Cannes, French Riviera
For a glamorous vacation like no other explore the jewel of the Cote d'Azur, Cannes a lively town in the French Riviera famous for the Cannes Film Festival, the beautiful beaches and the charm of the old quarters of Boulevard "La Croisette."
Airport: Fly into Nice International Airport.
Weather: Mild winters and moderately warm summers contribute greatly to the reputation of the Cote d'Azur. The French Riviera enjoys about 300 days of sunshine throughout the year, with an average annual temperature of approximately 16C.
Things to Do in Cannes
The French Riviera along the Mediterranean coast provides its guests with fashionable elegant surroundings in an international atmosphere. Visitors can choose between the livelier towns of Nice and Cannes, home of the famous film festival, and the calmer more discreet villages of Beaulieu, Menton or Cap Ferrat.
Day trips from Cannes
Nice: Long known as the capital of the French Riviera, Nice basks in the glow of both history and charm. The Promenade des Anglais on the waterfront of the famous Baie des Anges testifies to Nice's tourism roots in the British travellers of the late 19th century. The old quarter of Nice (Vieux Nice) retains its medieval character with tall, pastel stucco buildings with red tile roofs and its traditional street market, art museums, spectacular scenery, fine restaurants and happening night life. The Matisse and Chagall museums are must-sees for art lovers.
Hotels of note include the Negresco, the Palais de la Mediterranee and the Grand Hotel Aston. The Negresco, a Nice landmark, deserves a visit even if you do not stay there.
Matisse Museum: 164, avenue des Arenes de Cimiez 06000 Nice, France 011-33-4-93-81-08-08.
Chagall Museum: Avenue Docteur Menard 06000 Nice, France 011-33-4-93-53-87-20.
Monaco: Take a day trip from Cannes to Monaco to see the changing of the guard at Monte Carlo's palace, do a lap of Monaco's Formula One Grand Prix circuit and take a perfumery tour in Eze to discover the true essence of Provence. After enjoying panoramic views over Nice from Mt. Boron, you'll make a stop at the medieval village of Eze, perched up high with its craft shops and breathtaking views. While in Eze you'll take a guided tour of a traditional perfumery.
Your visit to the Old Town of Monte Carlo will allow you to explore the Palace (open June to October), the Cathedral, Cousteau Oceanographic Museum (additional cost) and the changing of the Palace Guards. End your day with a lap on the Formula One Grand Prix circuit. You will have free time at Casino Square to do some luxury shopping, see the stunning gardens and mega yachts in the harbour. Take a drive along the spectacular coastline of the Lower Corniche between Nice and Monaco, past tranquil villages, modern marinas and the bay and Citadel of Villefranche as you return to Cannes.
Antibes: Antibes, founded in the fifth century B.C. by the Greeks, lies on the Mediterranean coast, between Nice to the east and Cannes to the west. It includes the resort towns of Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les Pins. High cliffs meet the Baie des Anges at Antibes, which enhanced its long history as a fortification. The castle in Old Town Antibes was at one time a vacation home for the Grimaldi family of Monaco; it dates from the 16th century. Now called the Chateau Grimaldi Musee Picasso, it is home to a collection by such modern artists as Picasso, Modigliani, Miro, Ernst and Leger. The old quarter of Antibes is like a picture postcard. Its tall and pastel medieval houses contrast with the bright blue sky and flowers line the twisting streets. Turn a corner, and the azure Mediterranean is in your view. Most hotels in the area are to be found in Cap d'Antibes and Juan-les-Pins.
Picasso Museum Chateau Grimaldi 06600 Antibes, France 011-33-4-92-90-54-20/26.
St. Paul-de-Vence: A medieval village in the hills 19 miles north of Nice. Known for generations as an art town, its streets are full of boutiques and galleries. The greatest evidence of the town's art connection is the Fondation Maeght. Located on a hill outside the walls of St.-Paul-de-Vence, it is built on several levels with glass walls to unify inside and out. Its collection includes works by such giants as Calder, Giacometti, Chagall, Bonnard, Kandinsky and Matisse. The Matisse Chapel at Vence, just a few miles from St.-Paul-de-Vence, was designed entirely by Matisse circa 1950. Of greatest note are the simple stained glass windows of only three colours: yellow, blue and green. La Colombe d'Or is a must-do in St.-Paul-de-Vence. This Provencal restaurant is known more for its art collection than its food. Hanging on its walls are works by Miro, Picasso, Klee and Utrillo, among others.
Fondation Maeght 06570 St.-Paul-de-Vence, France 011-33-4-93-32-81-63.
La Colombe d'Or 06570 St.-Paul-de-Vence, France 011-33-4-93-32-80-02.
Le Petits Farcis Cooking School: Nowhere in France is the food more seductive than along the Côte d'Azur and Provence. Longtime food writer and Cordon Bleu-trained cook Rosa Jackson created the home-based cooking school Les Petits Farcis (7 rue du Jésus, Nice. 06-81-67-41-22 in the Vieux Nice neighbourhood, a minute's walk from the celebrated Cours Saleya food market. In the yellow-and-burgundy kitchen of her renovated 17th-century apartment, complete with wooden beams and a handmade chandelier of chili peppers and silver cutlery, Jackson teaches students the classics of Niçois cooking.
Ferrying to the Iles de Lérins: Across the bay from Cannes, the Lérins Islands are the major excursion from the port. Ferries depart every half-hour from 7:30am to 30 minutes before sundown.
Ile Ste-Marguerite: The first island is named after St. Honorat's sister, Ste. Marguerite, who lived here with a group of nuns in the 5th century. Today it is a youth centre whose members are dedicated to the restoration of the fort. From the dock where the boat lands, you can stroll along the island (signs point the way) to the Fort de l'Ile, built by Spanish troops from 1635 to 1637. Below the hill is the 1st-century-B.C. Roman town where the unlucky man immortalized in The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned. One of French history's most perplexing mysteries is the identity of the man who allegedly wore the masque du fer, a prisoner of Louis XIV who arrived at Ste-Marguerite in 1698. You can visit his cell at Ste-Marguerite, where it seems that every visitor has written his or her name. As you stand listening to the sound of the sea, you realize what a forlorn outpost this was.
Musée de la Mer, Fort Royal: Traces the history of the island, displaying artifacts of Ligurian, Roman, and Arab civilizations, plus the remains discovered by excavations, including paintings, mosaics, and ceramics. The museum is open April to September (Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am to 1:15pm and 2:15 to 5:45pm), October to March (Tuesday to Sunday 10:30am to 1:15 p.m and 2:15 to 4:45p.m). Admission is 3€ ($3.90) for adults, free for students and children under 18.
Ile St-Honorat: Less than 2km (only a mile) long, but richer in history than any of its sibling islands, the Ile St-Honorat is the site of a working monastery whose origins go back to the 5th century. Today the Abbaye de St-Honorat, maintains a combination of medieval ruins and early-20th-century ecclesiastical buildings, inhabited by a permanent community of about 30 Cistercian monks. If space is available, outsiders can visit, for prayer and meditation only, and spend the night. However, most visitors come to wander through the pine forests on the island's western side and sun themselves on its beaches. Lles Iles de Lérins, 06400 Cannes (tel. 04-92-99-54-00).
Jan 2012 (annual): Cannes Shopping Festival: Cannes rolls out the red carpet for the annual Cannes Shopping Festival. These four days of glitzy fashion shows, A-list schmoozing and gala events at the Palais des Festivals attract the very biggest hitters from the world of la mode. Visitors can take in Cannes Fashion, an exhibition dedicated to the newest names on the block, and best of all, during the Cannes Shopping Festival boutiques and stores throughout the city offer huge discounts, whipping all fashionistas and would-be catwalk queens into a frenzy.
Feb 2012 (annual): Games Festival: Games of every variety take centre-stage at Cannes' annual Games Festival at the Palais des Festivals. Serious Bridge-heads settle down to a few rubbers and Scrabblers furiously add up triple-word scores. Video games and crosswords are among other amusements.
May 2012 (annual): Cannes is the biggest and most famous film festival in the world. Most of the action takes place at the famous Palais des Festivals, although screenings do take place all over town. Many movie stars from Hollywood, New York and throughout Europe visit Cannes for this special occasion while tourists are sometimes able to see their favorite actors in the town.
A port of call for cruise liners, the seafront of Cannes is lined with hotels, apartment houses, and chic boutiques. Many of the bigger hotels, some dating from the 19th century, claim part of the beach for the private use of their guests, but public areas do exist. Above the harbor, the old town of Cannes sits on Suquet Hill, with its 14th-century tower, the Tour du Suquet, which the English dubbed "the Lord's Tower."
Cannes Beach: Many of the large hotels that run along Boulevard "La Croisette" in Cannes France have their own private beaches, some of which are equipped which bars and restaurants. A public beach is also available east of the grand hotels.
Hotel de Ville: The Nice City Hall is an elegant building situated between Allees de la liberte Charles de Gaulle and Rue Felix Faure, just below the Nice castle.
Cannes Castle: Perched on top of a hill overlooking the city of Cannes and the Mediterranean Sea where visitors to Cannes can hike up to the castle and enjoy a wonderful view and a visit to the Musee de la Castre. The Notre Dame Esperance Church can also be found on the hilltop.
Notre Dame Esperance Church: The Eglise Notre Dame Esperance is located on the hilltop at the west end of Cannes beach. A stunning view of Cannes France and the Cote d'Azur can be enjoyed from the castle wall near the church.
Rue d'Antibes: The main shopping street in Cannes, France is called the Rue d'Antibes. Many expensive shops that cater to the rich and famous can be found along this street as well as designer clothing, furniture and jewellery.
The Alles de la Liberte Charles de Gaulle is a short street in the heart of Cannes near the Gare Maritime and the Vieux Port (Old Port). The Marche aux Fleurs (flower market) and the Hotel de Ville (Nice City Hall) can be found in this district of Cannes.
Boulevard "La Croisette": In Cannes, the centre of tourist activity is the Boulevard de la Croisette which extends eastward from the new Palais des Festivals along the Rade de Cannes, with its fine sandy beach; from it there is a magnificent view of the gulf and the offshore Lerin Islands. The boulevard is dominated by luxury hotels - some from the Belle Epoque period - and high class shops. In the yacht harbour lies the pirate ship Neptune, built as the backdrop for an adventure film. The eastern section of the boulevard bends south at the fine Parc de la Roseraie, skirts the new port layout of the Port Pierre Canto and ends at the southern tip of the Pointe de la Croisette by the Port du Palm-Beach.