The French Riviera is a cornucopia of sights, sounds and tastes that are eclectic, and unmatchable.
If travel is about visiting a new place and absorbing its vibe, our trip to Cannes was replete with memories.
Working in fashion, my bucket list had to have this gorgeous destination. And it only made sense to make a family vacation out of our winter holiday at the French Riviera. Considering it’s a beach destination and the weather was perfect, it was a beautiful vacay.
The French Riviera is known for its beauty and glamour, and Cannes in the French Riviera is everything dreams are made of...... truly a paradise. A destination for fashion lovers, food connoisseurs and people who appreciate the beauty of the upmarket boutiques and palatial hotels. The city is known for its association with the rich and famous and synonymous with luxury, and enjoys a hangover of the famed Cannes Film Festival throughout the year.
We chose to take the train from Paris to Cannes even though the journey is almost seven hours. The scenery along the way was mesmerising. Cannes welcomed us with twinkling beautiful lights everywhere, and an indelible aura that envelopes you.
A walk down any street at Cannes is bursting with high fashion, fun and food… The air is filled with pure happiness. We stayed at the beautiful iconic Carlton Hotel, which was like the icing on the cake. The hotel has its own history, frequented by many celebrities around the world. Every room has huge framed pictures of various celebrities. Imagine our joy at seeing a picture of a celebrity from our home land! Yup, we woke up every single day to Aishwariya Rai’s beautiful smile. That was a moment of joy and pride in itself.
The Promenade de la Croisette is the bustling water front avenue with palm trees, and it is known for its picturesque beaches. Our hotel was located there, and it was perfect to enjoy a beautiful sunset. One of the best experiences we had. It’s truly magical, especially with the whole buzz of Christmas and New Year lights adding to the beauty of this gorgeous resort town.
The must dos at Cannes
One must trudge down the picturesque Promenade de la Croisette for some refreshing sea breeze. You can sunbathe or swim at the private or paid for beaches during the season or have a drink and lunch at one of the gorgeous beach restaurants — worth every penny. After a lot of research, we decided to make a reservation and visit La Môme The service, view and food here is brilliant. The sushi needs a special mention. The other side of the road is lined with shops (mostly high-end boutiques) and the best of hotels.
Every restaurant we went to was a foodie paradise, though the Beryte Lebanese Cuisine & Chicha Lounge is easily one of the best Lebanese restaurants we’ve been to till date, and we’ve been to a lot.
If you’re the kind that goes looking for history then you must explore the old town and walk up Rue Saint Antoine through the old quarter Le Suquet. At the top of the hill, a fantastic view awaits you, and there is a church, Notre Dame de l’Esperance and The Castre Museum which is home to a wide collection of antiquities, particularly from the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Close by is the most famous market Marché Forville. For an authentic gastronomic journey, you have to visit this space where all kinds of cuisines are abundant. A must-visit. If you are fascinated by architecture then walk around Cannes and stop to take in the charming ornamental facades, wrought-iron balconies decorated with intricate patterns and pastel colours that exude elegance.
Do take a day trip to Monte Carlo. The drive is brilliant. Hire a car; a convertable if possible, and enjoy the wind in your hair. That’s exactly what we did. This quaint pretty town situated at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera is famous for its casinos. The world famous Place du Casino, has made Monte Carlo “an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth”. We drove there for lunch… actually a brunch at the very popular Horizon Deck, a restaurant and Champagne bar, an experience in itself. Located on the seventh floor in the Fairmont Hotel, this beautiful restaurant boasts of dining between sky and sea with a 360 degree view of the Famous Opera House, Prince’s Palace and casino against the magnificent backdrop of the world famous Riviera and the azure splendour of the Mediterranean. Brunching here was the best way to start the New Year with a spread that had everything under the sun with the bubbly!
If you have time, do visit Grasse, a picturesque medieval village located between Cannes and Nice which is famous for being the world’s perfume capital. Perfumeries like Fragonard offer free tours of their factories. However, the real reason to go there would be to take in the never-ending fields of lavender that dominate the area’s hilly landscape. The city of Nice was a quick, drive through to get to the airport to fly back to the City of Love.
We couldn’t have said hello to 2019 in a more enriching way. Cheers to a new year and new beginnings!