The insider’s guide to luxury Cannes
Words by Rebecca Whitlocke
The French Riviera’s most stylish resort, Cannes, is a showcase for the beautiful, glamorous and covetable. Host to prestigious events such as Cannes Film Festival, Cannes Collection, Cannes Lions and Cannes Yachting Festival there’s no shortage of celebrities, luxury offerings and high-octane parties.
We’ve curated an Insider’s Guide to our favourite luxury places to shop, eat, stay or party like an A-lister in Cannes.
Luxury shopping in Cannes
French Riviera style is a fusion of classic tailoring, chic separates and opulent accessories such as collectable timepieces, rare jewels and designer leather goods.
Boulevard de la Croisette, known simply as La Croisette, is a roll call of designer chic in Cannes – stroll the Croisette boutiques for fine jewellery from Cartier or Chopard, splurge on haute couture from Fendi, Chanel, Escada or Armani or stock up on the new season’s release of accessories from Dior or Louis Vuitton.
For something special, head to Loro Piana (38 blvd de la Croisette) for the finest men’s coats in wool and vicuña, or drop into Hermès (52 blvd de la Croisette) for a pair of their suede loafers that you won’t regret investing in if you’re invited to a superyacht party.
If you’re time-pressured to trawl the boutiques, many Cannes stores have personal shopping services with assistants who are au fait with trends and dressing to suit your body type. Try Le Shop 17 in the Galerie d’Albion for separates from Chloé or Alexander Wang, Agent Provocateur for lingerie or stop by 55 Croisette for prêt-à-porter from brands such as Balmain, Alexander McQueen and Emanuel Ungaro.
Galaries Lafayettes Cannes (6 rue du Maréchal Foch) is a one-stop shop for fashion, accessories, kidswear, beauty and homewares and have a ‘Click-and-Collect’ service where you can order online and then collect your purchases in store.
Don’t overlook rue d’Antibes and the adjacent streets for quality shopping. You’ll find a wide range of stores with everything from high street brands to designer fashion and interior decor; head to Bathroom Graffiti for funky gifts, Lalique for crystal, Trabaud for great demin for men and Projecteurs for the latest trends.
Top shopping tips for Cannes
As well, shoppers can claim a refund on the sales tax (VAT or TVA) on purchases of €175 made in a single store. If you intend to do a lot of shopping in Cannes, apply for a Global Blue ‘SHOP TAX FREE CARD’ (www.globalblue.com) and it automatically registers your tax refund when you shop at stores with a Global Blue sign. Or, simply ask any store where you spend more than €175 for a ‘Détaxe’ form and you can claim your refund at the airport before you leave France.
Cannes also holds regular public auctions of high-end goods such as fine art, vintage watches, luxury fashion and accessories; visit www.cannes-encheres.auction.fr/_en to see upcoming auctions. Items on offer are sold much lower than off-the-shelf in Cannes and you’ll snap up a bargain on anything from a Hermès silk scarf, to a Picasso ink drawing or Longchamp leather handbag.
Seasoned shopaholics should pencil in a visit in 2017 in April for the Cannes Shopping Festival where visitors can enjoy fashion shows, photocalls and season previews and Mare di Moda in November with cruise collections for luxury resort and beachwear.
Where to eat like an A-lister in Cannes
Cannes has an abundance of restaurants for serious foodies or casual diners, but if you’re looking for some of the best cuisine in town, here are our top gastronomic choices.
La Palme d’Or (73 blvd de la Croisette) located at the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez is named after the most prestigious award at the Cannes Film Festival, and as central Cannes’ only two-star Michelin restaurant it wears the accolades well.
Executive Chef Christian Sinicropi finds inspiration for his dishes in local ingredients and creative influences around him including painters, directors, circus troupes and actors such as Moya, Steven Spielberg and Robert de Niro.
The décor is cinematic and the menu is creative with sublime culinary experiences varying from spider crab to slow-roasted lamb to marsala-infused chocolate balls. It’s an exceptional place to dine, where each dish is not a course but a movement.
Sinicropi also studied at École des Beaux Arts in nearby Vallauris and his wife produces the ceramic serving dishes and tableware, which were designed especially for La Palme d’Or’s culinary creations. Make a reservation, think about the bill later and soak up the view from the first floor over the Bay of Cannes.
Jean Luc Pelé (36 rue Meynadier) is a sweet escape from busy Cannois streets; drop by for their seasonal macarons with tantalizing flavours such as yuzu and mint in summer, or foie gras with fig or spiced gingerbread in winter.
If you want a step down from top-end prices in Cannes, make a reservation at Le Petit Paris, one block back from the Croisette. This friendly bistro serves everything from swordfish burgers to rich butternut and hazelnut soup (www.le-petitparis.fr).
A few restaurants worth a mention are located less than 15 minutes out of Cannes. La Villa Archange in Le Cannet is chef Bruno Oger’s two Michelin star eatery set in an 18th-century bastide with pleasant interior courtyard. Paloma in Mougins matches Cannes for prices but the food is a notch up with creative flavours and exceptional service deserving their two Michelin star status.
After lunch, wander up to the old village and browse the fine collections at the Classical Arts Museum. Moulin de Mougins (www.moulindemougins.com) located 15 minutes from Cannes, reopened in June after a refurbishment due to the region’s floods last year. As well as an excellent a la carte menu, you can eat regional antipasti and drink cocktails in a setting of an old mill revamped with a great outdoor bar with bamboo backdrop.
Where the celebrities stay in Cannes
Luxury accommodation in Cannes is fertile ground for spotting famous people and service standards deliver beyond expectation to meet the wishes of the most demanding clients. Cannes has sublime sea views so we suggest booking a luxury room at one of the star favourites on the Croisette.
One of the main palace hotels on the Croisette, Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic occupies a prime location behind the Moncler and Chopard boutiques and is a popular hangout for the festival crowds who mooch on the plush sofas under chandeliers in Cannes most luxurious hotel lobby.
True luxury connoisseurs can stay on the sixth floor amongst the opulence of a Louis XVI-style dining table, panoramic terrace and butler in the unique Christian Dior Suite, designed in partnership with the Parisian couture house. The hotel has a heated swimming pool with stunning Art Deco mosaic design, the spa is highly recommended for its Red Carpet Signature Treatment with deluxe facial and makeup, and we love the decadent Champagne breakfasts on offer at restaurant Fouquets.
First opened in 1911, the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes has welcomed everyone from royalty to famous painters and film stars. This landmark Belle Époque hotel is a registered Historic Building and styled on the glamour of yesteryear’s old world elegance.
Film aficionados can book one of the Suites on the seventh floor christened after famous cinematic names including Sean Connery, Sofia Loren and even a Suite named after Princess Grace of Monaco who filmed Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief at the hotel in 1954, then met her future husband Prince Rainier the next year.
Don’t miss visiting the Carlton Bar for a drink and grab a seat on the seaview terrace if you can. The experience can pack a punch to your wallet – an espresso coffee is €8, fresh orange juice €15, cocktails are €25 – but it’s a superb way to enjoy a sundowner looking out to the sea through the palm trees. They also host a daily Gourmet Apéritif with bar snacks, or afternoon tea where you can sample hot chocolate, coffee and tea with delicious French pastries for just €19.
The Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez is a haven of luxury with over 400 elegant rooms and suites, including an impressive 300sqm Penthouse Suite, one of the largest in Europe, nestled on the seventh floor with a 260sqm private terrace with Jacuzzi and sun loungers.
This legendary five-star hotel has a beautiful sweeping Art Deco staircase, palm-fringed swimming pool and a huge summer beach, Z Plage, with Instagram-chic pontoon. The restaurants and bar are high-standard and they also host a fun Kids Club which is an often overlooked service.
Though not situated on the seafront, Five Seas Hôtel is conveniently located near to the Palais des Festivals and has some of Cannes best luxury room options, earning itself ‘Best Luxury Design Hotel of Europe’ in the World Luxury Hotel Awards last year.
We recommend the rooftop pool terrace for lounging, dining at one Michelin star SeaSens restaurant and booking one of the Presidential Suites complete with terrace Jacuzzi made from glass and stainless steel and a neighbouring view of 19th-century church Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage.
Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc is an iconic hotel on the French Riviera and a popular getaway for celebrities and film producers during festival periods. Located on the Cap d’Antibes, it is the venue for the annual star-studded amfAR Cinema Against AIDS Gala Night as well as a glittering schedule of swish soirées from Vanity Fair and Chopard, fashion photo shoots and society weddings.
Relax in the private seaside cabanas that painter Marc Chagall once sketched in, stroll La Grande Allée lined with Aleppo pines and rose bushes or dip into the infamous swimming pool carved into the rocks.
We recommending an uber-luxe stay by reserving the Eden-Roc Suite with private Jacuzzi and immense terrace before ordering a drink to contemplate the same vistas once enjoyed by Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The best places to party in Cannes
Cannes is infamous for hosting some legendary parties ranging from supermodel soirées to cabaret pop-ups and top DJs playing on private yachts – here are our picks for where to rub shoulders with the glitteratti.
Le Bâoli (Port Canto, Plage de la Croisette; www.baolicannes.com/baoli-life-cannes/) is where the party is at during summer. Expensive and extraordinary in equal measures, you can glide in amongst sports stars, celebrities and keen tourists for a dose of Balinese-inspired décor, pricey drinks and top DJ’s spinning the decks nightly in summer.
If you’re staying at the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez, you don’t need to go far for a touch of night life. Le Bar L’Amirals has exceptionally talented bar staff who will whip up any concoction known to the beverage world, or try one of their signature blends of verbena-scented gin with champagne (Grande Dame) or a tequila margarita infused with Grand Marnier and sage. And for visitors not fortunate enough to snap up a Suite at the hotel during peak season, plant yourself at 72 Croisette on the corner opposite the Martinez where you can pair a French Riviera pastis with a paparazzi fix.
Brumels is a piano-live music bar (3 blvd de la République) open late from Thursday through to Saturday – head there for an eclectic night that could feature everything from live piano sessions to cabaret singers and house DJ’s.
Rotonde Louise Pommery is a bar set in a unique architectural dome at Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic. Open daily from 6 pm to midnight from April to October and from 6 pm to 2 am during the summer and congress periods it looks spectacular illuminated at night. Slink by to sample the best of Pommery’s seasonal champagnes alongside some of the world’s finest wines and spirits.
Also onsite, Bar Galerie du Fouquets is a welcoming bar for an apéritif or after-work drink with baroque furnishings in lush gold leaf and black tones, or venture across the road in summertime when La Folie Douce pops up at the Majestic’s beach with live cabaret and cocktails.
Cannes welcomes pop-up party hotspots every year such as the VIP Room at JW Marriott every Cannes Film Festival, or Nikki Beach La Plage at InterContinental Carlton Cannes where guests swig Champagne and dance to tunes from the resident DJs from Nikki Beach Saint Tropez, Ibiza and Saint Barth.
Naturally, some of the most exclusive parties take place on superyachts. Alexander Coles, owner of Bespoke Yacht Charter who charter yachts in Cannes for prestigious clients, says: “We have organised everything from intimate power lunches on board for film industry execs to parties for advertising professionals with around 500 guests spreading onto the adjacent quays”. Just 15 minutes by yacht from Cannes, the Îles de Lérins are a popular destination for venturing out of port with many yachts gathering in the small channel between the islands to anchor and take advantage of the island views and French Riviera sunsets.