Extension of Port Vauban Antibes: Progress - New megayacht berths, new facilities

The Extension of Port Vauban

The Extension of Port Vauban

Rendering of what Capitainerie Quay could look like in years to come with boutiques and a large pedestrian area next to the 30 m yacht berths. View of Mole Sud in the background with shops on the quay. Article image 1. MooringSpot, Berths for sale, rental

There has been word for many years of an « extension » of Port Vauban, and in recent months there seems to have been greater determination to see such a project through in the next five to six years. This is as per a statement made by the President of Port Vauban, shortly before stepping down from his function.

A plan to extend the port was made public in April 2011, but then, how soon is Antibes’ harbour going to change, and what for? MooringSpot presents you with its findings.


A harbour, just like any town or village, is a place that evolves through time with its people. Antibes is a perfect example. It was founded by the Phoceans, a seafaring nation, who used the location’s natural port as a base and trading point. It was later to become a naval outpost for the kings of France, and today, it is one of the most emblematic ports of destination in the world of luxury yachting. And though Antibes has been a port since long before Paris even existed, the port we now see today is drastically different from what it was only 50 years ago. Until then, the only port in Antibes was the ancient one which consisted of a pier protected by a wall which extended from the old city to the Bastion Saint Jaume. What is nowadays the inner port used to be a small bay then, the Anse St Roch. (Note: Some of the port’s history is written and illustrated on the old port’s wall).
Over the decades, Port Vauban’s administration has studied and suggested various projects of extending the port and modifying its layout. One old example is still displayed in the port’s office, on the pillar behind the main desk and in front of the berth rentals desk. The renderings show a second port which would be on the other side of Fort Vauban, claiming a large part of the beach. You can tell by the way the colours have faded on these images that this project was suggested a few years ago. Many other possibilities and extensions in various directions have been considered and caused architects and landscapers to ponder, but none of these projects have ever seen the light.

Designing and planning the construction or extension of a harbour is significantly more complicated than that of an ordinary building. There are many issues to take into consideration, such as the environment and the local sea life, the various stakeholders of the port (boat owners but also the other users such as the fishermen and various associations), the feasibility of the works, the possible return on investment for the town and its population, and generally obtaining all the permissions necessary from the different French administrations.

In these projects, the most recurring feature is an extension of the famous “Billionaires’ Quay” by almost half a kilometre, past the hill of the Fort Carré.

The Quay Camille Rayon, also known as the “IYCA”, currently stretches 650 m out into the sea and is the main breakwater of the entire port. It has 17 berths for yachts up to 90 m in length, as well as two larger berths for 150 m and 165 m megayachts. The projected extension would double the length of the jetty up to 1,250 m, creating an additional 450 m of quay for 25 megayacht berths (with a possibly to even welcome cruise ships), as well as creating shelter for the area on the north-eastern flank of Fort Carré.

Aerial view of Port Vauban Antibes today, the Billionaires' quay in its current state opposite Fort Vauban hill and the berth layouts and configuration for boats yachts and megayachts.

The cost of this extension is estimated at 230,000,000 €. The port and the town of Antibes have jointly ordered surveys on the feasibility of the project. The ASAP (“Association de Soutine aux activités et à l’Aménagement du Port d’Antibes”, pun intended) an association of different stakeholders supporting the modernisation of the harbour, have informed us that town officials have consulted with the local fishermen with regards to their positions on this construction as well as with yachting professionals with regards to how much a megayacht generates for the economy. So far, there seems to be a consensus about the fact this extension would be beneficial for Antibes. There is no shortage of potential private investors. The berth owners of the IYCA in Antibes are among the wealthiest individuals on the planet. Though the Billionaires’ Quay was an ambitious project in its early days, this section of the port is nowadays also subject to overwhelming demand. The rights to use the berths located on the famous quay sell for record figures. One of them is currently for sale at an asking price of € 9,500,000.
Representation with an aerial view of what the new port of Port Vauban Antibes would look like with the extended Billionaire's quay with more than double the amount of megayacht berths and large pedestrian areas around the port docks. This image does not show all the various berth and quay configurations that could happen allowing larger boats and yachts to moor on Port Vauban berths.


The town’s projects for the port also include a progressive plan to rejuvenate and rearrange its layout and its facilities. Extending the harbour breakwater so far out at sea means the hill of the Fort Carré could see a circular promenade around it being built for the pleasure of tourists and the town’s inhabitants. There are different angles of landscaping also being considered, with the general scope of making Port Vauban more of a pedestrian area than an open air car park. The town even has to build luxury boutiques where the current port office is. However, all these innovations may take time to take place. The port has now delivered a new state of the art shower and toilet block at the western end of Port Vauban (close to the BP filling station) which will now spare people staying on the small visitor berths the walk all around the port to take a shower.
The Billionaires’ Quay extension is likely to take place by 2019. However, nothing can at this stage really be confirmed as technically, it should not be possible to carry out the construction works so close to the French National Monument which is Fort Vauban. Therefore, there is still much work ahead for the port’s administration and Antibes’ townhall before this large project becomes reality.
Should you wish to know more about the project, the ASAP of Antibes has a website which details its various aspects. This association’s purpose is to support improvements to the port, gather opinions as well as support from the various individuals and companies who feel a concern for the future of Port Vauban.
MooringSpot is a member of this association. Though we do not necessarily support all of the ideas that have been brought to the table so far, we believe it is a great initiative that people who form the life of a port should gather to have their say on how it should evolve. Anyone interested in the project is welcome to join the association. Membership is free.


MooringSpot.com, May 2013

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