We are exploring more of the beautiful French
Riviera traveling by train from Nice to Cannes — it’s an easy trip, it only takes about
30 minutes, it’s 40 km distance, and they have got a couple of trains every hour, so
Nice makes a very good home base from which you can get out to see beautiful cities such
as Cannes. The train station is right in town so in a few minutes walking you’ll reach the
pedestrian zone. The compact size and layout of Cannes make it very easy to navigate on
foot. There are 3 basic areas: there’s the old town, there’s this beachfront area, and
then you have the shopping downtown area with its pedestrian lanes and very elegant Rue
d’Antibes Touring strategies can be summed up in a nutshell: walk from the train station
to the waterfront, stroll along the shore to the Old Town, eat and shop, then meander
back to the station through the pedestrian area. And here’s the route we will be taking
as we walk from the train station through the pedestrian shopping areas down to the
waterfront and along the promenade past the deluxe hotels. It’s an easy four-block walk
from the Cannes train station to the shore where you can have a peek at the high life
exemplified in the extraordinary hotel palaces lining the grand Boulevard de la Croisette.
Nobody will stop you from walking through their fancy lobbies and perhaps pausing for
some refreshments. And so within a minute of leaving the train station you’re walking
through interesting streets. Rue Meynadier is for pedestrians only and runs for about
a mile. There are plenty of souvenir shops and a variety of merchandise for sale on the
busy main streets of Cannes. To tell you the name of the street I wanted to make sure I
got the local pronunciation corrects so I asked a friendly shop lady. “Pardon, how
do you say, Rue Meynadier?, Meynadier, Meynadier?, Meynadier, Meynadier, voilla.” You’re
going to find that most French people are warm and congenial. We will be getting back
to this lovely pedestrian lane later in the segment but for now we’re eager to get down
to the waterfront, the beautiful highlight of Cannes. We’re heading down to the shore
to have a look along the beach area, easily reached 2 blocks from that shopping street.
Well in November there is not very much beach action. Now this is one place that it might
be more exciting to be in the month of June or July when the beaches are quite busy. There
is a very large marina on the west end of the waterfront. If seeing those nubile, exposed
bodies is important, you would be better off visiting here in the summertime despite the
crowds and astronomical prices. There is an Old Town just beyond the marina up on the
hill, whose origins go back over 1000 years, but for now we’re just taking a look from
a distance. It’s spectacular with the castle in the tower, it’s really quite lovely. And
we will be taking you up there on a walk later in this segment, but for now, we decided to
stick with the newer part of town and walk along the waterfront, check out some hotels,
and do a little shopping. Naturally there is a casino here, of course, and on the other
side of the building is the convention center and the Film Festival Hall. Cannes is one
of the most famous of the towns along the French Riviera, especially noted because of
the International Film Festival held here every year in the month of May. The sidewalks
all around the festival hall are dimpled with many impressions from the big stars – their
handprints and footprints and signatures. They flock here during the festival to show
off and promote their latest flicks. Everybody comes to Cannes for the festival, and it’s
a big buying market for the television industry as well, it’s not just for the movies. The
Cannes Film Festival is probably the most famous and most highly regarded film festival
in the world. It takes place every year in the last 2 weeks of May which is a great time
to be here, but you might find trouble getting a room in Cannes at that time. You could stay
at one of the nearby towns and shuttle in by train or bus and that way take part in
the excitement, get to see some of the stars and some of the great festivities going on.
The Office of Tourism is also located in this convention center so drop in, they’ve got
some free maps and brochures that can help you find a hotel if you’re looking, or point
out some sightseeing tips. Back out onto the promenade here is a interesting sculpture
of a lion and her cubs — perhaps a reminder about the other biggest Festival that happens
in Cannes every year — it’s the Lions International Festival of Creativity that celebrates those
working in advertising, communications and related fields. The main boulevard of Cannes
is the Croisette, which is like any luxury Boulevard in Europe – it’s lined with
the big fancy hotels. And there’s the beach on one side and a row of luxury shops — you’ve
got Louis Vuittin, and Valentino, Chanel and so on, and those top hotels. So this is one
of the great neighborhoods of the city that you just absolutely must come and spend some
time at. There’s a real estate office offering apartments for €10 million, little reminder
of where you are. It’s a great neighborhood for walking but if you don’t have the time
or energy, or you’re just feeling a little lazy you can ride around in one of these tourist
trains. Perhaps the most spectacular hotel lobby along the strip is the Marriott Hotel
with this wonderful atrium. It used to be the Noga Hilton and the Marriott has taken
it over and done a great job. Now these hotels really don’t mind if you come in and have
a look around – they welcome you as a future customer, so feel free to take a look and
enjoy the facilities. The Carlton Hotel is generally considered the grande dame of Cannes
– one of the most elegant resorts all along the Riviera, a magnificent structure one century
old but sparkling like new. And you might be pleasantly surprised at how affordable
it could be in the winter time, in the off-season – even in November you come in the late
fall, early spring and you could probably get a room here for under $300 – much higher
in the busy summer season. And obviously during the film festival it would be unaffordable
to just about everybody except the film industry types. Here’s a typical comment from trip
advisor about the Carlton Intercontinental “the hotel is absolutely beautiful, the setting
is awesome and the bar at the front is just the best spot in the world for cocktails and
people-watching.” The baroque dining salon dates to 1911 with original décor intact,
and the elegant lobby also features a lovely lounge. The Carlton is on the waterfront with
the beach across the street and, of course, a row of high-end shops out front. This main
shopping drag of La Croissette is where all of the high-end retail takes place catering
to the 1% — they can come here and buy some more jewelry or fancy scarves as they flaunt
their extravagant lifestyle. Now at this point were just freeloading, just walking along
from one hotel to the next, dropping into the lobbies taking a look, walking around
and departing on to the next hotel. The Majestic is another of the grandest of the hotels.
The lobby is open to the public, so go in, have a look around the Egyptian-themed lounges,
sit down, relax, use the facilities, maybe have a snack at the café. Of course the Majestic
Hotel is very highly rated, for example on Trip Advisor, people love it – it got 306
excellent ratings out of 606 reviews, so that’s a pretty good record. You would find it also
can be affordable in the off-season — you might find a room for under $300. And there
also variety of less expensive hotels away from the beach area but most likely you don’t
need to sleep in Cannes. While Cannes is certainly worth visiting as a day-trip while you’re
in the Riviera you probably don’t want to spend the night here. It’s a beautiful place
and we urge you to go and have a look at it, but more likely you’ll be spending some nights
in the nearby city of Nice, which is a great home base with lots of hotels and lots of
things to see in Nice, and easily accessible to the other parts of the Riviera. After walking
along and checking out the waterfront area it’s time to go inland a few blocks and look
at the deluxe shopping street of Cannes. Rue d’Antibes – this is like a Rodeo Drive but
yet parts of it are down-to-earth, there are ordinary shops as well as some upscale, and
it’s just beautifully designed, nicely laid out with the wide sidewalks and just one lane
of traffic peacefully going through. The perfumery Fragonard is based in this Provence area and
has a lovely shop – you can go inside for some heavenly aromas. Getting hungry we notice
there are not a lot of restaurants on this main street but the side lanes have got some
good choices. We continue walking a few more blocks on this beautiful Rue d’Antibes. It’s
just a great street and yet you might easily miss it in your visit to Cannes because it’s
not that waterfront boulevard with the great hotels and the Film Festival Hall, and it’s
far from the old town about a mile down the other side – so be sure to look for this
street because you’ll enjoy taking a stroll here. By this point you have seen all the
main highlights of Cannes except for the Old Town which is up on the hill. Now we are entering
the old town of Cannes. It’s just up on this hill at the end of the road, overlooking the
boat harbor. You don’t want to miss this, so when you are in Cannes be sure to walk
down to the end of town, it just takes 15 to 20 minutes to walk down here, and have
a little stroll through old Cannes. The Old Town’s pedestrian zone gently rises via
staircases and the upward sloping pathway of Rue Saint-Antoine to the top of the small
hill, and that provides a great view looking back across the boat harbor to the beaches,
elegant hotels, marina and Festival Hall down below. If you have time and energy it’s worth
the stroll up through the Old Town. It’s a pleasant neighborhood, it’s a nice stroll
– basically one lane that winds up the hill with some shops and cafés along it and then
you come back down the same lane into the new part of town. And then you can depart
either whether you’re leaving by bus, by train or you’re driving. 11:36 You do have
to look for the Old Town because it is easily missed by those hesitant to walk uphill or
those who don’t have a map, or for those who just don’t notice it – but don’t be dissuaded.
Called Le Suquet, this simple neighborhood is a welcome counterpoint to the ostentatious
display of wealth down below. The old town is up on the hill of Mt Chevallier which is
147 feet high, typical of the early villages along the Riviera, it’s first existence was
because of the rocky hill. You’ve got the Church of Notre Dame from the 17th century
and above that is the church of St. Anne and from the 13th century — these are the only
buildings in Cannes having any claim nowadays to antiquity. Although the early history of
Cannes is obscure, the area was in all likelihood first settled by the primitive Ligurian people
several thousand years ago. Subsequently Greek sailors arrived and established themselves
as merchants and traders throughout the region. And then according to legend the Ligurian
natives had annoyed the Greek settlers and traders on the coast, , and the Greeks complained
to Rome about the ill-humor and rough deeds of these Ligurians The Romans sent an army
led by Consul Quintus Opimius to aid the Greek merchants and obtained a victory over the
Ligurian tribes in 155 B.C. The Romans subdued the natives without much trouble, and then
gave this settlement they called Aegitna to the citizens of Marseilles. In the Middle
Ages Cannes became a fief of the powerful Abbey of the Lerins, to which the whole of
the adjacent country had gradually become subject. it was twice destroyed by the Saracens
in the eighth and tenth centuries and repopulated by a colony from Genoa. Not untill 1788-the
year before the Revolution­ did the town become free from its religious masters. There
are a couple of pleasant squares here in the Old Town, and a few restaurants, ice cream
shops, always a creperie nearby and sidewalk cafes. And once you’ve made it to the top
of the hill you get your reward — the view looking back out across the city and the marina
with the hotels in the distance and the rolling hillsides in the far landscape — it’s beautiful.
Alternatively if you don’t want to walk up the hill you could take the petite train.
It’s called the “Train du Cinema” and it’s a half hour tour that you can catch from
downtown. Or if you’re the mailman you don’t have to walk either, you can ride your scooter,
a great way to get around these narrow streets and deliver the mail at the same time. Well
at least walking downhill is much easier than walking up, you can almost float down. How
about these 2 couples walking along together and each joined to each other. Dog watching,
people watching, it’s all a big part of the fun of traveling along with eating and historical
explorations — just looking around you and appreciating your surroundings, that’s always
something to enjoy. Or perhaps you’re looking at a rabbit that’s bigger than a pig and there’s
a kitten in there to somebody is trying to make a little bit of money of displaying his
animals. After that enjoyable short stroll downhill through the old town you’ve arrived
back in the main commercial part of Cannes. The middle lane, Rue Meynadier, is for pedestrians
only and runs for about a mile towards the train station, which is where you’ll be heading
shortly to continue the day’s journey. Surprisingly, although Cannes is one of the most legendary
of towns along the Riviera, an area famous for luxury and high society, the main shopping
area and old section are down-to-earth, with normal prices and a friendly atmosphere. Cannes
is a year-round destination with a pleasant Mediterranean climate. The city enjoys 12
hours of daily sunshine during summer (that’s from May to September), and in the winter
(December, January, February) the weather is quite mild. Both seasons see a relatively
low rainfall – most of the rain occurs in October and November, when they get about
4 inches. The summers are long and warm, with daytime temperatures normally hitting 30 °C
(86 °F), while average temperatures are about 25 °C (77 °F). Despite the high summer temperatures,
a Mediterranean breeze keeps summer evenings comfortably cool. Temperatures drop below
10 °C (50 °F) for only three months of the year (December to February). The spring and
autumn are also warm, although more suited to those who prefer slightly cooler weather.
Another fun activity to consider is a boat ride — if you have time there are various
day-cruises to Monaco, St Tropez, and other destinations along the shore. But it’s in
the main season only, from mid-June to mid-September. That wraps up this visit to Cannes. We do
have other movies about the city and other places in the region of Provence, Nice, Avignon,
all around from Marseille to Monaco. So be sure to look at our YouTube channel with over
1000 free movies all about the world’s great destinations. You can find a well-organized
listing of our travel movies on our web site, tourvideos.com. A half-hour train ride brings
us back along the beautiful coastline to our home base in Nice. And notice they even allow
dogs to come right on the train, no problem they’re very well behaved. You can buy a point-to-point
ticket if you purchase those tickets months in advance, they’re less expensive, so if
you really know your schedule that’s one way to go. Or you can buy a France rail pass,
those come in handy, you can buy a 5-day rail saver pass, its you know good for 5 days of
use during a 30-day period, that’s handy for getting around and touring once you’ve arrived.
The Nice train station is a grand old structure and it’s quite busy with frequent train service
all along the coast. We have a lot more episodes about other destinations in the south of France
including Avignon, Nice, Monaco, Cannes and St Paul available in our travel series. Take
a look at our YouTube channel.