Today, we took the train to Cannes, barely a thirty minute ride. For a change, I booked online for the high speed TGV train with first class pre-reserved seats. It only gets to Cannes about three minutes faster than the regional train, but it does so with a little more comfort (and with an electric outlet at every seat). It all seemed so perfect as we settled into our very large and comfortable reclining seats on the very nicely air conditioned train; our serenity was not to last. A hyperactive young boy moved into the seat behind Lynn, and for the whole thirty minutes or so of the ride to Cannes, he hit the seats, screamed, yelled, complained and whined; his mother seemed totally helpless in controlling him and we could not move away as all the other seats on the car were occupied.
As soon as we arrived in Cannes, we headed by foot to the Forville Market nearby. This morning food market had been written up quite a lot in the tour books and I wanted to experience it before it started closing down around lunchtime.
It turned out to be a big disappointment. The covered area is about a block long, and less than 20% of the space is allocated to the food market; the rest is a big flea market. The market in Nice is so much bigger, and so much better! This market was a waste of time. We took a quick walk around the market and left for the Promenade de la Croisette.
Interestingly, as we started our walk on the Promenade de la Croisette, the main road and walkway along the beach in Cannes, we passed by a carroussel for children which, to our delight, was loudly playing Pink Martini music. The Portland-Oregon based Pink Martini orchestra is one of our favorite music groups (we have been to eight of their live concerts in the US and in Europe).
The beach in Cannes is sand, a definite plus compared to Nice which has a pebble beach. This is indeed a plus for Cannes. Unfortunately, what we saw today as we walked around both the Promenade de la Croisette and the world famous rue d’Antibes was essentially a mix of Beverly Hills glamour and Atlantic City honky-tonk.
At lunchtime, we opted to eat at a popular restaurant on the beach, Le Goeland (The Seagull).
It was a simple but very tasty lunch. We shared a mixed salad as an entree followed by tagliatelle au pistou for Lynn and sardines grillees for me, all washed down with a refreshing Cotes de Provence rose.
After lunch, we continued our walk along the Promenade de la Croisette. We came across the Centre d’Art La Malmaison which is hosting an exhibition of approximately 120 Picasso drawings focusing on nudes and erotism, called “Nu en Liberte” (nude at large).
This was quite an interesting collection of drawings along with a few paintings, ceramics and sculptures. My favorite was definitely the Nu Debout de Profil (Nude Standing from the Side).
We later walked by the InterContinental Carlton, the most famous hotel in Cannes, made even more famous recently by the brazen 130 million dollar jewelry heist which a single thief pulled off in less than sixty seconds. We decided to go in for a drink and meet the security guards on duty (they denied any involvement).
The hotel is indeed ultra-luxurious — you could easily think you were in Beverly Hills. Only by stepping outside do you realize you are in France, on the shores of the beautiful Mediterranean.
Shopping on rue d’Antibes was next on the agenda, which we did with gusto until it was time to head back to the train station for the ride back to Nice, followed by a simple Italian dinner on the pedestrian Rue Massena, a few blocks from our apartment.
The verdict on our day in Cannes: there are only tourists in Cannes and the town offers little other than a great beach. Most certainly however, the city comes alive for the annual Cannes Film Festival in May but, for the meantime, Nice is nice, very nice.
*If you own a credit card with pin, buying your TGV train ticket online for pickup at the station is a very convenient service. The pickup at the station, from one of the self-service machines, is quick and easy: one simply inserts the credit card which was used when the reservation was made, and presto, the machine finds the reservation and prints the tickets.
Stay tuned to BonVoyageurs.com for more Countries of the World as we share our joie de vivre from around the world. Luxury escapes and city breaks to Quebec City, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires. In Europe, places like Paris France, Nice France, Provence and the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera), Tuscany and Florence in Italy, Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast. In Asia, countries like China, India, Nepal and so much more!