Down among the Cannois


The town of Cannes is one of the jewels of the glistening Côte d’Azur. It has become synonymous with its world-renowned annual film festival but there is more to Cannes than cans (of film that is). The town has excellent shopping, restaurants and, of course, that stunning view from the beach out to the Med.

Of course, one of its main virtues is where it’s at, positioned perfectly for the rest of the French Riviera and the hills of Provence. Head east along the coast and you’ll come across delightful places such as Antibes, Nice (my favourite southern town), Beausoleil and Menton; go west to Frejus, Sainte-Maxime and Marseille; or a very short trip north to perfumed Grasse and the exceptional St Paul-de-Vence.

Hotel Colette
Located in the centre of Cannes, in the heart of the rue d’Antibes shopping area and a five minute walk from La Croisette beach, the boutique Hotel Colette is the ideal place for business or holiday travelers visiting the Cote d’Azur.

There’s a very fresh feel to Hotel Colette and since it’s relatively small it has a comfortable, homely character. With 45 air-conditioned and fully renovated rooms, this four-star hotel provides every amenity you need to enjoy your stay in Cannes. If the sun is too much for you at midday then enjoy the complimentary high-speed WiFi and flat-screen television with fifty international channels and Canal+.

If you’re coming by train you only need to haul your suitcase 100 metres. And the hotel is only 300 metres from the Palais des Festivals, which is just round the corner.

I stayed in the Junior Suite, which has an adjoining lounge and is decorated with a light, sophisticated colour scheme, with bright walls and dashes of reds and purples, making the 30m² seem even more spacious.  Throughout the hotel the decor has some amusing touches – I liked the paper thin rhinoceros head lamp coming out of the wall.

Hôtel Colette
5 place de la Gare, Cannes 06400

Hotel Montaigne & Spa ****
Just over the road (la voie rapide) from the Colette is a hotel whose main selling point is water, and lots of it. It has you covered from gourmet food to sports facilities to large conference rooms but the Spa area makes the visit really worthwhile.
Spa Montaigne boasts 250m2 of top of the range equipment. With its indoor pool, large Jacuzzi and swan neck, the Spa Montaigne has establishes itself as the leading spa on the French Riviera.
Spa Montaigne also provides you with a spacious sauna, a multi-jet shower and a scrubbing bench for all traditional cares. Additionally, there is a fitness room equipped with cardio-training devices and the latest Power Plate machine with an integrated coach to help push you during the difficult training phases. The spa is also equipped with five care cabins including one double room and a spa jet.

And the face and body care centres tone up and refreshen your sense of wellbeing.

The rooms are spacious and bright, and you can choose from six categories, from a single at 25m2 to a Junior suite at 35m2.

Hotel Montaigne & Spa
4 rue Montaigne 06400 Cannes
Tel: +33 (0)4 97 06 03 40

Hotel de Mougins ****
if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, there is nowhere better than Mougins, and in particular Hotel de Mougins. Ideally situated in the hills of Cannes, the Hôtel de Mougins is only 15 minutes from the Cannes Croisette and Grasse, and 25 minutes from the International Airport of Nice.

The site was once open meadow and then became a stone-built country house in the 18th century, and it is around this that the hotel was built. Great care and attention to detail ensure that the newer buildings blend in perfectly.

Each room looks out on the garden, whether from the ground floor or first floor. And the hearth of the place is a huge one hundred-years-old ash tree in a Provencal garden that smells of lavander and lemon. It is really a very relaxing environment but there are also activities within the grounds such as the swimming pool and tennis court. And if golf happens to be your thing the area is well served by courses such as the Royal Mougins Club.

Kick back afterwards on the terrace of Le Jardin restaurant and your day is complete.

Hôtel de Mougins
205, avenue du Golf, 06250 Mougins

Cannes is very well off for good food – given it’s location seafood is very popular. One seafood place in particular stands out: ASTOUX et BRUN. It has been around since 1953 (three generations of the same family) and is centrally located, with a spacious comfortable terrace. Folks come for the succulent seafood platters and fresh fish, of course, but it’s also a good place to watch fellow Cannois and Cannoises go by. It’s that kind of town. Open daily, year round.

Another favourite of mine is La Mère Besson, also established in the 1950s but concentrating firmly on traditional Provencal dishes. It’s tucked away on Rue Frères Pradignac but don’t give it’s worth going round in circles for.

Another favourite is not so much a single restaurant but rather a little street – rue Sainte Antoine in Le Suquet neighbourhood – that climbs up from the town, with narrow steps. Restaurants seem to cling to its walls for dear life and there is a great variety to be found. There are also art galleries and shops. Keep going up and you’ll reach  the church and Castle with a fine view of the harbour and the town. Le Manoir, on Petite Rue Saint-Antoine, has a growing reputation, with a mix of traditional and modern fare.