Planning a trip to Cannes on the Côte d’Azur

Cannes-Intercarlton-HotelI am still in Aegina, Greece, but will fly back to Milan on Wednesday. I just found out yesterday that I can have off Thursday to Monday including and I would like to go away for a few days again. My initial idea was to go to Monaco for one or two nights and then go to Cannes, but I found out that my friends might not be in Monaco anymore as they probably leave early. I will make exact travel plans upon my return on Wednesday night, but will probably go one night to Monaco and then another 2-3 nights in Cannes.


Cannes – Synonymous with Glamour

I would really like to go to Cannes as I haven’t been since my 21st birthday and I really miss the resort town on the French Riviera. I spent so much time there as a child and some of my best childhood memories have been made in Cannes. The town is known for its world-famous film festival, that will actually start on the 11th of May and I prefer to go either pre-film festival or after August. During the high season, I try to avoid Cannes. As a child, I was there for six weeks most summers and I remember how busy it was. My parents, my sister and I would often go to the beach closer to the Mandelieu-La Napoule as it was less crowded and we could enjoy it more.

Where to Stay in Cannes

 InterContinental Carlton Cannes
My parents have a flat in Cannes, where I can usually stay there unless it’s rented out which has actually happened to me the last two times I went to Cannes and I ended up staying in hotels. If you can spend a bit more, I can recommend the Hôtel Barrière Le Gray d’Albion and the InterContinental Carlton Cannes. I have previously stayed at both hotels and they are fantastic. If you want to go to Cannes and you are on a budget, I really recommend Résidence ExcelSuites in Cannes. I have stayed there twice and Eric, the hotel manager, is very friendly and helpful. The suites are clean, spacious and ideal for travelers who would like to self cater. If you want to be right at the beach, then the place isn’t the right one for you as it’s a 10-15 minutes walk away.

Great restaurants in Cannes

Probably one of my favourite restaurants in Cannes is Le Repère in Mandelieu-La Napoule. The restaurant has a large outside terrace with a lovely view across the bay towards Cannes. The food is fantastic and has reasonable prices. It’s around a 9km distance from the Port de Cannes, but I can’t recommend visiting this place enough. Remember when Made in Chelsea’s Spencer took Caggie to Cannes and they had a double date dinner at a restaurant with Hugo and Millie? Yep, it’s that restaurant. Alongside the shoreline you can find lots of restaurants that serve fantastic seafood for every budget.

Activities in Cannes

I have to admit, I am rather lazy when I am in Cannes when it comes to activities apart from shopping, dining out and drinking too many cocktails. I also don’t drive, so I rely on public transport. However, I recommend the next six activities if you are in Cannes for a few days.

1. Visit the Island Île Sainte-Marguerite

Île Sainte-Marguerite

Just a fifteen minute ferry ride from the Port of Cannes, is the biggest of the Lérins Islands: Île Sainte-Marguerite. It’s only half a mile off shore from Cannes and famous for its fortress prison Fort Royal. The Man in the Iron Mask was held there in the 17th century and you can actually enter the cell he stayed in. It’s a nice contrast from the glamorous city of Cannes with its La Croisette, yachts and high end designer stores.

2. La Croisette

Walk up and down the world famous Boulevard de la Croisette along the shoreline of Cannes and admire the shopping windows of Chanel&Co. The famous hotels Carlton, Majestic and Martinez are on La Croisette. If your budget is similar to mine, you will much prefer the next activity.

3. Shopping on Rue d’Antibes

On Rue d’Antibes is the ‘normal’ high street in Cannes with chain stores such as Zara, Kiko Milano, Sephora and so on but also a few independent stores that have some fantastic items.

4. Take the train to Nice, Antibes or Monaco

It is very easy to catch the train from Cannes to Nice, Antibes or Monaco and to see more of the Côte d’Azur. Train tickets are reasonable priced and the train lines run frequently. It only takes 44 minutes to get to Monaco, so it’s quite manageable to go even if you only have half a day.

5. Walk along the beach to Mandelieu-La Napoule

It’s a very nice walk to Mandelieu-La Napoule alongside the beach. The first time I was in Cannes, we actually stayed a few nights in Mandelieu-La Napoule and my parents made me and my sister walk to Cannes. Even though we were quite young we didn’t mind because it was so wonderful. I remember that we took a taxi back to the hotel though.

6. Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

Palais des Festivals et des Congrès

The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès was built in 1949 to host the Cannes Film Festival. You can walk along Cannes’ Walk of Fame or visit the Cannes Tourist Office. The Film Festival will actually start two days after I’ll leave Cannes, so I guess lots is happening when I am there.

Of course, there are many more things to do in the Cannes area. If you rent a car, your options are endless. I haven’t been for almost five years, so I will probably not recognise the place when I go. I certainly have changed a lot as you can see from the pictures of my trip to Cannes at Easter in 2010.

Me on a holiday in Cannes in Easter 2010
Me on a holiday in Cannes in Easter 2010

Have you been to Cannes? What did you think? Have you been recently and can you recommend something? Let me know in the comment box below. Merci!

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