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Last updated : Nov 2009
Cannes Travel Guide
Cannes Travel Guide and Cannes Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
Cannes’ moment of glory takes place in May, with the International Film Festival, when images of the stars descending the red-carpeted steps of the Palais des Festivals are flashed on television screens worldwide. For many, this city on France’s Côte d’Azur is synonymous with the glamour of this event. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that Cannes is France’s second most important city, after Paris, for business tourism. The chameleon city takes on an identity to suit the temper of each major congress, festival or season.

MIDEM, the conference for the music business, takes place during January and turns Cannes into a city of young, fun, music professionals. March brings a sober, suited crowd for MIPIM, the international real-estate market, and October, a conservative crowd for the Tax Free World Exhibition.

Tourists jostle with conference-goers, outnumbering business travellers only during the summer months. Their interests lie in the long, curvaceous, sandy beaches of La Croisette, its expanding Old Port, which welcomes luxury cruise boats, its palatial hotels, the designer shops lining the famous promenade and the luminosity and gastronomy of the Côte d’Azur.

The Cannois enjoy the financial rewards that tourism and business travellers bring, losing patience only at the height of the film festival, when the population triples in size. Young women benefit fully from the shops, although they may seek out bargain buys instead of designer brands. Appearances (le paraître) are important in this city of stars and latest purchases are flaunted in the trendy bars and the many bistros.

A modern city, branded by critics as superficial, grew up from a small fishing town on the south coast of France. In the 11th century, Cannes was owned by monks, whose budget, fattened by wealthy pilgrims, allowed them to expand beyond their monastery to the nearby Island of St Honorat. They built a square tower on the top of the hill, as a lookout post for Saracen pirates. It still stands, next to the Castre Museum, in the heart of Le Suquet, Cannes’ Old Town that was built on the site of a Roman military camp.

The fishing tradition lives on and fish caught at the Vieux Port, to the west of the Palais des Festivals, are brought daily by the fishermen to the covered Forville Market, where they are sold by their wives, who rarely fit the city’s glamorous image.

Today, tourism has largely replaced spirituality on the Cannes mainland, although the monks still pray 5 hours a day on their tiny island. It was Lord Brougham, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose visit to Cannes in 1834 established the city’s reputation as a health resort among the British aristocracy. The trend spread to the French establishment and the arrival of the railway increased Cannes’ accessibility. Soon the international aristocracy was playing golf and sunning themselves in the most coveted part of the Côte d’Azur, favoured for its hot and dry Mediterranean climate. This internationally famous city of Cannes is really little more than a grandiose village that can easily be covered by foot, although the stars of the film festival may opt for a limousine.
Useful travel links
Cannes Tourist Board Official website for Cannes Tourism