Communing in Cannes

July 06, 2012

By Katrice

{view from atop of Mont Chevalier, Cannes}

Say you’ve been to Cannes and some will associate your travel abroad with the namesake film festival. Others … those accustomed to feasting on the spoils of leisure around the world understand that Cannes, France alone, luxuriously sprawled along the French Riviera, is its own main attraction. Sun-filled days balance with Mediterranean breezed nights in the seaside town where even a simple stroll on the boulevard seems decadent. Glamorous and exclusive, the former fishing village also doles a charming mystique of experiences on par with the budget of virtually any traveler. The city can be yours. 

{photo courtesy of Intercontinental Carlton Cannes}

How often can you say you’ve laid your head on the same pillows as Hollywood’s A-List? It’s a dream, but not one that’s far-fetched. Just a stone’s throw from the beaches of La Croisette, the century-old InterContinental Carlton Cannes is a 343-room luxury hotel on the French Riviera, listed among the Government of France’s National Historic buildings. During the Cannes Film Festival, it is the most highly sought place to be for industry elite. And the feeling is mutual as the Carlton has named some of its most prestigious suites for renowned celebrities: Sean Connery, Sharon Stone, Sofia Loren, Sean Penn, Uma Thurman and more. In chorus with the famous foot prints left by Hollywood royalty like Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Alfred Hitchcock, Intercontinental Cannes’ décor is reminiscent of glamorous cinema ambience.

The "Belle Epoque" veneered palace hotel faces the Mediterranean Sea — overlooking the Bay of Cannes and a sea of sails. Its Carlton Beach Restaurant places you right along the sand with both a menu and buffet of delectable Provence dishes, and an incomparable view while in-house the Carlton Restaurant is prime for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Situated in the center of Cannes, nothing has been left to chance as guests have at their disposal concierge services, car rental, a wine cellar, travel agency, spa and wellness facilities and shops.

Five stars, well earned.

Street Fare
Cannes was made for walking. And you absolutely must take in the Boulevard de la Croisette by foot. Just past the Casino Cannes Le Palm Beach, lively games of pétanque, the most popular game in France, draw you in. A form of boules where the goal is, while standing inside a starting circle with both feet on the ground, to throw a hollow metal ball, the game shifts from one end of the alley to the other as a team wins each round. The object is to amass points at each ‘end’ until the first team reaches a winning score of 13. Brilliantly spirited!

{Old Town}

In the Old Town are charming cafes, local businesses and boutiques tucked along cobble stoned streets. Climbing those narrow hilly streets to the 12th-century Tour de Mt. Chevalier, ramparts and 12th-16th-century church Notre-Dame-de-l'Espérence leads you to a worthwhile view from the top that spans east across the city. Le Machou is a tiny piece of heaven. The Grill restaurant features a charcoal oven that's used to cook meat the old-fashioned way. Le Machou steak leaves a taste on your palate you won't soon forget. The treat, of the meal, however, is the basket of fresh vegetables that is presented as your starter. Poised as the salad of your meal, to call it that would be an understatement.

Hermes Birkin bags are simply the norm on the streets of Cannes. If that tells you anything, it’s that fashion and retail are serious business here. Along the Boulevard de la Croisette, designer shops include Chanel, Dior, Gucci and Valentino; in the shopping district behind it, everything from Bathroom Graffiti and Sephora to Kenzo, Mango, Esprit, Madura, Diesel and Zara. No, you don't travel across the world to shop where you can shop at home, but when you enter a store and feel like it's your first experience there, it's nearly impossible to resist.


The engaging scent of in-room L’Occitane toiletry products at the Carlton could very possibly entice fragrance connoisseurs to indulge in a perfume making workshop at Fragonard perfumery. The historic perfume factory in the heart of the Old Town is one of the oldest in Grasse; its present premises housed perfume making from their construction in 1782. Open seven days a week, including holidays, Fragonard offers classes, free guided tours and products  including cosmetics, home fragrances and soaps — at factory price. This year, as part of its scented saga, the “flowers of perfumery,” Fragonard celebrates the Violet.

The key to Cannes is indulging in its quiet luxury … discovering the nooks and crannies. Few would deny that the Film Festival leaves a residue of something special in the air. And yet, it’s so much more.

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  1. I'm a fellow Cannes fan and your lovely review has me happily reminiscing. :)

  2. I was just saying that I want to visit Cannes France oooo la la

  3. Lovely post! I have been to France but never Cannes! Must chasnge that:)

  4. Once again you've transported us- I could smell the food!

  5. After reading this I want to travel to France. Is it Bon Jour?


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