Cool and collected, Cannes knows how to put on the charm for those traveling to the ultra-glam French Riviera for a taste of the yachting lifestyle. This week sees the return of the Cannes Yacht Festival celebrating its 40th anniversary; every year the stars come out to play in this prestigious playground. The darling spot perched on the Cote d’Azur hasn’t always known such luxury; that is until English aristocrat Henry Brougham swept into town and purchased land at Croix des Gardes and the transformation began. The city also has a long creative history, from Picasso calling Madoura home to the modern-day industry festivals that roll out the red carpet to the Coen brothers. With chic boutiques, celebrity laden lobbies in five-star hotels, and legendary parties after dark – here’s where to play, dine and stay to be beside the glitterati in Cannes…
Where to Stay
Belle Epoque facades are ten a penny along the bright and bustling Bay of Cannes and the Croisette and five-star haunts come thick and fast – all delivered with a daring dose of French finesse. The Hotel Barriere Le Majestic is sultry, sophisticated and full of stars. A show stealer of a hotel, you can expect nothing less than to lounge beneath crystal chandeliers, celebrate the roaring twenties art deco style, and kick back and relax at the Sunday champagne cinema club. Choose the Christian Dior suite for fashionista style or go big with the lusciously domed Majestic Suite.
The Intercontinental Carlton in Cannes is the oldest French gem on the block and therefore has seen its fill of movie stars, artists, and royalty. The history shows in the sublime service and even the suites are named after the most celebrated film stars of the past. Soaring pillars, marble, and well executed retro furniture set the scene, and there are whispers of Faye Dunaway once taking goats milk baths in the superior suites. The Grace Kelly suite is one of the most coveted addresses for staying in Cannes with its private terrace, jacuzzi tub, and silky fabrics.
If you want to escape the spotlight, then boutique bliss can be found away from the shore and in the beautifully constructed Five Seas Hotel. With only 45 rooms and VIP access to a private flush of sand, the Five Seas has been hailed the best kept secret in the whole of Cannes. Cool stone colors keep things fresh and clean, and the hammam, sauna and rooftop bar are all elegant touches to turn this spot into a harmonious home away from home.
Where to Dine
La Palme d’Or is the Oscar winner of all restaurants in Cannes and perhaps the whole of the Cote d’Azur. The double Michelin starred in the Grand Hyatt Cannes bows down to the rustic unpretentious flavors that make Mediterranean cuisine so special, yet presenting them in such a careful and beautiful way that it seems to hark back to Cannes artistic calling. Seared tuna and flower petals, marsala infused chocolate balls, and shoulder of lamb that has been preserved for 72 hours – all sound incredible alone, but when they are presented as poetry on the plate, you know you have something spectacular.
Le Park 45 is the other restaurant on the path to gastro greatness. While other contenders are turning to easy breezy brasserie style, Le Park serve up Michelin starred bright and beautiful foods that reflect the sun-drenched surroundings. Think fresh fish soaked in lemon, crystal bay prawn tartare, caviar with marmalade toasts, and provencale lamb. The dining room is all fabric walls, high back chairs, and views out to the Croisette for perfect people watching.
Where to Play
If you are there for the Cannes Yacht Festival you will be well caught in the event of the year. Beautiful yachts sparkling in the bay, celebrity filled streets, champagne flowing, and a nautical concours d’elegance makes for a fine time. Over 600 boats are expected this year across the two ports and with Maserati championing the event, you can expect the purr of engines around the glitzy town.
For superior shopping, La Croisette brims with all a fashion lover’s favorites; think Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermes, Jean Paul Gaultier and Armani. Hire a personal shopper for an afternoon and peruse the pretty boulevard.
When the daylight ducks to make way for night, this is the time to put your party spirit to the test. Cannes is famed for her glitzy nightlife boasting pop up parties on yachts, A list clubs, and cocktails from dusk until dawn. Le Baoli is brimming with stars of all caliber – from sports to catwalks, you can mingle with all kinds of beautiful. Balinese designs, eye wateringly expensive drinks, and summer flings from DJ’s who don’t stop make this a favorite among the young, wealthy and restless.