Located on the edge of the French Riviera, Sanary-sur-Mer is a sleepy hidden village peppered with delicious restaurants, great shopping, and beautiful vistas. It is the perfect spot to soak up the Mediterranean lifestyle – a great respite from the hustle and bustle of some of the bigger towns, and the ideal place to enjoy an ice cream stroll on a summer afternoon. Here are my tips for a perfect day:
8:00am Drop anchor in Sanary-sur-Mer, France
Pop upstairs to Veranda restaurant to enjoy a leisurely breakfast alfresco while soaking up the Southern French sunshine. Order the eggs benedict, mainly if there is a special variation on the menu. It is a vacation, after all, in the land of butter.
Eggs benedict ship-side makes for the perfect morning fuel before heading out into town!
9:00am Catch the tender to explore the town
While tenders can be a bit cumbersome on larger ships, tendering from the sailing ship is a joy – especially when the views are as gorgeous as they are coming into Sanary-sur-Mer! Have your camera ready as you enter the tiny harbor – it is full of medieval steeples and brightly colored fishing boats still used today by the local fisherman to haul in the daily catch. If you are early enough, you just might see a few of them unloading their fresh fish. Spend the morning exploring the old village, stopping to shop for olive oil soaps, and find a few minutes to enjoy some of the small museums dedicated to Jacques Cousteau. And if you happen to still be in town around the lunch hour, pop into the tiny boulangerie directly in the old port for the most delicious toasted ham and cheese croissant of your life!
Bright blue skies and endlessly colorful fishing boats – it must be the old port of Sanary-sur-Mer!
12:00noon Discover the Village of Le Castellet
Join a tour to leave the coastline and head into the surrounding mountains. Less than an hour away is the whitewashed medieval village of Le Castellet. Spend the early afternoon browsing the shops for linen dresses and olive wood cooking spoons, enjoying a cone of drippy lemon sorbet, and touring the ancient chapel (look for the hidden window high on the far wall where the monarch could enjoy mass without having to leave his royal chambers).
Making sure to snag a few reminders of this gorgeous corner of the world
2:30pm Traipse through the olive groves and lavender fields
The South of France is known for its olive groves and lavender fields – so you are destined to pass many of them on the drive from Le Castellet to your afternoon of wine tasting. Many shops along the road will also sell locally produced olive oil, olive oil soap, and dried lavender. Snag a few for beautiful gifts for friends back at home.
Lavender fields abound at Domaine Souviou vineyard
4:00pm Taste delicious Rosé at Domaine Souviou
Arriving at Domaine Souviou in time to sample a few pourings of their white and rose wines. Made on site with their own grapes, you can genuinely taste the minerality and deep sunshine of this appellation. Ask for a full glass of your favorite, and take it poolside for an hour of soaking up the sun. Or wander through their own lavender fields and olive groves, looking for wild fig trees to snack on.
We voted – the crisp white for the win at Domaine Souviou!
7:00pm Head back to the ship to sip pre-dinner cocktails on the ship’s deck
Didn’t quite get enough wine at Domaine? No problem! Head back to the ship and snag a pre-dinner cocktail at the alfresco bar!
8:00pm Enjoy endless lobster at the onboard barbecue
Don your best nautical stripes, and head upstairs to dinner under the summer sunshine at the onboard barbecue. Feast on roast suckling pig, grilled lobster tails, ice-cold endless shrimp cocktail, and the most massive paella you have ever seen! Everything is served buffet style, so don’t be shy – enjoy the feast!
Everyone is super excited for the grilled lobster!
9:30pm Watch the sunset as the ship sails onward
The sun sets exceptionally late in early summer, so don’t be afraid to linger over dinner. Looking for the best place to snap a photo of the sunset? The upper deck at the front of the ship makes for a gorgeous and often deserted, a spot to catch the sun slowly slip into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Windsurf culinary staff outdid themselves with their amazing fruit carvings!
10:00pm Dance the night away with the house band under the stars
The house band plays until you decide to leave, so go ahead and dance the night away – tomorrow’s French Riviera adventures will just have to wait.
Words and Images created by Collier Lumpkin