Sailing in France

Sailing the Gulf of St. Tropez in the French Riviera (Photo by mhobl)
Sailing the Gulf of St. Tropez in the French Riviera

Sailing the coast and islands of France

Yes, you can live the dream of sailing the Cote d'Azur or coast of Provence, yachting the French Riviera, or flitting between the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Italy's Sardegna.

Just join a small group sailing tour—or, for the most adventurous, sign on to help crew a boat—or charter a bareboat (landlubbers: that means no crew; you sail it yourself), a skippered yacht, or fully-crewed boat.

How much does chartering a boat cost?

It can cost as little as $750 per week to charter a 47-foot sailing yacht with 5 cabins and 10 berths. That means two couples could afford their own sailboat for as little as $25 per person per day.

Of course, that's in the off-season; in high season (roughly mid-July through early September) you're looking at a starting price of around $2,000 per week.

Of course, you could spend loads more. Let's say the average range of prices for most standard sailboats and motor yachts will be $1,200 to $3,000 a week, depending on (among many, many other factors) season. A decent 38-foot catamaran sleeping nine runs around $4,400 in high season—still decent once you break it down: go with a group of, say, four couples and it's less than $80 per person per day.

How much does having a captain, crew, cook, or hostess on a boat charter cost?

If you're not feeling up the idea of captaining your own boat, most charter outfits will also rent you a skipper for around $150 per day. Taking along a hostess or cook would run another $100 to $150 per day.

What about cruises?

Prefer to leave the driving and the schedule to someone else? You needn't board an enormous cruise ship to sail Europe. There are plenty of small sailing ships out there—some sailing cruises are listed below, starting under €1,000.

How can I sign on to crew a boat and sail for free?

You could also hire yourself out as a deckhand on a boat—sometimes just for free passage and the chance to sail around Europe, sometimes even to make a few bucks.

Sailing tours & charters

Crew a boat


More on Cruise

Cruising past Avignon (Photo courtesy of Scenic Cruises)

Cruising the Rhine, Rhone, Seine, Loire, and other rivers of France

Barging along the Saone River in Burgundy (Photo courtesy of

Barge cruises and barge rentals to cruise the rivers, canals, and inland waterways of France

Cruising past Notre Dame on the Ile-de-la-Cité (Photo Unknown)

Take a sightseeing or dinner cruise on the Seine River

The Queen Mary 2 (Photo by Trondheim Havn)

Taking the slow boat to Europe: Crossing the Atlantic by cruise boat from $650

You can book a shore excursion via a third party for much less than the ship charges (Photo courtesy of

Book your own cruise excursions for up to 40% less than the cruise ships charge

 (Photo )

If it's one of the seven deadly sins—gluttony (booze; food), greed (gambling), sloth (spas), extravagance (shore excursions)—it's how a cruise lines makes all its profit

 (Photo by Michael Hansen)

Are cruises safe? Can I cancel a cruise? Can I get cruise cancellation insurance?

Sailing the Gulf of St. Tropez in the French Riviera (Photo by mhobl)

Cruises to or from France

A Batobus passing Notre Dame (Photo by dmytrok)

Ferries, water taxis, and Seine cruises in Paris



Sailboats at Cannes (Photo by plb06)

If you love sailing, or just have an unquenchable taste for adventure and new experiences, you can sign on to help crew a boat just about anywhere in the world, including France