Sunday, June 23, 2013

There is more to Cannes than the Film Festival

The glamorous resort of Cannes on the French Riviera is well known for hosting the International Film festival.   For two weeks in May, Cannes (KAN) bask in the limelight as movie stars, producers, directors and anyone involves in the cinematic industry come together to preview a selection of  new  full length features as well as documentaries.

But, Cannes is not all glitter and glam ; in  many ways it has retain the charms of a French Riviera coastal town and here are five reasons to make Cannes your destination of choice on the French Riviera  anytime of the year.

Cannes is set in a wide protected bay on the Mediterranean Sea.  It is lined with sandy beaches, unlike the pebbly beaches of Nice, its neighbor.   Tourists and locals alike enjoy strolling  along its handsome waterfront promenade- La Croisette-- lined on one side by the blue Mediterranean sea and on the other  by palace hotels like the Martinez and the Majestic Barriere.

The Old town of Cannes, Le Suquet is uphill and dominates the old port.  It is fun to explore its  maze of narrow alleys, lined with small restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, arts and craft boutiques and art galleries.  At the top of the hill, stands the 12th century Church Notre Dame de l'Esperance.  From here, you can get a good view of the Bay of Cannes.

Marche Forville is a colorful covered market where the locals shop daily for the luscious locally grown fruits, vegetables, fish and other products .  It is a feast for the senses.

If luxury shopping is your thing, then Cannes is ideal.  In one compact area - principally along the rue D'Antibes and along the Croisette boulevard you will find a selection of famed luxury brand names.

         From Cannes, you can take a 20 minute ferry to the Lerins Islands - Sainte Marguerite and St. Honorat. These small islands, covered in scented pines and eucalyptus trees are far from the glamour of the Riviera ; nature in all its beauty dominates  here.  No cars are allowed on the islands and marked hiking trails invite visitors to explore the island at leisure.  The island of Saint Marguerite, was an island prison - legend has it that the Man in the Iron mask is believed to have been imprisonned here.   The  Island of St. Honorat is inhabited by twenty five or so Cisterian monks living in the oldest monastery in the western world; it was founded on the island in 410 AD .  They live happily in this idyllic setting producing wine, olive oil and the famed Lerins liquor.

Tags: Cannes, French Riviera

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