Sanary-Sur-Mer Cruise Port

Port of Sanary-Sur-Mer: An Overview

Sanary-sur-Mer -- located in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region of southeastern France -- has just about everything you'd expect of a seaside village in the French Riviera. It's got its fair share of historic buildings to explore, including a medieval Romanesque watchtower, a 16th-century chapel and Eglise Saint Nazaire, a 19th-century church in the style of the Gothic Revival. It's still an active fishing village with fishermen selling their catch on the wharf each morning and quaint wooden boats bobbing in the marina throughout the day. There's a traditional open-air market at Kennedy Square, just a few steps from the tender point at Quai du Levant, where you can buy French baguettes, a dizzying number of cheeses (some of them pretty stinky), fruit and pastries, perfect for an impromptu picnic aboard your ship later in the day. Sanary's coastline is also dotted with a number of small but worthy beaches for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling when the weather cooperates. Locals told us that their town is the "sunniest place in all of France" and the data backs up the claim with an annual average of only 61 days of rain -- mostly during wintertime.

The only thing to note is that Sanary-sur-Mer is known for being windswept -- especially in the winter and spring -- due to the mistral, a wind current that blows in from the Rhone Valley. Swells can make tendering to and from this port a bit bumpy.

The modern-day diving industry was born in Sanary-sur-Mer, and oceanographer Jacques Cousteau owned a home here for most of his life. The surrounding area is internationally renowned for vineyards and olive groves so it's no wonder you can book a ship-sponsored, wine-tasting tour to nearby Le Castellet or Bandol.

Don't Miss

Local beaches: You're visiting the French Riviera so you really must spend part of the day at the beach before enjoying a leisurely meal at one of Sanary-sur-Mer's many seaside restaurants and cafes. There is a beach -- Plage du Levant, also known as Plage de l'Esplanade -- right in town, just steps from the tender pier, but it's small and rocky. Instead, walk 15 minutes to Portissol. (Walk west along Av. Jean Jaures and it will turn into Av. du Gal Gallieni. At the circle, take Av. de Portissol all the way to the end.) This crescent-shaped beach is buffered by a stand of trees, which keeps the wind to a minimum. There are several restaurants fronting the beach and you can rent loungers. Portissol is great for snorkeling and there is an extensive underwater trail that starts here; it takes about two hours to explore. Both beaches have shower and toilet facilities and are manned by lifeguards.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The official currency is the euro. There are several banks with ATMs within walking distance of the tender point, including Societe Generale, which is across from Kennedy Square just steps from Quai du Levant along Boulevard d'Estienne d'Orves. For up-to-date currency exchange rates, visit


French is the official language of Sanary-sur-Mer, and trying to speak a few words goes a long way with the locals. Say bonjour to greet someone. Table pour deux means table for two and merci means thank you. Since this is a tourist town, most shopkeepers and waiters do understand enough English to help you get by.

For More Information

On the Web: Sanary-sur-Mer

Cruise Critic Message Boards: France Ports

The Independent Traveler: France Travel Guide

--By Andrea M. Rotondo, Cruise Critic contributor

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