French Cruising Avec Marella – The Best France Ports To Visit



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When you choose a cruise to the western side of the Mediterranean, your destination list will often be dominated by Spain and Italy. But there are several cruises that visit French ports too, and they are certainly not ones to dismiss.

Cassis, France

Some of the ports in France you can visit on a Marella cruise offer the most picturesque scenery of the continent, along with a host of historical wonders and cultural charms. Plus, I hear the food and wine are pretty good, too!

So in this guide, let’s take a look at all the France ports you can cruise to with Marella.

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Ajaccio

Ajaccio, Corsica

Corsica is an absolutely beautiful island, and the town of Ajaccio where you’ll dock is the perfect entry point. The streets are mazes of terracotta, while the picturesque harbour is home to sailboats of all sizes along with some charming cafes and restaurants.

Head further inland to discover the natural beauty of the island, with the option to drive through the mountains at Cricheto Pass and board a small train to discover the many herbs grown here.

Calvi

Calvi, Corsica

The second of three ports on Corsica, Calvi offers an impressive welcome. As your ship arrives, you’ll enjoy views of the towering citadel, an outpost built in the 15th century that still stands and looks out over the town.

Calvi is not just a historic destination, though – it’s now the home of the super-rich, and so has some stunning boutiques and restaurants that you can explore if you decide against heading inland to see more of the island’s stunning scenery.

Cannes

Cannes, France

Cannes may be synonymous with its film festival, but year-round if offers a wealth of stunning sights including the renowned harbour, where you’ll find plenty of yachts belonging to millionaires and billionaires.

There’s stretching white sands to enjoy too, along with historic mansions and some quaint cafes serving delightful food options. Or you can head to nearby Monte Carlo if you want a change of scenery.

Marseille

Marseille, France

Marseille exudes a unique atmosphere where the grungy and bohemian rub shoulders with the grandeur of Art Deco architecture. This city’s vibrant streets are filled with fish stalls, delis, and markets reminiscent of souks, thanks to the diverse traders who have made Marseille their home.

Among the must-visit places in Marseille is the Vieux Port, the city’s old harbour, famous for its daily fish market and the iconic bouillabaisse available at waterfront restaurants. Or a short distance away, the medieval town of Avignon awaits, offering a peek into history with its orange-roofed houses, cobbled squares, and the Palais des Papes, all encased within formidable battlements overlooking the River Rhone.

Propriano

Propriano, Corsica

The quietest of the three ports you can visit in Corsica, Propriano, offers a serene glimpse into the go-slow Mediterranean lifestyle, nestled between Sardinia and the top of Italy’s boot. The white sandy stretches encircling the turquoise bay, coupled with the seafront promenade lined with cafes, paint a picture of idyllic leisure.

For those seeking a dash of adventure, Propriano’s harbour is the starting point for various water sports, including scuba diving to explore the vibrant marine life or boat trips to discover the area’s rocky headlands and secluded coves. Despite its modest size, Propriano boasts a restaurant scene that rivals the best, with the waterside promenade teeming with eateries just moments away from the marina.

St. Raphael

St. Raphael, France

St. Raphael is considered to be one of the quietest ports on the southern coast of France, affectionately known as the “girl next door” when compared to the more flashy nearby destinations of St Tropez or Monte Carlo. Those destinations are in easy reach if you want to explore from this port, including the option of taking a guided boat tour to reach St Tropez in style.

If you do prefer to stay in St. Raphael then you’ll enjoy quaint cafes and the beautiful sands of Dramont Beach, which is typically popular with families.

Toulon

Toulon, France

Toulon serves as your gateway to the Côte d’Azur. While you can enjoy your time exploring the old town area of Toulon itself, many prefer to use this port as chance to take an excursion to the nearby towns.

Cassis is one option, a charming seaside resort with some amazing shopping and dining options, along with a relaxing bay to explore. Or head to St Tropez to see if you can spot any celebrities. The smaller villages of Bandol and Sanary-Sur-Mur also make for a wonderful trip, if you want to escape from the crowds and delight in historic buildings and local produce.

Villefranche

Villefranche, France

Villefranche-sur-Mer, to give this port its full title, offers some enchanting excursion options to enjoy. It’s a great base for touring nearby Monte Carlo, whether you want to soak up the harbour sights or you’re a Formula One fan interested in the home of arguably the sport’s greatest race venue.

Or perhaps you’d rather head to Nice and hop on an electric trolley train to tour the winding streets of this beautiful city, including its historic Cathedral.

Final Word

France’s ports offer a wealth of charms, so it’s definitely worth looking out for cruise itineraries that visit some of these stunning destinations. Whether it’s the spectacular southern coast of mainland France, or the delights of Corsica, each port is relaxing and wonderfully scenic, but also packed with exciting activities to try and places to explore.

Do you have a favourite?

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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