Diving and Underwater Sports

The dive sites and facilities for scuba diving and snorkelling in the waters of the Mediterranean off the Cote d'Azur. With information on French diving associations...

The waters off the Riviera coast have some fine diving opportunities, particularly the coves of the Var, where a large number of ships and several airplanes lie wrecked on the seabed.

The Parc National de Port-Cros and the Centre du Rayol-Canadel provide arguably the most stunning underwater flora and fauna, but good dive sites can be found right from Menton in the east to the other side of Marseille and beyond.

It is also interesting to note that this part of the world is the birthplace of modern leisure scuba diving, with the first ever scuba diving club established in Saint Raphael in the 1930s.

Some of the highlights that may be seen while diving include Barracuda, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Grouper, Moray and Conger Eels, Lobster, Crayfish, huge schools of bream, Sunfish and Gorgonian coral.

There are many scuba clubs and commercial dive centres, supplying guides, boats, equipment and diving lessons.

Most dive centres offer a range of activities from a bapteme (or trial dive), to learning to dive and further training in the sport.

Two main training organisations exist on the Côte d'Azur. The most common is the French sporting federation in charge of scuba diving (Fédération Française d'Etudes et de Sports Sous-Marins FFESSM), which is a member of CMAS.

  • The entry level qualification in the FFESSM system is the Niveau 1

The other, which is often found in centres used to welcoming English-speaking divers is Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

  • PADI entry level qualification is known as Open Water Diver

Further Information

Other sources of information can be found at a coastal tourist office or (in French) at:

  • Comité Départemental de Plongée (Alpes-Maritimes)
    Tel: 04 93 61 26 07
    Fax: 04 93 67 76 74
  • Comité Régional Côte d'Azur des Sports Sous-Marins (Var)
    Tel: 04 94 71 63 43
By Alex Diamond, Diamond Diving Ltd Broughton Manor, Newport Road, Milton Keynes, MK10 9AA Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1908 234030, Mobile: + 33 (0)6 15 30 52 23 / e-mail / Website: www.diamonddiving.net Copyright © 2006 Alex Diamond All Rights Reserved