The vitamin-packed Mediterranean sea air bathes the coastal nature reserves and national parks of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in energy to spare. Our dolce vita atmosphere, gentle temperatures and dazzling sunshine are perfect for all kinds of water sports and underwater adventures… Climb aboard!
Raise the anchor on board Tiki
Venturing into Camargue on the Petit-Rhône river
To get a close-up view of the flora and fauna of the Camargue Regional Nature Reserve, climb aboard the traditional paddle boat Tiki. Guided by the captain’s commentary, this soothing cruise on the Petit-Rhône river unveils many secret treasures you can’t access by land… Starting out from Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the wild adventure crosses wetlands, pine woods and kingdoms of saltwort. You can already see a few bulls and horses dotted around in the distance, but a special surprise awaits you at the halfway point: a tour of a genuine local ranch (manade) in the company of a Camargue cowboy, for an up-close-and-personal plunge into Camargue traditions!
Take to the waves at Port-Cros
Whale watching, in the world of the giants of the sea
If you want to indulge in a spot of Mediterranean dolphin and whale watching off the coast of Port-Cros National Park, Vertical Horizon is your go-to address! A proud holder of the High Quality Whale Watching® (HQWW) label, this expert specializes in sustainable and eco-friendly encounters with our large marine mammals. The half-day adventure on board Ipanéa – a semi-rigid boat able to seat up to 12 passengers – takes you out to the deep sea Pelagos Sanctuary. Your guide Cédric explains the characteristics of the various habitats and lifestyles of the marine mammals prior to your magical encounter with blue and white dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, pilot wales, turtles, sperm whales and blue whales… Binoculars to the ready!
Walking on water – or almost!
A fabulous, all-round sport, kayaking is a great way to discover Port-Cros and its vicinity starting out from Hyères. Head to Plage du Bouvet to meet up with your guide at La Tour Fondue. This 2½-hour excursion – distinguished with the Esprit Parc National label – starts with a presentation of the tower’s fascinating history. Next, you’ll head out to the Petit Ribaud and Grand Ribaud islands. It was here that the great Professor Richet, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1913, conducted many experiments. You’ll learn all about them during your tour! Succumb to the temptation of a dip in the clear and refreshing waters of Plage du Grand Ribaud while you’re there. Alternatively, opt for a stand-up paddleboarding session in the delicious sunshine, free as air and floating peacefully on top of the waves…
Explore the coastal depths
Introduction to scuba diving in pure waters
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur is home to several snorkelling trails allowing all the family to discover the wealth and beauty of our sea beds. In Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, for example, you can opt for a summer snorkelling adventure in the beautiful fjord of Calanque de Port d’Alon. This extraordinary visual and tactile experience under the water’s surface unveils many unexpected treasures narrated by passionate experts. Once you’re immersed, the vital need to protect and preserve this fragile ecosystem becomes only too obvious.
Alternatively, treat yourself to a foray into underwater flora and fauna at Saint-Estève beach on Ratonneau islands, one of the four islands of the Frioul archipelago. Suitable for all levels, this escapade is a great chance to admire the rocky and sandy sea beds and precious Posidonia meadows up to depths of 5 metres. In Antibes, you can enjoy a subaquatic adventure in the capable hands of nature guides on the Batterie du Graillon trail. On the programme: educational activities and a sea turtle sanctuary… While you’re visiting, don’t miss the stunning views over the Mercantour and Estérel areas from the 17th-century tower.
Navigating in Calanques National Park
Peace at last in an electric boat or sailboat!
Climb aboard Hélios, a hybrid boat designed in the region and built by Icar Maritime, for an eco-friendly tour of the gems of Calanques National Park. Various guided tours, all bearing the Esprit Parc National label, are available from Marseille’s Old Port (Vieux-Port). Lasting 3¼ hours, the Grand Tour (Grand Circuit) offers a captivating plunge into the geological, ecological and historic characteristics of the fjords (Sormiou, Morgiou, Sugiton, En Vau, Port Pin and Port Miou) between Marseille and Cassis. If you only have 2¼ hours to spare, hop on board for a tour of the first three fjords: a genuine concentrate of beauty . And if you’d like to try your hand at sailing, the Alliance is a traditional schooner offering Esprit Parc National-certified tours of the sumptuous fjords lining the coast between Marseille and Cassis. On the programme: relaxation, gazing in wonder and – naturellement – lunch made with local, organic ingredients!