By Ann-Marie Proudfoot
For many, the first thing that comes to mind about Cannes is its golden moment in May when the French Riviera city hosts the International Film festival. Stars descend on Cannes for a week-long, style studded event.
Cannes evokes images of glitz and glamour, yachts lining the coastline and a playground for the rich and famous. And while all this is true, we may think this is a holiday destination that’s just too pricey to consider but the reality is that there are deals to be had with some clever planning. Cannes is more accessible than you might think, even for us mere mortals! I holiday there a lot, so am only delighted to share my insider knowledge on stylish things to do here.
Getting to Cannes
With Ryanair and Aer Lingus both flying into Nice airport, the flight prices are very reasonable and you can pick up a real bargain if you keep your eye out. Arriving at Nice airport is like a catwalk in itself – take in the glamorous French women and visitors arriving and departing in large (designer, of course) sunglasses, silk kaftans and sporting large handbags is a feast for the fashion senses.
When arriving in Nice I would suggest, unless you are in a hurry, taking the bus into Cannes, as taxi’s cost between €75 and €90! The buses leave from terminal 2, and there is an express bus to Cannes.
The other alternative and one I would recommend, is hiring a car. The captivating Cote d’azur simply must be explored. With spontaneous stop offs to hill tops towns and views from picturesque beaches this beautiful coast can be appreciated in full in your own time schedule.
Shopping in Cannes
If you are looking for designer shopping, Cannes has the full array available along La Croisette, with stores lined up one after the other. You are greeted with a friendly welcome, even if you are only window shopping those to die for Miu Miu shoes.
When you have floated back down to earth and would like to explore the rest of what Cannes shopping has to offer, head inland to the Rue d’antibes. There is a great selection of stores, including Zara, Mango, Diesel, Galerie Lafayette (the French department store) to name but a few. For that elegant Parisian look, check out Tara Jarmon in Cannes. She has a beautiful range of clothing, shoes and accessories. And I recently spotted Tara Jarmon in Arnotts too – tres chic!
For those special pieces of jewellery, Satellite is definitely worth dropping in. As one of my friends commented on our last trip, it’s impossible to leave the store without something!
For your makeup, cosmetics, hair care and perfume you can’t pass by Sephora. They have a great range and carry lots of beautiful brands. If you are after some French cosmetic brands, then the pharmacies are the places to go. You will see all the locals purchasing their body cream, shampoos etc here, which is always a good sign!
For the ultimate shopping trip, drop down to Cannes mid January for the Cannes Shopping Festival which is five days of fashion, young designer workshops, awards and exhibitions. You will however need to have an invite to attend the fashion shows, but you can reap the benefits with great discounts in the stores during the event and soak up the atmosphere around the city. Although Cannes is a little chillier than you would probably like in January you can get a great deal on flight and accommodation prices during this off-peak season.
Hotels in Cannes
If you want to stay within walking distance of the shops, cafes and the beach in Cannes, here are two hotels I recommend which are not too expensive. Be sure to check how much breakfast and parking is before booking, as some hotels prices are just for the room only. In some cases you may be better off getting breakfast in a local cafe, with some offering a coffee and croissant for €5.
Hotel 3.14 is themed on Continents, so you may find yourself staying in the tranquil Asia or the colourful African wing.
Why not sleep under the gaze of legendary stars in this elegant hotel – Hotel Palais Stephanie
Accommodation near Cannes
If you would like to stay in the neighbouring towns to Cannes, here are some of my favourites.
Mougins is a hilltop town about 15 minutes drive from Cannes. It’s very picturesque cobble lock streets weave through an art filled village and it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you want to get a mix of an old walled town with the coast line, stay in Antibes. A bijou place to stay is the Jabotte guest house, only 50m from the sea with flower gardens surrounding the French style rooms. After dinner, take a stroll down to the end of the harbour to see the ferries (I mean yachts!) docked at this port!
Places to eat in Cannes
There are culinary delights to be had all over the Cote d’azur, with prices that range from believable to unbelievable. Here are two spots that have great food and won’t leave you eating beans for a week on your return!
La Colombe d’or, Saint Paul de Vence
Inland from Cannes is a village called Saint Paul de Vence, another very picturesque hilltop town. La Colombe d’or has been welcoming guests and diners since 1920. To get real value for money, I would recommend having lunch here.
Le Brulot, Antibes
Back to Antibes, for my favourite restaurant Le Brulot. If you overheat easily and have an issue with space, then this place may not be for you! This restaurant is always busy and it seems their wood stone oven is constantly burning. The duck is to die for and when you look around the restaurant, the majority of diners seem to think the same. Le Brulot, 3 Rue Frédéric Isnard, 06600 Antibes Juan les Pins, France, Tel 04 93 34 17 76.
My Final Tip
Unless you have booked far in advance, I would recommend avoiding a lot of the Cote d’azur in July and August, the prices sky rocket and you end up be stuck in traffic jams along the coast. Springtime and autumn can still be warm and very pleasant and you won’t have to battle your way around.
So, with only a two and a half hour flight, style oozing French Riviera is calling you for that weekend break…..