Water activities

Provence’s stunning Mediterranean coastline is a mecca for watersports enthusiasts as well as lazy beach bunnies. Its string of resorts offers adrenaline-pumping waterskiing, breathtaking diving and more sedate sailing – the Var department alone boasts 230 sandy beaches and coves lapped by azure waters. One of your holiday highlights could be to slip on your fins and explore the underwater treasures of the Mediterranean.

The Var’s highly varied underwater seascape is stippled with cliffs and wrecks, situated at a variety of levels. The local diving clubs operate until November, so you still have a chance now to experience some remarkable diving sites including those at Embiez Island, Cape Sicié, the Golden Islands, the Bay of Cavalaire-sur-Mer, Saint-Raphaël and Cape Dramont. The Var is even more beautiful from underwater! It also offers seven snorkelling itineraries for those less keen on diving.

Other autumn water activities could include an introduction to kitesurfing, sailing, rowing or sea kayaking. The ‘Station Nautiques’ quality label, borne by seven towns in Var, guarantees excellence for watersports. Or you can simply make the most of the many yacht hire firms based in Cassis and set sail for a whole day. The islands off the coast of Hyères (Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Levant) are ideal places to potter around in your own boat, picnic and swim while the sea is still warm at this time of year.

The Camargue is known for its gorgeous beaches, stretching for miles and encompassing the Étang de Vaccares and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer before reaching the border with Gard. It’s also a great destination for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers, home to wild white horses and a large colony of flamingos wading through the marshland. Consider a boat trip from Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to explore this unique French marshland from the water. In Marseille there are numerous fabulous sailing clubs (e.g. the Sideral Times Club or Eau Large de Noé) and kayaking is offered by UCPA. An alternative autumn idea is to book a day on the 23-metre catamaran ‘Le Levantin’, and enjoy a stunning cruise along the coast and lunch on board.