02 September 2011

Off the beaten track: Marseille and Cassis

Mediterranean yacht charter - Marseille
If you have tired of the French Riviera, why not head a little further west on your Mediterranean yacht charter to the relatively unchartered city of Marseille. Marseille is France’s second largest city and the capital of the Provence Côte d’Azur region and it’s fair to say that it has not always enjoyed the best reputation. But a generous €3.5 billion redevelopment project has changed the face of France’s largest sea port, and finally put it on the Mediterranean yacht charter map. Financed by the national and local government, the extensive regeneration program covering 1,185 acres has ensured that Marseille now plays centre stage in the global economic, cultural and business arena.
The urban renewal scheme, which was launched in 1995, hopes to see the Mediterranean city in the same league as major European hotspots such as Barcelona. It certainly seems to be heading in the right direction. New noteworthy developments include a museum dedicated to the history of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, a leisure and shopping centre called the Terrasses du Port, and a multiplex cinema designed by celebrated film director Luc Besson. High-end boutiques such as Louis Vuitton have sprung up in the city in recent years, as have a string of chic bars and restaurants.  Marseille now even boasts a Michelin three-star restaurant, Le Petit Nice, which would have been unthinkable a decade ago.
Luxury yacht charter will find that facilities for super yachts are also excellent. There are more than 10,000 berths in the old Port of Marseille, which makes an ideal base from where to discover the city – and outlying areas. Another area slightly off the beaten track which should not be missed on your Mediterranean yacht charter is Cassis, which is often described as Saint-Tropez without the crowds. Cassis, to the east of Marseille, is a charming fishing village surrounded by limestone cliffs and vineyards. Cassis is a well-known wine producing area where red, white and rose wines are cultivated. Many of the local vineyards offer wine tasting, so why not drop anchor and stock up on wine for the remainder of your luxury yacht charter? If you are in Cassis in September, there is also a wine festival where some excellent vintages can be found.