Cannes has been made famous by the legendary Cannes Film Festival which is held annually in the idyllic Riviera city. The pristine yacht lined harbour lends itself seamlessly as a backdrop to Hollywoods finest. Walking around it’s easy to see why Cannes is twinned with Beverley Hills. If the Riviera is like the California of Europe, then Cannes would certainly be Rodeo-Drive-On-Sea. As you walk around expect to see lots of small dogs to squeal at, ladies with noticeably large lips and beautifully blow-dryed hair, luxury boutiques, restaurants and fancy cars. Cannes faultlessly combines the glamour of Beverly Hills with historical European opulence.
We journeyed to Cannes for a day of shopping, steak, sea, scenery and sunsets. Here are a few fabulous things to do when in Cannes:
Shop hard: If you love to shop, there’s no better place to indulge. The streets in Cannes are spotless, you won’t find yourself battling through hoards of shoppers either, the pace of life is calm, relaxed and it’s a pleasure to wander in and out of boutiques and well-known shops. If you’ve got cash/ money/ bling to spend the La Croisette is probably the street for you, selling all kinds of famous designers like Dior and Hermes. If you’re on a less extravagant budget, there are heaps of local independent boutiques, popular high-street chains with everything from Zara to H&M.
Indulge in dinner: Nestled amongst the shops are cafes, bars and restaurants offering outdoor seating to truly experience the laid back Riviera way of life. Expect to pay around 20Euros upwards for a main course. We opted to treat ourselves to a steak and French fries at the Pause Cafe (39 Rue Hoche, 06400 Cannes, France) the service was excellent, the food was delicious and set us up for a day of exploration.
Visit a Chocolatier: If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll find it difficult not to notice that in between the fashion boutiques, cafes and bars, Cannes boats a pretty impressive selection of Chocolatiers and patisseries! The smell wafting down the streets is every bit as inviting as the window displays. The centre of Cannes is small and easy to navigate with a village like feel. (A selection of chocolatiers can be found on rue Hoche)
Pick up flowers: To my delight there are flowers everywhere on the Riviera, growing up the sides of buildings, fresh cut flowers on the table of every restaurant and on sale in the numerous florists. Unlike many things on the Riviera, flowers are reasonably priced (if not surprisingly inexpensive). Cannes is no exception with a number of flower shops dotted around the city with impressive offerings of brightly coloured, freshly cut flowers. These tulips made me smile, knowing that spring is on it’s way.
Enjoy the fabulous hotels: Cannes has a pretty impressive selection of luxury hotels along the seafront. The InterContinental Carlton Hotel overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, built in classic French style, the hotel’s Belle Epoque façade overlooks the Bay of Cannes and plays host to an array of prestigious guests throughout the year. The palm tree lined streets and endless blue skies remind me so much of California.
Head to the beach: The Cannes coastline is stunning with sandy beaches. The coastline runs 15km from the foothills of the Esterel mountains to the eastern city limits and including the Iles de Lerins. About 7.5km of the Cannes coastline is beach. There are 13 public beaches, two muncipal beaches and 33 private beach restaurants. Along the promenade are benches to sit and enjoy the view, watch the boats sail in and out of the harbour and stare at the horizon.
Hit the harbour: Similarly to Monaco, Cannes harbour houses a huge amount of luxury yachts and sail boats. We walked along the jetty as the sun was going down. The harbour is picture perfect sat in front of Cannes old town, the contrast of the old traditional buildings lining the hill top against the sparkly sailboats is quite a sight. There’s something quite therapeutic about the listening to the sound of moored boasts gently clanking against one another and the faint sound of the ocean slapping against the harbour wall.
Hike to the old town: The old town sits just above the harbour and is short ‘hike’ (you won’t need hiking boots, it’s more of a walk up a hill really) up a moderate incline. ‘Le Suquet’ is where you’ll find cafes and shops frequented by locals. The old town is only small but well worth a visit of you’re in the area. As the sun was going down we decided to climb to the church on top of the hill to look out over the city.
Watch the sun go down: We stood just in front of the Medieval church on top of the hill, looking out we could see the whole city, the panoramic view was incredible. On one side of the hill was the sun setting and the other, the moon. The sky faded from purple through to blue, from pink to orange. Fabulous.
Cannes is easy to fall in love with. The sunshine, shopping, sandy beaches, food, flowers, history, sunsets, what’s not to like?