Mediterranean France 1999

 

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Pilot:     Mediterranean France & Corsica.   Second Edition.   Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson.

 

 

Port Leucate

Languedoc-Roussillon

Lat

42° 52' N

Long

003° 03' E

 

 

Information Date:

August, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

69

 

The Accueil pontoon shown on the plan on page 71 was difficult to identify upon entry, as there is now an additional, shorter pontoon between it and the western harbour wall.  Mooring on the floating Accueil pontoon is alongside, but elsewhere it is bows or stern-to in what we call ‘pens’.  Each berth is enclosed by taught ropes set up between the quay and an outer row of posts.  We were very doubtful about our ability to moor safely in the strong cross wind, but we need not have feared.  The taught ropes made it possible to enter the ‘pen’ with reasonable steerage way and then come quickly to a halt allowing the wind to blow us sideways until we rested against the leeward rope.  We then made up our lines at leisure.

 

There are two small chandlers on site and a medium-sized supermarket just east of the main entrance gates.  We caught a bus to Perpignon from where we hired a car for an excursion to Andorra.  There are no car hire outlets at Port Leucat.  There are many restaurants and two laundrettes amongst the apartment blocks but they are all quite a walk from the harbour.

 

 

 

Port du Cap d’Agde

Languedoc-Roussillon

Lat

43° 16' N

Long

003° 30' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

79

 

Despite the huge size of this marina complex there appeared to be very few berths specifically allocated to visitors.  Having ‘checked in’ at the office alongside the ‘Quai d’accueil’ we were sent to the inner marina close by the Capitainerie.  However, in order to stay three nights, we had to change berth on day two.

 

Cap d’Agde is a huge, purpose-built holiday town with numerous restaurants surrounding the water’s edge.  There are a number of small supermarkets on site and a huge hypermarket a couple of kilometres away.  We caught a bus to the hypermarket (26 FF) and came back by taxi for which we were charged 90 FF.  It was the first time that we had felt ‘ripped off’ since leaving England.

 

 

 

Port Camargue

Languedoc-Roussillon

Lat

43° 31' N

Long

004° 07' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

90

 

We rather liked Port Camargue as, despite its huge size, it has a pleasant ambience.  There is an interesting walk around ‘L’Étang de Salonique’.  Mooring is in ‘pens’ though the approach channels are rather narrow making manoeuvring into them rather tricky.  Despite the number of apartment blocks we could not find a decent supermarket.

 

 

 

Port Gardian

Provence

Lat

43° 27' N

Long

004° 25' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

96

 

Port Gardian is the harbour at Les Saintes Maries, a small town on the edge of the Camargue.  Access to the visitors’ berths is very tight indeed – we were very pleased that we arrived and departed in calm conditions.  Heavy mooring chains are provided tailed back to the pontoon with a light line.  It is therefore necessary to haul the chain up onto deck and pass your own mooring line through it.

 

We walked east from the town along an unmade road and then turned inland along a track that took us deep into the Camargue.  Here we saw flamingos in profusion, herons, egrets, horses and bulls.  If you are interested in wild-life, Port Guardian is an absolute must.

 

 

 

Port Napoléon

Provence

Lat

43° 23' N

Long

004° 50' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

98

 

We visited Port Napoléon as a possible place to over-winter, the purpose for which it has been built.  The staff speak excellent English and could not be more helpful.  Whilst we were there they took us into Port St Louis by car to do our shopping charging us only 10 FF each.  The toilets and showers are excellent and there is a launderette on site.  Charges are low.

 

We would have been very tempted to over-winter in Port Napoléon if it were not so isolated.  It is miles from anywhere, including the sea, and the scenery is dominated by heavy industry.  It is also fully exposed to the Mistral that sweeps down the Rhône Valley and out to sea.  As a place simply to leave a boat ashore it would be fine, but we like to live aboard afloat for a month or so to fit out, both in October/November and in February/March.

 

 

 

Port du Frioul

Provence

Lat

43° 17' N

Long

005° 18' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

116

 

We stayed at Port du Frioul in preference to over-crowded Marseille, which we later visited from Frioul by ferry.  There are no signs directing visitors when entering the harbour.  Following the directions in the pilot we moored in a vacant space on the outer quay close to the 8 metre depth on the plan.  After a long walk to the harbour office we were told to move to the visitors’ berths on the wall below the causeway that connects the two islands.  IGNORE THE ADVICE IN THE PILOT AND GO STRAIGHT TO THE VISITORS’ BERTHS BELOW THE CAUSEWAY.

 

The visitors’ berths are open to the east and subject to a surge in strong winds from that direction.  With an easterly gale forecast, we hauled well off and used our dinghy to reach the shore.  Shower and toilet facilities are in a portacabin and can be charitably described as ‘very basic’.  However, prices are low at only 85 FF per night.

 

Les Iles du Frioul are quite delightful and offer superb walks through strangely sculptured limestone scenery.  There are no metalled roads and just a handful of off-road vehicles used by the authorities.  There are a few restaurants and a small supermarket close to the visitors’ berths.  However, there is no cash machine.  As the harbour office will only accept cash, this proved to be a problem for us that necessitated an unscheduled trip to the mainland.  BRING SUFFICIENT CASH!

 

The anchorage in the semi-enclosed bay known as ‘Port de Pomègues’ mentioned on page 117 is now almost entirely occupied by a fish farm leaving insufficient room for a safe overnight anchorage.

 

 

 

Port de la Pointe-Rouge

Provence

Lat

43° 14' N

Long

005° 22' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

117

 

The pilot book suggests that this is a good port for visitors describing it as ‘the only harbour with good shelter and room for visiting yachts between Marseille and Cap Croisette.’  Perhaps it was once, but not when we attempted to visit.  We were turned away by a gruff and surly attendant who said that there was absolutely no room for visitors at all.  It took three attempts to persuade him to allow us to stay long enough to visit a cash machine.  Work on the new basin mentioned in the pilot has not yet begun.

 

 

 

St-Pierre des Embiez

Côte d’Azure

Lat

43° 05' N

Long

005° 47' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

137

 

A delightful port of call with some superb walks around a beautiful island.  It is relatively expensive, (153 FF per night) but worth every franc for a one-night stay.  There are a few restaurants and a small shop.  The toilets and showers are a long walk or a short dinghy ride from the visitors’ berths.

 

 

 

Port d’ Hyères

Côte d’Azure

Lat

43° 05' N

Long

006° 10' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

150

 

Port d’ Hyères is a large marina with four basins.  Visitors should approach through the southern-most entrance and head for the ‘Accueil’ in between basins 1 and 2.  Despite its size, space for visitors is limited and the berths are very tightly packed with narrow fairways.  This would be a difficult marina to enter in a blow.

 

Facilities ashore are good and several supermarkets can be found in the town.  It is, however, expensive (185 FF per night) as it is situated on the extremely popular Rade d’ Hyères, a beautiful sailing area protected from the sea by the off-lying islands.

 

 

 

Port de Porquerolles

Île de Porquerolles

Lat

43° 00' N

Long

006° 12' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

147

 

Port de Porquerolles is said to be extremely crowded in the season, but we had no such problems in late September.  We moored to one of the buoys in the outer harbour for only 47 FF per night.  These are protected in most winds but, unfortunately, are completely open to the Mistral in which they are untenable. Île de Porquerolles is a walker’s and cyclist’s paradise with marked routes to every corner of the island.  We loved it and returned several times.

 

Basic provisions can be bought close to the harbour, but at a price.  Water is scarce and yachtsmen are severely rationed:  it is important to fill your tanks before leaving the mainland.

sailing area protected from the sea by the off-lying islands.

 

 

 

Port-Cros

Île de Port-Cros

Lat

43° 00' N

Long

006° 23' E

 

 

Information Date:

September, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

148

 

Another delightful port of call on another beautiful island.  Les Îles d’ Hyères really are the gem of the Côte d’Azure yet seem to be rarely visited by British yachts.  They are very well worth a considerable detour, preferably out of season when they are not crowded.  Do not miss them!

 

Mooring in Port-Cros is possible bows or stern-to one of the two visitors’ jetties, secured to a mooring buoy or lying to one’s own anchor.  We opted for one of the mooring buoys, which at 65 FF per night were good value.  When we returned in October, all mooring was free.  Like Port de Porquerolles, Port-Cros is protected in most winds but is open to the Mistral.  In such conditions, better protection can be found in the beautiful, deserted bay of Port-Man.

 

Île de Port-Cros is higher, steeper and wilder than Île de Porquerolles and offers more challenging walking.  However, with superb views across the Rade d’ Hyères to the mainland, the efforts are well worth while.

 

 

 

Port de Cavalaire-sur-Mer

Côte d’Azure

Lat

43° 10' N

Long

006° 32' E

 

 

Information Date:

October, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

156

 

We sat out a prolonged Mistral here in complete safety.  As it was out of season the nearby shower block was closed leaving a long walk or short dinghy ride to the facilities at the Capitainerie.  We found a reasonably large supermarket just outside the town.

 

Whilst in Cavalaire-sur-Mer we caught a bus to St Tropez.  The journey through the vineyards of Provence made a pleasant diversion from the pleasures of the sea.

 

 

 

Port de Bormes-les-Mimosas

Côte d’Azure

Lat

43° 07' N

Long

006° 22' E

 

 

Information Date:

October, 1999

Pilot Page Number:

154

 

Port de Bormes-les-Mimosas is a pleasant, quiet, well-protected marina, with only limited development around it.  There is a laundrette on site though, from memory, I recall it seemed rather expensive.  We motored in our dinghy to nearby Le Lavandou where we found a reasonably large supermarket.

 

 

 

Rade de Toulon

Côte d’Azure

Lat

43° 07' N

Long

005° 56' E

 

 

Information Date:

March, 2000

Pilot Page Number:

139

 

La Rade de Toulon was our chosen place to over-winter at the end of our 1999 season.  As I write this report in March 2000 I can say that it has proved to be a very successful location with only one caveat – there has been no social life.  If a group of two or more members were to come here together it would make a very good place to over-winter indeed.

 

Taking the Rade de Toulon as a whole, it is possible to find all the facilities that one could wish for, though not in a single port.  The list overleaf gives brief details of the individual ports within La Rade and the facilities that they each provide.

 

Toulon is known locally as the ‘cheapest place to live in the south of France’.  Whether that is true we cannot say with certainty, but it may well be.  Certainly it is well served with a number of very large supermarkets and a huge daily produce market in the centre of the town.

 

Communications are excellent.  Toulon is on a main railway line with TGV express trains running direct from Lille and Paris via Marseille.  It is also on the motorway network and Marseille Airport is only an hour away by bus or taxi.  We travelled home by train and returned by road, hiring a car in Calais and leaving it in Toulon.

 

 


Port

Page

Facilities

St Mandrier-sur-Mer

140

A quiet, well protected marina in a peaceful Provençal village that is perched on the hillside overlooking La Rade de Toulon and the hills beyond.  The village has all day-to-day facilities including two supermarkets, a chandlery, an engineer, several banks, a post-office, a butcher, a baker and an excellent laundrette.  Ferries run twice an hour into the centre of Toulon throughout the year, not just in the summer as stated in the pilot.  There are excellent walks to the beach on the south coast and to the high land above the village.  Mooring fees out of season for a week or more are around 60 FF per day including electricity and water.  Shower tokens are 11 FF each.  There is a small boat yard with a crane, but it is not a suitable place to leave a cruising boat for the winter.

Darse Vieille

141

This harbour is right in the centre of Toulon with easy access to the shops and a hypermarket.  Despite its location, it is reasonably quiet, especially at night.  Security is non existent but the visitors berths are sufficiently far away from the main waterfront not be bothered by passers-by.  The berths are well protected but they are subject to constant wash from passing fishing boats and ferries.  Charges are very similar to St Mandrier.  There is a small boat yard with a crane but it is not possible to leave a cruising boat there for the winter.  As the harbour is in the middle of the city, there are no decent walks.

Port Nautic
(Port à Sec)

141

The description of Port Nautic in the pilot is very misleading.  There are only about 10 berths afloat and as they are exposed to the east; they are only suitable for short-term use prior to lifting.  This is a dry-berthing facility catering for over-winter storage.  Boats are lifted with a 60-ton crane and moved around the yard on a 20-ton transporter.  Prices are low for the south of France.  We paid 7,490 FF for lift-out, storage for six months and lift back.  (The minimum storage charge is for six months.)  As the yard is in the middle of nowhere, living on board is only practical for short periods.  Whilst we were there, the toilets and showers were being re-built making life aboard even more difficult.  Security is good and the proprietors, one of whom speaks excellent English, are very helpful indeed.

Navy Surf

Not
listed

An almost identical facility to Port Nautic.  It is immediately next door and charges very similar prices.

Port Pin-Rolland

140

This is the only port in La Rade with berths both afloat and ashore.  However, the former are completed exposed to the north making them quite unsuitable for a prolonged stay.  However, the on-shore facilities are good with two travel hoists, one very large indeed.  The port is a very long away from any facilities so living on board for a prolonged period without access to a car would be difficult.  However, for members over-wintering afloat, this would be the best place to be lifted for the week or so needed for antifouling etc.