Cannes and the garden-region
The mimosa plants in the Croix des Gardes district burst into flower every January, heralding the advent of spring in Cannes. Their bright yellow globes signal early-season sunshine for congress-goers before the heat of the summer sun starts to tan the sunbathers. Cannes may be known worldwide for its red carpets, luxury hotels and glamorous social life, but we often forget that the region has almost as many facets as it has colours in its impressionist palette.
First is the omnipresent blue, sometimes electric, sometimes aquamarine. Wherever we go, it is impossible to escape the magnetism of the Mediterranean and the dazzling azure of the sky. The old part of the town at the top of Suquet hill and the picturesque Provençal charm of its colourful little buildings contrast with the Hollywood-style letters overlooking the bay of Cannes and the Lérins islands. Not far away, people are bathing in Gardiole creek among the brown rocks and the shade of the pines at Antibes.
Then comes green, dark, tender and vibrant. Whereas the Croisette is lined with casinos and attractive boutiques, the boulevard consists essentially of a more than three-kilometre long green swathe planted with palm trees all the way to the giant agave and eucalyptus trees on the banks of the Siagne canal, the centuries-old olive groves of Saint-Honorat island and the bamboos of Montfleury garden.
Next comes the pink Centifolia rose, "the rose of May". It is endemic to the region and embalms the rolling hillsides around Grasse with a bewitching scent that never ceases to enchant the perfumers of the region, Fragonard, Galimard, Molinard. The blooms are still hand-picked at sunrise in order to capture their full fragrance. Their fame has spread to the shaded gardens of Port Canto and the stalls of the flower market in the Allées de la Liberté.
And lastly, vibrant red, a passionate blaze of colour. The same red that adorns the steps of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès for the Cannes Film Festival, but also for the MIPIM, MIPCOM and MIDEM trade fairs, and the Tax Free World Exhibition. The same red that throbs on the Massif de l'Esterel, contrasts starkly with the white sand of Rochers de Cannes La Bocca beach and adorns the Square du Huit-Mai when the coral trees are in bloom.
From the Route de la Corniche d’Or to the little winding streets of Mougins, the "garden city", the whole region is a blaze of colours stretching like a patchwork from the mountains to the sea.
When to go?
The changing seasons seem to have no effect on Cannes and its region. Whether at the MIPIM real estate exhibition in March or under the August sun, its mild and temperate climate leaves us no less dreamy-eyed than the sight of the stars as they pose on the red carpet.
How to get there?
Whether by plane, train or road, high-speed travel brings those most pressed for time to Cannes in the twinkling of an eye. But those who really wish to savour the beauty of the region's landscapes take the famous Nationale 7 route, catching a first glimpse of the city's lights as they emerge from the Massif de l'Esterel. The famous road linking drab Parisian skies to the deep azure of the Mediterranean may have changed since singer Charles Trenet first sang the praises of its enchanting rising and falling southward progression, but it is still the best way to discover the region and its mysteries.
Make an appointment with the master perfume-makers of Maison Molinard, experts in the art of fragrance since 1849. Follow your nose and capture your olfactory ideal in a bottle, as you make your very own perfume. Choose from almost a hundred different ingredients – ten of which are extremely rare – and learn the art of blending fragrances to create a truly one-of-a-kind perfume just for you.
In the hills around Grasse, the world’s perfume capital, precious flowers are cultivated for their scent, their essential oils and… their flavour. Discover the ancestral know-how of the master sweet-makers from Maison Florian who transform these aromas into exquisite candy creations. Visit their workshops and learn how to make your own chocolate with candied flowers and citrus fruits.
A vintage afternoon in the vines
In the heart of the Massif de l’Esterel, wend your way along country roads at the wheel of a vintage automobile, stopping off at a prestigious winemaking estate for a picnic and a siesta beneath the pines. Then follow our guide into the vines and learn more about the history of the estate. At the end of the tour, pop into the cellars and load up on a few bottles to enjoy back at the villa.
Our address book
Le Moulin de Mougins
Gastronomy in high places
We half-expect to catch a glimpse of Alain Ducasse or Patrick Lenôtre, two legends of French gastronomy whose names are synonymous with this restaurant perched in the uplands above Cannes. Awarded triple Michelin stars for more than forty years, it has acquired a mythical status and an unsurpassed aura of prestige in the world of French gastronomy.
424, Avenue Notre Dame de Vie, 06250 Mougins
Le park 45
The taste of the French Riviera
Mediterranean octopus, delicious fruit-based delicacies from Aix, lemons from Menton, fruit and vegetables from the rich gardens of Provence: Le Park 45 showcases the rich profusion of locally sourced products. Relax in the only private gardens on the Croisette and savour the delicious diversity of Côte d’Azur cuisine.
45, Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes
A charming patio
The Frères Raimbault have created a flamboyant winter garden adorned with hibiscus flowers and giant palm trees. A soothing and intimate space that invites us to relax with friends, knowing we are in the competent hands of several of France's finest artisan chefs.
6 Rue Jean-Honoré Carle, 06210 Mandelieu-la-Napoule
A beacon of Cannes nightlife
The plush atmosphere, soft lighting and luxurious surroundings might lead us to expect serene and peaceful evenings. But no sooner has the midnight hour struck than the Chunga is transformed: international DJs take command of the turntables and rock this beacon of Cannes nightlife into the early hours.
24 rue Latour-Maubourg, 06400 Cannes
Le Carlton Bar
All the glamour of the Belle-Époque
True to its Belle Époque origins, the bar attracts the young and beautiful night owls who cruise the Croisette in search of late-night glamour and sophistication. Hollywood stars converge on the bar during the Cannes Film Festival, but the atmosphere is just as dramatic and refined in the low season.
58, Promenade de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes
When the sun sets on Cannes, the terrace of Le Cercle is the perfect setting to linger over cocktails on balmy nights. Particularly in July and August when the fireworks displays of the Festival of Pyrotechnical Art light up the sky as the tinkle of piano notes comes wafting from the bar.
45, Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes
The Provençal Museum of Costume and Jewellery
Christian Lacroix, one of the greatest French couturiers, was inspired by the delicacy of the lace, the freshness of the fabrics and the beauty of the gold crosses of Provence. In each of its ancient rooms this once-private residence now showcases the art de vivre of Provence.
2 rue Jean Ossola 06130 Grasse
The Marguerite and Aimé Maeght Foundation
"A place of modern art shrouded in the scent of rosemary and thyme": no definition of this museum will ever surpass that of Aimé Maeght. It is the result of his friendship with Braque, Calder, Giacometti and Chagall.
623, chemin des Gardettes, 06570 Saint-Paul-de-Vence
A haven of tranquillity
A monastery lost in the midst of vineyards and olive groves: the island of Saint-Honorat seems to have sprung directly from a novel by Marcel Pagnol or André Gide. A timeless oasis of peace and tranquillity just a short boat ride from the glamour and excitement of the Croisette.
Île Saint-Honorat, 06400 Cannes