Review: Cannes, Cote d’Azur

Adam Lowe

Adam Lowe is an award-winning author, editor and publisher from Leeds, now based in Manchester. He runs Dog Horn Publishing and is Director and Writing Coordinator for Young Enigma, a writer development programme for LGBT young people.
Adam Lowe

As you pull into Cannes, the first thing you notice is the harbour. The masts of yachts stand high above like flag-waving crucifixes, all dazzling white against the crisp blue of the ocean. The Promenade de la Croisette (Little Cross Drive) runs like the heartline of the town, along the harbour and beach. Even from your arrival you can see the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès spilling from the Croisette over into the sea. There an inconspicuous red carpet welcomes international film stars ever year for the Cannes Film Festival.

Where to stay

The Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso is mere steps from the Croisette, on the boulevard Jean Hilbert, and offers the best view of Cannes. From its vantage point just above the main street, visitors can see a panoramic view of the port and the sea—not to mention the golden beach facing the hotel. With the town’s twelve hours of sunshine in the summer, the whole hotel opens up to the light magnificently.

The Radisson Blu makes best use of the panorama, with roof-top terraces, and a gastronomic restaurant with a full 360º view of Cannes. Most rooms also take advantage of the view, with the seascape or the Esterel mountains on clear show in the majority of suites. Many rooms feature slide-away panels that open even the bathrooms to the sunlight, so that it’s possible to take a bubble bath with the day pouring in.

The hotel is decorated in warm and mild colours, with contemporary lines, for an effect of lightness. But extra details add a sumptuous finish, including silver foils; leather-upholstered walls; wood panels; and silks, velvets and voiles. The parquet floor is black concrete in sections, while bathrooms mix brown stone with glass, mosaics and silvery reflections.

There is also a subtle Japanese motif running throughout: from the heated, multi-function toilets to the exquisite Thermes Marins de Cannes spa, which filters warm seawater into its pools and treatment rooms for an invigorating experience.

For a more traditional choice, the Croisette Beach, just a hop and a skip away, offers a range of recently renovated classic rooms, with a very French feel. The Croisette Beach sports a fabulous cocktail bar, Bellini, and features its own outside garden terrace, right in the heart of the Croisette’s elite shopping destinations.

Where to eat

Maitre Renard Restaurant is a small, quirky restaurant located on the rue St Antoine, in Cannes’ old town. One half of the gay power couple who run the restaurant, ‘Chef and Master of the Premises’ Philippe Renard serves up a worldly menu of fine dishes that speak of his culinary travels. The restaurant itself is done up in 1940s décor, with rich, warm colours, with seating in either intimate or more convivial rooms, with terrace dining for those who wish to see the passersby and feel the evening heat on their skin.

Le Zanzibar (85 rue Felix Faure) is near the world-famous red carpet of the Palais des Festivals, with an outdoor patio and indoor bar area, both of which offer a laidback Mediterranean atmosphere. By night it doubles as a bar, with drinks from 3 to 8 euros, and a mostly male clientele. However, bring your cash, because Zanzi doesn’t accept credit cards.

Where to play

G Club on rue des Freres Pradignac is a funky, modern nightclub with a young crowd and nights to cater to a variety of queer tastes.

Le Night is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 9.30pm till 5am, with BOGOF offers on until midnight every day except Fridays and Saturdays. The venue puts on events throughout the year, including cabaret and ladies’ nights.

Meanwhile, Sauna le 9 at 8 chemin de l’industrie is a tasteful sauna with bold pink communal rooms and sparkling white facilities in the wet rooms.

Flights

Leading leisure airline Jet2.com offers friendly low fares, great flight times, and a generous 22kg baggage allowance to Nice from Manchester Airport, up to 5 days a week. Transfers from Nice are approximately 45 minutes.

Flights start from £33.99 one way including taxes.

For more information please visit jet2.com.

Acknowledgements

Thanks go to the French Riviera Tourist Board, and Florence Lecointre in particular, and the Cannes tourism board. Thanks must also go to Victoria Bartram and Lauren Godfrey at Jet2 for their assistance.

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