Cruise Ports In France

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This post will take you through many of the Cruise Ports In France, offering a little insight into each port, what’s nearby, where cruise ships dock in French ports and what to visit. If you’re planning to book a Mediterranean cruise any time soon that stops in a French port, it helps to know and plan the ports you want to visit.

What Cruise Ports Are There In France?

The stunning Marseille Palais Longchamp fountain view from the front looking up
The stunning Marseille Palais Longchamp fountain view. Photo Credit, Donna Vallance

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We have put together a little guide looking at all the cruise ports in France and what’s nearby. Looking at great places to visit on a port day in France, a selection of cruise lines who sail into each French cruise port. With some tips of our favourite place to visit.

France is a popular cruising destination in the Mediterranean. France boasts several picturesque cruise ports that offer a delightful blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty. Here are some of the most popular cruise ports in France;

  • Ajaccio
  • Bordeaux
  • Cannes
  • Cherbourg
  • La Rochelle
  • Le Havre
  • Marseille
  • Monaco
  • Saint-Tropez
  • Toulon
  • Villefranche For Nice.

Ajaccio

Ajaccio France Port
Ajaccio France Port Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

You will find Ajaccio on the French Island of Corsica. Being the birthplace of Napoleon it’s a great place to discover some of the history behind him and visit Maison Bonaparte, the ancestral home of the Bonaparte family which is now a national museum.

Other notable things to do in Ajaccio include

  • Wandering the old town, they also offer mini train rides if the heat is to great or you are travelling with children.
  • Head along the cost to Portico to check out glorious views and coastline, and find a small beach to chill out.
  • Visit the harbour to boat watch and enjoy great seafood.

Where Do Cruise Lines Dock In Ajaccio? Most cruise ships dock at the Gare Maritime on Quai L’Herminier. This is not far from the tourist office and Place Foch, Ajaccio’s main square.

Cruise Lines Who Dock In Ajaccio Cruise Port In France Include:

  • Costa Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Princess Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Regent
  • Silversea
  • MSC Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Cunard
  • And Seabourn

Bordeaux

What To Do In Bordeaux Cruise Port
Boredeaux France. Photo Credit: Donna Vallance, Cruising For All

Bordeaux is steeped in history and wonderful things to see and do. Place de la Bourse is a must, designed by Louis XV’s favourite architect, Jacques Gabriel, check out the sculptures beneath the arches of all the building and a few steps away you will find the breathtaking Water Mirror, a large pool of shallow water, which lends itself to photograph and cooling off on a hot day. Also check out…

  • Wander the waterfront on the Quais de Bordeaux
  • Visit La Cité du Vin to explore all things wine and marvel at the glorious architecture
  • Check out La Grosse Cloche, the old belfry for Bordeaux’ town hall.

Where Do Cruise Lines Dock In Bordeaux Cruise Port In France? Larger cruise ships visiting Bordeaux dock at Le Verdon-sur-Mer which is around a 30 minute drive from Bordeaux. Smaller ships and river cruise ships stop at Port de la Lune.

Cruise Lines Who Dock In Bordeaux Include:

  • Silversea
  • Princess
  • Fred Olsen
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Oceania
  • Saga
  • Windstar

Cannes

CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 3, 2017: A view of the Vieux Port, the Old Port of Cannes, and Le Suquet district, the old town, in the background. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos
CANNES, FRANCE – A view of the Vieux Port, the Old Port of Cannes, and Le Suquet district, the old town, in the background. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Cannes is one of my favourite cruise ports in France, things to do in Cannes include take a stroll along the Boulevard de la Croisette one of the most fashionable streets on the French Riviera. Alternatively if you are fan off water sports head to  Port Palm Beach, this is quiet public beach where you will find a little snack bar and be able to sit and people watch.

Don’t forget to check out the old town of Le Suquet, here you will find the old church, Eglise du Suquet, and the 11th-century Tour du Mont Chevalier watchtower.

You can also easily jump on the bus or a taxi to Nice or Monaco from Cannes.

Where Do Cruise Lines Dock In Cannes Cruise Port In France Cruise ships moor offshore and tenders ferry passengers to the Quai Laubeuf where you can grab a map and take the short walk to the town.

Cruise Lines Who Dock In Cannes Include:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Princess
  • Celebrity
  • Cunard
  • Azamara
  • Seabourn
  • Oceania

Cherbourg

visiting Cherbourg for the day on a cruise

Cherbourg was not what I expected at all, part of the Normandy region and known for being one of the only ports where the Titanic stopped, the Titanic Museum which is part of the La Cite De La Mere is one not to miss, as is the aquarium, a real Submarine.

Other notable place to visit in and around Cherbourg are….

  • Wander into town, there are lots of lovely independent shops and restaurants
  • Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy ( Distance from Cherbourg 2 hours 40 by train)
  • Chateau De Vendeuvre in Normandy. (Distance from Cherbourg 2 hours 30)
  • Head to the beaches of Brittany.

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock In Cherbourg? Ships will dock in either Cherbourg Cruise Terminal, Quay De Normandie or Quay De France dock. These are adjacent to each other and both located near the town centre off Cherbourg which is easily accessible by foot. 

Cruise Lines Who Dock At Cherbourg Cruise Port France Include

  • Celebrity
  • P&O
  • Princess Cruises
  • Holland And America
  • Royal Caribbean

La Rochelle

La Rochelle Cruise Port Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

Things to do in La Rochelle include visit the Towers of La Rochelle, The Tour Saint-Nicolas and the Tour de la Chaîne form the gateway to the Old Port which for ten centuries formed the defensive bastions to protect the city. Other things to do in Rochelle include…

  • Parc Charruyer a relaxing park with wildlife and walks along the river
  • Marché du Centre Ville food market
  • Museum of Automata, a museum of scale and automated models which looks truly fascinating.
  • Musée Maritime de La Rochelle

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock In La Rochelle? For La Rochelle you will dock in La Pallice, this is the industrial harbor of the city. The city’s old harbor is too shallow for cruise ships, thus cruise passengers will arrive at Môle descale and jump on the the shuttle to La Rochelle which is about 6 kilometers from the city center.

Cruise Lines Who Dock At La Rochelle Cruise Port France Include:

  • Celebrity
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Fred Olsen
  • P&O
  • Windstar
  • Princess

Le Havre

Monets Garden Near La Harve Port In france
Giverny, Monets Garden In France. Photo Credit: Donna Vallance, Cruising For All

Le Havre is not somewhere you think of when you consider cruise ports in France, however is a major port in northern France’s Normandy region. This is where the Seine River meets the English Channel, people often ask if Le Havre is worth visiting, yet as a region there is a lot nearby to offer. Including visiting the Musée d’Art Moderne André Malraux, which can be found at the Marina.

However you also need to visit the city’s art museum the Musée d’Orsay where you will find work from impressionist such as Monet, Manet, Renoir, Sisley and Degas.

Also a bit farther afield, at about 1 hr 40 minutes by car, so check if your cruise line is running a trip for this or hire a car, but Monet’s Garden in Giverny is a must.

Even Farther afield and definitely one to do an arranges tour is Paris, which is 190km and about 2hours and 40 minutes by car or coach.

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock In Le Havre? Most cruise ships dock at Quai Roger Meunier or Quai Pierre Callet in Le Havre cruise port in France. The piers are close to each other with the cruise terminal building situated in between, which is around between 2 and 3 kilometers away from the city centre.

Cruise Lines Who Dock At Le Havre Cruise Port France Include :

  • NCL
  • Princess
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean

Marseille

Marseille Cruise Port in France
Marseille, Photo Credit: Donna Vallance, Cruising For All

Things to do and see in Marseille include visiting the Notre Dame de la Garde, it’s one of Marseille’s most famous landmarks, situated on the top of a hill overlooking the sea. It’s a bit of a climb, however you can also visit by bus.

Other notable things to do in Marseille include

  • Take a boat ride to Calanques, the stunning coast between Marseille and Cassis
  • Wander around the old port
  • Visit the old town
  • Check out Palais Longchamp museum.
  • Take the tourist train.

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock In The Cruise Port In Marseille, France? The main cruise ship terminal in Marseille  is located at Place de la Joliette. Cruise ship passengers are advised to catch a taxi or get on the shuttle bus from the the industrial port to Marseille’s tourist area.

Some Cruise Lines Who Stop At Marseille Cruise Port:

  • MSC
  • Costa
  • Princess
  • NCL
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity

Monaco

Cruise Ports In France Monaco
Monaco Cruise Port. Photo Credit: Donna Vallance, Cruising For All

Where Do Cruise Ships Dock In Monaco Cruise Port? Although Monaco is not officially a part of France, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, only the Vatican City is smaller, however it fits nicely onto this cruise ports in France post as a part of a French cruise itinerary.

Monaco is the most glorious place to visit, if you stand facing Monaco with the cruise ship behind you to the left you will see the palace to the right the Monte Carlo Casino and Cafe De Paris.

It’s a bit of a climb up to the casino area, however it is worth the trek to sit outside the Cafe De Paris drink in hand a people watch. This will set you back a bit, it’s not cheap, but an experience I wouldn’t miss. Our boys loved watching all the performance cars coming and going for the Hotel De Paris and Casino and the view of Monaco from the top of the hill is stunning.

Tip, if you are a Grand Prix or Tour De France fan check out the dates and go on the day before, and you may catch the test tracks. The Monaco Grand Prix is generally the last week of May.

Where Do Ships Dock In Monaco? Ships now dock at a new pier at the edge of Hercules Port. However cruise lines often tender if the pier is booked. Ships tender to the marina in Fontvielle to the west. Here you can walk to where ever you need to go or get a taxi.

Cruise Lines Who Stop At Monaco:

  • Azamara
  • Oceania
  • NCL
  • Royal Caribbean
  • P&O
  • Princess
  • Celebrity

Nice, Villefranche

Villefranche Cruise Port In France
Photo Credit: Donna Vallance

Walk along the Promenade des Anglais, this famous promenade is the perfect place to wander and take in the culture, being seven kilometres long there is plenty to see including regal 19th-century palaces.

Wander the streets of the old town, Vieille Ville, with alleys, unique local shops and restaurants, which have an Italian feel, and tell tale signs of Nice’s Italian heritage. Don’t miss the Nice Cathedral its baroque design is truly breathtaking.

Other noteworthy thing to see are…

  • The famous flower market Cours Saleya, located in Nice’s old quarter, it’s one not to miss.
  • Check out the panoramic views from Parc de la Colline du Château
  • Head to the beach to soak up the Mediterranean sun.

Where Do Ships Dock In Villefranche, Nice? Smaller cruise ships are able to dock at the Port of Nice on the Quai du Commerce pier, which is around half an hour walk away from Nice city centre. However larger ships tend to anchor in neighboring Villefranche Bay and tender passengers ashore to Villefranche-sur-Mer. Here you can get the train to Nice for €1.90

Cruise Lines Who Stop At Villefranche Cruise Port:

  • Marella
  • P&O
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity
  • Disney
  • Silversea
  • Azamara
  • Crystal

Saint-Tropez

SAINT TROPEZ, FRANCE, JUNE 15, 2017: Marina in Saint Tropez, France
SAINT TROPEZ, FRANCE, Marina in Saint Tropez, France, Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Vieux Port is a great place to start, lined with a combination of of traditional boats and yachts. There’s lots to see and the perfect spot to stop for a glass of wine and people watch. You will also find Place aux Herbes not far from the harbour area, this ancient market square is full of glorious fruit and flower stalls, go early in the morning for the atmosphere.

Taking a boat tour is the perfect way to explore Saint-Tropez, during the trip you will be shown the old village, the famous beaches of Saint-Tropez and the breathtaking millionaire’s bay.

Where Do Ships Dock In Saint-Tropez? As there is no cruise terminal in Saint-Tropez, ships drop anchor is the sea and tender passengers to either the Vieux (Old Port) or Nouveau (New Port). Both are close together, and easy walking distance into town.

Cruise Lines Who Stop At Saint-Tropez Cruise Port:

  • Oceania
  • Silversea
  • Azamara
  • Seabourne
  • Crystal

Toulon

Toulon coast ob a summer day
Cityscape of Toulon on a summer day, Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Start by getting your bearings and taking a cable car ride up Mount Faron to check out the panoramic views over of Toulon and the Mediterranean Sea beyond. A Cable car return trip costs, adults €7,30, children (4 – 10 years) €5,20.

If you’re cruising with little ones of just want a rest take the Toulon Tourist Train, departing from the port of Toulon from April to October, discover Toulon via a guided tour by train. Prices are reasonable at €7.50 for adults and €4 for children ages 4-11. The tour has 2 stops one in the town centre and one at the beach and takes 45 minutes.

Other notable places to visit are Musée National de la Marine, Toulon’s Opera Theatre and the market located in the centre of Toulon.

Where Do Ships Dock In Toulon? Cruise ships can dock in 2 ports in Toulon, Port Marchand in downtown, from here you can walk into town. However larger ships dock in Port La Seyne-sur-Mer, which is across the bay, you can generally jump onto the cruise line shuttle to get into town.

Some Cruise Lines Who Stop At Toulon Cruise Port In France:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Marella
  • Azamara
  • Cunard
  • P&O
  • Celebrity
  • Seabourne

Family Cruising Inspiration

P&O Iona in Norway
Photo Credit: Sarah Christie Cruising with Kids

I hope this post on Cruise Ports In France has given you a little inspiration, if you already have your cruise booked then check out our drinks packages guides and guide to the best family cruises for families.

Ultimate Guide To Cruise Ports in France
What you need to know about Cruise Ports in France

Author

    by
  • Donna Vallance

    Donna loves cruising with her husband and two teenage boys. Having cruised with the children from a young age she feels it is the perfect way to experience the world safely. Her boys are social butterfly’s and love meeting other children their own age whilst onboard some of the most extraordinary floating ships. She also writes over at Like Love Do, a travel memoir of her trips, from London to far off beaches. She has an eye for the unusual and like to go off of the beaten track just to find the perfect photo. With a passion for photography and exploring cruising has become the perfect holiday choice.

    View all posts

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