From an obscure fishing village under the Italian rule to the ultimate glamourous destination in the world, Cannes has certainly evolved through time. Cannes encompasses half the coast of Golfe de la Napoule and two quaint islands in the South of France but its geo cultural treasure trove has always been brushed aside by the red carpet event of the year – Cannes International Film Festival. During summer, Cannes is famously flooded with movie stars and fashion celebrities from around the world especially Hollywood. If you wish for a movie star holiday weekend without the crowd plus frenzy of paparazzi, we recommend you miss the months of May to August and opt for April and September which are relatively good months to visit. We have curated an itinerary for a perfect weekend getaway in Cannes.
Cannes be Cultural
Most people would associate the film festival as the only source of cultural activity in Cannes but like any other destination on the planet this one too Cannes have its own cultural heritage pun very much intended. Seafood, sailing, museums open a window into the origins of this beautiful town. Cannes was under the Roman Empire and the old town of Le Suquet acted as a patrol point overlooking the two islands of Lerins. The remnant Roman influence does leave its stamp on the culture and architecture of this tiny city. Even though it was inhabited since 2 BC it was only later in the 10th century AD when the fishing village and port came to be known as Canua.
The twin islands of La Lerins take most of Cannes’ cultural and historical share. Although the hill of Le Suquet is considered the old town and birthplace of Cannes. Le Suquet is a labyrinth of intertwined streets and sinuous steps ubiquitous with pedestrians and locals. You can visit Musee de la Castre, Caree Tower on your visit to the old town. The Quai St Pierre or the Old Port is at the foot of Le Suquet and can be viewed atop the hill. The Old Port dates back to early 19th century, the Roman ships and boats were docked here for rest and respite before heading towards Italy or Spain. For the perfect movie star holiday, your private yacht will be awaiting you at Quai St Pierre as well. At the foot of the old town lies the bay of Cannes where you can stroll through the Forville market with typical local shops around it.
Promenade de la Croisette
La Croisette was a promenade built in 1850 on a muddy road surrounded by swamps and bed of reeds to receive the winter travellers and now the summer travellers in Cannes. The urbane and the famous from Britain, Russia and later America sought to lounge on the jewel of Cannes or La Croisette soaking in every ray of the Mediterranean sun. Every luxury hotel worth its salt is located on Boulevard de la Croisette. It is the physical connection between the city and the artificially created beaches. This promenade is the most visited by the glitzy each summer.
When you hire a private luxury yacht, be sure to take a ride to the pride of Cannes – the twin islands across the city in the midst of the Bay. Ile Sainte- Marguerite and Ile Sainte-Honorat are the two individual islands of the Lerins. Their history includes the mysteries of Man in The Iron Mask and the life of the Cistercian monks who ruled the islands. The islands are guileless in their beauty.
The luxury hospitality is responsible for Cannes’ ascend to unattainable popularity amongst the elite back in the 20th century. If not for these stellar hotels Cannes would seem quiet. The grand dame on Boulevard de la Croisette is the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes whereas JW Marriott Cannes and Hotel Barriere Le Majestic too are known to welcome stars and royals frequently. The key feature and amenity of these hotels is their private beach at La Croisette and if not for these beaches what would today’s Cannes be? While there are boutique hotels who have the charm and personalised service suitable for the young and tasteful. Some of these abodes are Le Mas Candille, Hotel Le Canberra, Le Cavendish, Five Seas Hotel Cannes.
When holidaying like a movie star in Cannes some of the ‘must experience’ on the itinerary is a private luxury yacht. There is nothing more urbane than sailing across the Bay of Cannes in Haute beachwear while sipping on martinis. Airbnb has a range of great marinas to sail around the Cote D’Azure and get away from the city of Cannes. The yachts can be hired with the captain as well.
The circle of a luxury holiday in Cannes wouldn’t be complete until a splurge and much-needed hedonism on Boulevard de la Croisette. Though your own city would have their share of luxury stores it is an experience to shop at the Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton on La Croisette. Your date night or a special dinner at one of Cannes’ chic restaurants could use this well invested time and energy. Rue d’Antibes is another best spots to go boutique shopping and apart from fashion it houses many local shops for perfumes, confectionery, florists and home decor.
Rejuve and Restore
Cannes is easily a synonym for both luxury and relaxation. There is no tearing hurry while on a weekend on its coast and you can continue your love affair with time as you see fit. The spas undoubtedly are integral to this leisurely experience and some of the best treatments in Europe can be found here. From Nordic sauna, Turkish hammam, seaweed wrap and thalassotherapy the choices to pampering yourself are aplenty. After your stroll around the old town or your shopping spree on Rue d’Antibes and Boulevard de la Croisette these spas are your one stop to pure heavenly rejuvenation. Though hotels have a spa some of the best Spas in Cannes that you could book an appointment pre-arrival are The Cannes Spa Thermes Marins, Shiseido Spa, Five Seas Spa, Spa Diane Barriere by Clarins.
While at the epicenter of South of France you should experience Cannes’ very own treasure trove of culinary art. From movie stars to Broadway and super models these restaurants have had an illustrious list of patrons. Zglage Beach Restaurant, La Palme D’Or which enjoys 25 years of 2 Michelin stars and the only one with these stars in Cannes at Grand Hyatt Martinez Hotel, La Colombe D’Or.