The Port of Saint -Raphael, also known as the "Vieux Port" (the Old Port) and its small coastal town, are located directly to the West of the Esterel mountains and lie to the East of the Massif des Maures. The village of Saint -Raphael, like its neighbouring town of Frejus, has always been a small enclave between two mountain ranges of the Côte d' Azur. Nowadays, Saint Raphael is a good place to stay in, or a home-port of choice, to appreciate the nearby 30 km long coastline of the Esterel. This coast is very popular among tourists and boat owners for its beauty that contrasts sharply with the continuously urbanised coastline that stretches along the Gulf of La Napoule, the Bay of Cannes and Golfe Juan, to the East. The Esterel coast seems like a world of its own on the French Riviera, with places such as Agay, Anthéor, The Dramont, Trayas or Boulouris, which are in fact districts of St Raphael.
On a larger scale, the Old Port of Saint Raphael is a central point to explore or enjoy the South of France. It is equidistant from the port of Saint Tropez (10 nautical miles ) and the Old Port of Cannes (16 nautical miles ) .
Saint Raphael emerged as a seaside resort as early a the nineteenth century with the construction of the first railway line along the coastline and with the opening of the St-Raphael - Valescure train station in 1863. In the following decades, this resort attracted during numerous celebrities, one of the first bein Alphonse Karr, followed by famous writers (such as George Sand and Victor Hugo ) and politicians like Clemenceau and Albert Ist of Belgium (a Quay of the Old Port bears his name). Later in its history, as many cities along the French Riviera, Saint-Raphael developed into a tourist destination in the second half of the twentieth century whilst preserving much of the surrounding nature. It was then that the Old Port of Saint Raphael, until then essentially turned towards fishing, became a marina for the pleasure of boat owners.
The Port of Saint -Raphael is a marina which is alive and continuously evolving. The St-Raphael Ports Authority (“La Régie des Ports Raphaëlois” which since 2008 also manages the ports of Santa Lucia, Agay and Boulouris ) has sought to adapt, optimise and redevelop the Old Port to better meet the demands of the yachts and boats which have evolved over recent years. One of its goals, in concert with other Saint-Raphaël marinas, is to open St. Raphael to yachts and superyachts, as well as modernising the port’s infrastructures.
Therefore Quay Amiral Nomy, located along the Bonaparte car park, will soon be home to up to 18 yachts from 20 m to 30 m length overall. Along this row of yachts, shops and boutiques will open, providing yacht owners and their crew, a range of services they need (in addition to the services already available in the centre of town). Three pontoons located in the middle of the marina’s main basin, accessible from the Jean Bart promenade, will be reconfigured and be slightly extended in order to provide more moorings corresponding to the sizes of modern boats (which tend to be beamier). In addition, the Kennedy Square and its open-air car park has been dug-up to create a new basin at the port’s entrance. Thanks to these works, on one side, a quay dedicated to the local fishermen and other professional activities will be created (the “Fishermen’s Quay”), and on the other side, Quai de la Garonne is going to provide among other things, six marina berths for yachts 25 mx 7.5 m, two moorings of 25 mx 6.5 m and a berth of 30 mx 8 m. The largest berth in the port of Saint-Raphael, of 45 mx 10 m, will be located in this basin, alongside the new Fishermen's Quay. Finally, so as to make the marina ever more accessible, the new Kennedy car park will now be underground and on its surface a new restaurant or a brasserie will open its doors.
The redevelopment of the port is an opportunity for many yachts usually struggling with berth bookings, to find a home-port in the area. Estimates show there are now four times more yachts (over 80’/24 m LOA) operating along the French Riviera than there are berth available for them. To finance part of this project, the Saint-Raphael Ports Authority is now offering for sale the Rights to Use some of these new moorings over long periods, ranging from 15 years to 25 years. This is relatively exceptional in this part of the world, considering that over the next 15 years, many of nearby private marinas will no longer be able to guarantee the use of their berths to their shareholders.