While planning our trip around southern France, a few sources advised that we skip Cannes altogether. They suggested that Cannes has become nothing but a glamorous and exclusive playground for the rich and famous with fancy boutiques, expensive restaurants, and fashionable hotels. Perhaps I saw this as a challenge to find something good about Cannes, and to at least give it a shot at since it wasn't far from Nice and was pretty much not out of our way at all as we finished up on the southern coast of France and started to head inland again.
D - If, as you've been reading along, you've already made the mistake of reading "Cannes" like "Cans," then don't worry, you're in good company (I am after all the best company). Apparently, though, it's pronounced like, "Can." Now you know. Continue on, educated reader.
Sure enough, since we weren't expecting much out of Cannes, we actually kind of liked it. It wasn't one of my favorite cities of the trip, but I didn't leave disliking it, especially since we tried a Speculoos milkshake for the first time at the Steak-n-Shake there (I know! We needed a vegetarian option quick, though, and theirs was reasonably priced, so my fast-food-loathing-self caved), and we became obsessed with Speculoos (aka Biscoff) flavored everything. In fact, that meal became a real highlight of the trip, if I'm being honest, because it was so tasty, and so, well, American, whatever that means.
D - Just for the record, we also had a couple of their mushroom veggie melts, not just the milkshakes, and they were surprisingly really good!
All talk of food aside, we walked along the Boulevard de la Croisette, which is lined with palm trees and blue chairs, with views of grand hotels on one side and the sea on the other (although keep in mind that the beach access is certainly limited due to the hotels, clubs, and restaurants that have laid claim to much of it and now charge a pretty penny or two to use it - there are some public beach areas but not lots).
At the end of the Boulevard de la Croisette is a harbor and the Palais des Festivals where -surprise, surprise! - the Cannes Film Festival is held each May. We joined the selfie brigade and struck our best poses, but then stepped back and and took a photo of what it really looks like...without all the paparazzi and celebrities and glitz and glamour, it really doesn't look like much, does it? Just a bunch of ordinary folks taking silly photos on stained red carpet.
No photos of our lunch (because I figure you have seen similar if not THE EXACT same food before), but the Steak 'n Shake scooters lined up next to pretty French buildings, ready to deliver orders around town...that's not an everyday American sight. :)
Once you get past the main drag and some of the tourist traps behind it, there's Le Suquet, the old town with cobblestone, pedestrianized streets, colorful buildings, and that familiar French village feel. We loved the style found in the rest of town (a la Nice and Monaco), but this part was a bit more down to earth - both have their merits, but one is really only accessible to the very tip-top of society.
After finding a made-for-selfie sign (with a view!) within the old part of Cannes, we decided we'd reached the height of our trip to Cannes, and we had no choice but to head for the hills. Our next stop was supposed to be Marseille, but we took a little while leaving Nice in the morning, and enjoyed Cannes a bit more than planned so we opted to save France's second largest city for another trip. Onto to Aix-en-Provence we went...
See more from our road trip around southern France: our day in Toulouse here, and all of our stops on our first day: Cahors, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Bouzies, Rocamadour, Padirac Cave, Loubressac, and Figeac. We began our second day in Marcillac-Vallon and Belcastel, made a stop at the Viaduc de Millau before heading into the Gorges du Tarn, and finally checked out the lovely Sainte-Enimie. That night, we stayed in Le-Pont-de-Montvert.
We started our third day in Labeaume before driving through the Gorges de l'Ardeche and stopping afterwards in Aiguèze and then spending some time checking out Roman remains in Orange and staying the night in Vaison-la-Romaine. The next morning we explored Vaison-la-Romaine, drove on to Sisteron and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and through the Gorges du Verdon and stayed the night in Castellane.
The morning of the fifth day of our road trip, we drove to Grasse, onto Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and then to Antibes and finally onto Nice for the night. On our first morning in Nice we took the train to Monaco and then started explored Nice in the afternoon.
We started our second day in Nice by taking the train along the coast and visiting different towns, the first being Villefrance-sur-Mer, traveling onto Menton, and then to Ventimiglia and finally Èze. After our third night in Nice we packed up and drove to Cannes.