After spending a couple of vacation weeks in Norway, experiencing the Norwegian “summer” (rain, wind and cold weather), I was very grateful that I had in fact foreseen this and already booked a trip to the south of France, more specifically Cannes. For almost two weeks Cannes and the rest of the French Riviera was at my feets, here are my thought about the stay, recommendations and pictures.
What to do in Cannes:
* Treat yourself to a day at a private beach: Lets face it, Cannes in July / August is hot as h**l and in the middle of the day when the heat reaches its max, all you really want is to throw yourself into the sea (at least that was my reaction). The public beach is by then over-crowded. Your best option at that time is the private / closed off beaches. Here you´ll have to pay for a sun bed (about 20 – 30€ based on the time of day and location), but you´ll have someone bring you drinks, food and a parasol + you are steps away from the sea.
* Catch the fireworks at the beach: Turns out fireworks are a frequent phenomena in Cannes, the city is even a part of an international firework festival. Amazing firework and light show combined with classic music and a beach filled with people – locals and tourists, grown-ups and kids staying up late. A pretty great experience 🙂
* Go to a concert: Cannes has a lot of cool clubs that host concerts featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry. During my stay, Busta Rhymes, LMFAO, Xzibit and several others preformed in Cannes.
For the mainstream brands, Rue d’Antibes is the best shopping street in Cannes. Here you’ll find Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti (where I bought the dress below on sale), Sephora, PimKie, Jules and so on.
Boulevard de la Croisette:
If you are on a bigger budget (or looking for a place to go window shopping) Boulevard de la Croisette is the place to go. Here you’ll find all the high-end fashion designers and brands like Gucci, Bvlgari and Louis Vuitton .
Before going, I was a little worried about dining in Cannes. Given that I was spending nearly two weeks in a hotel without any option to make any food myself, I had concerns about both the pricing and the variety of cousins. To my relief, I found that Cannes offers a wide mix in both pricing and foods. Some of my findings:
* Wide range of cafes and restaurants, offering Seafood, French cousin, Italian cousin, Sushi, Tapas, Bar food and lot more!
* The over all quality is good: I never had a meal that wasn’t satisfying (some more than others of course).
* Lots of places offer a 3 course menu for between 15 and 25 euros, often allowing you to choose between a long list of dishes.
* Wine is cheap and drinks are strong (at least compared to Norway 😉 )
* If you want to go for an ice-cream and check your emails at the same time, check out the area next to MacDonalds (located in city center, next to the harbor): Lots of ice-cream bars and MacDonald offers free wi-fi with some range outside 😉
On place I really liked, and can strongly recommend is Cocoon (18, rue Bivouac Napoleon – in the city center, close to the beach, harbor and Rue d’ Antibes): A charming restaurant perfect for breakfast and lunch. The menu changes daily, and the dishes are homemade (and delicious!). Cocoon is runned by mother and daughter (two very friendly ladies) and is on Trip Advisors top 5 list of restaurants in Cannes.
Daytrips from Cannes:
On of the reasons I decided to spend my summer in Cannes, is the short distances to other places I’ve been longing to see.
Nice, “Cannes bigger sister”, is another popular Riviera destination.
How to get there: Nice is just a short train ride away (depending on the train, it takes about 30 to 45 minutes from Cannes to Nice de Ville train station) and the ticket rates are reasonable (about 6€, again depending on the train type).
Things to do in Nice:
* Visit Le Chateau to enjoy the view of the whole city (where the picture above is taken), there is also a nice park and a playground on the top (didn’t see the castle / Chateau though…). If you don’t feel like walking up, you can take the elevator (free + no line when I went there!).
* Visit the Old Town: This area of Nice is amazing, lots of colorful houses, small streets and alleys, restaurants,shops (and tourists, of course).
* Go rollerblading at the beach promenade (Promenade des Anglais) and treat yourself to lunch at the famous Le Negresco hotel.
The city state located at the French Riviera assosiated with welth, luxury, Grace Kelly, gambling and racing is worth a visit.
How to get there: Go here by train (about 1 hour and 15 minutes) or by boat ( about 1 hour and 30 minutes). Train is cheaper, but gets really crowded at times.
Things to do in Monaco:
* See the royal palace, home of Prince Albert.
* Visit the The Oceanographic Museum: It’s both a museum and an aquarium, and on the roof there is an outdoor restaurant and viewpoint overlooking the whole city/state.
* Admire all the grand buildings and fancy cars, eat lunch at a posh restaurant and go to the casino.
The old charming fishermen village that turned in to the number 1 playground for the rich and the famous, offers an odd combo of jet-set and shabby chic charm, turned out to be my favorite location during my stay in the south of France. It was just so incredible beautiful, if you ever have the change to go – then go! 🙂
How to get there: You can’t take a train there, and car parking seems to be a hassle, so If you don’t have a yacht or helicopter, the ferry-boat from Cannes might be the best option. It departs in the morning and takes you back in the afternoon for about 50 euros.
Things to do in Saint Tropez:
* Look for celebrities, St. Tropez is still a favourite vacation place for celebs like Rihanna, Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton, who occasionally steps out of the yatch or beach house to walk the streets with all us regular tourists (I spotted Karl Lagerfelt cruising by in an open car *starstruck*).
* Stay over night, it was a big regret of mine that I didn’t have more than a day to spend here. It´s expensive , but if you are better at planning or saving than me, I bet you can get away with it 🙂
* Take it all in: Admire the scenery, enjoy the glamour, go bananas with your camera (I did) and maybe even get inspire to put your painting skills to the test – It´s a picture perfect view!
In addition, there are several small villages and islands near Cannes, easy to get to by either boat or train, like Ile Sainte Marguerite (beautiful Island a 15 minutes boat trip from Cannes), Antibes (popular beach and vacation place a 15 minutes train ride away) and Golfe Juan Vallauris (small village right outside Cannes, beach with free wi-fi).
How was your summer? Have you been to any of the places above, and have any additional recommendations?