Even getting to Cannes can be something special, if your nerves (and budget!) allow. Most tourist flights arrive into Nice airport via an approach along the coast. So, this gives a bird’s-eye view of the glorious bays, beaches and mountains of the French Riviera. The airport has recently been given an ambitious two-terminal makeover that includes upscale shops, gourmet eateries. There’s even a slinky slide from which to exit the swanky La Plage restaurant!
You can travel the 33km to Cannes from Nice in a number of ways (bus, train, taxi). Or you can channel your inner film star and indulge in a seven-minute helicopter transfer. It touches down directly on the famous Croisette and it’s a sight to behold. Prices start from around €160 per person. If money is really no object, you can even charter a jet. This way, you’ll fly straight to the city’s private airport, Cannes Mandelieu.
However you arrive there, a stroll along the Croisette and a visit to the famous Palais des Festivals is a must. After all, the latter is best known as the venue of the annual star-studded Cannes Film Festival. However, there’s much more to this venue, which overlooks the picturesque Old Port, than those famous ‘red carpet’ steps. The Palais hosts over 50 international trade events every year, and it’s so huge it encompasses both the Tourist Office and a casino. In addition to trade show exhibitions, the Palais is also a key cultural centre. It hosts a number of renowned festivals involving art, music, theatre, dance and shopping. So, do check the programme before you go and maybe even take an organised tour.
When you’ve had your fill of admiring the super yachts at the port or marina, why not take a stroll up to Le Suquet, the Old Town of Cannes? Away from the glitz and glamour of the Croisette, you’ll find quaint cobbled streets, the Chateau de la Castre castle/museum and the gothic Notre Dame de l’Esperance church. Drink in the stunning views over a glass of wine with dinner: Le Cosi or Table 22 by Mantel won’t disappoint.
In fact, foodies are truly spoilt for choice in Cannes. For a special (but spendy!) treat, the Palme d’Or in the Martinez hotel is tough to beat. Meanwhile, the (seasonal) beach restaurant of the iconic Carlton hotel is another excellent choice for fabulous al fresco fare.
But if your budget is more modest, there are still hundreds of cafes, bistros and brasseries to choose from along or set back from the central Croisette. Fortify yourself with a plate of fresh seafood pasta before heading off to window shop. Or why not splash some serious cash in the luxury prêt-à-porter boutiques on the Rue d’Antibes?
Many people think of Cannes as a summer destination, but spring and autumn are worth considering too, as the temperature is warm, the rainfall minimal and the prices more palatable.