The Allure of Cannes

Before I visited Cannes, I had associated it with the glitz and glamor of the Côte d’Azur; a town frequented by a-jet setting crowd who partied on super size yachts anchored in the marina. I knew it bestowed the Palme D’Ors at its annual Film Festival and Lion Awards at the International Advertising Festival. And so, because I thought I knew enough about Cannes, I didn’t buy a guidebook. I resigned myself to expect the expected, and hoped to be surprised with a delicious French pastry, at the most.

Exceptionally large yachts are de rigueur in Cannes

Well, I got what I expected… and more. Our trip to Cannes had coincided with the final preparations for the Film Festival, so Cannes was not only propped up for our arrival, but also charmed us with its French provincial appeal.

Promotion for Super 8

Cannes: ready for the Film Festival 2011

Cannes doesn’t even need to seduce you because it is simply too beautiful. The palm-fringed main street along the waterfront, La Croisette, is flanked by the beach and huge waterfront hotels.

Though the Film Festival hadn’t officially started during our visit, the streets pulsed with joie de vivre. People from all over walked around with their ‘media authorised’ neck tags, zoom lens cameras, and notepads; accents filled the air; paparazzi staked the best spots outside the festival’s main venue, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès; hospitality staff set up beach cabanas for private events; and the police tried to control a bunch of Citroens, Renaults, and Peugeots.

I saw a Daniel Craig cutout at the Carlton hotel; Variety magazine’s red carpet at The Grand Hotel; and The Weinstein Company simple branding across a penthouse balcony.

Cannes Film Festival

Cowboys and Aliens: Carlton Hotel

The Weinstein Company: not keeping up with the dress code

A roaming, cat toting performance artist

Patient paparazzi

Parallel to La Croisette is the main shopping strip, home to brand name stores such as Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Escada, as well as Zara and Mango.

We boarded a tour train to reach Cannes’ Old Town, La Suquet.

Vespas and Laundry

The train wound its way through cobblestones streets filled with family homes, whose balconies were strung with laundry.

Old Town Cannes

The multi level buildings were coloured by yellow, green, and white shutters; iron balconies and rooftop gardens sprouted potted plants. I noticed bars, boulangeries, and linen stores along the way.

A Bar yet to open for trading


The view from the peak of La Suquet is panoramic. It’s up here that you will find the Musee de Castre, housed in a fortified tower and in the Chapel of St Ann, which features an eccentric collection of decorative arts and relics.

Rooftop Panorama

Cannes and the Mediterranean Sea

Fortified Tower

I was better off without a guidebook for Cannes as the day unfolded beautifully. And yes, I did enjoy a scrumptious croissant from a patisserie. I also purchased the most beautiful bunch of pink peonies from a Frenchman in a beret. They may have cost 10 Euro but hey, but when in Cannes, you can.


Le croissant


33 thoughts on “The Allure of Cannes

    • thank you! I can’t wait to go back and take some more 🙂 The peonies were such a surprise – as soon as I saw them, I had to get them. I had lusted after them for so long and found them in Cannes!

  1. Thanks for stopping by Polloplayer! We had lunch at the Carlton in Cannes (the post on my blog entitled Yes We Cannes!) On our way to Cap Ferrat and while I didn’t have as extensive an experience there as you did, we also had a good impression of the place. Love the peonies pic and the cat performance artist!

    • Thank you – I appreciate it. I was pleasantly surprised with the town especially as I had preconceived notions of it. PS Love your photos – they are all beautiful and capture the season so well!

  2. Cannes is a truly wonderful space, it has vacation written all over it. And even though it is small, you can always rent a car and continue the journey through all the seaside small villages, such as Cap d’Antibes, and all the way to Monaco 🙂 I sure hope I’ll go back there someday.

    And I hope you won’t mind my suggesting you a really nice petit resto, which is very close to Palais des Festival, with a few Michelin stars, but not too many so it is not pricey. The food is delicious, pretty much all the seafood is a party in your mouth. It is called Le Caveau, here’s a link to it

    Nice post and I hope you’ll get to go back there soon enough.

    • You’re so right about being able to explore the coastline and its various towns en route. We did get to Monaco and took the train from Cannes though didn’t spend enough time there at all. Thank you for the restaurant recommendation. I think I will return next time with some research in hand, and a map to boot. Thank you!

  3. Le croissant made my stomach growl! 🙂 You mentioned not buying a guidebook — sometimes it’s wonderful to poke around a place and stumble on the unexpected, isn’t it? Beautiful photos, great post.

  4. So beautiful! I’m glad you decided to go off the tourist track a little and really be open to what the town had to offer. I never even thought about going there (though I love Marseille!), but now I might try. Just looking at your pictures I could feel the wind and smell the Mediterranean. What a beautiful town (of course) and what a nice discovery!

    • Thank you! The town is so pretty and so inviting. It was just effortless! I haven’t been to Marseille though remember it always being referred to, in French class (many years ago), as the vacation spot. Glad you were transported to the Med for a few moments!!

  5. Pingback: Cannes, Revisited ~ France | Marina Chetner

Please Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s