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Make a visit to a nearby medieval town
Nestled high in the Hills above the Riviera is the ancient city of St Paul de Vence. As the bus chuggs up the steep grades the city walls become visible. Its a lot of fun plodding along the same narrow winding streets that midieval folk walked 300 or more years before. There are plenty of nice scenic areas for photography.
Gare Routiere, Cannes
Frankie goes to Hollywood - by bus.
The bus station at Cannes is decorated with this trompe d'oeil tribute to film spanning nearly a hundred years. (Which is not unlike the length of time you might have to wait for a bus!)
The bus from Nice to Cannes (Route 200) is tortuously slow, stopping at every point on the way and takes the best part of an hour and forty minutes - your better option is 30 minutes on the train.
Victorian inscription to the Duke of Albany
The Victorian English royalty loved the south of France, and while the queen herself stayed regularly in Nice at Cimiez, her sons would run wild here in and around Cannes.
In the courtyard of the clocktower and museum notice this marble inscription to one of Queen Victorias two sons.
One son went on to be King Edward VII, the other - Leopold, Duke of Albany, her eighth, was a haemophiliac and who died following a fall on the staircase of the nearby Villa Nevada.
Its worth noting that before the mid-eighteen hundreds it could take several weeks to travel to the South of France. No motor cars (not invented yet) no airplanes (many decades wait to check in) and the "Iron Horse" didn't arrive in the Riviera until the late 1860's. Even when transportation became available it was affordable only to aristocracy and captains of industry. Here is a piece of history carved from a different world.
Why wouldn't you go on the beach here?
Cannes has a three sun classification from Michelin, which makes it a superb place to enjoy a day at the beach. Soft sand is inviting you here until you see the sign with the prices on the privat beaches. However, there are also a few public beaches that have quite good facilities )showers, toilets and are as well with soft sand and a great view onto the bay. The beaches along Boulevard de la Croisette are very busy, but Cannes also offers calmer beaches on it's Western side. Page du Midi is a particular nice one.
The hotel drop-off point is the place to park - if your car is worth twice a look. Here outside the "grande dames" - the four luxury hotels which rule the front - the Carlton, the Martinez, the Majestic, and the Noga Hilton - Cannes turns into a luxury car showroom. Ferraris, and lamborghinis jostle with Porches and top of the range Mercedes.
Many of these cars will be sporting arab number plates - Cannes is where arab princes come in high season to escape the 40c heat back home and fritter away some of the huge oil revenues at the casino tables.
If you have the slightest interest in luxury cars, be prepared for a sore neck within days of arrival. But after a few days even the growl of a Ferrari engine will leave you completely non-plussed - just too common.
Exclusive residences of Le Californie
The luxury villas and exclusive residences of Cannes are to be found up in the area known as Le Californie and Super Cannes, set back in the hills above the town. Often hidden from view by security fences and protective landscaping, a stroll along the Ave Roi Albert will show how the other half (percent) live.
Cannes less well known beach
Everyone knows La Croisette - the overdeveloped "Silicone Baywatch " of Cannes. Less well known is the beach the other side of the port heading East towards Napoule Madelieu, the Gulf of Mandelieu. Instead of a flat horizon line, you have shimmering in the distance the blue outline of the Massif d'Esterell, St Tropez, Frejus and St Raphael. The beach is public and at the neck of the bay the fine sand shelves gently into the water, perfect for swimming.Related to:
The beaches at Cannes
For beach with style - sunlounger and all important shade of a parasol, you are going to have to pay 20-30 euro and upwards on one of the many hotel owned private beaches. Here waiters will fetch you drinks at very inflated prices. However you can console yourself with the thought that the parasol has slowed skin-aging and delayed the onset of skin cancer by, ooh, a few hours. So you'd be unlikely to see the annual World Congress of Dermatologists held in Cannes, but just about every other industry is here
Or there are still small areas designated as Public Beach and the sea is free wherever you start from.
Looking good in Cannes
On the Riviera looking good is very important whatever your age, and even more important in the glamourous resorts of Cannes and St Tropez. Splash out and dress up. Leave those touristy shorts, sandals and socks, and rucksack back in the hotel.
These posy couples unfortunately will have their style licence endorsed, for the ladies have neither dark glasses on or raised up on their foreheads. Tsk Tsk.
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Eglise Orthodoxe Russe Saint Michel-Archange
Once a winter destination, Cannes was frequented in the late 1800s by the Russian aristocracy escaping harsh winters in their homelands. As the influx and influence of the community increased, Eglise Saint Michel-Archange, a Russian Orthodox church, was built in Cannes to serve the members. Naturally, the distinctive Russian architectural style, complete with its blue onion-shaped dome and colourful façade, was chosen for the church. The church lies hidden in a residential neighbourhood away from the sight of mass tourists who visit Cannes.Related to:
- Religious Travel
Villa Rothschild/ Mediatheque de Cannes
Ever -resourceful municipalite de Cannes has come up with a new "Franglais" label - a "Mediatheque"
Located in the absolutely magnificent belle-epoche Villa Rothschild, it claims to offer a huge collection of 300,000 works, historical records in a variety of media incuding video, sound and library, all rolled into one. Voila - a Mediatheque - a library
The neo-classical Villa dates back to 1881, when Baron James de Rothschild set up camp in Cannes, and the villa is set in large surrounding gardens resplendent with lush sub-tropical plantings.
Entry to the villa and gardens is controlled by the opening hours of the Mediatheque, which are miserable even by French standards. It is closed all day Sunday and Monday and all public holidays. When open, the library is 10-6.00, but the sound and visual sections shut from 12 until 2.00 for lunch. A classic example of how things in France are run for the convenience of employees and not "customers".
The location is not immediately in the general run of tourist haunts and therefore you won't "come across it" wandering around Cannes. Its not obviously visible from the road and you wont know its there unless in the know.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
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The 19th century Malmaison is one of the few remaining mansions from the bygone era along la Croisette. It was originally a pavilion in the gardens of the 19th century legendary Grand Hôtel and is the sole survivor of the original complex. It served as the casino and tea room of the 1863 Grand Hôtel. After the demolition of the original hotel building, la Malmaison was purchased by the city of Cannes and now houses the Department of Cultural Affairs, as well as an exhibition hall for the arts. Sadly, a more modern, but much less pretty, Grand Hôtel building replaced the original classic and has continued to serve as a hotel, albeit with a lot less fame and glamour (see photos).Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
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Famous hotels - Martinez.
Among the famous hotels on La Croisette nobody ignores the Martinez.
409 rooms and suites on 7 floors over 40.000 m2. Three restaurants among which a 2 stars at the Guide Michelin and a private beach.
Martinez was the name of the first owner who opened the hotel in 1929.
You will see from my photo that there are more rooms in the side street than on the sea front.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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Built in 1929 by a famous hotelier, Emmanuel Martinez, Hotel Martinez is a grand example of Art Déco architecture. Soon after le Martinez was inaugurated, the dominant hotels in Cannes, including le Martinez, collectively decided to no longer shut down during the summer season, thus marking the point in time when Cannes became a summer destination. From the moment it opened its doors to this day, le Martinez has offered le Carlton some tough competition for Cannes' most glamorous...Related to:
- Spa and Resort
- Luxury Travel
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Notre Dame des Pins
Built in 1894, Notre Dame des Pins is a Catholic chapel. When it was completed, it was a lone structure surrounded by pine trees, hence the name "des Pins". Very quickly, though, houses were built around it as the city was gaining popularity as a winter resort. Today, residential buildings have replaced many of these houses and Notre Dame des Pins finds itself in a highly urban area with none of the original pine trees that gave it its name.Related to:
This is a 4 star hotel, but it feels like, and looks like, a 5 star. It is not one of the amazing...more
I did not stayed there, as I can't pay small fortunes for spending the night in five stars hotel...more
This is considered one of the five-star "palaces" in Cannes, and even when it's not festival time I...more
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