- Food & Drink
- Design & Culture
- Cars, Jets & Yachts
By Samantha Coles | May 30 2019
Cannes is the perfect destination for a long weekend. The resort town is, of course, best known for the Cannes Film Festival when the rich and famous flock to the French Riviera in May. The atmosphere during the festival is electric, and depending on where you stay, you can watch the stars hit the red carpet from your penthouse.
The summer months still call the jet set crowd — days spent relaxing in the sunshine on one of the private beaches or from the deck of a superyacht (Port de Cannes is lined with them). If you’re a jazz lover, visit the nearby town of Juan-les-Pins where the annual Jazz à Juan is held in July.
Cannes is just as lovely in fall and spring: the vibe is more relaxed but no less glam. Whenever you choose to visit, Cannes epitomises that South of France elegance and is a dreamy destination for a long weekend.
La Croisette is the famous stretch of road that connects the city to the beach and it is lined with glamorous hotels, high-end designer boutiques and palm trees. It is here that you’ll find one of the most lauded hotels in Cannes: Hotel Barriere Le Majestic. The Art Deco-style hotel faces Palais des Festivals (the film festival’s venue) and, as a partner of the festival, it has a cinema room with sumptuous velvet chairs where private screenings take place. The cinematic vibe continues in the lobby where the walls are lined with black-and-white portraits of movie-star heavyweights (a number of which have stayed at the hotel). Book the Majestic Suite: envisioned by French architect Pascal Desprez, the one-bedroom suite has a home cinema, elegant dining room, gym, sizeable dressing room all in an uber-chic color palette of black, white, cream and coffee shades. The piece de resistance is the suite’s deck — it measures 1,600 sq ft and has a private pool and outstanding views of the Lérins Islands and Estérel. Guests of the suite also have the services of a dedicated butler.
Hotel Martinez, also situated on La Croisette, is a storied wonder and has been welcoming well-heeled guests since 1929. Renowned designer Pierre-Yves Rochon used the colors of the Côte d’Azur as his inspiration for the interiors: think dreamy shades of blue and fresh, bright whites. The two Michelin star restaurant, La Palme d’Or, is a regular entry in Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants list and head chef Christian Sinicropi creates inventive dishes: fish eggs mimosa, veal sweetbread and pigeon and chocolate tartlet are a few highlights from the ‘Six Movements’ menu. For a more relaxed affair, head to Le Jardin du Martinez — the restaurant often hosts 1930s themed garden parties and live jazz evenings on the weekend. The Penthouse Suite is on the top floor — the views are sublime and best enjoyed on the 5,380-sq-ft terrace. There is a dining table on the terrace too, so host a memorable dinner as the sun sets over the sea.
If you’re after a quieter abode, head to the hills and stay in the utterly charming Bastide Provencal. As Brigitte Bardot’s former home, it is an exquisite sprawling chateau enveloped by fragrant lavender. It is classic French-style with perfect gardens, large infinity pool and separate hot tub as well as a place to play Pétanque. Edge Retreats specialise in luxury villas for rent and for purchase and have an expansive selection of villas to choose from in Cannes and beyond.
Sailing through the Mediterranean Sea is magical — the sunlight reflects off the azure waters and glitters, and there’s nothing quite like gliding into the Port de Cannes — yachts as far as the eye can see. By chartering a yacht, you can reach the other hot spots in the French Riveria in utmost style. Burgess Yachts has a wide array of yachts that are perfect to charter during the film festival. Alfa Nero is a 269-ft yacht with a 23 by 11.5 ft swimming pool that can transform into a dance floor — she is the perfect vessel for hosting your own soiree. My Seanna has an outdoor cinema with an 132-inch screen should you wish to hold your very own film festival on board, as well as a dreamy swim-up bar and waterfall Jacuzzi.
This also gives you the perfect opportunity to sail on to the Îles de Lérins, a group of four islands (two of which are uninhabited) located just off the bay of Cannes. Drop anchor at Île Saint-Honorat. This small island has been home to a community of monks since the fifth century. Visit Lérins Abbey and relish in the complete peace and calm (the monks have taken a vow of silence) and sample the exceptional wine they produce.
The aforementioned La Palme D’Or is a must do when you’re in Cannes. For an intimate evening, head to La Villa Archange. It is located in an 18th-century building, just behind La Croissette at Rue de l’Ouest. It seats just 26 diners within its elegant dining room and is whimsically romantic. Le Park 45, situated within the Grand Hotel Cannes, overlooks the pretty gardens and has a wonderful menu that changes regularly — including an inspired vegetarian menu. Les Salon des Independants is an utterly charming restaurant in Le Suquet — expect eclectic decor, authentic French cuisine, a welcoming atmosphere and live music.
There are designer stores aplenty (head to Rue d’Antibes for the best of the bunch) as well as chic boutiques, punctuated with pastry and ice cream stores. But for one-of-a-kind pieces visit Promenade de la Croisette market on a Sunday. I picked up a unique handmade silver ring that winds around my thumb and a few vintage French posters to decorate my home.
Be sure to visit Marché Forville (within walking distance from La Croisette). It’s a wonderful market selling fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, cheese (so much cheese) and red-label meat. There is also vendors selling everything from fried vegetables to paella, and a selection of blooming flowers. It is open everyday from 7am until 1pm, except Mondays.