Cannes, a town on the French Riviera, is synonymous with its annual movie festival that awards some of the best names in the business, but the town that plays host to numerous film stars and celebrities during the festival, transforms back into a relatively unexplored holiday destination once the dust has settled.
When the closing bell rings on those few hectic days in May, Cannes becomes a perfect holiday venue with its fine food, rich culture and warm hospitality. Add a pleasant climate, panoramic scenery and plenty to do, and Cannes can be the perfect recipe for a weekend break.
The cost-conscious can take comfort from the fact that once the film extravaganza is over, Cannes offers a range of options to travellers on all budgets.
The town has about 8,000 rooms, ranging from five-star facilities to self-catering apartments. For the well off, there is the Hotel Martinez, where guests can live like film stars for a few days. The hotel is the oldest in Cannes and was the first to have elevators. Those wishing to throw parties can hire the Presidential Suite on the seventh floor. A more affordable option is the hotel’s La Palme d’Or restaurant, where the jury’s annual dinner is held during the film festival.
For those visitors intent on a quieter holiday, a sedate stroll can be had at Le Suquet . An old town with colourful shops and markets by day, at night the town’s mood changes and it become a gourmet’s delight with a range of cuisine on offer.
On the island of Saint-Honorat, time stands still as it is the home to an order of 20 Cistercian monks. They spend their time praying and tending vines to make top-quality wines and a liquor called Lerina, providing ample scope for both the spiritual and the ‘spirited.’ La Tonnelle, a restaurant at the water’s edge serves fresh, local produce.
All in all, for those prepared to search for it, Cannes can offer a very different face to the show of glitz and glamour that it hosts for those few short days each year.