The International Luxury Travel Market has kept me very busy with press briefings and breaking news from the world of luxury travel, however, I did take some time to do some sightseeing in Cannes. Centuries old food recipes, charming pedestrian streets, spectacular views of the yachts in the harbor and iconic Cannes Film Festival murals were among the highlights of the walking tour from professional guide Karin Osmuk who works at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès – Cannes Visitor’s Bureau.
Ode to the Cannes Film Festival
The city of Cannes owes its notoriety around the world to the ingenious idea to host a unique film festival once a year which brings the best of the best from around the world in the film industry to this tiny little town in southern France. Artists pay homage to the festival with several large murals throughout the city. At the foot of Old Town, the entire front of the Gare des Autobus (bus station) is one such mural dedicated to the history of the festival itself. Actors, both real and animated, are depicted on the facade of the station from the early days of black and white film to more recent animated cartoons and feature films.
From the roof of the castle at Old Town a few of the 14 painted walls can be seen blending in with the scenery. Marilyn Monroe makes an appearance at 16 boulevard d’Alsace, and the famous French actor Gérard Philipe who starred in Fanfan la Tulipe in 1952 is at 3 boulevard Victor Tuby. Legendary onscreen couples Cary Grant-Ingrid Bergman, DiCaprio-Kate Winslet, Clark Gable-Vivien Leigh and, Bogart-Bacall made the painted wall at Boulevard de la République.
Scenic Views and Luxury Yachts
Boasting 300+ days of sunshine a year, Cannes is the perfect place to park a yacht for the winter. The harbor was quite full of luxury yachts, both power and sail that were mostly vacant during this time of year, but clearly being made ready for the next season of yachting by the diligent crews. The beautiful seaside views were flanked by the green hills at the edges of the city and majestic, snow capped mountains in the backdrop. The best place to see the splendor of Cannes in panoramic view is from the top of what remains of the ruins of the medieval château of the Lérins monks at the Musée de la Castre.
Do you know the Socca Man?
A stop at the local Marche Forville outdoor market for a taste of one of southern France’s oldest dishes called Socca, hot out of the wood burning oven, was a great way to end the morning hunger pangs without spoiling my appetite for lunch. Socca is a mashed chickpea based batter that is cooked like a crêpe on a hot metal pan similar to a pizza dish. Usually served at sit down restaurants or at sidewalk cafés, the Socca Man at Cannes’ food market designed a mobile cart to transport his wood burning oven from place to place. He simply disassembles the stove pipe, covers the entire oven and trailer and tows it behind his vehicle at the end of the day. How clever it is to be able to take your portable kitchen everywhere and cook delicious meals on the go.
Boosting the local economy
While Cannes is famous for its film festival where hoards of the rich and famous hob knob around town, popping into the gorgeous designer shops along the Boulevard de la Croisette, the rest of the year in Cannes is inhabited by just 75,000 people who depend upon year round tourism to keep the local economy going. Not every visitor to Cannes has a George Clooney budget and Rue Meynadier is just the street for budget minded travelers. Meyandier is a bustling pedestrian street in the heart of downtown Cannes lined with inexpensive souvenir shops, local specialty foodie shops (olive oil, chocolate and cheese), and some petit restaurants. Residents do their food shopping at the convenient chain grocery store called Carrefour. Carrefour carries many of the same kiddie bonbons that you will find in the airport duty free section, at a fraction of the price.
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