My Cannes – food, wine, beach, stunning coastal scenery and day trips up and down the Cote d’Azur. And the blue – le grand bleu – oh, I never got tired of the infinite shades of blue, blueness and bleu.
I spent a week there in June 2016 and it was a lovely time of year to be there. July and August are meant to be pretty unbearable in terms of heat and crowds but that goes for everywhere else in Europe so nothing new or unusual on that front.
Now, Cannes isn’t cheap, but you wouldn’t expect it to be, would you? You don’t go to Cannes for the bargains. However, with a bit of planning and research, we managed to find excellent budget accommodation* and culinary heaven for reasonable prices. What do I mean by reasonable? Most fine dining restaurants, many with Michelin stars, have set their menus at three/four courses for 49 Euro. Bottles of wine start at 30/35 Euro. With recommendations from our hotel owners, we also found fantastic restaurants which were less expensive and popular locals. But I’ll get back to food in a minute…
* Moment of truth: I didn’t find the accommodation. My friend, Caitriona, found our hotel on a previous trip so kudos to Caitriona!
I’d love to travel in style but the more you travel, the more you need to keep an eye on the budget. Somehow we managed to strike a balance between style and budget in the Hotel Brîmer on rue Jean Daumas. It’s 2 star but don’t worry – it’s as clean and efficient as a 3 or 4 star hotel. I presume it’s not 3 star because it doesn’t have a lift or mini-bar or fridge in the room, or a swimming pool, but if you want an immaculate boutique hotel with tasteful decor (Orla Kiely prints and fabrics) you can’t go wrong with the gay-friendly Hotel Brimer. The two owners take pride in their business and you can see it in all the little things – I came down late for breakfast one morning and one of the owners went out on his bike to find me croissants! http://www.hotelbrimer.fr/index.php?langue=en
Oh God, here I go on the food bliss again. So, these are my culinary thrills:
La Table du Chef, 5 rue de Daumas http://restaurant.michelin.fr/restaurant/france/06400-cannes/la-table-du-chef/2epsrew
49 Euro for four courses – starter, fish, meat, dessert. You don’t know what they are going to give you! The chef visits the food market every day and decides his menu based on available produce, freshness and his instinct. Trust him. I did and it was divine. We drank Rosé at every opportunity – and there were many – but our best Rosé was consumed there, the Rimauresq, Cru Classé. http://www.provencewineusa.com/domaine.cfm?d=35
Moroccan cuisine – Our hosts at the hotel recommended Le Maghreb on rue de Mimont. Ten minute walk from rue d’Antibes. Had delicious lamb couscous on a little balcony overlooking orange trees in the back garden; don’t expect much from the wine list but, to be fair, I’ve been to Moroccan restaurants which don’t sell any alcohol so no complaining. The neighbourhood is quieter than the centre, has a slightly suburban feel to it with lots of middle Eastern eateries in the vicinity. http://le-maghreb.e-vitrine.net/couscous-cannes.html
Le Jardin on 15, Avenue Isola Bella, near rue de Mimont. An Italian restaurant in a garden with a cosa nostra feel to it. This was also recommended to us by our host; frequented by locals more than tourists and famed for its ravioli (I had truffle ravioli, thank you for asking). If you walk in off the street, you will see a sparse, ordinary bar. Walk on through and get to the garden. Beautiful food, very reasonable. http://www.lejardin-restaurant.com/carte.html
L’Assiette Provencale, 9 Quai Saint Pierre – really good food on a budget, overlooking the harbour. Set menus of 29 and 24 Euro for three courses. We went for the 24 Euro as it seemed to have more French cuisine.
BoBo Bistro, rue du Commandant Andre – great pizzas, casual, buzzy dining opposite Pastis, a happening, energetic bar and cafe. Young, vibrant scene.
Day trips from Cannes
It’s so easy to just hop on the train or bus and make your way along the coast to visit Eze, Monaco/Monte Carlo, Nice, Villefranche sur le Mer, St Paul de Vence, Antibes and more. You can also hop on a ferry from Quai Croisette to visit Les Iles des Lerins.
A return ferry to Ile Ste Margeurite costs 14 Euro. It’s a pretty island with leisurely nature trails. Not spectacular or amazing, but pleasant enough if you want some gentle hiking. You can visit the 17th century Fort Royal, fortification and barracks where they held the Man in the Iron Mask, dissident protestants and Algerian Muslims (not all at the same time). There are several booths at the departure quay but they all charge the same price for the same excursion.
Next time I visit Cannes… I would like to try Lou Souleou for sea food on the Blvd Jean Hibert and Le Palais Oriental for Moroccan cuisine. I’d like to check out the penthouse bar in the nearby Radisson Blu. If I go back to Nice, I’ll be dining in Oliveira and Le Vingt 4.
And finally, don’t forget to just go rambling around la rue Hoche, rue Meynadier, Marche Forville, Vieux Port, Blvd Jean Hibert, rue St Antoine and – of course – Blvd de la Croisette.