A weekend in Cannes with an attaché to the stars

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Cannes, a beautiful city on the French Riviera, is famous for its International Film Festival, which has been held every May since 1946. During the festival, the city becomes a glamorous playground for movie stars from all over the world. The 2024 edition, from May 14-25, will see stars like Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Hemsworth, and Kevin Costner.

However, you don’t have to be a movie star to enjoy the VIP treatment in Cannes. Gilles Bastoni, the head concierge at the five-star Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic, has shared his top recommendations for experiencing Cannes in style. Bastoni grew up in Cannes and knows all the best spots to visit. Here’s his guide to a perfect Cannes getaway.

1. La Croisette: Cannes’ Most Iconic Spot

La Croisette is a famous seafront promenade in Cannes that showcases the city’s luxury and glamour. It’s about 1 kilometer long and lined with luxury brands, beaches, and hotels. It’s one of the best places to experience the grandeur of Cannes.

Designed in the 19th century by a British aristocrat, La Croisette features beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. Some of the most famous hotels here include Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic, JW Marriott, Carlton Cannes, and Hôtel Martinez. You’ll also find high-end boutiques, cafes, and shops selling celebrity memorabilia.

During the Film Festival, La Croisette becomes even more lively with open-air cinemas and crowds of people hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. Bastoni describes it as an incredible place that truly captures the spirit of Cannes.

2. Le Suquet: The Heart of Old Cannes

For a taste of the old, charming Cannes, head to Le Suquet. This is the historic old town of Cannes, where you can see its origins as a small fishing village. Le Suquet is a maze of narrow, pastel-colored streets that lead up to a castle and church from the 12th century.

From the top, you get a spectacular view of the bay with its mix of small fishing boats and large yachts. Bastoni loves Le Suquet because it shows the real Cannes, beyond the luxury and glamour.

As you explore the cobblestone streets, make sure to visit the Gothic monastery-château and the church of Nôtre-Dame-de-l’Espérance. And after all that walking, treat yourself to a meal on Meynadier Street, which is filled with family-owned delicatessens, restaurants, and cafes. Bastoni’s favorite restaurant here is Le Maschou, known for its local food and cozy atmosphere.

3. Marché Forville: A Food Lover’s Paradise

At the foot of Le Suquet is the Marché Forville, the main market of Cannes. This is where you can really get a feel for the local lifestyle. The market is housed in a sturdy, orange-colored building and is filled with the scents of fresh garlic, parsley, and seafood.

Cannes is known for its Mediterranean cuisine, which is lighter and more fragrant than other parts of France. Here, the focus is on fresh fish, olive oil, vegetables, and aromatic herbs. Bastoni recommends visiting Marché Forville to experience the best of Cannes’ food culture.

4. Lérins Islands: A Peaceful Escape

Just off the coast of Cannes, the Lérins Islands offer a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. The two main islands, Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat, are surrounded by turquoise waters and lush greenery.

Île Sainte-Marguerite has a fascinating history. It was once a prison island and home to the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask. You can visit the 17th-century Fort Royal and learn about its past.

Île Saint-Honorat is home to a 5th-century Cistercian Abbey where 21 monks still live. They even make their own wine, which has been a tradition for over 1,000 years. The islands are perfect for a day trip, offering scenic trails and a bit of history. You might even spot a celebrity at La Guérite, a popular restaurant on Sainte-Marguerite.

5. Medusa: The Best Night Out

No trip to the French Riviera is complete without experiencing the nightlife. Medusa, located on Point Croisette, is a top spot for a glamorous night out. It starts as a restaurant with Mediterranean-Asian fusion food by Greek chef Yannis Kioroglou and then transforms into a club with spectacular views over the bay and Le Suquet.

Medusa is famous for its cabaret show, which features pyrotechnics and elaborate costumes. The entrance fee is €55, and while it might be on the pricier side, it’s worth it for the unique experience. Younger crowds might prefer clubs like Bâoli and Bisous Bisous, which play house music, but Medusa remains iconic for its high-energy performances and beautiful setting.

Enjoying Cannes Like a Star

Even if you’re not attending the Film Festival, Cannes offers plenty of ways to enjoy a luxurious and memorable trip. From the iconic La Croisette and the charming old town of Le Suquet to the local flavors at Marché Forville and the peaceful Lérins Islands, there’s something for everyone. And when the sun sets, places like Medusa ensure your night is just as exciting as your day.

With Gilles Bastoni’s expert recommendations, you can experience Cannes like a true VIP, soaking in all the beauty and luxury this famous city has to offer.

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