to yourself – simply let the organising skipper know, and he will propose a cabin price.

As a total novice and travelling solo, where is best for me to learn sailing in France?

People swimming in a secluded bay in France

The French coast is diverse and rich, which makes it a privileged playground for sailing. In fact, depending on the region you choose, your cruise will be very different!

For beginners who want to acquire some basics, and maybe discover a passion, I would recommend the South of France and more precisely the French Riviera. The calm waters of the Mediterranean Sea are ideal for beginners who have always dreamed of hoisting the mainsail, tucking in the genoa and learning to steer! In addition, the picturesque ports of the region allow you to practice your manoeuvres.

You can for example, head to Hyères and the Porquerolles Islands for a sailboat cruise. Here you’ll discover one of the most beautiful natural paradises on the French Riviera. Imposing cliffs interspersed with creeks, turquoise waters, warm southern sunshine, the sweetness of the Mediterranean and the charm of Provence are combined to offer you a superb holiday. While teaching you the basics of navigation, your skipper will help you discover the charm and glamour of the colourful villages of the Côte d’Azur’s seaside. Always attentive, the skipper will be delighted to share his knowledge with you and answer your questions.

Where would you recommend for a sailing trip in France for two friends who like adventure?

For the more experienced sailors, Brittany’s coast can be an attractive destination for those with a taste for adventure and for those looking for a challenge.  The tide, currents, numerous rocks and islands add a spice of complexity. You can enjoy excellent sailing conditions with wind, a temperate climate and landscapes that change with the rhythm of the tides. For example sail in the Gulf of Morbihan and its many islands and islets, the island of Groix, Belle Ile, the islands of Houat and Hoëdic. Or choose the Finistère, with Concarneau, the island of Sein, the bay of Audierne, the Crozon peninsula and the Glénan archipelago. On these two magnificent water bodies, all the elements are gathered for technical learning in complete safety, in an iridescent landscape of changing lights and colours.

I’m a mum with two teenagers – is a sailing holiday a good idea?

Kids on a boat waving and laughing as the waves splash

One of the positives of sailing holidays is the flexibility.

  • Choosing to travel alone, or share the boat with another family
  • Having the freedom to adapt and tweak the itinerary with your skipper to suit your needs and wishes
  • Being able to drop anchor or stop in a harbour and go ashore to explore the coastal towns at your leisure
  • Enjoy time as a family, allow the kids to explore beaches, snorkel, or do water-sports

It is this personalisation of sailing holidays that makes them original family adventures. They can be tailored to the style and characteristics of you and your family.

What different kind of sailing experiences are available?

There are many different formats of sailing trip available, and in hundreds of different destinations, in every ocean around the world! As well as holidays that are centred around relaxation, exploring destinations and cultures, there are also flotillas (groups of boats sailing together), regattas and races, adventure-centric trips, sport & wellness infused sailing trips (that include activities such as yoga, water-sports, and hiking), and trips that are focused on learning how to sail.

I want a sailing holiday where I can learn a little bit about sailing. But really I want to relax – is that possible? Where should I go?

man and woman on a boat

There are plenty of stunning sailing destinations in Brittany and along the French Riviera.  Great areas if you can combine learning to sail with some heavy relaxation in a beautiful setting. The French island of Corsica that lies to the south east of the French mainland also has some idyllic locations. Bonifacio and the Lavezzi Islands that face Sardinia and the Maddalena Archipelago being particularly popular for family holidays!

Want to pick up some sailing knowledge, or sharpen your skills? Send the skipper organising the trip you are interested in a message and let him know. Skippers are truly passionate about sailing and are usually delighted to share their expertise!

Are there sailing holidays suitable for a group of 10 friends?

Groups of this size have a couple of exciting options! You can make a whole boat reservation on a boat that is big enough to host 10 travellers. On each holiday listing, there is a section towards the bottom that shows some information about the boat. In this case, a catamaran would be perfect. Most catamarans have at least 4 large cabins. There’s often plenty of communal space, including a netting on the front of the boat. Perfect for those looking to relax!

Another option for a group of this size would be joining in a flotilla trip. Flotillas usually contain between 2 and 10 boats, all following the same itinerary. This sort of trip is great if you are looking to have an adventure with friends. It’s also good for making new friends.

Happy sailing!

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