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Hyères and its Îles d’or

Published on 26 january 2009 at 0h00

It’s summer…The weather is fine, and here is the opportunity you dreamed of to spend a weekend (or longer) on the Cote d’Azur… What’s the destination? Hyeres and the sumptuous islands bordering this stretch of water: a unique change of scene just ‘two steps’ from home…

Logbook

The Cote d’Azur offers several faces to those who take the time to discover it by sea. From the delightful wild creeks to harbours which are well-known amongst the jet-set, this is a destination like no other…
If you are going to sail from Hyères to discover Port Cros and Porquerolles, there is nothing to stop you extending the journey by a few tens of miles to discover the Golfe de St. Tropez or the wild Esterel…
Porquerolles and Port Cros are magical places, and really unique in the Mediterranean. The beauty of these islands is legendary and has not been encroached on. You have to have been there (if possible out of season) to soak up the exceptional atmosphere that reigns there. The place is especially nice at the end of the day when the ‘tourists’ have left. You will then be almost alone to enjoy the surroundings. Certainly the best moment of your cruise…
There is no need for us to present St. Tropez… A place which was made famous in the 60s by BB and the film ‘And God created woman’. In St. Tropez, everyone can find something to enjoy… Having a coffee around the old port, early in the morning, to enjoy the exceptional light that some of the greatest painters came to look for on the ‘Cote’, or enjoying the unique festive atmosphere that reigns in the town after nightfall…
And then, if you feel like it, there is nothing to stop you going to have a look at Corsica, about a hundred miles from Hyères…

Itinerary

Leaving from Hyères, here are the main anchorages which will allow you to enjoy the famous ‘Iles d’Or’…
Levant : There is no sheltered anchorage, and as ? of the island belong to the military, anchoring and cruising here are prohibited…
Port Cros : 15 miles from Hyères, this is a National Park. It is essential to be equipped with a holding tank, as the boats and the anchorage must be kept clean. This is good for the fauna and flora; it is also perfect for you and your children if you intend to go swimming …
To the east : Baie de Port-Man, anchorage sheltered from the west, but open to the east, in 10/15 metres depth. 20 miles from Hyères. Superb, as it is still wild.
Another solution: the mooring buoys in the little port to the west, in front of the 10 houses and 2 restaurants.
Porquerolles : 5 miles from Hyères
The anchorages are mainly on the north coast. From east to west:
‘Baie d’Alicastre’ with the Notre Dame beach: anchorage protected from the east, south and west. A large, deep bay allowing many boats to anchor (motor boats, monohulls, cats); in high season there may be more than 100 boats. Big, sandy beach with not many tourists on foot, as it is a long way from the harbour. From June to September, and especially on Sundays, the constant passage of motor boats creates a swell which is slightly unpleasant. 
Behind the ‘Pointe d’Alicastre’, at the foot of a fort, there is a small anchorage for 4 or 5 boats. It is well-protected from the mistral, but the places are expensive… 
Plage de la Courtade : to the east of the harbour, anchorage protected from east to south. A big, open bay, similar to the previous one. The beach is busier. Clean anchorage…
Anse du Bon Renaud with the ‘plage d’Argent’ : to the west of the harbour. Anchorage protected from west to south. White sand beach. Clean anchorage. Very busy, even overpopulated.
Baie du Langoustier : west headland of the island. Anchorage protected from west, south and east. Very pretty, small beach a long way from the harbour. Highly-rated restaurant but beware - it is good, but also very expensive… 
For the brave, who sail round the island, here are the three anchorages on the south side. Only to be used in calm seas, as the swell from the open sea sweeps straight in. Not much space… 
Anse du Parfait : black sand beach in the west of the island, behind the fishing boat. Very tight entrance, maximum depth: 2m. Anchorage protected from the west, north and east. 
La Grande Cale : anchorage in the south of the island, very open, at the foot of the cliffs.
Anse de la Galère : in the south-east of the island. Protected from the west. The seabed descends quickly, there is a short plateau, then it falls away sharply. The underwater population is abundant; it is an excellent place to dive.
Finally, in the ‘Rade d’Hyères’, don’t forget the three anchorages protected from the east, before Cap Benat: Le Pelegrin, L’Estagnol and Brégançon, as well as the anchorage below the Giens peninsula, which is protected from the mistral: La Badine… 
Enough to spend at least a week discovering wild and well-protected nature, a few miles from a big town.

Practical info

The weather on the Cote d’Azur: Cruising is pleasant all the year round, even though the hottest season is from May to October…

International airports: Nice and Marseilles.

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