Sailing & Yachting culture on the French Riviera

It is said that The present is the key to the past, and that Our past influences our present.

Those two well-known statements, may be easily used as a motto of the sailing and yachting culture on the French Riviera. The long stretch of coastline that runs from the France-Italy border to the town of Saint Tropez is well known for being a popular tourist
destination.

This reputation, despite of being simplistic, has its roots in the ancient history, especially for what concern the strong legacy that locals and visitors have with the sea. Originally inhabited by local tribes, the Greeks were the first to transform this ordinary region into something special.
Founders of Marseille, the Greeks had at that time the monopoly of the maritime trades in the Mediterranean; their intense and growing activities made it necessary the foundation of two sister-cities: Nice et Antibes. Situated just 15 miles away from each other and not far from the Italian border, they both played the same strategic role, that’s of trading posts between the main actors of the commercial activities.

Nice and Antibes became also a sort of window for the inland tribes: mostly farmers, they started to connect with a new world of commercial opportunities and a new relation with the sea. Obviously, the daily life of the first inhabitants from the two new cities
was influenced by their geographical position. Over the centuries new fishing towns emerged, such as Cannes and Villefranche-sur-Mer, increasing the affluence of new consumers and traders across the Mediterranean. 

Fast-forward to modern days: the economy on the French Riviera has obviously changed, but despite the succession of invasions, wars, incorporations to bigger States and/or Kingdoms, the love for the sea still remains a central part of local culture.

If the French coast was once populated by maritime merchants and traders buying fish and material goods, they have been replaced today by tourists coming by modern sailboats and yachts looking for leisure, relaxation and easy life. 

Luxury yachts and sailboats are celebrated and showed off during annual festivals and trade-shows. The Monaco Yacht show is the most important one, in terms of yachts number and size, and visitors. 

The passion for boating, though, is all but elitist on the French Riviera. Whether hobbists or professionals, whether they are into sailboats or yachting, those are not closed words. The common love for navigation a,d the sense of freedom it brings along are common ground for everyone wanting to share his own experiences.

The French Riviera is obviously just a temporary stop over before heading towards other seas and ports, leaving the Mediterranean for the Southern Hemisphere.

As the approaching cloud mark the changing of the season on the French Riviera, the coming and going of boats, yachts and cruise ships slowly declines. Crowded harbors will be in the memory of locals, until next summer. Despite the low season and the reduced number of tourists, signs of the shilling and yachting culture are always visible on the French Riviera, to the point of affecting the urban landscape. 

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