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Holiday Inspiration

Cannes Guide

By Susan Ward Davies

Where to Stay in Cannes

You’ve probably heard it before but as the Chateau Marmont is to LA, so the Hotel Martinez is to Cannes. It’s a stalwart five-star favourite where it’s all about tip-top service and perfect sea views. Everyone from Eva Longoria and Liz Hurley to Scarlett Johansson have checked-in to the Art Deco palace with its grand, sweeping staircase, slick spa, private beach, palm-fringed pool and fabulously fresh croissants.

For something a little edgier, try the 3.14 around the corner. A quirky boutique hotel, it’s a warren of eccentricity, with a good dose of kitsch. Each unique room tells its own story: from candy-coloured pop to Moulin Rouge boudoir or 1001 Nights. The icing on the cake, though, is the rooftop pool with its views over the twinkling Mediterranean, cool sun loungers and smattering of exotic plants.

Ten minutes up the road is the similarly stylish Hotel Cezanne & Spa (40 Boulevard d'Alsace, 06400; tel: 04 92 59 41 00) combining creature comforts with a dose of 1950s Hollywood glamour, not to mention its own private beach to spot the A-list from. If you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle? Tiara Yaktsa is just along the coast and has a pool with fabulous sea views to go with its ultra-stylish rooms, while slightly further afield, Le Mas Candille is a haven of luxury where you’ll find a fantastic restaurant, one of the more seriously sybaritic spas in the whole of France and a glorious pool.

Where to Eat in Cannes

One of the most famous addresses in town is the Palme D’Or at the Martinez (73 La Croisette; tel: +33 492987300) where if you like your gourmet food (like Clint Eastwood, Sharon Stone and Quentin Tarantino) book a table in the Michelin-starred chef’s private kitchen for a meal at the heart of the action. Plus, there’s no doubt that the check-in list here will read like a roll call, perfect if you want to ogle the A-list over your oeufs at breakfast. For a real culinary indulgence, head on to Grasse and the Bastide St Antoine (48 avenue Henri-Dunant, 06130 Grasse; tel: +33 493709495) where Michelin-starred chef Jacques Chibois has created a glorious gourmet hideaway. In a unique spot, with views stretching over Cannes, the charming retreat retains traditional French countryside chic while mixing in a dose of Provencal style.

If you prefer to eat on the beach, try the very cool contemporary Z Plage at the Martinez where you can eat under a chic white parasol, overlooking the sea to the sounds of the resident DJ. Le 38 in the Hôtel Gray-d'Albion is similarly chic and serves up a mean steak (38 rue des Serbes, Cannes; tel: + 04 92 99 79 79). La Mère Besson has been attracting stylish crowds since the 1930’s (13 rue des Frères Pradignac +33 4 9339 5924) and for Italian fare we’d thoroughly recommend checking out the uber-cool Vesuvio (68 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400; tel: +04 93 43 45 04).

Where to Go Out in Cannes

If you want to see and be seen, then hands down the hottest venue in town is Le Baoli (Port Canto-Boulevard de la Croisette; +33 493430343). It’s the stars’ favourite party spot during the festival and the place to rub shoulders with Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz , Paris Hilton and Uma Thurman. Be warned, though, it’s only open ‘in season’ and always tough to get past the doormen.

This is Cannes, though, and it is the Film Festival so there’ll be more parties going on than you’ll know what to do with. As always, you’ll probably need to know someone that knows someone, but boy will it be worth it. For something more low-key but still happening, stop by Le Sparkling (8 Rue Frères Pradignac; tel: +33 493397121), part bar, part restaurant and part club, it’s the place to go for a meal followed by some dancing on the sofas. Head upstairs to the funky outdoor Le Patio bar where you can party al fresco. This year also sees Nikki Beach’s 10-year anniversary, so expect partying from dusk til dawn in your designer bikini.

What to Wear in Cannes

It’s going to be flashbulbs a go-go down in Cannes this month, so whatever you wear whether you’re lounging on the beach or off for some high-octane partying, make sure you’re preened to perfection and looking your best. The classic chic Riviera resort town embraces both the classy and the flashy, and Cannes really is all about the labels. Choose from Hermes , Louis Vuitton or Chanel (for a handbag if budget will stretch). The real key to Cannes style is to look understated but polished with chic separates, simple tailoring and several pairs of skyscraper heels (teamed even with just your swimsuit, for the brave), well, you never know whose yacht you may be invited on… oh, and don’t forget to pair everything with a killer tan.

Where to Go For Pampering in Cannes

All this looking great can be exhausting, which is why it’s well worth the 10-minute drive from town, Le Mas Candille is home to the only Shiseido spa in France. A serene spot with its own glorious blue mosaic pool overlooking the hills, a fab dipping Jacuzzi set in the garden and zen treatment rooms in soothing creams and chocolate colours, it’s just the place for some out of town pampering. Go for their famous beauty treatments, like the new Energizing Jade Stone Massage, the Provencal Scrub with Lavender Blossom or the Quick Tension Release massage to get rid of any stress. However, if you want to indulgence (and we mean really indulge) then you should book yourself in at Sisley’s Majestic Spa (10 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400; tel: + 04 92 98 77 00). The infamous facials there will leave you glowing from pre-premiere to post party.

Where to Shop in Cannes

Shopping comes pretty high on the agenda here in Cannes and it’s well geared up for you to flex your credit card. Rue d’Antibes is a good place to start for affordable high street brands like chic French labels Blanc Bleu (102, Rue d'Antibes; tel: +33 493396382) and staples at Comptoir des Cotonniers (10 Rue d'Antibes; tel: +33 492991429). You’ll also find Sephora for a one-stop beauty hit (53 Rue d'Antibes; tel: +33 492996770). However, the real draw here is the Croisette, offering quite possibly to the be all and end all in designer chic. You’ll find us (and the celebs) at Dolce & Gabbana (13 Boulevard Montfleury; tel: +33 493699147) Dior (38 Boulevard Croisette; tel: +33 4929898 00) and Fendi (44 Boulevard Croisette; tel: +33 493380500).

Don't Leave Without...

Picking up something or other designer, be it from the Croisette or one of the vintage shops. For treats that are more on budget, stop by the markets and pick up olive oil based soap, lavender goodies or beautiful, monogrammed antique white linens. Smuggle fragrant oils or herbs, or if you like to make your own fragrance, drop by Fragonard in Grasse. The home of French perfumeries, you’ll find out all about the process and come back with something tailor-made for yourself whether you prefer jasmine, pepper or rose.

Liking our Cannes guide, but fancy hitting the capital instead? Check out our Paris guide.

Or simply looking for somewhere to stay? Check out our pick of Cote D’Azur hotels fit for a movie star.

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