South of France Practicalities: Accommodation, Diving Operators, Qualifications...

Qualifications Medical Language Air Decompression Water Temperature Dive Operators Accommodation Getting There Further Reading


For deep wreck diving (40m and plus) you will have to have a qualification of at least CMAS 3 star equivalent. If you haven't been diving recently to these sorts of depths you might be required to be accompanied by an instructor. France is firmly a CMAS country, and as such PADI is less well recognized. However, don't fear as these are commercial dive operators and as long as your log book is decent you haven't too much to worry about.


A dive qualification is not enough any more. France has become much more like Spain with a requirement for a medical certificate of fitness to dive less than one year old. When first diving with a dive boat you will be asked to present this. Without this you will most likely not be permitted to dive. An alternative may be a log showing a good amount of recent diving activity, but do not count on this if you don't want to be disappointed.

BSAC members can obtain a diving medical form (Form B) from BSAC headquarters to be signed by their GP.


Most of the clubs on the coast have some abilities in English, or there will always be someone on the boat who can help you out with translations.


For wreck dives you can easily hire a 15 litre bottle with dual valves with transformable DIN and normal exits. The normal set up for diving in France is twin regulators on a single bi valve bottle, so that you have an independent air source. This set up is a legal requirement for dive instructors in France.


The French will think nothing of 15 minutes in water deco, which given that you have warm water, and little to no currents and calm conditions isn't that difficult. With the Eperlan dive operators a safety bottle is provided, and lines for deco at 3 and 6 meters.

Water Temperature

The sea temperature at the surface ranges from around 9 oC in January to 23 oC in August. June to September are the warmest months in which to dive.

Dive Operators

Recommend a Dive Operator or add your diving company.

Be aware that in France you will not necessarily be following a dive master about the dive. If this is not how you are used to diving, and it concerns you, then check before signing up for dives.

Eperlan Cavalaire

The Eperlan is based in the port of Cavalaire Sur Mer, on the side of the port which is nearest to the town's main streets. You can turn up in the morning to join the dive if it is out of high season, or book in advance (high season is second half of July and August). The boat normally leaves at 8.30am, but best to be a bit early especially on the first day. Claude and Jules are the skippers who run this boat. They have a great sense of humour, are easy going, but expert at what they do. They know the wrecks intimately, and will ensure you have a great dive.
Contre-Allee du Port Prive
Telephone: +33 (0)4 94 05 41 82

Euro Plongée St Raphael

Port de Boulouris
St Raphael
+33 4 94 19 03 26

Adventure Plongée St Rogatien

31 rue de Périgny
17220 St Rogatien
Tel: 0546 566 250
Fax: 0546 566 250

Subaqua Club De La Rochelle La Rochelle

Diamond Diving Ltd Nice, Antibes and St Raphael

Rating: 5 Star Rating: Recommended

Run long weekend dive trips to Nice, Antibes and St Raphael.
41 Palace Square
SE19 2LT
Tel: 02032520000
Fax: 02032520000

"I learned to dive with Diamond Diving and would thoroughly recommend it. I went on as many subsequent dives as I could fit into my schedule. The instructor/dive buddy was very friendly and professional. The whole experience was one I will not forget. The boat staff were friendly professional and efficient. Very reasonable price and worth every penny."
Jon Wilkinson, 2006

"I did a long weekend of diving with Diamond Diving. We were really well looked after. It was good value for the money. They organized a really nice hotel and did all of our airport transfers. I highly recommend them!"
Traci Allen, USA, 2006

Le Poséidon Nice

Quai Lunel - Port de Nice
06300 Nice
Tel/Fax: +33 (0)4 92 00 43 86

Nice Diving Nice

26 Bd Stalingrad
06300 Nice
Tel: 0493 894 244
Fax: 04 93 89 12 69

Aigle Nautique Nice

50 bd Franck Pilatte
06300 Nice
Tel: 0493 567 799s
Club de Plongée le Nautile Nice

35 av Ste Marguerite
06200 Nice
Tel: 0493 212 106

Aigle Nautique Nice

50 bd Franck Pilatte
06300 Nice
Tel: 0493 567 799s
Bormes Plongée Port de Bormes

Quai d'honneur
La Favière
Port de Bormes
83230 Bormes les Mimosas
Tel: 049464912

Centre de Plongée Divemania Argelès sur Mer

Dive Center close to the Spanish border. Dutch, English, Spanish, French and German spoken. Provide courses for PADI, SSI and ANMP.

2, Place Magellan - Res. Atalaya - Port Argeles
66700 Argelès-sur-Mer
Tel/Fax: 0033 (0)4 68 95 89 49
Mobile: 0033 (0)6 10 55 33 60

La Sirene Plongée Argelès sur Mer

Diviing school based in a four star resort since 1988. BSAC advanced instructor, PADI and CMAS instructor. Diving boat operates in Banyuls national park. Kid's school from 8. Family diving set up.

La Sirene
Route de taxo
66700 Argelès sur Mer
Tel: +33 468 816058
Fax: +33 468 816974

ROC Plongée (Royan Ocean Club) Royan

Esplanade Du Port
17200 Royan
Tel: 0033 0 546 38 37 18

The Lot Cave Diving Centre Lot

Run an Air Station, all be it small, in the Lot area and organise accommodation and diving requirements for all groups, families and instructors.

Speleological Centre
La Forge
Pont de Rhodes
46310 Frayssinet
Tel: (0033) 05 65 31 77 48


Accommodation is easy to find, however be careful in the high seasons of second half of July and August. There are numerous camp sites, hotels and abundant flats, cottages and houses for rent. If your French is good enough you can try an excellent publication which is on line to search for direct owners who rent property - If you prefer bed and breakfast see below.

Les Tilleuls Bed and Breakfast
Close to the Dordogne and Lot rivers
46310 Frayssinet Le Gourdonnais
Tel: 05 65 36 82 91

Chambre d'hote
Bed and Breakfast, in the heart of the Causse du Quercy National Park, but close to major dive sites and with access to specialist cave dive shop offering info, guides and tank filling.
La Ferme Du Gravier
Gramat 46500
Tel: 00 33 (0) 565334188

Lot Cave Diving Centre
Organise accommodation for divers and their families.
Speleological Centre
La Forge
Pont de Rhodes
46310 Frayssinet
Tel: (0033) 05 65 31 77 48

Getting There

To fly to the South of France look for flights to Nice airport. Many airlines fly there, for the cheapest flights try Expedia

Your Comments

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