P&V: So chic – Girly weekend in Cannes!
This week we have a travel diary from Melissa Wood, who recently jetted off for a weekend in Cannes with her friend Laura.
“I’m a city girl through and through but lately, the big smoke had been getting to me. So- when my friend Laura proposed a girly weekend in France I couldn’t think of anything better. We went to Cannes for a weekend just before the festival started and decided to involve ourselves in all things chic…
After a relatively easy (but early!) flight with Easyjet we arrived at Nice armed with our overpacked suitcases, big sunnies and a handful of French phrases. It was recommended to us that we get a bus from the airport to Cannes centre- and I’m glad we followed this advice. The bus terminal is the first thing you see, as you exit arrivals. For just 11 euros we managed to get a straight bus from Nice to Cannes (Hotel De Ville). The driver was friendly and actually helped us with our bags straight from the arrivals door.
Hotel De Ville is situated right next to Cannes Harbour and the main location when getting busses/taxis into town. This quickly became the hub of our stay. Buses depart here for local areas and cost just 1 Euro. There is also a taxi rank which always has at least five cabs waiting for pick up.
Thankfully we could get a bus straight to our apartment in La Bocca (Also known as ‘The Old Cannes’) within 15 minutes. Because of our cases we decided to plump for a taxi and this cost us 10 euros. We were staying at Pierre Vacances Cannes Beach in La Bocca- purely because if we stayed in town, we’d never go home and our main aim for the break was to find some time to relax!
We were really impressed with Cannes Beach, it’s a pretty big residence but it’s clean and has a very relaxed atmosphere. The receptionists are fine with our embarrassing attempts at French and were happy to speak English when we gave up. Our apartment was adorable, we had our own balcony overlooking the pool a little kitchen and dining area, a living room with 2 fold out beds, a double bedroom and a bathroom and toilet.
Self-catering is always better for girls like us. Yes we wanted a girly holiday, but we were on a budget. I’d also promised Laura I’d cook for her and was excited about showing off some of my cooking skills whilst we were there. By the way, I’ve now been christened The Omelette Queen!
The sun was blazing, so we decided to walk out of the other entrance, under the subway and onto the beach, which backs onto the residence. Our tip would be to use this route as a really pleasant walk into town but not as a place to sunbathe- the beaches towards Cannes are much more accessible, vibrant and have cute little stores to buy ice creams, crepes etc.
In a cab or by bus, you are 10 minutes away- but the walk to the harbour took us around 40 minutes. It was such a beautiful day and we weren’t in any rush.
Once there, we explored. We spoke to people who had boats, visited the tourism office, browsed the market in the square, walked around the cobbled streets and finally, decided we had better eat some lunch.
There are lots of lovely coffee shops and cafes overlooking Cannes Marina. Take note of which hotels also own the restaurant/beaches on the sea front. Nothing signifies a girly weekend like sitting on a beach in Cannes having a waiter serve you a cocktail! We visited a café which backed onto the market and decided to have some savoury crepes. The French know their food so this was a much-appreciated meal, and with drinks cost us 15 euros each.
It was early evening now, so we decided to walk back to La Bocca and pick up some supplies for our break. There weren’t any supermarkets in town, but there are three or four dotted along the bus route on the way back to La Bocca. We ended up at one with the most gorgeous range of cheeses. Forgetting our no-carb diets we filled up on essentials. All in all, our food for the next 4 days cost us just 40 euros.
Tip: Bus routes into La Bocca- I’d recommend route 1,2, 14 and 22. They are the quickest and all can be found at Hotel de Ville.
That night I cooked us a lovely chicken salad and we decided to stay in and chat and read on the balcony instead. Thankfully we remembered our Ipod speaker, and it provided nice background music as we relaxed. Cannes Beach is set up so that most rooms look over the swimming pools. There is also an outside eating/bar area where people seem to congregate. We popped down for a drink and met lots of people from all over the world- however; everyone seemed to be in town for the Festival- bar us!
This was our day of exploring. We both wanted to get on a boat, so got up early and made it down to the dock. The Îles de Lérins are a fabulous side to Cannes. Filled with extreme beauty and history, both islands; Île Sainte-Marguerite and the Île Saint-Honorat make a great day out. From Cannes harbour you can also catch boats to Monaco and St Tropez- we would have loved to have visit if we had some more time.
St Marguerite is an area of “extreme beauty” and was also home to the Man in the Iron mask. We decided to visit Saint Honorat After being told its very serene, peaceful and full of old churches to explore. This is as far removed from London as you can get, and injected some culture into our chic visit.
After arriving, we walked around the island and stopped to explore little coves and bays which were relatively untouched.
We walked round and explored old churches, chapels and a castle which we climbed to the top of the one so we could see Monastery- Laura was very amused to find that even Monks use solar panels!
We took in the views for a while and then decided to explore the churches more fully. We had been playing around the whole day, laughing and joking- but the “silence” rule in the monastery meant we had to explore calmly and we were glad, it made us take in the surroundings better.
We passed a few monks amongst the lush surroundings and they were so peaceful and happy- a model to us all!
We then explored the vineyards and decided to have the snacks we packed sitting amongst them. Chickens were running around, the sun was beating down and I was very, VERY happy. Then we made our way back to the restaurant where we had hot chocolates over looking the bay before we went back to the boat and the mainland.
We caught the bus back to the apartment to grab some dinner. I made an amazing omelette and salad in our kitchen and it set the evening off nicely. It was 5pm and the pool was empty, so we grabbed our bikinis, ran down and had a swim for a good hour or so. Once ready, we got a cab back into town.
There are plenty of bars and clubs in Cannes, depending on what you like from a night out. Jimmy’z is on the marina and seems like the biggest club- but that isn’t our thing. We just wanted to have a drink and chat to people. Because of the festival, there were so many people about. It was so funny to see the town magically transform over night- the shops, bars and restaurants are heaving with people from all over the world. I can imagine how kitsch the town is for the rest of the year, too.
Tip: for other girls is to venture up to Rue D’Antibes if you aren’t confident with your language skills the first day you arrive. There are a few English/Irish bars, which serve nicely for your first drink. This gives you a chance to practise your French and talk to the barmen who will also recommend other traditional places in the local area. All the drink was very well priced, but we are used to London prices so we are rarely shocked at a bar bill!
The next day we had a lovely breakfast overlooking the pool. We had friends who had flown in for the festival, and were staying just down the road at Villa Francia. We decided to meet them for lunch and were told to bring our swimming gear- we were glad we did! Situated in the hills above La Bocca, Villa Francia has the most gorgeous infinity pool, which looks right over the bay.
We ate lunch on the terrace and finally were dragged away from the gorgeous view because Laura wanted to explore La Croisette. This is the more uptown part along the coast, you will notice endless of amounts of designer stores such as Dior and Gucci, but the prices of the restaurants and cafes increase also.
We jumped on a bus again, and decided to take in the different hotels. Overnight Cannes had transformed into a Hollywood mecca. Paparazzi had begun to gather, the red carpet was being put up, hotels had film posters, cars with blacked out windows were cruising the streets, tents for the illustrious press conferences were being put up- it was an amazing sight.
It was during our walk I noticed the town is very accessible by foot, as you do not even realise how far you have walked. The town itself if beautiful with Artwork on buildings and artwork in sand, you are consistently entertained by small characteristics of the town. I think we were very lucky to experience the town both before and during the festival.
We decided to play tourist and spent some time on the walk of fame. We ventured down to the sandy and walked up as far as we could. Everyone was so friendly. We treated ourselves to a massive ice cream before heading back to the hotel for dinner and spent some time in the restaurant chatting to both staff and other customers. After venturing into town for a while, we went back to the apartment, absolutely shattered.
This was our last day, so I finished up the last of our supplies by creating a great breakfast. Laura popped to the markets in La Bocca to pick up fresh fruit and orange juices. We finally managed to shut Laura’s suitcase and made our way down to reception- the receptionist was really nice, our bags were taken into a room to be looked after for the day and she also asked the shuttle bus to wait for us.
Tip: During summer months (starting with the festival) there is a free bus into town, which saves on cab and bus far
es- the driver was so friendly and told us a few places to stop in at before we left.
Tuesday meant one thing for us- shopping! Normally I’m not brave enough to walk brazenly into designer shops back home, but we had so much fun exploring Dior, Gucci and the other shops. We spent a fair bit on clothes, but I also managed to stake out a few French shops where we could pick up a few summer items.
We hit the beach again, after making our way through the crowds.
Festival fever had really hit. We stopped at a pavement café and decided to people-watch for a while. Then we started on the souvenir hunt. Our driver had recommended a traditional sweet shop and a few film memorabilia stalls to pick presents from. The market was on again, and was filled with antiques and art- we made a few guilty purchases there, too.
We took a stroll around the marina and were amazed at the size of the boats after pausing to look at them in detail. Eventually we made our way back to Cannes Beach to grab our cases. We decided to leave a little earlier and save money on getting the bus back to the airport, where our flight was delayed, but we didn’t really matter because we were so content.
All in all, Cannes was exactly what we needed- the chance to be girly, cultured and relaxed in one swoop. I still can’t believe somewhere as beautiful as this is just 1 ½ hours away. We had the most glorious time. Choosing self-catering meant we had the time and money to indulge in French food and drink without breaking the budget.
La Bocca was so adorable. Full of bakeries, butchers, tiny bars and an exciting mix of people from all over the world- I’m glad we stayed here. La Croisette is a gals dream, and a great place to indulge for an afternoon- everyone likes to pretend they are in a fairy-tale, don’t they! Îles de Lérins- Never overlook these islands if you visit Cannes, those islands seem more magical than Gucci ever will!”
Where to stay
Melissa stayed at Pierre Vacances Cannes Beach, and flew in to Nice from Gatwick with Easyjet. Melissa also visited friends at the Pierre Vacances Villa Francia. Both properties are situated in La Bocca but PV-Holidays have many other properties in the Cannes/Nice area.
Save at least 22% on your next holiday with PV-Holidays by taking part in our Beat the Euro campaign. If you visit the website and enter the code: 8258, you can claim your discount. Great news for all is that the code can be used in conjunction with any summer holiday dates- which is ideal for any other girly mates, families or couples who want to visit France or Spain this summer.
Visit www.pv-holidays.com for more details.
Thanks for reading,