Preview: Cannes Yachting Festival

If the summer flurry of yachts coming in and out of Monaco’s Port Hercule has left you wanting more, then head to Cannes this September to view the yachts on display at the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Year-on-year, the glamourous seafront town of Cannes plays host to the annual Cannes Yachting Festival and its eclectic offering of motor and sailing yachts, old and new. The much-anticipated show signals the end of the summer yachting season and the beginning of the autumn sales season, with potential buyers and charterers coming from across the globe to view the newest yachts displayed by the leading shipyards and second-hand yachts exhibited by brokerage companies from all over the world.

Held from 12th to 17th September, the show is spread across two locations, with new yachts displayed in the Old Port, and sailing yachts and pre-owned yachts across the bay in Port Canto. Along with a fine selection of superyachts, experts from the leading brokerage houses, such as Northrop and Johnson, will be on hand to share their knowledge and insights on the market.

Cannes Yachting Festival, source CYF

The fabulous time to visit Cannes

The month of September is one of the most pleasant periods to visit Cannes – the summer crowds have largely dissipated, the climate is only slightly cooler than the peak summer temperatures, and most things remain open, but much less crowded than the preceding months. It’s a great time to discover the goings on of the city, aside from the show itself, of course. From beach clubs and grand hotels to the iconic La Croisette, take some time out from the show or spend a few days either before or after the event and discover all that Cannes has to offer with recommendations from yachting experts.

“If you only have a few hours to spare then a stroll along the famous Croisette is a must,” says broker Richard Higgins from Northrop and Johnson. “Stretching for over two miles from the Palais des Festival, where the Cannes Film Festival takes place, to Port Canto, the beachfront promenade is flanked by the sparkling Mediterranean on one side and some of the most iconic hotels to the other.”

The beach club scene along the French Riviera rivals that of the Balearics or the Greek Islands. In fact, nearby Saint Tropez is where the beach club scene first began, and the glamourous coastline has been attracting the jet set for decades. Many of the finest establishments along the Côte d’Azur are affiliated with the leading hotels, and in Cannes the famous beachfront promenade is lined with some of the best.

From the 1950s-style Carlton Beach Club and La Môme Plage to Madamoiselle Gray at La Plage Barrière, enjoy the dolce vita lifestyle with a long lunch beneath the shade of parasols while overlooking the Mediterranean and the yachts at anchor.

“Spend an afternoon enjoying the sunshine and sunset accompanied by chilled music, fantastic fare and cocktails,” recommends Patrick Coote from Northrop and Johnson. “With the largest jetty along the Croisette, the scene-stealing location of La Plage Barrière is ideal for those coming by tender from the show.”

Shop till you drop

Cannes also has a shopping scene to rival that of Monaco and Saint Tropez, with international brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel intermingling with independent boutiques along the Croisette and the Rue d’Antibes, which runs parallel to the seafront. And, for those looking for a more local “Cannois” experience, the Marché Forville covered market is the place to head for all manner of fresh Provençal produce.

What to do after the Cannes Yachting Festival

After a day pounding the docks on yacht viewings, head to one of the beautiful Belle Epoque hotels for some of finest cuisine along the Riviera. For a spectacular setting and superb Israeli cuisine, reserve a spot at the rooftop restaurant Bella at Hotel Belle Plage.

Alternatively, Le Fouquet at the Barrière or Riviera at the Carlton Cannes are both worthy of reservation.

Those seeking more local fare should head to the old town with the locals, where a number of family-run restaurants serve the quintessential cuisine of the region.

And, if you want to simply soak up the nightlife then join the yachting crowd at Le Bâoli. Begin the night with cocktails on the panoramic rooftop terrace, Cloud Nine, followed by dancing at the club.


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Photo: Bunty, 36.6m (120.1ft) Benetti, on display at the Cannes Yachting Festival with Northrop and Johnson, asking price €7,500,000