I’d started to blog about the Cote d’Azur while the film festival was still on but then was sent on a travel assignment. (I'm going on one this weekend too! Is this real life?!) BUT my best friend of fifteen years Jenny is in Cannes right now for Cannes Lions and I know plenty of people who will be in the French Riviera over the next few months. And so for her, for them or for you, here are my top tips (none of which include models and bottles):
WHAT TO DO:
- Go to the beach. Cannes is probably the one place best done by splurging on a sunbed and ordering rosé and fruit at one of the private beaches. Otherwise, the beaches on the two extremes of the Boulevard de la Croisette are free and sure to be packed in the summer, but a much larger sandy stretch can be found on Boulevard du Midi Louise Moreau (technically in Cannes La Bocca) just a short walk from the Palais.
- Stroll the alleyways of Le Suquet, Cannes’ old town. In contrast to the promenade, it’s quaint and perfectly lovely. Climb to the top and there’s a museum if you’re so inclined but regardless, the view is gorgeous!
- Check out the street art. Of course a city like Cannes has only film focused murals. A map can be found here.
- Check out the weekend flea market at Les Allées de la Liberté (until 6pm). It’s terribly charming and close to the little petanque courts where you can charm the locals to let you try your luck at boules. Fact: You can’t afford anything at the flea market but it’s still nice to check out.
- There is usually some public art on the promenade. Sometimes it's sculptures, other times it's photography. There are some contemporary galleries to be found on Rue d'Antibes near and on Rue du Commandant Vidal. Also check out what's on at Le Centre d'art La Malmaison on the Croisette.
- If it's festival time, don't miss Cinéma de la Plage, free film screenings on the beach. Pack a picnic and arrive early for the best seats!
WHERE TO SHOP:
- High end designer stores are all on the Boulevard de la Croisette, and other luxury and high street brands can be found on Rue d’Antibes.
- There are some gems to be found in the little lanes parallel and perpendicular to Rue Antibes too. I found independent stores, tiny chocolateries, sunglasses boutiques, home decor and design shops. Rue Jean Jaures is another good one.
- You can buy all kinds of Provençal souvenirs and a pair of espadrilles at Rue Meynadier. At one end, you will find Marche Forville, the local food market which is the best place to buy groceries and food souvenirs in the city.
WHERE TO EAT:
- For cheap eats, I definitely recommend a visit to the Marche Forville. Make a meal out of the fresh leafy salads, beautiful soft cheeses and socca, a Niçoise pancake made from chickpeas.
- Stop off at Jean Luc Pele for macarons and a maya, and La Boulangerie across from the station for beautiful pastries. Cafe Brun, Volupte, Cocoon, Le P'tit Zinc are all cute little cafes.
- Le Suquet is full of cute restaurants and bars. I wrote about Le Relais Des Semailles in detail here. Go for a leisurely, decadent lunch.
- Le Vesuvio has the most delicious pizza and it has a takeaway window open late during festival time. It's exorbitant but worth every penny.
- Head to Le Restaurant Armenien but only if you’re famished and want to spend a bit of cash eating something entirely different. It’s an Armenian food coma: lots of tasty small plates with a huge focus on fresh ingredients. Check out the spread below (those are just the appetisers).
- My favourite restaurant in Cannes is Da Laura. It has flowers hanging from the ceiling, cool artworks and staff who will go out of their way to be accommodating. The antipasti and gnocchi are fantastic, their desserts are truly decadent and they’ll wrap you up in a blanket on a frosty night. I miss it.
WHERE TO DRINK:
- Cannes sunsets are sublime and the rooftop at the Radisson Blu can’t be beat for an excellent view and great cocktails.
- As my ex-boyfriend eloquently puts it: It is illegal to drink anything but rosé in the summer. Ask for directions to an area best known as Carre d’Or (or the golden square) or find Rue Frères Pradignac and order a carafe of wine at any of the bars on and around it.
- Wine shops like Cave Riviera sometimes set up tables outside. The meat and cheese platters are pricey but so good.
- My favourite summer club in Cannes is l’Ecrin. It spills onto the beach and that’s why I love it so. Everybody else seems to love Le Baoli. There are pop-ups like Nikki Beach and Gotha during festival time.