6 March 2012
A Lovely Weekend in Cannes
If you are travelling to Cannes for a weekend in this period and just don’t know where to start with before booking, you’re in the right place! Cannes is one of the best known cities on the French Riviera, famous for its glamorous hotels, beaches and famous visitors, an enchanting gateway to the French Alps, Munich, Italy and Provence.
Cannes is especially famous for an event that takes place in May: the International Film Festival, the world’s most prestigious and publicized film festival. For many, this city on France’s Côte d’Azur is synonymous with the glamour of this… “star-full” event.
However, there is much more in Cannes other than this film festival: the long, sandy beaches of La Croisette, the luxury cruise boats of the Old Port, the designer shops lining the famous promenade and the gastronomic delights of the charming restaurants… whatever you do in Cannes, even just watching around, makes you feel like being a part of all its luxury and richness, in every possible dimension.
First of all, if you’re in Cannes, you should visit the Îles de Lérins, two islands located in the bay.
Île St. Honorat, is inhabited by Cistercian monks, who divide their time between prayer and producing red and white wines, honey, lavender oil and Lérina, which are a perfect start for your souvenir shopping. The second island is Île St. Marguerite. It tooks 11 years for the Man in the Iron Mask to leave this tiny, forested island, but you can get there (and back, of course) in a 15-minute boat ride from Cannes, to visit his cell in the Fort of St. Marguerite, now renamed the Musée de la Mer and hosting an interesting collection of archaeological discoveries.
The Quartier des Anglais, is the oldest residential area in Cannes and perfect for a stroll. The Villas of Cannes, built to reflect the wealth and social standing of their owners, are inspired by anything from medieval castles to Roman villas. They’re not open to the public, but who cares! Cannes is all about staying outside!
Of course, you can’t miss a visit to Old Town. Its narrow streets are filled with restaurants and souvenir shops. It could be a great start for a shopping afternoon followed by a lovely evening.
The shops in Cannes are concentrated between La Croisette, running along the shoreline – with a wide array of international designer shops, including Chanel, Dior and Gucci – and rue d’Antibes – boasting the best pastry shops, chocolatiers and delicatessens, including Chez Bruno, and Maiffret. Marché Forville (Forville Market), open Tuesday to Sunday 07.00-13.00, is situated between the town hall and the railway tracks: here you will find flowers, fruit and vegetables. Moreover, Rue Meynadier is a bustling street with a market atmosphere, where you can purchase cheeses, small gifts, and even posters from the film festival – available at Ciné-Folie, 14 rue des Frères Pradignac.
Excellent cuisine can be found all over France, of course, and Cannes is no exception.
Palm Square is an elegant and trendy bar, lounge and restaurant, serving French cuisine, but including even exotic elements and ingredients. Le Caveau 30 specialises in seafood and seasonal, regional produce in the elegant style of a 1930s upscale restaurant. La Palme d’Or, situated right on La Croisette is definitely the best Cannes has to offer. A striking interior, a wonderful atmosphere and food of the highest standard.
Cannes enjoys a vivid nightlife, particularly around La Croisette and along la rue du Dr Monod and la rue Saint Antoine in Le Suquet. Restaurant and bars serve drinks until about 02.00am, while casinos – main focus of nightlife especially for tourists – remain open until about 04.00. Clubs such as Morrisons Lounge, Le Cat-Corner, Jane’s Club, and Disco 7, draw party lovers every night during the high season.
Finally, if you’re planning a summer visit to Cannes, you may also appreciate spending some time at the warm sandy beaches of the French town. Most are private, and cost around €30 per day to use, but of course, this is part of the feeling of being a jet-setter! However, public beaches are also available, even if they can be very crowded in high season.
Photo by Eric Borda