Cannes. Just the name conjures up images of glamour: white clothing, huge sunglasses and all those million dollar yachts. For two weeks in May, this is the place-to-be on the calendar of the rich and fabulous – the Cannes Film Festival takes over this once sleepy fishing village and no one is safe from the popping of champagne corks and the flash of cameras. For the remainder of the year, the rest of us can go there and dream. One day… If only…
Day 1: Discover Cannes
Truly Cannes is a place to walk the promenade, people-watch and soak up the sun. Begin with coffee. Coffee is very important in France, as is the croissant. Explore the old town, the historic buildings, the churches and museums. Then wander along the famous beachside, palm-tree lined La Croisette boulevard. Windowshop in the exclusive boutiques or lounge on the sandy beaches. On your first day in town get with this leisurely program and by the time the sun sinks below the horizon, you’ll be totally at home in the restaurants on the La Croisette boulevard or indeed the Casino Croisette (jacket required).
Day 2: It’s all about those yachts
Now that you know the lay of the land, it’s time to get those sea-legs on the sparkling Mediterranean. For the ultimate glamour-to-glamour trip, cruise over to St Tropez, an even more upmarket resort. Wander the narrow, hilly streets and watch the offspring of European royalty frolic. If you prefer your wonders to be more of the landscape variety, head out to Corniche d’Or and be amazed by the colours of nature. If you’re new to this whole sailing lifestyle, head for the nearby Island Ste Marguerite, the largest of the Lerins Islands, and enjoy some peace and tranquility.
Day 3: The glamour coast
Of course, huge sunhats and boats are not the only things on offer in this part of the world. Inland from Cannes is the wonderful countryside of Provence. Take a tour to Saint Paul de Vence, past home to artists including Chagall and Matisse (don’t miss the Chapelle du Rosaire) and presently home to many working artists and galleries. On the way, there are views of the Alps, Riviera specialty Florian candy (floral-scented), and Grasse, perfume capital of the world. But if you’re still hankering for glamour – and perhaps a bit of royalty – head east instead, to Monaco and Monte Carlo. Here Princess Grace lived with her prince in his castle. On the way back, don’t miss gorgeous pedestrian-only town Eze perched high on the cliffs, or Nice, the other heart of the French Riviera.
Spectacular, legendary, chic: don’t let it just be a dream. Go strut your stuff along the promenade of Cannes, soak up that golden sunshine, and decide which of those yachts you’d buy. After all, you only live once.