Located on the French Riviera there are few cities more dazzling than Cannes. In the wake of the town's internationally-recognised film festival, Country Life reports on what to do, where to stay and how to get there.
How to get there:
Fly to Aeroport Nice de Cote d’Azur (www.nice.aeroport.fr). There are frequent flights to the airport from Heathrow and Gatwick on British Airways (0844 493 0787; www.ba.com).
For a more direct route, the smaller airport in Cannes itself accepts private jets (www.cannes.aeroport.fr). You can also travel from Nice to Cannes via Heli transfer. Book through Azur Helico (00 33 193 90 40 70; www.azurhelico.com); journey time is roughly 7 minutes and costs from €160 per person.
If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground arrange for a car from Cannes Limo (00 33 4 93 67 80 94; www.canneslimo.com) to pick you up from either airport. Polite and punctual, their team of highly specialised staff can cater to any special requirements.
Alternatively make an entrance and arrive in Cannes by boat; often the best way to really appreciate swathes of the Mediterranean is from the sea, away from the crowds and traffic. Charter Minute (00 33 4 93 67 80 94; www.charterminute.com) offers a fine, hand-picked selection of luxury yacht charters: motor yacht, sailing yacht, multi-hull and sub.
When to go:
The best times to visit the Cote d’Azur are in the late spring and early autumn. In mid-May the small town is whipped into an adrenaline-fuelled frenzy by the Cannes Film festival and, although a fantastic experience, prices tend to triple.
Hordes of tourists in mid-July and August can also detract from the town’s charm so book your flights for the end of May/beginning of June or September.
Where to stay:
A unique hotel, located 50 meters from La Croisette and 300 meters from the Palais des Festivals in the heart of Cannes. Don’t let the quirky design distract you from the hotel’s luxury accommodation; all 96 rooms and 15 suites. Choose between gourmet Mediterranean fare, produced at the hotel using local organic produce, or the beachside restaurant, which includes organic and gluten free options. The beach itself is privately owned by the hotel and a mere 50 meters walk with sweeping views of the Iles de Lerins.
Double rooms from €159 per night (00 33 4 92 99 72 00; www.314cannes.com)
Perhaps one of the most recognisable hotels in Cannes, thanks to it’s starring role in Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief and unmistakable Belle Époque façade dominating La Croisette, the Carlton is a cliché choice for a reason. All three restaurants serve seasonal Provencal fare and there are a further two bars, casino and lavish health club to keep you entertained. The hotel’s private beach and jetty also offer a host of water sport activities.
Double rooms from €785 per night (00 33 4 93 06 40 06; www.intercontinental-carlton-cannes.com)
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Set amongst 25 acres of gardens, the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is an oasis of calm. It’s where the Hollywood glitterati escape to during the film festival (the hotel is a few miles away from Cannes in Cap d’Antibes) and world leaders, playwrights and artists have all passed through the doors.
The hotel’s swimming pool is arguably one of its most recognisable and defining features. Dynamited out of basalt rock in 1914, by hotelier Antoine Sella, and refreshed by natural seawater on a regular basis, it has been gently updated in recent years. For utter, outdoors seclusion retreat to one of the 33, shaded seafront cabanas. Alternatively choose from a range of water sports or motorboat excursions available from the private jetty or pamper yourself with one of the Sisley treatments in the spa.
There are a selection of rooms, suites and villas, set across three locations, all elegantly decorated and designed for discreet comfort rather than demand attention. Luxury that you’ll never want to, and never have to, venture far from.
Double rooms from €950 per night (00 33 4 93 61 39 01; www.hotel-du-cap-eden-roc.com)
Restaurant Auberge Provencale Da Bouttau
The oldest restaurant in Cannes, Auberge was founded by Alexander Bouttau in 1860 and serves traditional French food in the heart of the old town. Full of rustic charm.
(00 33 4 92 99 27 17)
After a morning on La Croisette, escape to Villa Archange’s shaded terrace and feast on platters of beef tartare and artichoke foccacia. The 18th century building, glasshouse and courtyard are a cooling respite from the buzzing promenade, all presided over by Bruno Oger and his team who are fiercely proud of their well-deserved two Michelin stars.
(00 33 492181828)
Mantel is a restaurant of contradictions. Situated in Cannes’ old and breathtakingly picturesque quarter, Suquet Hill, but all clean and contemporary in design. A tourist hotspot but you will coming away feeling as though you’ve discovered a discreet and hidden gem.
The food, nevertheless, is unpretentious, wholesome and an example of Cannes catering at it’s best.
(00 33 493 39 13 10)
What to do:
Charter a yacht from Bespoke Yacht Charter (020 7368 3328; www.bespokeyachtcharter.com) and make a day trip to Saint-Tropez or Monaco. Alternatively sail up the coastline, hopping from sandy cove to sweeping beach as you go. Our favourites are the those towards Cap Ferrat, the grand villas studding the cliff tops as you go, marking the way.
On dry land wander down La Croisette, the infamous boulevard that stretches along the length of the Cannes’ waterfront, before making your way towards Vieux Port where fishing boat bobs in stark contrast to the mighty superyachts. From the port take a water taxi to the island of Sainte-Marguerite. Follow one of the many walking trails, taking in the heady scent of pine and eucalyptus as you go, and stop off at Fort-Royal the island’s old state prison that once played host the legendary Man in the Iron Mask.
Just outside Cannes, 8 miles to be precise, you’ll find the hilltop village of Grasse, often dubbed the Silicon Valley of scent, and the centre of the world’s perfume industry since the 17th century. Visit the Internal Musuem of Perfumes or take a tour around one of the old perfumeries: Galimard, Fragonard and Molinard.
Oenophiles must take a trip to Chateau de Saint Martin, the birthplace of fine Cote de Provence wines since the 18th century. Explore the vineyards and sample the wines.
(Additional research and reporting by Jonty Brawn and Lottie Holgate)
Rupert Uloth visits luxury hotel Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes.